Old…

Dad I have to interview someone for Food Technology. That person has to be old apparently. That’s you then Dad”

Charming….But sadly very true….

****that’s the thing about Aspergers with Hawklad. He tells it as it is, no filters.****

Dad I have to ask you about the confectionery you used to eat as a child. I’ve seen the photos, you clearly liked the odd one or two sugar bars…..”

****sadly also very true****

What were your favourite sweets and chocolates all those many centuries ago….”

Decades boy not centuries…. That would be midget gems, flying saucers, black jacks, milk guns, fizz wiz, pineapple cubes, cherry lips and refreshers. Chocolate it would have been Toblerone, Marathon, Wagon Wheels, Minstrels, Revels,Time Outs, Banjos and Curly Wurly’s.

Dad why is it that when I ask you about science, history or art you just look blank at me. Yet I mention chocolates and sweets and I can’t stop you talking….”

Got to get my priorities right.

What’s the biggest changes with current confectionery then Dad?”

Well some of the stuff have disappeared. Some stuff has changed name. What’s this thing called Snicker Bars – it’s a Marathon…. And the sizes. Much much bigger in my day as you can tell from the old photos of my tummy.

Last question Dad. What was the worst thing about confectionery in your day….”

Well I dread to think what they put in those old sweets and chocolate bars. E Numbers were classed as one of your 5 a day healthy options back then. And then some of the stuff was so wrong. One of my favourite chocolates was pretend cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes and even came in a realistic cigarette packet.

Dad what were they thinking of…”

Getting kids hooked on smoking. Making money and seeing children as a commodity to make money from. Sadly that hasn’t changed….

Soul

We watched the Pixar movie SOUL last night. Felt like perfect timing. Trying not to give the movie away but it makes you think about life and what it means to you. Its really good, funny in places and sad in others. At times I found it uncomfortable as it was a little to close to home for me.

I came away from the 100 minutes thinking

Life is maybe not about the things I thought it was about (confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a while now)

Actually what are the things in life that make me spark and feel alive

Just how time is wasted

Fears of looking back at life and regretting lost opportunities

I can still grasp those opportunities…..

A few hours later and I’m still reflecting on SOUL. Life and the pandemic have kind of hemmed me in (hemmed many of us in). We have been in our own lockdown for almost a year now. Likely to be in lockdown for much of 2021. Time is to precious to just be content with performing endless holding patterns until life changes again. Have to find ways to live TODAY…

Change

Sorry going to milk our temporary farmers field lake for photos while it’s here. It does make such a difference to the view.

Time does make a difference. Look at schools. On Monday morning our PM said schools were completely safe and parents should send them there right away. Monday evening suddenly according to the same PM schools were clearly vectors for transmission and had to close immediately. Then on Tuesday the very same PM said schools were completely safe again but unfortunately staying shut. Having said that he has a track record of this. The man who championed Brexit to become leader likes to forget that before that he said “I would vote to stay in the single market (EU). I’m in favour of the single market”…..

So things can clearly change. One day I was one of two parents, the next I crashed into single parenting and the world of bereavement. Things can change.

But here’s the thing when they do change THEY CAN ALSO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. That’s why there is always hope. Good things can still happen. So yes I’m struggling through a period or depression. Yes it feels like Groundhog Day. But it can change.

I can do this. We can do this.

I would vote to stay in the single market. I’m in favour of the single market

Start with a change

It’s still a little cold here. Definitely a cold start to 2021.

We have a family tradition. For the last 7 years I’ve taken Hawklad on New Years Day to Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Set off at 8am. Get there for when it opens. Spend a few hours wandering round the animals. Then grab a burger and leave before the real crowds arrive.

It’s a lovely tradition that Hawklad loves.

But life happens. Only essential journeys are recommended. Avoid out of area travel.

AND

Hawklad just isn’t in the right frame of mind to go. He is seemingly a million miles from venturing into public places.

So no Wildlife Park visit this New Years Day. So we improvised. A homemade burger and a Pepsi, just like he would have had. A hot donut replaced with a warmed up cake. Then we sat and watched a David Attenborough wildlife TV series.

Not quite the tradition but a decent replacement given what was available to us. 2021 feels like a year for making the best of it.

South of France

It’s Monday. It’s grey. It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s getting really boring…..

Hawklad summed it up perfectly

What on earth where you thinking. Why didn’t you and mum move to the South of France. Somewhere warm… this weather is nothing short of torture. Think of the money you would have saved on jumpers and heating bills. I actually wouldn’t be now wearing two coats, a mega jumper and three T-shirt’s

He does have a point. Our winters are usually not much fun. Cold, windy and wet. But we don’t tend to get snow. So we don’t get the upside of winter. Just the downside stuff.

Warm I can handle.

Snow I would love.

But just not our weather. Week after week of this.

Dad what are you doing?”

I am putting the solar powered Christmas lights up outside.

What’s the point I bet they don’t work. It’s too dark. I bet they would work brilliantly in the a South of France. Oh wait. You never moved there….”

Firsts

A first….

I slept badly. Not much sleep. Too many random and confused thoughts. Anxious. Then just as I got up one clear thought settled in my nogging. Maybe many of the doors I am hopefully and expectantly stood next to are in-fact permanently closed. They ain’t opening. Not for the a few days over Christmas, not for New Year, not for a Vaccine, not for counselling help when it turns up, not for as much dream power as I can conjure up. They are shut. So if they are shut is it not time to accept the reality. Move on. Set a new course. Whatever that might be.

Reality has to bite at some stage.

So what is behind those doors. Parts of my life. Things I have experienced. Things I have enjoyed doing. Things I have hoped to do. Things I want to start. Basically- Parts of me.

Can’t even blame Pink Floyd or Leonard Cohen for this mindset. Not been listening to them over the last few days. Not sure KISS are supposed to take me into those mindsets.

Life happens. It’s like those Harry Potter Hogswarts staircases. They randomly shift. Take you in directions you weren’t planning to go. You find that you don’t have a viable route to some of your planned destinations anymore. Depending on your mindset this is either liberating or monumentally pants.

So my mindset changed. Maybe the penny dropped. Some stuff might never happen. BUT Other doors may open. Need to think about that more.

However if I am bunkered down. Largely physically isolated well I had better make it comfortable. So I went on Amazon and took the plunge. I bought a bean bag. I’ve always wanted to try one. Never been on one. Never had one. So I bought one. My first bean bag. Now I’m a realist. I know that like most things it will be lost to Hawklad and the pets. But at least I can say I have had one. It’s a first. Its maybe not a new door. More like a new letter box. BUT It’s a start.

Change

The local church pepping through the trees. There has been a church here for a 1000 years. It’s kind of a nice thought that this view might not have changed much over the years.

Somethings never change….

Dad have you been buying stuff again.”

I have son. New Christmas Tree lights. Ours are a bit old and they keep blowing. What do you think?

They are very nice. I like that they are all little houses that light up.”

They will look good on our tree. I was thinking about the tree next to the fireplace again.

Dad what’s this that came in the box with the lights?”

That’s a mini solar panel. I wonder why that’s come with the lights.

Maybe Dad it’s because these are OUTDOOR lights. Might explain why the photo on the box has these outside on a bush….”

Opps. Well we have some bushes to put these on.

Dad you are a muppet….”

Yep that never changes.

All change

So Hawklad I’m trying to get the food in early for Christmas. So we are having pizza on Christmas Day but what about Christmas Eve and Boxing Day? You can have anything you want.

Ok what day is Christmas Eve on then Dad?”

It’s a Thursday.

Ok if I can have anything then how about sausages and chips”

Ok what about Boxing Day. We normally have our big meal then. You can have anything?

Ok it’s a Saturday. How about curry, rice and fish fingers.”

So basically son we are having exactly the same food that we would normally have on any other Thursday and a Saturday.

It might seem that way but you are missing a big change Dad.”

Which is what Hawklad?

We will be wearing Christmas Hats…

How could I miss that…

Farmer

Been far too grey and misty over the last few days. Too much winter. So let’s have a little bit of summer. Yes Yorkshire does get some of that. Sometimes.

This is one of those great footpaths. A footpath across the crop field that the local farmer dutifully maintains. Not easy to get lost of this one. I always think it would be funny if the farmer built in a maze to this path. He could get hordes of walkers lost here for hours. Could be a nice little money earner for him. Send his sheepdogs in to rescue the walkers for a small fee.

In that photo if you keep going straight. Climb the hill. Keep going straight and in about 10 minutes you will crash into our overgrown garden. You could get seriously lost in there.

I feel a little lost today. I think many of us are. A little tired of Groundhog Day. Bored with 2020. Hours , days, weeks and months seemingly merging into each other. Having to constantly look at the date on my mobile and then check the calendar to work out where I am. Is it a Sunday? Not sure.

But there is always hope.

This time will pass. Directions will be rediscovered again. The farmer will work on his lovely straight path again.

Pictures

We haven’t don’t this for a while. Draw a picture in the ice forming on the outside of the window. Then turn the room light on and see what it looks like on the pavement. Makes us smile anyway.

It’s a tradition. Something we repeat. We do it every night we get the opportunity.

That’s a theme in our Aspergers household. Repetition.

The same foods on the same night. Week after week. Things like cheese have to be the usual brand and flavour.

Wearing the same type of clothes.

Buying the same toothpaste and the same toothbrushes. The same soap. Even things like the same toilet paper.

Watching a select group of movies and tv shows, time after time.

The same morning and nighttime bed rituals.

The same subjects we talk about most nights.

Having the same objects in the same places in the house.

The same fun animal story we tell every night. We have done this since he was a toddler. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I dread to think how many episodes we have told.

Playing the same games on the console. Just a couple of games. Microsoft might as well hardwire them into our box.

When we could get outside, walking the same walks and the same routes. Driving the same routes on the way to places. Even if that means more driving time. If we vary then we need to double back and drive the usual route as soon as we can. Going to sit in the same seats in the same cinema. Going to the same shops. Going to the same fast food joints and buying exactly the same order. Going to the zoo and visiting the animals in the same set order.

Repetition provides Hawklad with security and comfort. It provides stability for him to build bridges between his world and the big mad world. Variations can and will send him into a the realms of anxiety. At school any change to the set timetable will throw him and severely effect his performance. So it is just how things are in our little family.

So if ice forms tonight, I wonder what picture will appear on the pavement?