In a stew

A lovely, inspiring sky.

Time to be inspired in the kitchen.

It was Sunday so it was time for Stew. A vegetarian, gluten free concoction. Add Moroccan Seasoning and it should be good to go in two hours.

Yes it looked like Moroccan Stew. But that Sunday it was anything but that….

Some muppet was inspired to pick up with wrong spice bottle. For one night only I had Cinnamon Stew. Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out…

It was a shocker. I was inspired to bin the main course and feast on crisps. Cheese and Onion crisps. It’s never ending Michelin eating here.

Battle Lines

There comes a time when you have to stand up for what is right. Good v Evil. Big v Small. Wear your war paint with pride. Avengers Assemble. Form the Battle Lines.

12.30GMT the House Derby takes place.

Hawklads team versus my so called team.

Chelsea versus Newcastle

Giants versus underdogs

A team which has won 11 major trophies in the last 10 years. And a team which has won nowt since 1969.

A team trying to win the Premier League and another happy to survive another year.

A team assembled from world class stars playing total football and a team which will run about like headless chickens and will basically just try to kick anything that moves.

Hawklad quietly confident. His Dad secretly just hoping we can keep it down to less than a 5-0 thumping.

Subsequent posts might see just a tad chastened….

Black Friday

Dad what on earth have you bought…”

Tibetan Singing Bowl Set — Easy to Play with Cushion & New Dual-End striker for Holistic Healing, Calming & Mindfulness ~ Antique Design

It’s a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

Why…..”

It was really cheap in a Black Friday sale.

Ok Dad but why….”

It offers a multi sensory path to enhanced meditation and spiritual enlightenment.

You’ve just read that from the label.”

Yep you busted me. It does sound good.

So does an 100 inch TV and that would be much more useful. ”

Yes but the TV would not be less than £10. So tomorrow you might catch me sat outside creating some beautiful vibrations and hypnotic, haunting moods.

Can I throw a bucket of water over you.”

What’s it feel like to have a really cool and hip Dad.

I wouldn’t know. I can talk about having a muppet as a parent.”

Ok, do you think I should just use it as an ornament.

“Yes Dad but that still doesn’t change the fact that you are a monumental muppet.”

No I guess it doesn’t, especially when you see what I’ve bought next…..

Back to normal

Do you ever have those moments in time that are just a little too busy. When lots of random events decide to bloom at exactly the same time. When life goes kinda mad. Well I’ve just had another one of those career defining epochs.

I was happily trying to cook tea. Pan boiling nicely. Grill turned on. Looking through the window at the washing gently drying on the outside clothes horse. Everything under control. Even time for a little air guitar listening to Kiss and then …..

For some reason the TV Speaker Bar kicked into life and decided to join in with the kitchen speaker and blast out Kiss. And I mean blast out. Deafening. It does have a mind of its own, definitely when it comes to Bluetooth. So I rushed to turn it off but couldn’t find the remote control (it doesn’t have any useful buttons on the speaker, apparently that is progress). Then a shout from the toilet…

Dad the toilet is blocked and flooding.

So I ditched trying to turn the music down and headed towards the toilet. The phone rang.

Can I phone you back, bit of a crisis here (having to shout above the music),

Running towards the toilet and the front doorbell rang.

Can you leave the parcel there ….. Apparently not and I had to sign for it. Definitely getting an evil look for listening to that type of music so loud.

Heading towards the toilet when the smoke alarm goes off. Run to the kitchen to find the grill was arc welding the once tasty food options. Turn off grill and throw the food embers outside. Then throw the smoke alarm out as well. That’s now happily screeching away on the lawn.

Head towards the toilet and the cat knocks the school iPad off the table. I try to catch it but fail. Check the damage. Screen looks slightly cracked.

Dad the toilet is flooded and I’m busting. Hawklad shouting over Kiss.

Head towards the kitchen sink to find the plunger only to find the pan was now boiling over and the top of the electric cooker is like a boating lake. Turn the pan off.

Dad I’m busting. The words almost lost amongst the dialled to 11 metal music.

Plunger now in hand. Front doorbell rings again. Can our postman leave a parcel for next door with me. Apparently he likes Kiss and went to see them 20 years ago.

Dad the cat is drinking the toilet water and I’m seriously busting.

Ten minutes later the toilet is working. Son isn’t busting anymore. Kiss is playing at less than 150 decibels. Soup has now replaced the wrecked food. I’ve got no idea who phoned. The smoke alarm is getting a free wash on the front lawn in a passing rain storm. As is the once almost dry washing.

Back to normal again.

Short movies

Dad can we switch this movie off. I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this.”

Son loves Marvel movies but for some reason he just can’t handle Spider-Man Homecoming. It’s just that one movie. The other Spider-Man movies he really enjoys. Certain movies just throw him. It starts off with him fidgeting then he is not able to look at the screen. Then he starts to pacing about. Finally he has to leave the room until it’s switched. Last night a few minutes later he was happily watching a Wolverine movie.

I remember the first film he did this with. We had gone to see Hotel Transylvania at the cinema. Within 15 minutes we had left. We ended up watching another movie and he enjoyed it.

So some movies just get to him. The last Joker movie is another we switched off quickly yet he loves all the other Batman films, even the much darker ones.

It’s so unpredictable. Just can’t anticipate these movie meltdowns. The problem movies don’t have a common theme. Last year a nondescript Disney Christmas movie set him off. At Easter the Pixar movie UP caused another meltdown. It’s not that they are scary. They are not more sensory than other ones. Not louder and not more violent. It’s not about death. We have never been able to pin the reason down.

But at least he knows that as soon as he gets the feeling that a movie is wrong then he can just switch it off. No questions will be asked and we will find another one to watch.

Dad it’s like you and your football team.

He is so right. These days watching them play is deeply unsettling and often requires me to look the other way….

Hide behind the sofa.

Another grey and damp morning. Now where did I put that brilliant and always helpful Parenting Guide again…..

I had an email from school. One of those emails that immediately sent me scurrying for safety behind the sofa.

It’s a legal requirement for school to deliver sexual health education in Year 9. The education will be across a number of lessons. It will cover Relationships, Puberty, Sexual Transmitted Diseases, contraception and other sexual health issues.

As Hawklad is not in school, the teacher will send me the lesson materials and I was asked if ‘The parents would be ok delivering the material to your son…..”. Well that will be me then.

As I see it I have basically four options

Say No

Continue to hide behind the sofa

Deliver the material

OR just show him an episode of South Park.

Magic wand

Midday….. House lights and heating full on. But at least the mist has retreated for a while.

So another day and another email from school. Another pupil has tested positive and 25 more pupils asked to isolate. A nightmare for the kids and families living with this virus. Its doing nothing for our son’s current anxieties. It can’t be much fun at school as well. Oh for a magic wand.

Yes Dad a magic wand would be much used this year.”

It would Hawklad. Much needs fixing.

Thinking about it I had better have the wand, not YOU.

Don’t you trust your Dad….

You know what would happen. It would be like the TV remote control. You wouldn’t be able to find it. Then after hours of going red in the face you would then stumble upon it. But the wand will be flat out power and you won’t be able to find the right replacement batteries. Finally you will get the wand to work but then you won’t be able to remember how to use it. You will shout at it for a while before you pass it to me to figure it out.”

HE KNOWS ME TOO WELL…..

Yellow Pages

We are now into the second half term of the school year. That’s 8 more weeks of school at home. Hawklad is sat at home trying to do the class work. Absolutely no sign of his anxieties and fears abating. So our little family is definitely in this for the long run. The prospect of missing the complete school year is not seeming so far fetched now as he’s already missed a sixth ot it. It’s certainly no consolation that he is currently not alone in doing that. Significant numbers of the school are having to isolate. But the message is carry on, nothing to see here. So the country is in lockdown but the schools and universities are most definitely open.

So we carry on making the most of the situation we find ourselves in.

WE learn what we can.

WE includes the slightly bemused single parent.

Dad can you help me with Citizenship. I’m stuck on one of the questions.”

He must have heard my sigh. I love helping but some subjects are just a bit of a chore. French, Design Technology, Drama (thankfully now dropped) and Citizenship. Citizenship seems to have moved on from learning about politics and how the country works. Now it’s all about drug, smoking and alcohol abuse. Not an easy area to explain to a teenager with Aspergers and anxieties.

Dad can you look at the three photos and tell me which one is Cocaine, Spice and Marijuana. ”

Not a clue. Spice was apparently not the stuff you cook with (well I hope not).

“Have you ever taken drugs Dad then.”

Well yes to alcohol. Too much alcohol when I was younger. Thankfully completely tea total now. Apart from that it would just be the pain killers you get from the doctor. Nothing else.

Then I told him the only time I had kind of dabbled. When I was at University I went to a party and I was drinking with friends. None of us did any other drugs. Anyway one friend spotted someone smoking a joint. I can’t remember why but I was sent to try and get one for us to try. I thought it was a bad idea but that was the order. Anyway a few minutes we were passing round a fine yellow looking thing. We all agreed that it had no effect, wasn’t very good and it didn’t last very long. So I think that was hopefully the end of all our smoking drug habit.

I never did tell my friends what we were smoking. Not really your typical high. I had ripped up a page out of the telephone book. Rolled it into a cigarette shape. Yes we smoked a telephone book. It was yellow. Those in the UK may remember the Yellow Pages which each house got every year.

There you go. I’ve come clean.

Tai Chi

From a time when running was still an option for me. This photo was taken a year ago. Who would have thought that a year later I would be looking at this view as something so precious. I ran this trail on my last run which was back in March. No sign of running here any time soon. Wonder if anything has changed?

8 months without a run. I can’t believe that. 8 months.

I was thinking how much I missed it. Running was good for me. Apart from the fitness element it also was good for my soul. A wonderful stress buster. But I guess as one door closes another opens. Who would have thought that I would become a regular yoga dude. And quite enjoy it. Not as much as running but let’s give it time.

And now there is something else.

Tai Chi

Yep I’ve started doing that as well now. It’s basically yoga without falling over….. Let’s see how it goes. Its going to be fun. It’s something different. I definitely feel like a Tai Chi lego figure guide will be coming soon…..

These are odd times. The old normal has stopped. We just have to adapt. Find ways to do more than just survive. Need to keep living.

Find new ways to run.

A bit later

Moody midday.

So we now are in lockdown officially. I should dig out my tinned foil hat. Must admit I’ve not noticed any real difference so far. The dustbin wagon turned up on time. Next doors gardener has been busy. Not much four wheeled traffic on the roads but plenty of cyclists. The mole and badger have continued to dig up the lawn. Hawklad is doing his school at home work. I’m wandering around being a muppet. So same old same old.

Well when I say nothing has changed well that’s not quite true. Shopping wise it’s a different matter. Many of the nonessential shops have closed. And food shopping has returned to being a pain in the buttocks again. As soon as lockdown is mentioned the availability of gluten free foods and Hawklad’s favourite sausages takes a nose dive. I blame it on Boris.

I also blame it on Boris that I’m clearly an old fart…..

Dad what on earth is that?”

It’s vinyl Son. A record. It’s the first Pink Floyd album…

This produced a bemused look on number one son. A bit later….

Say that again. You didn’t have computers when you started school.”

No. Home computing was not yet a thing. In fact calculators had just come out but my school didn’t believe in them. We were expected to do stuff in our heads or use the dreaded slide rulers.

What on earth is a slide ruler?”

Basically an analog mechanical calculation device that looks like a big ruler. It has scales on and you have to slide the middle bit of the ruler out to read the results off the scale.

Another bemused look. A bit later….

“Can I put the hot water bottle in the microwave to warm it a bit Dad.”

Don’t need to ask. In my day I would have had to fill it with boiling hot water from the kettle.

Another one of those looks. And finally this morning….

Dad it’s a shame that you haven’t got some videos or DVDs which you taped of some TV shows you watched as a kid. I bet there is a load that you can’t buy now on Amazon. That would be fun to watch.

Hawklad when I was a kid even video had not been invented. We didn’t get them until the 80s.

So how did you record stuff?”

We couldn’t. If you missed the show on the TV that was it. You had to just hope that it was repeated in a few months time.

And a really really really big one of those looks. Definitely feeling like an old fart…