Today, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, put mainland Scotland in lockdown. Again. COVID cases are on the rise, and hospitals are struggling to deal with the increased demand. As frustrating as it is, I completely understand why such rules are required, and it is important that the public do their best to abide by them.
Everything is so annoying, because it feels like everyone has sacrificed so much already. Births, deaths, weddings, all major events that we have had to miss out. And to make those sacrifices to find out that the country is almost just as bad as it was 9 months ago, when this first started.
Everyone just needs to ‘keep the heid’. Keep calm, and do our best to follow the rules as much as we can. It won’t go on forever, we will get there. Eventually.
I am currently working my way back home to Scotland, after being away in the sunny climates of Cyprus for a week. I don’t usually do a holiday at this time of year, as it is normally time for me to buckle down at work for the busiest time of the year. But Scotland’s national football (soccer) team were playing there, so me and my friend took the chance to get some winter sun.
There has been a lot of things in my life that have been stressing me out recently. It is very easy for stuff to stress me out, the anxiety I suffer from has the habit of blowing things out of proportion. ￼And instead of wallowing, I am trying to focus on the ‘good stuff’ to get me through the harder times. Whether it’s gigs, holidays or a new movie coming out, it is nice to look forward to something.
This holiday, could not have come at a better time. It was nice to get away to the sun, blue skies and fun. Scotland away games attract the Tartan Army, a name given to the Scotland fans who support their side through thick and thin. It is always so much fun when everyone gets together, and the good thing is, that everyone is so friendly and accepting. And when you start going to a few away games, you start to become friends with people, and the trip becomes a meet-up. Barbecues, alcohol and music, makes a great trip.
Cyprus was a beautiful country. We stayed in Pathos, which is at the bottom of the small island. The thing I like about Cyprus is that there is a lot of historical monuments, throughout the country, and everything seems built around them. For example, 5 star resort, Alexander The Great, has historic tombs, fenced off throughout the property. I suppose it is nice to seem them conserving some history, even if I feel they shouldn’t really build on something that is significant. The UK has a habit of knocking things down, and then going ‘whoops, that was important’ .
What was a shock was coming from 26 degree days, to minus 1, when we landed in Luton last night. I almost climbed back in the plane and wanted to go back. But, for me to do the good stuff, I also need to work. So home tonight, and back to work tomorrow. Hopefully feeling as refreshed as I feel right now. I doubt it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
One of the things I wanted was to play football. I remember when I was younger, going to play football with the ‘bigger boys’ in the field next to my house. I was always the only girl, but it was fun. At Primary School, I could play football and train with the boys, and it was all fine. However, from around 12ish, I wasn’t allowed to play in a team with boys anymore. I had to play on a girls team. This was awful news, not enough girls in my school wanted to play football, and all the youth clubs focused on boys. It was like hitting a brick wall.
I found other hobbies, but I ended up backing away from football and rugby, both sports I had played in my younger childhood. I wasn’t ‘one of the boys’ enough, nor did i have the confidence, to push myself to make myself a place with the boys. I didn’t really feel like I could go out of my comfort zone, and look for a girls team, as none of the youth clubs nearby, had anything. So, other than the odd kick about with my brother, I didn’t really play anymore. But I still had a reoccurring dream of playing for Scotland with Ally McCoist (so much wrong with that).
I didn’t stop supporting football, the opposite. My main team became Dunfermline Athletic, and I also followed Blackpool and Aberdeen. I watched Scotland international games, and in fact still go to at least one away game a year. Football is definately my favourite sport. But it still hurts that I kind of stopped playing, in fact, I remember crying in my bed after school, cause I wanted to play with the boys and play in tournaments.
Mixed playing happens still, in Scotland girls can play with boys, till they hit 15 years old. This means that girls can play with the boys, should there not be a girls team available for them. And there are girls teams now at every youth football club in my local area. This is great, and means less girls give up playing a sport that they love. In some countries in Europe, there is no age limit, or there are mixed teams up to under-21 level. This is great. None of that stuff was in place when I became a teenager in the 90s. I remember me and my friend tried to start a girls football team at High School. A PE teacher supported us, and we scheduled training for after school on a Monday. And then 7 people showed up. It was disheartening, because the school was going to help us get games and stuff. But netball and hockey were more popular with girls, so we were quickly cancelled and forgotten about.
I grew up understanding that I could be a fan, and that’s it. Reccently I have been watching the Woman’s World Cup, held in France. It has been a great celebration of the ladies game. It felt huge because Scotland qualified for the tournament, which was amazing. It’s the biggest stage the woman’s game has had here in Scotland, it was advertised everywhere. Every game was on TV, and I saw these women play the game and live the dream that I had as a wee girl. It was amazing.
The tournament has now finished (USA won), and I hope that football organisations all over the world realise that the girls game needs investment. It’s come a long way since I was little, but it’s moving in the right direction.
I like to plan events and holidays throughout my year. Something to act like a target, something to aim for, when things get a bit hard. It can be trips to the cinema, gigs, shopping in another city or a holiday. In these modern days, where it becomes increasingly more difficult to disconnect from stress factors, it is good to set aside time to step away from daily life. To give yourself things to look forward to.
Last week I was on holiday to Rimini in Italy, with Tartan Army friends as Scotland was playing San Marino, which was nearby. I like to visit countries that I haven’t visited before. I think that is one of the best things about living so close to so many other countries, as a part of Europe (ignoring Brexit). It has always amazed me, that so many countries in such sort proximity can have so many cultural differences. Especially when you take in to account how big countries like Russia and USA are. So, I like to visit as many countries as I can, whilst I am able to.
I think that it is important to take time outwith your normal life, especially if that life causes you stress. And sometimes, simply staying at home doesn’t seem enough. With the constant barrage of information, simply going home after work is enough to disconnect a person from what is going on around them. So, sometimes it is good to go somewhere different. Somewhere fresh. Somewhere where your mind can relax.
Coming back to reality, can be a headache, though.
I am a winter person. I have probably said that before. But I am. My body type is like a human radiator, sometimes. I rarely get too cold, always get too hot. Which means I am not sleeping, which means I am not being productive. Basically, it is taking all my willpower not to simply ‘do nothing’ when I come home from work. Everything feels gross and sticky, and I can’t sleep.
At least the days have been nice, and I was able to go for walks down to the beach.
We are now officially in my favourite season of the year. Darker nights, colourful leaves and cosy nights in bed. Because I have a high body temperature, I have a short fuse during the hotter months. So, I am always happy when it starts to cool down.
There are some pains, such has getting up in the dark, but it’s worth it. Usually, in Scotland it gets a bit colder and a little more wet and windy. The weather is always something Scottish people moan about, especially at this time of year, but I think a lot of people here are climatised to the weather. For all the complaining we do actually do, we have quite moderate weather.
The only problem I have this year, as it feels like time has just run away from me. I can’t believe we are over half way through September already. But, sitting in my bed, wrapped in my duvet, watching Netflix, I am welcoming the new season.
The other week, I met up with my friend and her daughter, and we went to the Butterfly farm near Edinburgh. It was a place I hadn’t been since I was really little. It’s very warm, and butterflies just fly all around you. Was really fun. And I was able to take a few pictures.
The summer provides a good time to play tourist in your local area, especially if you have kids. You can find more information about Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World here.