Get it

The rain is finally starting to pass. The cold is moving on and the temperatures are slowly rising. Perfect time to visit a Rose.

Over time we all lose things that are so important to us. That could be love, friendships, people we care for, pets, our health, our passions, relationships, parts of our very essence, our personal freedom, a space to breathe in, that perfect job, our hopes and dreams. Life can be so very hard.

Often it’s so easy to think that you are alone dealing with these things. That no one understands. It’s such an unsettling feeling – thinking that no one GETS YOU. Believing that you are alone in these struggles. I’ve certainly been there. When you do open up, the awkward or baffled looks you get. The indirect suggestions to ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ or ‘sort yourself out’. The overt signals to ‘please shut up and change the subject’, not even wanting to listen. Often these come from those who seemingly know you the best or are close to you. Friends, family and partners. You do end up feeling isolated and alone.

But there are people out there who understand, who have been through similar experiences, who care or genuinely will listen. Just got to find them. Maybe they end up finding you. Maybe it’s just a random encounter. They could be many many miles away. That’s what happened with me. I’d given up hope, fully accepting that it was just me alone taking on this struggle. But I was randomly found. Suddenly I was genuinely listened to, understood again. BELIEVED IN. Now I don’t feel alone on this journey. Yes I can do this and if I do fall then support is there. A shoulder to cry on and a comforting hug. Will always be so very thankful for that. 💙

Nonstop

It’s a hard life on the pet sofa. Nonstop action.

So while the pets were unusually becalmed and Hawklad was watching a Sherlock Holmes movie, I could focus on a pressing matter. Seeing what bargains I could find on the internet. Replacements for items which are starting to fall to bits. Actually that could include me.

As usual the items on my list where either unavailable or at full price (or beyond). But I did come across a range on interesting bargains.

  • A rather battered old pink Campervan. The description referred to well looked after, well loved, filled with character. I didn’t references to words like knackered, dented, rusted or broken. Clearly if it was true that the badly battered vehicle had in fact had only one careful owner well that owner must have been NASA.
  • A collection of novelty LPs which included masterpieces from the likes of The Crankies, Baron Knights, Showaddywaddy, Mud and Vanilla Ice. Shame I don’t have a record player……
  • A chessboard with some of the pieces missing. Suppose that contributes to quicker games.
  • The entire James Bond DVD collection. One dvd is missing and several are scratched. They also won’t work in the UK and Europe. But apart from that….
  • A Bullworker. Remember those. Those exercise devices which apparently if you used it for 10 minutes a day for a month you would end up looking like Thor or The Terminator. I might need to use that for several years……
  • A Batman lego set which would cost more than my car….
  • A Genuine Boomerang. Wow you must be able to get fake ones.
  • A box of VHS tapes. Maybe I can sell the bag loads of those cassettes we have filling up the garage.
  • A set of glowing hula hoops. Surely that would represent an essential purchase.
  • A Boris Johnson punch bag. So so tempted.
  • A giant bag of jigsaw pieces, several sets mixed together – no guarantee that all sets are complete. Trying to get my head round that one.
  • A pantomime horse costume for two adults. Apparently with some wear and tear. The mind boggles.
  • A set of 30 Xbox games. Ranging from motor racing to Star Wars.

Most admit the Xbox games pack was tempting. One problem. We would never use them. Son is a creature of habit. On his Xbox 360 he only ever played two games FIFA (football) and WWE (wrestling). When I saved up to upgrade it to an Xbox One, guess what. He’s only ever played two games on it. FIFA and WWE. Maybe Microsoft can next time just do us a special cutdown version of the Xbox Two. We only need it to play two games. Surely they can do us a cheap version rare edition. That might be worth something on eBay.

August

Heralding a wonderful summers day – NOT

It’s been one of those wonderful Yorkshire Summer Days. Damp, exceedingly windy and cold. The cold that makes your toes curl. August and we have the heating full on. Not a day for cold drinks. It’s been steaming hot tea and decaf coffee. Hawklad has been on hot milk – on repeat. That’s a great way to get some calories into him.

August also sees the ongoing trials associated with my WordPress experiment. That pesky new editor. I am trying, really trying. I hear you shout – Your just so vexing. But I am trying to like the editor. But really should it be this hard. It crashes, it messes up formats, drops links. When you do get round to publishing then posts suddenly disappear or mess up. Comments go missing. And on and on. Even this grumpy Yorkshire man is easier to like than this so called editor.

But I will keep trying to get my head round it. Just like trying to get my head round this summer. Just like I’m trying to get my head round Hawklads food intake. He’s not had his weight officially tracked and assessed by the health professionals in over 2 years now. With the current service restrictions, it’s going to be well into 2021 before that happens. On the last assessment he was right on the edge of being ‘too underweight’ for his height. I think that he’s probably dropped below that now. So following the Paediatricians instructions I’m trying to get as many calories into him as possible. That’s not easy. He has such a limited range of foods he will eat. Over the years I have slowly managed to increase these so that he has 6 different main meals which he has over the week. It’s the same meals, weak in weak out. Not much scope to vary things there. Trying to get him to eat the occasional chocolate bar or bag of crisps helps. So does milk. So a cold day and repeated hot milks is a welcome bonus.

Yes a cold summer is good sometimes.

Different

Who are you looking at

I’ve always felt like the black sheep in the family. The odd one out amongst my siblings. The youngest by a decade. My brother and sisters had partied together and flown the nest while I was still at school. The tallest. The only shy one. The only one with a stammer as a kid. The only one who went to college and university. The only one you got letters after his name (M.U.P.P.E.T). The only one who never got married (huge mistake). The only bereaved one. The only single parent. The only blogger. The only vegetarian. The only one who has given up alcohol. The only one who is gluten free. The only runner. The only climber. The only one learning a second language. The only one who has visited mums grave. The only Asperger Parent. The only Newcastle United supporter. The only one without a middle name. The only one whose first name doesn’t start with a P. The only one how formed a close link with a Quaker family. The only religious one.

I could go on. Hopefully you get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my brother and sisters. We are close. Close but we don’t see each other much. Mum was always the centre. The gravitational pull that kept the various differing orbits from spinning away. I will see one sister every few months. Another one maybe a couple of times a year. Brother and the other sister maybe once in several years. An occasional phone call or text maintain a link. But since mum left we are slowly spinning apart.

So yes I do feel a little bit like the odd one out. That’s where friends come in. They get me. They make me feel not different. They make me feel whole again. Thank you ❤️

I will leave the final words to my departed partner. We were spending a night in London before we caught the first train to France. Off on our first holiday together. That was back in 2000. We were in a quiet but very full pub in Kings Cross. After a large lager my partner asked about my dieting life choice. In a voice which echoed round the pub. “Are you the only VEGETABLE in your family…”

Yes I probably am….

Online Education

Red sky – delight or warning?

For a couple of weeks I had been thinking about doing a list of things which might help make homeschooling work. But then Robyn published her wonderful post about Successful Online Learning. Robyn said it way better than I could ever do, so I thought let’s forget about my post. But then the inner muppet took over. How about tips on making a complete dogs dinner of Online Learning. I can do that. So here goes a Muppet Guide to Homeschooling.

  • Don’t bother checking the unused school bags which have been sat next to the front door since March. There is absolutely no chance that half eaten sandwiches and bananas might be still squashed in there. Even less chance that damp PE kit might still be festering under the mouldy school lunch.
  • Make sure you buy new and expensive school uniform items a week before schools shutdown for a pandemic. Absolutely no possibility that your kid will shoot up several sizes in those few months.
  • When the PE teacher asks for the parent to also take part in home games lessons, you have only one sensible response. Absolutely, it will be fun to show off to your child that you are still a sporting Super Being. There is no conceivable risk that you will pull every single muscle in your body and that you will be completely humiliated by your beloved offspring.
  • The Xbox is a perfectly acceptable online educational tool.
  • When you hear the words SCIENCE LESSON and MOLECULAR STRUCTURES in the same sentence then immediately pretend to be on a works call for the next two hours. The same principle also applies to the words MATHEMATICS and CALCULUS.
  • On a similar theme the words RELATIONSHIP And SEX EDUCATION should immediately bring the response – “go and speak to the other parent”. If that is not practical then it is perfectly acceptable to run outside and spend the next hour cutting the grass in the pouring rain.
  • Letting your child watch wrestling videos during a Citizenship Lesson is perfectly in line with governments curriculum.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to attach a profanity to any reference to DRAMA lessons.
  • A can of Pepsi, bag of crisps and a chocolate bar represents a balanced school lunch.
  • When homeschooling first starts you have this real commitment to fully focus on your child’s education. To sit with them. To be that one on one teacher. That feeling lasts for at most a couple of hours. You start to waiver with frequent trips to the kitchen for a hot drink and a biscuit. Next you sit next your child but secretly try to look at your emails and news feeds. It finally breaks down as your openly start playing Crossy Roads.
  • You don’t need to worry about charging the school iPad up. Your diligent child will always do that…..
  • It doesn’t make you a bad parent when you tell your child to ignore the instructions of the French Teacher and to use the Google Translation App.
  • Never get drawn into debates on History. You have zero chance of winning those – you haven’t read a history text in decades and watching the Ozzy Osbournes history tv show does not count as an Academic Qualification. Best approach is to just smile and nod.
  • For absolutely any Geography question your only responses should be – ‘The Himalayas’, ‘The Nile’, ‘Coastal Erosion’ or ‘Go and watch the Discovery Channel’.
  • When you restock on pens from Amazon never buy the cheap multipacks. You will never use the Red and Green ones.
  • For Food Technology it is perfectly acceptable to let your child watch any Gordon Ramsey Show.
  • Try to avoid saying things like ‘In my day’, ‘That’s not what I was taught’, ‘The Dinosaurs were not extinct yet when I was in school’. These all may give the false appearance that you are in fact an old fossil.
  • When your child has to do an art project never say ‘what is it supposed to be’ when you see the completed work for the first time. That’s not cool parenting at all. Much better to say ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s better than an Andy Warhol masterpiece’.
  • You might think you are an expert in computing. This might be backed up with academic qualifications. But never ever get involved in anything to do with technology. Trust me, let your child deal with the computer stuff. In fact let your child sort out your mobile at the same time.

There you go. Don’t follow any of my tips and you might make homeschooling work for you. Even better go and read a post like Robyn’s, she knows what she’s talking about….

Remember homeschooling can be FUN.

Doubts

Much needed colour on a very grey and damp start to the day.

Some days are just greyer than others. Yes still smiles. Somethings just don’t fail. But then you come up to the surface again and it’s still grey. Crack on with stuff until you can immerse yourself in the good stuff again. Up and down. Swings and roundabouts.

Might have said that before. Sounds familiar. Sounds a bit like the lines ‘I’m going on a diet’ and ‘I’m going to have an early night’.

Another thing I’ve said over the last few hours – a one day heat wave is due on a Friday. Every time I look excitedly at the forecast, it just gets warmer. Now it’s supposed to be 29C (84F). That’s really hot for Yorkshire. Now I wonder what the reality will actually be. Let’s show you the current weather.

Wet, windy and definitely not warm…. Less than 24 hours until we are supposed to be hot then. Doubts definitely building.

I read some haunting words last night that brought tears. A really good person having so much to deal with in life. Honesty about the pain and sadness suffered. Yet unbroken with so much spirit, heart and love. Definitely made me think about that person and what a symbol of hope they represent. It also made me think about my life. Its too easy for me to take so many things for granted. I’ve been a bit up and down recently. A few too many down moments. Far too many doubts. Yet I have so much to smile about. Things which I far too easily take for granted. That needs to change. I’m not saying it’s going to transform me into a constantly smiling creature but maybe it will make me more balanced and honest with myself. I might believe my life is tough but looking at others, it really isn’t that bad at all. I’ve been so fortunate in many areas. I need to remember that and be more mindful of what others are dealing with. I’ve had opportunities which have been cruelly denied to others.

So it’s time to be much more thankful for what I have.

It’s a good life for me and actually it’s frequently a wonderful life.

Cramming

This was a year ago. It must have been taken on one of my really long running routes. As it was the last week of term, I would be trying to cram in as many long runs as possible before the 6 week school holidays started. If only I had crammed in a few super long runs before the pandemic kicked in during March this year. Actually thinking about it, I wish I had crammed in a few other things as well those long 4 months ago

  • Real ice cream
  • Slush puppies
  • Hill walking
  • Climbing
  • Trips to the beach
  • Trips to Switzerland
  • Trips to see my football team play – on seconds thoughts, who wants to see them get beat again….
  • Trips to Castles and Roman sites
  • Rock concerts
  • Visits to my sisters and brother
  • Trips to see some special friends
  • A few mountain biking sessions
  • A trip to the running shoe shop
  • A trip to a coffee and cake shop
  • A trip to the hot donut shop
  • A trip to the paper shop to stock up on paper, pens, PENCILS, paint, crayons and other school stationary cupboard requirements
  • Trip to the garage, my car has been broken since March now
  • A trip to the chip shop
  • Clothes shopping for the next year of Hawklad’s growth
  • Bathroom paper (toilet roll), face mask and soap shopping
  • A trip to the toy shop for Christmas gifts
  • Garden furniture shopping – the Yorkshire winters are not kind on outside chairs
  • Second hand book store

Thinking about books, the one place I am so glad I never crammed in was a trip to the Library. My books would now be 4 months overdue – that would be some hefty fine.

Blue

Blue Sky. Well just a bit but it makes such a difference. It really does.

After weeks of not using the work’s computer system it’s such a shock when you have to finally turn it back on again. Not a clue what my username or password is. I picked something I would never forget which I have now forgotten….. In fact where is the laptop ON button. Trying to tell my fingers that it’s not a touch control screen, that’s the reason you get psychedelic colour patterns every time I press it. What’s a keyboard. Having somehow turned the computer on, it must be time for a hot drink. See back in the swing of work already. When I returned the computer had decided to upgrade itself and was stuck at 4%. So the computer was quickly back in the normal swing of things as well. So the hot drink was enjoyed outside. That blue does look good…

So I’m back inside and ready to rumble. Now the upgrade is at 2% completion. As a professional accountant I can just about work out that it’s just lost 2% of its upgrade thingy in the last 20 minutes. So it’s de-upgrading. I can’t work out if that means it will complete sometime in 2026 or maybe it would have been completed in 2014 in a time-warping kinda way. Randomly throwing pink socks at the screen I guess will not speed things up. I wonder if the laptop finds that really annoying. Strangely I find it very therapeutic. Just like lovely friends and blue skies.

Not my lawn

Before you think it, this is not my lawn….

I was thinking how beautiful the farmers field was as it flowed like waves in the strong summer winds. An hour later the tractor arrived to cut it. Bit of a shame really but that’s the farm working cycle. But it will grow again.

Bit like life really. One moment your up and standing tall. Then suddenly your cut down to size. Having to dust yourself off and pull yourself up, yet again. But we do. Sometimes by ourselves. Sometimes with the help of those who care. And the cycle begins again. Hopefully each time we go through this we learn just a bit more about ourselves. Find out what and who are really important to us. And then start to stand tall again.

Now it’s time to cut my grass. I wonder if the farmer will lend me his tractor. Even better a few of his sheep.

Bagpuss

The fading embers of the day. Another wet one but at least we have been granted a few late moments of weather calm. An opportunity to sit outside with Hawklad. A new nickname for son all the way from Canada. He likes it.

I like that. So much potential. Either a new Avenger or DC character. Maybe my name if I become a falconry. And definitely cooler than yours. Bagpuss. Really…”

For those unaware Bagpuss was a children’s TV character from yesteryear. A toy who was an exhibit in a magical shop. A shop that didn’t sell. The little girl shop owner would find things, repair them and put them in the shop window. When Bagpuss came to life the other items in the shop did as well. The intro to the show is engrained in my childhood memories. After all these years I can still remember the monologue, word for word.

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss
Old fat furry cat-puss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright
Be golden and light
Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing

And Bagpuss was wide awake
And when Bagpuss wakes up all his friends wake up too
The mice on the mouse-organ woke up and stretched
Madeleine, the rag doll
Gabriel, the toad
And last of all, Professor Yaffle, who was a very distinguished old woodpecker
He climbed down off his bookend and went to see what it was that Emily had brought

So why was I named after this TV Toy Cat. A show that they only ever made 13 episodes. Maybe it was the Bagpuss toy that was in the Car. Maybe my goalkeeping prowess didn’t quite warrant full cat like status. Or maybe it was the shows description of the toy cat.

“an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams”

Yes I can see the similarities. They become more apt everyday. But I guess that’s the same for many of us.