Why not

Red morning sky over the temporary farm lake.

Red sky in the morning – fisherman’s warning…..

Well the folklore weather phrase is almost right. The forecast is for the weather to cloud over as the day goes on and then the rain starts this evening. Lots of it. Two days solid heavy rain. Then the gales arrive.

That lake might just get a little bigger…..

We were watching the latest Wonder Woman movie last night. Don’t worry I’m not planning to give any major spoilers away. Now I could talk about a few scenes dealing with grief. But no. Not this time. Just to say that even in a bizarre, fantasy, superhero movie – they still can sting……

No the scene that I’m going to mention is one where a wardrobe is ransacked and different outfits are tried on. If you see the movie then you will know the one I mean. It was pretty amusing. But it got me thinking about my wardrobe. An IKEA sliding door brute that even Wonder Woman isn’t ever shifting. The wardrobe is little visited these days. Life happens and things change. I haven’t worn a suit since the funerals of 2016. Most of the shirts are untouched since they were last ironed dating back to when my partner was still here.

Since March 2020 we have been in our local family lockdown. I that time I have worn jeans just once. Walking trousers not at all. For months on end I’ve just lived in tracksuits, shorts, joggers, T-shirt’s, hoodies and jumpers. If your not going anywhere or seeing anyone then WHY NOT.

Maybe I should have a sort out. Get rid of sone stuff as I probably won’t be needing as many things going forward. But then again. What would I do with the space. I could get a much smaller wardrobe but without Wonder Woman’s help I’m not winning that battle with that IKEA beast.

So let’s leave it for the time being and get back to looking at the lake. A much more pleasant thought than that IKEA wardrobe one….

Snow

A little bit of snow. It does change the feel of the landscape.

We don’t often get lots of snow here. Not talking about a dusting, I mean really deep stuff. The last time that happened we were a family of 3. My partner would be out with her wooden ruler to measure the snow depth. She would do that before we could go out and wreck the snow with sledging, snow angels and snowmen. 2010 was a really good year for that. Yes a good year. Relatively healthy partner, a bouncy toddler and lots of snow. Too deep for the ruler. Well over 30cm and it stayed around for about 5 weeks. Good times.

So much has happened since then. It’s such a different world. It’s a much smaller family now.

Maybe deep snow will arrive again. That wooden ruler is still here. Measuring the depth will then pass to Hawklad.

Life moves on.

Depression

I’m sat in the back room listening to Pink Floyd drinking gallon loads of decaf. Hawklad is in the other room watching a comedy movie. Just wasn’t in the mood so I made an excuse of needing to do a bit of work.

For a few weeks now I’ve noticed a downturn in my mood. Not dramatic but definitely a subtle move downwards. I’m tired but not overtly tired. My overall energy is good. I’m lifting more weights, doing more press-ups, holding the pesky plank longer. I’m doing these things better than I ever have. The housework is getting done well. Even the baking is top draw (ok that one is clearly a big fat fib). So there are positives.

But my mood doesn’t reflect that. Definitely feeling more often than not UNHAPPY. Kind of sad. My view of myself isn’t great. Feeling more unsure and indecisive. Not feeling like the mum/dad I should be. Feeling a bit beaten up and mentally worn out.

I’ve suffered from depression in the past. I know what it feels like. Feels a lot like this. I also realise that with me it’s not about ‘curing’ it, it’s about managing it. Trying to keep on top of it. Recognising that it’s probably a life long process.

So the start of 2021 is about being open. Not hiding this, especially from myself. It’s about finding ways to get back on top of things again. Just like depression, my happy side doesn’t ever leave me. It’s still there. Just need to encourage it back to where it should be. Front and centre. I will definitely need to make some changes. A few mini leaps of faith.

It may take time but I can do this. I’ve done it before…

WE can do this.

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.

Damp

It’s still damp and wet….

We seem to be stuck in this grim weather pattern. Definitely feels like Groundhog Day again. But one day it will change. The sun will shine. The cycle will be broken.

It’s funny how sometimes it’s the indirect things that truly demonstrates the changes in life.

Last night I was writing Christmas cards. I remember a few years back. I would sit with my partner. Christmas music cd on the hifi. Going through the address list. Even with the two of us it would take ages to get the cards completed.

Then life happened. Aspergers Patenting. Loss. Single Parenting. Isolation.

So last night I started writing the cards. The same Christmas music cd on the hifi. Then the change. I was through the card list after 4 songs. 4 songs….. What happened to having the listen to the cd several times. Hours down to minutes to complete.

The rapidly diminished card list tells me everything I need to know about the path life has pushed me down. But it is what it is. And actually writing cards is clearly difficult for me. One person almost got a happy Easter and my sister was almost wished happy birthday…. Actually I’ve always had a habit of doing that. Somethings don’t change.

View

Bit of a theme going here. Been thinking about the 20 odd years I’ve now lived in this part of the world. Looking out over the garden fence. Over the farmers fields and towards the next set of hills in the distance.

A lot has happened in that time. Parenting and family. Becoming an Aspergers home. Bereavement, grief and single parenting. Full time career to stay at home parent making ends meet through part time work. Isolation. Homeschooling. Greater awareness of what it means to live and finally starting to get my priorities right. Of the five neighbours we had when we moved in, 2 have passed away, 2 have moved into care homes and the last remaining neighbour is largely housebound. Yes new neighbours but they so far have kept to themselves.

And what about that view. Actually the only constant. That tree is a bit smaller and a bit lob sided due to a couple of lightning strikes. But that’s it. Nothing else has changed. That’s so reassuring.

Yucky

Goodbye brief bit of blue sky as the next wave of grotty weather heads in. Now it’s officially yucky.

Ok I know the apple tree needs trimming. In my defence the second last time I tried to do that the tree battled back. Someone ending up in casualty after a direct branch hit on my eye. Then the last attempt ended prematurely when the ladders started sinking into the ground and I had to perform a dainty little sky diving forward roll landing. The new plan is to wait for a severe frost and then try the ladders on the hard ground. What could possibly go wrong.

What’s really annoying is that over the hedge is the neighbours garden. It is absolutely immaculate….

It’s always been like that really. A garden of mess surrounded by oceans of immaculateness. Is that even a word… it’s certainly a big word for me. When we moved in at the turn of the century (doesn’t that sound a long time) all our neighbours had beautiful gardens. The house we bought had a seriously overgrown one. A lot has happened since then. Too much. The garden is better now but never immaculate. We like to call it a bit randomness in a sea of order. I guess that’s quite apt for me. Over the last few years my nice, ordered and safe life has been upturned. It feels like I’m living this random, chaotic, unplanned life while the ordered world continues all around me, oblivious to what’s happening with me.

So just like the apple tree needs a bit of order restoring, I will need to think about doing the same to me as well….

Well that’s sorted then

I was conscious that this Christmas will be different for us, different for Hawklad.

No end of school term activities and parties.

No Carol singing in the city while drinking hot chocolate.

No Santa Train ride. Ok we are doing our own car version.

No Charity Santa coming through the village on a trailer pulled by a tractor.

No festive walks along the beach and finishing off at a little cafe for his festive ice cream.

No visits to friends.

No family meet-ups.

No trips to the Christmas Market.

No trip to the zoo in New Years Day.

No family Christmas meal.

No Boxing Day walk with picnic.

No festive trip to the cinema to see a blockbuster and then whatever festive film they have showing.

No carol singers coming round the houses on Christmas Eve.

Basically it will be just the two of us and pets. Sticking to the house and garden. Maybe only one trip out to do the Santa Car ride. I was feeling bad about that so I brought it up with Hawklad. I explained the differences to him

……. so it’s going to be really different this year. How do you feel about that Hawklad?

“So no family at all?”

None!

“Absolutely no visitors?”

None!

“No festive trips out?”

It doesn’t look like it.

Dad, can we order in extra pizza over Christmas?”

Yes Son.

“Well that will be just fine then…….”

Wilderness

One of my sister lives about 30 minutes drive in that direction. During 2020 it might as well have been 1000 miles. No chance of seeing her.

Where we live always feels like it’s so cut off from the world. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that a city is not that far a drive away. It’s one of those rare cities that hasn’t allowed any high rise buildings. It hides easily away on the horizon.

That feeling of being cut off is helped by lack of kinks we have with the outside world. If you don’t want to use the car then it’s two small buses a day. Nothing on a Sunday. The village doesn’t have a pub, or cafe, or school, or shop. Not quite tumbleweed levels but definitely quiet and often feeling most definitely cut off. During a pandemic even the occasional rambler has become a real rarity. The only evidence that an outside world still exists is the fairly regular stream of passing cyclists. The challenge of climbing the steep hill to the village is attractive to those on two wheels. A climb I’ve not undertaken since a few weeks before the world changed for me in 2016.

A lots happened in those years. Thoughts of needing a sportier frame have morphed into ‘that ornament gathering dust is taking up too much space in the increasingly cramped garage’.

But things will change eventually. We won’t seem so cut off again. The bike will again become a means of transport. Trips to the city and my sister will recommence. Life will become connected again. Even for those living in the wilderness……

Firsts

2020 is definitely a year of firsts. Still a few weeks to go but maybe it’s safe to call the result in some areas….

  • First year in decades without a visit to a hairdresser,
  • First year in decades without a visit to see my football team get beat (a moan is good for the soul),
  • First year without caffeine,
  • First year with Tai Chi,
  • First year in decades without buying a parking ticket,
  • First year in decades without standing on a mountain top,
  • First year in decades without mooching around a record or book store,
  • First year of not meeting up with a member of my family,
  • First year of turning up at a family birthday party and suddenly realising that I bought exactly the same present last year,
  • First year without buying fish and chips,
  • First year without walking on a beach,
  • First time lockdown applied to me,
  • First year without a visit to an historical site,
  • First year without accidentally bumping into someone you didn’t want to in the supermarket. Then spending the next 30 minutes trying to shop and avoid that person. Hiding behind a mask is way more easy,
  • First year without visiting a garden shop to buy a plant and then killing that plant off within weeks,
  • First year of not popping into a sweet shop and asking for a quarter of midget gems,
  • First year of not popping into a climbing store and looking at all the new gear (even though I don’t climb anymore),
  • First year of not making a single journey on public transport,
  • First year of not popping into a bakery for a quick top up on a pasty,
  • First year of not going to the cinema,
  • First year in decades without going for a bike ride,
  • First year without getting half way round a bike ride and thinking – why is Yorkshire so pigging hilly,
  • First year were I haven’t bothered checking the wear on my cars tyres as they bar not being used,
  • First year of not physically meeting up with a friend to do something,
  • First year in decades of not venturing into a DIY store (Yeh!!!😀😀😀),
  • First year without going clothes shopping, buying that item which might be fun and then driving back thinking – what have I just done.

So yes I don’t think we will forget 2020 in while.