Just like a Desert Island

I’m sat here watching the rain falling while listening to Pink Floyd. Nothing like a bit of Floyd to life the mood!!!! My mum would always say that she would listen to sad music to cheer herself up. Maybe it’s in my DNA as I’ve always tended to listen to more darker themed music. Maybe I should try happier ones. Where’s that Alvin and the Chipmunks cd …. that’s why I stick to the darker stuff.

So it’s time to get back to that Desert Island again.

Hawklad is still working on his list so it’s the extra post then. But I hear you cry – there are only two of you. Well here goes.

I was thinking about living on a desert island. The beach, the palm trees, surrounded by seemingly never ending water. That feeling of isolation and being alone. Cut adrift from the world. But actually isn’t that us now. Are we not already on our very own desert island.

Look at the photograph above. Replace the beach with our wet lawn. Palm trees morphed into an apple tree. The shoreline is now a garden fence. The farmer land, nettles and wild ground suddenly our very own version of an ocean. A barrier between our little island and the outside world. Days go by without seeing another human. Definite feelings of isolation and being cut adrift from the outside world. No sign of rescue ships on the horizon. Has the world stopped looking. Did it ever really look. Does it even know that we are here.

It’s such an odd feeling. But here’s the thing. Do I see this as necessarily a bad thing. Hawklad definitely doesn’t. Currently the remoter the better for him. He’s ok as long as he can watch a bit of live football and Disney Plus. But what do I think?

Do I see the dividing ocean as a threat or a godsend. The longer our lockdown goes on then the less I feel physically connected to the outside world. It becomes increasingly hard to see myself fully reintegrating back into the world beyond our island. Actually maybe isolation is what I need and want. Something not to be feared but embraced. Maybe the real fear is that a rescue ship does arrive…….

Desert Island

Last night a Red Sky. Need to change the saying. Red Sky at Night, REALLY big puddles next day….

There is a long running British radio show called Desert Island Discs. Guests talk about their life and then play songs that they would take on a desert island with them. In addition to the Bible and the Works of Shakespeares they get to take a luxury item.

Well we played our own version of that last night. A few tweaks to the shows rules. I’ve done mine while Hawklad is taking his time over his. So you will get three posts from the Desert Island. Mine is here and Hawklad’s will follow. There will also be a third post – can you summon up for inner Sherlock and figure out what’s its about.

So here’s mine. Starting with the 9 tracks.

Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell

Shinedown – Get Up

Alter Bridge – Godspeed

Paul Gross – Ride Forever (from the TV Due South)

Foo Fighters – Walking After You

The Book I would take would be Terry Pratchett – Mort. The movie I would take would be End Game. The TV series would be the XFiles. Favourite food would be Apple Crumble and Custard. Favourite Drink would be full on Coffee. My favourite snack would be Cheese and Onion Crisps. And my luxury item would be a Telescope to look at the stars.

So that’s my list. If the desert island is anything like Yorkshire this afternoon then I would need a very thick jumper and the largest umbrella. Maybe not the most ideal desert island weather.

Seven months

I was checking my diary. It’s now officially 7 months since our own little family lockdown started. Seven months, that’s a long time. Yes there have been some bleak and lonely periods. But we are still here. Still grinding onwards. That gives me hope.

With our son’s anxieties, with a pandemic showing no signs of ebbing, with increasingly random government – we just have no idea how long this family isolation will go on for. Possibly for many months to come.

Yet we have already survived 7 months. We have made some new memories. Still had fun times. Technology allowed friendships to flourish

We have more than just survived 7 months, did manage to live a bit as well. We can certainly cope with a few more months of this.

New Sport

It’s dark, bit of blue sky, very windy. Good drying weather.

Friday was one of those days. Hassle from school. Missing items. Me being a walking accident magnet. My favourite music magazine, one I’ve been reading for ages, went out of business. And the washing machine….. it decided to eat itself. Two hours of fruitless home repair confirmed that in the words of Monty Python –

E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-WASHING MACHINE…..

A bit of disaster when we have such a heavy lockdown washing requirement. A replacement one was finally sourced that has an expected delivery window of less than 3 months!! So it’s the delights of hand washing for a while. Given Hawklads anxieties – lots of it. I guess it’s a good arm workout.

I need the weather to be nice and cooperate. Outdoor drying would really help. Please help me dry the washing, pretty please….

So here’s the new sport. It’s great for endurance and reactions. Much bending over and sprinting. It’s called ‘catching my pants as they hurtle across the farmers field’. The sizeable wind was clearly trying to turn my underwear into a new post brexit export to Belgium. In fact given the colossal size of my pants they would constitute a bigger new trade deal than anything our clowns of a government have secured in one year…..

#worldmentalhealthday

Every single day should be WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY.

Since I was a teenager I have suffered from Depression and Anxiety. For years I hid this. Embarrassed for feeling this way. Too often hiding behind a smiling mask when I was crying inside. Now I realise it’s not something to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It just makes me human.

Finding just one person who understands makes such a huge difference. Just one person who will listen. They don’t need to have any answers, you just need to feel like you are not alone in these struggles. Talking about how I really do feel has been such a huge stride forward.

Mental Health is a priority. Something I need to focus on every single day. I can find the time to exercise, so I can find the time to be kind to myself. I hope you can as well.

Black and white

Black and white. Don’t worry this is not a post about my so called football team.

There is so many grey areas in my life. So much appears to be unclear, uncertain, ambiguous. But there is black and white. No ambiguity about being a widow. Well actually that’s not strictly truein the eyes of the government I am not actually defined as a widow – well like on everything else, they can stuff off.

Another black and white issue in my life is being a single parent. No getting around that. Currently it’s me and no one else. I am the parent, the legal guardian, the teacher, the school liaison officer, the cook, the chef (OMG), the snack maker, the cleaner, the money earner, the making ends meeter, the worker, the gardener, the shopper, the clothes mender, the thing finder, the voice of reason (ha,ha,ha), the trip planner, the censor, the nurse, the pharmacist, the shoulder to cry on, the person to shout at, the present buyer, the diplomat, the planner (wow), the fixer, the Aspergers expert (🙀🤯), the dyslexia specialist, the Xbox fixer, the person who punches the WiFi router, the telephone receptionist, the purse keeper (the Accountant is really the last person who should be trusted with this), the entertainment organiser, the dishwasher, the relationship counsellor, the tidy upper, the you got enough layers on voice, the worrier, the hairdresser and the kick them out of bed bad guy.

I hear people frequently talk about single parents as like a curse of society – Enjoying the easy life – Sponging off the state – Non stop trips clothes shopping, coffee shops, gyms and nights out. I’m sorry they have no idea. It’s hard work, never ending, full time commitment. It’s incredibly isolating. It grinds you down.

BUT ultimately it’s one of the most rewarding thing you can ever do. It’s so worth the sacrifices.

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.

Insignificant

It’s a big sky. Its easy to feel very small and insignificant stood under it.

There are so many times when parenting is the best gig on the planet. Then there are other times…

I was trying to convince our son that he had washed his hands enough. He had been at the soap and water for nearly five minutes. Everything I said didn’t seem to have any impact. Finally he decided that was enough. He asked if the towel was clean and had it been washed that day. I assured him that was the case. He left the bathroom and I looked at his hands. His very red and sore skin. That’s what happens when you wash as often as he does. We are using skin friendly soap. I water it down further. But his hands are still red. I encourage him to use his skin care lotion. But his hands are still sore.

These are the times I feel inadequate as a parent. Missing the support of another person. Someone to share the load. Definitely running out of things to try. Actually ran out of things to try. His health professionals try to help but they see this intrinsically linked to the pandemic. Get the pandemic under control and we can start to bring his hand washing under control – hopefully. But that doesn’t make me feel any better as a parent. Feels like I had one job and I dropped the ball on it.

So I’m stood under that big sky. Feeling insignificant. Time to breathe. Reset and go again. Yes significant but definitely not beaten yet.

Goals

It’s strange how my goals can shift. This time last year I was thinking about cranking my runs up. Eyeing up some longer trail runs. Trying to find ways to fit them in during school hours and work. Then building towards a 22 mile Moors run. Something to aim for during the winter months.

Fast forward a year and the thought of trail runs has long gone.

Now just a walk across the farmers field to that tree in the distance seems like a real goal. An aim. Something to dream about. How many times can we get to that tree over the next few months.

Until life resets again then that is something to hold onto. I realise it’s important to be realistic. To take account of the circumstances that are currently in place. Short term goals need to change to take account of this. But I can still dream on a grander scale. Push that horizon further. Hold those dreams close and maybe one day when life shifts, and it will, they become the achievable goals.

Bit of orange

It’s been a good year for roses here but so not for other flowers. But occasionally the colour shines out. Just as summer is closing we get a couple of late visitors. They are must welcome.

Hawklad is due another home counselling visit this week. Every two weeks is the plan. Part of a long term care strategy to see if they can help him with his anxieties and fears. An attempt to help him feel sufficiently ok to venture back into the wider world. He needs that professional support. Some things are just a bit outside of my parenting skill set.

Even with that help it’s going to be a long process. We need a fair and supportive wind to help the process along.

Like in many parts of the world pandemic numbers are rising. Unlike some parts of the world, the UK is trying to navigate these stormy waters with no effective government. They have a natural talent to make things worse, to add oil onto the fire. So it’s all a tab chaotic and shambolic. The PM sticking to his whack a mole strategy. His words not mine.

I was contacted by Hawklads care team to let me know that they will have to keep assessing if the service will be able to continue in the short term. They are receiving contradictory instructions from the top. It is likely that the home visits will have stop at some point. Probably very shortly. When they do stop then they will look into things like video appointments. Better than nothing I guess but far from ideal. Hawklad really struggles with that type of thing. The worry is that if the visits are forced to stop then they will not probably restart until after winter.

It’s just one of those things. Outside my control. Outside the care providers control. We just have to make the best of it. But it does add to the feeling that a return to school is a very long way off, if at all. It kind of feels like that our castle drawbridge is being raised again. Time to start manning the battlements. That’s a bleak thought. AND that’s why seeing a couple of small orange flowers in the garden is such a big thing for me.