I’m glad it’s the weekend and I can have a lie in. This last week was supposed to be straightforward but haha, not so.

Thursday afternoon, I had an unexpected change to my day which threw the good old anxiety into overdrive. The first time in a while that I have had such a big reaction and it left me exhausted. It all ran over into Friday where every small thing seemed imbued with far greater stress and significance than was really the case. On top of that, an email from my parents about their plans has set off alarm bells for my siblings and I.

Last night, I went to bed at 8:30pm, as I couldn’t stay awake. A restless night but overall feel better today. Going to take it slow today.

Last night, the Tories voted down Labour’s motion to extend free school meals during the holidays to disadvantaged children. My son enjoys maths so this morning we did a rough calculation to find out the cost to the Treasury of the scheme, had it been voted through.

According to this article in the Guardian, it would affect 1.4 million children. The vouchers are worth £15 per week, and there are four weeks holiday between now and Easter, which is when it was proposed the scheme would run until. So the calculation is as follows;

(15x 4) x 1.4 million = £84 million.

Which my son thought was a lot. However, according to the same article, the government has paid out £210 billion in financial help during the pandemic. So by way of comparison we then looked at what order of magnitude there was between the two sums;

210 billion/ 84 million = 2.5 million.

My son and I talked about how this put it into perspective; that it was like a rich person giving £2.5 million to help all sorts of people but refusing to give my son £1. He was aghast.

While I don’t think food vouchers are a long term solution and wouldn’t pretend to have any answers, I can’t believe for a moment this is about concern over spending money. Call me a cynic, but I’m sure this is more about the optics – looking good to the voter who gets up in arms about benefit fraud and the like. Thing is, from where I’m standing, it just looks mean-spirited.

Had a problem with the contact form on our business’s website. Loads of spam plus genuine contacts were being labelled as spam too. In looking to solve this I considered using Captcha. In reading about it I discovered it’s a Google thing and, unsurprisingly, collects a lot of data.

So I won’t be installing that then.

One morning this last week I stepped outside at first light. It was very still and quiet. My attention was drawn to the sound of redwings overhead. The first I’ve seen this autumn. Just a few small flocks but a sure sign of the turning of the seasons. Later on the same day I saw a handful of swallows. Another remnant of summer. Two species who’s combined migratory range extends from Siberia to South Africa.

It’s strange how a sight or sound can be so evocative of a particular season that in a single day two separate moments can feel like completely different times of year.

Back in April I said I’d write about my experience with CBT. And I have tried many times to do so. The Summer of Weirdness has made it very difficult to find the headspace to reflect on anything, let alone something as intense as therapy. I’ve decided it’s just too much to try and go back and unpick my thoughts in detail about it, but for what it’s worth, here’s a brief summary.

I have very mixed feelings about doing the course. Some of the theory was very helpful, some of it pushed me into territory I really wasn’t sure I was ready for. And while I can appreciate the principle of putting into practice the techniques learned, by their very nature they increase anxiety, at least in the short term. This then means having to add that extra anxiety onto that which day to day life already involves. In my head, the process created a sharp increase in anxiety with no foreseeable end to it.

If I wasn’t working, perhaps I could dedicate more time to it, but the reality is that there is little extra time in the day to fit the ‘work’ of CBT in. Excuses? Maybe. On the other hand, CBT is not for everyone.

One of the reasons I switched to a WordPress site for my blog was to use the IndieWeb plugin, in particular to enable webmentions. It takes a little more work to implement than a straightforward post but I like being able to do so. The ethos of the IndieWeb has a lot of appeal. Only thing is, I haven’t used them as much as I could.

I have saved links to numerous posts I that I’ve come across on other people’s blogs, with the intention of referencing them in my own posts via webmentions. I just need to take a bit more time, a little more effort and I’m sure I will appreciate the satisfaction of doing so.

Consider this a note to self.