Bugbear…

(For those of you who do not know what a bugbear is it is a cause of irritation)

Here is where I am going to sound like a grumpy so and so! Recently it has been bugging me more and more that people generally do not appear to use manners. I grew up in a world where manners were the norm…saying please and thank you was expected and common practice, no matter who you were or how old you were.

It now feels as though manners are almost a thing of the past…on the endangered list, soon to be extinct unless we do something about it.

My friend had a parents evening where she was told by the teacher that her 4-year-old was incredibly polite, and that the teacher had never come across such a polite child. I remember when she told me, we were both shocked that the teacher brought it up at parents evening because she said it was so rare for children to use manners! When I was at school (which wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of things!) parents would have been informed if their child did NOT use manners and now it’s the other way around!

I still say please and thank you even if others don’t, but I know of times when I have said thank you to someone and they have looked shocked, almost as if I have said something foreign!

Now I know it shouldn’t bother me when others do not use their manners, but it has been really getting to me because I think it’s rude not to use manners. The times I have opened doors for people or stepped out the way and not only have people not said thank you, but quite often not even smiled or acknowledged me.

I have noticed myself turning into my mother, as I then mutter under my breath, ‘thank you’ in a sarcastic manner! Or I go out of my way to give them my biggest smile whilst in my head I am thinking how rude they are! (I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I write this!!)

Manners do not cost anything and yet I believe they are very important and show appreciation and respect for others. It shows a kindness that I feel is lacking in general society as a whole.

Just like smiling, words can have a massive impact on someone’s day, and something as little as saying thank you can mean a lot.

I worry that the less people say please and thank you the more selfish and arrogant people may become. If we only think about ourselves and no longer undertaken acts of kindness such as opening doors, stepping aside for others, putting a checkout divider down for the next persons shopping etc, then people will have less reason to communicate with others or to use their manners.

I am aware that I should not expect others to acknowledge acts of kindness and therefore should not expect them to say thank you. Therefore, no doubt I will carry on being polite because that’s how I was brought up, but at times I do wonder why I bother, and it does make me feel more selfish.

However, I am bringing my girls up to use manners and I will remind them if they don’t say please or thank you, often saying, ‘what’s the magic word?’.

I wonder if the use of manners is something that is disappearing just in the UK or in other parts of the world.

Are people too busy to use them? Is it just something that people no longer think about or consider? Are children growing up without seeing others using them at home, in school or in general society?

When I was looking for quotes about manners, I came across this one which made me giggle…

If only flirting was that easy!!

I use manners all the time, in which case everyone, must think I am flirting with them!!!

Ration Challenge … Day 7!

Day 7 of the Ration Challenge is complete! I have successfully completed the challenge!! Yay!!! I’ve done it!!!

This has definitely been one of the toughest things I have done but also one of the most rewarding…when I signed up for this challenge, I was mainly doing it to challenge myself and experience a little bit of what it is like for refugees. I did not expect to raise much money at all as I do not know lots of people so when I reached my first target of £100, I was over the moon and so I increased my target to £150 never expecting to achieve it yet I did (which meant I could enjoy a cup of tea each morning – despite having to make 3 tea bags last the entire week!).

As the donations kept coming in, I tentatively increased my target again to £200 thinking I was pushing it, yet I pushed passed £200 and so I increased it to £250 with the hope of earning 120g of a vegetable of my choice and I did! The onion made such a difference to my week and was worth every penny! Because I like nice round figures, I pushed my nerves to one side and raised my target to £300 thinking there is absolutely no way I would achieve it, yet I did.

I do not like putting myself out there, I am not one for generally posting on social media let alone asking for sponsorship (albeit for an incredibly good cause), so this week has taken me out of my comfort zone in many ways!) I then increased my target to £400 (I do not know what came over me!) and as I sit here writing this, I have raised £440!!) Although I have finished the challenge people can still donate if they wish.

I am lost for words at how much I have managed to raise, and I could not have done any of that without the generosity of friends, family and those who wished to remain anonymous – I wish I could thank you individually as it means so much to me. Your support and messages have kept me going throughout this challenge so thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

This challenge has given me a little insight into the lives of refugees and never in a million years would I have imagined I would have chosen to live off rations for a week. I have cooked and tried recipes I have never tried before and although I never want to eat congee again, I am grateful for this opportunity. It has shown me how much willpower I have and that I can do anything I put my mind to it, no matter how hard. It has shown me how much support there is out there, and I have been touched by the messages I have received including…

‘You are truly amazing especially with all you have been dealing with over the past few years.’

‘You are an amazing inspiration to all.’

These are not things I would say about myself…but it is lovely to hear and wonderful to know that is what people think.

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Here’s how much a year’s supply of rations costs…

£10.80 years supply chickpeas

£26 years supply of rice

£19.20 years supply of lentils

£15.60 years supply of kidney beans

£18.20 years supply of oil

£4 years supply of flour

£16 years supply of sardines

Total = £109.80 for a year’s supply of rations for one person

The average cost of food in the UK for one person for a year is £2100!

However, I have raised £440 which would buy a year’s supply of rations for 4 people!

I want to thank everyone who has supported me over this week, I am sending hugs to you all! When I have been really struggling, reading people’s messages of support, and seeing how much money I have raised has made me smile (be it often with shiny eyes!!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Finally, a reminder of everything I have eaten over the week….

L.O.S.T Mum • Ration Challenge UK 2021

Lockdown part 3…. Week 19

I can’t quite believe that tomorrow marks the end of most of the restrictions in England and that life will return to as normal as it has been for a long time and what may be the new normal for some time to come.

Not a lot will change for me on a day-to-day basis, but I imagine some people will be desperate to go to restaurants, bars, the cinema, indoor attractions etc.

Whatever your plans are moving forward, I hope you will be kind to yourself and only do what you feel comfortable doing. Some people will feel cautious or uncomfortable and others may feel completely relaxed but the main thing is to consider how you feel and not to feel pressured by anyone. We have spent more than a year living with varying degrees of restrictions, some of us have been working remotely, some may not have left their house, ventured into shops or been anywhere crowded (in some large towns and cities social distancing seems to have already gone out the window!).

Some people may feel excited about having more freedom and others may be anxious, I hope that people will be kind to one another as there is no right or wrong. We don’t know what people are feeling or what their personal circumstances are. Yes, there are lots of people who have now had either one or both vaccinations but there are also lots of people who have had neither and of course there is the unknown about how the Indian variation may affect things. I am hopeful that vaccinations will still protect us at least enough to prevent anyone from being hospitalised.

I read an interesting article based on the virus experts’ opinions about the next stage of lockdown easing and the general consensus was cautiousness particularly in the next couple of weeks until we see what impact the easing has had on the number of cases etc. Like the experts I will still feel more comfortable sitting outside at cafes or restaurants or at least somewhere where there are limited numbers and 2 metres between tables. I found it interesting to read that all indoor exercise classes can resume but that high intensity classes pose more of a risk than say yoga as people expel more air when doing such classes. Fortunately, I wasn’t planning on attending any indoor exercise classes!!

There is still a feeling of limbo or that the government are hoping for the best but taking a stab in the dark when it comes to making decisions (yes, I know they say all decisions are based on data but it is obvious that a lot has to do with the economy, and we know the UK government has made mistakes otherwise we wouldn’t have the 5th highest number of Covid deaths).

Wales has advised people not to travel abroad until next year whereas England is allowing foreign travel to resume from next week. However, I am not sure how many countries will want us due to the increasing number of cases linked with the Indian variant. People won’t find out if they can go on holiday until the government updates the traffic light list which could mean you may not find out until the day before you are due to go. Although I had hoped to be able to take my girls abroad before my eldest starts school in September, I am relieved that I didn’t book anything and instead have planned a couple of staycations!

I got another chance to drive to York this week for my second Covid vaccine and I am now one of 15 million people in the UK to be fully vaccinated. I was a little anxious about having my 2nd vaccine as I had the Astra Zeneca and not long ago it was announced that all under 40’s would be offered a different vaccine because of a small number of people getting blood clots. However, I found it interesting that you are more likely to get a blood clot from taking the pill than from having the Astra Zeneca vaccine, yet a lot of people take the pill without batting an eyelid.

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As tomorrow marks the end of lockdown as we know it, this will be my last lockdown blog, but I will still write about life after lockdown!

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I am excited that my blog now has 100 followers from all over the world! I cannot tell you how much it means, and I want to thank everyone for reading my blog. My blog has now been read by people from the UK, USA, Malaysia, India, China, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Romania, Ecuador, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, Albania, Slovakia, France, and Israel!

So, thank you, thanks, terima kasih, dhanyavad, xiè xiè, arigatou, dankie, mulțumesc, gracias, Спасибо, shukraan, Go raibh maith agat, merci vielmal, Dziękuję, bedankt, tack, faleminderit, Ďakujem, merci, todah!