Changes

Apparently this year I’ve blogged 157,000 words. OMG. That’s an awful lot of drivel. So I’ve been thinking about making changes to the blog. Even about maybe deleting it. But in the end my urge to dabble has changed direction. Going to try and see if this great quote works. So today I have started a linked instagram account. Given it a really sexy name bereaveddad. I know a few of my friends here have similar accounts. I will try to follow you over the next few days. Please let me know of you have one and I will follow you.

Hopefully over the next week I will try to set up a Twitter account as well.

This world needs more mundane rubbish.

Thirty Minutes

About a month a go I visited the Moorlands Nature Reserve. It’s a small but ever so beautiful piece of nature on the edge of the city. After years of driving past it and thinking ‘must go there’ – I finally found the time. Really pleased I made myself stop the car and go for it.

Well another work visit to the City. Work completed sooner than expected. So a spare 30 minutes before I head for the school run. No better use of that time than another walk round the Reserve.

The colours have so changed in just one month.

Countless studies have shown the positive impact nature can have on a persons wellbeing and stress levels. I’m no statistician but I confirm that even just 30 minutes is just so uplifting.

I just love the beautiful carvings which are dotted around the reserve. The old 14th century acorn quote is brilliant. We can make a difference. Seemingly small and modest things can grow into something impressive given time and patience.

I really need to make a date to come and look at that quote every single month. Yes seemingly small changes in my lifestyle can have a significant impact. The garden can be made into our own little nature reserve. I can make a difference. Son can achieve his dreams. I can do this. He can do this. We can do this.

Million miles

Always two sides to every story..

Dad it’s been nice. On our walks we haven’t seen anyone. No one has been to our door all week. The phone hasn’t rung at all. Your mobile has not rung. Even when we went to the little local shop it was empty.

In the quiet moments of this week I had been fretting over the isolation. The increasing physical loneliness. Failing to adapt to the new world forced on me by bereavement. Yet one persons silent hell is another persons dream land. And when that person is our son then that is all that matters. The single most important thing. He is happiest when he distances himself from this strange alien world. So be it then

So I need to adjust to this new reality. So many others have had to. The wonderful comments I’ve received over the last few days have demonstrated this. It’s also demonstrated the indomitable human spirit. You can do this. I can do this. WE CAN DO THIS.

Friends. Good Friends. Close Friends. They are to be cherished and loved whether they are stood in front of you or if they are sat in front of a screen seemingly a million miles away across an ocean. Thank you for being there.

Let’s leave it with the fine words of Henry Rollins.

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better

Come on it’s Friday

So like the weather we crash into the weekend. This photo was taken minutes before the heavy rain rushed in. It’s time to batten down the hatches for 24 hours.

For 10 brief minutes a delightful dry run in sublime autumnal colours. What followed was a long and protracted slog through a mud bath and driving rain. One step forward and two back. Seriously doubting if I could make the climbs which had been done countless times before. Soul destroying. No fun anymore just hard labour. Frigid isolation in this hostile environment. Doubting my sanity. What am I doing here.

It’s been a perfect microcosm of this week.

A week which has rapidly gone downhill. A long hard slog giving my soul a good kicking. Leaving my mojo and my confidence in tatters. Almost complete social isolation. Never ending pain from dental work. Failure to find solutions to home, school and work problems. Error strewn days. The house is filled with echoes of the past. Even blogging has been harder than usual. The words seem to be failing me. Three draft posts on Aspergers and one on Dyslexia deleted. Just not good enough. Not sure I trust myself enough to venture there. But then life interrupts my meltdown.

We have crashed into Friday. It’s also the start of the half term week holidays. It’s Halloween week. Remember the number one priority. The only one that matters in the end.

Give son the best childhood possible.

So it’s time to put my game face on. Work can wait until son has gone to bed. Halloween gives endless scope for creative fun. My problems will be pushed into the background by boundless youthful energy released by the school gates closing. I’m sure they will be back but just not this week. That’s not allowed.

Only one possible song to leave you with. Mr Alice Cooper and Schools Out.

Schools Out – Live

Eevee

Happily having a morning constitutional when the bathroom door exploded open.

Sorry Dad you have company. Need a photograph of the Shiny Eevee.

Another thing not in the glossy adverts about parenting. But the same applies to Dog owning. Our bungalow has a design issue.

For some reason the architect who designed the building thought it would be funny to put the toilet basically in full sight of the front door. The bathroom door takes on the same importance as the Wall in a Game of Thrones. It is the only defence against chaos. It doesn’t help that for some reason the bathroom door has decided to expand just enough that it doesn’t fully shut.

So when you are happily sat on the throne it’s not perfect timing for the postman to arrive at the very same time as the dog barges open the bathroom door. The postman’s horror would make a great Stephen King novel. At least a short novel. It could be the short version of IT.

S*IT. Which is probably the words the postman issued. Definitely the words I said.

It’s also the perfect description of my current mood. I won’t bore you with the long story yet again. But over the last 3 years the period from July 23 to early September is when we lost my mum, my partners mum and my partner. It should be a great time. The period exactly covers the long school break. Before the world changed it rivalled Christmas for the best part of the year. Now it’s an ordeal. But holiday periods are often like that. Even after 3 years it’s still an ordeal. Maybe it will get better over time. Maybe it never will.

Grief is such a difficult feeling to describe. I’m still trying to capture it on this blog. I’m still not that close I suspect but I will keep plugging away. Have a look at the blog Party of One, or Life after Death. Malia writes about losing her husband so beautifully. Look at The Grief Reality. Another beautifully written blog about coping with the loss of a beloved mum at a far too early age in life. These show what can be achieved.

In those three years since the world changed I often fall back on silliness to release the pressure. I strongly suspect that it’s really a ploy to just to stop the grieving process for a few moments. Maybe if I laugh the problems will just go away. Sadly they don’t.

Son often copes by trying to fill his head with information. Today it’s been Egyptian Football, Agrippina and Pokemon Go. Thankfully the distraction seems to be working for him.

Tonight we will both forget about life by watching Red Dwarf. So very funny. Hopefully we will have more luck than the previous night. We watched an episode which featured unusually for the show a sad segment where the shipmates talked about not having a mum. The Kryten line everyone should have a mum really did hit home. You are so right Kryten. It’s not easy at my age but at son’s age….

So hopefully after a lot of laughs tonight we go again tomorrow. Let’s see how many Pokemon I can traumatise in the bathroom. No wonder it went shiny.

Shopping

I ventured into a Supermarket today. What was I thinking about. Son wisely stayed in the car and watched Red Dwarf episodes. When I went shopping with my partner it seemed to insulate me from the madness occurring around us. Now as a single shopper I seem to absorb everything. It’s a truly bizarre experience.

First of all why do some supermarkets insist that they will only permit you to use one of the trolleys only if you first feed it a one pound coin. Could I find a one pound coin. Could I buggery. After 10 fruitless minutes ransacking the car I had to go into the supermarket to see if they would change a £10 note. “I’m sorry we are not allowed to give change”. So I bought the cheapest packet of sweets I could find. I fed the trolley it’s coin and off we went – in circles. Why is it of the 100 trolleys available I picked the one with the jammed wheel. So I tried again. This time the trolley went in a reasonably straight line but as I entered the shop the little blighter started squeaking. When I say squeaking I mean SQUEAKING. We are talking a 10000 opera singing mice squeaking through the Motorhead sound system. Too late to change as my first items are loaded.

I was going to get a melon but I watched as a chap proceeded to pick up every melon, squeeze them and then appear to smell them. Eventually he found one which he could love. Unfortunately I suddenly did not fancy a previously sniffed melon.

A little kid picking his nose ferociously within inches of the deli counter rather changed my view on lunch options.

Unbelievably I then watched as a woman started checking out every single cucumber. She was seriously squeezing each one. Some even got tapped on the counter. Strangely I crossed off Cucumber from the shopping list as I have a strict no purchase policy for all previously violated vegetables.

As I was trying to find just one tin of soup which was dairy free I heard a chap ask a Shop Assistant where the teabags could be found. The helpful advice the chap got was – well it’s not in this aisle it will be next to the coffee. When the chap asked where the coffee was he was told. It used to be in aisle 3 but they moved it. I’m sure you will find it if you keep going round the shop.

Then an old lady asked if I could pass her a tin of peaches down. I’m one 1/2 inch above average height. Why in God’s name do shops insist on having shelves where even an average height person has to go on tip toes to reach the stuff we are trying to buy. The poor woman who can’t be 5ft has got no chance shopping. Maybe the shop could hire stilts along with the trolley.

The aisle with the tomato ketchup and other sauces was cordoned off. Clearly a jar of something red had been dropped. However it must have been dropped with some force as most of the aisle resembled a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That’s going to take some cleaning.

I then went past the discounted section. Not sure what produce was discounted as what appeared to be a team bus of local holligans where at least 3 deep around the area. That is going to be stripped bare.

The pet section had a deal on cat food. Everything seemed to be buy one get one free. Yet nothing for the dogs. Isn’t that discrimination. Plus how can gerbil bedding be so bloody expensive. It would be cheaper to buy them a proper duvet with matching cover. Or maybe just buy them a tree and let the Gerbils do the rest.

You make it through the pet section then you find the way blocked at the cereal aisle. An impromptu meeting of what appeared to be the bridge club had helpfully completely filled the walkway. Oh for a Battering Ram.

Special mention to the poor mum who had successfully navigated the supermarket carefully packing her trolley with the weekly essentials. Only to find out her toddler had been having a great game of putting any item in his reach back onto the shelves – definitely not in the correct position.

Then we come to the dress sense. Ok on the sartorial scale I’m near the bottom. But come on. One chap in a fine pinstripe suit with bright yellow training shoes. The lady in what can be best described as a ballerina costume. The young kid (maybe 8) with the f**k you T-shirt. Or maybe the chap walking around in what appeared to be a string vest which was probably last washed 10 years ago. Or perhaps the big chap walking around in Tour de France Lycra which was clearly on the point of exploding under the extreme pressure it was subject to. Wow what an old fart I’m becoming. To balance things out I was looking spectacular in my luminous green running shoes set against a blue and green relaxed fit T-shirt. My exploding lycra issue was tastefully hidden under matching black and white running shorts. I think the term your trying to think of is numpty.

The freezer section lives up to its name. The freezers are working that well that the surrounding air has been chilled to somewhere close to East Antarctic Plateau temperatures. You could see the colour literally being sucked out of the shoppers trying to reach the ice lolly section. To my cost I discovered how little insulation running shorts and Lycra provide. I will never look at frozen Brussels Sprouts in the same way again.

Then it’s time to pay. When I say time I mean that in the loosest sense. A long queue at every open till. Then they start to open another till. The start to the Monaco Grand Prix has nothing on the ensuing trolley carnage. I was expecting Kirk Douglas and Chariot to make an appearance. And then when we do get to a cash till. Of the 16 available why do I always pick the one where the poor cashier has the plague. 5 minutes of coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose. Deep Joy.

That’s why I am hermit….

Terrible Poetry

It’s time for a bit of the weekly Terrible Poetry indulgence run by Chelsea Owen. This week the guidelines are

  1. Topic: Plot twists. Lament about how often stories have them, include a few in your poem, or pull a fast one on us and keep the poem going exactly where we expect.
  2. Length: Since this is Bruce’s first time, let’s be nice to him and keep the word count under 200.
  3. Rhyme? Your call. Have fun with it!
  4. As the #1 rule listed at #4, make it terrible. I want Bruce himself, master of the macabre story twist, to shake his head in disbelief and secretly envy the part of the twisting Roman gutters in which your mind lies.
  5. Rating? For general audiences, keep things PG-13 or cleaner. Bleep it out if you really need to release a torrent.

******************************

Yoda was the all seeing Jedi Knight

Yet was fooled with a hood and a dodgie light

While Luke was being the Star Wars Galahad

Who honestly thought that Vader was his dad

Bruce Willis seemed the perfect host

But ended up being a sodding Ghost

Poor Liberty Valence ended up getting shot

By John Wayne that’s a strange train of thought

The Sting was a shock when Paul and Robert copped it

But it just ended up being a gigantic counterfeit

The Village tried to fool us with a bit of double play

But it ended up being set in the Present Day

Anthony Perkins seemed such a nice chap

Yet as Mum and a psycho he got me into a flap

Seven tried so hard to subvert

By having a Box in the desert

Vertigo was Very very bleak

Judy being Madeleine was a bit of a cheek

Who in the Murder on the Orient Express would be first to admit

But what a sneaky trick to have them all do seem do it

The Wizard of Oz seemed strangely certain

Yet the wizard was a sad bloke behind a curtain

Reservoir Dogs was as cool as a soda pop

Yet sneaked in that Mr Orange was in fact a cop

Wow Scream tried smoke and mirrors

All to hide we didn’t have one but two killers

Jacobs Ladder tried to hide the thread

Hang on a moment another one who is dead

Even poor Harry Potter tried to be as shifty as a Manx Cat

I never saw Peter Pettigrew was Scabbers the Rat

Dashboard

This post has been sat around my draft section for a while. Messed around with it but couldn’t get it right. So gone back to the first version (without fancy spreadsheet graphs and using the original rubbish hand drawn ones) and let’s get it out there.

**************

Reading between the lines from the occasional comment and the offline emails – my mood is sometimes misinterpreted. That’s not a criticism of anyone. It’s a reflection of my dodgy writing style or the mixed messages I can send out.

Then a thought crossed my mind. Maybe I should start each blog with a disclaimer clearly stating that my current mindset might be very dark even though I might include a little bit of silliness. No confusion there.

But why don’t we take it a stage further. An emotional dashboard. Each post with a current state of mind forecast. These might need to be worked on but how about the following

Or if that is too confusing why not just have a photo which sums of how I feel.

Tired

Very Tired

Zombie

Happy

Distinctly Average

Sad

Like Sh*t

Confused

Pissed Off

Hidden

Apparently a path exists across this field but it’s just not immediately apparent.

That feels a bit like technology. Take our washing machine (please do take it). It’s one of those which is completely automatic. You switch it on then use the programme button to select one of the 10 programmes. Then press the start button. That’s all fine until the programme selection became possessed. Now when you press the programme button it rapidly scrolls through the options and then eventually randomly selects a cycle. You are stuck on that option for potentially days until the washing machine decides to randomly select again. It’s so frustrating that most days the washing machine opts for the quick wash which only just about lightly dampens the clothes.

Take our laptop which refuses to update until the very moment it hears the phrase ‘urgent work’ then immediately goes into update mode which lasts for hours or days.

Take our DVD player. Works fine unless you try to use the remote control. After years of working perfectly it has now decided to become possessed as well. Press the stop button and it rewinds the film. Press the fast forward button and it pauses the film. Press the play button and it switches off the TV.

It’s also like Word Press. Over the years of running the WP app on the iPad I can best describe the experience as PROBLEMATIC. The app repeatedly crashes but I’ve got used to that now. It has now become like the most of our technology- possessed. I leave comments and they frequently disappear –maybe they are so unremittingly boring that they are secretly deleted. Error messages appear when I try to read certain blogs. But the most frustrating thing is the app will say that some blogs (not all blogs) have no new updates available. Then suddenly weeks later WP suddenly changes its mind and reveals all. Last night one blog who had been very quiet for weeks according to WP suddenly sprung into life. WP happily showing the 22 posts which had not been there an hour previously. So it’s probably time to try something different.

Now if the laptop would kindly stop updating then I will give the Microsoft or Web based options a go. Fingers crossed.

Don’t look

If I don’t look will it go away…

Today in the post we got a Car Tax Reminder. Also the final notice for the House Insurance. That adds to the pile of bills on the desk. If I don’t look at the bills will they go away…

The side panel on the car is coming loose. If I drive over 30mph it starts to knock. The car is covered in a layer of mud – it should have a beautiful complexion when it’s cleaned. The inside of the car resembles a skip. If I don’t look at the car…

Son badly needs a haircut. It’s a combination of Shaggy and Cousin It. His school clothes are a little small for him now. Its the great end of school year parent dilemma – pay for new ones or battle on with the old. If I don’t look at his hair and his school uniform…

The chimney pot has a plant growing out of the top of it. When I say plant it’s big enough to be a sapling. No idea how I will get onto the roof to deal with it. If I don’t look at the roof…

On the desk I have another report to complete for our son. 32 pages. 52 different questions. Health and Education evidence required. If I don’t look at the report…

The garden looks like a jungle. A really unkempt one. The grass is that long the dog now disappears when he goes out for his morning constitutional. At least it hides the fresh mole hills. Nettles have taken over the borders. The weeds under the trampoline are now touching the mat. Could make the next bouncing session interesting. If I don’t look at the garden…

The washing is piling up. I always wanted to climb Everest. Well at this rate I might get the opportunity. Ok I probably imagined a slightly less wiffy Everest and one with not so many sock avalanches. If I don’t look at the washing…

The house is a battleground. Most of the curtains have been shredded by the cat(s). When I say curtains I could say sofa, beds, chairs, wallpaper, carpets, cushions. Most of the wood in the house has been chewed by the dog. Given the amount of wood in the house it kinda makes a dog heaven and a house which is becoming increasingly structurally unsound. Thats before we factor in the agents of doom – the Gerbils. If I don’t look at the house…

If I don’t look will that mad dog stop looking at me…