Birds at dawn

Another early start. This time a seriously early one. A perfect insomniac storm. 3am. Hawklad has woken and can’t sleep. I have not been to bed yet and sleep feels a million miles away.

Hawklad wonders if we can see the dawn brake. On the coast.

So a few moments later and after I had sampled the meanest of espressos, we are driving. Driving past badgers, foxes and owls. Before 4am we arrive at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It’s still pitch black and we have the site to ourselves. It’s such an eerie feeling walking in the complete absence of light and sound. Even to early for the thousands of seabirds perched precariously on the cliffs. No wind and even the sea was strangely becalmed.

In perfect time to watch dawn brake. No thoughts of an Albatross who was apparently out at sea. Who needs one bird when you get to watch all this unfold.

The dark was a challenge to my iPhone camera but it gave it a go.

By 7am a few people had started to arrive, mainly here to take up prime spots and wait. Hoping on catching sight of one particular bird. They had no idea what they had just missed. The deafening sound of seabirds hides the peace that existed just 2 hours ago.

We were back in the car and driving a few minutes later. The site had lost its appeal to Hawklad. Even a handful of strangers proving too much for him. But he had got to see a spectacular show first hand. Just the two of us so without his anxieties. He slept during the ride home.

Yes it was a ridiculously early start. Yes I went more than 24 hours without sleep. But it was worth it for those couple of hours when Hawklad felt that he had the world to himself. I suspect it won’t be the last time we do this. Yes there will be time for trips out to build those social bridges but those come with anxieties. We all need these times and places of sanctuary. Hawklad does. Yes even a worn down parent needs them.

Nothing

It’s nearly 1pm. I need to pinch myself. Is it really a school day. School at home day. So far absolutely nothing from school this week. No lesson material, no assigned work, no idea what the class is doing. Nothing. That’s three blank lessons so far.

It’s been that quiet we even checked to make sure we hadn’t got the dates wrong and school is on holiday. But no, it’s a full school day.

What shall I do Dad then….”

Well as we have no idea what his class was doing. No idea even what subjects the class was looking at. It’s a blank sheet of paper. A good chance for Hawklad to set the agenda. Take control of what he learns. So I said what any self respecting Dad would say.

Well Son you can go and wash my car……

No Dad. What school work shall I do.”

What one subject do you most want to learn about.

History, definitely history. Second World War.”

Ok spend the morning indulging yourself in the that. And when you finish. You can get off your backside, go outside and clean my car 😂😂😂

***********

And that’s what he did. He studied the Nuremberg War Trials. He so far hasn’t got round to cleaning my car. But here’s the problem. He’s taller than me so I can’t really put my foot down anymore. I might just have to do that job myself.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to glorious Switzerland. A country which means the world to our little family. My partners family have had strong connections with the country since before the Second World War. It started with a young chap being sent to The Alps to recover from a serious chest illness. It continued with members of the Quaker family working with injured serviceman charities . Then my partners mum and dad holidaying here every year while staying with close friends. Then my partner would go there on family holidays. I was then introduced to the wonders of Switzerland and finally Hawklad was.

Life moves on. That connection with Switzerland now rests just with me and Hawklad. A connection that we both are keen to treasure and keep going.

Mad Dogs and

What’s the definition of a mad dog. Definitely one that has worked out how to climb onto the kitchen work tops, pinches a box of tea bags and then sprints around the garden scattering tea everywhere. Definitely top canine entertainment for the mad one.

After that mad 10 minutes then there could only be one record I played as I sat down to do some work. Yes a bit one music perfection in the form of one of Yorkshire’s finest. Joe Cocker is sadly missed.

This is one if my oldest records. I accidentally pinched it from one of my older siblings. They never noticed all those years ago, so I’m probably safe now. My kind sibling bought it in 1970. I kind of acquired it around 10 years later….

They don’t make them like this anymore. Gatefold with full size poster.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…..

Well we have a mad dog. We have an Englishman. Still waiting for the sun sadly……

Surely he’s still not going on about emails….

Surely he can’t be still going on about work emails……yep those work emails often more about social nights out…..

Trips to pubs, meals out at restaurants. Even growing excitement for some to returning to nightclubs.

Each to their own…..

Since life changed for me these things seem like alien concepts to me. It’s been years since I’ve been to a pub, to sit down at a restaurant. Actually I don’t think that I’ve been a to nightclub this century… it’s that long that when I last went they were still called DISCOS…. My only social outings now are the occasional football match or rock concert.

Parenting, Aspergers Parenting, Bereavement, Single Parenting, Reduced size of the close family support network. These all contribute to a different social life. A struggle at first but not anymore. I’m relaxed about my changed social life.

So if you offered me a free pass out today. Definitely no pub. Definitely no nightclub. Probably no sit down at a restaurant. Actually probably no football now. Yes a concert would be fun. But this afternoon I would definitely take one option. Sat on a seafront, maybe sat on a beach. Tucking into a takeaway. Enjoying salty fish and chips. Thinking just how lucky I really am.

Ticking

Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.

Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.

20 years, 15 years….

Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.

10 years, 5 years….

The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.

Dinner plate

That’s some dinner plate. Newly planted vegetable seeds. What to start with…..

It’s been one of those school at home days. Only one communication from a teacher about lessons today. That was ‘just revise’ for a test which is coming up. The other lessons it was just about trying to see what bits we could find on the online system and then trying to fill in the blanks. Which is quite apt as alongside the homeschooling I was also trying to get work done for the company that bizarrely likes to employ me. Apparently I’m a ‘valuable asset’. I’m sure that has been autocorrected at some stage from the original description.

Voluminous Ass….

Apt because today I was scratching my head at WORK and blankly trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Yes definitely filling in the blanks. I can’t have been doing very well at either tasks as I ended up watching our garden pigeon and his dinner plate.

At least somebody knows what they are doing today….

Bank Holiday

A British bank holiday and its chucked it down. This is not today. This is today….

Not really perfect outdoor table tennis conditions.

We played footy in the garden, in the rain. Great fun. Then I noticed something. Maybe it’s the effects getting older. Hawklad took a shot heading towards the top corner of our goal. A cat like goalkeeper launched himself to tip the ball over the bar. I landed. And wow did I land …. Gravity was definitely working well. It didn’t hurt but here’s the thing. Years ago as a goalkeeper I never dented the ground on any of my dives. Today I did. A huge indent in the lawn. Think ‘The Great Rift Valley’. Maybe I should stick to table tennis.😂😂😂😂

Swiss Sunday

It’s early Sunday morning so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. As a family we haven’t been able to visit this alpine wonderland since 2015. It was a very different world back then for us. A very different world for many of us.

What hasn’t changed is that we have places of staggering beauty and perfection. Places which should provide joy for generations to come. That’s as long as we protect and cherish our world.

Places like this stunning glacier. A glacier which is predicted to have completely disappeared by the end of the century. Another victim of climate change.

Let’s hope that we act in time. Act to save what is so precious. So countless generations can live in awe of places like Switzerland.

Vinyl Tours

Music has always been important to me. Even from a really young age I would love listening to my much older siblings playing their records. My first ever record was a single my sister bought me. It was a classic. Wait for it…..

Pinky and Perky singing Yellow Submarine and Those Magnificent Men in a Flying Machine. 😂😂😂😂😂

After that I slowly started building up a reasonable collection. Normally acquiring the occasional record from my siblings. I wasn’t picky, quite happy with their castoffs. By the time I was at college it was a hefty rock and metal collection. But then disaster. A house move left no available space, so some records were given away and the rest stored in my mums garden shed. A bad storm and flood destroyed much of the remaining records. A few survived.

Since then it’s been a slow rebuilding exercise. So let’s see what I can find in the metal cases now…. not taking any risks this time.

A newish record is first out of the case. Tin Machine. This one makes me smile. Back in 1991 I was going out with a girl from Newcastle and we had tickets to see the Moody Blues in a few weeks time. I was pottering around in the city one afternoon when I came across a queue outside a small concert hall/night club. Bizarrely many people in the queue had David Bowie shirts on. A polite enquiry revealed that Bowie’s current band was going to play this small venue on the same day as the Moody Blues concert. You didn’t get the chance to see Bowie everyday of the week and certainly not in a little venue like that. So I joined the queue and luckily got two tickets. We never did see the Moody Blues… Funny thing was the girl I was with was a massive Bowie fan so I kept the tickets secret. She only clicked on when we arrived at the Mayfair and I showed her the tickets. And yes Bowie was mesmerising.

The next record out of the case is an old one. It came from Hawklads Granny. She was having a clear out and wanted rid of her handful of records.

You know it’s a few years old when it comes with the following helpful label….

The thing about this box set is that it’s never been played. After all these decades. Never played. I think Hawklads granny bought it to get the music sheet booklet that came with it. She played the cello. Maybe it’s never going to be played.

And then the last one out of the case tonight is bizarrely the newest record in my collection. I’ve actually bought vinyl this year. Now virtually all of my records are rock and metal. A couple of classical records like the one above have been passed onto me. I’ve only ever bought rock or metal. Until now…..

Yes I have to come clean. I’ve bought a Taylor Swift record. That’s my metal head credentials blown out of the window. So can you keep a secret…..