05/05/20 – The Expulsion From Bohemia

I had really weird dreams about work and my ex, which left me feeling pretty battered and bruised when I woke up.
The night before, I’d dreamt that I went back to work, and the Christmas decorations were still up. Last night I dreamt that the draft board had been ripped down and replaced with this really shite whiteboard, like the ones you used to have at school. There were also loads of new staff, and they wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say because they didn’t know me, so I ended up having to properly shout at them and give them a bollocking so that they’d start to take me seriously.

It was then that I realised that my sick note has expired.
The last thing I want is to be un-furloughed, and for my line manager to call me telling me to re-open the bar because I’m not ‘off sick’ anymore.

I phoned my GP, and got him to send me an up to date one, which at least covers me until the end of May.
There’s no way I’m ready to go back to work yet.

I felt so shit, and my brain just kept whirring round about the dreams that I’d had. So, I made a special effort to do my hair, my makeup, and get dressed in dungarees rather than just joggers (I even put a bra on). Then I did some writing, which made me feel a bit better.

It feels like a weight has been lifted every single time that I press ‘publish’ on a post.
It’s like telling my family and friends about my day and how I’ve been feeling in one big foul swoop.
It’s one of the best feelings.

I spent most of the morning feeling pretty awful. I was anxious, jittery and paranoid.
Side effects.

We had Pot Noodles for lunch, which was really weird – sat at this nicely laid table eating a Bombay Bad Boy.

I decided to go out for a walk with my mum, even though I really didn’t feel like it. I knew I’d feel better for it after.
Everything’s gone so green. The woods are ever changing.

My mum and I talked quite a lot about Granny and her account of being a refugee after WWII. She agreed to give me a copy so I could read it in the afternoon if I wanted to.

It is entitled ‘The Expulsion From Bohemia’, and it was very sobering.

We think shit is bad right now with lockdown, but it is nothing compared to what she went through.

She and her family – including her baby nephew, who was born by candlelight during an air raid – walked miles, and took numerous cattle trucks to try and reach safety somewhere, and be reunited with her sister and father.
She described the air raids, but the most of the account was about the aftermath of the war. They walked across Dresden which was particularly badly hit. She wrote,
‘We walked for two hours. There was not one house standing, there was not one living person, there wasn’t a bird, not a blade of grass. Absolutely nothing. It was a beautiful day with blue sky. I shall never forget it and I shall never forgive Churchill.’

She also wrote about how terrified they were of the Russian army, who were the ones who actually expelled them from their home.
They were nailing children’s corpses to barns and raping the women.

They eventually managed to blag their way across the Russian zone, in to USA occupied Austria, until they were reunited with the rest of their family in the UK occupied part of Austria.
They dragged this cart the whole way, struggled to find food, and bartered a lot with tobacco and wurst for places to stay, or food and milk for the baby. My Granny was really intelligent, and it worked to her advantage. She and her sister were incredibly resourceful, and it definitely helped that my Granny had learned English.
They struggled to find places to wash, suffered from chronic diarrhoea in camps and on trains where there were no latrines, had heads filled with lice, and my Granny even contracted Scarlet Fever at some point.

It was an incredible story to read. A first hand account of the atrocities of war.
She was an incredible woman to have fought her way every inch of that journey for herself and her family.
It was emotional yet inspiring to read.

She dictated it to my Grandad when she was recovering from falling and breaking her hip one Christmas.
Maybe it’s where I get my writing bug from.

Just before dinner my mum and I discussed it some more, as she’d also read it that afternoon. I said that I was so struck by her tenacity and intelligence.
My mum said that she thought it was a valuable lesson that people were people, and no one should be tarred with the same brush. Despite the Russian soldiers having a terrible reputation, some of them were really friendly and enjoyed playing with the baby.
She also said how incredibly strong my Granny was. She took no bullshit. She was 25 years old, beautiful, and spoke English. She was sent to see someone high up in the army at one of the camps as a sort of ‘offering’, and he tried to pay her for her ‘services’ with this weird cupboard full of glorious gateaux’s, but she flat out refused.

We had a really good dinner of fish, potatoes and roasted vegetables, and then I spent the rest of the evening watching Drag Race, eating lots of chocolate, and drinking tea.
I turned my phone off again too.
So, it was just me, doing my own thing, no interruptions, and by the time I went to sleep I felt better than I had done at any point of the whole day.

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