Walk

So each night Hawklad tries to walk a few more yards. To extend is external walk. To slowly start to build bridges again. Last night he bailed out early as he saw people in the distance. But it is progress. It’s a start. At some stage he will be ready to even face people again. But in his own time. Whether that happens before he leaves school, who knows.

I do worry that too many countries are just thinking vaccines. No other permanent changes required. The vaccine will beat the pandemic and return us to that wonderful former world….

But surely with a mutating virus which is still spreading and still so endemic, all a vaccine does is buy us time. It gives us a chance to make changes. To find ways to live safely. To get support out to the people who need it. To increasingly try to make it harder for the virus to spread and thus mutate.

But here’s the thing. The vaccine doesn’t really help with the growing tide of mental health issues facing our society. Speaking with the team trying to support Hawklad. They are being swamped by rising child mental health problems (and the identified problems are just scratching the surface of the real volume of problems out there). Plus was the old world that perfect. Even before a pandemic there was a mental health crisis.

Society and Governments need to quickly wake up to this. There are somethings a vaccine can’t fix for them…..

Cricket

Daffodils still going strong here.

A few years back before parenting happened I played for a little village cricket team. They had a lovely tree lined cricket ground. Sadly the land was sold and they had to move. They moved to some land set on a sea cliff, right next to the edge. After every storm one side of the pitch shrunk by an inch or so. Washed out to sea. It was usually really cold. Not a tree in sight. On the other side of the pitch was a water treatment facility. Get a wind from the West and the smell brought tears to your eyes.

The actually pitch wasn’t exactly flat more like a mountain range….. And every April at the start of the season the outfield was covered in Daffodils.

It seemed that all our fears about the move were justified.

The cricket team was allowed to use the field by the local landowner for free. The two rules he insisted on was that he got a game for the team and as he liked Daffodils, we weren’t allowed to cut them back even if they started growing on the pitch. So yes we played around them. Made the game different. Took a lot of getting used to. But soon we got used to the change. And actually it was FUN. To the point that when the daffodils died back, we missed them. The game didn’t seem as good. Yes it was cold but the view over the sea was stunning. Even the Water Treatment Centre worked out great. They started sponsoring the team and soon we started getting brand new gear.

That’s the thing, change doesn’t have to be bad thing. Often change works out just fine and in fact can improve life. Improve it in ways you just can’t visualise before it happens.

Yes we can do this.

Sleeping Bag

Another morning of home isolation. Another day of home schooling. Another largely sleepless night.

A night spent in a sleeping bag.

Yesterday morning I decided to give my duvet an airing outside as the sun had decided to shine. It wasn’t until 3am when I felt sufficiently tired that I noticed the duvet-less bed. Yes it was still outside. Outside in the pouring rain.

My poor duvet has been on the radiator for 8 hours now. It’s still drenched. So I guess it’s another sleeping bag night facing me. But actually that’s no bad thing. It’s something different. In seemingly ever repeating days of sameness, CHANGE is good.

Bring on the sleeping bag.

Where am I

It’s an old graveyard. Many of the gravestones have stood for hundreds of years. Many of the names and dates have now eroded away. Lost to the years and the hill top northern weather. Just maybe someone somewhere will be remembering those names.

I was stood watching the sun rise in the early morning air. My mind wandered. It’s been over three years since I visited my mums grave. It’s about 40 miles north from here. I had great intentions to visit every year. But life happened. No idea when I will be able to return again. But that’s how it goes sometimes.

Back in 2016 that thought would have really upset me. My thinking was very much that doors had very much closed on big parts of my life. My job was to not move on but to hang onto the past. Stay close to those locked doors even though they would never open again. In those terms visiting graves became a huge deal.

Now it’s a little different. Living has to come first. I can’t do that by standing by permanently locked doors. There will be times to visit places like graves but that will be when the time is right. The important thing for me is that I don’t need to be physically in one place to access memories. I always carry them with me regardless of where I am stood.

20 years

A really special tree. All by itself on an exposed little hill. This angle shows the impact of a few too many storms and a couple of direct lightning strikes. Definitely much bigger and a little more symmetrical when we first moved here a couple of decades ago.

Having said that I bet the tree is saying something similar about me. Not quite the same human than he was 20 years ago.

Definitely a bit heavier. My old baggy goalkeeper top has become a trendy skin tight one. Let’s say it’s all more muscle…. 🙀

But that made me think about other stuff which has changed over those 20 years.

Parenting

Bereavement

Hair….🤯 (maybe the two above are the cause of that….)

Stopped drinking alcohol

Stopped drinking coffee

My dress sense has improved (did I really wear that stuff)

Body has decided to disagree with lots of stuff I liked 20 years ago (caffeine, dairy, garlic, oats, baked beans, raw onions, gluten, spicy stuff, liquorice, fizzy drinks, apples, peanuts)

Over those 20 years they clearly have been making mobile phone screens and book lettering much smaller and more blurred

Memory has gone the same way as my eyesight

Seemingly can’t get out of a chair now without making audible noises

Can now seem to understand what the Tellytubbies and Clangers say

Now older than many world leaders

20 years ago I was a bit of a computer expert and now even the TV remote control is beyond me

20 years ago I would spend hours setting up my mobile to be the perfect fit for my lifestyle and now I just hand it to my son to sort it out

Developed a liking for beige things

I’ve become much more Homer Simpson than Bart

Can now get into a One Legged Pigeon position…..

Ok that last one I can get into the position but there are no guarantees I can get out of the pose. So surprise surprise, in those 20 years I’ve got older. Older yes. Bigger yes. Creakier yes. Wiser – not entirely sure……

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.