Survival

These are real survival plants. Will grow anywhere. It’s found on the paths, driveways, curb sides and stone surfaces.

Dad have you noticed how often on the survival programmes like Bear Grylls, they frequently have clean clothes on after a night in the tent or sleeping out in a forest. The hair is perfectly combed and they don’t look like they have had the best sleep ever. Even though the camp is flooded. You can’t even look like that sleeping in your own bed.”

He’s right as usual. I seem to have moved from just needing a little touching up around the face in the morning to a full cement mixer and construction team.

It’s as if they had not bothered with the tent and gone for a good nights sleep at the local hotel.”

Well funny you should say that and Bear. To be fair to Bear, I bet all the survival TV personalities do that. Finish filming, erect a shelter then bugger off to the nearest hotel. Actually it’s an excellent survival strategy. Save the tent for when you really have to use it.

I remember climbing in Torridon (Scotland) with a friend. We got caught out in a dreadful snow storm. We managed to get off the mountain but were completely lost. The blizzard got seriously bad as night fell. Couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us. We found a level spot and pitched an emergency shelter. We spent a cold, damp and very hungry night in that cramped hell hole. When we woke the next day we found a blue sky winter wonderland. We also found that we had camped in a field only 40 yards from a hotel, bar and restaurant. Drat …. So Bear if you want to sleep in a hotel, well go for it fella.

So while we are on the subject of survival skills…..

It’s Thursday so it’s time for our weekly bit of fun. Wow this blog certainly needs that. So let’s have a little dabble with Chelsea Owens and her weekly hilarity challenge (sorry, not sure that came out sounding entirely decent). This week the challenge is

“Your writing prompt?

  • “…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.”
  • Use it or be inspired by it to write a funny SHORT story.
  • Please keep your response to 200 words or fewer.
  • Remember: make me laugh. I can’t see how you’d go this route, but please also keep things clean.”

You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 22) to enter at Chelsea’s blog

A mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood

Unfortunately Bear Grylls was in the neighbourhood

Eating a mouse is great television, so watch for the trap

The mouse is caught, consumed in one, the scene is a wrap

Now time for Bear to light a fire with only a wet leaf and knife

Then tell a story about how he is missing a comfy bed and wife

Time to build a shelter from just some twigs and his underpants

Now Bear shows how to clean his teeth using some angry army ants

Look to camera and announce its time to hunker down for the cold night

Then jump in the car, head to the warm hotel and really satisfy that appetite.

Rose

First garden rose of the year. Ok strictly speaking it’s the neighbours rose. It’s sneaked through a hole in the fence which I should have fixed by now. But I will take this.

Dad what are you doing?”

I was trying to build a DIY fire pit. The last one had disintegrated in the lovely Yorkshire winter weather. Trying to harness my inner Bear Grylls, I was in the zone.

Are the sides supposed to be so uneven. Is it a square, a circle, triangle or pentagon?”

Ok it had some symmetrical issues….. it started off as a square.

Oh, well it isn’t a square now. And the height is all over the place. It’s like looking at The Alps.”

Yes that was an unexpected design feature.

It’s not the most sheltered spot. Not sure lighting a fire will be easy there.”

Didn’t think about that….

Don’t you think it’s a little close to the oil tank.”

Oops I forgot about that great big green tank with OIL and FLAMMABLE written in big letters down its side.

Dad I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we forget about the fire pit. When we need a BBQ then why don’t we just run an electric extension cable outside. Then we can just rig the George Foreman Grill to work outside. Job done and you don’t need to spend days trying to light the fire….”

That sounds like a better plan.

Week whatever of school at home

Ive been thinking about what I will do if my job doesn’t survive the shutdown. The longer this goes on then the little company I work for will struggle. What’s hurting it is not the lockdown but it’s the lack of a national plan. What’s going to happen whenever things are safe to reopen. Currently the Government is clueless. Lots of words but a complete lack of willingness to think things through. Wearing a little NHS badge, slagging off the money footballers make and a smug smile DOES NOT COUNT AS EFFECTIVE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT. So like many people we just don’t know if it’s May, August, November or 2021 when the company might start operating again. We don’t know what the regulations will be when we open. We don’t know what changes we will need to make. My head is telling me that I will stay furloughed until the end of June and then the reality will hit the company and it will have to fold.

So if our company is killed off by Government incompetence (not the virus) then what do I do next. Because of our Son it will need to be a largely home based, part time role. So what can I do? Well how about this as a niche market. The first Yorkshire home based wildlife photographer with a hint of Muppetry. I won’t be using any expensive photographic kit, just my very old iPhone. I can see a hit TV series to rival the excitement of Bear Grylls. Today’s action shot is an out of focus bird. That’s enough bird excitement for one day now. So it’s time to get back to homeschooling.

It’s week whatever of the enforced school at home project. Apparently it’s Friday. Only know as the school timetable is telling us that it’s Day 5. It’s been another mixed bag. Some subjects working well and some not so well. Some teachers are really embracing new ways of delivering the subject. One request – can we provide health warnings for parents trying to do some of the PE exercises – our bodies don’t naturally bend like those of our kids. A number of teachers are finding ways to build confidence and reward effort. Others sadly are still focusing less on the positive and more on wielding a giant stick. Consequently a clear pattern is developing on which subjects Son enjoys and which fill him with dread.

I have noticed a couple of clear strands underpinning our particular schooled at home process.

  • Where he does his work makes a huge impact on its outcome. Some subjects like History he actually thinks better by pacing about the house. He finds reading easier when he’s lying on the sofa rather than sitting up. Science works better for him when he’s outside in the garden, while Maths works best when he’s sat in the Lounge. Setting, room layout, wall patterns, temperature, space, background noise can have such a huge impact on concentration and mental wellbeing. It’s about what works best for each child and each subject.
  • He is benefiting from asking more questions. He feels constrained in school. Teachers have such big classes that they struggle to field the questions from the class. At home he can freely ask his Dad or look it up on the internet. In the classroom he is reluctant to ask any question which relates to not being able to read. At home he will ask for help.

These points are all pushing the virtues homeschooling offers in terms of flexibility and security. Virtues which have been sadly lacking in the current UK school system. As a household we need to find a sustainable way of maintaining those virtues. Sadly I suspect that can never be within the confines of our current school classroom setup.

Stay safe and happy my friends.

Crazy

It’s all gone a bit crazy. Even the sheep I encountered on the one permitted walk out of the house .. It’s a scene of peace in front of the lens. Behind the lens I am being stalked by a pack of hungry sheep waiting for a biscuit.

Dad you have done some crazy things but that one is up there”

No it wasn’t my sanest moment. I lost a challenge and my punishment was to bounce for five minutes on the trampoline. In a moment of madness I made myself a cup of tea to drink while bouncing. Yes I didn’t really think that through. Unfortunately I didn’t come to my senses until after the first bounce had deposited the said contents of the cup onto my T-shirt. Clearly the tea is not the only thing that I have lost.

Dad what on earth are you doing”

I had made a mistake on a post that I was writing for a couple of friends.

“Son where is the rubber (eraser), I’ve messed up and need to change something”

Dad your using your IPad”

Yes I know”

Tell me Dad your not going thinking about using a rubber on the screen.”

Staggeringly I was in a moment of utter craziness. I guess it’s a combination of a complete lack of sleep, trying to help with French homework and the general oddness which has descended on to us all. It really is an odd feeling. Like we are living in an episode of the X-Files merged with Monty Python and Bear Grylls.

But at least we can still smile about it. If anything the craziness helps fill the day. So let’s have one more piece of craziness.

Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) has come up with a new music challenge.

you are to create a playlist of 15 songs based upon a weekly theme.  All titles must be relevant to the theme itself – not the artists just the song titles. This week the theme is CRAZY TIMES…

So here goes (going to try and just include songs from my music collection).

  1. Crazy Train – Ozzy
  2. Psychotic Break – Jerry Cantrell
  3. Madhouse – Anthrax
  4. Stone Cold Crazy – Queen
  5. Am I Going Insane – Black Sabbath
  6. Eyes of the Insane – Slayer
  7. Inmates (Were all Crazy) – Alice Cooper
  8. Crazy – Nazareth
  9. Crazy Horses – The Osmonds yes that’s my only Osmonds song
  10. Shine on you crazy diamond – Pink Floyd
  11. Crazy – Aerosmith
  12. Moon Crazy – Blue Oyster Cult
  13. Crazy World – Scorpions
  14. You’re Crazy – Guns n Roses
  15. Psycho – Metal Church