Motivation

Not sure it’s the slightly unhinged world but here the daffodils are looking extra special this year. Much needed colour. Much needed motivation to keep believing in our world.

“Come on Dad, your doing the PE lesson with me.”

So 20 minutes later we are doing a fitness workout. I do slag the school off quite a bit but sometimes it does do things well. The online PE lessons was really good. It started with a daily workout from YouTube. The Body Coach TV (PE with Joe Wicks). The person doing it was great and made the session so much fun for kids. Son warmed to him straight away. Which is no mean feat.

My second workout of the day was definitely very different from the first. Standard weights and short burn military fitness exercises at 7am. Pretending to be Spider-Man and bouncing like a bunny rabbit at 11am. The latter was way more fun. So maybe, just maybe tomorrow at 7am you might see a grown man pretending to be a rabbit. That’s my excuse if I get wheeled away in a straight jacket.

But you need balance in life. If you get good then often the not so good arrives to bring life back into order. The Food Technology online lesson was grisly. Son attempted the task which was so tough for him given the difficulties he has with handwriting, spelling and drawing. But he tried and that’s all we can ask. A bit later the response came back. One or two good efforts but some are very poor presentations. Well that’s done his confidence a world of good.

So we have balance. Motivated and demotivated. Looking forward to the next lesson and dreading the next lesson. One has 1.5 Million subscribers (plus two more from our house) and the other has a kid desperate to drop the subject.

I’m sure even this guy was motivated to move just a bit during the fitness workout.

I should really tell this guys story as well. Completely ignored him when I waffled on about his gnome buddy. His name is Gene. Can you work out why? Gene is a relative baby. He’s about 7 years old. He was a Christmas present from my brother. He was supposed to be fireplace ornament. Unfortunately my partner hated it. As did our dear departed psychotic girl cat. So he was banished to the garden to save him from the sledgehammer and the apex predator. On his bottom a sign says – Not for external use. Yet after 7 years of grizzly Yorkshire weather he is still shinny and looking like new. So he clearly likes dancing in the Yorkshire rain.

Take care my friends and try to smile.

Crazy

It’s all gone a bit crazy. Even the sheep I encountered on the one permitted walk out of the house .. It’s a scene of peace in front of the lens. Behind the lens I am being stalked by a pack of hungry sheep waiting for a biscuit.

Dad you have done some crazy things but that one is up there”

No it wasn’t my sanest moment. I lost a challenge and my punishment was to bounce for five minutes on the trampoline. In a moment of madness I made myself a cup of tea to drink while bouncing. Yes I didn’t really think that through. Unfortunately I didn’t come to my senses until after the first bounce had deposited the said contents of the cup onto my T-shirt. Clearly the tea is not the only thing that I have lost.

Dad what on earth are you doing”

I had made a mistake on a post that I was writing for a couple of friends.

“Son where is the rubber (eraser), I’ve messed up and need to change something”

Dad your using your IPad”

Yes I know”

Tell me Dad your not going thinking about using a rubber on the screen.”

Staggeringly I was in a moment of utter craziness. I guess it’s a combination of a complete lack of sleep, trying to help with French homework and the general oddness which has descended on to us all. It really is an odd feeling. Like we are living in an episode of the X-Files merged with Monty Python and Bear Grylls.

But at least we can still smile about it. If anything the craziness helps fill the day. So let’s have one more piece of craziness.

Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) has come up with a new music challenge.

you are to create a playlist of 15 songs based upon a weekly theme.  All titles must be relevant to the theme itself – not the artists just the song titles. This week the theme is CRAZY TIMES…

So here goes (going to try and just include songs from my music collection).

  1. Crazy Train – Ozzy
  2. Psychotic Break – Jerry Cantrell
  3. Madhouse – Anthrax
  4. Stone Cold Crazy – Queen
  5. Am I Going Insane – Black Sabbath
  6. Eyes of the Insane – Slayer
  7. Inmates (Were all Crazy) – Alice Cooper
  8. Crazy – Nazareth
  9. Crazy Horses – The Osmonds yes that’s my only Osmonds song
  10. Shine on you crazy diamond – Pink Floyd
  11. Crazy – Aerosmith
  12. Moon Crazy – Blue Oyster Cult
  13. Crazy World – Scorpions
  14. You’re Crazy – Guns n Roses
  15. Psycho – Metal Church

Gnomeless

Maybe it’s my dear parents influence but I’ve always liked a garden gnome. But for years we had a problem. My partner hated them. Which is unusual as she was the kindest soul going. Never a bad word about anyone. All except gnomes. She had serious issues with them. When I suggested the garden would benefit from at least one of these sweet little chaps the response was razor sharp

If I find one in the garden then it’s getting smashed with a hammer….

Even when I suggested that a gnome would significantly raise the IQ in the garden when I was gardening alone, the response was similarly brutal

The garden gnome will get it then your next…..

What I will now tell you will probably get a really pissed off spirit coming my way. I might have ignored my partner just a tad. A few gnomes did get sneaked into the garden. To ensure their life expectancy was measured in days rather than seconds they needed to go into deep cover. Very deep cover. The compost heap, under bushes, hid behind plant pots. Unbelievably a few survived the inevitable apocalypse.

One such hardy soul is still with us. Now he is enjoying life in the open. He has long forgotten the long years buried under the hedge. He’s a gnome from my favourite footy team. He’s over 20 years old and is still to see his team win anything. What was I thinking of when as a toddler when I picked Newcastle United as my team. I could have picked a team which won things. No I picked the team which is in a permanent state of chaos, a never ending winless soap story. No wonder the poor gnome looks so washed out. I went through a stage of telling the gnome the teams results. Unfortunately as that usually entailed breaking the bad news of another defeat I changed to just letting him know of good team news. As a result I haven’t spoken to the gnome in years…….

Pizza Saturday

A new day. Let’s not allow any crap from yesterday mess up today. The cynical side of me is shouting – today probably has enough new crap to keep me occupied. But today is a new page and let’s see what it brings. Pigging lots of fun I hope.

Late last night (430am) I finally gained some control over my two brain cell super computer. My mind wandered to the stuff which social distancing is stopping which we could run virtually.

A virtual darts league

A virtual computer gaming league ( would be even more fun if it was just for those whose middle name is something like ‘Games Nube’ or ‘Apart from the old Atari tennis game I’m generally Crap’)

Virtual Cooking schools and bake offs (we did a brilliant one last year)

Virtual Gardening Clubs or in my case a Virtual Mass Plant Murderer Club

Virtual Exercise or Yoga Gyms

Virtual Book a major event. Say Wrestlemania, LiveAid, Woodstock, The Great Exhibition

Virtual Coffee Meet-ups

Virtual let’s recreate the cinema experience and watch the same film then review it night out

Virtual Homeschooling school gate meet-ups

Virtual bad hair days

Virtual fashion disasters as we can do whatever we like in our homes. Really go for it

Virtual design with Lego or whatever you have in the house challenges (come up with a theme and see what people and the kids make)

Virtual let’s write a song together gigs

Virtual let’s make pizza lunches.

On the subject of making pizza. Well that’s what we have just done.

Yes it’s not to Pizza Express standards. But we don’t care because we had fun… and yes I know the work surface needs a good clean…… Our pizza session also introduced a new concept to me. Ethical Cooking Balance.

Son looked at my attempt. A pizza which was completely dairy, gluten, meat free. Then back to his. A normal ham, full on dairy pizza.

“Dad I think your pizza looks a bit sad. It needs something. Maybe some proper cheese and ham”

“Well son it won’t be ethical then would it”

Well think about it. I will take some of my existing topping and put that on yours. You then put some of your ethical topping on mine. We have not used any less ethical products and not used any more unethical stuff. The quantities are exactly the same as before. But now my pizza is slightly more ethical and yours is slightly less ethical, but will taste infinitely better. So we still have balance”

I tried but couldn’t really argue with that. So that’s what happened. And yes he was right – it did taste so much better….

Bee

Slightly unnerving BEEing (being) eyeballed by this woolly friend. Couldn’t work out if it was admiring my silky garden football skills or was waiting for a Rich Tea biscuit. I lived in footballing worship hope until a biscuit was handed over and the woolly one then walked off.

Not always but occasionally life balances itself out. This morning I finished my last bit of paid work before the company basically shuts down for a couple of months (maybe longer). So no money coming in. As I closed the work laptop the phone rang. It was the garage, they still can’t get the parts needed for my cars poorly braking system. They will keep trying but the repair work won’t happen much before May. That’s a bit of a result. Won’t BEE (be) using the car much at all and that’s one hefty bill kicked into the long grass.

Talking about long grass. Last year someone gave me a wild bee hotel. The poor souls are struggling here so I thought I would do my bit. A quiet corner in the garden has been allowed to go wild. To be factually correct that should have been described as – I have let a part of the badly overgrown garden to go even wilder than the rest of the mess…

Anyway in the wild corner I have carefully located the bee hotel. Still no little takers after many months. I remember my Dad telling me that the first bee you see in spring is probably looking for a new home. He was a stubborn Yorkshireman so I never dared to question his apicultural knowledge. So our first bee of the season arrived.

A bee clearly fixated on trying to squeeze under the back door and get into our house. I tried showing the bee the currently vacant and palatial hotel. As hard as I pointed at the hotel’s front door, the bee just ignored me. Even a little honey failed to entice the bee. UnBEElievable (Unbelievable)

My question to you. What is the bee phrase for ‘Sorry pal your not coming in here. This thing I’m pointing at is your free of charge new house. I will even feed you each day.”

Doll

Let’s see what we can find in our little part of this beautiful planet. Today it’s the village pond. Few will know it exists as it’s hidden well behind the church, backing onto farmland. Yes a footpath passes close by but if you stick to it then the water is hidden. To find the pond you need to venture off the path and slog your way through an overgrown and very muddy piece of land. Hard work but worth it.

Understandably today brought a catalogue of work event cancellations. Certainly the rest of March and April will be virtually workless. Probably May as well. Three months without pay really. But we are so fortunate. As a family we can just about survive until work picks up again. At least I will have a job after things stabilise. Many will not be that fortunate. My heart goes out to you if your in that position.

I can’t do anything about the lack of work. What I can do is to use the time it frees up to focus even more on our son. Like many kids he is concerned, frightened, confused… I need to use this time to try and make happy memories for him. And maybe me as well.

So lets see what we can squeeze out of this strange period in our life’s. Fun and good stuff might not necessarily be easy to find currently. But like the village pond, with a bit of hard work it must be there somewhere. We will find it and create memories.

The village pond always brings a smile. Its already a location which has helped form good memories. His old nursery had this thing about getting the kids to look after and care for various toys. One weekend our son was sent home with a doll in a beautiful white dress. He had to look after the doll, show her his home, care for her and record all this in her diary. He decided that he wanted to show the doll the village pond. We set off with him carefully cradling the doll. Unfortunately on the way our son accidentally dropped her in a cow pat. The poor doll was submerged, head first with just her legs sticking out of the smelly pile of poo. Our little four year olds son looked at the poor doll, then calmly at me and with a cheeky smile said the immortal words

“Dad what have you done….”

Autocorrect

Am I the only person who has been infected with the crazy predictive text virus. The other day I tried to type Shaun the Sheep. Helpfully my predictive text modified that to Shave the Sheep.

Predictive text is brilliant. It usually does a wonderful job of correcting my appalling spelling and grammar. Unfortunately it is still not advanced enough to sort out my Where, were, we’re, there, their, they’re nightmares. It’s wonderful for those with dyslexia – why our son’s current school switches it off is beyond me.

So yes it is one of our great modern inventions. But mine has developed its own personality. Remember Skynet in Terminator. A slightly cunning, playful one. It does like to embarrass me.

  • On an important report which went to Area Commanders it decided to call them Arse Commanders,
  • I have to frequently email someone with the name Dobbs. I don’t know how many times I’ve called them Dons,
  • It has issues with names. It embarrassingly drops the r from my name. A work colleague called Jock is frequently referred to as Joke. And a friend called Jono becomes Bono (wouldn’t wish that on anyone),
  • Turnkey solutions becomes Turkey solutions,
  • Referring to someone as a Pillock morphs into a Pill Keep,
  • I entered a competition to win a big TV. Strangely I didn’t win when it changed my answer Gollum to Volume.
  • Maybe the autocorrect has got used to me drinking coffee but every time I start to type the words expression or express it changes them to espresso,
  • I was typing about a particular politician who I found to be very phoney. Unfortunately this came out as I found him very bony,
  • It’s definitely a little morbid as it loves to change Dear to Dead,
  • It clearly has a low opinion of our PM as his name always comes out as Boring Johnson,
  • And yesterday while responding to a comment about Tom Jones and throwing my underpants at him. I tried to say that my underpants where Locked and loaded ready to the thrown. Oh no my predictive system changed it that to my pants where Licked and loaded. Oh the shame.

Toying

Another weekend and more grim weather is heading our way. So this is the calm before the wet and windy stuff arrives. For those with good eyesight – you can just about see York Minster in the background.

So given the weather we are likely to be falling back on indoor games to amuse ourselves. Kinda looking forward to that.

School is being school. Son is still giving it one last chance. But I get the impression that his spirit is starting to ebb away. But still he has hope that he might get moved up in at least one set before he leaves. He’s done well in the exams given the lack of dyslexia support he received. A low mark in Drama but we have seen the approach they take to the subject – let’s think spellings. French he came midway which is good as he lost lots of marks for his French spellings. As he points out – ‘I’m dyslexic in multiple languages, if I can’t spell in English what chance do I have in French‘. He’s been told he did well in history which is amazing as he had to type in his answers on a computer – his fine motor difficulties makes typing slow and problematic. He came first and second in his maths papers – he lost marks as he misread some of the wordy questions. In Science he was top in his class by a clear 20 percent – a subject which probably did the best job at getting reading support in place.

So son is waiting and hoping that maybe he might get a set move up in at least Science and Maths. Hopefully in his best subject as well – History. Fingers crossed. Even if he does get the move I suspect it’s more about a confidence boost than making a long term commitment to mainstream schooling. Homeschooling will be happening just now a question of when.

I’ve been toying with dilemma. Each night son loves to play a little games competition. Mini Air Hockey, Connect 4 and Jenga. I’ve been trying to decide on another game to add to this daily schedule. Been considering many board game options. Maybe something culturally and mentally enriching. Well at 3am I pressed the purchase option on Amazon. Hopefully it arrives before the weather.

Kerplunk….

Deadpool

Sleeping feels a bit like a Jenga tower these days. Takes a lot of effort to get it going then it’s so precarious that the slightest disturbance and it’s over. Most days the effort seems wasted given the time the tower actually stands. So last night the same pre sleep ritual then all too quickly a random dream wakes me. That’s it can’t sleep. So at 4am I’m watching Deadpool 2. Not sure if It was the sleep deprivation but I found the movie absolutely hysterical. So by the time son was up I was ready to rumble.

I certainly have to rumble. The first signs appearing of son becoming anxious for the upcoming week and the return to the big bad world. I’ve given him the option of immediately pulling him from school. But he thinks he should give it some more time, even if it’s just for a few more weeks. He wants to see what school does with the class settings. Does he finally move up sets or is he again consigned to the bottom set. I must admit I’ve given up hope in the mainstream school system. It’s not improving any time soon. Kids like our son are going to continue to be labelled an inconvenience and consigned to the educational bin. I will continue to try and work with the teachers but movement at this late stage is unlikely. Homeschooling looks like the only positive call. So yes things will be really tight. Yes I’m going to have to watch out that I don’t burn myself out. But for me the homeschooling time has arrived. But it’s son’s education so it’s his call. So on Monday school starts again. So already the anxiety levels are starting to build.

So we need to rumble harder. Need to work harder on the fun. The smiles and laughs will be just that little bit harder to produce. So Project Fun needs to go into overdrive. Today we try a new game. The Trampoline Water Challenge. Let’s try to bounce while holding various containers containing cold water. Bouncing with a full washing bowl will be the ultimate challenge. It’s a challenge which is designed to get you wet. Very wet. If unbelievably I don’t end up drenched then it may call for a headfirst dive into the farmers field rain lake. Whatever it takes today.

If Deadpool wasn’t so naughty then this would be a really funny movie to watch. If you took out the unsuitable bits then I guess the running time would be down to seconds. So it’s a time to either watch a series of Red Dwarf or Black Adder. Or maybe it’s time to revisit Monty Python and the Holy Grail. All guaranteed to make him laugh and LAUGHTER is the only currency we are dealing in today.

Reminders

Last night I struggled to get any sleep. I managed to nod off once but woke all too soon. A strange dream about an old job, not being able to find a meeting room and Donald Trump as my boss woke me with a start. That was it. Facing another walking zombie day. My mind wandered to my partner. In the last few years of her life my partner suffered from insomnia. She could sleep for a couple of hours during the day but frustratingly not at night. So many late night television sessions. It was so tough for her. If she could cope with years of this then I can cope with just one sleep deprived night.

So lack of sleep brought back strong memories of my soulmate but that’s not a nice memory. So let’s balance that out with some happier memory prompts.

  • Sunsets. My partner loved sunsets. The slightest sign of red in the sky and she would be outside.
  • Ronan Keating and his songs When you say nothing at all and Life is a rollercoaster. Always brings a smile. I took her twice to see Ronan in concert. Whisper that quietly or my metal head credibility is blown out of the water. At the first concert it felt like I was the only male in the crowd. My partner thought it was so funny seeing me squirm and hide under the chair.
    Asparagus. Her favourite food. Asparagus with a touch of butter and nothing else. I don’t buy the stuff anymore but it always makes me smile when I see it.
    Stella Artois. Every time I see that lager my mind goes back to our first holiday together. We had an overnight stay in London waiting for an early morning Eurostar train. In a packed London pub we drunk a few too many Stella’s. With perfect timing to coincide with the place falling silent my partner asked loudly ‘if I was the only vegetable in the family’. No I wasn’t the only vegetable in the family but I definitely was the only vegetarian.
    Babylon 5. She loved this show. She would watch it while I chuntered on about it being a poor mans Star Trek and could we would the X-files. We still have all the DVDs. They make me smile when I see the box but they certainly are not getting played again.
    Trivia Pursuit. I must try son on this game. We would be always playing this. But we hardly ever got a winner. My partner would sail through all the subjects but she would get permanently stuck on Sport. I would sail through Sport and get stuck on all the other subjects. See the perfect match.