Blood Red Sky

“Dad its a long time since we had a properly red sunset. I can only remember seeing 3 blood red ones.”

He’s right. We are lucky here. It’s a daft thing to say but we have a big sky here. Not much blocking it out. Well apart from Yorkshire Clag – that’s thick low cloud. When we get a clear sunset they are often stunning but very rarely blood red.

But very occasionally we get one.

I know that a red sky at night is a fisherman’s delight but I think it might be an omen. At the very least I would hope Dracula or the Hammer Horror movies were born from a blood red night. Just think what a nightmare it would have been if the Dracula or Hound of the Baskerville authors had come up with the idea looking at a sunset but finding that they were dyslexic. The stories may have been lost. How many great ideas have been messed up by not being able to write”

Think of all the great stories that have been made by people with Dyslexia. You just have to find different ways of getting things done. Plus what happened if the Dracula author took one look at the red sky and said ‘That reminds me of a cricket ball I’m going to write about a famous cricketer.”

After a puzzled look. What about if Stoker. You do know Stoker wrote Dracula. If Stoker had said that reminds me of a blood sucking chipmunk called Alvin. The first book would have been called Alvin Prince of Annoying Singing. That’s when you would have wished Stoker was dyslexic.”

Can’t argue with that. Another thing I can’t complain about it he is now starting to find some humour in some of his greatest fears. That’s a step in the right direction. Now what’s the odds on a blood red sky tonight being serenaded by a signing rodent…

Public Apology.

Unfortunately the last few posts have been a tad unfair to a great performer. Picked on him a bit. I do like him a bit really. No not talking about Bono and U2 – not even scratched the surface with them yet. I’m talking about Alvin. I would like to apologise to him and all his brethren. Singing Rodents are welcome here. Not you Bono – you can bugger off…

The view

Looking out into the distance.

Dad that’s a top View. Unbeatable.”

It is. Completely fogged out. Can’t see more than 5 yards in front of us. See kids with Aspergers can do irony.

The garden could be beautifully cut and looking like a football pitch before a major cup final. Wonderfully straight stripes.”

Now he is in full irony mode. It’s more like a cow field at present.

Since we don’t have a view to look at we have license to make our own one up. I’m seeing Whitby Habour on a stormy day.

Dad I’m seeing one image. Do you remember that day when I stood on top of the world. I loved that.”

I so do. He was about 5 and we ventured onto his first mountain. A beautiful Swiss one. Glorious blue skies. Fresh alpine air. Surrounded by dream like peaks. The two of us having a crazy snowball fight. My partner and her mum happily sat in the mountain top restaurant having hot chocolate.

A beautiful moment.

This can be such a wonderful life if we only just give it a chance.

A touch of yellow

The Oilseed Crops are stunning at this time of year.

Just a carpet of yellow.

As we walk along the path I ponder the chances of being ambushed by a group of barbarians in giant banana costumes. Son wonders if this would be the perfect location for Pikachu to hide.

As we walk along son suddenly asks

Why do I have dyslexia?”

Son already knows the answer but it’s vagueness, it’s lack of clarity doesn’t sit well with his way of thinking. You can’t give him a definite answer. All you can do is reassure him that Dyslexia has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. Having Dyslexia does not mean your stupid. It just means you learn in different ways. You tell him all the wonderful people who are dyslexics. The wonderful careers, the unbelievable achievements. Dyslexia doesn’t stop you dreaming.

  • Albert Einstein
  • Stephen Hawking
  • At least 3 US Presidents
  • Walt Disney
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Keira Knightley, Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom, Jim Carrey
  • Ozzy
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Steven Spielberg, Guy Richie
  • Richard Branson

I suddenly start signing the Beetles song ‘Yellow Submarine’.

And John Lennon.

We go back to silence and yellow.

When I dreamed

It seems a very long time ago. Days when I dreamed of being a parent. I really had not the first idea of what parenting was. No thoughts of tiredness, frustrations, sacrifices, battles, diagnosis, isolation, heartbreaks, bemusement and an empty wallet. Just visions of

  • The moment of excitement when you find out that you are to be a parent
  • The first gentle embrace with your little one
  • Happy family holidays
  • Fun packed Christmas mornings
  • Those first steps
  • A child doing so well and happy at school
  • Frequent kiddies parties, playing with loads of friends and sleepovers
  • Trips to the cinema with the kids sandwiched between two loving parents
  • Your life continuing unabated as you perfectly share the small workload with your beloved partner.

This morning sat in my battered clothes fuelled on black coffee. Feeling knackered. Looking like crap. Battle worn. Thinking ‘what a prize naive numpty I was’. I might not be the finest example of a parent but at least I look like one now.

I really didn’t have the first idea about life and parenting. Would I have been so keen if I had been more switched on to reality….

“Dad can we have a movie marathon today”

Thoughts of Marvel, Tolkien, DC, Indiana, Bond, Mission Impossible. Losing myself in another world for a while.

Great I’ve got the 4 DVDs ready”

Deep Joy. Alvin and the Chipmunks.

In all the wonderful parenting dreams that super annoying out of tune rodent never made an appearance. The little bushy tailed sod kept quiet until it was too late.

But although I resemble a badly worn zombie this morning. Even after all the bad things that have happened. All the sleepless nights. The worries. Regardless of the lost dreams.

Without a doubt – Parenting is the single best thing that will ever happen to me. That makes me smile.

Now it’s time drag my body out of this chair and take the dog for a walk. Talk about Alvin (sounding like he’s one of my favourite characters ever) while bracing myself against the wind and rain. Imagining the view over the Vale of York as it won’t be making an appearance anytime soon. AND Dream of tomorrow – preferably without Alvin.

Confession time

I need to come clean about something. A secret I have hidden from all but my closest family, friends and postman. Darkness personified. Please don’t be too upset with me.

I have a beard.

There you go I’ve admitted it now.

It’s a recent thing. Not as if I was born with it. I was born with a mass of black curly hair. Was almost called Jimmy after rock guitarist Jimmy Hendrix. Yes born with his hairstyle. A few years later I would have been named Brian after another rock guitarist. In the end I was named after an actor who played in many cowboy movies without a beard.

When the beard started our son never mentioned it. Well not until he told someone working at a ticket office that his dad was trying to get a job with ZZTOP.

Trust me it’s not that long….

I understand the technical term is a short beard. A number 1. Rather aptly I had to re-type short as my first attempt replaced the or with an i.

It’s funny in the 17 years I was with my partner the subject of beards only came up once. That was on a French TGV speed train. So I don’t know if the beard would be fondly stroked or would produce a Paddington Bear like stare followed by the words “shave it now”.

Is it time for the beard to go. I’ve decided that I am now even less likely to be mistaken for George Clooney.

It’s never going to happen. Take George’s beard and transplant it on the back end of a Honey Badger. That’s what we are dealing with.

So maybe it’s time to say goodbye.

But our son is now not keen to say goodbye to it. This is an amazing turnaround as a few years back on a French train the guard had a beard. As he walked down the packed carriage our young son stood up, pointed at the beard and shouted “he’s got rabies”. By the look on the guards face that was three words of English he fully understood.

Now as part of his strategy to save the beard he has named it. As everyone knows if you name something it suddenly gets protected status. So what do I do now.

By the way the beard is now name Mr Crimble….

Alone

Complete white out. Zero vision. Your boots constantly struggling to find grip on the sheet ice. All you can hear is the wind howl and your rasping breathe. Somewhere to your right are bone breaking crags, to your left a 200 feet sheer drop. Holding the ice axe waiting for the inevitable fall. The trail has disappeared. The map is useless. The compass won’t give an accurate reading. Alone. Are you too far right or god help you …. too far left. Too late to turn back. Your only guide is to follow the sharp slope upwards to the summit.

The delights of winter mountaineering. Or is a metaphor for life. Disorientation, lost, no idea where your going, unattainable goals, alone, no plan, fear and panic.

Then hope. A kind word. A caring hand in the dark. Brief enlightenment.

The clouds briefly part. The beautiful mountain summit reveals itself. You survived that crisis. Panic subsides. Your pounding heart starts to ease. The break in the clouds is short lived. But you have a path. You have a direction. You have hope. The climb continues.

Return to Doris

We returned to Doris.

https://bereavedsingledad.blog/2019/04/22/doris/

Doris is starting to flower but is increasingly having to fight for space with other competing plants. It just shows that life and the world moves on – with or without you. On my god have I just quoted Bono and U2. I thought I was messed up but not that messed up. Recently my mind has been trying to take me back to time when the world was warm, safe and happy. Good memories but it’s no more – gone for good. Now I’m quoting a Shins song (but at least it’s not Bono).

My mind is going back because it’s my partners birthday soon. It’s never an easy time. The pain doesn’t really ease over time. You get better at hiding it. A forced smile covers so many demons. The world is still very cold and very lonely without her. Heaven so far awaythat’s an Offspring song (certainly not Bono).

To help with the pain we have tried to celebrate the day. Do something special. Make it a celebration daya Led Zeppelin song (on a different level to U2).

Last year I saw the most wonderful birthday card which she would love. For a few brief seconds I was heading to the cashier before the reality check. She’s not here anymore. We did buy some flowers she would have loved and put them next to her ashes. Hopefully a kiss from a rosenow it’s a Seal song (better than U2)

The year before we tried to release a balloon with her name on it. After several attempts it’s longest flight was about 10 yards – a flight to nowhere. Now I’m quoting a Tesla song (so much better than U2).

So what to do this year. Still haven’t decided. Let’s see how we rolland we have an Alvin and the Chipmunks song (yes still better than U2).

The irony is that my partner really liked U2. I’m in so much trouble – that’s a Whitesnake Classic.

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Forgive my flippancy. Today was not a great day. A bit down. Eventually I bumped into someone who I hadn’t seen in a while. Although I wasn’t feeling great I still smiled when I said HI. The person responded by saying ‘so pleased to see you smiling it’s great that you are in a better place”. One smile hiding the truth. People who are suffering are still able to force a smile. They can do things like insert some random comments to entirely mask the real mood. Hide the pain.

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

We returned to Doris.

https://bereavedsingledad.blog/2019/04/22/doris/

Doris is starting to flower but is increasingly having to fight for space with other competing plants. It just shows that life and the world moves on – with or without you. Recently my mind has been trying to take me back to time when the world was warm, safe and happy. Good memories but it’s no more – gone for good.

My mind is going back because it’s my partners birthday soon. It’s never an easy time. The pain doesn’t really ease over time. You get better at hiding it. A forced smile covers so many demons. The world is still very cold and very lonely without her. Heaven so far away.

To help with the pain we have tried to celebrate the day. Do something special. Make it a celebration day.

Last year I saw the most wonderful birthday card which she would love. For a few brief seconds I was heading to the cashier before the reality check. She’s not here anymore. We did buy some flowers she would have loved and put them next to her ashes. Hopefully a kiss from a rose.

The year before we tried to release a balloon with her name on it. After several attempts it’s longest flight was about 10 yards – a flight to nowhere.

So what to do this year. Still haven’t decided. Let’s see how we roll.

Aare Gorge

 

It’s Sunday so it must be time to visit Switzerland memories again. Still no free chocolate from the Swiss Tourist Board – I’m not stopping until I get something from them….It’s never going to happen…..

The Aare Gorge is close to the beautiful town of Meiringen.

For about a mile the River Aare cuts through a limestone rock mass.

At times the gorge is about 100ft wide but narrows to just a couple of feet.

Looking up at the sheer rock faces which loom over 150ft above. The almost orchestral sound of crashing water. It does feel like another world. Certainly a place for dreams and losing yourself.

Being Switzerland at the end of the walk you can enjoy a hot chocolate….

We had a breathtaking family adventure. Its only a mile but you come out feeling absolutely exhausted. It’s one of those places you need to try and visit once in your life. The place gets into your soul. My beautiful partner needing two hot chocolates before we headed towards the train. I remember a young son just falling in love with the place. Dreams of Viking Gods, Trolls and ancient times. These photos don’t go anywhere near capturing its magic.

Plant versus Dog.

I have a soft spot for this particular plant. My mum had it in a container in her little garden. After her stroke she couldn’t get into the garden that often to water it. It looked lonely. Then the world fell in. When I started to clear her house after those 6 weeks of hell in 2016 – I felt sorry for it. I was in a completely unhinged state and I worried that the plant would be discarded. Left to die. Two deaths was more than enough for that pigging year. I started talking to it. I would tell it how bad I felt. How lonely I was. How completely broken I had become. It was literally the only thing I could truly open up to. I had to give up my job to be there for our son. I was so completely isolated. But that plant was there. Eventually when the house was sold I brought it back to our garden and planted it. It started to thrive. Then…

Then the mad pup arrived. Captain Chaos took one look at the garden and decided that this plant was going to be his ‘cock his leg’ plant of choice. Since then it’s been subject to daily dog waterings. If that wasn’t bad enough the pup then decided he could use the plant as an essential part of his escape strategy. So in addition to being constantly pee’d on it has been dug under, dug out, dug round, dug through and used as a canine climbing frame.

Yet it is still here and is still flowering.

I was discussing this resilient life form with our son. All that it has been through, all that it has survived and how it still flowers. Surely it needed a really heroic name.

Son thought for a while and said

I’ve got the perfect name … JEFF”

So meet the amazing Jeff. A survivor from 2016 and a damm fine counsellor to boot.

Muddy Pool

This muddy pool has history.

A few years back I was crouched next to it trying to point out a dragonfly. My old treadless walking boots and a muddy bank are a perfect match. Much laughing as Dad falls headfirst into the stinky soup.

It makes you look more like a Neanderthal”

More…..

Looking back at my life it’s probably my only really useful talent. Being the hapless butt of so many put downs.

While batting in a cricket match against my former team filled with friends the bowler sledged me with the immortal line “Can I borrow your face will my bum goes on holiday for a few days”

In the same match another bowler shouted as he got me out “Don’t worry old boy. a lot of people don’t have talent”

A football referee (and friend) said when he was going to book me for a foul “I can’t seem to remember your name, please don’t help me. I’m just going to write down numpty”

Another time remember climbing a crag in Scotland when I heard a shout below from my one of my climbing partners “You have the poise of a one legged mountain goat”. Followed by another voice shouting “Looking up at your butt will haunt me for years, it’s that big it’s got its own climate”

At the local fun park ticket office (and very full) my very young son announced to the crowd “This is my Dad he is a Muppet”

At school when asked about what looks or personality they got from each parent our son said “in the case of my dad thankfully it’s just his eyelashes”

At an airport passport checkpoint as the Officer looked at my passport son said “yes my dad does look a bit suspicious but don’t worry he’s just from Yorkshire”

At son’s nursery a young boy asked how old I was. When I told him his face filled with wonder and he just said “Wow” – even the young join in….

Just too many to mention. But you get the point.

I will say this quietly. But I do enjoy it so much. It’s nice to see people laugh. It’s nice occasionally to feel like you are the centre of attention. It is also reassuring that no one is going to be offended – certainly not me as I am so used to it.