Reality

Where are the Yorkshire clouds?

That faint red sun pillar is a bit like an X marks the spot.

I had been thinking about mountains today. Thinking is bad for me really. I should leave that to others better qualified than me. I should stick to reading the instructions 😂😂😂. But I was thinking and it was me and TIME again. Years ago I set myself a goal of climbing or walking up every Scottish Munro (282), every Lakeland Fell (214), every Yorkshire large hill (38) and every Welsh mountain 3000ft mountain (15). For years I made decent progress. Maybe 20 to 30 a year. Then life happened. It’s been about 10 in the last decade and zero since 2015.

PANTS…..

So today I was trying to visualise restarting the project. Which mountains where nearest. How to pull off some summits. Much creative thinking was required. Just maybe the Yorkshire ones would be a start. Logistically difficult given life. Impossible currently but just maybe one day….

There is always HOPE. And getting back to that faint sun pillar and its significance. It marks the exact direction I need to head off in to turn that Hope into REALITY.

Hopes great but reality is better.

Dreams

We all need to have dreams. I certainly do. Somedays I really need those dreams to hold on to. Those dreams, maybe the best dreams may feel so far from reality. Almost beyond reach. No life path ever seems to exist that would ever lead you to there. But I still dream.

The dreams tell me that I’m still not complete in life. There are still wonderful things still out there to be experienced.

The dreams tell me to keep moving forward.

AND you just never know what life will bring tomorrow. There is always hope.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to an alpine wonderland. To beautiful Switzerland. One of the most stunning countries on our planet.

I have been looking at photos of The Alps in old climbing books since I was a teenager. My home town’s old library didn’t have many books in BUT it did have three about scaling mountain peaks. Every Saturday morning on my trip to the one record shop I would stop off and look at those books. Dreaming of one day standing by those great peaks . The Eiger, The Matterhorn. The Monch.

So how excited was I when I flew into Switzerland for the very first time. Wow those mountains were as fantastic as I had dreamt of. But there was something else. Look at those lakes. Look at the water. I had no idea just how many stunning lakes this place had.

Here’s a fact for you. Little Switzerland has over 1500 lakes and has 6% of Europe’s freshwater stock….

Let’s hear it for those lakes.

Thank you Switzerland.

New Hope

I was trying to free up some space on the blog so I was looking what old stuff could de deleted. Can’t believe I’ve tortured people with 1600 posts since I started back in 2017. You know what, I never got round to deleting anything. I was too busy reading my first few posts. Wow they were bad (I’m not saying I’ve improved over the years as well….).

Reading those first posts a couple of message shine through. I was understandably messed up and I was at my lowest point. There was hardly any hope in my words. Hope is often the first thing that LOSS takes from you. It did with me.

Well 4 years later HOPE has returned. I now have a better perspective on life. LOSS is still the worst feeling. Loss of Hope is just as soul destroying. But now I can see a number of new more hopeful dimensions to this dreadful process. It wasn’t all bad. My life focus changed. I realised just how unimportant a career is in the scheme of things. A career is not about personal development rather its often a way of missing out on those important family moments. Single parenting is a tough gig but you get more time with your kids. More quality time. Time is the most precious commodity. And yes doors to close permanently but life eventually does go on again. New pathways open up. Pathways which would not have been found without LOSS. New OPPORTUNITIES, new FRIENDSHIPS. New HOPE.

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…

Big sky

I’ve talked about it before but two things really sold our house to us. We were thinking about starting a family. We wanted somewhere quiet with a bit of a garden. We looked at a few places and then we visited this little bungalow in a small village on a hill. The bungalow was a bit small and run down but then we looked out at the overgrown back garden. That view and that sky. There was nothing to block out the view of the clouds. It was a BIG SKY. That was it were were hooked.

It’s definitely still a BIG SKY.

It still kind of takes my breath away. I’ve always been a town and city person. Grow accustomed to buildings and trees blocking out large parts of the sky. At night the artificial lighting just drowning out what sky that is still there. That just doesn’t happen here.

A BIG SKY definitely deserves big dreams. I do need to start working on those. Sometimes it’s too easy to fall back on memories. It certainly is for me. Not today. I’m going to get wrapped up, brew a mug of something steaming and go outside. To look, to breathe and to dream. All thanks to a big sky.

Can wait

Yes much darkness but if you look hard enough – definitely blue sky can be found.

I’m sat looking at the window overlooking the garden. We are on the edge of a small hill. The last hill before the ground falls away and the ground is largely flat for miles. So I was looking into the distance. Looking at the brooding sky and thinking.

Sometimes I look at life and relationships and realise things don’t work out as well as I had hoped for. Maybe some things won’t pan out as I would have loved them to do. Often it’s just down to circumstances. Out of my control. I am just just forced down a different path. In that moment I was pondering which dreams I could still cling on to and which ones I should really put to one side.

Then my eyes caught sight of a small patch of blue sky. Yes small and definitely well into the distance. But still blue sky. I could so easily have missed that. Too caught up thinking about the past and an imaginary future. Standing by closed doors from the past can be both reassuring and emotional. Gazing at so many memories. Yes future dreams are important as well. They provide so much hope and direction. But they do not represent the here and now. You still have to remember to live.

So the little patch of blue sky worked its magic. Time to do some living. The future and the past will still be there in a few hours time, they can wait.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. We haven’t been able to go back there recently but it’s still a country which means so much to our family.

As a child I would visit the local library most Saturday mornings. I would spend a couple of hours reading books while sat next to the libraries little goldfish pond. One of my favourite books was an old book on climbing. Lots of pictures of a dreamlike country called Switzerland. It just seemed like a different world to a young lad from a grey and rundown Yorkshire seaside town. I so wanted to go there. Many years later I got my wish. See dreams can come true.

Flying towards Geneva and seeing The Alps for the first time was awe inspiring. Then the next seven days confirmed just how special this country.

It’s that good that photographs just can’t come close to capturing how beautiful and epic it is. Simply breathtaking.

So I will keep dreaming that soon our family can return there. Because dreams can come true.

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.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A place we haven’t been able to visit for 5 years now but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Times are tough. Travel and seeing the world is almost a nonstarter. That actually applied to many even before a pandemic kicked in. It certainly feels that way for our little part of Yorkshire. A little piece of the world that seems to contract just a little bit everyday. But some things still provide hope. Shine a light in the darkness.

To Hawklad and me Switzerland is one of those beacons of hope. A land which is almost too beautiful to seem real. As if you are visiting a land formed in an old art masterpiece. Maybe a perfect fantasy world created in a brilliant mind.

But Switzerland is real. It is that perfect. We endlessly look at old photos of our family trips there. Those memories brighten and expand our world. Sustain us through the dark days. Provide hope.

The thing about having hope is that it keeps you going until the clouds of life start to part. When it does for us there is always Switzerland.

Keep that special place close to your heart.