Half term

Well we made it through another 7 weeks of school at home. Thankfully a week free from school now beckons. Oh what bliss. No more trying to explain how to factorise a quadratic equation with a lead coefficient greater than one…… I couldn’t do that when I was a teenager and now, 752 years later I still can’t do it. At least I’m consistent.

I’ve just been reading an old school report from all those years back. Here’s an edited summary.

  • Attendance 100% – which is odd as I can remember at least one day when I attended the morning register and then went back home at break time as my parents were both at work…….
  • Behaviour ‘exemplary’ – pretty easy to get that when you bear in mind that in our class we would eventually compromise one murderer, one attempted murderer, 2 convicted armed robbers, a burglar, someone who blew up the teachers desk (and got expelled) and a kid who set fire to the church hall.
  • School Honours – ‘Elected school prefect’ – which was news to me, I never knew that. Maybe it happened on one of the afternoons I was nicking off.
  • Maths – ‘very capable but seems to lose interest very quickly’. But it’s maths what do you expect (so speaks the accountant).
  • English – ‘can’t spell’ – I did struggle with that. Still do.
  • PE – ‘Really good at team sports. Captain of the Rugby Team’. We didn’t play a Rugby match that year as Tommy R burnt down the rugby posts before the season started and school couldn’t afford a new set. For some reason we never got invited to play at other schools – were we that bad a school….
  • French – ‘Not very good’ – which is worrying as I was the best in the class at French.
  • Drama – ‘struggles to deliver lines’ – what do you expect I had a stammer…..
  • Biology – ‘Needs to work harder’ – I suspected that referred to my refusal to dissect any living creature.
  • Chemistry – ‘Needs to concentrate during practicals’ – that might have been when I forgot to switch on the fume cupboard and the school had to be evacuated when the alarms went off.
  • Art – ‘He does try hard but’ – the words after ‘but’ are difficult to decipher but I guess they could be ‘but he’s crap….’
  • Geography – ‘he has had a decent year’ – that probably referred to me being able to locate the classroom in the school most weeks. A task clearly beyond some of my class colleagues.
  • History – ‘OK’ – that was it, just a one word report for that subject. Wow must have created a real impression on that teacher.
  • Woodwork – ‘Has some issues’ – another kinder way of saying that I had as much practical skills as a drunk pigeon. Much to the consternation of my dad who was a joiner by trade.

So that was me as a kid. The report was actually a pretty fair representation of the adult I would end up being. In the words of one teacher HAS SOME ISSUES…..

Philosophy

In England we like winding country roads. But occasionally we get a straight one. Like here, almost a French feel to this.

A week ago I was driving along this road and suddenly had a thought. Always dangerous with me. So I parked up and stood by the side of the road. I wonder what the passing drivers thought I was up to. Given the brakes going on the cars, maybe they thought I was a speed camera operative. About 20 years ago I was a civilian manager in a Police Force. It was decided that the handheld speed cameras needed replacing. To cut a long story short the traffic police were asked to test 6 different cameras under similar conditions. Six police cars went to a known speeding zone. Can you imagine the panic on the unsuspecting drivers who screamed over the brow of the hill to be confronted immediately by 6 police officer stood next to each other, pointing 6 cameras at the speeding car. Ones bad enough BUT SIX.

Anyway enough of speeding cars having the worst 5 seconds of their week.

I’d stopped to look at the lane because I had suddenly realised that I had been up and down this road thousands of times over the years and I had never really stopped to look at the beautiful trees. So that’s what I did. But then another random thought struck me. All about which direction to head in. Not easy to choose here as there are so obvious signposts. So left or right – no idea. Bit like life somedays. No obvious direction. Then a smile. My first bit of philosophical thought in years. Why not just head off in the opposite direction to which way your bottom is currently pointing. Yes that works for me.

Wet

It’s the perfect day to try to hand wash. Even better for drying said washing.

Under that bench cover is the washing. Marvellous…..

The washing is even too wet for the radiators and getting wetter.

I wonder if you can microwave washing?

Could I cook the washing at 200C?

Maybe if I run about really fast with it over my head it might dry?

Maybe I could hop on a plane and dry it in a warmer climate.

Or I could just say pants to it, leave it out in the rain. Shrug my shoulders and go eat some chocolate. Yes that sounds like a plan.

Terrible Poetry

Oh no, it’s time for the panic rooms. I’m doing poetry. How can I Tweet you this bad.

It’s that time of week for Chelsea Owens mused poetry challenge. This week the challenge is

These are the specifics for this week:

  1. At Ellen’s suggestion, the Theme is the wittiest message inside your next anniversary card. (And, coincidentally, happy anniversary to her and her husband!)
  2. The Length needs to be short and sweet and easy on the ink. Let’s keep it under 122.5 words.
  3. Rhymes are a popular and catchy way to sell greeting cards, but it’s not a requirement for this contest.
  4. The Rating can be PG-13 or cleaner (please avoid cussing).
  5. The years have been kind to your sweetheart …or, maybe not. Either way, make him/her laugh. They’ve put up with you this long, after all…

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (October 9) to submit a poem.

As I am old fashioned and as it’s a great excuse for hiding my complete lack of poetry talent – I will stick to terrible poetry. See Terrible Poetry still lives….

If I get an anniversary card from my partner these days then it is the stuff of Ghost or the Twilight Zone. And a few years back if I received a 122 word message in my card it would either be a shopping list or divorce papers. Only joking. My partner would always write the sweetest messages. My messages would normally start with either ‘sorry it’s late’ or ‘I thought we had an anniversary last year…’.

So sorry this card is late

So sorry I’m a bit overweight

I thought we had an anniversary last year

Do we really get them every year, my dear

Just 122 words is perfect for a food shopping list

Or divorce papers which I have chosen to miss

I’ve really got no idea why you put up with me

Especially as I’ve just spilled coffee over your settee

It’s Yoga but not as we know it

Why do I always hear Spock’s words to Captain Kirk whenever I try to do yoga.

It’s life Jim but not as we know it!”

It’s yoga just not as we know it. That sums up my yoga talents perfectly. I do try. I guess it’s like my parenting as well – it’s parenting but not as we know it. Anyway back to that instrument of torture which is yoga. I’m part of the Yoga with Adriene App community. She’s really really good but even she can’t sort some people out. This person out. But at least I can laugh at the many times I lose balance and then hit the ground.

Like most things in life, we have to find our own way.

The last ME/MUPPET guide to yoga went down so well and it guided so many lost souls to yoga perfection – well then clearly you need another one. Again I will be assisted by some brave and fearless (mostly) mini lego figures. I will be played this time by Shaggy. Bizarrely the rest of the yoga group are Star Wars characters.

First point is that it’s so important that you get yoga mats, leggings and blocks that are the right size for you. Anything other than a perfect fit could lead to injury or worse, embarrassment.

A perfect fit for a yoga block

Remember to place your mat next to people who have similar abilities to yourself. In my case I tend to look at for certain key signs in the other yoga attendees. Badly fitting gym clothes, a few spare tyres round the middle, scrapes and bruises to the knees, bandages on the elbows, squashed nose and a slightly bemused look.

Perfect person to be next to ?

Be careful if you get your selection wrong then it will only ever end in disaster. Some people are better equipped to do certain yoga positions than others…..

Motorised hips, no arms and no knees make the crow pose so much easier.

Remember it’s a badge of honour to be the only person in the session standing on the wrong leg repeatedly.

I’m on the correct leg everybody else is wrong…

There will come a time when you will be asked to do a one legged dancer’s pose. Don’t be fearful, embrace it. Especially when you find out your the only person in the room who can’t do it.

Can you explain that move just one more time….

Breathe deeply. Struggle onto one leg. I find swearing really helps. Then as gracefully as possible try to headbutt the floor. You may get a sensation something equivalent to five neutron stars exploding in your hips. That will be the correct Dancer’s pose. A certain feeling of lower half detachment may follow.

That hurt…..

The other important tip is to embrace the journey you go on with the instructor. At the start of the session he or she may seem the nicest and most kind person you could ever hope to meet. In my case Adriene’s words are like a warming blanket, settling deep inside my soul. Then the true journey of discovery begins. After about 10 minutes your instructor will start to talk about ‘nice detoxifying hip openers’. At this stage you will now start to view the instructor as more akin to a prison guard, barking out instructions with the threat of a gun.

Do as you are told…

Your yoga journey will be complete when your instructor tells you to adopt the crow position so you can be ‘truly grounded and at one with the earth’. At that stage you will see the instructor as a predator, a carnivore about to feed on your lifeless and broken carcass . Don’t worry this is completely normal and just means that you still have 5 minutes to go before the session has ended.

Only 5 minutes to go before you have been properly tenderised.

I hope this has been of some use to you. Remember your body is a temple. Probably in urgent need of a preservation and restoration order. You can do this. NAMASTE….

Oh no it’s a poem

Stand by yours beds people. It’s kind of back. Chelsea Owen’s weekly poetry challenge. Ok it’s not officially Terrible Poetry anymore, but this is me, I can only do it one way. That’s Terrible. Do this challenge once a week and I can myself a bard. A bad bard….

This week Chelsea is back with

Where once I told everyone to write terrible poetry, I now tell you to write terrible poetry with the intent to make us all laugh:

  1. The Topic is eccentrics. Collector, streaker, hermit, or superhero? I read about the British variety in Henry Hemming’s In Search of the English Eccentric and now I’m hooked!

  2. The Length will be a limerick. How else would you poem about eccentrics?? A limerick is five lines: AABBA, in anapestic meter.

  3. Rhyme? Naturally -unless that would run against your hero’s …idiom.

  4. Don’t worry too much about the details! Wake up at 2 a.m. from the strangest dream you’ve ever had, roll over to your notepad to write it down, then turn it in as poetry the next morning.

  5. Keep the Rating at PG or cleaner.You’re too clever to stoop to crass jibes for humor. I know it.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (September 11) to submit a poem to Chelsea.

Brace yourself, here goes….

I am English and I am most certainly very eccentric

I drive a car the shape of a teapot but don’t worry, it’s electric

I have a fine collection of pink britches with matching bowler hats

Let’s not forget I live underground with my cross dressing pampered cats

And pray tell what’s wrong shopping in a musical codpiece when it’s authentic

Saturn 5

We live on a hill. A not very big hill. But a nice one. This is the slope dropping down into the flat Vale of York. The Vale stretches for mile after mile. This gentle grassy slope is also our sledging run during winter. It’s not very steep but it’s long enough to generate enough speed. Enough to send this Dad flying through the air. That takes lots of momentum. Even those massive NASA Saturn 5 rockets would struggle to lift my butt into the air.

We don’t get much snow. But when we do it’s time to get to our hill slope.

What could possibly go wrong. The first time we tried sledging here Hawklad asked if I would safety test the run first. I reassured him that it was perfectly safe. I set off from the top and a few seconds later smashed into the tree at the bottom. I was like a precision guided missile. A missile with a large butt carrying much momentum. At least the padding helped protect me.

So when the snow comes again – what could possibly go wrong.

Pink

Ok I admit it – I do wear a little bit of pink. In my defence that is usually gym kit – often the pink version is the cheapest colour in the men’s range. Pink climbing kit was often discounted. Pink also made sense on the hills – if I got into trouble then at least pink would stand out. When I bought a new Goalkeepers top the pink version was the one that made the best financial sense – clearly no one else was buying that style. It’s definitely a pretty colour. Look what a bit of pink does to the sky. One day it might even work on me. Much sniggering.

Dad why is pink seen as a girls colour?”

We did go through a phase when pink was for girls and blue was for boys. But not always. It really only started during the last century. In fact prior to that blue was often seen as a feminine colour. I think I read somewhere that pink may have been switched to feminine because of the influence of French Fashion.

Was I dressed in blue then as a baby?”

Erm NO. We had bought you white baby gear but you came out far smaller than expected. Not the great lump I had been. Your poor Grandma, she was only 4f10 and having to cope with a lump like me. Anyway you were too small for your clothes so I was sent out to buy new ones. I picked the first ones that would fit you. I didn’t check and when we opened them, they were pink. So you were dressed in pink. It was mentioned a few times that you had the wrong clothes colour. A few days later I was sent out to buy some more clothes this time with clear instructions to buy white. I messed up again an got a load of blue stuff.

Which is useful as my favourite colour has always been blue.”

It has Hawklad, I remember as a baby and you were given two blue celebration balloons. You loved them. I didn’t tell you but I had to buy a new packet of them and keep blowing them up for you. Often they were the only things that would stop you crying. Maybe it was those blue balloons that influenced you.

How long did I play with balloons then?

Until you found the delights of chucking objects at me. Toys, spoons, food. Anything you could get your hands on. Maybe you thought I was a giant balloon.

Definitely an odd coloured balloon. Your definitely full of hot air…”

And I frequently make that sound balloons make when you start to let the air out. I did try to dress you in black and white stripes once.

Tell me you didn’t put me in Newcastle United colours.”

I did. Does that make me a bad parent.

It’s nothing short of abuse”

Anyway as soon as you could talk you basically said NO to my football team colours. You just wanted to wear blue as much as possible.

Even picked a football team that played in blue.”

You did. You would always support the blue sports team. When I would watch England play you would support the blue team. Don’t tell Boris Johnson but what was often France and Italy.

I still do. All thanks to those balloons.”

Yes Hawklad all thanks to those blue balloons. Why didn’t I buy black and white striped ones.

Because Dad if they are like your football team they would just keep going DOWN”

Oh how true you are…..

Pain

There is a physical pain associated with parenting that is off the chart. Excluding childbirth which thankfully I will never have to experience. Standing bare foot on a piece of lego. A weaponised toy. In the garden there is something that comes close to lego. It’s this lovely little thing. A tree which overlooks our garden and likes to drop these little bombs onto the lawn. Accidentally pick one up – agony. Kneel on one – agony. Get one attached to the top of your training shoe – beyond agony. Horse Chestnuts hurt….

Dad I keep hearing that as you get older your body starts to hurt. Is that true. You should know as you are so very old…..”

Yes eventually the body does hurt. Playing contact sport or falling off cliffs doesn’t help. You can do stuff about the pain – mostly. But you do get to a stage when you realise that I’ve used this body up, so can I have a new one.

So when did your body start hurting?”

Everyone is different. At school one of my friends had a Chopper Bike. It had upright handles and a gear stick brilliantly placed right in front of your undercarriage. Chris had a big crash and encountered the pointy gear stick at a frightening rate of knots. His hurting most definitely started when he was 10. It ended his choir signing days. I think my body pain started after I was 30. Playing contact sport on a Saturday and not being able to move on Sunday.

Is that when Dad decided he wasn’t young anymore?”

Yes it was. I suddenly released that being a goalkeeper hurt. I stopped bouncing off the floor so well. There is a brilliant comic from Scotland called Billy Connelly. He says that you know that you are not young anymore when your can’t bend over without making a noise, usually a groan.

I can confirm that. I groaned 193 times during today’s yoga workout.

Scary creatures

A good blogging friend was taking about finding a big spider in her garden. That friend is on a different continent. A place where you get spiders that are big, scary, poisonous and they even jump at you.

Did I ever tell you that I am not great with spiders.

So the prospect of scary spiders brings shivers down my spine. A movie comes to mind – Arachnophobia. Give me Jaws and Sharks anytime. Sharks need our love especially as Trump has decided to bully them as well now.

Scary spiders. No, no, no.

Hawklad loves to go to the zoo and handle spiders. The bigger and more deadly the better. The last trip I just about heard him say as he handled a Tarantula- ‘Isn’t she lovely….’. It was difficult to hear him as I was stood 30 yards back, hiding behind a wall. That’s great parenting……

Fortunately for me I live in Yorkshire. The land that time forgot. We don’t really do scary animals. Those cows can look at you in a funny way. Ferrets can nip a bit (especially if they are in your trouser pockets). Don’t get in the way of a squirrel and his nuts. Those Scarborough Seagulls are hooligans when you have a bag of chips. Get on the wrong side of stick of rhubarb and it can very awkward.

But we don’t really do scary spiders or insects. A few small and timid spiders. This is as big as it gets. A Daddy-Long-Legs. The most delicate creatures going. We end up desperately trying not to hurt or damage them. Even I can get up close to them. That’s the kind of spider and insect I like. Friendly and most definitely not one that is going to eat me.