Tom Gardiner

How that Year of Calm is Going

Back in January this year, I told myself that I would relax, take actions to prevent stress, and generally be more mindful. How's that going, exactly?


I have, indeed, moved to Scotland. I'm pretty happy with where I am, and the house itself. However a couple of problems have decided to creep up. Within a month or two, grey squirrels have found their way into my loft, and have been causing all sorts of havoc - gnawing at the wooden beams, tearing up the insulation, and it honestly wouldn't surprise me if one of them has had babies. At the start, I thought it was just a mouse, as the only thing you could hear was a single, quiet scuttling along the ceiling. I thought it would die of starvation or freeze to death in the negative zero temperatures we had in Scotland this February (oh, how naive).

As you can imagine, knowing that there are squirrels destroying your house, and feeling a rush of adrenalin every time they make noise is incredibly stressful. In the UK, because they are an invasive pest, it is illegal to release them if caught, so I purchased a lethal trap and, as I write this, I am half way through process of "removing" the squirrels. Hearing them die is actually quite stressful as well, but it's got to be done.

The rest of the house has suffered, subsequently. A couple of windows are missing curtains which I have still yet to arrange, and the living room is barren as I don't have anything to put in there! It'll get better in time, I'm sure. Early days.

My hobbies have suffered, subsequently. I am absolutely desperate to make music, but feel very self-concious about making too much noise for the neighbours next door, and so wanted to get some sort of sound dampening/deadening for my office, but the squirrels have just taken over my life for the time being. 😩

Aside from that, the Year of Calm is actually going quite well. I look forward to getting the vaccine, finally meeting up with some friends, and going for some slow walks around the Scottish countryside.

Oi. You there. Relax your jaw and your shoulders. Take a moment to loosen up, there's no need to be tense. I promise.

I realise how strange it is to write blog posts as if people are supposed to care about or relate to them, but I have also finally realised they're more for me than for anybody else. One day, in several years, I hope to look back on all this madness and laugh.