Blog changes

I’ve been thinking of making some changes to the blog for ages and ages. But somehow haven’t quite got around to it. As another month stretches ahead of me, with little to keep me occupied, I’ve bitten the bullet and started.

The name

At the start my blog was called world of Joolz. This was the name I went under on chat sites and the name S called me throughout our relationship. Since I was trying to get away from being Julie the bored housewife etc, Joolz stuck. For a while.

When I met Master he named me His pleasing bitch. So when I made changes to my blog in 2014 that became it’s name. When I became self hosted that was the url I bought.

Today, I’ve changed the blogs name to MPB and I’m undecided about whether to change it right back. I had thought Master’s pleasing bitch was a bit of a mouthful but maybe MPB is too short.

My About Me page

I’ve completely changed my about MPB page. I’m not really on a journey any more, so it is structured in a way that I think acknowledges that. Next I have to decide how to deal with the actual ‘journey pages’. I think they are an important reference to the past 8 years so should stay in some form. But I plan to tidy them up a bit.

Organising everything

Since that fateful day in February 2018 when I accidentally deleted my blog I’ve had to rebuild much of the behind the scenes structure. (The photo above was taken the morning after). I will forever be grateful to Michael for retrieving most of the posts for me. But I had to go back and re tag and categorise everything as well as to re do the SEO.

Now, the time feels right to review some of that structure so things can be found more easily. This is going to be a bit of a chore, but it’s always fun to look back and see what you said and did at a given time.

One of the things I’m most keen to do is to organise easier access to my photos. That will be my first job after tidying the pages.

Theme and artwork

I plan to move to a magazine type theme very soon and to hopefully reveal new artwork. I’ve loved the photos at the top of the blog, but it’s time for a change.

All in all I’m pretty excited about doing all of this and am hoping it inspires my writing!

Freedom to be me

“Raise a glass to freedom, Something they can never take away.”

~ Lin-Manuel Miranda (“The Story of Tonight” from “Hamilton”)

Freedom is a concept I‘ve taken for granted all my adult life. Even when I felt at my most constrained by marriage or parenthood I always knew deep down I had choices. I worked and had something of a disposable income, though there was a time when I had immense debt. But still I worked a way out of that and managed to pay every penny back. Trouble is you don’t always recognise you have those freedoms and you certainly don’t see the restraints others exist under.

Right now I am extremely lucky. After almost 40 years of work I was able to retire two years ago on a pension that I could just about live on. However, I live with a man who is also retired and has enough put away and so we can enjoy a pleasant lifestyle. We don’t have to worry about having enough food and can shop wherever we want. Our freedoms in other ways are somewhat curtailed right now, but more of that later. But food poverty, or indeed any poverty at all aren’t something we have to worry about.

Yesterday I read this blog post by Jack Monroe (she / they). If you don’t know who Jack is go and read about her here. Struggling to house, feed and clothe her son she accidentally became a food writer and campaigner. The gist of this article is the assumption that poor people could help themselves if they bought basic good and turned them into healthy meals rather than buying convenience products. But actually it is harder to do so than you imagine. Meat, fish and vegetables aren’t necessarily cheaper to buy than items with everything put together. What if you don’t have the electricity to cook or a kitchen to call your own. What if you can’t afford a bag of potatoes and the shop doesn’t sell them as single items.

I didn’t really intend to write about Jack Monroe in this post. But I was so struck by the forcefulness of her arguments that I felt I had to include how poverty prevents freedom. This is something I can identify with because if I hadn’t had a job when I got into debt my choices may have shrunk to where Jack was and to a certain extent still is. I haven’t however forgotten the fear of not having enough money to buy the contents of my food basket.

People are quick to offer advice to others about how they can solve whatever perceived problem they have. To cry that all lives matter and that only women have a cervix (or whatever bandwagon they have jumped on this week). Listening to the voices of those who feel un seen and unheard is much harder. Instead judging others and assuming they had a choice is the flavour of the day.

2020 will go down for me as one of immense learning. I have tried hard to listen and to learn. To understand that people don’t wake up one day and announce to the world ‘I think I’ll become transgender’. Instead such decisions come after years doubt, confusion and anxiety about personal identity. A lack of freedom to express who they really are. I don’t think I even thought about that much before this year and I know I have a lot to learn too. Nor did I really consider that my personal challenges will never be the same as those of someone who is discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or because their name sounds foreign.

Master and I have struggled these past few months because some of our personal freedom has been removed from us. He is particularly fed up that no concerts are taking place, that there is no theatre or cinema to visit and that art galleries have been closed for months. His personal fulfilment comes through those channels as well as the ability to travel. He loves to go to London, see a concert, have dinner and a drink and maybe stay in a hotel. But as frustrating as that is, we still know how lucky and privileged we are. We have a comfortable home filled with books, DVDs and CDs. Plus we have Netflix, YouTube and the internet. We have indulged in nice food and wine from our own home.

We are lucky because we start from a basis of privilege. Thought that doesn’t mean we can’t complain about the things we don’t like about our life right now. However it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn about the lives of others, nor speak up when assumptions are made about those lives. If you are told it is cheaper to buy potatoes in a tin than fresh believe them. If someone tells you that they are being misgendered, being hurt by the careless words of others or that they are more oppressed than you then listen and believe them. And don’t try to make it about you.

Master with a capital M

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

I’m really happy about the No True Way prompt for this week, because I’ve never written about this topic before.

Dominants tend to be the “Alpha Male”, and that is why “Dom” is always spelled with a capital, while “sub” is always lowercase.

First of all let me say I am incredibly inconsistent when it comes to the use of upper / lower case. There was a time when I always capitalised dominant, sir, master etc. There was also a time when I used a lower case I to refer to myself. I guess at the start of my submissive journey I followed what I saw others doing and what I saw written in books. But over time I decided that it would be better grammar and writing practice to capitalise properly. But to be honest it depends on my mood and what I’m writing about.

Being in a submissive mindset

Way back when I was busy discovering my submission my world view was a little romantic. I liked the idea of having my very own dominant and being his submissive. Writing about my experiences was fun and sometimes very arousing. Part of that was overplaying the dynamic a little. Referring to him as Sir or Master helped with what felt a bit like role play.

When I met my now master he wanted me to refer to myself in the third person (as I wrote here). So, it felt right to capitalise him as Sir / Master and to refer to myself as this girl (lower case). Submission felt tangible to me, I wrote about almost being able to touch it. Some days I still feel like that. But at that time we really only saw each other at weekends and during the week I’d write about it. That kept me in my space and I wrote in the third person.

Over time I wrote about other things

Not just our relationship. So gradually I wrote in the third person less and also capitalised the dominant role less. However if I wrote about us and the things we had done I often reverted. Sometimes I still do.

It occurred to me recently that though I always refer to G as Master (or master) here it’s not something I always do in real life. We live together and are partners in many ways. The power exchange is always there, an undercurrent. But isn’t always overt even to us. Calling him Master here is a habit, but also helps to protect our anonymity, even if there are photos of us both on this blog.

I’m not precious about whether I or others capitalise or not

I’m not part of the grammar police, though I prefer correct spellings. I am happy to read blogs and books where the words sir and master are capitalised, or not. I recognise my own inconsistencies and make no excuse for them. I’ll continue to do what I feel is right on any given day. After all, this is my blog and I’ll write what I want in whichever way I choose.

This post is linked to two memes. No True Way and The Blog Days of Summer. Click below to see who else is joining in.

Self doubt

needpix.com

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.”

Sylvia Plaith

I never used to have anything in my draft folder. Suddenly though I do. The thing is, I have stuff to say, some of it quite profound but somehow I can’t get the words right. Or I fear I have the words wrong. Increasingly I feel silenced by self doubt.

I constantly think back to pre-lockdown times when, it seems the world was young, bright and non judgemental. Of course it was never like that, but this past few months have made it seem so.

Blogging and Twitter

The community of sex bloggers has changed, just as the world outside has changed. Rather than be kind, understanding and tolerant to difference people have become defensive and intolerant. I’ve been blocked by so many people on Twitter I can hardly keep up. People talk of a conspiracy but do so while whispering to each other in the dark. This is not a world I can inhabit. I have to speak my mind and have to stand up for people I feel and who say they have been mocked and hurt.

There are huge issues to write about. But it is difficult to do so when you have a limited amount of knowledge of the topics. All you can do is learn about the issues and support those with that knowledge. Though I’d like to write something. In particular I’d like to express that making the issue about you rather than them is no defence.

All the time though, I feel I am walking on egg shells. Will I say or write something that is misconstrued. Will I like something said by someone on a list of unsafe people? All of these things swirl in my head as I try to write.

Life

But it isn’t just twitter or the blog. The judging of others is everywhere, take the wearing of masks or going out for an evening. I have no problem wearing a mask in a shop, but do not wish to wear one while walking in the park. I see no point and I want to breath the fresh air and don’t however see I should be judged for this. We have been out for drinks and a meal at a local pub. We chose carefully, we know the staff and are happy with the way things are managed. It’s table service and no one is getting close to anyone, but please don’t judge me for choosing to go there.

Next week I am taking my mum away to a hotel for a couple of days. She has become housebound over the months because it was unsafe to go out and there was no where to take her. She has brittle bones and needs to get out in the sun light. But going to a hotel feels to many like a risk too far. She asked to go but is now filled with her own self doubts. Will she manage to navigate the hotel, what should she take to wear etc.

Health

We have been thinking about my breast cancer recently and what would have happened if I had discovered my lump during this pandemic. As it was I prioritised work and moving house over seeing the doctor. How would I have managed attending appointments and even having surgery without the support of Master? It doesn’t bear thinking about. But what is clear to me is that I have over come cancer and so refuse to give in to worry. I want to and have to live my life in the way I see fit. That doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks but it doesn’t mean hiding away either.

The way forward through writing

At the beginning I just wrote what I wanted, about what I wanted. I need to get back to that again. Some of the self doubt I had about this is moving away. I recognise that I have written about many topics a lot. I don’t plan to keep doing that. Instead I’m going to signpost my existing writing more effectively. Time has been spent learning about topics I knew little about. But there are also things I know quite a bit about and I need to express them here. There is knowledge to impart and education to provide. Plus of course I have an opinion on many things.

I also see that much of the feelings I’ve been expressing are associated with it being summer. Also, though because I’ve been in mourning. For lost friends (not literally), for a life put on hold during these long months.

Unusually we are off on holiday in September. I fancy that even though we’ll be away there will be more to write about. Anyway I can write about anything I choose. Just because this is a sex blog doesn’t mean I have to write about sex. But then I might.

What inspires me to write about sex?

Writing cat | Public domain vectors

By it’s very nature reading and writing about sex can be both liberating and exciting. That if the sex being written about is interesting and exciting. For many years there was no mileage in writing about my own sex life. It was dull, bordering on non existent. But as I wrote in my last post, starting a new sexual journey made me want to write about my experiences.

Writing about real life experiences

It took me a while to get into my stride. I was overwhelmed by the emotion of it all and so struggled to write down details. I still do to a certain extent. But at least with real life experiences you know what has and hasn’t been possible (see below). Plus, the emotion of a sexual experience is just as important as the physical and physiological effects in my opinion. Unless you are writing pure porn I guess. But I’m more of an erotica lover. Plus I prefer to ground myself in reality rather than fantasy.

Once I met Master things changed slightly. Unlike S, Master reads all my posts and will often go back to review what I said about a particular event. So, increasingly writing had him in mind. I couldn’t and can’t always get events in the right order, after all I’m not writing as I do it! But he often remarks at how hot what I’ve written is.

So, the next reason is to get the audience hot. After all, who doesn’t like to be told that what they have written is sexually arousing. If you are a sex blogger anyway.

Improving on some of the fiction that’s out there

There is some amazing erotic fiction to read. Plus all of the how to manuals. But there is also some absolute rubbish. Some people seem unable to work through questions such as is it physically possible before putting pen to paper. The use of odd euphemisms in erotic fiction is something that The Other Livvy has picked up on. There is little that turns me off more than being unable to describe people’s anatomy and actions without using completely unbelievable phraseology.

So, one of the inspirations for writing about sex, whether based on real life events or fiction is to do better. After language, plot and characters feels pretty important. Why are so many books based on the lives of super rich men seeking to find a young bimbo to be their sex toy? Why are there so many young girls out there who crave submission? Who moments later can be found kneeling naked for their boss or tied to a bench? Of course there is plenty of gay erotica, but I don’t doubt that these dynamics are replicated.

I’m nearly 58 years old and I want to read about people who are older. Who have been through some of life’s problems and who don’t think that money is the answer to everything. Many of my fellow bloggers write brilliant erotica as well as about their own true life events. Good printed / e-book erotica is out there but you can do far worse than some of that written by the sex bloggers and writers we know. People like Brigit Delaney, Cara Theron and Floss, to name but 3.

Education

Finally I write about sex to help educate others. As I’ve written above, real life isn’t always like in books and magazines. We aren’t all young and skinny with a crazy libido. Not all penis owners have huge cocks. People experience pain and discomfort, people fund themselves unable to come. Not everyone loves to suck cock or to have anal sex. What’s more, it’s possible for a well educated woman of 50 to have little in the way of sexual experience.

That means it’s important to write about real sex and relationships. To explore and celebrate the great experiences, but not to ignore the bad or difficult.

I guess following on from my post yesterday wondering where I am going on my blog. Maybe this post is another step to finding out who I am and what my purpose is. Writing about sex for me is about detailing my own experiences, thinking about the experiences of others and hopefully helping to educate.

Revising my goals for 2020

Well this year has turned out a little different than expected. When I posted my goals for the year on 31st December and 1st January none of us knew what was in store for us. But since the only certainty right now is not knowing how long things will be different it’s time to review and revise those goals.

Goal 1 was about planning

For the first 3 months of the year I was really diligent about planning, reviewing and keeping up with my achievements. I love my planner and am now glad I didn’t buy one with pre-printed dates. When gradually your appointments and plans disappear from sight, it is difficult to see the point of planning every day. At the beginning of the year I was writing for several memes each week. Now I feel unable to write for many of them and sadly Masturbation Monday has gone on hiatus.

So. It’s time to stop using the memes as my planning tool and instead think about what topics I want to write about. Then if they fit somewhere and I want to join I’ll do so. It’s a shame as the memes are great drivers of traffic.

Goal 2 was about getting fit and healthy

I was massively focused on this goal because I assumed I was going to have reconstruction surgery by the autumn. My new blog and it’s own meme was to be one of my tools. But as lockdown began I struggled to find purpose in either losing weight or in writing on the blog. For many weeks my weight plateaued. I had just received my 1 stone award – the last slimming world group before lockdown. Now though my weight is creeping up. The main culprit I know is wine. We’ve slipped back into old ways and I’ve got very bad at saying no. Our slimming groups continue, but via zoom. We all weigh ourselves at home and then send the weight to the consultant.

But there has been little incentive to make progress. Often I don’t hold myself accountable and it’s difficult for the consultant and group from afar. Plus, of course everyone is dealing with lockdown issues that are thrown at them. whether it is the loss of a job, home schooling or health worries.

This is one goal that has to stand. I want to be fit and healthy whether I have surgery or not. So, I plan to focus on putting the right things in my mouth and to losing weight. Even though I can’t go swimming I can walk and I will try to double down on better diet and exercise choices.

Goal 3 was about my new blog

Who starts a new meme and chooses a prompt about eating out just as the world’s restaurants close? Me that’s who.

I was really starting to get into my new Food, Fitness and Health blog by mid March and was writing regularly. But I can’t deny it’s been a struggle. I am now planning to devote more time to it. I have made the For the Health of it Meme monthly and hope that with some more promotion I can get things going. This month’s For the Health of it prompt is – Hopes and Fears for the future. Head over and take a look.

Goal 4 was about making improvements to the blog

This will be my main project for the coming months. I want to think about the style, to create a gallery of my photos and to improve elements such as ‘all about me’. I was thinking about trying to monetise the blog and haven’t ruled that out. But I know I am less driven than many of my smutlancer colleagues. I’m not looking for a job as such and like to write for fun.

I am however really enjoying being a smutlancer, even though I’m not doing the ‘lancing’ bit. We have a great and very supportive group of people who support, critique and make suggestions about each other’s work. Kayla and Molly are there to oversee and provide advice and guidance. But it isn’t about them telling us what we should do, instead it’s much much more of a team approach. I know that if I want to start pitching for work I have the support network around me. There’s also help with the more technical issues and our Slack channel is great for bouncing ideas off each other. It’s fabulous value for $5-50 per month. I highly recommend it.

Goal 5 was about writing more fiction

This is something I have actually achieved. Indeed at times I’ve found it easier to write fiction than about my dull life. I plan to do much more.

Goal 6 was about getting divorced

My Decree Absolute came through in April and so I have achieved that. 🙂

Goal 7 was about earning some money

I started a project for my ex employers at the beginning of the year. Sadly I’m not sure the recommendations will ever get implemented due to Covid. Plus, I’m still waiting to get paid which is a bit irritating. I’ve also discovered that the person who took my job and who I thought was a friend is great at gas lighting people. Still, you live and learn.

I have earned some money from working during the pandemic though and though it’s not much it is welcome. On balance I don’t think I’m going to worry about looking for a job or anything. Though I may change my mind when I start spending more money.

A strange week

7 days

I deliberately decided not to post Every Damn Day in June (that is not every day). But didn’t mean to leave gaps of 3 days. Hence a post today even though there’s already been a Sinful Sunday. But this week has been strange.

Work

For a start I imagined I’d be doing the contract tracing work. I never imagined that things would be so unorganised that I would spend 16 hours twiddling my thumbs and still get paid for it. I know this seems immoral, but as someone who is owed untold hours by the state I don’t. However I do feel sad that I haven’t had the opportunity to call someone up and ask them to stay home. Most of the people I know do anyway, but clearly some people are out.

Death and destruction

I’ve tried to keep my head down. I hate confrontation and I hate violence more. The death of George Floyd was horrific and I know the right thing to do is to speak up and to protest. But I felt shell shocked and so said nothing, which is wrong. But it wasn’t till Friday (2 days ago) I watched any of the footage. This wasn’t intentional but for some reason the BBC decided it was ok to show footage at 18.45. I walked into my mum’s living room to lay the table and saw it. I was horrified and shocked. Even though I had read about his awful death I was truly shocked. My immediate thought was that children could easily have seen it too.

I am worried about people protesting, I can’t deny it. The brutality of police (mainly in America) and the worry that it will cause a further Covid spike are real. Having hidden away for days, I recognised the need to appear and speak up. But what to say? I admire people for coming out and protesting. But worry that they could pay the ultimate price for doing so.

Duty calls

I am visiting mum because I feel I must. Having not been out for 3 months she has no idea of the world around her. Instead the news is her source of information. She lives in a bubble where the real world feels scary and she does’t quite believe what real people say. My elder brother and I are pretty sure she is in the early stages of Dementia, helped along by a prolonged period of self isolation. She craves attention and then lashes out at us when we are there. Meanwhile my younger brother is taking large quantities of money from her.

We have to make this stop. In the next few weeks we will have a family conference to try to manage the situation. I am beyond sad that two of us spend our time trying to help her and the third is busy selling her his time.

Holidays

We should have set off for Spain this week. Right now I should be sitting in a tapas bar in Seville! But instead we wonder when we can travel again.

I am actually determined to get down to France before the end of Summer. I can contact trace from there if necessary as I have a good internet connection. But only time will tell. I was pleased to see the market, bars and restaurants are now open. We just need our own rate to fall and our politicians to stop being complete jerks (if possible).

Sex

My libido is definitely returning. I’m feeling I might be able to write part 2 of The retreat next week. We’ve had some very good sex too which I must write about. I want to think too about how to get my submission back on track. We’ll need to work on it I know as it really has been a bit absent for months. But I know I still want to be his slave and that he wants and needs that.

So this has been my strange week. Let’s see what next week brings!

Statistics

As the saying goes, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. The quote was attributed to Mark Twain and apparently spoken by Benjamin Disraeli (a 19th century Prime Minister). Though as you can see here, the phrase has quite a history. But, I digress. This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is about statistics. A topic I’m really interested in, because of what data can tell us, how they are manipulated and used to inform and fool.

Education

Statistics as a branch of maths found me when I was 16. Maths was far from my favourite subject, and I wasn’t very good at it. So, I wasn’t that surprised to fail my O level and need to retake it in the 6th form. I was offered the chance to do my qualification in statistics instead of retaking maths. I thought this was worth doing as it might be easier to concentrate on one area. It was, but also it was fascinating and proved useful once I went into nursing. Healthcare produces a lot of data and statistics about that data is churned out at the rate of knots. Actually understanding what the mean is and how standard deviation is measured has been really useful. Both my degrees required me to examine quantitative and qualitative research so, I’ve never stopped using statistics since.

We are all a statistic or 500

The trouble with statistics is that it can tell you pretty much anything you want it to say. Data about us is collected from before we are born. As soon as someone is pregnant they enter a system of data collection. Birth, immunisations, development checks, attendance at play group and so it goes on. Back in the day, little was recorded about us save the statutory things. But the advent of computers, digitalisation and mobile phones means thousands of items of data are collected on us every year. Decisions are made by politicians, companies, providers of healthcare and schools etc. based on data collected about us.

For example, NHS England publish have a page that signposts you to all the statistical reports they produce. The Office for National Statistics publish all of the National data for England and Wales on births, deaths, employment etc. Ofcom publish information about mobile phone usage and how it has changed. No doubt the information is gathered through information supplied by phone operators. This page also refers to some research carried out. Though it says nothing about the methodology, or even how many people took part. That of course is the problem.

Reporting of statistics

Headlines are the thing. We live an era where attention span is short. This article refers to a research study on this topic. The article itself is a few hundred words long and of course the author has pulled out the salient points; there is just too much information out there. We read something then move on quickly to the next thing. True for some, but not for others I’m sure. Trouble is, you can never be sure a journalist has read the whole research report or understood it.

When the ONS tell us how many deaths have occurred this week, we can trust that the person doing the reporting knows their subject. But as soon as that report is transcribed into an article or mentioned on TV someone has decided they need to explain it to you. Covid-19 has led to the publication of (probably) hundreds of thousands pieces of statistical information world wide. Charts that show infection rates and deaths are produced by multiple organisations. Depending on how they are displayed they look different.

Whole numbers are great but its difficult to compare a huge country with a small one. Or huge urban areas with a rural one of the same size. People with certain health conditions are more at risk as are men and people from BME communities. Or so we are told. For example it has been reported that people with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk than those with type 2. But age and sex were also factors, so it isn’t as straight forward as the article suggests. Trouble is, to understand what is really being said you have to go to the actual research and most people don’t have the time inclination or indeed attention span to do so.

Rabbit holes

Which leads us to the problem of having too much data and being interested by it. Whole hours and indeed days can be lost to statistics if you aren’t careful. Myth busting articles written by people payed to do so are useful, but that doesn’t mean I don’t go looking for more information. Master is the same, so much so he has been collating his own data on Covid throughout the pandemic. I guess we are both data and statistics nerds. Also we tend not to believe a lot of what is written about them. I’ll be glad when there are new TV shows, music or holiday destinations to read about instead. Then I’ll maybe give my tired brain a chance to recover!

My Blogging Mojo has disappeared

Head In Her Hands Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

For the first time in forever I didn’t post a Sinful Sunday image. Not because I didn’t have one, but because I just couldn’t be bothered. I was offered the opportunity to join our Smutlancer productiveness group for a Zoom call yesterday afternoon, I turned that down too. Instead I decided some of my never ending needlepoint (4 years and counting). This is a new feeling for me. I am not feeling my blog in a way I’ve not felt it before. So, I’m here to write about it. Otherwise it might be another week or 3 before I look in here again.

Some thoughts about the reasons for my lack of blogging mojo are as follows:

Life is getting me down

I know life mid pandemic is getting lots of us down. Plus, my life is in many ways the same as it was before so I have little to moan about. I’m getting sex, possibly more than my libido demands, though my submissive side has gone a little AWOL. This isn’t a real issue, I’m sure given the right circumstances I’ll find it pretty damn quick. But really the never ending nature of this situation is getting me down.

At the beginning I decided that planning and setting about achieving my to do list was the way to get through. I wrote, went for my walk often aimlessly looking at the closed shops in town and got on with painting the hallway. I had an idea I’d paint the kitchen next, once we decluttered the living room and my new blinds arrived. The factory making the blinds closed the same week as the recycling centre did. Ok, I thought I’ll persevere through a few weeks of lockdown and then pick up my projects. So I blogged, walked and kept up my Duolingo French. Even as my chances of going there to practice this year began to slip away.

Numerous weeks later I find myself struggling to want to do anything at all. I don’t always go out to walk even in good weather and have lost my resolve not to drink wine midweek. Plus, I really don’t feel much like writing about a world that I don’t know when (or if) will return. Even erotica feels a fantasy too far.

I blogged so much in February, March and April it’s no wonder my blogging mojo has gone

Struggling to write in May and June is not unusual for me. My pattern of blogging tends to be the same. Lots of effort in January (new year, new planner), Photography in February, An urge to write after the photography in March and then April A-Z.

Plus I started a new blog about food, fitness and health and immediately found my desire to write on it disappear. I’ve had to prioritise writing here because it’s more established and I have invested much more in it. The effort of running two sites is much higher than I imagined it to be. Even with little else to do in my life. The end result has been not writing for either. Then there are the memes.

Some memes are now tainted

Every week I used to use Rebel’s SoSS post to list out my writing plan for the week (or longer given those that are biweekly and monthly). But one of the fallouts from the gender identity / misgendering shit storm was that I lost and was blocked by twitter ‘friends’. This made it easy to not write for their memes. I really don’t want to judge them for their mistakes as others are much better at that than me. I know members of the trans blogging community would rather we didn’t support blogs and memes belonging to those who have misgendered them or liked posts that did. But I just can’t be that simplistic in my approach to blogging.

I don’t want to upset anyone but I want to be free to choose what I write about and where I link it. I want people to get on, but at the same time won’t tolerate bigotry, unkindness and intolerance. Over the past few weeks I’ve spent time trying to learn more about the issues raised by the trans blogging community and I hope others will do the same. I only ever write on a topic that speaks to me, or link more generally if I want to. But I don’t want to feel wrong for doing so any more than I want this to be the only reason for boycotting. I know plenty of people don’t agree with me, but this is what feels right for me. In the future that may change as new memes appear on the scene and I find my place within them. I also understand that sitting on the fence is not an option, in the end I may well make a different decision on this.

Work

Usually at this time of year we are planning to go on holiday, we should have been leaving for France and Spain in a couple of weeks. Knowing this wasn’t going to happen I volunteered to join the nursing workforce and go back to work. For various reasons I received training for the role assigned to me but never got to do any actual work. The good thing is that this meant that the local Covid situation was settling. But it made me feel without purpose. My mood sank and I struggled for motivation for the most simple of tasks.

Thankfully a new opportunity has arisen and I am about to start in a contact tracing role. This work is from home and so safer. It will also be vital to getting this country moving again. I’ll be speaking on the phone to confirmed cases and their contacts. Advising their health, advising them on how to prevent spread and what they might need to tell others. Not being able to see people and hold their hand is an alien thing for a nurse, but hopefully it will be worthwhile and fulfilling.

I’m not going to be able to write about work, but I hope that with a new purpose I’ll feel freer to write about sex, relationships, kink and everything else.

Interestingly for someone unable to write, this post is over 1000 words. Go me!

Love and life right now

Covid-19 Virus Coronavirus - Free image on Pixabay

Deep down I knew that the Coronavirus lockdown would last for months rather than weeks. But that doesn’t mean to say that I was emotionally prepared for it. Back in those early days at the end of March we were busy with home projects. During much of April we had good weather so eating lunch in the garden or on our balcony was a regular thing. We are used to spending lots of time together, so there was nothing new. Anyway, I was planning to be out a bit working. Then last week it was cold and wet, our projects were stuck and the work opportunity vanished. For a few days I felt without purpose and just plain miserable. I know Master feels it too. But I and we are fighting back. Below are my thoughts on the past 7 weeks detailing different parts of our love and life.

Getting things done

Over the winter we finally started to sort the house out. When I moved in nearly two years ago there was a lot of clutter which meant insufficient room for many of my things. I have my office which was completed last summer and so have my books there. But much of my treasured possessions remain in the garage and a lot of clothes are in boxes under the bed. So, where to start?

Master’s books were stacked everywhere in the living and dining room. So much so that I’ve never eaten at the dining table in this house. So I suggested the place to start was in those rooms. Progress was rapid and before Christmas we had specialist shelving installed on one side of both rooms. Then in March (after we’d finished decorating) the shelving was complete. I ordered new blinds for the windows and imagined we’d soon be straight.

But we have 7 or 8 empty bookshelves waiting to move and nowhere to put them. The household recycling centre closed in March and so we were stuck. Then the factory making my blinds closed and we had already thrown out the rails and curtains. I did manage to paint the hallway and want to continue into the kitchen, but we have nowhere to put the kitchen contents.

There is light at the end of the tunnel now because the recycling centres start reopening next week. I’m feeling hopeful that the blinds might be made soon too. I need to feel that we can get things done and make our enforced time at home worthwhile. Right now I feel more hopeful about that than I’ve done to date.

Lethargy

On the whole we have retained much of the structure of our life. Neither of us is working (we’ve both taken early retirement) so we don’t need to be up early, but I am a bit of an early bird. Master on the other hand is something of a night owl. I have learned over the past couple of years not to leap out of bed too early and having me around has encouraged him up sooner. We also have a more structured bed time than he previously had.

Our life is usually quite busy though. We go out to lots of cultural events – concerts, galleries, exhibitions and festivals. So, when there is nothing in the diary you need more than an occasional food shopping trip to make it feel worth getting up and going for.

At times we have both been filled with energy and enthusiasm to do things and at others not. Funnily enough not at the same time. I think this might be a good thing, because being lethargic together means we both struggle to do anything at all. We’ve tried to encourage each other on, but at times the frustration shows. We don’t argue often but when we do it isn’t pleasant. This week we’ve had late night arguments twice, something I’d like to avoid going forward.

Work

Having announced to the world I was going back to nursing, I embarked on induction and training in my own time. Then just as I thought I was about to be let loose on the world they decided they didn’t really need me. Well they haven’t said that but that’s the implication. I have uniforms in my wardrobe and PPE in my car. Both will be returned if nothing happens, but it has made me feel really fed up.

Thankfully a new opportunity has arisen, which is to help with the contact tracing that will be needed to loosen lockdown. This work will definitely happen and I have a paid training shift in my diary and have some work shifts booked too. It is also a bit more money than the original work. This job will mean working from home, so no need for uniform or PPE. Plus, I think this is going to be a really worthwhile job that will need to continue for some time.

Master on the other hand has no intention of going back to work. Instead he is managing our financial affairs which took a bashing in March. Thankfully they are recovering with a few changes. Secondly he is rewriting a wikipedia page for a Spanish author and poet and that’s keeping him busy. Now the books are organised on shelves he has a veritable library to consult. His other project is to map Covid across a number of countries as he prefers his own charts and graphs. These things will help us both going forward I think because we have no idea when we can do the things we want out of the house or travel.

Love and sex

It would be safe to say that neither of us have much in the way of an active libido right now. We’ve had good sex, but not frequently and we haven’t played at all. It’s strange but at a time when we are unable to touch others we aren’t really touching each other much either. I’m not sure why that is. Both of us are making a conscious effort to instigate touch, often when we sit together in the evening. At night Master will put a hand on me, especially if I’ve been snoring. There have been a few hugs, but I feel we need to make an effort to do more.

I’ve written some sexy posts and read some sexy and erotic books and blog posts. But it has been hard to transfer those feelings to our own life. I’m hoping that we can find a way to prioritise those things. Longer days and warmer weather will help as will being active independently of each other during the day times.

Moving forward

I know we are lucky. We are together, haven’t taken a drop in income (other than our long term savings, but they will recover) nor do we need to homeschool any children. But that doesn’t mean that we find the current situation easy. We have mourned the loss of the life we had and don’t know when or if we will get all of it back. I’ve been sad to see former colleagues losing their colleagues, team or organisation members. I’ve also hated the decisiveness of the recent arguments in the sex blogging community. All of this takes its toll.

So, going forward I hope we can soon restart our work in the house. I also have some plans for the garden, since I’ll be here and so can actually grow some stuff. Flowers and also one or two vegetables. Fingers crossed the planned work comes to fruition this time and that we can regain a little of the structure we had lost. I hope that we’ll be able to go out places and walk more as we get to summer. At present a lot of woodlands etc. are open but you can’t park.

As for sex, well I plan to try to make more of an effort because I think my libido is more suppressed than Masters, partly because of my medication. But I would love him to do so too. I don’t feel terribly submissive a lot of the time and know we need to work on this too. But I do feel we can, I do feel hopeful and just a bit positive right now.