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

It’s Yoga but not as we know it

Why do I always hear Spock’s words to Captain Kirk whenever I try to do yoga.

It’s life Jim but not as we know it!”

It’s yoga just not as we know it. That sums up my yoga talents perfectly. I do try. I guess it’s like my parenting as well – it’s parenting but not as we know it. Anyway back to that instrument of torture which is yoga. I’m part of the Yoga with Adriene App community. She’s really really good but even she can’t sort some people out. This person out. But at least I can laugh at the many times I lose balance and then hit the ground.

Like most things in life, we have to find our own way.

The last ME/MUPPET guide to yoga went down so well and it guided so many lost souls to yoga perfection – well then clearly you need another one. Again I will be assisted by some brave and fearless (mostly) mini lego figures. I will be played this time by Shaggy. Bizarrely the rest of the yoga group are Star Wars characters.

First point is that it’s so important that you get yoga mats, leggings and blocks that are the right size for you. Anything other than a perfect fit could lead to injury or worse, embarrassment.

A perfect fit for a yoga block

Remember to place your mat next to people who have similar abilities to yourself. In my case I tend to look at for certain key signs in the other yoga attendees. Badly fitting gym clothes, a few spare tyres round the middle, scrapes and bruises to the knees, bandages on the elbows, squashed nose and a slightly bemused look.

Perfect person to be next to ?

Be careful if you get your selection wrong then it will only ever end in disaster. Some people are better equipped to do certain yoga positions than others…..

Motorised hips, no arms and no knees make the crow pose so much easier.

Remember it’s a badge of honour to be the only person in the session standing on the wrong leg repeatedly.

I’m on the correct leg everybody else is wrong…

There will come a time when you will be asked to do a one legged dancer’s pose. Don’t be fearful, embrace it. Especially when you find out your the only person in the room who can’t do it.

Can you explain that move just one more time….

Breathe deeply. Struggle onto one leg. I find swearing really helps. Then as gracefully as possible try to headbutt the floor. You may get a sensation something equivalent to five neutron stars exploding in your hips. That will be the correct Dancer’s pose. A certain feeling of lower half detachment may follow.

That hurt…..

The other important tip is to embrace the journey you go on with the instructor. At the start of the session he or she may seem the nicest and most kind person you could ever hope to meet. In my case Adriene’s words are like a warming blanket, settling deep inside my soul. Then the true journey of discovery begins. After about 10 minutes your instructor will start to talk about ‘nice detoxifying hip openers’. At this stage you will now start to view the instructor as more akin to a prison guard, barking out instructions with the threat of a gun.

Do as you are told…

Your yoga journey will be complete when your instructor tells you to adopt the crow position so you can be ‘truly grounded and at one with the earth’. At that stage you will see the instructor as a predator, a carnivore about to feed on your lifeless and broken carcass . Don’t worry this is completely normal and just means that you still have 5 minutes to go before the session has ended.

Only 5 minutes to go before you have been properly tenderised.

I hope this has been of some use to you. Remember your body is a temple. Probably in urgent need of a preservation and restoration order. You can do this. NAMASTE….

Strain

After 36 hours the rain finally stopped. How long before the broadband dries out enough to start working again? My poor mobile and it’s dodgy 4G signal are having to try and take up the strain. It’s struggling.

Strain is a quite a good word for the day.

I was trying to do my Sunday morning yoga. My online yoga expert Adriene is always very calm but even she sounds strained when she keeps freezing due to signal problems. Yoga is definitely not without stress when I keep having to try and reload the app as it’s crashed. It’s also a strain when you try to keep balanced when a dog is trying to lick my face and the big boy cat is trying to use the yoga mat as a scratching toy. Yoga is supposed to be a good fit with life. It does feel that way. Today trying to hold a position which is supposed to be good for me. Actually the longer it goes on it feels less good and more a strain.

Strain….. Trying to be ahead of the curve and get Hawklads Christmas presents sorted early. This year will not allow me the fun of Christmas shopping in the local city so its online only. I worked hard to come up with 6 ideas. Unfortunately 5 of those are already out of stock. Maybe others are further ahead of the curve than I am … Shopping strain.

Strain…..Not being able to find my bank card to pay for the one Christmas item… Bank card strain.

Strain….. Finally finding the bank card but then nit being able to find my glasses to read card numbers… Eye Strain.

Strain….. That’s now three weeks without any feedback on work Hawklad has submitted. Is it even been looked at?

Dad what we should do is for one subject not submit any work, rather we should send them a few screenshots of FIFA20. See what happens!!!!”

I’m so tempted to let him go ahead with his experiment. Maybe this week. It’s frustrating as it does look like it’s school at home for at least the next 3 months. Clearly unless the school is forced to shut and go full online tuition then things aren’t going to improve. This is it. It’s something but far from perfect. Will keep pushing school but I have a sinking feeling…. School strain.

Strain….. Trying to clean the kitchen and bathroom floors……. Knee strain.

Strain….. Trying to wash the house windows…….. Elbow strain.

Finally the thought of trying to get these words uploaded via the mobile. Not being able to easily read the posts I want to read. WP strain.

So yes definitely Sunday Strains.

Red

It might look like War of the Worlds has come to Yorkshire. But it’s only an illusion. A few hours later the Martians had clearly had enough of the weather and gone back home. Definitely taking the red weed with them.

That’s an important thing to remember for me. Sometimes I get caught up in the moment. Don’t think things through properly. Misread people. See a situation one way. But after a while, when I take the time to revisit again – I clearly misinterpreted things. It’s always good to have those moments of clarity. It helps me chart the right course. Avoid the rocks. Avoid the Martian heat rays…..

Forgotten

Isn’t the human mind strange. Somethings you just can never forget. Hopefully mostly the really nice, beautiful and precious things. They are always on your mind and then other stuff just seems to instantly disappears. Not just stuff like ‘where I put my car keys’, ‘what did I put on my shopping list when it’s been left at home’ and ‘what on Earth was I thinking about when I decided to support Newcastle United’. Could be precious memories, important details and posts. I wrote a post in June and yes I forgot all about it. Poor thing just sat gathering dust in the draft folder. Well yesterday I remembered it.

Unfortunately some of the post is out of date now but at least one bit is still relevant. So here goes then. A few months late and heavily edited but I give you a forgotten post.

*********

So we have a few weeks left of homeschooling. Maybe more. Son’s anxieties are starting to mount. The government is committed to reopening the country at breakneck speed – have we really got the pandemic sufficiently under control. No sign of a vaccine. Just feels like the infection numbers will be back on the rise very soon. So maybe homeschooling will still be the option after the summer break.

As a family we have learned so much from the enforced school at home project. Most of these I have already mentioned. But one very large and ignored elephant is sat in the room. ZOOM.

All children are different. Unique. Surely the key to education is to look at each child and see what works for them. Unfortunately the UK approach is fast moving towards the production line education model. Labelled Victorian Values. One set curriculum, one set teaching method, try to minimise input costs, force all kids through the same hole and then try to carefully control the outputs. Variations are seen as very bad.

So when a teaching approach is adopted then it is forced on all pupils – even if it doesn’t suit them.

In terms of our son it’s clear that he functions best at homeschooling when he is given research to do, watch videos, complete online questions. He works in short bursts. Maybe 20 minutes max of concentration then a quick walk about or something to reset, then he goes again. The initial home at school approach allowed for this. So it worked. But that’s starting to change now. Lessons are increasingly going ZOOM. Online video conferencing classes. 80 minute lessons. Teacher and pupils sitting in front of a video camera. The teacher can see what every pupil is doing. The other pupils can sometimes see but always hear what their classmates are doing. Senior teachers are reviewing each class to check for inappropriate behaviour and lack of effort.

Now this approach will work for some pupils. But not all. Our son hates being filmed. He hates to see his image on a screen, he hates to hear his own voice coming out of the speakers. He cringes at the thought of other people being able to see him. Sitting still for 80 minutes is a significant challenge for him. In a class setting he won’t ask questions, won’t put his hand up. Will just freeze and be filled with anxieties. Basically ZOOM teaching is currently just about the worst teaching approach for him. It just won’t work. But that’s the set teaching method for some classes now. He just has to do it. His marks are lower in those classes. How can this be effective, modern teaching…..

Thank you

I don’t often do this……

I never really check blogger stats. Well I did this morning – great timing. All I can say is that you to everyone. You are so very kind and so very much appreciated.

I think back to 2017 and the first part of 2018. I had just started blogging. In the first year I had 300 views and 20 followers. I was in awe that anyone would take the time to read my waffles. Imagine how I feel now. I get really embarrassed when I see stunning blogs with such brilliantly talented writers with not many views. All I can say is stick with it. If a muppet like me can do it then someone as talented as you can absolutely soar.

THANK YOU

#itsabeautifulplanet

Ok I know I go on about Switzerland. How I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. But I need to set the record straight. In my eyes we are so lucky to live in a world with so many wonderful places. Every country, every region will have at least one place. One special place. I’ve been so lucky to actually visit many of those places in Yorkshire, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Congo, South Africa and yes Switzerland.

Yes today Yorkshire is separate from England – must be time for the next King Richard III to take us out of the place which has became the play thing for the Madness of King Boris.

If I can’t physically visit places then I can see the beauty through virtual trips.

Yes we live in a world which can still be beautiful. It can still be a wonderful life. Surely it’s time for us to not to always focus on all the ugliness which fills the news these days. Time to focus on the beauty. Time to delete the #itsanuglyworld and get behind something like #itsabeautifulplanet. Time for us to promote those special places. To give others a glimpse of what is truly out there.

So I will give you my first offering. I give you Northumberland.

Not what I expected

Not what I expected. I was sure this was a yellow rose last year!

It’s definitely red.

I was reading an article about the main things that have surprised people about the Pandemic and it’s impact on lifestyles. The author went for 5 things – Boredom of not physically meeting people, missing going to Pubs, Parties and Restaurants, missing playing Golf with friends, how hard mask wearing is and how much she misses going on holiday.

Ok let’s have a stab at this. What are the five things which has surprised me about the Pandemic. What was I not expecting.

  • The impact that just not being able to buy just a few of the useful foodstuffs can have on mine and Hawklads life,
  • How quickly you can settle in to new ways,
  • How much money you save if you avoid going to shops,
  • The way days and weeks can just merge into each other if you take out things like the school run and most shopping trips,
  • Just how difficult it is sometimes balance homeschooling, with work, domestic duties and things like running.

I guess a fundamental difference between me and the author is circumstances. She and her husband both work. They have one kid of a similar age to Hawklad but that child seems to spend a lot of the time with friends and doing group activities like sport. They use babysitters to allow for frequent social activities for her and hubby. So yes the Pandemic will have a major impact on her family’s social life. I can so understand why she would list those five things.

My life is currently different. I am a single parent to a kid with Aspergers. Even before the Pandemic I was partly cut off from society. Enforced isolation due to parental requirements. Many other people are in a similar position due to a range of circumstances. So if anything the Pandemic hasn’t really changed that much in terms of social contact for me. Yes it might have tightened things up a little further. But fundamentally there has been few radical changes. If anything it feels like for a few months some other people life’s have become a little more like my normal routine. Maybe it’s provided a glimpse for some people into what daily life actual feels like for many people out their. A daily life which existed before the pandemic.

I quite like this five unexpected things idea. Might see what if throws up in terms of things like grief and Aspergers.

Lists

Some of the plants are already starting to show some Autumnal colours. It’s only August….

It’s 131 days to Christmas. In normal times 131 days sounds like ages. I suspect this year it may not seem such a generous amount of time for many people, including parents. Pandemic rules, shopping restrictions, reduced product availability, money just that bit tighter, many still isolating. Plus remember last year – one of Hawklads presents was ordered in November and finally arrived in March. Yep this might be a challenge. I think I need to write a list. Yes I am good at doing lists. Unfortunately I am not so good at following list. And as for trying to find those lists after a few days – I’m a complete disaster. I need a list to help find the lists.

Occasionally I do stumble across long forgotten lists. I found one recently dating back 15 years. It was a list of mountains I had set myself a goal of climbing. 60 bucket list climbs. 15 years and I had ticked three as climbed. Another one had been attempted but I had to turn round near the top as I came across someone who had hurt their knee. So ended up helping her back down. So that’s 4. In my book just attempting a climb and coming back in one piece counts as ticking it off. Basically been stuck on 56 to go for years now. That’s another one of my great lists just basically gathering dust. Maybe I can change the wording on that list. How about 56 bucket list climbs that I will never complete. Change the wording and suddenly the list is completed. I can then bin it.

But no. The original list went back into the cupboard. A bit of paper soon to be lost again. This time I took a photo of the 56 climbs still to be attempted. Actually added a couple of Himalayan mountains to the list – might as well make it more sexy. The list is on my iPad now. So it won’t be lost and actually it might be a rare useful Gary list. It’s a great reminder that I’ve STILL got stuff to do and achieve in my life. It might seem like that I have not yet ticked off many things from my life lists but from today that CAN start to change.

A story to tell – one

We all have a story to tell. All stories are just as valid and important as the next one. Sadly many stories are not told. Well actually that’s incorrect. Sadly many stories are not heard. They are replaced by stereotypes. Too many jumping to conclusions. A view that fits better into the needs of so called modern society.

This week again stories of single parents coming from The Government and it’s Friends. Scrounging off society. Shying away from work. A life of luxury…. That fits in with the message. BUT Cut to a supermarket. A parent is struggling to control a child. Those knowing looks and tuts from other shoppers. They have no idea of the back story. Just how tired that parent is. Trying to figure out a way to feed the family with so little money. Trying to cope with zero help. Being crushed by anxiety and living no life at all. Crushed by circumstances. It’s often easier for some people to cast the first stone rather than offer a hand of support.

The story of kids with Autism and Aspergers again often not heard. Drowned out by stereotypes and unfounded assumptions. Each and every child is different, unique. Each child has their own back story. But so often we here – uncaring, cold, demonic, unfeeling, lacking empathy, no sense of humour, unable to love, a burden on society, low attainment, not really like a kid should be.

Wrong, wrong , wrong. Every child is unique. That’s the point of this blog. Others bloggers do it far better than my drivel. But we try to show the real story of our kids. Hawklad has Aspergers yet he can be funny, caring, have empathy, play games, understand others, be funny, have talents, be lovely, have dreams they want to achieve, have a sense of humour and love. All kids deserve a chance. Deserve a childhood. All kids.

Everyone has a unique story. Maybe as a society we need to start listening.