Angry clouds

It’s just been days of angry weather.

When I see this type of stormy clouds I remember back to my childhood. As you got older you started to realise that in our seaside town the weather would always seem to come from over the hills and follow the river to the sea. For us that would mean the weather would first appear to the north west. That was in the direction of one of our neighbours gardens. So the following weather expression was frequently heard from my parents.

It’s luking black ower Mr Homans Potting Shed, aye get thy washing in.

When means you have just a few minutes more footy before your summoned in as the heavens have opened. If the weather ever came from over Eddie Cook’s Pigeon Loft then it was time to get the paddling pool out.

Strangely parenting forecasting from the 70s was far more accurate that the current UK Meteorological Service best guesses. Currently the weather scientists are telling us that we have light cloud and less than a 10% chance of light rain. Well tell that to the paving stones which are currently being jet washed in the nonstop monsoon.

So let’s ditch the UK’s dodgy weather science and go old school. So here are a few other old weather laws that were passed down to me.

  • Red sky at night fisherman’s delight, red sky in the morning fisherman’s warning,
  • Mackerel Clouds in the sky then the weather is going to change,
  • The Sun or Moon saying hello means that rain is on the way (saying hello means having a halo around it),
  • The greener the Rhubard leaves the worse the weather will be,
  • Wet seaweed means rain is coming (I never bought into this one as surely that just means the tide has been in recently),
  • Rain at lunch will be gone by tea (basically saying the UK weather is changeable),
  • When rain is coming the spiders will disappear,
  • Rainbows before lunch tells us that rain will be here all day,
  • Cows sit down when rain is due (must admit this is clearly true as I was watching an episode of Ben & Holly where the wise old elf foolishly took shelter under a cow when it started to rain),
  • When smoke rises the weather will be good. When it fails to rise them bad weather is due,
  • Expect a bad winter if the hedgerows produce loads of berries,
  • If you want a dry day best to have dew on the grass in the morning.

One last weather law. I had a friend whose dad was a complete nutter. So funny. I remember him telling me once about his rabbit. He explained that his rabbit would only eat carrots when it was raining. I asked what it had to eat when it was sunny and he told me with a smile – I don’t know, will tell you when we get the sun, patience lad I’ve only had the rabbit 3 years.

So that’s me out of weather law. Can anyone add to my knowledge?

Looking at this photo I think I can confidently predict no need for sun protection….

5

This was the arrival of the next storm wave. It’s a bit lively.

So as we wait for the weather to pass then it’s time for another new game. A game of 5. Your given a subject and have 5 seconds to come up with an answer. I don’t know is not allowed. 5 seconds is not a lot of time. The time pressure leads to some interesting answers.

Ok Dad, you are to be stranded on a remote island. What 5 foods would you want to have with you?”

Ice Cream, Crisps, Chocolate, Pizza and erm Jam….

Ok Dad your putting together a wild party which 5 famous people would you invite?”

Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Ozzy, Lemmy and, and erm Skipper from Madagascar Penguins.

Ok Dad your having a zoom call with famous people who are going to spend an hour remote learning you. Who are the 5 teachers?”

Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Leonardo da Vinci, erm Tom Hanks and Judi Dench.

5 foods you would love to eat starting with the letter T?”

Turnip (hate them), Tomato Soup, Toast, erm Tin something and Toad….

5 favourite King and Queens?”

Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Henry V, erm BB King and King Julian (Madagascar Penguins)

Dad name 5 types of sandwiches?”

Easy Cheese, Jam, Sausage… oh erm bread and erm tea. Here’s a question is a slice of bread sandwiched between two other slices of bread a bread sandwich or just 3 slices of bread. I certainly won’t be trying a tea sandwich…..

In 5 seconds Name 5 really big things?”

Mount Everest, Trumps ego, my bottom, 15 inch pizza and a camel..

In 5 seconds name 5 US Presidents?”

Obama, Kennedy, Clinton, Hoover and erm Whitmore… Yes I know he’s from Independence Day but I panicked….

And the storm has passed, so it’s time to go outside and summon up our inner Peppa Pig. Time to jump in some muddy puddles.

And more school at home

The weather has definitely changed but the school at home project chugs along. It will do until the end of the third week in July. After that the so called government is telling parents to send their kids back to school in September with minimal additional safeguard, as it is completely safe. Let’s see how many kids do return….

That’s a thought for another day. Back to the present lets see what I’ve learnt from this weeks school at home project. Remember it’s not true Homeschooling, it’s schools version. They are two completely different approaches.

  • Trying to teach basic cricket skills is no fun during torrential rain and a thunderstorm. Unfortunately the house does not feature an indoor sports hall facility.
  • Clearly the Games Teacher and a certain Dad disagree on what constitutes a good bowling action in cricket. The game must have changed since I was a kid.
  • Old school French to English dictionaries have so many pages yet they don’t seem to have the exact word or phrase you need.
  • School repeatedly sending an email out to pupils with the title ‘Important information about Careers, please read‘ will mean that the email is never opened.
  • Another week and another Food Technology lesson focusing just on puff pastry. As son says “I don’t even like the stuff so I’m never going to eat it. This is a waste of time…”.
  • The school has a really good online teaching infrastructure. Probably as good as any UK school. So it’s so frustrating that with a few teachers we still have to print out a copy of a sheet. Son fills it out by hand and then has to take a photograph to send it back in. What a waste of paper.
  • Getting no feedback on a piece of work does not really help.
  • Drama is such a great lesson when the kids get to watch a ‘live’ theatre production on the iPad. Even his Dad sat and watched Treasure Island.
  • The Dead Sea is sinking at 1m per year. That’s quicker than my football team.
  • Why do all the felt tip pens instantly turn dry and useless as soon as the words ‘for art today you will need coloured felt tip pens’ are mentioned.
  • What is the fascination of doing word searches as a teaching tool. I am trying to work out how finding a word in a sea of letters will help embed concepts and theories into a young mind. Especially a mind which sees words through dyslexic eyes….
  • Without caffeine trying to undertake long division is impossible. So the following words sent shivers down my spine. ‘Dad can you check this sum, it’s 13422 divided by 317′. Really…..
  • I have a policy of not trying to interfere in son’s work but even I have a limit. My limit is where his Form Tutor asks the kids to do 20 minutes quiet reading then take a photo of the book. Sons choice of book – Stephen King’s IT. Just NO, how about a Roald Dahl book.…..
  • Why do school keep asking a kid with dyslexia to read books without additional checks and help…
  • Fukalite is a chemical compound.
  • The school iPad can survive having a full glass of orange juice spilled over it.
  • Apparently Continent’s move at the same rate as your finger nails grow… This is still quicker than how fast my hair grows back.
  • When your son is not wearing his dark blue school blazer it would be smart to put it away neatly in the wardrobe. Leaving it on the back of a chair for 3 months and in front of a south facing window is not such a smart idea. One side has definitely faded in the sunlight. Deep joy.

So that’s it for another school at home week. We can definitely do this.

Excuse

This was the last few hours of the heatwave before the stormy weather arrived.

There’s a new expression taking hold in England. The matter is now closed. Unfortunately it carries no weight unless you are a member of the Government. It works like this. It comes to light that a member of the government or a sponsor has been caught doing bad stuff. Recently that’s things like criminal negligence, collusion with a foreign power, breaking the law, ignoring lockdown rules, profiteering from the pandemic or brexit, harassment, breaking procurement regulations, waiving or ignoring planning rules for personal gain and misconduct. The type of stuff that if me and you did this then we would be thrown to the wolves.

But that doesn’t apply to members of the elite.

But here’s where the phrase comes into use. So a member of the government is caught with his or her trousers down. After days of denying anything happened they issue a brief statement saying nothing bad happened and anyway it was someone else’s fault. This is then followed by the PM saying The Matter is Now Closed and I have full confidence in the rogue bandit. Now since the PM likes to see himself as a part time Emperor, well that’s it. No need for further investigation or questions. The PM has done that kinda stuff while sipping on another expensive champagne. He is court, jury and judge. You can trust the emperor as he had an exclusive private education and he had been bred to lead us. This approach is proving such jolly good fun that it’s really taking hold. The mainstream media buy it, prosecuting authorities are increasing deferring to it, as are an increasing number of the public.

So when I was a kid and I got hauled off to the head teachers office for snapping a pencil or swearing in cricket – if only I had access to the the matter is now closed defence.

If only my ‘a big boy did it and ran away‘ excuse had proved so effective……

Heatwave

Yes this is Yorkshire. It’s a heatwave. Well a mini one. Whisper it, we might even get to 84F. Now we can moan about it being too hot. The Yorkshire Yoda would say that it’s ‘Proper mafting it is‘.

Dad what are you doing?”

I am watching TV.

Yes but what are you watching”

Peppa Pig…..

Why Dad?”

Just because….

Because your a big kid and so uncool”

That as well.

Have you found the paper you went looking for. I need to get this lesson done.”

Oops I forgot. Too busy watching Peppa tell George off. I will go now and look.

***10 minutes later with the required paper in hand***

What are you watching Son.

I am watching Peppa Pig”

Is that because you are so uncool like your Dad!

Of course not Dad. I’m watching it because I couldn’t be bothered to find the Deadpool DVD. It was on so I kept watching Peppa. Peppa is infinitely better than schoolwork. Young people do cool, Dads try to be cool.

Dads can be cool.

Yes they can but not when they are wearing a T-shirt like that.”

What’s wrong with my I’m Too Sexie for My Accountancy Qualification shirt.

Says it all Dad. It really does.”

Donuts – Really

July will see the second Great Bloggers Bake-off (18/19th). This year it’s a massive picnic. So in the spirit of things here is this weeks baking submission from Yorkshire. Oh it’s a doozie….

These are supposed to be donuts.

As son rather harshly pointed out.

Looks nothing like any donut I’ve ever seen…”

“More life a UFO”

“Your not going to get much Jam in that one…”

Well I think I’ve set the bar very high on the donut front.

Remember the Bake-off is for everyone, including those like me who can’t bake. It’s not often we get a chance to show off our complete incompetence in the kitchen. Lets embrace our inner baking muppet. Let’s have a laugh and give everyone a giggle as well. You know it makes sense.

So from now until the big weekend I am going to do at least one bit of baking each week. No practice runs. Photograph the disaster.

Remember to send in your baking creations (you can start early) to Mel so that they can be featured in the Great Bake-off.

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Monday

Just a touch of summer. Well for a couple of hours anyway.

So Monday arrives and no trip to the garage. The car needs some repair work. It’s been waiting for parts to arrive from China for months. Finally they arrived in the country last week. Now the big problem, how to get the car repaired while keeping son’s anxiety levels at an acceptable level. Two options. Son stays at home while I go or he comes with me. Both options are not great and potential stress storms. We have had a long chat over the last few days about the situation. It was clear that son’s stress levels where going through the roof. No obvious way to deal with this. Son is ALWAYS the priority. So I took the only viable option – cancel the repair. The car can wait. It’s not as if we will be using it much over the coming weeks. A few miles if that. Will probably have to wait until either son goes back to school (September – if in fact he does go back) or more likely wait for the garage to start the car pickup service again. Speaking with the garage that might not be for several months.

At least we are minimising our Carbon Footprint.

And I don’t have to fork out for a really expensive repair just yet.

AND SON is a lot more relaxed again. – That’s the key.

So we move on. I know how the phrase goes – meet your problems head on. But sometimes the circumstances dictate that the head on approach will create too many adverse consequences. So if that means doing a sidestep and coming back to something, then so be it. Maybe circumstances will change and the problem becomes much more manageable.

“Dad what’s the latest date for the car to be fixed?”

Well if we are not using it then I guess it’s March when it has to have its annual test.

You never know by then we might have won the Lottery and then you can just buy a new car.”

That’s true.

It gives you 9 more months to earn some money to pay for the repair.”

Yep

It’s gives you loads of time to clean the inside of the car. Not sure a repairman would venture in there currently. It’s a bit messy.”

It looks lived in….

Dad, it looks like a skip.”

It drives like a skip….

Maybe that’s the plan Dad. If we don’t use the car then you keep moaning about not having enough wheelie bins. The car could be a motorised wheelie bin. I bet many would like one of them.”

I like that idea. It’s a moving bin that plays music and has a heater. It’s even got air conditioning for the hot days. It’s a winner.

Tea

I’ve been making nettle tea today. Do you think I’ve got enough nettles to keep me going? Only question is how do I keep those cows off them…

The visit to the nettle patch is always fraught with danger.

Do I walk round the outside of the house, through the field gate and back across the field – have to navigate the cowpat minefield.

Do I step over the fence – my little legs are just not quite long enough. Maybe 1cm too short. It’s a rough fence…….

Do I climb the fence – some muppet decided to cover this side of the fence with wire netting to keep the dog from escaping. This means that I have no natural footholds.

Do I jump the fence – would be the best option but that barbed wire is uncomfortably close. The jump requires a sudden stop on landing. Unfortunately I am no gymnast and I’m the type of person who tends to generate a lot of forward momentum….

The last nettle hunt resulted in a number of injuries. An initial attempt to step over the fence was painfully abandoned midway. Then an attempt to climb resulted in a couple of cuts to my shin and knee. Finally a jump did as expected generate significant forward momentum. The barbed wire was approaching far too fast. A rather panicky pirouette did avoid the barbed stuff, unfortunately the momentum took me headfirst into the nettle patch. I was scratching for days….

So I was undertaking my risk assessment for the adventure when Son asked what I was doing. After explaining the problem and the various options. He gave me one of those looks, shrugged and walked off.

Dad why don’t you just lean over the fence and pick the nettles that you can reach safely…”

Suddenly tea making is so much safer….

On the edge baking

The apples are starting to form. It’s so wonderful having a little Apple tree in the garden. But wow does it produce fruit with a kick. I think the word I am looking for is – sharp. They definitely benefit from a heap load of sugar.

It’s all about patience. These apples won’t be ready for picking until October. Any sooner and even sugar can’t make them edible. Somethings are even beyond sugar.

Last night I tried to make myself a Moroccan stew from one of my cookbooks. Cooking when your beyond tired is always a tad risky. Especially as I produce weapons grade food at the best of times…. I tried to carefully follow the ingredients. Second last ingredient rather surprised me. 200g of sugar. In a stew …. OK….. the chef will know what he is talking about. And the final ingredient vanilla essence. Clearly chef knows best but really. Don’t need to read the preparation details. Bung it all in the slow cooker, stir and leave it.

Well 6 hours later and the stew was ready. It just tasted so odd. Basically a very sweet, strange tasting stew. This can’t be right. So I got the recipe book out and looked to see what I could have done so wrong. How can this be. No mention of sugar or vanilla. I surely didn’t imagine those things. All I can think of is that when my back was turned the recipe book page flipped over and shifted to something like a cake recipe. So I basically tried to cook a Moroccan Stew and Cake combo. Maybe it’s the future of cooking.

Maybe that’s a game changing idea for the upcoming Great Bloggers Bake-off. Start baking a cake recipe and then half way through the preparation stage I randomly change the recipe page. That’s on the edge baking…

The Great Bloggers Bake-off takes place in July (18th & 19th). But if you fancy it, please start baking as soon as you feel the urge. Clearly I have….

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel so that they can be featured in the Great Bake-off.

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

The Dads

The ‘Stay at Home unless you are a pompous cretin called Cummings who thinks he is the UK Government‘ message has been on for months now. Ok the social distancing thing is starting to fall apart but for some of us, it’s still very much in force. One knock on effect of that is that you end of taking photos of the same thing, over and over again. SORRY. More cows. One day maybe we might get a giraffe or a camel.

This post is a tribute to Dads. I don’t need to say sorry about that.

Dad in Art I have to create some characters for my stop motion cartoon project. I have to think of some designs, sketch them and then cut them out. They will then become the stars of the cartoon. Any ideas?.”

Well you want to make them simple to make. What about superheroes. Make a simple version of Captain America and Ironman. Lots of muscles, great costumes and heroic.

That gives me a great idea. Let’s go for the complete opposite. No muscles, no dress sense and bad haircuts. Let’s go for Dads…..”

So here goes. Our little tribute to all the Dads out there. I’m trying to work out which one is me…. Maybe it’s the one still to be made which looks just a little like Thor….