Other

I had one of those uplifting email exchanges with authority. To summarise the 97 million message trail.

Why have you ticked the box marked WIDOWED

Because I am and no other box seemed to apply

But you weren’t married so you don’t fulfil that definition

In my books I am

Your form will be invalidated if you use it

We were a couple living together for over 20 years. We had a child who and we were formally registered as joint parents living together.

That’s not recognised by the Government

So which box should I use as the other boxes don’t apply

Clearly you should tick the OTHER box

Well that’s good to know…..

*******

Things do need to change. I remember talking to someone from the village. He had been partners with someone since the 70s. When his partner died a couple of years back he was denied much needed support as he was classed as being single. Single even after living together for over 40 years. 40 years of looking after each other.

In Britain (and many other countries) if you are not married, if a partner dies you are treated differently. Denied financial support. Penalised with additional tax claims. And even more hurtfully – denied the right to call yourself a widow and classed as being single.

That has to change.

Snowball

Trying to figure out if Captain Chaos was starting on his first ever snowman. If it is then he was making a good start on his project. That was until the thaw came along….

I definitely could do with making a good start on a project this morning. I think that we can officially call it. I’m moping around today. Feeling frustrated, flat and bored. Hawklad is cracking in with homeschooling. Needs me infrequently. It’s pouring down outside so can’t really get any fresh air in the garden. Cant pop out. Can’t go for a run. Can’t go to visit anyone. Wasn’t in the mood for music or TV. Housework to be done but not in the mood for it. No work available (going to be that way for months). Can’t seem to settle down to anything at present. Quickly seem to lose interest.

So I’m kind of just moping. Sometimes sat down. Sometimes walking aimlessly around the house. Had a few of those days recently.

Maybe it’s better to call it ‘pottering about’ rather than moping.

So I’m just going to keep on pottering. Feeling just a bit detached from life. I guess I’m not the only one feeling that way.

Why not

Red morning sky over the temporary farm lake.

Red sky in the morning – fisherman’s warning…..

Well the folklore weather phrase is almost right. The forecast is for the weather to cloud over as the day goes on and then the rain starts this evening. Lots of it. Two days solid heavy rain. Then the gales arrive.

That lake might just get a little bigger…..

We were watching the latest Wonder Woman movie last night. Don’t worry I’m not planning to give any major spoilers away. Now I could talk about a few scenes dealing with grief. But no. Not this time. Just to say that even in a bizarre, fantasy, superhero movie – they still can sting……

No the scene that I’m going to mention is one where a wardrobe is ransacked and different outfits are tried on. If you see the movie then you will know the one I mean. It was pretty amusing. But it got me thinking about my wardrobe. An IKEA sliding door brute that even Wonder Woman isn’t ever shifting. The wardrobe is little visited these days. Life happens and things change. I haven’t worn a suit since the funerals of 2016. Most of the shirts are untouched since they were last ironed dating back to when my partner was still here.

Since March 2020 we have been in our local family lockdown. I that time I have worn jeans just once. Walking trousers not at all. For months on end I’ve just lived in tracksuits, shorts, joggers, T-shirt’s, hoodies and jumpers. If your not going anywhere or seeing anyone then WHY NOT.

Maybe I should have a sort out. Get rid of sone stuff as I probably won’t be needing as many things going forward. But then again. What would I do with the space. I could get a much smaller wardrobe but without Wonder Woman’s help I’m not winning that battle with that IKEA beast.

So let’s leave it for the time being and get back to looking at the lake. A much more pleasant thought than that IKEA wardrobe one….

Putting off

The sun setting on another day. Another day of putting some things off.

Was it really 2016 when my partner died. Doesn’t seem like 4 and a bit years. But here’s the thing. I can’t work out if that time has dragged by or gone much quicker. 4 and a bit years just doesn’t seem right.

But 4 and bit years it is. That’s a long time putting stuff off.

The ashes are still sat on a cabinet with a view of the garden and fields. Not been scattered yet….

Her cds are still in a there in the corner of the room. They won’t ever get played. Doesn’t seem right to play them and we had completely different music tastes. Hawklad never plays cds and shares my music tastes. One day I should move them….

My partner’s photo albums are sat on the sideboard. I started sorting through them back in 2016 but stopped…..

I did quickly take her clothes to the charity shop. But then I found a few more items. These sit in the airing cupboard. Sat there waiting for me to decide what to do with them….

I sorted through her work papers. These are now sat waiting for me to have a bonfire to burn them. These are sat on the floor next to the desk. Just doesn’t seem right still to do that yet…

I could go on but you get the picture. Whether 4 and bit years seem like a long or short time. It just shows that loss and bereavement takes time. Each persons time will be unique to them. For me it’s definitely a long term journey. It’s also about Our son as well. What works for him. Long term means that we can take my time. Do it at our own pace.

Vinyl

I accept that those big adventures are seemingly just out of reach for the foreseeable future. Maybe for all of 2021. It’s going to feel like a very small, constrained world. To make this work I need to keep finding ways to live within the castle walls. Even little things can and will make such a difference. Even 12 inches of round vinyl.

Yep I’ve finally dusted down the turntable.

Spent a few minutes listening to some LPs.

There is something reassuring about listening to those slightly crackly recordings. Memories start to flood back in. It’s a nice feeling. A little win.

So what was listened to yesterday.

Richard Burtons wonderful voice.

A little bit of early Pink Floyd

My favourite old group

Yes I did feel just that bit better after a bit of old school listening. Need to remember that. Need to find more time during this year. A little thing that does work.

Churchyard

While Hawklad had a sleep in I pushed the boat out just a little. A one minute walk to the churchyard. Yes it was a very short walk in the scheme of things but it felt like a different world. Just to see different sights. Experience a little bit more of the world. An important reminder that there is much more to life than our little house and garden.

A few seconds to lean against the very old wall and breathe.

Then it’s back home all too soon. Back behind the castle walls. Return to our little family lockdown. Virtually all of 2021 looks like it will be spent in the house and garden. But just maybe I can sneak out occasionally. Even if it’s just a few yards to the churchyard. It will be good to breathe.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. This wonderful little country has been a special holiday destination for our family for a couple of generations now. Life has happened and that family is much changed now. Much smaller. Now the baton of Alpine Trips is really just lies with Hawklad and me. We must find a way of keeping that tradition going. Why?

Because family tradition is so important. Once it’s gone it’s gone….

Because Switzerland is so special and so worth it…..

Sadly 2021 doesn’t look like being a year where we can venture those 1000 miles again. It’s been 5 years now since our last trip. So let’s keep those memories strong until life opens up again and once more a family trip to alpine heaven can happen again.

Art

It’s not often I get a free work of art left on the car window. On closer inspection I realised just how intricate and special the work of nature was.

I could so easily have missed this. A few hours later it may have melted.

It’s such a great reminder for me that even though I’m living in a much restricted world that there is still much to experience. I can make this work. I just need to remember to open my eyes and continue to dream.

Old…

Dad I have to interview someone for Food Technology. That person has to be old apparently. That’s you then Dad”

Charming….But sadly very true….

****that’s the thing about Aspergers with Hawklad. He tells it as it is, no filters.****

Dad I have to ask you about the confectionery you used to eat as a child. I’ve seen the photos, you clearly liked the odd one or two sugar bars…..”

****sadly also very true****

What were your favourite sweets and chocolates all those many centuries ago….”

Decades boy not centuries…. That would be midget gems, flying saucers, black jacks, milk guns, fizz wiz, pineapple cubes, cherry lips and refreshers. Chocolate it would have been Toblerone, Marathon, Wagon Wheels, Minstrels, Revels,Time Outs, Banjos and Curly Wurly’s.

Dad why is it that when I ask you about science, history or art you just look blank at me. Yet I mention chocolates and sweets and I can’t stop you talking….”

Got to get my priorities right.

What’s the biggest changes with current confectionery then Dad?”

Well some of the stuff have disappeared. Some stuff has changed name. What’s this thing called Snicker Bars – it’s a Marathon…. And the sizes. Much much bigger in my day as you can tell from the old photos of my tummy.

Last question Dad. What was the worst thing about confectionery in your day….”

Well I dread to think what they put in those old sweets and chocolate bars. E Numbers were classed as one of your 5 a day healthy options back then. And then some of the stuff was so wrong. One of my favourite chocolates was pretend cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes and even came in a realistic cigarette packet.

Dad what were they thinking of…”

Getting kids hooked on smoking. Making money and seeing children as a commodity to make money from. Sadly that hasn’t changed….

It’s back

So much for the ‘warmer’ spell. The white stuff is back.

This is a message to the Brits amongst you. Are you enjoying Brexit? Here its been a great trade off. Losing my right to travel freely across Europe. Increased cost and admin trying to get stuff from the EU. Nationally industries like Fishing are facing bankruptcy because they are struggling to get products out of the country and are sinking in a sea of additional bureaucracy. But on the PLUS side the supermarkets have many empty shelves were fresh food items can’t make it into the country. So yes all the billions spent have been so worth it…..

The shopping was a wonderful experience today. No carrots, no grapes, no oranges, no bananas, no onions, no corn on the cob…….. Hardly any frozen vegetables and fruit.

So it’s a week of processed foods, chips, pizzas, soups and chocolate. How many different things can I make with a bag of grotty looking sweet potatoes.

So here’s my excuse for potentially coming off my diet. I blame it on the PM and Brexit….