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  • Writer's pictureLouise Matley

Emotional Rollercoaster

Emotional rollercoaster are two words I've heard a lot over the last 7 months, generally from people dealing with the ups and downs of Covid-19 from every angle and point of view. For me it has been no different. When I took the decision last November to retire from secondary school music teaching to pursue my passion for breeding Golden Retrievers and private music teaching I could not have foreseen what has taken place over the last seven months. Who knew?

Subsequently many hurdles have sprung up out of nowhere and really made my life a lot harder than I had anticipated when I took the decision that really was a leap of faith.

The first hurdle that sprang up was the restrictions on church services and choirs. No weddings, funerals, no singing, so no organists or piano accompanists required. And yet no one appears to be able to say why we shouldn't be able to sing. Some research has been done which suggests that singing is no worse than talking and so I would ask, why can we not have singing if it can be done in a well ventilated space like a church? It's all very contradictory, like everything else the government seems to be spouting at the moment. I really feel for all the musicians and other artists who have had their livelihoods taken away from them and conveniently been forgotten. I keep hearing in the news about the restaurant and pub owners who are losing vital income, but what about the artists - why should they be ignored?! The creative arts bring a huge amount of money to our country's economy but the money the government has offered as support is derisory. Apparently we all need to retrain.

The second hurdle to pop up was an inability to start private piano lessons due to the lockdown restrictions meaning we were unable to visit other peoples' houses. Since the restrictions were lifted I have had enquiries through the local networking app "Next Door' and this has provided me with five pupils thus far. Now I cross my fingers our movement isn't again restricted locally, or nationally for that matter. I am hoping that with this second peak the south west doesn't suffer like they have done in the north.

The third hurdle was the devastating experience of Poppy losing her litter. Having had such a successful pregnancy last year, why would I think things would go anything but smoothly this time? I was hopeful that Poppy would recover from this but unfortunately she contracted an infection of her uterus which required a life saving emergency hysterectomy. The amount of infection in her uterus weighed just over three kilos and the veterinary nurse described this pyometra as 'full on'! What a relief to know she had survived and following a difficult few days post op Poppy is now back to herself and enjoying her life. No more Poppy puppies though and this saddened me enormously as I so wanted to have one of her puppies.

Thankfully I have managed to find employment at the school I retired from in the Summer as a supply teacher. I have been gainfully employed since the beginning of September being in school on average four days a week. The wages I receive from this mean I make a living, I am able to pay for my monthly outgoings (as long as the work remains regular). It's a zero hours contract but this allows me to make a decision about whether I would want to be in school on a lovely sunny day when I could otherwise go for a lovely walk with the dogs. Twice I have chosen the latter in the last month because I can.

So, at the moment, the nature of my new life is one of uncertainty and dealing with this will be hard. Before I was stressed because of the persistent treadmill of life as a school teacher and now the stress will be caused by the random nature of not knowing when I will be working next. It would be nice to find a happy medium. I'm sure that will come, eventually.

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