Yucky

Goodbye brief bit of blue sky as the next wave of grotty weather heads in. Now it’s officially yucky.

Ok I know the apple tree needs trimming. In my defence the second last time I tried to do that the tree battled back. Someone ending up in casualty after a direct branch hit on my eye. Then the last attempt ended prematurely when the ladders started sinking into the ground and I had to perform a dainty little sky diving forward roll landing. The new plan is to wait for a severe frost and then try the ladders on the hard ground. What could possibly go wrong.

What’s really annoying is that over the hedge is the neighbours garden. It is absolutely immaculate….

It’s always been like that really. A garden of mess surrounded by oceans of immaculateness. Is that even a word… it’s certainly a big word for me. When we moved in at the turn of the century (doesn’t that sound a long time) all our neighbours had beautiful gardens. The house we bought had a seriously overgrown one. A lot has happened since then. Too much. The garden is better now but never immaculate. We like to call it a bit randomness in a sea of order. I guess that’s quite apt for me. Over the last few years my nice, ordered and safe life has been upturned. It feels like I’m living this random, chaotic, unplanned life while the ordered world continues all around me, oblivious to what’s happening with me.

So just like the apple tree needs a bit of order restoring, I will need to think about doing the same to me as well….

Little things

Life can be tough. We all go through tough times. It’s certainly feels that way with me. A few too many lows. Times when I felt that was it. Not getting back up from this one.

But I’m still here. Working out ways to really live again.

But one change I have noticed is that I notice the small things now. Those little things that I would so easily have missed before I went through the tough times. Little things that never fail to raise my spirits.

Yes big things can have such an impact. But they often need such an investment and are so difficult to deliver. That’s why it was such a mistake to ignore the little things in life.

Lesson learned.

Change

The local church pepping through the trees. There has been a church here for a 1000 years. It’s kind of a nice thought that this view might not have changed much over the years.

Somethings never change….

Dad have you been buying stuff again.”

I have son. New Christmas Tree lights. Ours are a bit old and they keep blowing. What do you think?

They are very nice. I like that they are all little houses that light up.”

They will look good on our tree. I was thinking about the tree next to the fireplace again.

Dad what’s this that came in the box with the lights?”

That’s a mini solar panel. I wonder why that’s come with the lights.

Maybe Dad it’s because these are OUTDOOR lights. Might explain why the photo on the box has these outside on a bush….”

Opps. Well we have some bushes to put these on.

Dad you are a muppet….”

Yep that never changes.

What is it with me

Parents do need to relax sometimes….

I’m starting to get a complex. My Tai Chi and Yoga are under attack. Serious attack.

So yesterday I talked about who a delivery man rudely interrupted me in full ‘Golden Rooster one one leg’ mode. Well it escalated today.

The back gate was wedged shut with the bin. No delivery man is getting to see me strut my stuff today. All was going well. I was just getting my breathing in sync with my inner spirit. He chi was flowing nicely on my yoga mat. All was good as I gracefully performed ‘White Crane Spreads Wing’.

Then a hooligan pack of Birds flew over the garden. An unprovoked bombing run. One of the little blighters scored a direct hit on my once blue yoga mat.

My inner moment was gone. Is it just me!!!! I don’t see this happening to the likes of Adriene on her videos from Texas.

Maybe it’s much safer to sit with a mug of coffee and watch the sun go down. Under an umbrella just in case.

Odd

Oh Yorkshire. You are such a beautiful county. Ok a bit cold, wet and windy. But definitely beautiful.

Beautiful, cold, wet, windy and a tad ODD. Look at me… Ok I’m not beautiful but the other 4 things most definitely do apply.

I think the weather has a tendency to make us a little odd here. You can tell by some of the things you here. Let’s go through a few Yorkshire words which stick in my mind. There are others but many spectacularly fail the decency bar.

I remember my school teacher announcing to the class. “Tomorrow 3C you get new classmates joining you. Brother and Sister. They are called Esmeralda and Oscar. With names like that they must be from Lancashire…..”. The funny thing was that they actually were born in Lancashire. The other funny thing was that our class was called 3C, which was ironic as the school only had two classes.

I remember going on a secondary school trip to The Yorkshire Dales. As we got off the bus the Teacher went though the safety rules. No mention of the nearby cliffs, caves or army firing range. “Right you need to climb that mountain and come back here. I would normally join you but I’ve forgotten my boots so I’m going to sit with the bus driver and listen to the cricket on the radio. Don’t get lost. Don’t go further than the mountain cairn as beyond that is Lancashire. Venture in there and you will be a lost soul forever….” Lancashire is our neighbouring county. Yorkshire is on the East and Lancashire is on the West of England. Both counties have been basically hurling abuse at each other for centuries. It has descended into Civil War and bloodletting over the English Throne. Thankfully it’s just verbal abuse and a couple of annual mad cricket matches these days.

I remember hearing a tourist ask a local in York how to get to the train station. The locals response was spectacularly helpful “Well Lad I wouldn’t start from here”. He then walked off….

I was stood on a Yorkshire Train Platform when the station announcer called out the next train to arrive. She finished off with the following helpful words. “The train on platform ….. will be departing in two minutes for London and the South, my thoughts are with those passengers at this difficult time for them as they head off into the badlands. There is still time for you to change your mind.”

As a kid my next door neighbour was a bit of a character. He would sing to his Rhubard patch every day. Usually things like ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ and ‘We will meet again’. It was an experience as he had a singing voice equivalent to a misfiring tractor engine reversing over a long line of exposed toes. Anyway one day I picked up the courage to ask him why he sang to his Rhubard. His response ‘They have feelings ya know’. Apparently he would wee on them as well. Clearly not that bothered about their feelings.

I remember my Dad often telling me that “this was the wrong type of rain for the plants”. “The rain has far too much water in it….”.

When I was at Uni I had to program a robotic arm. For a joke I decided to change all the user input instructions away from English into Yorkshire slang words. As you do! Unfortunately when I tested it for the first time eckie thump wasn’t the instruction to lower the arm cradle gentle to the table. I should have told the robot to wazzock. Eckie thump basically sent an expensive piece of robotics smashing through the table causing untold damage. Yorkshire was banned from the laboratory, probably still is.

I had been Rock Climbing in deepest Yorkshire and had popped into a remote pub for some lunch. Looking at the meat full menu I asked the Landlord if he had a vegetarian option. This clearly perplexed him. He scanned the menu board for a few moments and then asked “The best vegetarian option will be the Pork Sausages. They won’t have that much Pork in them most days….”. He did deliver as he made me one of the worlds greatest chip butties.

Final mention has to be left with out very own Yorkshire born Hawklad. He had been pestering me to take him to the KFC Restaurant. Finally I succumbed and took him. As the helpful assistant asked him what variant of southern fried chicken he would like. Hawklad responded “Have you got anything else to eat rather than chicken. I’m not keen on CHICKEN…..”.

So yes Yorkshire is most definitely ODD. But it is staggeringly beautiful.

Boring

Walking through that undergrowth will do havoc to my legs when I’m wearing shorts. It would ruin my catwalk career.

I can think of something else that really feels as bad as thorns and nettles on exposed legs.

Dad what is the point of this. I can’t do it. Never will do it and it’s boring. I’d rather wash the car. It’s that boring.”

I know Son. It really is.

If I could drop the subject Dad I would just to stop this weekly torture.”

Sadly you can’t drop Computing. Plus you need to be ok with computing and technology. Apart from this little bit of the subject you are really good at it.

I might be but every week this comes up and I it does my head in. Every week.”

It is just about every lesson. It is really stupid.

Just why?”

Sadly that’s not the teachers fault. The government forces schools to teach this. They think it’s a good idea. Which frankly shows you just how little they understand or care about the real world.

I don’t need it do I?”

No you certainly don’t. Certainly not the way it’s taught in our schools. I was never great with it and I’ve got a Masters Degree in Computing. In fact apart from my first job, I have never used it. The way schools do it, they get you to use languages that will be obsolete. Languages that are mind numbingly boring. Ones which only work if you get every word perfectly correct and everything in precisely the right order.

Which I can’t do Dad, I’m dyslexic….”

I know. It’s madness that you have to do it. It would be so much better if they encouraged you to problem solve and then teach you to have fun with technology. See what brilliant things you can do with computing.

##################

What are talking about.

CODING….

Wet, wet, wet

Wet, wet, wet.

This happened the other day. Have you had those moments in life when you think you are on top of things. In the zone. Finally mastering life. When in fact you have just walked off the edge. Living a complete nightmare. From hero to zero in an instant…..

I was out in the back garden. Working out on the patio. I had completed my weights and kettlebell routine. Smashed through 20 minutes CrossFit. Seemingly on top of my game. Unusually feeling good. Feeling so good I decided to enrich the soul with a few minutes of Tai Chi. I was at one with nature. Feeling the Chi surge round my body. Stress levels plummeting. Performing beautifully the ‘Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg’ move. AND SUDDENLY a manly cough behind me.

“Excuse me mate where do you want your parcel leaving”

I could see the smirk on the delivery guy stood 3 yards behind me. How long had he been stood there. The shame. The butt of jokes in the pub tonight (good job they are closed). Stress levels through the roof.

Don’t you just love life……

Start again

Another Monday and the start of another school at home week. I make that Week 38. That’s a lot of weeks. Funny thing is that it doesn’t feel like 38 weeks. Somedays it feels like only a couple of months. Other days it seems like years.

In all probability during the early part of 2021 it will be a full year of schooling at home. That wasn’t really in the plan.

It has really all felt a bit hit and miss. Some good bits and some not so good bits. Lots of frustrations. But equally lots of laughs. Some subjects where the teaching is working. Others where after 38 weeks it is still a complete waste of time. But that’s thing. With having to stick to the school curriculum we don’t have much scope to change things. We are dependent on the school making changes. But they have to stick to the national curriculum.

But over those 38 weeks we have settled into a rhythm. Parent and Son. No need to set the alarm as we just naturally wake up at the right time. No real pressure if Hawklad starts a few minutes early or late. No need to think about breaks or food. They kind of just happen. We know which lessons will work and which won’t. If we don’t have an item for a lesson we now know how to wing it. We are not surprised by the lack of feedback. Hawklad doesn’t panic now if a teacher forgets about him. I get on with stuff until I’m needed to help out. The school week just happens now.

True homeschooling did feel daunting now it feels very doable. Tough but something we can cope with. But Week 38 also marks a dangerous time. That’s a lot of weeks of emailing and phoning school. Trying to make improvements to the teaching. Make it more tailored to Hawklad. Am I starting to take my eye off the ball. Not pushing the school as much. Maybe week 38 is time to refocus and start again. Or maybe it’s just going to be another one of those weeks. If I was a betting man I would put my money on the latter. It just feels that way.

All change

So Hawklad I’m trying to get the food in early for Christmas. So we are having pizza on Christmas Day but what about Christmas Eve and Boxing Day? You can have anything you want.

Ok what day is Christmas Eve on then Dad?”

It’s a Thursday.

Ok if I can have anything then how about sausages and chips”

Ok what about Boxing Day. We normally have our big meal then. You can have anything?

Ok it’s a Saturday. How about curry, rice and fish fingers.”

So basically son we are having exactly the same food that we would normally have on any other Thursday and a Saturday.

It might seem that way but you are missing a big change Dad.”

Which is what Hawklad?

We will be wearing Christmas Hats…

How could I miss that…

Farmer

Been far too grey and misty over the last few days. Too much winter. So let’s have a little bit of summer. Yes Yorkshire does get some of that. Sometimes.

This is one of those great footpaths. A footpath across the crop field that the local farmer dutifully maintains. Not easy to get lost of this one. I always think it would be funny if the farmer built in a maze to this path. He could get hordes of walkers lost here for hours. Could be a nice little money earner for him. Send his sheepdogs in to rescue the walkers for a small fee.

In that photo if you keep going straight. Climb the hill. Keep going straight and in about 10 minutes you will crash into our overgrown garden. You could get seriously lost in there.

I feel a little lost today. I think many of us are. A little tired of Groundhog Day. Bored with 2020. Hours , days, weeks and months seemingly merging into each other. Having to constantly look at the date on my mobile and then check the calendar to work out where I am. Is it a Sunday? Not sure.

But there is always hope.

This time will pass. Directions will be rediscovered again. The farmer will work on his lovely straight path again.