Missed goal

I admired this beautiful plant. Admired it as I was sat on the bench. I was actually sat on the bench to inspect my injuries. A rather too enthusiastic attempt to score a garden goal ended up with my head first in the hedge. A few cuts and scrapes but the flower took my mind off the pain. Can’t believe after all the damage, I didn’t score the goal. This was all done to the backdrop of Hawklad laughing his socks off.

Dad do you want help getting out of the hedge. Are you ok?”

Hawklad concern is better when your not wetting yourself with laughter.

It was like an albatross with too much in its belly trying to get into the air. Little legs struggling to pick up enough speed to take off. And failing spectacularly. That was too funny Dad”.

Hawklad that was a cracking goal

You missed Dad. It was all for nothing.”

Oh man. I thought I had hit the target.

You certainly hit the hedge, unfortunately the ball was less accurate. Actually it was very similar to your head. It ended up buried in the hedge. Shall I help you out Dad.

No I’m doing that by myself now.

Dad you’ve left a big hole in the hedge. Maybe it’s your new art. Body dents in the natural world.”

I could tour the world hurling myself head first into different world landmarks.

It’s a big hole you have left. Looks like a hippo has crashed through.”

Hawklad are you saying I’m as big as a hippo……

“Of course not Dad. That would be unfair on Hippos.”

Now you mention it, that is a big indent. Did I really make that.

Yep. Being a responsible parent weren’t you Dad. It’s a good job I moved out of the way as you would have hit me.”

Responsible parenting goes out of the window when your son is taller than his Dad. Look at the bruises on my shins from your kicks. All the world great footballers have to endure the dastardly attempts to stop their artistry.

“I’m only defending myself from a charging hippo. Funny I’m not seeing Messi or Neymar playing in my garden. It’s more like Gloria from Madagascar. ”

Absolutely no appreciation from my so called son.

That’s right Gloria. Now go and fetch the ball from the hedge….”

I will after Gloria sits down and inspects her injuries. Oh… Look at that flower.

Thank you Roses

Roses, roses, roses. Thank you for roses.

Beautiful, resilient and a bit of fight about them.

A flower than can melt the heart and then draw blood.

England has even had civil wars over a white and red rose.

**************

I’ve always felt a strong link to roses. That’s not surprising since I come from the White Rose County. Yet the link is stronger than that.

The last present I gave to my partner was a rose. Since then that delicate white rose has been intrinsically linked with my grief journey.

We have another rose which is decades old and has come from my partners childhood home. So it’s a link with Hawklads past. Family members now gone.

I also often look at a rose and see symbols of life. Today I was looking at a rose and it made me think of friendship. Some of the rose buds seem to go on forever. If you are lucky in life you may find one of those friendships that do that, always special, always beautiful, everlasting. Yet you also see rose buds that fail to bloom. How many times have I had thought that I had found a great friendship yet for whatever reason things never seemed to take off. Then you come across those roses which burst into life, producing the most stunning flowers, yet within days they have died back and faded. Just like those friendships which seem like they will be the best ever and yet suddenly they end – wonderful but not ever lasting, so short lived. You just never know with roses and you just never know with friends.

Today it was friends but on another day I will see roses symbolising another part of my life. I’ve done it with grief, parenting and hope. What will the Rose show me tomorrow?

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.

Hope

A mass of pink.

Thankfully every year this happens.

This rose is clearly very old. It’s been here for nearly 20 years. Before that it was at Hawklads grannies house in Thornton le Dale for several years. And before that it was blooming in K’s childhood home. So it’s well travelled and clearly very old. It provides a symbol of hope to me. A beacon. We all need these in whatever form. I am so lucky to have a number of these sources of hope. Some are close by like this one which is next to my bedroom wall and some are much further away. Regardless of the distance and location, they are special to me. So I care for them and yes worry for them. In terms of the plants, we did have a few more of these symbolic plants but slowly the Yorkshire winters and living on an exposed hill have taken their toll. Now we are down just to three of these well travelled old plants. Yes the numbers are dropping each year but the hope they represent still shines so brightly. Each winter I hope and pray that they make it through the rough months. So yes, I am always thankful for another year of those treasured flowers.

Over time I have lost things which are special to me. Things change and that is life. But if I open my eyes and heart then new beauty will enter my life. Hope is renewed and flourishes again. That’s why it still can be a wonderful life.

Poppy

A beautiful gift. The name Poppy has always been special for us. My mum had a sister called Poppy who died as an infant. Always think of mum and her young sister when I hear the name.

That’s the first time a Poppy has grown there. Hopefully many more to come.

In a few weeks it will be 4 years since my partner left this world. A lot has happened in that time. The world has changed, I’ve changed and son has grown – rapidly. It definitely feels like I’m living in a new life cycle now. I’ve stopped trying to reinvent old memories. Started living today. If you don’t do that then life questions

Why,

What if I did that,

Why didn’t I do that.

Trying to fathom answers to those questions is really just playing guessing games. Won’t change what’s happened. It’s not going to help our son and it’s not going to help me.

Flaming summer

A beautiful rose is a timely reminder that its flaming summer. Strange that it’s so very grey, wet and the heating is on full blast. At least there is no need for the air conditioning in the car. My car AC is savage. It has basically two settings OFF and REFRIGERATION. However due to a electrical fault I cannot now switch it off. It’s a cold car. There is a downside to the refrigeration setting. When I took the facial temperature check I registered as a fault on the digital thermometer. Too Low. I had to quickly try to warm up to record a reading. Thinking about it maybe that’s a common problem in a Yorkshire. Can I find a way of turning up the heating any further.

Bit battered

Poor thing has been a bit battered in the recent bad weather. Well I still think it deserves a moment to shine.

I was having a chat with our son last night about how life has changed recently. It’s only really now that some of the implications are starting to feed through. I will only focus on one small part of the conversation as this post could have ended up as long as the extended Directors Cut version of War and Peace.

Son struggles with social settings. It’s a well established element of Aspergers. He will actively pull away from crowds and groups. One of the only exceptions to that has been Rock Concerts. He still feels uncomfortable there but for a variety of reasons he can cope. He can put his hood over his head and no one will notice. He likes the fact that rock crowds seem very welcoming of any person, any look, any characteristic. With the noise no one is likely to talk to him. When the lights go out, no one can see him. You are just one hidden person in a sea of people. Plus he really loves the music.

So far he has seen Iron Maiden, Hollywood Vampires (with Johnny Depp), Alice Cooper, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thunder, Shinedown, Status Quo, The Darkness, The Damned, The Stranglers and Status Quo. He’s also seen his favourite band – Alter Bridge.

Before the pandemic kicked in he was hoping to see more. The likes of Whitesnake, Foreigner, Europe, Ozzy, Aerosmith and The Who. But the pandemic changed the world. Most of these have been postponed or cancelled.

When concerts restart what will they look like. Will the days of standing shoulder to shoulder return. Will people have to wear masks. What number of fans will be allowed in. How close will you be able to get to the band. Will you need to be vaccinated before you attend. Will certain fans be excluded (age, health factors). Will all the fans want to return. Will it just be open air concerts. Will it be the new idea of drive in concerts. Will some bands just give up. Who knows.

The pandemic also changed son’s life. It has sent his social and health fears into overdrive. Changed the balance and how he sees the world. Things which were acceptable have been tipped into the no go area. Those changes might be temporary or they could be permanent. Only time will tell. But certainly his concert days are at best on long term hold. That’s the thing about Aspergers, changes in external factors can have a huge internal impact. Lasting impacts.

Regardless of any more virus related developments, I just can’t see son wanting to go to a concert this year, probably next as well. Maybe that fragile corridor that allowed him to venture into a concert crowd has been broken on a much more permanent basis. We just have to wait and see. Maybe going forward our own music festivals are the way forward. Buy a concert dvd and hold the event in our living room or garden. We can still put the T-shirts on, have the snacks, drinks and a burger. We can even turn the lights out and crank up the speakers. Best thing – no masks required. No queues for toilets as well….

That doesn’t help the concert industry. I just hope they and the bands find a way through this mess.

So maybe that’s no concerts for Dad as well for sometime. But it is what it is. I’ve been so lucky to see so much music over the years. So as I move into a barren concert period let’s pause and see what my memory is like. Lets see how many of the artists I have seen over the years, I can actually remember. The good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve set myself 10 minutes (so I might miss a few). Here goes….

Whitesnake x4, Motörhead, Deep Purple x3, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Rory Gallagher, Tin Machine (David Bowie), Scorpions, UFO, Meatloaf x3, Blackfoot, Mountain, Alaska, Saxon, Magnum, The Firm, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Ronan Keating (x2) my partner to blame for that…. Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper x3, Gary Moore, Deacon Blue, The Kinks, Kirsty MacColl, Pink Floyd, Nils Lofgren, Killswitch Engage, Birdland, Bernie Torme, Roy Harper, Suzy Quatro, Paul Rodgers, Chris Rea, Marillion, Runrig, Asia, Al Stewart, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Terence Trent D’arby, Simple Minds, Lou Reed, Bonnie Riatt, Chrissie Hynde, Jackson Brown, Little Steven, Bryan Adams, Squeeze, Tina Turner, Extreme, Was Not Was, Lyle Lovett, plus those with son.

Ten minutes up….

Tomorrow’s Rose

A few hours ago talked about a Yorkshire White Rose which has a connection with my partner. I said that it would become even more beautiful. Well here’s the proof.

This little bush produces the most stunning roses. The sadness is my partner never really got to see them. But they are such a beautiful tribute to her. That’s such a nice thought.

Take care everyone and remember to live. It’s can still be a wonderful life.

Plant Life

It doesn’t look the most impressive plant but it certainly has meaning.

Something like 18 years ago we had just moved into the house. The garden was so badly overgrown. The lawn was more like a corn field. Took us three days to cut it. Having revealed the garden we found it appeared to have no flowering plants. Many weeds and one Apple tree. I guess that’s called a blank canvass.

A week or so later the village had a plant fare and we nervously ventured down to it. We knew hardly anyone there. We did meet some lovely people. Unfortunately over time those we get to know have either left or sadly passed away. Can’t remember much about the actual fare apart from my partner telling me that we needed to buy something. I randomly picked a hand full of plants. As we were late the selection of healthy plants was completely exhausted. Our new plants looked somewhere between decidedly unhealthy and dead. They didn’t survive long. All except one and here it still is. Who would of thought that the most sickly looking plant would end up outliving my partner and a number of the residents at the fare. Life is definitely bizarre and it is often so unfair. But that is life. We need to treasure it, treasure all life.

Bouncing

Blue sky… That was a few days back. These roses are about 14 feet high. Yes the hedge needs some attention when the birds finally fledge. So how do I take a photo of high up roses. Being one half inch above average height rather limits my reaching capacity. Can’t use the ladders. They are loaned out to someone for a few days. That was just before a pesky pandemic broke out. So might see them again in 2021. So what to do.

I tried standing on a plastic garden chair. Even on my tippy toes, no where near high enough.

I then tried to rig up a DIY selfie stick. The long pole window washer makes a surprisingly fine temporary solution. And yes it did generate enough height. One Tinnie Winnie technical problem. Once the mobile phone is 14ft high, how do you press the record button. Get another pole! Yes I actually considered this for a few moments. Didn’t really think this one through.

I even dug out Son’s toy drone with its onboard camera. A brilliant solution let down by one thing. We both can’t fly it. I carefully positioned the drone below the rose. All I had to do was gently lift the drone off the ground. Get to the right height, hover it for a second while I pressed the camera button. That was the plan. Unfortunately my gentle liftoff was more akin to a NASA rocket launch. Within seconds the drone had screamed over the roof of the house and was heading towards the road. Thankfully when the drone did come down on the street it had not hit anyone. I bet the landing was as graceful as a Dodo jumping off a cliff.

So time for Plan X.

Thankfully the trampoline is kinda close by. So yes I’m not proud. I bounced and tried to take a photo on the way up. The photo above was the best one out of an understandably out of focus bad bunch. But given the effort, yes it was kinda worth it. Although I particularly liked this effort.

I can hear the cries. You only had one job, take a photo of the roses. Probably best not become a wedding photographer just yet.