Embrace the stain….

Picking up from this mornings post. Spiez is just a perfect place. The building at the front of the picture is the hotel we would stay at. The mountain dominating at the back is the Niederhorn. Before our son was born I was practicing for a mountain race. As part of the training I managed to run up this beautiful mountain. I remember lying at the top ignoring the stunning view – just thinking do I run back down or call for a helicopter evacuation…

I recount this story as it came to me again this afternoon. Setting a goal, achieving it then rather than basking in the success you immediately worry about the next step or challenge.

This feels a bit like fighting the system for our son. So many peaks to climb. You climb one but you then immediately have to face a new climb. It can be soul destroying.

We have potentially found a specialist who will assess our son’s dyslexia. But now I need to find the money to pay for it (the leaking washing machine will have to survive another year before it’s replaced). AND I somehow need to find a way of getting the education system to adopt the recommendations of the assessment. I was speaking to another parent who has been trying unsuccessfully for two years to get her school to adopt the same specialists recommendations. Why do we make it so difficult for our kids…

You then see the news which is dominated by talk of Brexit. Our so called Prime Minister is trying to bribe another party with up to a billion pounds of further funding if they will vote for her shambles of a plan. And yet they can’t find the money to adequately fund our schools or mental health support services. She takes great delight in telling the rest of us that money doesn’t grow on a tree. Clearly our Leader values her own career and legacy higher than the kids of our country…… Sadly she is not the only world leader like that.

Then my mind drifts back to that mountain. The Niederhorn. I didn’t ‘get into the chopper’ in an Austrian accent but decided to run down. It was an interesting decent. As some breathless pillock had collapsed at the top into a fresh pile of some unknown and clearly legendary bird droppings. Running while trying to prevent passerby’s getting a good view of the your oddly coloured rear is just embarrassing. Rather than embracing the stain I just tried to run as quickly as possible while keeping my bum always pointing away from people. I can hear my dad saying ‘son as quick as you run you won’t increase the separation between your shorts and that stain’. Maybe that’s a really good analogy for state of our governments overall strategy……

Slice of life and a cake

I bravely ventured out to a store in one of local villages It’s not what you would call very big…

“Do you sell any floor cleaner?”

“No not been asked for that in ages. I thinks we sold the last one to Janice when she bought the Grandfather Clock from a vicarage three years ago. She wanted the room to look nice for when it arrived.”

“Ok” – it’s always a bit of an out of body experience in the shop. No idea who Janice is!

Would you like to try our new cake it’s a Lavender Sponge”

“It looks lovely but no thanks. I’m on a gluten free diet.”

“Oh that’s nice. Those clever scientists come up with some great inventions these days. Did you know that Bill has switched to contacts.”

“No I didn’t” – no idea who Bill is!

“So can I give you a bit of our Lavender cake?”

“No thanks I’m on a Gluten Free diet and I can’t have wheat.”

“That’s nice. Mary has become a vegetarian and she lives next to the farm. I wonder how that works?

“Oh” – Who the bloody hell is Mary!!!

“Did you see our Prime Ministers face yesterday. I voted for her at the last election. She seemed like such a nice person who would get things done. Last night she looked like she was chewing a wasp. She is a mean spirited, selfish idiot. If she had any decency she would have resigned by now.”

“I certainly didn’t vote for May but I completely agree with you. She is a complete embarrassment.”

“Did you vote to leave?”

“No I voted to stay. I asked my son what he wanted and I let him decide for us. It effects his future the most.”

“I voted for Brexit. It’s not that I wanted to leave Europe I just wanted to make a protest. Didn’t think that we would win”

Deep deep sigh – bite bottom lip before I say something.

“I can wrap the slice of cake up for you, freshly made this morning. That must be the same diet as that really famous Male Tennis Player is on, he was on the tv last week, oh what’s his name”

“Novak Djokovic I got the idea from an article I read a few months back.”

“No that’s not him”

“Andy Murray”

“No”

“Roger Federer”

“No”

“Rafael Nadal

“No, oh it will come to me.

“Do you sell anything like cleaning wipes?”

“No but we do have a special offer on. You get a free bag of bird seed when you buy the local paper”

Bizarrely I came out of the shop with some bird seed, a paper, piece of Lavender cake and a sensation which is probably similar to a frontal lobotomy.

Ashes

This is another photo from Whitby. For some reason the WP app for the IPad refused to accept it yesterday. Maybe it’s my not new iPad but the app is becoming almost unusable. Anyway today the photo seems to work and it will get its moment.

My partners ashes are still in the house. We have a sort of make shift shrine in a room overlooking the garden. Now she has been joined by 3 energetic gerbils. She would like that. At some stage we will start to scatter the ashes but not yet. It just hasn’t felt like the right time (for both of us). My mums ashes have been scattered in a cemetery (with the help of a squirrel – see earlier post…)

I asked our Son about if he was ready to start the process.

“Not yet Dad. Dad do ashes go off”

Don’t think so. They urn doesn’t have a use by date on (don’t think badly of me, but I did check). But an urgent google check confirmed no safety time pressures. But it did reveal some additional factors to consider.

  • The Vatican has issued guidance that Catholic remains should be buried in cemeteries rather than scattered or kept at home. However this clearly doesn’t apply to Quakers.
  • Ashes containing bones don’t decompose so they shouldn’t be scattered around plants.
  • UK Law is fairly easy going when it comes to scattering ashes. Nothing specifically exists to prevent scattering. You only need to secure the landowners permission.
  • In Germany cremated MUST be buried in a cemetery. Switzerland are quite relaxed as long as it’s not for profit. France does open up a few scattering options.
  • In the U.K. it is legal to scatter ashes in water or the sea. The only restriction being that you need to get the permission of the water stretches owner. In the US you need to scatter ashes at least 3 nautical miles out (and inform the EPA)
  • Currently you can take ashes out of the U.K.. The Tunnel and Eurostar are the most relaxed. However Brexit may change all this.
  • In the U.K. it is ok to bury a pet in your garden if you own the property, it has domestic use and (if I’m reading the legal stuff correctly) the pets have not been declared as Hazardous Waste.

So for the for the time being I suspect my partner won’t be going too far. So I can give her the daily updates about our son. As my partner was so very organised I strongly suspect that if roles had been reversed then I would have been out of the door within months not years.

I hope this all doesn’t sound a bit too matter of fact or flippant. This post could so easily have been extremely dark. I vividly remember driving my partners ashes back from the crematorium. It’s burnt into my sole. I was fine until I got back into the car. I put the urn on the front seat and quietly said “time to go home my love”. Suddenly the Dam broke. I completed collapsed into a deluge of tears and despair. Didn’t stop for hours. My lowest ever point.

Deep down I am worried. I am not sure the brittle foundations that my new self is built on are strong enough to cope with another one of those final car journeys to scatter the ashes.

Helpful Brexit

An advert on the radio caught my attention this morning

A very helpful sounding person speaking for the Government asked “If you had started thinking about Brexit yet” and helpfully suggested that “it may be worthwhile if people and businesses started to plan for it.”

Thank you very much.

Just a couple of teeny weeny points

  • It might be a tad late to remind people that as we are potentially only just over 20 days away from it,
  • Pot calling Kettle. Why don’t you shove that up your collective governmental backsides. Why don’t YOU start doing your job (rather than look after your own self interests) and actually make some decisions that allow people to know exactly what is going on.

I am putting forward our 3 gerbils as the new team to get us out of this Brexit mess.

Back to school

Warning this post contains bad language and monumentally pompous stupidity.

In 2018 the Switzerland Glaciers lost 2.5% of their volume. It’s expected that they will have disappeared by 2090 – at the latest.

On Friday thousands of pupils walked out of UK School’s to protest about our Governments inaction on climate change. Good to see the positive response it got from our Leaders.

“It is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said. “That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.”

Our countries so called Education Secretary “let me be clear, missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers.”

The Conservative Leader of the House of Commons “It’s called truancy, not a strike“.

Well if you got your head out of your arses and took meaningful action then the kids wouldn’t need to walk out. If you didn’t pander to the fossil fuel companies, actively promote the disastrous fracking industry and cut renewable energy investment…. then you might be taken seriously. What trust do you expect the next generation to have in you when they see the monumental f*****g screwup you are making of Brexit. The entire political system has abjectly failed its primary roles of protecting the world and securing the futures of the upcoming generations.

This has to stop. The kids get it. Unfortunately our dim witted, self serving leaders don’t. It’s time for the next generation to take over and time for our politicians to go back to school. Maybe then they would see what a gigantic mess they have made of the education system as well.

Being stupid

Son accidentally knocks something off a shelf and it’s smashed. Son is mortified but I try to reassure him that it’s fine. These things happen to everyone. But he’s not happy.

“It’s because I’m stupid. It’s the same as why I am in the bottom set, it’s because I’m stupid. It’s the reason the teachers don’t spend much time with me, it’s because I’m stupid.”

Poor kid. It is so difficult for him. His logical mindset cannot fathom out school politics. He can see kids he consistently gets higher marks than sitting in sets above him. He can see teachers focusing on other children in class – often the disruptive ones. He hears me and the health professionals complaining to school about them not recognising his potential – but nothing happens.

Today homeschooling is looking a likely option. Practicalities still to be worked through. Finances will be a challenge. Maybe looking for a switch in the summer. This allows for one final push with school. Months to sort out the details – plenty of time.

Piece of cake. Talking of a piece of cake.

Our Prime Minister is still telling us that we can do Brexit in a few weeks. Really.

She assures us that they have the best people handling the process. Really.

My Dad wouldn’t have trusted them with a stick of rhubarb never mind the keys to the country.

But our Government does have it uses. They give us so many examples of real stupidity. I told our son about how our Government had decided that we needed extra emergency ferry capacity. The Government decided to give the contract to a company which has never run any sort of transport service and unbelievably doesn’t have any ships….

When our son heard that he smiled and said “Now that is properly stupid. Maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am.”

Son you are brilliantly gifted. Unfortunately the Government is not…..

Not PC – Sorry

Son was a bit upset today. One of his classes had a surprise test. He didn’t get any reading help, had to try and type the answers using his left hand and didn’t get any extra time. So understandably he didn’t get anywhere near finishing. Angry face. 😡

To try and lift his spirits I thought we would play a little game. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to go with the first thing that pops into your head.

Can we think of which animals famous people look like. Sorry this is not very PC but it was the first thing which crawled into my empty brain. It did immediately catch our son’s imagination. A few minutes later we were both snorting with laughter.

Some of the images we conjured up I won’t share. But a few we probably can get away with.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May we both agreed on this one.

US Vice President Mike Pence while looking at a video of President Trump our son said that the chap stood next to him who said nothing looked like an African Vulture.

I on the other hand could only see one of those petting zoo Lamas. The ones who stand next to someone quietly and just look blankly into the distance.

US President Donald Trump we argued over this one. Son went for

For some reason I just couldn’t get the image of Sid trying to milk the Male Musk Ox in Ice Age. So I’m going for that Ox as my Mr Trump.

In the spirit of balance it’s only fair that we bring the animal likeness thing a little closer to home.

Me after much debate we have agreed that the Sea Cow is my best fit.

I think it’s now officially time for happy face. 😎

Countries gone mad

“Dad if we won the lottery could we buy a deserted island and live there?

It’s kinda sad that an 11 year old thinks that way. But I fully understand why and YES I would jump at the chance. I remember a time when I loved my country. Those days have sadly gone. Like many folk from Yorkshire we would happily declare independence. York becoming a capital city sounds cool. The national dish could be the Yorkshire Pudding. Our national sports would be cricket and being grumpy. The national animal would be the Ferret. Instead of having a nuclear deterrent we could threaten people with our rhubarb sticks.

You might think this is daft but trust me this is off the scale sensibility compared to the stupidity of modern Britain. Nothing sums up the state of the union better than just one single news story. Given all the potentially catastrophic events circulating around us (and there are many) – the attention of the media and a good proportion of the population has been on …… the horror of a bakery introducing a vegan sausage roll across its 900 stores. The likes of Piers Morgan (one of the not funny loonies and self pronounced TV Star) went into meltdown saying things like “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage you PC ravaged clowns”. The news story is everywhere, you just can’t get away from it. I use the term news story very loosely.

I waited with anticipation for our son to return. He would cheer me up, bring much needed sensibility to my world. Unfortunately not this time.

“Dad the school want me to either write left handed or type left handed until my right hand gets better, that includes trying to do exams with my weak hand. I told them that I struggle to coordinate my left hand and that’s the reason I can’t tie knots. Told them that the Doctor was trying to help me with it but the teacher said I just had to do it”

“Dad did you complain about the behaviour in our bottom class”

Yes….

Well they did something”

Please let it be something positive

They moved a really well behaved girl up a set because she was struggling with the behaviour in our class and they moved a really naughty boy in to replace her. It was a lot worse today”

Only thing left is to go and buy a lottery ticket. That remote island is calling. Anybody fancy joining us.

Great Questions.

On a trip to Newcastle last weekend our son remarked

“I know that the river is beautiful at night but just imagine how stunning it would have been without humans”. “Do you think the world is a better place for having humans?”

This slightly took me aback as I has only asked him if he wanted pizza or a burger to eat on our way home….. It’s been week after week of questions that seem to have befuddled my limited reasoning powers.

“How do you think a plant cell first adapted to include Chloroplasts?”

“Do Alice Coopers friends call him Alice or his real name?”

“Why do kids laugh at people who can’t read but don’t seem to laugh at people who can’t do art or do maths?”

“Do you think the Doughnut Shaped universe theory is right?”

“Why can some people sing and some like you can’t sing – is it your body, a skill you learn or just luck?”

“Why do they keep saying those pesky kids in Scooby Doo when they must be older than you these days?”

“Why are there so many religions?”

“Rather than always trying to be good, would I get more help if I started to behave badly at school. If I did get more help would that not mean that I would have a better chance of improving?”

“Why are paper cuts so painful?”

“I have to paint a picture for Art homework, it has to be like one by Henri Rousseau, what is his style?”

“Why do we have to grow up?”

“Do you think Donald Trump gets his bodyguards to search for his golf balls?”

“How do we really know that the colour green is actually green, or it’s just a fault in the human eye?”

“In Spongebob why don’t the crabby patties ever get really wet being under the sea?”

“Did the Astronauts have to wipe their boots on a mat when they came back to the ship after a moon walk?”

“What’s your favourite Pokemon from each of the regions?”

“The Prime Minister is old. All the people helping her are old. Why are there never any young people helping. Leaving Europe effects the young as well. Is it because they wouldn’t agree with our view of the world?”

“Why is Dinosaur Train never on TV now, is it because they are having to redraw all the dinosaurs with feathers?”

“Who decides what a swear word is?”

“If Crocodiles survived the mass extinction why couldn’t some of the dinosaurs survive?”

“Why are schools made to be so unfriendly?”

“If some mountain ranges are rising up from earth movements does it mean somewhere else has to be getting lower?”

“Why after all those years of not winning a single thing and constantly letting you down, do you keep supporting that football team?”

“Do you think Stan Lee would rather go to Heaven or Valhalla?”

“What’s your favourite Batman bad guy excluding The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr Freeze, Two Face, Bane and al Ghul?

“If I lived on a deserted island and I never met another person ever again, could I just forget that I have Aspergers and Dyslexia ?”

Even google couldn’t help me with some of those questions. As I’m writing this he has just stopped watching his tablet and asked:

“If we know so little about the universe, this man has just said less than 1%, how can scientists be so certain about things?”

Thankfully this was followed up by “have we got any ice cream in?” – I can answer that one.

Not a good word

Dad what’s an idiotic cretin“.

That’s another question I wasn’t expecting. A tad worried at what might have happened at school or on the web, I asked why.

I was watching something about the U.K. leaving Europe and that was how one politician described another politician.”

That explains things then. It neatly sums up the level of debate which is supposedly driving our country forward at the moment. Anyway I tried to explain that it was not a good word to use and those so called politicians should know better.

Fast forward a few hours and we sit down to watch some episodes of Spongebob. It’s funny how often random things combine neatly together. The second episode featured Plankton saying to Spongebob

I thought I’d told you to go away, CRETIN“.

My son obviously now thinks “cretin” is an acceptable word to use as it was used in a children’s cartoon. And I now have the perfect solution to our countries current crisis, let’s put another cretin in charge. Spongebob could be our saviour. The worry is he couldn’t do any worse.