Domestic Mysteries

What I hear through the floor confuses me. I have questions.

Blurred photo of woman holding up a sign that says love your neighbor as yourself
Photo by Kyle Cleveland on Unsplash

Dear F & G, who both live in the flat downstairs,

I hope you’re keeping well. I’m basically writing to let you know that you are genuinely very nice neighbors, and although due to COVID-19 we have only seen each other through the window, or over the yard wall for about a year, I would also like to express my eternal gratitude that you are a massive improvement on “the ones that came before”.

I must admit that we did have our reservations when at first a motley crew of “helpful” family and friends arrived to “move you in” when…

Obviously my name is not The Duffer’s Diary, it’s Christine.

Image by TheDuffersDiary

I find writing about myself a difficult exercise as my life is fundamentally quite ordinary. I’m married with a kid (aged 8), I live in North East England and have some of the most glorious scenery the country has to offer on my doorstep, I have a pleasant job that isn’t exactly a creative outlet and I’ve wanted to write since childhood, but it’s taken me a exceedingly long time to get to a place where I’m ready to make it an integral part of my everyday life. I also…

An Open Letter To

I want your wheaty comestibles but my guts say “NO”

Screen capture from Instagram that states The only reason I eat gluten free is because I enjoy having my internal organs on the inside of my body
Image Authors Own by @TheDuffersDiary originally on Instagram

Dear Gluten-Free Sceptics,

I write this on behalf of all of my compatriots who would like to eat without grisly consequences. I’d like to reiterate that we are, for the most part, not trying to be “trendy” or being fussy.

We’re hungry and you won’t like us when we’re hungry.

Imagine the scene, you’re sitting down in a restaurant, and planning to have a romantic dinner with your beloved. The candles are lit, the table linen is immaculate and you’ve managed to stop talking about the kids or the cat…

Ducking out the side door

Running woman above the words Run for it
Image by via Sparkpost

I’ve learned a lot about myself since March 2020, but good grief, it’s been profoundly uncomfortable. The main lesson learned appears to be never underestimate the depth of my own unconscious self-deception and has led me on a quest for an identity that functions for me now. That’s definitely a work in progress.

Since I moved back to North East England in early 2004 in my early thirties, I was lucky to fall into an excellent job where I was able to qualify as a project manager. One of the emotional drivers for success was that I had earned a…

The Venting Machine

Self-care is required…on my Jill Jones

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash with some @TheDuffersDiary additions.

My favorite tweet of the last twelve months is one by Mary Annaïse Heglar.

When we’re “back to normal,” I want to open a bed and breakfast only for women suffering from burn out. I’m gonna call it Resting Bitch Place.

Please World

If someone can set this mythical place up now, I would like to get booked in. Urgently. My soul is damn tired. My body hurts. My brain is fritzed. My ears are ringing. If I had the resources, I’d be opening it myself.

I also have terrible roots and look like I’ve been dug up. I need…

My brain has terrible timing and a sick sense of humor

Image by TheDuffersDiary Via Sparkpost

Did you know that your brain is an unruly organ, hellbent on mischief? I know mine is. Admittedly my brain is slightly more jittery and twitchy than the average brain thanks to C-PTSD, but as a species, we’re still prone to flights of fancy.

We humans see faces in clouds, we misidentify people, and we confuse our dreams with reality under normal circumstances. I think most of us have woken up convinced that someone close to us has done something terrible at least once, continuing to believe for rather…

Stop using “You manifest what you project” as a threat and telling us we’re failures

Person holding an iphone against a white background
...Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Several annoying trends have emerged throughout the pandemic, particularly on social media. There is the “You just have to be tough” crew. The attitude is that if you aren’t managing to start a new business, get ripped, or managed to get an MBA whilst in lockdown; you’re a useless twat. All very well, if you’re single, childless, focused, and ambitious to the point of insanity, not so hot if you’re not.

Even then, it’s obnoxious. The vast majority of people deserve a medal the size of a bin lid for succeeding to get out of bed every day in the…

Have you started arguing with your smart tech?

Photo by AB on Unsplash with additional photoshop additions by TheDuffersDiary

Before COVID-19 hit, smart tech in the home, as well as the wearable health and fitness variety, was ideal for many people. It kept us on track with our wellbeing, reminded us to move more, reminding us to calm down and even can warn us if we’re about to have a heart attack, which is definitely a benefit, whatever way you slice it.

Same with voice-activated Artificial Intelligence virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. They genuinely can be used to simplify and automate aspects of life in some remarkable ways, and when we’re all darting here and there…

A lone Sycamore tree in the gap between two hills. Sycamore Gap in Northumberland.
Sycamore Gap, on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to travel in the far north of England, the moors and hills of the Cheviots and Pennines, though beautiful, are not the most hospitable of environments. Modern residents, with access to contemporary innovations like properly surfaced roads, well-stocked supermarkets, and internet service of a sort, are still cut off by snow and ice on occasion in winter, even when they don’t live too far from the beaten track.

Living up in the wilds does favor those of a more pragmatic bent even now. It’s not the sort of situation that those who are reduced…

Sometimes you have no choice but to look him in the eye

Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

(TRIGGER WARNING — Discussions of PTSD)

To put this into context, I’m a person with suspected Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) who is impatiently waiting for treatment, and with a “thing” for Marvel movies. When it was suggested that PTSD might be the cause of my issues, that started me off investigating my experiences in a lot more depth (once the meds kicked in and I wasn’t an anxious slug in a dressing gown anymore.)

As tends to be the way of the world, the more I read about the effects of PTSD as a condition, the more I engage…

The Duffer's Diary

Writer on mental health, parenting, politics, history and more generalized ranting at an indifferent universe. Sometimes funny.

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