Well spent

It’s been wet. Very wet. Many places round here could do with a dry spell. Just look at the flood warning list.

But here’s the thing with a lockdown. Normally I would be moving about . Witnessing the rising waters. Driving through the floods. Going shopping and working in the rain. The raincoats getting a real hammering.

But that’s not the case now. House and garden bound. When it rains I just go inside. The only need for a raincoat is if it starts to rain when I’m doing exercise in the garden. It’s the same for Hawklad. I was in the process of buying him a new coat just before the family lockdowns started. He had almost grown out of his coat back in March. I dread to think how small it is now. But currently no need to worry about that.

Might as well wait until he needs one. He’s still shooting up. I bought him a new school jacket at the end of February. To replace the slightly battered and rapidly getting too small, old one. It arrived the week we started our lockdown. It remains in its plastic cover. UNUSED. I suspect that almost a year later and it will now be getting a little snug on him. With no imminent prospect of needing it, we can officially say that

It was £60 well spent…

A first

Well that’s a first. I’ve been looking out over these fields for 20 years now. Never seen flood pools appear on this side of the field. The temporary field lake has friends…

We all need friends.

The pandemic is effecting everyone especially our children. Yes schooling has been disrupted but there is something far more important. For almost a year those all important childhoods have been largely put on hold. Fewer opportunities to meet up with friends (in many cases absolutely no friend contact). Stringent limits. Sports and hobbies frequently cancelled. Cinemas and play areas closed. Opportunities to explore and push boundaries prohibited. No holidays. No trips out. Too much timed cooped up with parents.

9 months and counting. That’s a sizeable chunk of childhood. They don’t get that time back…

That’s so sad.

March

This is NOT today. Just needed some sun. Needed some fresh air and a different view.

This photograph was taken on our last outing before lockdown mode started way back in March.

Back then Covid was a headline but still only one of a number of main stories. It was very much carry on as usual and nothing to see here. A handful of National cases but everything was apparently under control. The Government insisted that Lockdowns would never be required here due to the countries world class response.

So on this walk we had taken the dog with us. A new local walk. In my mind I was planning to return the week after. Drop Hawklad off at school and 15 minutes later I could be running along this track.

But the first tell signs were already starting to appear. As we approached field gates Hawklad refused to touch them. I was asked to try and open them using a stick. When we got back home we both had to wash our hands for minutes. Full change of clothing required.

A couple of days later our family lockdown started. Then one more week later the national lockdown started and schools closed.

Our world shrank and the remains that way today. This wet and windy January day. Seems a very different world now.

Other

I had one of those uplifting email exchanges with authority. To summarise the 97 million message trail.

Why have you ticked the box marked WIDOWED

Because I am and no other box seemed to apply

But you weren’t married so you don’t fulfil that definition

In my books I am

Your form will be invalidated if you use it

We were a couple living together for over 20 years. We had a child who and we were formally registered as joint parents living together.

That’s not recognised by the Government

So which box should I use as the other boxes don’t apply

Clearly you should tick the OTHER box

Well that’s good to know…..

*******

Things do need to change. I remember talking to someone from the village. He had been partners with someone since the 70s. When his partner died a couple of years back he was denied much needed support as he was classed as being single. Single even after living together for over 40 years. 40 years of looking after each other.

In Britain (and many other countries) if you are not married, if a partner dies you are treated differently. Denied financial support. Penalised with additional tax claims. And even more hurtfully – denied the right to call yourself a widow and classed as being single.

That has to change.

Why not

Red morning sky over the temporary farm lake.

Red sky in the morning – fisherman’s warning…..

Well the folklore weather phrase is almost right. The forecast is for the weather to cloud over as the day goes on and then the rain starts this evening. Lots of it. Two days solid heavy rain. Then the gales arrive.

That lake might just get a little bigger…..

We were watching the latest Wonder Woman movie last night. Don’t worry I’m not planning to give any major spoilers away. Now I could talk about a few scenes dealing with grief. But no. Not this time. Just to say that even in a bizarre, fantasy, superhero movie – they still can sting……

No the scene that I’m going to mention is one where a wardrobe is ransacked and different outfits are tried on. If you see the movie then you will know the one I mean. It was pretty amusing. But it got me thinking about my wardrobe. An IKEA sliding door brute that even Wonder Woman isn’t ever shifting. The wardrobe is little visited these days. Life happens and things change. I haven’t worn a suit since the funerals of 2016. Most of the shirts are untouched since they were last ironed dating back to when my partner was still here.

Since March 2020 we have been in our local family lockdown. I that time I have worn jeans just once. Walking trousers not at all. For months on end I’ve just lived in tracksuits, shorts, joggers, T-shirt’s, hoodies and jumpers. If your not going anywhere or seeing anyone then WHY NOT.

Maybe I should have a sort out. Get rid of sone stuff as I probably won’t be needing as many things going forward. But then again. What would I do with the space. I could get a much smaller wardrobe but without Wonder Woman’s help I’m not winning that battle with that IKEA beast.

So let’s leave it for the time being and get back to looking at the lake. A much more pleasant thought than that IKEA wardrobe one….

Putting off

The sun setting on another day. Another day of putting some things off.

Was it really 2016 when my partner died. Doesn’t seem like 4 and a bit years. But here’s the thing. I can’t work out if that time has dragged by or gone much quicker. 4 and a bit years just doesn’t seem right.

But 4 and bit years it is. That’s a long time putting stuff off.

The ashes are still sat on a cabinet with a view of the garden and fields. Not been scattered yet….

Her cds are still in a there in the corner of the room. They won’t ever get played. Doesn’t seem right to play them and we had completely different music tastes. Hawklad never plays cds and shares my music tastes. One day I should move them….

My partner’s photo albums are sat on the sideboard. I started sorting through them back in 2016 but stopped…..

I did quickly take her clothes to the charity shop. But then I found a few more items. These sit in the airing cupboard. Sat there waiting for me to decide what to do with them….

I sorted through her work papers. These are now sat waiting for me to have a bonfire to burn them. These are sat on the floor next to the desk. Just doesn’t seem right still to do that yet…

I could go on but you get the picture. Whether 4 and bit years seem like a long or short time. It just shows that loss and bereavement takes time. Each persons time will be unique to them. For me it’s definitely a long term journey. It’s also about Our son as well. What works for him. Long term means that we can take my time. Do it at our own pace.

Churchyard

While Hawklad had a sleep in I pushed the boat out just a little. A one minute walk to the churchyard. Yes it was a very short walk in the scheme of things but it felt like a different world. Just to see different sights. Experience a little bit more of the world. An important reminder that there is much more to life than our little house and garden.

A few seconds to lean against the very old wall and breathe.

Then it’s back home all too soon. Back behind the castle walls. Return to our little family lockdown. Virtually all of 2021 looks like it will be spent in the house and garden. But just maybe I can sneak out occasionally. Even if it’s just a few yards to the churchyard. It will be good to breathe.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. This wonderful little country has been a special holiday destination for our family for a couple of generations now. Life has happened and that family is much changed now. Much smaller. Now the baton of Alpine Trips is really just lies with Hawklad and me. We must find a way of keeping that tradition going. Why?

Because family tradition is so important. Once it’s gone it’s gone….

Because Switzerland is so special and so worth it…..

Sadly 2021 doesn’t look like being a year where we can venture those 1000 miles again. It’s been 5 years now since our last trip. So let’s keep those memories strong until life opens up again and once more a family trip to alpine heaven can happen again.

Old…

Dad I have to interview someone for Food Technology. That person has to be old apparently. That’s you then Dad”

Charming….But sadly very true….

****that’s the thing about Aspergers with Hawklad. He tells it as it is, no filters.****

Dad I have to ask you about the confectionery you used to eat as a child. I’ve seen the photos, you clearly liked the odd one or two sugar bars…..”

****sadly also very true****

What were your favourite sweets and chocolates all those many centuries ago….”

Decades boy not centuries…. That would be midget gems, flying saucers, black jacks, milk guns, fizz wiz, pineapple cubes, cherry lips and refreshers. Chocolate it would have been Toblerone, Marathon, Wagon Wheels, Minstrels, Revels,Time Outs, Banjos and Curly Wurly’s.

Dad why is it that when I ask you about science, history or art you just look blank at me. Yet I mention chocolates and sweets and I can’t stop you talking….”

Got to get my priorities right.

What’s the biggest changes with current confectionery then Dad?”

Well some of the stuff have disappeared. Some stuff has changed name. What’s this thing called Snicker Bars – it’s a Marathon…. And the sizes. Much much bigger in my day as you can tell from the old photos of my tummy.

Last question Dad. What was the worst thing about confectionery in your day….”

Well I dread to think what they put in those old sweets and chocolate bars. E Numbers were classed as one of your 5 a day healthy options back then. And then some of the stuff was so wrong. One of my favourite chocolates was pretend cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes and even came in a realistic cigarette packet.

Dad what were they thinking of…”

Getting kids hooked on smoking. Making money and seeing children as a commodity to make money from. Sadly that hasn’t changed….

Breathing

Hanging over the fence, looking at the sunset and breathing….

I have just been reading the helpful letter that comes with the government application form I’m trying to complete. Apparently I have to remember that the form will allow the government to better target funds. To weed out false claimants. Ultimately the additional questions and evidence requirements are there to help me.

Well that’s good to know. Currently made to to question 27 out of 71. It’s taken me two days so far. Most of the evidence they want me to include is just not available or out of date. I have plenty of stuff that I could send them but this won’t be considered as it hasn’t been requested.

I’m getting this all wrong. What I should have done is donate thousands to the Governing Party and then you get a better service. The current so called Government can’t help itself dishing out funds and lucrative contracts to its buddies – no questions asked, paper work not required.

When I started the form I was listening to some relaxing classical music. By page 27 I have migrated to Mongolian Throat Metal. I’m guessing by question 71 it will be German Death Metal…..