Cobwebs

Sorry this post is a day late. Think MONDAY….

Someone has been very busy. Boris is happily sat admiring all the hard work. Poor Boris the spider. Having a name which is now associated with our so called leader. Boris is a part timer, a serial liar, heartless, out of his depth, out of step with the world, a relic of a bygone era, addicted to his privileged lifestyle, not interested in the future of the species, has been repeatedly sacked, likes to hear his own voice and is basically a reptile at heart. Qualities not found thankfully in our little garden Boris.

So the start of the next phase of the school at home project got off to a predictable start. Looking at a blank screen. Waiting for something from school to allow Hawklad to try and do some work. Two hours of a blank screen. As we don’t even know what subjects are being taught today, there is nothing we can do. So all we can do is – I will send another email into school and Hawklad can play on Minecraft. You never know that game maybe part of the curriculum.

Cobwebs is an apt description for today. The first school day. An early start for Hawklad and even earlier start for me. Back to the delights of early morning workouts. Those early mornings when I just can’t seem to shake those cobwebs from my brain. It’s times like this that I really miss caffeine.

A few times this morning I found myself just repeating the same exercise. Over and over again for several minutes. The brain stuck in a tired loop or maybe it had just switched off and I was in autopilot mode.

Stuck in autopilot mode is probably a good description of the school system. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again, no variation, almost forgetting what you are trying to achieve. At least our garden Boris doesn’t do that. He is definitely a most able teacher about life.

Creaky World Tour 10

It’s time for another bit of virtual sightseeing. Last year I started my very own world tour. Let’s see how far I can get powered only by

  • My falling to bits exercise bike
  • My falling to bits running shoes

When I started the tour I was restricted to Yorkshire now that has become the garden. So let’s see where we left off last time. At the start of June we had reached Moldova. Now the journey continues. We still had many kilometres unused and we have now added another 1800km. So where have we got to….

Well with quite a few km’s still in the bank we have arrived at Volgograd. Formerly known as Stalingrad. This Russian city was founded in 1589. In certain important days the city can be officially called Hero City Stalingrad. In 1942 the city was the setting for one of the darkest, bloodiest and most horrific battles in the history of warfare. Approximately 2 million soldiers were killed, injured or captured in the 6 month battle. 40000 civilians were killed and the city was destroyed.

The city now has a population of just over a million. So what does it look like now.

******All city photos are from Tripadvisor******

Pain

There is a physical pain associated with parenting that is off the chart. Excluding childbirth which thankfully I will never have to experience. Standing bare foot on a piece of lego. A weaponised toy. In the garden there is something that comes close to lego. It’s this lovely little thing. A tree which overlooks our garden and likes to drop these little bombs onto the lawn. Accidentally pick one up – agony. Kneel on one – agony. Get one attached to the top of your training shoe – beyond agony. Horse Chestnuts hurt….

Dad I keep hearing that as you get older your body starts to hurt. Is that true. You should know as you are so very old…..”

Yes eventually the body does hurt. Playing contact sport or falling off cliffs doesn’t help. You can do stuff about the pain – mostly. But you do get to a stage when you realise that I’ve used this body up, so can I have a new one.

So when did your body start hurting?”

Everyone is different. At school one of my friends had a Chopper Bike. It had upright handles and a gear stick brilliantly placed right in front of your undercarriage. Chris had a big crash and encountered the pointy gear stick at a frightening rate of knots. His hurting most definitely started when he was 10. It ended his choir signing days. I think my body pain started after I was 30. Playing contact sport on a Saturday and not being able to move on Sunday.

Is that when Dad decided he wasn’t young anymore?”

Yes it was. I suddenly released that being a goalkeeper hurt. I stopped bouncing off the floor so well. There is a brilliant comic from Scotland called Billy Connelly. He says that you know that you are not young anymore when your can’t bend over without making a noise, usually a groan.

I can confirm that. I groaned 193 times during today’s yoga workout.

You

This was a year ago. I stopped on one of my long runs to take this photo. It would have been just after 9am and Hawklad would have been in school. After the run was finished I would then drag my muddy body to the supermarket. Definitely seems like an eternity ago. I wonder when I will go running here again. Probably not in 2020.

We all need those things in life to hold on to. A person, a friendship, a love, faith, a hobby, a destination. It will be different for everyone. Maybe it’s one thing. Maybe it’s a range of things. But we do need these in our worlds. For our health and wellbeing. I remember listening to a politician who I really respected. He talked about his love of hill walking. How walking had become such an important part of his life. But he was sad because due to work demands he had been forced to stop something he loved so much. Tragically it didn’t work out for him and his life was cut short. We do need to hold onto these things which lift us up. We all need to find the time. Listen to what our inner selves are telling us and needing from us. Hold onto and treasure those things and people we love.

So running has gone. I’ve found better more enriching things to focus and care for. But I realise that I do need a fitness activity to replace running. Ultimately the exercise bike is monumentally boring. So at present running has been replaced with yoga. Briefly stopping to take a photo has been replaced with failing to get anywhere near holding a handstand. Happy Days. I feel another lego yoga post coming on. You have been warned.

Joking to one side, please remember to find the time for YOU. You need that.

Time for your daily yoga.

Don’t say I never give you new features. First there was bereavement and autism. Then came parenting. Then virtual trips to Switzerland and world exercise bike tours. Then helpful baking tips. Poking fun at the government came next. Then muppet guides.

I hear you. You want more. OK

Brace yourself people. Don your comfy shirts and brightly coloured tight leggings. It’s time for your first Yoga Guide. Today I’m going to start with transitioning into the Warrior Pose. To add to the difficulty (as I am an elite athlete) I will be doing it dressed up as a Star Wars Clone Trooper.

Find a comfortable position. That is difficult dressed up in tight plastic battle gear, so I will just fall to the ground in a heap.

Now transition into a lotus pose or as close as you can comfortably manage.

Now with the grace of a charging Bison, extend you legs while keeping your head in line with your heart which is in line with your buttocks. Brace your thighs as you transition into the warrior pose.

If you are new to yoga or are a lego figure then you will probably find that the use of support blocks will help with stability.

Now hold. Your body, legs and joints will be screaming for mercy. Remember it’s good for you. Count to 10.

Now release the hold. See how good that feels.

Look at the pure delight on my face as I realise just how good my body now feels.

So hopefully you found that most useful. Remember I am an expert so don’t expect to be as good as me straight away. Stick with it and over many months you might end up not feeling so inferior to me.

Please let me know if you would like any other yoga or fitness activity explained to you.

NAMASTE my friends.

Inside out

That’s a sky that could tell several stories in my dreams – so tempted to try them out.

Somedays I can operate perfectly well in tired mode. Then you get other days.

Woke up this morning to find that I was a zombie. I hear you ask – well what is the evidence for these bold claims. Well brace yourself, I shall tell you…..

  • In my head, I was still debating if I should get up or just rollover and go back to sleep again – I didn’t realise I was actually already out of bed,
  • The eyes were open but it felt like they were closed shut,
  • When you try to open the bedroom door but only manage in walking straight into it, TWICE….
  • Take the wrong turning to the bathroom …… yes lost in my own home,
  • Struggle to understand where the toilet has gone and apparently it has been replaced with a fridge and cooker,
  • After I realised I was actually stood in the kitchen, my journey to the bathroom was cut short as I walked painfully into the kitchen table,
  • Once in the bathroom it was thankfully largely uneventful apart from dropping the bathroom paper roll (toilet roll) into the toilet bowl,
  • Time to feed the pets. Somehow gave the dog the cat’s food. Then the bemused cat got dog rations. Dread to think what the gerbils got,
  • Made breakfast completely forgetting that I’m supposed to be on a fasting diet and not eating until the afternoon,
  • Made a herbal tea but then decided to add almond milk – not a great taste.
  • Burnt my hand on the toaster making toast I wasn’t allowed to eat,
  • Went outside to give the dog his morning constitutional. Stood in the garden and suddenly realised that I hadn’t got round to putting a shirt on yet. That was bracing and not entirely liberating,
  • Stumbling back inside to get ready for my morning workout. That seemed to go ok. Well until I started working out only to discover that my shorts were inside out and on back to front.
  • Coming back inside to make Hawklad his breakfast. Completely forgetting that I had already made in an hour ago.

So yes it’s a zombie today. It’s not easy being a zombie.

Tomatoes

It’s taken long enough but at last some tomatoes. For some reason they are about a month later this year. Blame it on 2020. But at least it’s a start.

This morning I had two firsts. To start with, I managed to do a weights move for the first time ever. Instead of using two hands to pick up the laden weights bar and push it over my head, I did it one handed. It’s not clever and a little reckless, but it’s certainly cool when you do it. Never been able to do that before.

Then I finally managed to correctly transition some yoga moves. Normally when the video instructor says carefully transition – that involves me falling on my face, crashing into a wall and swearing lots. Today I was almost ballerina like. A ballerina with hairy legs…

It gives you a lift when you finally achieve something. We all need that from time to time.

I was going through Hawklads school notes today. He’s made great progress, certainly in the time he’s been school working from home. But what concerned me was the lack of progress I was making with the school authorities. It’s been 18 months since I made any headway with them. Just seem to be stuck. Can’t get any more support for him. Can’t get the school to try new teaching approaches with him. Can’t get the regional education authorities to send in a dyslexia expert. Can’t get the authorities to show a little flexibility with his education funding. Basically it’s the set teaching programme, with any additional financial support he’s been awarded just been used to fund general teaching support budgets for all the kids. The so called special funding basically buys a kid with additional educational needs a place at a school. The Government is quick to point the finger at families getting additional schooling funds

– we are taking money off other kids,

– it’s the gravy train,

– waste of tax payers money,

– it’s wasted funding.

Yet what the Government never seems to mention is that the families never see that money. We can’t control it. It is basically recycled into general school budgets. So the kids who need it actually don’t get any direct benefit from it. Sometimes the fundings only purpose seems to be to just shift the blame for school failings away from the authorities and on to a minority of families.

So yes some education progress is needed. Either that or for Hawklad to elect to be educated from home. But progress would be nice.

Cool

It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….

In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.

It’s Mafting…….

It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.

It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.

So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.

Yoga, I want some words….

If only sitting with a nettle tea and looking at a beautiful flower was classed as exercise….

Who invented yoga? Really! Who invented that medieval form of torture. I want words with them. The glossy brochures are so enticing.

Wonderful for posture

Stress busting

A pick me up for the soul

Strengthens the mind

Improves confidence

Recover your flexibility

Builds strength and a strong heart

Anyone can do it

Fun

Feel your anxiety ebb away

So what actually is the reality. What happens when YOGA meets a Yorkshire Bloke who is trying to figure out if he is Man or MUPPET….

So the iPad was fired up. A random yoga app was selected. The advanced 50 minute session selected. Surely being an experienced runner, CrossFit, weights, climbing, cycling superhero must count for something. For a start having an instructor who speaks in English would help. Whispering terms like Chaturanga Dandasana and Shalabhasana is just going to get a blank look in Yorkshire. Secondly can we not have an instructor who has the flexibility of Elastigirl. I’m not getting in those positions EVER, not even with scaffolding and a construction team.

50 minutes of basically hearing my body crack and creak. What are the official yoga terms for ‘that pigging hurts’, ‘are you kidding me’, ‘oh no I’m falling over’, and ‘I’m stuck’. Elastigirl, you try relaxing in the plank position when a dog is washing your face and the cat is scratching your heel. And while I’m on with it, Elastigirl my heel has never been designed to touch the back of my head – strangely my backbone makes that a physical impossibility. Lying on my back with my feet in the air might be doing something for my posterior but it’s playing havoc with my acid reflux. Where’s the warning to not get too close to glass windows when you try to balance on one leg while trying to get into the Superman flying position. It’s so far been beyond me to get into one position without farting…. Yes I can hold that press-up position for as long as you want but do you know the agony I’m in trying to hold a position which is basically me tied up in a knot. In fact most of the positions I’ve been instructed to hold while relaxing have quickly deteriorated into violent twitching and shaking episodes.

So yes I want serious words with the person who invented yoga. Tomorrow I’m going back to CrossFit training and weights. Those will now feel like an absolute delight. All that’s to yoga.

Red Rose

That’s me expelled from Yorkshire. A red rose……. Historically our greatest rival has been our neighbour Lancashire. We have had bloody civil wars and battled over who should have the English Throne. We are the White Rose County. Lancashire is the Red Rose County. To this day when our teams meet the matches are often called the Roses Game. Even sometimes – The War of the Roses.

I can get away with a red rose. I was born in a Yorkshire town but on the northern edge. The Yorkshire Cricket Team would play in my town once a year. A few years later and the government decided to have a local government reorganisation and suddenly we were kind of just outside my birth county. That’s my excuse anyway.

It really doesn’t matter what colour Rose you are. We are all in this mess together. Work briefly picked up. Glimmers of hope. But that didn’t last long. Most of the work programme has been cancelled again. We help to manage public events and deal with things like cycle races. Trying to stop the roads clogging up and looking after the safety of the competitors/public. Not a great line of work to be in during a pandemic. Most of the remaining events have been waiting for news on the upcoming London Marathon. If they run then we can. Well the London Marathon has now cancelled the public element of the race. It will hold a much smaller professional race with no spectators. Worse news is that next years marathon has already been pushed back months into October 2021. With all the money and resources they have available to them and they can’t run the event safely for well over a year. Crumbs…..

So our work programme is effectively wrecked until well into next year. We might get a few small events but hardly anything. Maybe a few ‘helping to manage drive in vaccination schemes’. But we can’t spend to long fretting over this. It’s really out of our hands. Not much we can do except batten down the hatches and try to weather the storm. Try to look after the pennies. It could be so much worse. So many don’t have a job. Now that is properly tough.

Much less work has many advantages. Yes it focuses the mind on money but look on the bright side. More time to focus on Hawklad. Much reduced carbon footprint – the mad car is hardly getting used, it’s been to the petrol station once since March. And other advantages.

I was sat on the floor in the bathroom cleaning the toilet. I’ve got a rock and roll lifestyle. Listening to some fine Canadian Rock – RUSH. Thinking what a good job I was doing getting the throne glistening white again. Normally toilet cleaning duties are seen as as a real chore. Something to be squeezed in to an overly busy day. Get it done as quick as possible. But today I could take my time. Do a proper job.

Now that’s finished it’s time to fold the bathroom sheets (toilet roll) into nice shapes – just like the hotels do. Now that’s a first…….