No Rose Show yet

No jokes today. No script. Let’s just see where this takes me.

It’s the very early hours. It’s my partners birthday. Once I’ve finished I will close the iPad for today and hopefully I will see you tomorrow.

These are strange times for all of us. But to be fair it’s been a strange time for our little family since 2016. That’s the year the world stopped and changed for us forever. Those six weeks from hell. We lost my mum and our Son’s beloved little nan on the first day of that period. That day started as a fun birthday for me and finished in heartache. Almost straight after the funeral my partner wasn’t feeling great and went into hospital overnight for routine tests. The next day having come to pick her up, I was taken to one side by the Doctor to tell me that things where bleak. She only had a 5% chance of surviving the month. Zero chance of making it to Christmas. She was deteriorating rapidly and she wasn’t really conscious. The following conversation with an 8 year old will haunt me forever.

She never fully regained consciousness. We had no more conversations. I can’t even remember the last one we had. Three weeks later I was telling the 8 year old his mum was dead. 2016 and those six weeks from hell.

This day in 2016 I had just given my partner a plant, a Yorkshire White Rose. She had always wanted one. I wish I had bought it so many years earlier so she could have enjoyed it. Since then it has always bloomed in time for her birthday. Not this year. The bad winter has set things back. It’s a few weeks behind schedule. But it will get there. It’s a hardy soul. It feels like one of the few life bridges which didn’t break in 2016. A link to a world now gone but certainly not forgotten.

So now I will focus on our Son. Yes there might be a few tears but hopefully if I do my job right then there will also be smiles. Let’s be thankful for those wonderful times. Let’s remember those other times when the world changed. Changed for the better. Our first date. Our first night in the new house. Finding out those pregnancy results. Holding our baby. Our first family family holiday.

Wonderful, loving times.

So that’s it. Take care and remember that this is still a wonderful world. No more words today. See you tomorrow.

The ship

Dad what’s the date?”

That’s a relief not missed mums birthday.”

Thankfully still not here yet.

Don’t mind missing your birthday like I did last year. To be fair you forgot it as well. Luckily I remembered sometime during the day.”

It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten that. My sister gives my a Calendar each year with all the family birthdays marked on. She even puts mine on just in case.

When his mum was still running our ship (she was good at that) it was all different. She would carefully map out the birthdays. Make sure we made each one special. Now I just focus on our Sons.

The ship analogy is a good one. Mum was definitely the captain. Charting the course and organising. Son was the special passenger who occasionally would help mopping out the ship. The passenger who would happily drop anchor miles from anywhere. Dad was the slightly confused crew hand, who tried to look important but could never remember where he put his sword. After mum joined a much better ship in the sky, our boat was rudderless in very turbulent oceans for far too long. Thankfully we avoided the rocks. Now the special passenger and confused crew hand try to jointly steer the ship.

We both really like this boating view of our home. Son summed it up perfectly.

Dad we are probably going round in giant circles in the ocean. Never going to find that island paradise at this rate. Maybe we should put the clearly most sensible in charge. That will be the gerbils”

He is not wrong there.

Windy with a hint of muppets.

Please remind me not to try and take a closeup photo during a wind storm. It’s not easy. It’s been a typical Yorkshire May Day. Two jumpers (sweaters), woolly hat and retrieving garden furniture from the farmers field.

A fantastic blogger did a wonderful tribute to me by doing a post on her site, in my writing style. It’s funny reading about yourself in someone else’s words, finding out what I had done. Thank you Chelsea, you do me so much better than I do.

Chelsea’s post is so apt and spookily close to the mark. Outside eating with a hint of muppetry was definitely yesterday’s theme. We had decided to mark the start of the week off with a barbecue. Unfortunately the old bbq crumbled over the Yorkshire winter. My first attempt at building a replacement one didn’t go to well and rather scarily was built next to the oil tank. So when yesterday came…

Dad why don’t we just move the George Foreman grill outside like we said we would.”

No let’s have fun and build a fire on the lawn. A proper barbecue.

Not sure that’s a great idea. It’s a bit grey and very, very windy…”

Yes it was blowing a storm but surely man can overcome the elements. So yes we built a rather fine temporary fire structure at a much safer distance from the oil tank. I was quite impressed. It was loaded with what we had in terms of coal and wood.

How are you going to light it.”

Matches…. This is where the plan encountered its first problem. Yes we did find three matchboxes. A remnant from fireworks night. Unfortunately the boxes where full of used matches. Don’t you just hate that. I managed to salvage one complete unused match and one snapped one. So here goes. Problem two – the wind. Instantly both matches were been blown out. Problem three – living in a house with oil heating and an electric oven. We don’t need to light a fire so the house is bereft of spark generating options.

Ok Bear Grylls what are you going to do now. Time for the George Foreman yet.”

Spiriting up my inner Bear I located my camping flint and tried to create fire. Thirty minutes later – nothing.

Dad I will fetch the George Foreman. I’m starving.”

Too late, it started to rain. So eventually it was an indoor George Foreman feast. Today’s heartwarming life lesson

Once a Muppet, always a Muppet.

The forecast

The weather forecast is saying it’s clear blue sky and no rain today.

The clouds and the showers would beg to differ.

Another inaccurate weather forecast. It’s clearly the forecasters fault that it’s raining …. It always is. I remember going to a Test Match (Cricket) between England and India. It had been a good weather forecast. But it was chucking it down and play was suspended. With perfect timing the main TV weatherman came onto the pitch to do a weather forecast. I’ve never heard anyone get so many boo’s. It was his fault that it was raining.

To be honest we get many incorrect predictions. Leaders saying a pandemic will just go away. Those pension salespeople saying that you will be able to retire at 50. Being told that Betamax and V2000 would be the best video recording formats. No one would be daft enough to vote for Trump or Boris. My Dad saying Status Quo wouldn’t last as they can’t sing or play. Brexit was easy and could be sorted in days. The Sinclair C5 was the vehicle of the future…..

Basically life is to unpredictable. You just never know what will happen. What’s round the corner.

I know this all too well. One day your talking about the next family trip to Switzerland. Discussing trying for a second child or adopting. Then 3 weeks later I’m leaving the crematorium with my partners ashes. A broken single parent. That wasn’t in the forecast or the plans.

We often learn this lesson far too late. I did. Don’t assume there will be a tomorrow. Remember to hug those you love today. Start ticking off those bucket list items, right now. If something special to you is broken, then try and fix it today. Today, speak to those you care for. Make sure you live today.

Lecture over…. And yes it’s still raining here. I blame it on the weather forecaster.

Busy

Running round the small garden for what seems like the millionth time and desperately trying to find an excuse to stop for a few seconds. Thankfully a yellow rose is a suitable excuse for a photo pit stop.

I’m sat writing this during another brief day pit stop. Son is having a wander round the garden, dreaming and working on what we do next this Sunday afternoon. It will be a short pit stop. Maybe 30 minutes at most. It’s an odd busy feeling….

My mind wanders back to pre Aspergers, pre parenting life. Early commutes, days filled with meetings, projects, accounts and people management. The working week punctuated by the occasional long train journey to London. Trying to get the works laptop to link to the train WIFI, so many unread emails to look at. I would return home and think – wow that was busy. Then the world changed three times. Parenting, Aspergers and then bereavement. One overriding thought comes to mind. What was I doing with that career life. Busy maybe, happy not, fulfilled – most definitely NOT. The first two events forced both our careers to alter. Suddenly the careers had to start fitting around our Son. One of us had always to be there for him. Definitely feeling busier. Then with a flick of a switch, two parents became one. The career was untenable and that was it. A new part time job and a full time single parent role.

Now the world has changed again. A social distancing fuelled change.

So I’m sat here watching son dream and I’m waffling on with these words….. Thinking about

  • A backlog of washing and domestic tasks,
  • Getting my head round this weeks school at home project,
  • Laying the groundwork for a switch to full on homeschooling,
  • Preparing the next appeal document to try and source the additional help our son needs,
  • Arranging calls and sending emails to teachers. Trying to make schooling work for son,
  • A garden which looks like an Amazonian Rainforest,
  • Looking at other work from home options as the current ideal role is potentially not outlasting the pandemic fuelled government incompetence,
  • Reading online DIY guides, preparing for the next home servicing and repair task,
  • What to cook for lunch and tea,
  • Scouring the online food supply options. Trying to figure out what we really need. Then trying to somehow book a home delivery for what is available,
  • Picking up the courage to get out the sewing kit and repair those pesky trouser knee holes,
  • Looking at the home finances spreadsheet AGAIN. I must be missing something,
  • Thinking about what things we can line up to fill the half term week off with fun and happiness. All without going through the front gate.

So the meetings, the commutes and professional career have gone. Yes I am at home. Yes my paid work is part time normally but has currently ceased completely. It may not seem like I am busy. But sat here, looking out the window, I have never felt so busy. Busy definitely YES, Fulfilled most definitely YES.

Now I am called back into action. Take care everyone. WE will do this.

Get my head round

The sun is shining. It’s still cold but we will settle for this.

So it’s almost official. School has emailed parents to say that looking at the latest government guidance – which apparently isn’t much – only some Primary pupils and those sitting final exams next year will get any direct teaching over the next few months. The earliest Son will be back in school is going to be September. So it’s time to get our heads round this.

Looking at the government’s plan for the economy – doesn’t take long as it’s basically wrote on the back of the PMs hand – probably means the company I work for won’t be operating anytime before September. That’s being extremely optimistic and requires an awful lot of good fortune. Being realistic there is a high probability it will not survive. So it’s time to get our heads round this.

It’s also time to get my head round the likelihood that I won’t be seeing my brother and sisters much in 2020. If things improve then maybe visits at Christmas might be a possibility. Realistically meet ups are not happening anytime this side of September. Already one Government official has said Summer family holidays and meet ups are cancelled, as these are unsafe – but apparently getting on a packed bus and going to work is completely safe.

AND WE HAVE TO GET OUR HEADS ROUND TWO EVEN MORE PRESSING MATTERS.

  • How are we going to celebrate my partners birthday in just over a weeks time. We had been planning on doing a camp fire party. Unfortunately the fire pit didn’t survive the Yorkshire winter. Yesterday I tried to pick it up to clean and the metal just crumbled, leaving me holding just two wooden handles. At least they can be used as fire wood. The other idea was to have my partners favourite meal – Chinese. Unfortunately the local takeaways are still closed and the local supermarket is completely sold out of Chinese food – apart from crispy seaweed. Which brought the response “well the gerbils will eat well then….”. I did offer to cook Chinese from scratch, but that brought the response “I’d rather suck on a gooseberry….”. So we are in plan F territory.
  • Dad I am so missing not going on my trampoline.” A couple of months back our garden pigeons decided to nest right next to the big bouncy thing (thats not my tummy before you say anything….). When I say right next to, I mean within 10 centimetres (not using inches will really upset Boris). Well the pigeons and chicks are showing no sign of moving, so I have two options. One is to dismantle and then rebuild somewhere else. Problem is that it’s in the only flat part of the garden and it’s like trying to assemble a Super Tanker. The instructions helpfully explained that you will need three reasonably fit adults to assemble. They failed to mention at least one of those adults must be an expert in structural engineering and the other two will need to have the strength of The Hulk. The other option is to try and drag the complete trampoline. We tried yesterday and after 30 minutes had shifted it 1 cm (up yours Boris). So we are also on Plan F here as well.

But at least the sun is shining.

Moonbathing

Under the right cloud conditions, a Full Moon can end up looking like the Sun. Especially to my old iPhone camera.

I had yet another weird dream. A weird dream which was so weird that it caught our Sons imagination when I told him about it. The Sun was going through a profound and long lasting quiet phase. It just was just not heating our planet up enough. The world was entering a new ice age. So the scientists decided to reflect giant lasers off the moon to warm things up. The Moon became the new Sun. As a result people would sunbath during the night, moonbathing. Full Moons became huge public holidays and communities held giant night street parties. Beaches and parks only started to fill up at midnight. Our world was forced to shift.

I guess that odd dream had a message that applies today. When things happen sometimes we have to change and adapt. The old way of doing things just stop working and we have to develop our own New Normal….

Dad have we got any graph paper. I need it for science.”

Strangely our massive school stationary cupboard doesn’t seem to have any stocks of graph paper to hand. Music is coming up soon, what on earth will that require.

Music Sheets

Flutes

Drum kits

Violins

Grand Piano

But we have learned to make do. To improvise. The days of just popping into the shops to stock up have gone. It’s one shop every few weeks and you just work with what you have. That’s the new normal. As is…

Dad this weekend since we can’t go anywhere shall we do something in the garden. Shall we turn it into the beach again. Maybe we can camp out on the lawn and imagine we are in the mountains of Scotland. Having our very own moonbathing party.”

That’s a great idea. That would be good for the both of us. The danger currently is that we are just not going anywhere. We don’t even manage to walk through the front gate anymore. Our world has contracted. Days merge into each other. Time passes us by. Even in these strange times, that is such a waste.

Reading between the lines many UK pupils will not be returning to school until September. An attempt will be made to get some younger kids back into Primary School during June. Those older children with key exams next year may get a few weeks of direct teaching time during July. That’s it. So it looks like we won’t have to face the ‘does he return to school’ question for several months. Not going to school has become the new normal. March through August will be completely without classroom teaching. That’s a long time. Such a long time especially when the only part of the world you experience is your garden. But that’s how it is, the world has shifted. So it’s time for us to adapt. Make the best of what we have. Like we had to a few years back. When loss destroyed our wonderful world. We had to adapt to becoming a one parent family.

We did it once, so I’m sure we will do it again. To find ways of stretching our horizons without leaving the garden. Maybe we call that moonbathing.

Options

I’ve lost my Idiots Guide to Parenting book again. Just when I really need it.

Dad so the options are Man & Woman, Man & Man, Woman & Woman, Genetically Created, No defined sexual orientation, weird different species options…. are there any other options. I guess Guardians of the Galaxy opens up the Man & Alien option.”

This is not the first time I’ve faced this question. Since the last time he’s added at least one other option. My stock answer can’t be used now. Why don’t you ask your Mum, she’s good at that sort of thing….

So how do I answer this. Thinking back to my childhood doesn’t really provide much help. At school we had one lesson about the birds and the bees. The teacher said watch this video and went outside for a smoke. The video started with a couple holding hands. We then got a cartoon description of some of the body parts then finished with footage of an actual birth. Unfortunately a lad called Martin was sick at the sight of the birth and the video had to be stopped. After Martin’s mess had been cleaned up the teacher finished with the immortal line.

I’m not going to bother restarting the video now as we can start the Games lesson early. Surely you get the picture now. Remember you can’t start having babies until your 18. Any questions go and see the school nurse…

My parents approach was very much – well that’s schools job. So that was it for my birds and the bees education.

So having quickly reviewed my extensive memory banks I was pretty confident with my answer to today’s question. I think that probably covers it really. I decided to gloss over the Man & Android option you get in some Sci Fi movies. It’s amusing how even after all these years I still get hot under the collar with this type of question. It feels way easier answering questions like what is a magnetic field and what’s the French for hairdressers. Maybe after society finally gets round to completing my birds and the bees education, then I will feel so much more relaxed with this question.

What the day brings

It’s another day. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy but at least we have a few breaks in the clouds. A few blue patches above and masses of red below. That make such a difference. So let’s see what the day brings.

Just maybe the swimming against the tide will be easier today.

Maybe a day for being more understanding of my own limitations. More relaxed being just me.

So let’s see what the day brings and embrace the inner self. Shall we say embrace the inner Muppet.

The boiler decided to stop working the instant the cold weather arrived. Not ideal at the best of times, but during a pandemic….. Getting someone to come out and look at it is an equivalent challenge to building a nuclear arc reactor while at the same time finding 2 toilet roles at the local supermarket. The repairman is the last step in the repair process. First and most important step is working this through with our Son.

Trying to explain to him that a stranger has to come into the house is the main challenge. It’s his space, his safe area. His Aspergers friendly world. Even before the virus hit, allowing visitors into his safe space was carefully managed. While he was physically in the house it’s been restricted to two of his favourite Aunts in over a year. When he was at school, that was the time to arrange for strangers to call. The school day was the boiler repair time. Not an option currently.

The meltdown hit. It was inevitable. This is someone who has not been through our garden gate and into the wider world in over 7 weeks now. His safe personal area is everything to him. It’s something precious which we need to protect. So the bottom line is a repairman can only venture into the house in full stealth mode. As I can’t afford to pay for the service option which includes full Klingon Bird of Prey Cloaking technology, then it will have to wait until son is out of the house. Back at school looks a distant prospect so it will have to coincide with a trip out to one of my sisters. Also not easy at present. So the repair is not happening anytime soon.

On the plus side it helps as money is very tight with no work. On the plus plus side, my limited mechanical skills have managed to breathe some limited life into the boiler. It will now fire up and will run for 10 minutes before shutting off. After cooling off for an hour, it I can fire it up for another short burst. It’s enough to warm the water and the radiators. We have electric fires and an old Immersion Heater – effective but so so expensive. Fingers crossed it keeps going until the repair man can eventually call.

Life is all about priorities. Sons wellbeing is paramount.

Wearing comfy jumpers (sweaters) and every hour pressing a boiler reset button is a price well worth paying for protecting his safe zone. Maintaining the sanctity of his world.

Swiss Sunday

Is it Sunday already. Where did that week go. But to be honest Swiss Sunday doesn’t come round quick enough for me. A time to remember family holidays to this wonderful country.

A time to remember the mountains.

The spectacular rivers.

The countryside.

The constantly changing colours.

The times you see a building and think how good that view must be.

The lakes and how relaxing travel is here.

Yes Switzerland is staggeringly beautiful. If that wasn’t already enough for one small country let’s not forget another thing it does so well. The chocolate….