Doubt

Sometimes you are filled with doubt. Sometimes you are beyond tired. Sometimes you feel pain. Sometimes you feel alone. Sometimes you are your own biggest critic. Sometimes you fear letting people down. Disappointing them. Patience is hard to find.

I feel like that about myself. I know you feel that way. We all can feel like that. But to the people who truly matter, you are a beacon. A shining light. Have faith and believe in yourself. Focus on all your many wonderful qualities, the smiles you bring to others and your limitless possibilities.

I believe in you.

Now to work on myself.

Meditation

I really am trying to commit to meditation and mindfulness. It will take time to calm my racing mind. So everyday I’m committing time to my new mindset. I’ve downloaded some apps. If only it was that easy.

  • My Doctor recommended a mediation app. I most admit it looked good until I came across the price. £300 per year. That’s stress inducing numbers….
  • I looked at alternatives apps. Many offered free elements. The first one was really good. Soothing music, dreamlike words. All was great as I enjoyed my first meditation session. That was until the app suddenly stopped with the message – to continue please purchase the full licence. Stress rising…..
  • Then the next app was tried. Yes it kinda worked. My mind was filled with just one thought. What an annoying and patronising voice. I had a sudden urge to throw a large object at the so called calming voice.
  • Then the next app had a more acceptable voice. Lie down and concentrate on your body. Fully sense how it feels. Focus on those sensations. Let everything else drift away…. Well that’s fine but all I could sense was my tight hamstring, my sore hip and my hurting finger from the earlier incident with a kettlebell. My mind was filled with three words- oh that hurts. Stress rising.
  • Then another attempt disrupted by a never ending telephone ringing…. stress rising as I start shouting. Will you stop ringing Im trying to meditate…..

I will get there. I will crack this meditation thing. The benefits are too much to ignore. But maybe there is a simpler thing to remember. Just walking outside. Sitting comfortably and just watching nature at work. The natural worlds stress busting app is still the best option out there and it’s free.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland. Pure Alpine Heaven.

One morning on every trip, I would be let out early to go for a short European jog.

Not too far as breakfast would be soon calling.

Everyone of today’s photos was taken from the route of my run.

It took me just under 40 minutes to do the route. Adding a couple of photo stops.

So in just 40 minutes, all this beauty.

So much on the doorstep of the hotel. The amazing thing is that Switzerland has so many places like this.

You don’t need to be running here to literally have your breathe taken away.

I might enjoy running but I have to say there are better ways to exercise and take in the beauty of Lake Thun.

Baking, it’s not ….

Well it looks ok. Looks like bread. That’s not a bad effort from me. Especially as it’s gluten, dairy and yeast free. But then there is always a downside. Time to taste it. Wow. How can I describe the taste.

Bland….

Tasteless….

Might as well be eating paper….

‘It’s bread Jim but not as we know it”….

Yes even a Vulcan like Spook would struggle to quantify this baking attempt. Even when I spread something on a slice it just tasted odd. Tried to toast it. Refused to change colour even when I incinerated. This is officially NOT bread. So what to do with this non food item.

Maybe it’s better than the paper towel I usually use to rest the spoon on, which is being used to stir the contents of the slow cooker….

Maybe as a saucer….

As a page marker….

As something to sort out the wobble on the table….

As a dog toy…

As a frisbee….

And finally, as bird food….

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Hill

This is at the maximum zoom on my old digital camera. Probably takes about 30 minutes to drive here. It’s called Garrowby Hill. It is the highest point of the Yorkshire Wolds and is just over 800ft above sea level. It’s supposed to be a lovely view from the top but in all the years we have never stopped here. Surprising given the number of times we have driven past it.

We are now moving close to THOSE six weeks. Starts on my birthday, the day my mum left us and then 6 weeks later ends when my partner left this world. That was some 6 weeks in 2016. But it’s a bittersweet time as those 6 weeks usually make the start and end of the school summer holidays as well. A time when son is free of the trials of education. A chance to be free and a kid again.

Well let’s concentrate on the free and kid bit. That’s this years plan anyway. Yes recall good memories but try to remember it’s 2020. Not 2016. I guess a bit like Garrowby Hill. We can see it but it doesn’t mean we have to go and stop there. So yes 2016 will always be there but we don’t have to stop there.

Names

This little thing lives in our roof. Currently he or she is unnamed….

I’ve had a few names over the years and not just the obvious one.

  • A really good friend labelled me Superdad,
  • Bagpuss – goalkeeping related,
  • TJHooker – golf related,
  • Goochie – bad early 20s moustache related,
  • Dr Banner – I had a habit of the red mist setting in when playing rugby and also when trying to unwrap one of those cd cellophane wrappings,
  • Harry Potters Dad – apparently I looked like him,
  • Veggie – diet related,
  • Hippy – diet related,
  • Gareth – no idea why,
  • Viking – I was the only Northerner in a cricket team based in the South of England,
  • Pidge – mum called everyone Pidge so she didn’t need to remember names,
  • Geordie – because of the so called football team I support,
  • Columbus – due to my appalling navigation skills when climbing,
  • And a few others which are unrepeatable……

And let’s not forget BereavedsingleDad. Here’s the funny thing about that one. It was a mistake. When I suddenly decided to set up a blog those three years back I hadn’t thought about silly details like a blog name. I filled out a box which I thought was for a user name – just something I used when logging in. It was the first thing that came into my mind when I was trying to think of something which didn’t include my real name. Rather taken by surprise when suddenly it was displayed as the blog name. Never got round to changing it. Maybe one day.

So I guess it’s time to name the bird. Now what shall it be….

Penny drops

I tried to get an appointment to see my doctor for the first time since the pandemic hit. That was an experience….

  • First listen to the 3 minute recorded message about the pandemic,
  • Then listen to another recorded message about the importance of wearing masks,
  • Now listen to a message about the doctors and nurses avoiding making unnecessary face to face contact with patients,
  • Then join the queue for a receptionist,
  • Finally a real person. Need to describe any symptoms and the reason for calling. I can have a telephone appointment for later in the day,
  • Doctor calls and basically says that it is currently unsafe to bring patients in for appointments. Much safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. A few questions and then it’s a quick medical opinion. Time for stress busting, relax, have a break and hopefully things will sort themselves out. Probably been trying to burn the candle at both ends since 2016.

Having a break is not happening so it’s stress busting time.

  • Eating healthily – well I will try……
  • Mediation – I really must get my head round this, more free apps downloaded…..
  • Mindfulness – I thought that was mediation, free apps downloaded……
  • Yoga – the mind is willing the body is less inclined to bend…..
  • Plenty of sleep – I’m trying, been trying for ages……
  • Go hill walking – not going to happen this side of Christmas, tempted to add 2022……
  • Calming and relaxing music – I guess that rules out metal then…..
  • Make time for friends and doing fun stuff with them – I certainly will……
  • Find more time for reading – it would be great if I could……
  • Herbal teas – ok I can do this one……

In a nut shell I will try to improve things but need to recognise the current life limits. Maybe the secret is to be grateful for the life I have and to smile. Yes smiling more is a good start.

Sometimes the penny drops….

Poppy

A beautiful gift. The name Poppy has always been special for us. My mum had a sister called Poppy who died as an infant. Always think of mum and her young sister when I hear the name.

That’s the first time a Poppy has grown there. Hopefully many more to come.

In a few weeks it will be 4 years since my partner left this world. A lot has happened in that time. The world has changed, I’ve changed and son has grown – rapidly. It definitely feels like I’m living in a new life cycle now. I’ve stopped trying to reinvent old memories. Started living today. If you don’t do that then life questions

Why,

What if I did that,

Why didn’t I do that.

Trying to fathom answers to those questions is really just playing guessing games. Won’t change what’s happened. It’s not going to help our son and it’s not going to help me.

Midday

Still summer is glorious. Had been hoping to get outside, have a chat and be creative with a pencil, but the weather is just not playing ball. This is midday…..

The school at home project has allowed this Dad to see some practical evidence of the progress and issues which son has with his learning process. The level of insight that is just not provided to parents from schools. Maybe in class sizes approaching 30 this type of insight is just not collected.

After these 3 months I have a better grasp on the dyslexia position. The feedback from school has been limited to

  • He has reading problems,
  • He is doing quite well in spelling tests.

That’s it…. Nothing else in just under two years.

So what insight has the last 3 months provided.

  • His reading has developed. I would estimate that he can read unaided about 50% of words. If he takes his time he can try to sound some of the missing words out, eventually arriving at a word he’s heard of before. The other words at school he’s been guessing or just ignoring. At home he’s happy to ask for help with words. Even allowing me to read out particularly difficult sections,
  • His dyslexia is more pronounced when he’s doing handwriting.
  • He finds it easier to type out answers. It’s a long process as his typing is not quick. He also struggles to see when the predictive text function selects the wrong word.
  • With certain word patterns it doesn’t matter how many times he sees the word, it’s like he is seeing the word for the first time.
  • When he gets tired the dyslexia flares up with greater force. Regular breaks really help. The optimum time appears to be 20 minute work blocks with short breaks.
  • Number dyslexia is still a problem. 6’s and 9’s are easily switched, especially when a decimal point is introduced into the number.

I’m not a trained teacher but I have a valuable quality which many teachers don’t get in UK schools. Quality time. Time to focus on one pupil. That is something which is not permitted under the current government led approach. An approach based on schools operating like automated production lines. That must be another vote for homeschooling…..

Gone Fishing

Red sky at night fishermen’s delight, doesn’t always work. The next morning it’s absolutely chucking down. Maybe it’s good weather to catch fish.

My Dad loved fishing. My brother loves fishing. They would take me to see them fish from the sea walls and in the local lake. I found it fascinating but it just wasn’t for me. I get the relaxation bit. I will happily sit on a sea wall or by water and just chill out. But you can keep the fishing bit. I only went actual fishing once. My brother took me to the local fishing lake for an afternoon. He caught loads, me – not a thing. Brother put that down to my casting action. To me catching something would have been a huge surprise. Whisper it quietly. I never put a fishing hook on my line.

I’ve subsequently been close to fishing a couple of times. I once played a fishing game on the computer. Wow that was a thriller….. The other was at a Fun Fare where I played that ‘hook a duck’ game. I was hoping to win a Cuddly Snoppy Toy and ended up with a real goldfish in a bag. Thank god that’s been banned. That fish was taken straight home and put in our indoor fish tank. My Dad loved tropical fish. But my little fish just kept growing. Soon he was too big for the tank so one summer he was moved out into the garden pond. That’s the pond which was under the protection of our big and mad family dog. And still he grew. Eventually he was even getting too big for his outside home. Finally he was resettled in a massive fish pond in the local park. That was a military operation requiring a huge bucket of water and sneaking over the locked gates. Tom Cruise has nowt on me…

As it’s possible for some types of fish to reach three figure ages, I like to think that my one ever fish catch is still going strong. Lord knows how big he is now. I do always keep an eye out for him in the Jurassic World movies.