Mum

Hopefully a sign of some slightly better weather. It was so cold yesterday afternoon that when we went outside for a talk, I had to dig out my winter down jacket. It’s supposed to be the height of summer. But our current weather patterns are mixed up. They have been for a few years now……. One day our leaders might notice this.

Dad you have never really been a beard person have you?”

No when I was in my twenties I did experiment with a moustache. Managed to get the nickname Goochy from that. But it was quickly ditched. Didn’t help that it was jet black apart from from little strip which bizarrely went ginger…..

But you have started having a beard now”

Well not exactly. A few dabbles with what I like to call a fashionable bit of designer stubble. Makes me look rugged……. trying to not laugh……

“So why did you start doing it. You never had one with my mum did you?”

No, never. But it wasn’t anything to do with your mum. She quite liked them. It was your Little Nan (my mum)!!!! She didn’t like them. She had a firm no to beards, no to moustaches policy for her youngest son. That policy was NEVER dropped. Even when I was well past childhood years and living independently, you would here the quiet but stern words “Gary you will be having a shave today, won’t you….”. Using my actual name was always a sign of trouble ahead. Only one response allowed. YES.

So Dad how did you manage to grow a moustache then?”

I was living 350 miles away in Portsmouth. It was shaved off the morning I was due to visit her…… She never knew.

Mums always know best…..

Socks

I was doing my normal early morning chore. Trying to find some socks for my workout. Notice the missing word. Matching. Just any two socks would be nice some mornings. Where do they all go…..

Anyway a couple of days ago, one particularly fruitless sock search resulted in a rather fetching blue ankle and black football sock combo. Enough is enough. So I went online for socks.

After a few minutes searching a bargain was found. 10 pairs of ankle sport socks for £7. A variety of colours including at least one black pair. Well they came today.

Dad what have you done….”

Yes one pair was indeed black. The other nine pairs – all bright pink. Another fetching look.

Well onced you’ve washed them, if it’s like my new blue shirt, then they won’t be pink for long….”

Ok yes I did manage to turn his bright new sky blue shirt a rather angry purple colour, after just one wash. So I wonder what colour socks I will have next week. That’s assuming I can find them.

Inevitable

Well the Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

So in the spirit of baking, here we go then. Time to get serious. It’s Soufflé time. That’s a gluten and diary free version. Stand by your panic rooms. Extreme baking photo is coming…..

Ok it’s not quite High End Food. But as a certain broad chinned Marvel Villain would say. I AM INEVITABLE. So tomorrow we will have Round Two of the Soufflé Wars.

Bagpuss

The fading embers of the day. Another wet one but at least we have been granted a few late moments of weather calm. An opportunity to sit outside with Hawklad. A new nickname for son all the way from Canada. He likes it.

I like that. So much potential. Either a new Avenger or DC character. Maybe my name if I become a falconry. And definitely cooler than yours. Bagpuss. Really…”

For those unaware Bagpuss was a children’s TV character from yesteryear. A toy who was an exhibit in a magical shop. A shop that didn’t sell. The little girl shop owner would find things, repair them and put them in the shop window. When Bagpuss came to life the other items in the shop did as well. The intro to the show is engrained in my childhood memories. After all these years I can still remember the monologue, word for word.

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss
Old fat furry cat-puss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright
Be golden and light
Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing

And Bagpuss was wide awake
And when Bagpuss wakes up all his friends wake up too
The mice on the mouse-organ woke up and stretched
Madeleine, the rag doll
Gabriel, the toad
And last of all, Professor Yaffle, who was a very distinguished old woodpecker
He climbed down off his bookend and went to see what it was that Emily had brought

So why was I named after this TV Toy Cat. A show that they only ever made 13 episodes. Maybe it was the Bagpuss toy that was in the Car. Maybe my goalkeeping prowess didn’t quite warrant full cat like status. Or maybe it was the shows description of the toy cat.

“an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams”

Yes I can see the similarities. They become more apt everyday. But I guess that’s the same for many of us.

Meditation

I really am trying to commit to meditation and mindfulness. It will take time to calm my racing mind. So everyday I’m committing time to my new mindset. I’ve downloaded some apps. If only it was that easy.

  • My Doctor recommended a mediation app. I most admit it looked good until I came across the price. £300 per year. That’s stress inducing numbers….
  • I looked at alternatives apps. Many offered free elements. The first one was really good. Soothing music, dreamlike words. All was great as I enjoyed my first meditation session. That was until the app suddenly stopped with the message – to continue please purchase the full licence. Stress rising…..
  • Then the next app was tried. Yes it kinda worked. My mind was filled with just one thought. What an annoying and patronising voice. I had a sudden urge to throw a large object at the so called calming voice.
  • Then the next app had a more acceptable voice. Lie down and concentrate on your body. Fully sense how it feels. Focus on those sensations. Let everything else drift away…. Well that’s fine but all I could sense was my tight hamstring, my sore hip and my hurting finger from the earlier incident with a kettlebell. My mind was filled with three words- oh that hurts. Stress rising.
  • Then another attempt disrupted by a never ending telephone ringing…. stress rising as I start shouting. Will you stop ringing Im trying to meditate…..

I will get there. I will crack this meditation thing. The benefits are too much to ignore. But maybe there is a simpler thing to remember. Just walking outside. Sitting comfortably and just watching nature at work. The natural worlds stress busting app is still the best option out there and it’s free.

Baking, it’s not ….

Well it looks ok. Looks like bread. That’s not a bad effort from me. Especially as it’s gluten, dairy and yeast free. But then there is always a downside. Time to taste it. Wow. How can I describe the taste.

Bland….

Tasteless….

Might as well be eating paper….

‘It’s bread Jim but not as we know it”….

Yes even a Vulcan like Spook would struggle to quantify this baking attempt. Even when I spread something on a slice it just tasted odd. Tried to toast it. Refused to change colour even when I incinerated. This is officially NOT bread. So what to do with this non food item.

Maybe it’s better than the paper towel I usually use to rest the spoon on, which is being used to stir the contents of the slow cooker….

Maybe as a saucer….

As a page marker….

As something to sort out the wobble on the table….

As a dog toy…

As a frisbee….

And finally, as bird food….

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Penny drops

I tried to get an appointment to see my doctor for the first time since the pandemic hit. That was an experience….

  • First listen to the 3 minute recorded message about the pandemic,
  • Then listen to another recorded message about the importance of wearing masks,
  • Now listen to a message about the doctors and nurses avoiding making unnecessary face to face contact with patients,
  • Then join the queue for a receptionist,
  • Finally a real person. Need to describe any symptoms and the reason for calling. I can have a telephone appointment for later in the day,
  • Doctor calls and basically says that it is currently unsafe to bring patients in for appointments. Much safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. A few questions and then it’s a quick medical opinion. Time for stress busting, relax, have a break and hopefully things will sort themselves out. Probably been trying to burn the candle at both ends since 2016.

Having a break is not happening so it’s stress busting time.

  • Eating healthily – well I will try……
  • Mediation – I really must get my head round this, more free apps downloaded…..
  • Mindfulness – I thought that was mediation, free apps downloaded……
  • Yoga – the mind is willing the body is less inclined to bend…..
  • Plenty of sleep – I’m trying, been trying for ages……
  • Go hill walking – not going to happen this side of Christmas, tempted to add 2022……
  • Calming and relaxing music – I guess that rules out metal then…..
  • Make time for friends and doing fun stuff with them – I certainly will……
  • Find more time for reading – it would be great if I could……
  • Herbal teas – ok I can do this one……

In a nut shell I will try to improve things but need to recognise the current life limits. Maybe the secret is to be grateful for the life I have and to smile. Yes smiling more is a good start.

Sometimes the penny drops….

Gone Fishing

Red sky at night fishermen’s delight, doesn’t always work. The next morning it’s absolutely chucking down. Maybe it’s good weather to catch fish.

My Dad loved fishing. My brother loves fishing. They would take me to see them fish from the sea walls and in the local lake. I found it fascinating but it just wasn’t for me. I get the relaxation bit. I will happily sit on a sea wall or by water and just chill out. But you can keep the fishing bit. I only went actual fishing once. My brother took me to the local fishing lake for an afternoon. He caught loads, me – not a thing. Brother put that down to my casting action. To me catching something would have been a huge surprise. Whisper it quietly. I never put a fishing hook on my line.

I’ve subsequently been close to fishing a couple of times. I once played a fishing game on the computer. Wow that was a thriller….. The other was at a Fun Fare where I played that ‘hook a duck’ game. I was hoping to win a Cuddly Snoppy Toy and ended up with a real goldfish in a bag. Thank god that’s been banned. That fish was taken straight home and put in our indoor fish tank. My Dad loved tropical fish. But my little fish just kept growing. Soon he was too big for the tank so one summer he was moved out into the garden pond. That’s the pond which was under the protection of our big and mad family dog. And still he grew. Eventually he was even getting too big for his outside home. Finally he was resettled in a massive fish pond in the local park. That was a military operation requiring a huge bucket of water and sneaking over the locked gates. Tom Cruise has nowt on me…

As it’s possible for some types of fish to reach three figure ages, I like to think that my one ever fish catch is still going strong. Lord knows how big he is now. I do always keep an eye out for him in the Jurassic World movies.

Baking Disaster

After a recent run of relative baking success, normal service has returned. A mad idea to produce a bread bun. Here we would call it a Stottie Cake. But no ordinary Stottie. This one has to tick a few boxes.

  • Vegan so dairy and egg free,
  • Gluten Free,
  • Baking Agent Free,
  • Microwaved.

Well that was the plan. The end result 5 minutes later was interesting.

Well it kinda tasted of bread. But it’s texture was anything other than bread like. Imaging cutting into rubber. Only one thing for it. When I chucked it against the wall, it bounced back and I caught it. I had baked a bouncy ball. Most useful for a summer picnic.

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Whitby

It feels like it’s been an eternity since we last took in some seaside air. I think it’s just under two years. TWO YEARS…. That must be my longest ever inland run. Especially not great when you are a seaside child, born on the North Yorkshire coast. One day with patience.

This is Whitby. Here’s a few random facts about this beautiful little town.

  • Captain James Cook lived here and his famous ship the Endeavour was built here.
  • Whitby has some of the best Fish and Chips on the planet.
  • The black semi-precious stone Whitby Jet.
  • Bram Stoker developed the idea of his Dracula book here. The opening chapters are set here. Also the idea of Dracula taking on the form of a huge black dog is based on local legends.

When I was a kid we would come here on a day trip by train. While my parents went about doing parenting things, I would be sent up the 199 steps to The Abbey which is in the background of the second photo. My job was to hunt for Dracula’s grave. I never did find it but maybe next time.

I’m not sure that time wasting parenting excuse would have any chance of success with our son. More chance of him convincing me to go. These days we come to Whitby for the chips, the ice cream, the beautiful beach and a bit of dinosaur fossil hunting. This part of the country has been named Jurassic Coast for the number of discoveries it yields. This is one of ours.

So let’s hope it’s not long before the fossil hunting is back underway.