Under stress

It’s March and finally most of the daffodils are just starting to emerge. Let’s hope the weather is kind to them. Sadly the early blooms didn’t last too long. Three storms in as many weeks proved too much for them. They weren’t the only thing that the storms have put under stress.

My sleeping is poor at the best of times. But with the constant wind and rain slamming into the house my sleeping has become even more erratic. It’s not good for the soul, not good for your health as it puts your body under stress. I guess watching late night channels like QVC and DAVE are unlikely to help as well.

The trampoline has a safety net surrounding it. It’s held in place by 20 strong metal clips. An inspection today discovered that 15 had snapped off. Watch out Belgium if another storm hits. I wonder what the post Brexit arrangements are for recovering British trampolines from EU territory. Maybe it’s classed as an act of war.

A trip to the DIY store in the local town became an urgent priority. Surely a multitude of cable ties would do the repair job and head off a European war. The problem was that free parking is nonexistent in the town and certainly not outside the store. But surely at 10am the infamously effective traffic warden would be still in bed or at least not on duty yet. And then sods law kicked in. Yes as I arrived at the store and guess who was stood outside with his parking ticket book poised at the ready. Unbelievable.

So it’s was plan b then. Surely the supermarket would sell DIY stuff.

Don’t be daft….

Yes the supermarket does sell DIY products and the helpful store assistant confirmed that it does normally stock cable ties. Unfortunately they have been removed to make space for Easter Eggs. The store won’t be selling them until after Easter now.

Marvellous.

The supermarket must have something to secure a trampoline. The ever helpful assistant thought for a while. The only thing they had available was a ball of strong wool. So yes I bought the wool. It was only 50p and may help prevent a war. At least until Easter is over or the traffic warden goes on holiday.

In the end I didn’t use too much of the wool up. The trampoline is a fraction more secure. A diplomatic incident is less likely and I have a ball of wool. My mum used to knit a lot until arthritis took hold. She said that it really helped with stress. So just maybe I might try that. So don’t be surprised if you find me in the early sleepless hours watching QVC and knitting. It may be good for me and I do need some new woolen mittens. It might also take my mind off the awful weather outside for a few moments. That’s a luxury those poor daffodils don’t have.

How wrong I was

Not our garden, this is from a neighbours garden. Very jealous especially of the lawn which when cut always resembles a bowling green. So unlike our used rugby pitch.

Another stormy and very wet day. That’s the third weekend in a row for us. The weather is doing nothing for our souls. Nor is the imminent return to school. His anxieties levels are starting to peak now. Soon he’s back into that alien environment. The hope is that he will return and he’s been moved up in at least one subject. Just move him up in History and it would boost his confidence so much. I fear that’s a pipe dream. I would also be staggered if the support system has suddenly improved. How can it. It’s the same teaching team, with the same school education strategies and with schools struggling for resources. But on the bright side we have been told to celebrate as soon we will have a new blue UK passport. A passport made in France….

Maybe he will decide to abandon the failed school project. Can’t blame him and I would fully support that. It would be so worth it to lift this cloak of anxiety which often suffocates him. It’s not as if the school approach is delivering results. In most subjects he’s bored and starting to stagnate. I have asked school for the latest benchmark data on his reading, writing and performance. Again I’m not holding my breath. I’m still waiting for school to do any meaningful assessment work on his reading or writing. I suspect it will be spelling tests and nothing else. The Physiotherapist contacted school to say that he was clearly struggling with handwriting and asked what concerns the school had about his handwriting. The response back was that no teacher had raised any concerns. Really….

At his last school they worked with the heath service to monitor his reading age every quarter. He left that school with a reading age three years below the expected level for his age. His current school has so far refused to do another benchmarking assessment. The argument is that he’s doing so well and a benchmark would not change his teaching programme. Read that as they cost money and all kids get the same set teaching approach. Well if you don’t have benchmark information how can you say he’s doing so well. We don’t know if he’s catching up or if the age gap is widening.

It’s funny looking back at this parenting gig. I always realised it would be frustrating and tiring. But I always assumed the school system would largely take care of his education. How wrong I was.

2020!

Who are you looking at…. We hope you’ve washed your hands before you stick them in our cage.

“Dad can we either just start 2020 again or can we just give it up as a rubbish year and move on to 2021”

He then vented on a range of 2020 subjects

  • Australia burning
  • Brexit
  • School exams
  • Impeachment
  • Tragic deaths
  • Corona Virus
  • Planes being shot out of the air
  • Nutters trying to start WW3
  • Government lies

“Can’t believe it Dad we still have 11 months of this to go”

This week we have both been fighting a cold. Perfect timing with exams.

Dad we got the Drama marks back. I came third bottom. Nice of the teacher to tell me that. Funny how you find stuff out only when you’ve done badly. Couldn’t read the paper. Couldn’t spell any of the words. Kept coughing. Can’t wait to drop the subject.”

Such a shame that school have managed to alienate him from a potentially wonderfully fulfilling subject.

With his Aspergers he gets these massive anxiety attacks on specific issues. One of which is illness. It’s also probably linked to losing loved ones. This week he’s been having panic attacks that his cough is the Corona Virus. I’ve spent all week trying to calm those fears. On Thursday night after a long chat where we talked numbers and relative risks, I hoped that we had started to ease his anxieties.

THEN TODAYS HEADLINES – UK’s first two confirmed Corona cases confirmed. They were found about 15 miles from us.

When he finds out he’s going into DEFCON 2 level anxiety meltdowns. It’s so tough for him. When he comes across something like this then he just fixates on it. It just develops into this anxiety maelstrom. A powerful hurricane which just becomes increasingly powerful as it feeds of his nervous energy. Just ruins his life.

So yes I’m with him on cancelling 2020 already. The only problem is that I’m not sure 2021 will be any better. That’s a problem as I’ve got to try and convince our Son that things can and probably will improve. Maybe it’s time to assemble the Gerbil Squad.

Yellow

On one church wall it’s a thin carpet of yellow. The colour helps life the spirits on this rather somber day. Somber for some of my country but for others it’s a day of celebration.

By the time you will have read this post my country will have left The European Union. A decision which has spilt this country apart. A decision which has turned our country into a less tolerant, increasingly inward looking nation. Looking at the antics of some of our so called politicians over the last few weeks has not been a pleasant experience. They have brought further shame onto the UK.

So sorry friends you didn’t deserve this. They don’t speak for all of us.

Lo siento amigos, no te merecías esto. No hablan por todos nosotros.

Mi dispiace, amici, che non te lo meriti. Non parlano per tutti noi.

Désolé mes amis, vous ne méritiez pas cela. Ils ne parlent pas pour nous tous.

Mar sin tá cairde brón orm nár thuill tú é seo. Ní labhraíonn siad dúinn uile.

Tut mir leid, Freunde, das hast du nicht verdient. Sie sprechen nicht für uns alle.

Desculpe amigos que você não merecia isso. Eles não falam por todos nós.

Dus sorry vrienden, je hebt dit niet verdiend. Ze spreken niet voor ons allemaal.

Så ledsen vänner att du inte förtjänade detta. De talar inte för oss alla.

Žal prijatelji, da si tega niste zaslužili. Ne govorijo za vse nas.

Prepáč priatelia, ktorých si si nezaslúžil. Nehovoria za nás všetkých.

Îmi pare rău prieteni că nu ai meritat asta. Nu vorbesc pentru noi toți.

Tak przepraszam przyjaciele, że nie zasłużyliście na to. Nie mówią za nas wszystkich.

Allura sorry ħbieb li ma ħaqqniex dan. Ma jitkellmux għalina lkoll.

Taigi, gaila draugų, tu to nenusipelnei. Jie nekalba už mus visus.

Žēl draugus, ka jūs to neesat pelnījis. Viņi nerunā mūsu visu vārdā.

Sajnálom barátaim, hogy nem érdemelted meg ezt. Mindannyiunkért nem beszélnek.

Lypámai fíloi pou den áxizan aftó. Den miláne gia ólous mas.

Joten anteeksi ystäviä et ansainnut tätä. He eivät puhu meidän kaikkien puolesta.

Nii et sõbrad, te ei väärinud seda. Nad ei räägi meie kõigi eest.

Promiňte, přátelé, tohle jste si nezasloužili. Nemluví za nás všechny.

Tolkova sŭzhalyavam priyateli, che ne ste zasluzhili tova. Te ne govoryat za vsichki nas.

I didn’t vote for this but it is what it is. So now we have to carry on, make the best of it. Hoping it works out for us and it works out for our European friends. In my heart I am still European. I still want a European Passport. Try explaining Brexit to young people . I try to explain it to our Son. “This is so wrong Dad, I am European”. My head is telling me that the next generation will reverse the decision and we will come back to Europe.

Goodbye but not farewell.

Terrible Poetry

It’s Thursday so it time for a bit of terrible poetry in the form of Chelsea Owens weekly competition. This week the rules are

  1. The Topic is an epic poem about a great adventure. Laudable deeds and grand gestures will be your comrades-in-arms, even if your adventure proves to go no further than locating a missing sock.
  2. These sorts can run rather long, so let’s cap the poem at a Length of 200 words. Yes, Fishman, you may write fewer than 200.
  3. Rhymes are unnecessary, yet contestants will be awarded bonus points for archaic ones.
  4. Make it terrible, I say! A great shout must be heard from deep within The Woods of Whispering that Princess Sock has been found, and is begging you to stop singing your ballad. Forever.
  5. If the Rating must, it may rise to PG-13. Remember that insults from these times moste often ran the gamut of brigand or knave.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (January 31, 2020) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

We start out on this crazy epic adventure

A divided party for such a risky reckless venture

Saying goodbye to friends is always hard

Especially when they neighbours in our backyard

Off on our own into the great wide open

Led by our leader who is so outspoken

Into the massing storm clouds we strike out

On a wing and a prayer without any real clout

Many wolves circling claiming to be our new friends

Sign on the dotted line and you can reap the dividends

But only if you agree to the orange wolfs demands

Give me your NHS and we can happily shake hands

Don’t forget as part of the deal you take our chlorinated chicken

It’s full of good stuff honest and it won’t make you sicken

An epic adventure without any real plan

Hoping countries are nice to us including Kazakhstan

Even before we leave the lies and untruths are beginning to appear

While those making hedge fund fortunes continue to sneer

On any epic adventure you need a swashbuckling hero

Sadly we have no Aragorn to lead us just a bumbling self centred zero

This adventure of ours has a name called Brexit

Please excuse me now as I try to leg-it.

Green and pleasant land.

Welcome to Britain. A green and pleasant land.

A country where this man has just won a massive majority. A man who continues to cover up his repeated cockups which has led to a British Citizen bring help in Iran since 2016. Now his focus is on trade deals and turning the country into a trumped up lap dog. Sadly the poor British Citizen can’t offer a trade deal so she is stuffed.

Where this man from our Government claims that he has more common sense than those who died in the Grenfell Tower Disaster. He has made millions from his hedge fund company on the back of Brexit.

Where this man has been our Schools Minister since 2014. The man responsible for the current state of our schools. The man responsible for the introduction of testing for 4 year old kids. And the man who said kids taking time of for bereavement was like an extended holiday.

And a country where this man has just been awarded a knighthood. A man who introduced sweeping and brutal benefit reforms which has led to unprecedented levels of misery and is probably responsible for the deaths of hundreds who lost benefits.

Britain a green and pleasant land.

*** the photos of these lovely human beings are from The Guardian, Inside Croydon, Yorkshire Post, Change.org

People of Blyth

It’s Friday the 13th. It feels like a real horror story in Britain today. A new dawn of terror.

People of Blyth I really hope your decision to vote Conservative works out for you. I really hope Boris Johnson follows through on his promises. He gets Brexit done then finds money to cut taxes and spend more on public services like our health service. Although a Bart Simpson quote comes to mind.

You just bought another load of crap from the world’s fattest fertilizer salesman.”

To be fair to Blyth I could have picked a number of Northern English Towns and Cities. That includes my childhood home town – Redcar. Or as Johnson has now called it Bluecar. I hope people remember that Redcar is named after an area of poorly drained land. Kjar (Car) is old Viking word for marsh. Maybe Conservative Blue and poor drainage are a suitable combo.. My old Dad always said he would never ever vote Conservative. He must be turning in his grave at a Conservative MP of Redcar.

So we wake up to Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister. I was careful there not to say our or my PM. He certainly is not my PM. He needs to earn that. If he proves himself capable and trustworthy then I will start to call him MY PM. His remit is to get Brexit done. As far as many are concerned that is the a Brexit debate finished. We are now leaving. Leaving hopefully with the best negotiated terms and relationships possible. Although many of his backers want to have the process fail so they can just crash out of the EU without any constraints. I genuinely think it’s the wrong call but we have lost the argument and IT IS WHAT IT IS. We need to move on.

I’m not going to rant at the majority of people who voted Conservative. Your opinions and values are just as valid and heartfelt as mine. I do shake my head at some of the reasons a worryingly large number of people decided to vote on. Ones I have personally heard include

  • I’m not voting Liberal as the leader is a woman,
  • I’m voting for Boris because he is funny,
  • I’m voting for Labour as Gary Neville (ex Footballer) said he was,
  • I’m not voting Labour as they backed the Terrorist who attacked a London Bridge (a fake news story)
  • I’m voting Conservative as they will teach Europe a lesson because they are to blame for our problems.

Simply staggering….

Our political system is broken – probably beyond repair. Increasingly money buys you power. We have political leaders who openly lie and spread unfounded rumours. We have effectively a state sponsored public broadcaster while the other news outlets are in the hands of a few Conservative supporting billionaires. Media groups who openly flout electoral law and favour the incumbent government. Where opposition parties are scrutinised and vilified while at they same time reporters act as a mouth piece for government propaganda. It’s not even subtle anymore. A BBC News reporter days before the election told viewers that Boris Johnson ‘so deserves’ the victory he is hoping to get.

We have potential Russian meddling in our elections. A crucial report on this was buried by the Government a month before the vote. But let’s be fair to Russia it’s not as if the UK or the US have not also interfered in the the affairs of other nation states as well. If we do it why can’t they.

We have a fragmented opposition where the two main players have lost the plot and would much rather fight each other than actually focus on trying to be a credible government in waiting.

We have a ridiculously out of date electoral system that makes it virtually impossible for parties like the Greens to make any headway. Yet it gives huge majorities to a part that gets less than 50% of the vote.

We have a United Kingdom which is literally falling part. As much as Johnson has denied it his Brexit Plan will split Northern Island off from the rest of Britain with a dedicated border control. Scotland now votes in an entirely different direction than England. Scotland voted against Brexit. Scotland votes SNP. How can calls for independence be denied any longer. It’s probably appealing to Boris as he would get rid of a large and vociferous opposition grouping. Locking in a Conservative Government for a generation.

And then we get back to the good people of Blyth and Redcar. A political system which has for years ignored them and failed them. Now we have a hardcore of disillusioned voters who have little faith in their politicians and leaders. No wonder they see Brexit as a way of bringing change.

So we batten down the hatches. Focus on what is truly important – family and friends. Do whatever we can to protect them while doing our bit for the environment. Completely block out the tainted media groups like the BBC which simply cannot be trusted anymore. Find our own news sources. And we move on hoping that things don’t go as badly wrong as I fear. I really fear for minority groups, those who are sick, those who are on benefits, those who are out of work and I am petrified about what will now happen to our environment and wildlife. So ends the rant and now I get back to being a crap dad trying to cope with whatever life chucks at me. Fingers crossed I don’t need to mention Boris again.

Election Fever

Feels more like Frank Herberts Dune than Yorkshire today.

We are a week away from our countries latest election. I don’t know why we bother having a vote as the media are all screaming at the public to vote for Boris Johnson. A pack of media hounds trying to rip to shreds the Opposition Leaders. Yet the hardest scrutiny Johnson has faced seems to have been how he makes a cream scone.

Strangely no mention of the lies, the alleged affairs, the islamophobia, extreme policies or his contempt for ordinary people. Yes very like a strange Frank Herbert world.

A knock at the door this afternoon. A man dressed as if he’s just been shooting pheasants (or maybe peasants).

Can I count on your support for the Conservative Party Candidate and Boris Johnson. Let’s get Brexit Done.

So exactly what does let get Brexit Done mean.

When Boris is elected PM he will get Brexit done by the end of January.

So will he sign off on the full text of a EU trade deal by January then.

Erm that’s the details. He will get Brexit done January 2020.

But the boring details are the important bits of Brexit. So will they be completed by January.

No but Boris will sort them so we can spend on the NHS, Police and make tax cuts. It’s all about getting Brexit Done.

So he’s not getting Brexit Done then. He’s just agreeing to go and we worry about all the important stuff later.

But he’s getting Brexit done. After January we won’t talk about it again and we can have more 50000 new nurses and large tax cuts.

But as an MP and London Mayor he has either voted for or agreed to budget cuts for those areas. The only thing he’s supported is tax cuts. So why the change of heart. Plus the 50000 seems to be mainly made up of existing nurses. Keep current nurses doesn’t make them new nurses.

*** shooting man now giving me that am I talking to a traitor – look. ***

The budgets cuts are the fault of The Labour Party and the EU. When Boris gets Brexit Done .. erm … Britain will be great again.

But Labour has not been in power since 2007. How can it be there fault.

Corbyn has personally stopped Brexit. He’s a traitor to the people who voted to leave.

Are you not forgetting your own Conservative MPs and a Former Conservative PM who agreed that the Johnson deal is a disaster and really just an excuse to crash out of Europe without a deal.

*** shooting man now very red in the face ***

Clearly your a remoaner. Boris will get Brexit Done for the good British people who voted to leave.

Can I ask about why the Conservatives are in favour of bringing back fox hunting when in your terms the vast majority of the public are in favour of a complete ban. And why the Conservatives have said so little to say about climate change. Why Boris Johnson was the only party leader who refused to debate climate change on the live broadcast.

*** but shooting man was gone. Walking briskly to the next house. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that as he walked across my lawn he trod on one of Captain Chaos’s finest and freshest dog turds. I bet that doesn’t feature on any of the media’s election coverage.

Terrible Poetry

It’s time for some poetry. Some really bad poetry. Terrible poetry. It’s the weekly challenge run by the wonderful Chelsea Owens. This weeks rules are

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: Birth. Childbirth’s a bit high on my mind, or the birthday of this contest, or …go where the prompt takes you.
    For kicks, let’s also do a limerick.
  2. The traditional Length of a limerick is five lines: AABBA, in anapestic meter.
  3. Limericks totally Rhyme. See the line above this one for direction.
  4. Make it terrible! Seriously; that’s the point of the whole contest.
  5. Keep the Rating PG/PG-13ish (or cleaner).

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (November 22) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

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

My effort is not much about Birth but I did spell out BIRTH down the side though. It might be hard to believe but I did clean this poem up quite a bit….

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

Boris Johnson was asked how many kids he has fathered

It wasn’t a surprise when the posh fart spectacularly dithered

Rich entitled Eton Boy has had fingers in many pies

Trouble is that people are starting to see through his web of lies

He may well have the last laugh by making us all Brexit buggered

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

This is the last piece Terrible Poetry until they start of 2020. Chelsea has far more pressing matters to focus on. Wishing you all the best my friend.

France 1

Before we just focused our holidays on beautiful Switzerland we had trips to France. Some great times. Times before our son. Times before grief rode in. Times even before digital. So occasionally I’m going to do turn the clock back to the start of this century. Go down memory lane.

This was a long weekend trip. A car trip from Yorkshire to the Loire Valley. We pre booked the accommodation but didn’t quite expect to be staying in a mini chateau.

Even before brexit the English always received a warm welcome in France.

Inside was just staggering. I was under strict orders. ‘Don’t touch anything in case you knock it over’.

The chateau stood next to the Loire River.

It must have been hot. No jumper.

Why the long weekend. Why the 620 mile drive. To watch the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.

Not the greatest of views but the budget had been blown on the accommodation and petrol. It was hot. Mid to high thirties. Wow it was noisy.

The race was won by the great Michael Schumacher.