Wean myself off

This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.

Eventually you have to accept reality.

Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.

Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….

So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.

So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.

Time to love Yorkshire

I put my hands up. I might poke a bit of fun at my county of birth. Well actually a lot. Yes the weather can be grim, the people can be a bit odd (me certainly included), we might be a little behind the cutting edge, probably spend too much time focusing on the past BUT….

It is a great place to live and visit. So much history, beautiful brooding landscapes, welcoming, diverse, a wonderful quirkiness and a place that has definitely left its mark on the world. So maybe every so often I should really show and tell the good about Yorkshire.

So here goes. I give you just a fraction of what Yorkshire has to offer.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country we haven’t managed to visit for 5 years but is very special to our family. It might be 800 miles away but it feels so much closer.

Yesterday I was talking to our son about visiting this wonderful country again. Without promoting he simply said ‘shame we can’t just move there’. I’m so with him on that. Imagine waking up everyday in a country that looks this good. Imagine that clean, fresh mountain air. A country which is so friendly, where everything works perfectly and one which still feels so safe. Living there would be a dream come true.

Swiss Sunday

We haven’t been able to visit Switzerland since 2015 but it still remains very special to our little Yorkshire family. One day we will return but in the mean time let’s take a virtual trip to this beautiful land.

In these troubled times there are certain thoughts that I cling onto. Thoughts that are so dear to me that they always part the clouds and make the sun shine. One such thought is that Switzerland is there. It’s still there and is most definitely still that beautiful.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which we have not been able to visit in person since 2015 but still means so much to us.

This week I was talking to our son about Switzerland. I asked why he loved it so much. He thought for a while and simply said.

“It’s so big. Everything is bigger than I’ve ever seen before. You feel so small there”

He’s so right. In terms of area it’s not that big. The United Kingdom is six times bigger than Switzerland. But once you get there, it hits you. In Switzerland everything is on such a grand scale. It’s completely breathtaking.

Swiss Sunday

Spiez and The Niesen

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country we haven’t been able to visit since 2015 but it’s still very close to our hearts. The family link started just after the Second World War when my partners worked in the country on charity work aimed at helping injured service men. The link has stated strong since then.

It’s such a friendly and utterly stunning place. It’s a clique but everything does work like clockwork. Once you visit those mountains and lakes the place just stays with you. Gets into your soul.

So here’s the thing. Those in the family with the strongest links to Switzerland have now sadly left us. So the baton has passed to me and our son. To maintain those links. It won’t be easy. Single Parenting, Aspergers, Finances and European Travel will make it difficult. But we both respect family tradition and so love Switzerland. We will find a way.

Return

This is the first hill I ever walked up. Walked up it more than any other hill. Roseberry Topping is not a big hill. It’s only 266 ft tall. It sits on the northern edge of North Yorkshire and is a part of the Cleveland Hills. At the top look south and you see beautiful moors. Look north you see an urban sprawl and industry. Those with good eyesight can see where I was born and the sea.

For such a small hill it so loved. Alan Hinkes the first Britain to climb all 14 highest world mountains talks so fondly of this little piece of rock.

“I saw K2 and thought: that is the mountain to do; it’s nearly as impressive as Roseberry Topping”

Here we often refer it as the Yorkshire Matterhorn. Our version of the Swiss Matterhorn.

Our version is certainly not as big. Not as snowy. Not as steep. Not as scary. Not as famous. But it’s certainly way more Yorkshire.

My mum when she was young apparently scrawled her initials in a rock near the top. Many did that. I’ve still not found her carving but I do look every time I visit the hill.

As a teenager it would always feel a little claustrophobic where we lived. A small grey town. On one side the cold dark North Sea. On the other side one of Europe’s biggest chemical and steel works. It often seemed that the rest of the world was blocked off from me. But get on my bike and ride 2 hours through the industry. Suddenly I was at the base of our Matterhorn. 30 minutes later I was on its top and I could breathe. I was finally in a different world. I could experience what it was like to be in The Alps. To be an adventurer. I could think clearly on the top. I could calm the internal storms. I could visualise a better life.

All these years later and I still love this little hill. My hill. I so want to be there right now. I need to be there. 2020 will probably be the first year since I was a wee bairn that I won’t have stood on Roseberry Topping. That’s a sad thought. But it’s patiently waiting for me. Waiting for me to return.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A place we haven’t been able to visit for 5 years now but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Times are tough. Travel and seeing the world is almost a nonstarter. That actually applied to many even before a pandemic kicked in. It certainly feels that way for our little part of Yorkshire. A little piece of the world that seems to contract just a little bit everyday. But some things still provide hope. Shine a light in the darkness.

To Hawklad and me Switzerland is one of those beacons of hope. A land which is almost too beautiful to seem real. As if you are visiting a land formed in an old art masterpiece. Maybe a perfect fantasy world created in a brilliant mind.

But Switzerland is real. It is that perfect. We endlessly look at old photos of our family trips there. Those memories brighten and expand our world. Sustain us through the dark days. Provide hope.

The thing about having hope is that it keeps you going until the clouds of life start to part. When it does for us there is always Switzerland.

Keep that special place close to your heart.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which we haven’t been able to visit in a few years but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Someone asked why we love this country so much. Well the first thing is that is has so many links to our Hawklad. His mum’s family have had links to the country for nearly 80 years now. That’s so important to our son.

Another reason is how the Swiss villages just look so perfect in the alpine landscape.

Another reason is the country’s beautiful lakes. They have a magical quality.

Another reason is those walks through the wooded mountain valleys. They are simply breathtaking.

We hardly get much snow these days where we live. The excitement of coming to land where the snow is always there. Even in summer.

The mountains are nothing short of epic.

Finally its not a bad place for an 8 year old to have breakfast.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to one of the worlds most beautiful countries. It’s time for a little bit of Switzerland. So while we are wandering amongst The Alps let’s consider a few random facts about this wonderful country.

  • Switzerland is one of the main filming locations for Bollywood movies,
  • Einstein’s most famous equation about Energy was developed while he lived here,
  • Guess where the Swiss Army Knife was invented…..
  • It has the largest nuclear shelter in the world,

  • The majority of the world’s luxury watches come from Switzerland,
  • It has four national languages. Romansch, German, French and Italian,
  • Most transport announcements are also made in English,
  • It has its priorities right. Education is really well funded and teachers are well paid.

  • It’s original name was Helvetia,
  • The country does not have an official animal. Many think it is the bear but actually if you spend anytime here then you will quickly realise that it should be the Cow,
  • Monte Rosa is its highest mountain at 15203ft,

  • Switzerland has many laws protecting animals. Dogs can eat in restaurants. Social animals must be kept in pairs. If one of the pair dies you must replace it. This applies to small animals like Guinea Pigs,
  • Switzerland is always in the top 3 countries for life expectancy,
  • The worlds largest particle physics laboratory lies beneath Switzerland,
  • The Swiss love chocolate. They eat over 11 kilos of chocolate per person each year. Yet they have the least obese population in the whole of Europe,

The final random fact. Many believe that Scotland is the home of golf. Wrong. It’s Switzerland.