A Book Bargain in the Time of Corona

‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ can be bought in Amazon & is a collection of gorgeously penned letters to a whole panoply of people and phenomena. In them, I remember, reflect and realise that where I seek it, I can find the love and learning in EVERYTHING. And if that sounds too high faluting, well it’s just a rollicking good read, too – touching, funny and thought provoking in equal measure. And there are lots of other good reasons to buy it too:

1. It’s currently selling at just £1.99 / $2.99 for the Kindle edition – until the end of TOMORROW only.

2. You can read it cover to cover or dip into it, according to whim or which way the wind blows.

3. It’s only £1.99 for the next 48 hours 👍

4. Other readers say it will make you smile, cry and think.

5. It was featured in national and local press, with features in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, no less…

6. You can buy it for just £1.99 today. On Monday it will be £££ more… 😬

7. It’s got masses of positive reviews, including 23 5* ones on Amazon.

8. You can lose yourself & wallow in my weirdly wonderful world for a while.

9. Let the reviews speak for themselves (see pics of a small selection, below).

10. It’s on sale till midnight tomorrow for just £1.99! 🌞 Get it at this price here, till 31 May, only.

Acceptance in the Time of Corona

I’ve chosen to acquiesce to much of what is going on in my world right now. I can’t control COVID, but there are so many other things that I can control and one of those is active acceptance.

The concept of Acceptance, if you think about it, could easily be a contradiction wrapped up in a word. As an action, it could be wimpy, waspish or even lazy, but then again, it could be the sweetest and smartest thing you could ever do for yourself.

So often when I work with my clients I find that they are fighting and resisting a situation. This be painful, as it clogs the head and heart with fighting thoughts and warring emotions. It also uses up precious time and negative energy.

I’ve been through it all too, of course… I remember one particularly protracted period where an issue – unmanaged and ignored because of its difficulty, had subsequently spiralled out of silly control.

It had been gnawing away at my consciousness and going round and round my beleaguered brain in ever decreasing circles, filling my thoughts, playing with my emotions and sapping my strength…

I had taken all the right pragmatic steps. But sometimes people and fate don’t coerce with your good intentions. Even the fact that I established some controls and attempted to move it all to a resolution, did not prevent me from being angry and dispirited. The same evil thoughts kept circling and spiralling in my head, again and again. My inner victim surfaced and it asked how it could be that I could be misunderstood and treated this way… by other individuals, by my own doing, by fate and by the Universe? It felt… so painful and so unfair…

I consciously chose not to wallow in my mental mire, nor let it lead and define me, but it was stuck subconsciously, not letting me go… So I had to seek solutions and alternatives. And at times like these, I love to replace the busy complex twistings of gut and thought, with sweet simplicity instead… I love to walk, to blow the cobwebs away – to literally move myself through whatever it is that I am working on or through.

So, at that time, I took me a walk, taking a deliberate route of change, of calm and balm. And whilst I walked, an alternative to all this mental mayhem floated into my mind… And that was – ‘acceptance’… And my walk turned into a prayer, an incantation of softly whispered words to fill my mind with a gorgeous and easy alternative – that of acceptance. So as I walked and thought, I sought and prayed for acceptance instead…

Instead of the circles and cycles of whiplash thought, instead of the bitterness and bile of argument and incrimination, I chose the silence of sweet acceptance instead…

At any time, such acceptance is a hymn, an invocation, a whispered alternative to anger. It fills my head with positive movement and upward momentum instead of the roundels of recrimination. It’s the opposite of negativity, it is synchronous and quiet; such acceptance moves me forward – instead of stalling and circling and sticking in my brain. It breaks the negative repetitiveness and consternation, and best of all, it is a simplistic swop.

And as I walked along that day, my prayer went something like this: “I accept this day; I accept the trees and the bluebells; I accept my life and what has led me to this point; I accept that I am here and now; I accept my situation; I accept my parents; I accept my decisions; I accept other’s reactions; I accept that things will change; I accept that soon this will all be unimportant; I accept the best; I accept the sunshine; I accept the opportunities to grow and to learn; I accept that I am skilled and amazing at many things; I accept that I am also a work in progress in others; I accept my work; I accept my companions; I accept the journey; I accept the blue sky; I accept myself; I accept the others. I accept

These words were blessings to me, they lifted the weight of this strange issue off my shoulders and let the thoughts fly out of my head, instead of running raggèd around it.

And as a technique it is so simple to replicate. If you are finding something difficult or unfair or just not going your way – really commit to the concept of the sweet simple acceptance of everything. Then walk, appreciate, think; accept. It is something you can do alone, or with a trusted companion. The walking somehow gives it a fantastic forward momentum.

But if taking a walk isn’t possible, then get a pen and paper and get all out on there. Decide that you are simply going to accept and find every aspect that could have led to or have influenced the situation you want to turn, until all the words have run out…

The walk of acceptance is a simple and elegant solution to being stuck in a negative spiral. So it’s time to share it. What do you say? Walk from A to B and try it out… And… Accept it!

Yours consciously… Sandra

Sandra Peachey – Coach, Author and Walking Work in Progress

PS: “Just to let you know that your book {Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life} has arrived… As a take on Tom Cruise in Jerry Mcquire – ‘you had me at page 1’. Well done. You are an amazing writer, this book should be a film and I have only read 2 letters” ~ Beverley Jones.

For the magical month of May only, the Kindle edition of Peachey Letters is reduced to just £1.99/$2.99. So grab it on Amazon now by clicking here

Wasted Weekends in the Time of Corona

We’ve just had a bank holiday weekend in the UK. For me, this constituted days of lazing, reading, blog writing, gardening, housework and baking, so I’m ready for the week and seasons ahead.

At home alone for days on end, I’m in a delicious little hermit cave of selfish introspection, forgetting my tribe – all the people who exist outside my very own Corona fortress…

However my tribe don’t always forget me and a video call with some friends is arranged. At long last on the call I ‘met’ my goddaughter’s baby girl, which predictably, made me tear up. She’s the grand daughter of one of my oldest friends and it was a three way call with the new Nanna and my other longest serving friend. I’ve known both these wonderful women since I was 5 years old, and in the season of Corona life goes on. People pass and new babies arrive. The cycle of life is no respecter of Lockdown.

Two adoring Aunties and an oblivious baby

As a keen hermit, I’ve been staying away from shops as much as possible. Yet I’d also been pondering how to get my garden in shape this year, now I’ve done the honorary first mowing and pruning. Most Garden Centres are closed anyway. I’d been reliably informed that several local plant nurseries were taking orders for collection or delivery. However they were either crazy expensive or ignored my emails and phone calls. Many of them are simply beleaguered and stating they are not taking any new orders…

On the way to figuring out how I resolve this gardening conundrum, I’m driving to work two days a week, to man a head office and keep the commercial wheels turning. Whilst there of course, I keep a safe distance and take all precautions. At most there will be 3-4 people in the building.

Last week my normal cross country route was hampered by road closure, so I’ve had to drive through a local town. Normally this is onerous and requires patience, queuing endlessly at traffic lights, though at the moment, whilst there is some traffic out there, the level makes it tractable and pleasurable.

Driving through town I saw a local grocer’s shop was selling a plethora of plants on the pavement. I pulled in to park as quickly as I could.

Like a careful child in an outdoor sweetie shop, I browsed the wares, stepping warily around the other shoppers and carefully filling a shopping basket with my treasures of Spring bedding. It felt like a wonderful, secret discovery…

So, during the weekend I planted them out with seeds tucked away in the soil at their roots. It all looks sparse now, but in a couple of months all those fledgling plants will put on a beautiful show. And I’m trusting this will by the time I can have visitors to my garden again 🙏

Also in the weekend agenda was to bake up some healthy snacks to nourish me carefully, as along with my regular exercise of running and walking, I’m currently eating clean(ish) – my diet being fruit / vegetable smoothies, nurturing vegan soups and detoxing by giving up caffeine and alcohol for a while, too.

On the baking front I did a vegan variation of the gluten free banana muffin recipe I regularly whip up. I also roasted up a bunch of nuts and seeds, adding some Himalayan salt and dried fruit at the end to make them even more delicious.

My own home made ‘trail mix‘ of roasted nuts and dried fruit

This cooking, Along with the gardening constituted simple nurturing acts, all of which completed gave me a simple, glowing contentment.

Flourless, gluten free & vegan banana muffins. And yes, they’re DELICIOUS…

My weekend, in amongst all this, was dedicated to writing too. However, as happens so often, my plans to dedicate myself to writing slipped languorously away. By the end of it I’d edited a newsletter for my writers group which is going out to another group of writers in Uganda. I’d also written a blog (see here) on the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe Day).

By the time all this and my domestic goddess chores were done it was 10 pm of the the last day of my ‘endless’ weekend. But my stubbornness set in and so I sat and edited my novel till midnight, not wanting to go to bed in a tired hurrumph. I tried to be kind with myself and not annoyed for making no progress on the short story or planning out the Corona novel I currently have cycling through my head.

Having no where to go, means I have more time to read and I can cheat at that by listening to audio books whilst running, gardening and cooking. At the moment I’ve got ‘I can run’, The Chimp Paradox, and ‘The Signature of All Things’ on the go.

And then it is that the working week and it’s circadian rhythms returned…

Yours supinely,

Sandra

PS: Speaking of books, a huge thank you to everyone who has bought my book so far this month and left me a review on Amazon. My gorgeous feel good book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ is on special offer for MAY ONLY – get the Kindle edition for just £1.99 / $2.99. And it’s just one of 45 books currently on special promo at my publishing house. It would be amazing if you would buy and review. Thank you 🙏 Click here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BCOJIXI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_NRNUEbJFMFC46

Hurrumphs & Hiccups in the Time of Corona

Things that make you go ‘hurrumph’…

Actually it was a brief hiccup and now my head is in gear, all is good, but just a short while ago I had a griping feeling of disappointment…

I’d just done my last run of week 7, following the Couch to 5K App. It was my 3rd run of a solid 25 minutes in the space of 5 days. That’s TWENTY FIVE minutes of non stop, (for me) tough, physical activity…

Except that today I failed and ONLY did 22.5 minutes of what felt like painfully slow and heavy steps. And as for 5K, well I scraped in at 3.75…

On the way up the hill that my running route takes me, the negative, nagging voice in my brain, which I call ‘the Script’ was trying to tell me it was impossible to achieve. My schizophrenic alternative and positive voice, tried to focus my head on other things. But it seemed that time was my enemy on the way back down the hill – and that last 2.5 minutes just seemed too unbearably long.

I guess it’s the ‘wall’ that runners are warned about and I hit it straight on. It’s something that the pesky ‘Script’ knows and loves only too well…

Dispirited and only just capable of walking, I reached home and was barely able to lift and move my legs to do the stretches necessary to protect against muscle strain.

And as I sat down, feeling defeated, to write this post, I was literally dripping with sweat and my face burning red… “This is too much” I thought…

But gradually my disappointment dissipated to reason… Instead it was time to analyse why that run was tougher. Was it time of day, or my diet, or ??? Maybe I need to go back to an earlier week and build back up again..?

So it was time to make a choice and so I chose to focus on what I can control. I also decided to choose success over failure: I’m giving myself credit for what I’ve achieved in 7 weeks off the couch and on the road. Was it a failure that I ran for nearly 4 kilometres, my wheezy asthmatic lungs have eased and I’m doing something I wouldn’t have believed possible a few months ago? Of course not! Then I realised that in the past five days I have run for 72.5 minutes in total… That is HUGE!!!

And despite the challenges, this is something I’m really committed to mastering. So along with the physical analysis I’m going to work on my mindset, because whilst my body has to train for this unexpected development in my life, then my brain really has to, too. I’m a coach that wanted to get off the couch, dammit, so it’s time to coach myself through the next steps!

And ultimately, success is not always run in a straight line. It has hiccups and hurrumphs, but why on earth should I let a 2.5 minute slip stop me from being a runner? Nope, I’m WAY too stubborn for that!!!

That was me – a hurrumphing squirrel…

And at the end of the day, whilst this is all very much a first world problem, all I REALLY wanted was an excuse to post a cute, hurrumphing squirrel picture, just well, because I can… 😉

So… I will choose laughter and persistence and squirrels any time over hurrumphs!

Yours stubbornly,

Sandra x

PS: If you like this blog, then you’ll love my book, called Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life – a gorgeous gathering of the best of my blogs. My book is part of a special Kindle promotion on Amazon and other ebook sites. You can grab it – in May only – for just £1.99 / $2.99 – at Peachey Letters: Love Letters to Life

PPS: I’ve also set myself the challenge of hitting 100 reviews for my book on Amazon. I’m delighted to say they are starting to roll in already and so I would be most grateful if all readers could also kindly review.

VE Day in the Time of Corona

VE Day – or ‘Victory in Europe Day’ – marks the day towards the end of World War Two (WW2) when fighting against Nazi Germany and its allies in Europe, came to an end.

At 3 pm on 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio announcement telling his country that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany’s surrender the day before.

It was an emotional day that millions had been waiting for – there were celebrations, street parties and a huge crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London, to cheer the royal family and the prime minister as they waved from its’ famous balcony.

But even though VE Day marked victory for Europe over Germany, it did not mark the end of World War Two.  In his VE Day announcement, Winston Churchill told the nation: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.”

Soldiers, sailors and pilots were still being sent East to fight against the Japanese, who had not yet surrendered.  This final surrender came on 14 August 1945, after two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August).

So on 15 August 1945, the allies officially defeated Japan.  This final date is known as Victory in Japan or ‘VJ’ Day.  Now World War Two was finally over.

75 years later the UK is marking the end of the War in Europe with a bank holiday and the altered celebrations that the time of Corona brings with it.

Back in the present day, on my own, I didn’t celebrate, but rather contemplated. In the evening I went out for a walk to ‘get some fresh air’ and exercise.  Walking along the streets of the village where I live, I passed by socially distancing neighbours cheerily out on their deck chairs, celebrating VE Day with beer, bunting and cake.  Members of the local vintage car society had their vehicles out on show in front of their homes and Vera Lynn – the UK ‘forces sweetheart’ played from modern day gramophones, serenading me on my way.

I had to admit to liking this aspect of lockdown…  I couldn’t imagine anyone would have been sitting out and socialising on the street otherwise.  As I walked on, gradually the barking dogs and war time soundtrack faded away to be replaced by birdsong, as I reached one of my favourite places, a local wood, both surrounded by and secreted away from the village. Here, in this quiet space, it was time for me to think about and to tell my own story of World War Two.

So here I am now, in this computer connected Corona Time, contemplating what connection I could possibly have to VE Day…

In the cold light of day I feel so far removed from it, yet it’s a relatively recent chapter in history, one which, when I think about it, touches me in so many ways.  I was born only a couple of decades after the end of the Second World War.  In fact without the war, it’s unlikely that my parents would have met and I wouldn’t be here today…

This then is the war story of my family:

At the age of 22, my father – Stanley Peachey, the youngest of four children, had passed his 7 year indentureship to become a plasterer.  As war was announced, his building skills could have kept him at home in a ‘reserved occupation’, but he felt it his patriotic duty to enlist in service of his country – first as a territorial, then in regular service.

So it was he left his Cambridgeshire village home in the East of England and became a soldier with the Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion Infantry Unit.  As a soldier my father saw active duty in Burma, serving with the Chindits – special operations units of the British and Indian armies – which saw action in 1943–1944, during the Burma Campaign against the Japanese.  And he nearly died in India – not of war wounds, but a near fatal combination of cholera, malaria and dysentery, the latter two which he contracted in hospital.

Dad Army
Private Stanley Peachey of the Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion, Infantry

And the war did not end for this soldier or his family, or indeed anyone who cared for him, on VE Day, but instead on ‘VJ’ – Victory in Japan Day, months later, on the 15th of August.

His older brother Albert, a carpenter and joiner, met and married a Coventry girl, Doris Hatfield. They settled down in Coventry and in 1939 their daughter Janet was born, followed by their sons Alan in 1940 and David in 1945.

Alan & Janet Peachey, early 1940s

At the start of the War Coventry was an industrial city with a population of around 238,000, manufacturing cars, bicycles, aeroplane engines and critically, munitions. As a result The Luftwaffe – German Air Force, targeted the city, carrying out so many bombing raids that this time became known as the Coventry Blitz.

There were 17 raids on Coventry by the Luftwaffe between August and October 1940 alone, during which time around 198 tons of bombs fell, killing 176 people and injuring around 680. During one such raid in October 1940, my cousin Alan was born. A month later, the most devastating air strike of all ravaged the city, on the evening of 14 November 1940, through to the morning of the next day.

This attack, code-named ‘Moonlight Sonata’, was carried out by 515 ruthlessly efficient German bombers, with the intention of taking out Coventry’s factories and industrial infrastructure. In the process the city was almost literally flattened, including all its utilities and major roads being deliberately targeted, in order to hamper fire service and rescue.

In a city with a lineage rolling back to Roman times and beyond, centuries old monuments and buildings, including the vast medieval cathedral, disappeared forever.

Winston Churchill visiting the cathedral ruins, in September 1941

The biggest cost however, was in lives: an estimated 568 people were killed that night (the precise figure was never confirmed), with over a 1000 people sustaining injuries.  It’s also estimated that more than 4300 homes were razed to the ground.

Whilst my uncle used his skills as a builder to repair a shattered city, his two sisters – Victoria and Ruby, had left their Cambridgeshire home too. Both signed up to become Land Army girls and were assigned to Cornwall in the far South West of England – working in agriculture to keep the nation fed, whilst the men were at the front line.

In December 1940 my aunt Ruby married Joseph Toms – a sailor.  I remember my grandmother telling me how their relationship was “a real love match”.  But almost exactly a year later, the HMS Galatea, the ship Joseph was serving on, was torpedoed by a German submarine and went down in Egyptian waters, on the 15th of December, 1941.  The new bride had become a widow, and Joseph never got to meet his only child – my cousin Christine, born 7 months later…

Ruby Goat Milk-page
My aunt Ruby – Land Army girl and war widow

In Scotland, my mother – Agnes Reynolds – a 13 year old only child, begged her parents John and Helen, to let her be evacuated. They reluctantly relented and so she left her Dundee city tenement, and took a train, with hundreds of other children, to rural Fife.

Billeted in a school near the town of Auchtermuchty, she loved life in the country, where her mother would come and visit her as often as she could, since the town was only 40 minutes by road from Dundee.  Out there in the countryside though, children were thought to be safer from bombs, since as a manufacturing centre, Dundee was considered to be an enemy target.

The city was bombed, though not as extensively as had been anticipated.

Agnes didn’t want to return to her city home, when the call came less than a year later. Yet in those times children left school and started work at 14, so she had to return home to start her life as adult, through long days where she worked in a factory making fire hoses in daylight hours and volunteering as a ‘fire watcher’ by night.

Mum Child
My mother, a few years before the outbreak of war

The voluntary role of Fire Watcher was to report and deal with small scale fires caused by air raids.  In fact many thousands of fires caused by incendiary bombing were prevented or extinguished by thousands of volunteers just like my mother.

After the war finally ended, when VJ Day was announced in August 1945, my father returned home and bought a natty Ford car with his ‘demob’ (demobilisation) money and then joined his brother Albert in Coventry.

Albert had started up a building company with a partner, called ‘Peachey and Wainwright’.  As a skilled plasterer, my father worked with his brother, helping to rebuild a city which had been literally decimated by German bombs.

Dad & Car-page
Dad & his natty ‘demob’ car

My father’s sisters stayed on in Cornwall, where they lived together on a small holding with Ruby’s daughter Christine, farming goats and hens.  They also became the lay preaching mainstays of their local Methodist church, and their home ‘Satya’ cottage, was a glorious place where I would spend many happy holidays as a child.

As for my mother, at 18 years old and against her wishes, her family relocated from Scotland to Birmingham, (100s of miles away, in England). However, her father John, once a passionate labour councillor and trade union activist, had fallen out with his party comrades and into hard times. But one of his still loyal trade union contacts had found him a job far away from the shame and political in-fighting. So, in those times, an unmarried daughter of limited means would have little choice but to pack up her few belongings and go with her parents, whether she wanted to or not.

On at least one occasion my mother secretly saved up the train fare and ran back to Scotland, where she felt her life and heart still lay.  But she always returned, and in the 1950s met my father, married and moved to Coventry, where she soon had her first baby – my brother Arthur.

I was born some years later, in the post war baby boom and raised in the War’s shadow – nonchalantly playing on bomb sites, and listening to my parent’s talk of wartime rationing and upheaval.

I grew up in Coventry – once a city flattened and shattered by our German foe, but in my childhood a 1960s creation of concrete, with a proud modern cathedral, and its older history, including Tudor buildings, tucked quietly out of the way.

The Second World War was an ever present spectre in the lives of all who grew up in the 1960s and 70s.  On weekend afternoons I would sit on the sofa with my mother, and watch endless war movies on TV – seeing heroes and heroines in uniform – flying and shooting and dying for their country, or returning home to kiss their sweethearts, once again.

War documentaries and commentaries filled our heads with basic history, whilst children played at war – either being the good guys (English) or baddies (German).

Just about everyone I knew had war ‘memorabilia’ – there were trophy German helmets and bullets, and my father had his three military service medals.  These were trophies he personally didn’t care for, but which his brother’s sons – Alan and David Peachey, persuaded him to claim, when he lived with his brother’s family in Coventry for a while.

I remember too that it was an all too common occurrence for whole streets to be cordoned off, as ‘UXBs’ – Un-Exploded Bombs were discovered, usually in the attic of a suburban house somewhere…

So far from being a distant fact of history, the Second World War created my life, and in many ways shaped who and what I became.

My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncle – those characters I chronicled here, have all passed away now, and as the decades have rolled on I have fallen out of step with time and family.  My mother had few relatives and lost touch with them over time.  My small family unit was closer to my father’s family and would regularly visit his mother and sisters.

My cousins were all 20 plus years older than me, so I never became close to them, except ironically, Christine, who lived the furthest away from us, but who we visited whenever we made the long trek from Coventry to Cornwall.  A retired teacher, she died 7 years ago, at the age of 71, after her third bout of cancer.  She was my first cousin to pass – much loved by, and leaving behind her husband and two grown-up children.

My cousin Alan Peachey, father to 2 and grandfather of 6, died of cancer in May 2020, shortly after the original version of this post was published.  He and his brother worked in the family building business and continued to run it after their father died.  Their premises in Coventry (now a car rental site) and the business are now long gone and another piece of family history.  His wife Marilyn told me she had read the post to him and that he particularly enjoyed seeing the old family photos.

So that is our family story…  And what about today?  In my attempts to connect with further family I have recently taken DNA tests and grown a vast and ancient family tree.  But still within me is a vast history, and so many ties to a past close by and, as it turns out, not actually forgotten.

Now, I remember all these tales with wonder, gratitude and an acknowledgement of where I came from.  And I do this knowing that this is not completely who I am, but that I’m inextricably linked to family and history in so many ways.

And that as it turns out, was VE day for me.

Yours thoughtfully,

Sandra

PS: If you like this blog, then you’ll love my book, called Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life – a gorgeous gathering of the best of my blogs.  My book is part of a special Kindle promotion on Amazon and other ebook sites.  You can grab it – in May only – for just £1.99 / $2.99 – at Peachey Letters: Love Letters to Life 

PPS: I’ve also set myself the challenge of hitting 100 reviews for my book on Amazon.  I’m delighted to say they are starting to roll in already and so I would be most grateful if all readers could also kindly review.

Regrets in the Time of Corona

I’m curious to know what is ‘different’ for you today in this time of Corona and how you are dealing with it???

Today I should be in Singapore at the start of adventure spanning Malaysia and Indonesia…

But I’m actually sitting at home doing other seemingly more mundane things…

I’ll admit it feels weird, but I’m NOT wishing I was somewhere else right now.

It’s only a holiday and I can do my bit to help control this current crisis by battening down the hatches at home and doing my level best not to catch the virus or pass it on to anyone else in my village, country or the rest of the world.

I’m getting a full refund and I’m not worried about when or if to rebook the trip and how much more it might cost. On the other side of the Corona Curfew I may rebook it, go some where else, stash the cash or do something else entirely.

These are things I can’t control from my sofa right now, so when the time comes I’ll take a decision on them and exercise my choice then.

I’m in the amazing position of being able to make plans like this, through a combination of choice, chance, desire and hard work.
INSTEAD in this Corona Time I’ve taken up running and now have the opportunity to get my book out to a wider audience. Basically what I’m doing is different – not difficult.

That’s me. I can’t speak for anyone else and how this pandemic has affected THEIR lives. Every life has its own story, so I don’t intend to preach, but I DO want to share.

Much of what is going on I’ve chosen to accept – not in a passive way, but with a conscious intent that is anything but passive.

And I will choose how I respond to this in my world and the things I can control in it – not smugly or perfectly and not for every waking second – but with grace, humour, humility and striving to rise above it in every way possible – physically and mentally.

And NOW it’s time to get off my soap box and go for a walk 😉

Rain in the Time of Corona

EXCUSE ME!!!
No one told me when I started running 6 weeks ago that there would be RAIN!!!

Rain Run
I started my Couch to 5K challenge in soft Spring sunshine. Plodding along, I drank in lush, April air to distract me from the fact my feet felt like concrete, my knees were complaining and my asthmatic wheezy lungs were squeezing in and out like a defective pair of bellows.

Regardless of this, what ever the context – being out side was lush.

But that was then.  Here and now it’s RAINING: So that’s cold, wet, water falling from the sky.

WhatEVER… the hardcore keep fitters are still out there in the wet stuff, blazing through the monsoon like svelte athletic sylphs…

And I’M out there too…, sweaty, red faced and managing (just about), to put one foot in front of the other… 😬

Basically, it was just me and the sheep out there today and even THEY were keeping a respectable social distance.  In fact they were totally Baad Ass about it…

Rain Sheep

I got home from my run and my breath back, in time to do a live broadcast about my book ‘Peachey Letters’ with 2 other authors from the same publishing house.

And as well as discussing our books, our publisher told us / the world that Kindle sales have sky-rocketed in the past couple of months.

One of the reasons for the broadcast was that my book Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life – a gorgeous gathering of the best posts on this blog, is part of special Kindle promotion at my publisher is running.  You can grab it – May only – for just £1.99 / $2.49 – at Peachey Letters: Love Letters to Life 

As well as hitting a 5KM run, I’ve also set myself the challenge of hitting 100 reviews for my book on Amazon.  I’m delighted to say they are starting to roll in already and there’s now only 79 to go (she says with a combination of irony / fear / gratitude).

81 out of a 100 79
And after all the excitement of running and book promoting, I still managed to have a duvet day, (I need to work on my down time – I find doing NOTHING extremely difficult).

Once the sun slipped over the yard arm, I ordered a take away curry to be delivered.  This made me ridiculously excited, since it was the first meal I hadn’t cooked for myself in over 6 weeks…

But THEN I was told there would be a 2 hour wait for delivery…

So, decided not to be a grump about it and that the extra long anticipation would mean that I would enjoy it all the more when it FINALLY flipping well arrived.

But wait to do in the meantime though… Sing? Snack? Invent time travel…?

Actually I went onto Facebook and found an old friend from Uni I’ve been searching for, for decades! Hurrah! We had a lovely long catch up, shared some old pics and promised to meet the other side of the Corona curfew.

And THEN, 2 hours & 15 minutes later, there was curry!

Yours greedily,
Sandra

PS: If YOU’RE waiting for anything at the mo – you can download my book in seconds, read it in a few hours, then review it in a couple of minutes….  Er – did I mention that I’m currently promoting my book Peachey Letters..😬

A Book Bargain in The Time of Corona

So…  Corona Time…

I have to admit that these last few days I had been feeling very low. And I say this NOT because I want sympathy or to be fixed, but to make the point that this is OK and certainly not a permanent state of affairs.

For me, it’s partly health related and the varied stresses of a situation the like of which I never experienced before.

So I had to do something decisive – a few weeks ago I wouldn’t even conceived of taking up running, but I’m now on week 6 of Couch to 5K.  Not that this is necessarily a victory…

Today I cried my eyes out because although mentally I was motivated, physically I really had to push myself to do it. Yep – big, childish wet tears of self-pity / ‘I can’t do this’ dropped onto my new sports- wear, as my feet of lead dragged through the rain.  But who could see tears in the rain, anyway?

So what can I do about this depression / sadness / anger / confusion?  Being conscious of it is my first simple strategy – having an awareness of, rather than being controlled by my thoughts and feelings means then that I can start to exercise some choice.  So I’m currently choosing to take care of myself, challenge myself and be creative and you know what – it works.  I sit here now, happy and contented, in the moment.

And as a coach, I’m coaching MYSELF through the experience by asking questions and reflecting on the experiences / answers that you will find in my posts and blogs.

Now, I’ve always found this to be a deliciously selfish process, but interestingly for me – having started out on personal development to ‘fix’ myself, I quickly realised that the ultimate gift it gave me was to support OTHERS and coach them – to help them understand who they really are, and work on psychological blocks and success strategies.  This is when I burn brightest.  And I DON’T need fixing, by the way!

On this journey my biggest break through (in every sense) happened when I combined my gifts of coaching and creativity into the act of writing.  One day, 8 years ago, I was hit by a literary thunderbolt and within the space of 90 seconds came up with the concept and title for my first published book – Peachey Letters, which I decided would start life as a blog.  I challenged myself to write a blog a day for a month.  And what a month that was…  I found myself, freed myself and altered my perception of who I was and what I was capable of, for ever.  Sort of…  I actually forget this last bit, a lot…

So forgetting who I am meant that the amazing worldwide reaction the book received genuinely confounded me and the media coverage and way it captured people’s hearts, blew me away.

So roll forward 8 years and here I am, inspired by the current crisis to write and reinvent my Peachey Letters again, as I scribble away at the ‘COVID Collection’ of new Love Letters to Life.

I wanted to mark the occasion, so have agreed with my publisher that the price for the Kindle Edition of ‘Peachey Letters Love Letters to Life’, will, for a short period, be dropped to just £1.99 / $2.49, so that I can reach out to more people at a minimal cost.  And to up the ante, my publisher has challenged its’ authors to hit the target of 100 reviews on Amazon.  Gulp…  And breath…  So… only 81 to go, then! And so it is that this urge to sell my book is sitting comfortably in my heart space, from where, quite simply, I would love for you to buy the book.  Then read it, then, without attachment – review it honestly on Amazon: So that will be 1, 81, 281 or 2081 times, over…

So having got that out of my heart and onto the page, here are the various links to buy it across the world:

Amazon UK – £1.99
Amazon America $2.49
Amazon FranceAnd on every Amazon site around the world…

Thank you for being on this page of the book with me, who ever and where ever you are.
~ Sandra – Writer & Runner(ish)

Life, Laughter & Running in the Time of Corona

So… It’s time for a running commentary of this weeks ups, downs, reflections, learnings and laughter…

The Clap for Carers

My first run of week 5 – ‘Couch to 5K,’ got off to a good start.  I finished the run without stopping or dying, so basically, am officially awesome… 💪🏻

And here is me afterwards, just a few minutes later, outside my front door, glowing with sweat, effort and a smidgeon of pride.

A1

As I finished the run it was the 8 pm ‘Clap for our Carers’ here in the UK, which I joined in with relish as I pounded past all the people applauding on their doorsteps (at a safe distance of course). It felt like a lap of honour for the magnificent achievement of my run, as well as a huge thank you! 😉

As well as the marvelous carers, my appreciation goes out to ALL key workers and every single person who is working right now – no matter what they are doing – keeping the wheels of this weird Corona world turning.

I’m sending a heartfelt ‘Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU’ –
to each and everyone of you – xx ❤ xx

Yogic Goddess or Wobbly Buffoon?

Here are a few of the things I’ve learnt about online yoga classes:

* The living room is now the centre of my universe – performing many functions, including restaurant, office and yoga studio.

* The cat’s radiator bed is just the perfect height for me to place the laptop so I can see it / the teacher from lying, kneeling, sitting, on all fours and standing. Disclaimer – always remove the cat first…

* Yoga mats and carpets are not a match made in heaven – there is much slippage and wrinkling and adjusting.

* It’s nice not having to drive to a class or put much attention into ‘getting your shit together’ in readiness.

* It’s weird having a 2D yoga teacher. I think I prefer 3D feedback.

* It’s weirder seeing yourself reflected back on screen. Well, when I say yourself – BITS of your self… The laptop is static, but YOU aren’t, so you may see head and shoulders, midriff or worst of all is that moment when you are gently curled up in a ball, rolling from side to side and you realise that your arse is centre screen…

* Zoom opens an interesting window into people’s homes… Their children, partners and pets. I secretly enjoy the nonchalant voyeurism.

* The cats prefer my gentle practice of yoga to the more dynamic one of HIIT workouts, which alternatively baffles and freaks them out. They begrudgingly accept the exercise bike, though.

* Sometimes I feel like a divine yogic goddess and at others, a fat, wobbly buffoon…

* It’s nice to fall against the sofa if you lose your balance.

* After over 18 months of yoga practice, I’ve finally achieved an unsupported head stand – the first since I was circa 10 years old. At this rate I’ll soon be doing the splits! (But then again… maybe not… )

So that’s me – an online Om chanting, upside down and occasionally Zen yogi…

Teeth and Shopping in the Time of Corona

I’ve had two more new Corona experiences this week…

First is that a crown has dislodged itself from one of my back teeth. My dentist is not seeing patients and when I asked ‘so…?’ they suggested going to a chemist and asking for a temporary dental repair kit. I researched the options online and have to say that I’m not keen on most of them, especially as I’d have to do any fixings all by myself.

After an initial flurry of panic, 3 days down the line there seems to be no discomfort or pain, so I’ve decided to wait it out for now.

Next is shopping – I’ve restricted this to the local village shop for over a month, but have now run through their entire selection of fresh fruit & vege several times over. In fact I’ve got to the point where I just can’t think of any new ways to be creative with a carrot… Also I’ve run out of things they don’t have in stock.

I was therefore spurred on to drive round to my local retail park. And I decided that if I was going out, then I was going ALL out, so donned a pretty summer dress and smartened my current COVID self up for the occasion.

When I arrived it was far less crowded than your average Saturday and parking was a doddle, with my pick of spaces. Then I visited 2 shops, queuing outside each for 5 – 10 minutes and once inside finding 90% of what I was looking for.

I have to say I really enjoyed the gentle civility of the whole experience. It’s not one I intend to repeat often as I want to minimise contact, but still it was good to know that the wheels in my part of the world are still slowly turning and I bought my purchases home, feeling very grateful that I have everything I need and more besides.

Afterwards I went for a run and mused on the fact that there is (and will be) a time and place for crowds and contact in my life, but right now my inner hermit is blatantly celebrating a slower, quieter existence. This is especially the case when I have mad, COVID hair and a missing tooth – however, NEITHER of these things can stop me from SMILING whenever and wherever I choose.

And THAT dear reader, was a week in the Time of Corona.

From, Sandra – writer, runner and om chanter.

PS: To experience more of my take on laughter and learning, buy the book of blog, where my ‘Love Letters to Life’ explore and celebrate the tiny and titanic aspects of life:  ‘Peachey Letters’ is currently on special offer on Kindle.  For the month of May only, you can download it for just £1.99 / €2.99 / $2.49.

Or, for a special offer of a signed author copy – click here to go to my website now and buy the paperback for just £7.99…