Seasons of Joy {July 2022 Edition}

vintage watch old glasses

❤️ The Comings and Goings of Claire ❤️

Clueless with Claire. Do you remember my escapades in the garden last year? If you do, you may also remember, firstly, how useless I was, and secondly, my arch nemesis the garden slug?

yellow slug
Slugs have nothing on Mother Nature

It was the slug which eventually put a stop to all my gardening endeavours. Honestly, no sooner had I bought and planted a new shrub/flowering plant, it was decimated overnight by the slugs. And then my gorgeous honeysuckle and rose bush (which had been flourishing without any care, thank you. very. much.) died a sudden death due to a fungal infection…just a week after I had pruned it and tied it back for the first time ever. It was as if was a carrier of a plant fungus which I passed on whilst trying to, y’know, look after it! I figured they all do better without me so I left well alone.

Plants in the garden

Thing is, something rather miraculous has happened in the interim. I mean, it may be because I’ve not touched them and therefore they have all had the courage to blossom. Or it may be it was me the slugs were actually coming out to see, and without me they got bored and went on their own sweet way. But I think it was really more marvellous than that. I think Mother Nature prevailed just as she should.

Apple blossom tree

Because right now, the garden looks great. Plants I thought I (or the slugs) killed, were actually awaiting merrily the warmth of the sun to penetrate their little patch of earth, before magnificently bursting forth. Happy sigh.

small bouquet of dried lavender
maroon flower on top of brown book

Time on my Hands. Last summer, I came to the rather odd (read stupid) conclusion that I needed more to do. I guess Thomas had moved out, Ads had decided to stay for a third year, Lillie was off to uni and Charlotte was on the mend and keeping herself super busy writing and studying part time for her degree. So, I thought I might get bored…

I only had two children left to homeschool. I said. I won’t be nearly as busy. I said. I get into mischief when I am not occupied…I know, I need to do a master’s degree!

So saying, I embarked on what can only be described as madness, and began studying for a master’s in Childhood and Youth Studies. Hmm.

The website said it would take a maximum of 16 hours a week. Well, the website would. The website wants to lure people in who think they have too much time on their hands because they are only homeschooling two children. But the website does not know what it is talking about. Firstly, it takes waaaaay more hours than 16 per week if you want to complete all the work and find time to write a decent essay. And secondly, no-one told the website that the people also have four teens to look after. Yes, they are adults, but that does not mean they are fully independent and don’t need said people anymore…

black rotary telephone beside ball pen on white printed paper

Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I love that I am still the first person my older children want to share something with. Really I do. But the website…yes, website, you know who you are…you need to remember that 16 hours is not enough to complete a master’s properly. 26 is far more like it…possibly even moving towards 36.

Thank goodness I love to study. Because I really, really do! It’s like I’ve had a new lease of life. And it’s making me super organised, productive, more and more so as I move through the course. I have honestly thoroughly enjoyed working well into the night as Gary softly snores next to me.

I have already mentioned that I am studying children and youth studies, but at master’s level we get to choose what we focus on. As usual, my hyperactive brain refuses to concentrate on just one aspect and oscillates between children in care and homeschooling. My final project for year 1 (out of 3) was a literature study on the experiences of children in care. Gary and I want to foster or adopt in the future (if we ever have a spare bedroom, that is 😉), and doing the research for this paper was really eye-opening and I really did feel like I was learning things which would be so helpful for our future.

I’ve also learnt lots of great study skills which I can now pass on to my girls. Critical reflection, for example. I’ve also learnt how to create an annotated bibliography; carry out a critical review on pretty much anything; prove or disprove something using research (because for any given topic research abounds to support it and also to disprove or not support it, which I find fascinating – it’s all in the arguing); a synthesised literature review (don’t ask) and, as I mentioned, a critical review. I’ve loved every. single. moment.

Next year’s module is ‘Framework for Critical Practice with children and Youth’, which sounds a bit heavier than the one I just completed (Children’s and Young People’s Worlds).

The truth is though, I shall throw myself into it, because I love to study and learn new things ❤️

I’m not going blind. About two or three months ago, I had my eyes tested. It was a basic test at SpecSavers. The man I saw, nonchalantly told me I had macular degeneration, which may cause blindness. I went home, not really thinking anything more than my eye sight would get worse. I think I thought that it was an age thing which happened to everyone. But when I told my best friend, she reacted as if I was going to die soon! So I looked it up. It’s never a good idea to google anything, because before you know it, you’ve given yourself a life threatening condition, or in this case a sight threatening condition. Macular degeneration causes partial blindness, within ten years of diagnosis. I was devastated, and from that moment on, I swear I felt my eyesight get worse by the day.

photo of ceramic cup and saucer next to a pile of books on wooden park bench

Mum convinced me to go privately and have the whole gamut of tests done, just so we knew what we were up against. Well, what do you know? My maculars are in fine form, perfect some might say. No signs at all of the drusens which indicate macular degeneration. Yay! I’m not going blind! I’ve always said that my sight is my most precious sense and I’d rather lose anything else but that. I feel so incredibly blessed, and surprisingly (or not) now I know I’m not going blind, my eyesight has returned to normal.

The power of the mind is a terrifying thing.

morning walk

Habits. I’ve been reading and listening to books about habits. Actually, they are not specifically about habits, just they mention habit formation, sometimes briefly and other times extensively. I am trying to build healthy habits into my very busy days. One such habit is going for a morning walk. The night before, I lay out my clothes, download the podcast I want to listen to the next day, charge my phone and my iPods and I’m good to go. The route I choose is a ten-twelve minute walk, so not very long. But it makes such a difference to how I’m feeling each day.

So much of my work, be it homeschooling, studying or working on my blog, is sitting down. As I get older, I can feel my weight going up, even though I’ve not changed anything about my diet. I think menopause has something to do with it. So now is the time to build in small daily habits which over time will build up to a healthy lifestyle.

Blogging. You’ve probably noticed that I am blogging more and am making changes to my website. Next Friday, I will be discussing all the changes, everything I’m learning and my goals going into the future regarding my blog. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with loved ones and lots of joy ❤️

1 comment

  1. So glad to hear your eyesight is just fine and your garden is looking fabulous! I tend to take a pretty hands off approach to my garden as well since I’m not very gifted in that area.

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