Polar express

A beautiful train line in the distance. Even beautiful at night…

Last night we had a chat about Christmas. This year will be a slightly different one. No family visits and wider family meals. No friend visits. No 50000 spectator football match. No concert. No special trips out. No nice country walks. No carol singers. No Father Christmas riding through the village on a tractor collecting for charity and then handing out sweets to the kids. Basically just us, the pets, the house, the garden and one visit from the jolly big fella dressed in red.

It’s still Christmas. Still a time to make memories. Still a time to live. So we make the best of it. Never forgetting those we love the most.

Last year we thought that we had started a new tradition. A trip out on a Christmas Train. A wonderful night trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A beautiful illuminated stream train with even some magical creatures in the passing fields.

So we had planned to do the same this year……

Well it’s not happening. So it’s time for plan b. We have decided that on the same day as last year we will head out on our own polar express. I have some really cheap solar powered Christmas lights. The car will adorned with these. A Christmas music cd will be loaded up on the car stereo. Christmas snacks will find their way into the car. Silly hats and reindeer jumpers will be donned. And off we go on our own polar express. A slow drive around a little used country lane route.

That’s a start. What else can we come up with. What new memories can be born. Always remembering to carry those we love in our hearts as memories are made.

2022

Dad that’s not a bad sky at all”

It’s a grand one Son.

You always say GRAND these days”

It’s just a way of saying something is impressive. It’s a bit like you saying something is sick….

Dad I was thinking about school. What happens if I still can’t go out during next year as well. Maybe I’m not ready to go back until 2022. What happens then?”

Well we just carry on. We’ve coped for most of this year. We just do the same next year then. Although I might have a ZZ Top beard by 2022 .

I so want to see that.”

Make a change for you. Having a Dad who looks cool….

That’s never happening. As you would say Dad. You are a Grand Muppet.”

You never know. One day….

Dad is that your mobile Dad going off.”

Yes it is. A message. Oh look they have rescheduled our Ozzy concert. Was supposed to be next week but they have put it back to October 2022. Time for me to grow a proper beard.

Dad time for me to maybe venture out again…”

Just like a Desert Island

I’m sat here watching the rain falling while listening to Pink Floyd. Nothing like a bit of Floyd to life the mood!!!! My mum would always say that she would listen to sad music to cheer herself up. Maybe it’s in my DNA as I’ve always tended to listen to more darker themed music. Maybe I should try happier ones. Where’s that Alvin and the Chipmunks cd …. that’s why I stick to the darker stuff.

So it’s time to get back to that Desert Island again.

Hawklad is still working on his list so it’s the extra post then. But I hear you cry – there are only two of you. Well here goes.

I was thinking about living on a desert island. The beach, the palm trees, surrounded by seemingly never ending water. That feeling of isolation and being alone. Cut adrift from the world. But actually isn’t that us now. Are we not already on our very own desert island.

Look at the photograph above. Replace the beach with our wet lawn. Palm trees morphed into an apple tree. The shoreline is now a garden fence. The farmer land, nettles and wild ground suddenly our very own version of an ocean. A barrier between our little island and the outside world. Days go by without seeing another human. Definite feelings of isolation and being cut adrift from the outside world. No sign of rescue ships on the horizon. Has the world stopped looking. Did it ever really look. Does it even know that we are here.

It’s such an odd feeling. But here’s the thing. Do I see this as necessarily a bad thing. Hawklad definitely doesn’t. Currently the remoter the better for him. He’s ok as long as he can watch a bit of live football and Disney Plus. But what do I think?

Do I see the dividing ocean as a threat or a godsend. The longer our lockdown goes on then the less I feel physically connected to the outside world. It becomes increasingly hard to see myself fully reintegrating back into the world beyond our island. Actually maybe isolation is what I need and want. Something not to be feared but embraced. Maybe the real fear is that a rescue ship does arrive…….

Desert Island

Last night a Red Sky. Need to change the saying. Red Sky at Night, REALLY big puddles next day….

There is a long running British radio show called Desert Island Discs. Guests talk about their life and then play songs that they would take on a desert island with them. In addition to the Bible and the Works of Shakespeares they get to take a luxury item.

Well we played our own version of that last night. A few tweaks to the shows rules. I’ve done mine while Hawklad is taking his time over his. So you will get three posts from the Desert Island. Mine is here and Hawklad’s will follow. There will also be a third post – can you summon up for inner Sherlock and figure out what’s its about.

So here’s mine. Starting with the 9 tracks.

Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell

Shinedown – Get Up

Alter Bridge – Godspeed

Paul Gross – Ride Forever (from the TV Due South)

Foo Fighters – Walking After You

The Book I would take would be Terry Pratchett – Mort. The movie I would take would be End Game. The TV series would be the XFiles. Favourite food would be Apple Crumble and Custard. Favourite Drink would be full on Coffee. My favourite snack would be Cheese and Onion Crisps. And my luxury item would be a Telescope to look at the stars.

So that’s my list. If the desert island is anything like Yorkshire this afternoon then I would need a very thick jumper and the largest umbrella. Maybe not the most ideal desert island weather.

Five words

White cloud over a tree. That’s five words….

We tried a new game yesterday. Try to describe things, people, events in just five words or less. It’s a nightmare. Well a nightmare for me. Hawklad wisely decided to just ask the questions and leave the mental hernia to me. It started off very sensibly for example a Rose was ‘a flower with sharp thorns’. York was ‘a historic northern english city’. Sadly it went down hill rapidly.

My football team – can’t win a thing, USELESS

Cricket – Red ball aimed at sticks

Golf – excuse to wear silly trousers

Brexit – well that’s on plan, NOT

Gardening – OW that hurts

Yoga – that’s not supposed to bend

School – best done in bed

Boris Johnson – Lazy, corrupt, so called leader

Trump – can’t find his tax return

Calculus – number witchcraft

Red – my face after a workout

Lord of the Rings – chucking a ring at volcanoes

The Hobbit – some blokes lost a ring

The Silmarillion – absolutely no idea what’s happening

A Dinosaur – imagine your Dad just younger.

You Dad – a walking gnarly old fossil

The Terminator – Austrian speaking walking remote control

Chess – Draughts or Checkers with attitude

Twitter – being nasty with limited characters

Facebook – an excuse to photograph breakfasts

Star Trek – don’t beam down with Kirk

Star Wars – Star Trek but way longer

Gravity – Add Falls for cool cartoon

Real Gravity ….. – Reason my body is saggy

Childhood

So many pupils from our son’s year group are isolating. I’m also hearing that other pupils are being asked to isolate in other year groups as well. Many teachers are off. It’s all a bit of a mess really. Many schools are like this in the UK. They don’t feel like environments conducive to learning at present.

These are stressful times for many. I’m not sure the Government understands this. Or chooses to ignore this. Bland statements that ‘schools are the best place for children’ are recited everyday. It might be in terms of the Economy but….

Some children need to be in school. Some need to be at home. They definitely need to have the chance to have a childhood. A good childhood. It’s often too easily forgotten how much stress and anxiety they are under. Unable to see friends. Unable to do some of the stuff they love. Living in a stress filled world with so much confusion. Told to wear masks in buses and shops, yet told not wear them in classrooms. Frequent enforced teacher switches. Many sadly forced to isolate or deal with the actual virus. Living in a small world with few holidays and adventures. Watching never ending grim news reports. How much stress are many of our children under. We have to do something about this. To me that’s more important than the short term needs of the economy.

Our son is racked with anxiety. Too much to allow him to venture through the front gate. A significant part of his precious childhood is being spent in isolation. That’s hard to take as a parent. All I can do is to keep him feeling safe, try to shutout the bad stuff from the world and to try to find ways to help him still enjoy his childhood. He’s had a tough one already. Loss of his mum, coming to terms with Aspergers and now a Pandemic. That’s why I’ve got to work all the more harder. There’s still a childhood to be enjoyed.

Seven months

I was checking my diary. It’s now officially 7 months since our own little family lockdown started. Seven months, that’s a long time. Yes there have been some bleak and lonely periods. But we are still here. Still grinding onwards. That gives me hope.

With our son’s anxieties, with a pandemic showing no signs of ebbing, with increasingly random government – we just have no idea how long this family isolation will go on for. Possibly for many months to come.

Yet we have already survived 7 months. We have made some new memories. Still had fun times. Technology allowed friendships to flourish

We have more than just survived 7 months, did manage to live a bit as well. We can certainly cope with a few more months of this.

3am

Last night I was tired. Unusually tired for me. But it was one of those pesky tired setups. During the evening I could feel myself nodding off. Plenty of those ‘just starting to drift off while sat on the settee – then suddenly woken by those cataclysmic sudden neck snapping forward’ moments. This went on all evening until it was bed time. But then I just wasn’t tired. Pigging fiddlesticks……

Finally sleep came but all too soon…..

DAD, DAAAAAADDDD!

What’s up son.

Dad I’ve forgotten, sorry we’ve forgotten the art assignment.”

Ooh yeh, that one that isn’t due in until the 12th.

That’s the one, But ITS THE 12th.”

Oh big pants. Can you do it as soon as you get up?

No it’s due at the start of the first lesson.”

***********

I could see by the look in his eyes that until it was done, sleep would be impossible. So a few minutes later I was in the kitchen making hot drinks. Years ago a late night session would have had a very different meaning to tonight’s version. 3am and rocking out to Japanese Art.

Basically I sat there looking vacant, occasionally nodding (in a of course I knew that kinda way) and asking Google such questions as ‘what on earth does wabi and sabi mean’. It took an hour before Hawklad had convinced himself that he had done enough. The school panic in his world was over. His completed presentation was significantly more robust than his Dads initial suggestive assignment text

Japanese Art is cool but Godzilla is real cool. Now it’s time for bed….

Hawklad got to bed and immediately fell asleep. I guess at about 4.30am I found some sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later with one overriding thought. How can you write two pages on Japanese Art and not mention Godzilla‘s Atomic Breath just once. What has become of Art.

New Sport

It’s dark, bit of blue sky, very windy. Good drying weather.

Friday was one of those days. Hassle from school. Missing items. Me being a walking accident magnet. My favourite music magazine, one I’ve been reading for ages, went out of business. And the washing machine….. it decided to eat itself. Two hours of fruitless home repair confirmed that in the words of Monty Python –

E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-WASHING MACHINE…..

A bit of disaster when we have such a heavy lockdown washing requirement. A replacement one was finally sourced that has an expected delivery window of less than 3 months!! So it’s the delights of hand washing for a while. Given Hawklads anxieties – lots of it. I guess it’s a good arm workout.

I need the weather to be nice and cooperate. Outdoor drying would really help. Please help me dry the washing, pretty please….

So here’s the new sport. It’s great for endurance and reactions. Much bending over and sprinting. It’s called ‘catching my pants as they hurtle across the farmers field’. The sizeable wind was clearly trying to turn my underwear into a new post brexit export to Belgium. In fact given the colossal size of my pants they would constitute a bigger new trade deal than anything our clowns of a government have secured in one year…..

See what the wind brings.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and see what the wind brings.

Drying clothes outside is proving a bit of a nightmare. Every few minutes the wind brings in another shower. Thankfully the bench cover is just about big enough to quickly chuck over the clothes horse. Given the dirty state of the cover rather defeats the purpose of washing. But needs must.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and see what the wind brings.

Further lockdown measures are set to be announced for northern areas next week. For the last month our part of the north has been an island. Surrounded by areas having significant pandemic outbreaks. Here it’s been reasonably calm. That means that things like shopping and daily life have continued without too much disruption. But is that about to change. Has our area succumbed.

Sons school has had confirmed cases. The local cafe had had to close due to a local outbreak. All public events are being cancelled (that includes Christmas events). Now the local city is reporting a huge growth in cases. 79% rise in 7 days, our rural area has gone up by 60%. Higher than some of the areas already under lockdown. Police are starting to enforce lockdown laws.

It’s the confusion that makes it so much harder for people. One week the PM tells people to grow a backbone and get out. Then suddenly the PM tells us it’s our fault fir getting out. Some places (often government supporting areas) have high infection rates but are excluded from lockdown while other areas with lower rates are forced into lockdown.

Feels like we as an area are about to be forced into a tough, restrictive extended period. All we can do is continue with our own family approach. Try to shield son from as much of the negative, doom loaded news. It’s the last thing he needs to hear. Much better for his (and my well-being) to sit in the back garden and see what the weather brings in.