White Christmas

Well not quite…..

Can you spot someone practising to be either Cyclops from the X-Men or Vision from The Avengers.

This was 7.20pm on Christmas Eve. It’s as white as it’s going to get. Thought I had better take a photo while it’s at its DEEPEST…..

So as we fight to survive this mega blizzard I want to send you warm winter wishes your way. ❤️

The one advantage of brexiti

Dad Brexit has some advantages!”

Ok Hawklad. Off the top of my head after 4 years I’m struggling to think of one but go on then, what is it….

Well it’s going to be much harder for people from Britain to get into Europe. As we are quite annoying that must be a good thing for those in places like France and Germany. Less annoying people in their country.”

We are very annoying. Very obnoxious and exceedingly grumpy. So yes I will give you that advantage. But it’s a double edge sword. If there are less of us lot in Europe then that will mean there are more of us lot here. That’s not a good thing.

Well you get use to it. I’ve got use to living with YOU. That’s not been easy. You have to admit that. What do you describe yourself as…”

A sporting super being I think….

No definitely not that Dad”

A brain power colossus.

On wow where do I start with that…. No what’s the word that starts with a V which you call yourself Dad”

Voluptuous

I don’t even want to know what that means… the other word Dad start with V”

Vexing…..

That’s the one”

You couldn’t make it up.

Britain basically has self absorbed, one rule for us one rule for them, clowns running the country. Everyday they lower the bar even further. Who would have thought that the ‘everyone needs to isolate if you travel abroad unless you are a HIGH VALUE person who the rules will not apply to…’ gem could be topped. Well yes they did.

Schools had been told at short notice that they should consider closing on the 18th for Christmas to tie in with the temporary relaxation of the pandemic rules. A relaxation which is going against scientific advice. Well now the Government has decided to threaten legal action against schools……

Some schools are suffering from seriously high infection rates amongst pupils and staff. Often the schools find themselves in the highest risk areas. As a result some schools have taken the decision to switch to remote learning. That didn’t go down well The Clowns.

The School Minister Nick Gibb in particular. Remember him, he’s the one he thought it was a good idea to start getting 4 year olds to sit tests. He is the clown who described children taking time off for family bereavement as having an EXTENDED HOLIDAY…. Well he has started contacting schools to tell them that they must immediately shut down online tuition and bring all kids back into classrooms or he will take legal action against them.

How on earth do we end up with these people in charge.

Now I realise that there are people out there who will think the School Minister is brilliant (especially himself). Who think that this country is heading in the right direction under this government. They are so entitled to their option. They have got the government they wanted. They won’t care what I prattle on about. Today they will be happy with the state of the country. For me that sums it all up. When was the last time they opened their eyes. I guess they don’t want to. That’s the thing. In previous times we have had differences of opinion on how the country should be run. But it was clear both sides of the argument wanted the best for the country. Now I am not so sure everybody shares that view. That’s why I have never been so pessimistic for the future and what inheritance we are leaving for future generations.

Solar power in Yorkshire

There are some useless things in life. Things like

  • A open top bus to celebrate a trophy win at my so called football club,
  • Chocolate fire guards,
  • That unkillable plant that died in the Yorkshire weather within days (the Yorkshire Summer…..),
  • The last 250 pages of The Silmarillion (I can’t get through the first chapter after thirty years of trying),
  • My baking….

Now we can add solar power in Yorkshire to that list.

Son expectantly waiting for a festive feel in the garden.

I carefully placed the new solar powered Christmas lights into a tree. Positioned the panel in a place which faces the sun all day. Absolutely no shade cover to worry about. Perfect.

Only problem is this is Yorkshire. Absolutely no sun. But don’t worry the lights come with a panel that apparently works in cloudy conditions. Just 4 hours charging required. There is cloudy and then there is Yorkshire.

Two days now. Nothing. Not a flicker from the lights. Well on the bright side we still have 18 days till Christmas. Just maybe in 18 days we might just get enough light to breathe a little life into them. Looking at the forecast. I’m not entirely convinced.

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……

Epic Sky

I do like an epic sky.

Don’t often get straight edged clouds here.

Dad shame we don’t have another straight edged cloud heading towards it. Would be so cool watching them clash together. Could be two great armies crashing into each other. The stuff of Thor.

I was thinking Will Smith looking up at the space ship in Independence Day.

Dad do you honestly think the aliens would come all those billions of light years and head straight for Yorkshire.”

Well they would if they needed rain, wind, Yorkshire Puddings or Rhubarb.

Yorkshire is the last place a super intelligent race would turn up at.”

Oh I don’t know the current Dr Who is from Yorkshire. There’s been a Yorkshire Star Trek Captain of the Enterprise…

“If they have satellite tv then we might be in business with incoming aliens then.”

Would be funny if they arrived and they said take me to your leader. We would have to show them Boris. What on Earth would they think.

Clearly no intelligent life forms here”

Actually Boris won’t visit a poor place like Yorkshire so the aliens might play it safe and arrive here.

I bet when they arrive in Yorkshire it will be raining”

They better not come on a Sunday as it will be shut.

I hope they have raincoats with them if they do come Dad.”

We could offer them umbrellas as welcoming gifts. Can you imagine the letdown of arriving on a new planet and it’s Yorkshire. Cold, windy and very wet. Met by a grumpy chap with a flat cap telling them to shift the heap of metal off the cricket pitch.

I guess that’s why you don’t see many rusty space ships. They avoid the badlands of Yorkshire.”

November Rain

Should really be listening to that Guns N’ Roses song while writing this.

Well I did put it on….

It’s November 2020. What happened to October? For nothing much happening it certainly seemed to fly by. The new month sees England about to re-enter a national lockdown. This time until at least the 2nd December. You can go out for education, to work (only if you can’t do it from home), to do some exercise, for a medical appointment, to care for someone and to shop for essentials. Pubs, restaurants, and things like non essential shops will close. Does non essential include Boris Johnson and the Government. Unless you are at school, university or work (as the virus is cool with those places unlike than well run, conscientious little cafes) you basically can’t meet up with anyone.

Is it bad that when I hear our so called leader talk I just utter the words ‘what a pompous, self deluded, lazy prat’. Actually that can be used for most of the Government. Worryingly Boris Johnson isn’t the worst….

For our little part of the world it’s not going to make that much of a difference. We don’t meet up with anyone really. We don’t go out unless for essential stuff. I have no work until at least March. Son is not medically cleared to attend school. Ok his nurse counsellor may not be able to visit. Food shopping might become more difficult. No chance of seeing family or friends. I don’t go for runs. But it is what it is.

Last night I took son for a short drive round the local villages to look at the Halloween decorations. Nighttime when few are out is the only time he will venture out. These trips out probably become illegal from Thursday. Do we care – NO. If members of the government can drive 300 miles with the virus and apparently impaired vision to visit family and tourist haunts – well stuff you Boris. These little trips out can be classed as medical and I’m just acting as any responsible parent would do.

So welcome to November 2020. Will it fly by…

Bin

Another day and another email from school. Another pupil has tested positive. I’ve lost count of the pupils isolating now. One year has about 80 isolating out of 130. Another year has about 60 isolating. Countless teachers can be added to the list. Sadly that’s what happens when a cramped and old fashioned school tries to operate at full capacity during a pandemic.

Unfortunately it’s a story being repeated across the England. The latest figures show that last week 400000 pupils were have to isolate. 50000 pupils had either tested positive or were suspected as having the virus. It’s almost as if the Government is trying to get as many of our children infected as possible.

Surely it’s time to bring in better controls within our schools. For a start opening up online education options to all pupils has to be done as a matter of urgency. That would instantly create space in classrooms. Cramped and overcrowded classrooms have to be consigned to the bin.

Return

This is the first hill I ever walked up. Walked up it more than any other hill. Roseberry Topping is not a big hill. It’s only 266 ft tall. It sits on the northern edge of North Yorkshire and is a part of the Cleveland Hills. At the top look south and you see beautiful moors. Look north you see an urban sprawl and industry. Those with good eyesight can see where I was born and the sea.

For such a small hill it so loved. Alan Hinkes the first Britain to climb all 14 highest world mountains talks so fondly of this little piece of rock.

“I saw K2 and thought: that is the mountain to do; it’s nearly as impressive as Roseberry Topping”

Here we often refer it as the Yorkshire Matterhorn. Our version of the Swiss Matterhorn.

Our version is certainly not as big. Not as snowy. Not as steep. Not as scary. Not as famous. But it’s certainly way more Yorkshire.

My mum when she was young apparently scrawled her initials in a rock near the top. Many did that. I’ve still not found her carving but I do look every time I visit the hill.

As a teenager it would always feel a little claustrophobic where we lived. A small grey town. On one side the cold dark North Sea. On the other side one of Europe’s biggest chemical and steel works. It often seemed that the rest of the world was blocked off from me. But get on my bike and ride 2 hours through the industry. Suddenly I was at the base of our Matterhorn. 30 minutes later I was on its top and I could breathe. I was finally in a different world. I could experience what it was like to be in The Alps. To be an adventurer. I could think clearly on the top. I could calm the internal storms. I could visualise a better life.

All these years later and I still love this little hill. My hill. I so want to be there right now. I need to be there. 2020 will probably be the first year since I was a wee bairn that I won’t have stood on Roseberry Topping. That’s a sad thought. But it’s patiently waiting for me. Waiting for me to return.

Pink

Ok I admit it – I do wear a little bit of pink. In my defence that is usually gym kit – often the pink version is the cheapest colour in the men’s range. Pink climbing kit was often discounted. Pink also made sense on the hills – if I got into trouble then at least pink would stand out. When I bought a new Goalkeepers top the pink version was the one that made the best financial sense – clearly no one else was buying that style. It’s definitely a pretty colour. Look what a bit of pink does to the sky. One day it might even work on me. Much sniggering.

Dad why is pink seen as a girls colour?”

We did go through a phase when pink was for girls and blue was for boys. But not always. It really only started during the last century. In fact prior to that blue was often seen as a feminine colour. I think I read somewhere that pink may have been switched to feminine because of the influence of French Fashion.

Was I dressed in blue then as a baby?”

Erm NO. We had bought you white baby gear but you came out far smaller than expected. Not the great lump I had been. Your poor Grandma, she was only 4f10 and having to cope with a lump like me. Anyway you were too small for your clothes so I was sent out to buy new ones. I picked the first ones that would fit you. I didn’t check and when we opened them, they were pink. So you were dressed in pink. It was mentioned a few times that you had the wrong clothes colour. A few days later I was sent out to buy some more clothes this time with clear instructions to buy white. I messed up again an got a load of blue stuff.

Which is useful as my favourite colour has always been blue.”

It has Hawklad, I remember as a baby and you were given two blue celebration balloons. You loved them. I didn’t tell you but I had to buy a new packet of them and keep blowing them up for you. Often they were the only things that would stop you crying. Maybe it was those blue balloons that influenced you.

How long did I play with balloons then?

Until you found the delights of chucking objects at me. Toys, spoons, food. Anything you could get your hands on. Maybe you thought I was a giant balloon.

Definitely an odd coloured balloon. Your definitely full of hot air…”

And I frequently make that sound balloons make when you start to let the air out. I did try to dress you in black and white stripes once.

Tell me you didn’t put me in Newcastle United colours.”

I did. Does that make me a bad parent.

It’s nothing short of abuse”

Anyway as soon as you could talk you basically said NO to my football team colours. You just wanted to wear blue as much as possible.

Even picked a football team that played in blue.”

You did. You would always support the blue sports team. When I would watch England play you would support the blue team. Don’t tell Boris Johnson but what was often France and Italy.

I still do. All thanks to those balloons.”

Yes Hawklad all thanks to those blue balloons. Why didn’t I buy black and white striped ones.

Because Dad if they are like your football team they would just keep going DOWN”

Oh how true you are…..