Alpine sunset

This photo was taken on the last night my partner had in her beloved Switzerland. During a stunning sunset. Watching the moon rise over the Alps was just the most wonderful experience.

Little did we know that she would be gone 12 months later.

This is a photograph I can look at and still smile. Other photos bring tears but not this one. Don’t know why. In fact the more I think about it this was probably the last Swiss Photograph. It really should bring tears. Strange.

That night we racked our brains trying to work out ways of emigrating here to retire. Drawing up plans for spending all of our long life’s together. So many plans. In reality just pipe dreams with no chance of coming to fruition. The one thing we never factored in was an early death. You never do probably.

A few days ago I walked behind an elderly couple who had been shopping. They walked slowly hand in hand. Behind them a broken man walked sobbing his eyes out. In our pipe dreams that was us in thirty years.

I can’t tell how much that hurts.

Ice

Son got his ice cream today. I got myself a slush puppy. The weather was that cold that the slushy never melted – 2 hours later it was still good to go.

Speaking to a local even he said “That sea wind is brutal today”

When I took my coat and gloves off I was like an ice cube.

On the drive back I had the heater on full blast. Still cold.

Needed the hottest of hot baths.

Have you ever been that cold that when you get into a steaming hot bath – you’re body is that frozen that within a couple of minutes the bath is only lukewarm.

Son was fine he stayed in the warm car watching downloaded movies. Can you work out what film he made me watch tonight … Ice Age.

The Booty

  • 5 socks
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • Coins
  • £5 Note
  • A dinosaur
  • Set of keys
  • A brush
  • A ruler
  • A nail brush
  • A flannel
  • A remote control
  • 2 pens
  • 2 Red Noses
  • Seth Rollins (wrestler)

All found during a fingertip search of the garden. Yesterday the dog was running round the garden with my wallet in his mouth – hence the search.

I cannot provide prima facie evidence. But clear signs of chewing and rushed attempts at burying many of the said items would strongly suggest one particular culprit. I wonder who?

The weather

I bumped into a parent from our son’s last school this morning. A conversation started about the weather (forgive us it’s a British thing), Brexit (forgive us it’s a British madness) and son’s old school. Nothing remarkable. Then the dreaded question from the parent.

“It’s been a couple of years now. You must be over the worst now. Now the clouds are parting do you think it’s time to move on. Find someone else. Your still relatively young…”

Couldn’t believe it. What a thing to say. Relatively young. Cheeky bugger I am still only 24!!!!! I think it was 1875 when I was 24….

That conversation reminded me why staying in the house is often so appealing and cheaper – ended up sponsoring his son.ł

A year ago the main part of that question would have thrown me completely. I suspect I would have gone to Jelly. Now it just yields a deep sigh.

Every persons grief is different (forgive me I keep saying this a lot). With me the clouds do part some days but they often quickly move back in, blocking out the view.Like the weather I get fine days, average days and crappy days. The comment about you must be over the worst because it’s been a couple of years is clearly an unfounded assumption as every persons grief is different (forgive me I’ve said it again). Find Someone Else ….. makes it sound like I’m house hunting.

The photo is taken near Interlaken in Switzerland (forgive me it’s another favourite country plug – still waiting for my chocolate from the Swiss Tourist Board……). It’s quite a good representation of my grief journey. Yes the clouds keep sweeping in often covering the mountain peak. But somedays the mountain is cloudless. Same mountain vastly different mood. So unpredictable. That’s the weather for you (The Brits and the weather AGAIN ).

The break begins….

One or two patches of Daffodils are making it through to Easter. That’s kinda nice.

So the Easter School Break begins. With a hunt. But not an Easter Egg Hunt.

Dad The Pup is outside”

That’s fine Son because I’ve been at meetings all today the poor boy will be busting.

That’s good. Did you know he has taken something with him”

It’s ok for Mr Crocodile to go outside.

No it wasn’t Mr Crocodile”

Tell me it’s not your socks.

No not my socks”

The little bugger has got my pants hasn’t he.

No not today”

What has he got then.

I think it’s your wallet”

So after a mad 5 minute chase a slightly chewed wallet has been retrieved. Soon will begin a fingertip search of the lawn for the coins and cards with have been scattered around the garden. I’m knackered already and the break is only 2 hours old….

Early morning coffee

Dad what time did you just say we have to leave the house for work on Sunday

6.20am.

“That’s so early it’s almost back into 2018”

Sorry we need to drive 40 miles so we can get to a briefing starting at 7.45.

“Dad I may have to join you in having a coffee that morning”

Yes I suspect my current Decaf diet will be scrapped at 6am Sunday. Son’s comments about Coffee made me smile. A couple of years back I came across some research that seemed to suggest that Coffee was starting to be used with some kids with ADHD.

Dopamine levels in the brain need to be within a very narrow parameter range for the brain to operate at optimum levels. A body of research exists that seems to support the theory that with ADHD Dopamine levels are too low and outside the optimal parameters. Stimulants like caffeine raise Dopamine levels. The argument is that stimulants can then be used to raise Dopamine levels in people with ADHD to optimal levels. This will have a positive impact on concentration and attention levels. So a cup of coffee might be a good idea for kids with ADHD (like our son)????

But too much caffeine may cause things like stomach trouble, raised heartbeat, sleep problems, irritability……. It’s an addictive psychoactive stimulant drug.

Then you factor in Autism. Little research exists on the effects of caffeine here. Does it help. Does it hinder.

When I spoke to the health professionals the advice ranged from ‘worth a go’ to ‘its a bad idea’.

I’m no medic so I will continue to play it safe. So early on Sunday double standards will be adopted. I will have a strong coffee whereas our Son will have a glass of orange juice.

Money is clearly everything.

Our local council is North Yorkshire County Council.

Over a year ago our Local Council agreed to make savings of £2m to its service budget. Unbelievably our Council decided to end free home to school transport for disabled and special needs pupils aged 16 to 18 years old.

This is the same council who does not provide any specialist support to kids with dyslexia.

This is the same council who has been cutting the size of Educational Health Care Plan grants to disabled and special needs kids who somehow manage to get through the tough pre qualification assessment. Penalising the very kids who need the highest level of support.

Today our Conservative Council – that’s the same party our Prime Minister heads, thats the Prime Minister who recently said ‘I’m on your side” – announced that the first year of the cut has resulted in a £800k saving. The Council reviewed itself on this issue and concluded that “the implementation of the policy has not had a detrimental impact on the ability of young people accessing their education”

Well that’s well earned pat on the back for the Council then. Is it just me who gets beyond severely pissed off with this – please tell me if I’m missing the point with this because I will happily crawl back into my little hole if it is just me.

Maybe some of our esteemed councillors should venture out of their plush council chambers, get into their Jaguar, BMW or Mercedes cars and actually see what the real world is like for a change.

Hermione

On the other side of this Bush is a stunning view yet it’s blocked by plant beauty.

Our Son loves history. You often see him watching very in-depth documentaries about a vast range of historical subjects

  • Romans
  • Viking
  • Pharaohs
  • Greeks
  • Persians
  • Incas
  • American Presidents
  • British Kings and Queens
  • Battles and Wars
  • and on and on

Unfortunately he doesn’t get the chance to extend this knowledge at school (yet).

It’s probably due to being put in the bottom set due to his dyslexia but the teaching is at such a low level. Son says he will keep watching historical videos as it’s the only way he learns anything new. He smiles when he calls himself the Hermione Granger of the History class. If the teacher asks a question he is always the first hand up but is never selected to answer.

I think one incident really sums up the problem.

In a test the class were asked to name facts about King John. Our Son then provided an in-depth answer which talked about

  • When King Richard the Lionheart was captured on the third crusade John (his brother) negotiated with the captors to keep him imprisoned
  • He lost most of his fathers empire
  • After he was forced to retreat from France he alienated himself from the many of the barons and a rebellion started
  • Eventually the two factions started negotiating after months of conflict. The end result was the Magna Carta which limited the power of the crown.
  • He then got the Pope to declare the Magna Carta invalid sparking more civil conflict which spilled into the reign of the next king – his son Henry III
  • He may well have killed his nephew (Arthur of Brittany) a potential rival
  • John was excommunicated when he refused to let the Pope have a say in the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury
  • He probably died of dysentery

That is my son speaking not me. My knowledge of John ends with the Magna Carta being signed under his rule and the stuff in Ivanhoe.

His teacher spoke to our son and basically told him that he provided too much information. That he was in Year 7 and he shouldn’t know this stuff until Year 10. That’s a way of inspiring his love of the subject. To be fair to the teacher her approach to learning is what the government wants. Sadly the government understands as much about education (and actually most other areas) as does that Bush in the photograph.

Chasing rainbows

As a kid one of the worst realisations was when I found out that a rainbow does not produce a pot of gold. What no tricky Leprechaun guarding the the pot. Even now I feel a tinge of sadness when a rainbow appears.

This rainbow appeared four years ago on our last holiday. I remember our son trying to get his head around an overseas pot of gold.

  • would it be legal tender in the U.K.
  • Is it the same pot of gold that appears in the U.K. or does every country have its own pot of gold
  • If the rainbow straddles two countries do you get two different types of gold in either end
  • What happens if the pot of gold appears over water – does it float
  • If the gold sinks what happens if a fish swallows a gold coin – does the fish get to keep the gold – does he disappear when the gold goes
  • Are we allowed to bring the pot of gold through customs
  • Is it taxable (that was my thought)

This rainbow photograph was taken on a Sunday. Five days later I had a Swiss beer with my evening meal. Not had alcohol since. I really don’t miss the booze. I do miss the friendship and socialising but not the drink. I’m not sure what my old climbing buddies would make of it. We sat around the camp fire drinking whiskey and eating sausages. Now they would do the same while I sit there drinking herbal tea and eating tofu. Suspect I would be assigned to the solo ascent team.

A few weeks ago an advert came on the radio about a lager which was apparently liquid gold. Son immediately asked how much it cost to buy a glass of gold in a pub. I jokingly pointed out that the excessive cost of drinking gold would be the least of your concerns. As gold inside of you would be really really bad for your health.

“Dad you must know gold is chemically inert so it possess little risk. It should just pass through the system when you go to the toilet.”

I never knew that going to the toilet could be so costly.

Now a thought crosses my mind. What would you do if you found did find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you discovered that it was a pot of liquid gold lager…

Now that would just sum up my luck….