Britain

Bad weather on the way. Around here it’s called moky yukken it dooon. I probably could explain to you how that is pronounced but that would give away the Yorkshire Entry Test we have at our borders 😂😂😂😂 Helps keep out the numpties…..

A quick scan at todays news headlines tells me everything I need to know about the country I live in these days. Just why Yorkshire really needs these anti numpty controls. In a nutshell the following news words sum up modern Britain.

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Boris sends Gunboats to Jersey to protect our fish from the French….. (that’s an unaltered headline, I kid you not)

Boris Johnson helps billionaire Friend James Dyson to pay millions less in tax….. in an unrelated story Boris Johnson’s brother has been made a Director of James Dyson’s company.

Government announce that Covid strategy is on track and the threat from mutations has been overstated, testing data confirm that that ….In unrelated news the Government confirmed that they have not yet started surge testing for the really worrying Indian mutation as it is not seen as a current threat. Even without this enhanced testing, over 800 cases have been confirmed over the last couple of weeks.

Traditionally Labour voting Hartlepool is likely to vote for Boris in today’s By-election. Apparently the town sees itself aligned with Boris Johnson’s vision for Britain – in unrelated news, after Brexit and 10 years of Conservative governing Hartlepool has the highest unemployment rate in the country. It’s fishing industry has collapsed since Brexit. It needs 9 food banks (it needed zero 10 years ago) and just under 30% of children in the town are officially listed as living in poverty.

A recent poll finds that the majority of voters are blaming immigration for the countries woes – there are no words…..

The Government has confirmed a new royal yacht will be built at a cost of £200M. The Government has also confirmed that it is looking to spend £35 Billion on new missiles for its nuclear submarine fleet. – in unrelated news the Government has been unable to find resources to fund a proper pay increase for its NHS heroes or increase child poverty payments to families most in need.

The Government has confirmed that the budget for overseas clean water and sanitation projects will be slashed by 80% as part of non-essential service cutbacks – there are no words…….

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Today I am officially done with my country……

Insomnia

It’s odd how you can get used to so little sleep. It’s basically been over a year now, lucky to get 4 hours kip a night. Often less than 2 hours and all too frequently no sleep at all.. What would 6 hours feel like…..

I hate first thing in the morning now. Feeling as if I’m wading through treacle and all without a functioning brain. Still there are some advantages. No need now for Movie Directors to train up actors for creepy zombie roles. Just film me in the morning, straight out of bed. That sight will scare the pants of people. Never has the phrase ‘need your beauty sleep’ been more apt…..

So here’s to another day of yawns, dropping things, crashing into doors and generally scaring the local wildlife half to death. Here’s to INSOMNIA.

Ticking

Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.

Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.

20 years, 15 years….

Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.

10 years, 5 years….

The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.

May the 4th be with you

May the force be with you. May the fourth be with you.

I noticed the significance of the date just a few minutes before it was the 5th May. Clearly the FORCE is not strong in me. Maybe I would fall into the third Star Wars category. Not good enough to be a Jedi or a Sith, so I would be in the third class of characters. Only good enough to be ‘canon fodder’.

For what it’s worth I just had enough time to see what the online Star Wars name generators would come up with for me. Last year I think I was Hans Up….. This year apparently I am HOR VADER. The mind boggles….

Dinner plate

That’s some dinner plate. Newly planted vegetable seeds. What to start with…..

It’s been one of those school at home days. Only one communication from a teacher about lessons today. That was ‘just revise’ for a test which is coming up. The other lessons it was just about trying to see what bits we could find on the online system and then trying to fill in the blanks. Which is quite apt as alongside the homeschooling I was also trying to get work done for the company that bizarrely likes to employ me. Apparently I’m a ‘valuable asset’. I’m sure that has been autocorrected at some stage from the original description.

Voluminous Ass….

Apt because today I was scratching my head at WORK and blankly trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes definitely filling in the blanks. I can’t have been doing very well at either tasks as I ended up watching our garden pigeon and his dinner plate.

At least somebody knows what they are doing today….

Bank Holiday

A British bank holiday and its chucked it down. This is not today. This is today….

Not really perfect outdoor table tennis conditions.

We played footy in the garden, in the rain. Great fun. Then I noticed something. Maybe it’s the effects getting older. Hawklad took a shot heading towards the top corner of our goal. A cat like goalkeeper launched himself to tip the ball over the bar. I landed. And wow did I land …. Gravity was definitely working well. It didn’t hurt but here’s the thing. Years ago as a goalkeeper I never dented the ground on any of my dives. Today I did. A huge indent in the lawn. Think ‘The Great Rift Valley’. Maybe I should stick to table tennis.😂😂😂😂

Early

On our trip out the other day it was interesting to see the change in the pace of life. Suddenly shop car parks are full again. All the outside tables are taken at pubs and cafes. The public buses are busy again. People are gathering in groups again. Masks being worn outside are much more of a rarity. Social distancing…. what social distancing.

Don’t get me wrong I’m as eager as anyone to see things open up again. I won’t say return to normal as that thought annoys me – was the old normal that good and why didn’t we seize the opportunity to build a better normal. Yes our vaccination programme being delivered by the brilliant NHS is going really well. But I’m anxious. Hearing the Government announce that the battle is almost won, just beggars belief. It’s not won until all countries get on top of this dreadful virus. It’s not won when we are still getting deaths each day. Still at 2000 new cases a day. In younger age groups the infections rates are rising. Even after a period of lockdown rates are still stubbornly high. Outbreaks of mutations including the really worrying Indian variant are rising. The vaccines are not 100 effective, we are not sure just how long they will stay effective across the population and the younger groups have not been vaccinated at all. The Young can get severe CovidI was reading that as many as 12% of children catching the virus are needing to be hospitalised or are suffering from Long Covid. That doesn’t sound like a war won.

But we start the process of relaxing the rules. Foreign holidays allowed soon. Large Crowds returning to sporting and cultural events without social distancing. The requirement to wear masks in schools in communal areas such as corridors is to be removed. Rules surrounding isolation after contact with a positive case to be dropped in favour of fairly regular resting. The message is clear from the top hence I’m not surprised that the majority of people are ditching the masks.

Yes I’m anxious. At the very least masks and social distancing should stay while the reopening goes ahead, until mutations and case numbers fall to really low levels. Until vaccination is a world wide reality. This all feels like a bit of a punt to me. I just hope luck is with us this time.

Going round the bend

As part of the long process of helping Hawklad building bridges back to the wider world, we ventured out in the car. Further this time. In to the city. To get a take out burger.

All went well until we hit the city. More car, more people. Even though he was in the safety of the car he was on edge but willing to push on.

Finally we arrived at the burger place. You will know the one. It’s got some whopper burgers. The plan was Hawklad to stay in the car while I ventured out to get the takeout. As soon as I left the car Hawklad panicked. So plan B. The drive through. I’ve never tried one of those but they seem super cool in the movies.

We joined the queue of cars and and snaked our way towards the intercom. With excitement we finally made it to the marked intercom bay.

I started to patiently wait for the helpful voice.

Dad what are you waiting for.”

I’m waiting for the person to speak to me,

Dad you don’t wait you just say the order out. Come on Dad the cars behind will start to get annoyed”

####Pants so I blurted out the order. NOTHING. Is that it. Do I drive off now####

Dad they didn’t hear you, shout the order louder”

#### So I did, really loud this time. This time Hawklad got the giggles####

Dad you are a muppet”

####And suddenly the intercom whirled into life – ‘afternoon can I take your order’.####

I’m definitely going round the bend.

Age

We live at the very edge of the hills around here. Never high. No way mountainous. But definitely hilly. No flat bits really. Yet being on the edge, just a few moments later you can find yourself in the flat lands. Mile after mile of exercise heaven. No slopes….

When life opens up again for me I should really jog here, not in those pesky hills.

I did that age thing today. I was doing my daily workout. It was going well. Really well. Towards the end I started messing about. Doing some serious exercise moves. Lifting some silly weights. Really pushing myself. Pushing my body like it’s still was 25…

It’s most certainly is not these days.

It’s the wrong side of 50. Well definitely the wrong side in terms of physique. It feels a few too many days like ‘I’ve used this body up now, can I have a new one please’. Yet I still push it. There are reasons but sometimes it does feel like I just forget my age. Still think I’m a lot younger. When the penny does drop sometimes it does hit home.

With exercise, age has changed me. I am definitely a little slower at running. I have to push way to hard to get close to the times I would get 30 years ago. A little more injury prone. But then I’m actually stronger now. Never lifted heavier or done more reps. It’s not about limiting myself, it’s more about making adjustments. Changing the balance.

Here’s the thing, being older can be good in some ways. I wish I knew a fraction about life when I was 25 that I do now. I certainly know the value of time and the importance in trying to live life to the full. For the first time I truly understand who I am and what is truly important to me. I would hope I’m a better, more rounded person. I can still dream, dream well. I just need to get better at sometimes being a little more realistic with those dreams, certainly as the years hopefully wrack up. Dream and aspire definitely yes but maybe some things need to get assigned to pipe dream status, leave them for other people to fulfill.

Swiss Sunday

It’s early Sunday morning so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. As a family we haven’t been able to visit this alpine wonderland since 2015. It was a very different world back then for us. A very different world for many of us.

What hasn’t changed is that we have places of staggering beauty and perfection. Places which should provide joy for generations to come. That’s as long as we protect and cherish our world.

Places like this stunning glacier. A glacier which is predicted to have completely disappeared by the end of the century. Another victim of climate change.

Let’s hope that we act in time. Act to save what is so precious. So countless generations can live in awe of places like Switzerland.