It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. One of most stunning countries on our planet. A place which has a close link with our family for generations. Due to life we haven’t been able to visit in person since 2015. But it’s still close to our hearts and we will return one day.
Although Switzerland is completely land locked you are never far from water. Whether it’s one of its myriad alpine rivers and streams or one of its 1500 stunning lakes. Water always seems to be in the forefront of any Swiss photo. This morning what would I give to be in this beautiful country and stood next to Swiss water.
A time for wooly jumpers, gloves and warm hats. Sliding on ice patches. Snow ball fights, sledging and snow angels. Steaming hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Writing names of frozen car windscreens. Fires and hot water bottles. Crisp winter walks with stunning moody landscapes. Long dark night skies filled with the wonder of the cosmos. Warming soups and stews. A perfect time to cuddle close to those you love. A time to feel alive.
Winter is coming.
A cold, bleak time. When the frequent bad weather forces you inside. Cuts you off from the world. When the darkness and howling winds matches the mood. When loneliness echoes around the surrounding walls that makes your home feel like a prison. A prison where the sentence is solitary confinement. Memories filled with loss and grief send shivers down your spine. Counting the long days until Spring returns. A time to survive.
Winter is coming.
I have experienced both. I know the opportunities and the threats it can offer. Which one will this Winter be?
Grief and Loss is an odd thing. I can feel fine then something unexpected sends those emotional waves crashing over me again. Four years ago those waves would be constant. Permanent high tide. These days the waves have largely ebbed with only the occasional rip tide. Because these tides are so unexpected, they really take the breath away.
The other thing is that these days it’s often random things that set me off. Definitely not the usual stuff. Not the kind of thing that I can prepare for. Just like last night.
I was trying to find a packet of microwave rice from the kitchen cupboard. It had clearly fallen off the back of the shelf. As I rummaged I came across a box. An unopened Slow Cooker. My partner must have bought this. I have been using the one I got from my mum’s house when I cleared it out. I now held this unopened kitchen gadget and felt incredibly sad. Those waves started to crash over me.
My partner never got round to using this. She never will…..
Not an old photo. Not a favourite song. Not an old letter. A SLOW COOKER had set me off.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell from a photo but just past those buildings the land drops down quite steeply. Dropping about 150ft to sea level. Then it’s flat for miles. Sometimes it’s not easy to see these big details.
A few weeks back I was talking to my sister on the phone. I remember she said that I sounded ‘Happy’ and ‘was clearly doing well’. That’s odd as that day I was struggling. Feeling really low, down and so unhappy. Definitely not how my sister had seen me. That’s the thing about relationships. Often the people who should know you the best are the ones who actually get you the least. You can care and still not understand. You can care and still not really listen. You can care and still not see the reality.
Please don’t think I’m picking on my sister. We really care for each other but we don’t understand each other. I can think of so many in my life that applies to. Maybe it’s just me. Not prepared to share. Too quick to hide behind my smiling mask. But maybe we don’t often find people who truly understand us. Tuned into our thinking. Can see our pain and anxieties. Maybe that’s a rare gift. One we need to continue to search for.
It was another one of those Yorkshire days. Cold, wet, windy, brooding.
That weather combined with a pandemic, homeschooling and our enforced lockdown is a heady mix. A mix which gets me pondering life. Probably too much pondering some days.
I was sat looking out through the window at that dark sky. Sat alone while Hawklad did his school work in the bedroom. I was suddenly taken back to before 2016. The old small conservatory had finally fallen to bits. We had found the money for a replacement one. I think we planned for years of sitting in there, spending time together. But here’s the thing. We never really did. Life always got in the way. We always seemed to be too busy. If only we had found a way of slowing life down. Creating time at home. Seemingly having too much time on our hands. No excuses to not sit together in that new conservatory. At the time it kind of never really mattered. We had so many years ahead of us to do that.
Well that plan didn’t go well.
Here’s the irony that 2020 presents. Suddenly time has slowed down. Often a feeling of too much time on our hands. A lockdown enforcing time together. No outside distractions this time. A perfect time to sit with my partner and look at that dark sky. Thinking how lucky we are to have that time together. The irony is not lost on me.
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.
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.
We are always on the look out for new games. Son likes to spend time outside talking and having fun. Fun normally entails making up stories and playing silly mind games. Yesterday we started a new one.
“Ok Dad I’m going to tell you a name or thing and you have to tell me the first words or first image that pops into your head”…
So here are some of the responses we mustered.
Dad – Orange Turnip playing golf
Son – Orange hot air balloon
Dad – Cold
Son – Wet
Dad – Emperor Nero
Son – Clueless
Dad – Burgers
Son – Rubbish buns
Dad – Stick of Rhubard
Son – Boring
Dad – Frodo getting to Mount Doom and realising he left the ring back in the Shire
Son – unwilling hero
Dad – Newcastle United
Son – Chelsea
Dad – Reichenback
Son – Aspergers
Dad – Jinkies
Son – Dad liking Thelma in the movie
King Richard III
Dad – White Rose
Son – Misunderstood
Dad – Hulk Hogan
Son – Edge
Dad – Dinosaur Train
Son – Jurassic Park
Dad – Waking off a cliff edge
Son – My generation going to take us back into Europe
Dad – Kermit
Son – Dad
Dad – Captain America
Son – Ironman
Dad – Captain Scarlett
Son – Batman
Dad – Grand Canyon
Son – Yellowstone
Dad – Masks
Son – Hand washing
Dad – Detention
Son – Homework
Bill & Ted
Dad – Medieval Dickweed (sorry first thing that popped in)
It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland🇨🇭. A country which means so much to our little family. We haven’t been since 2015 but it definitely still feels like home.
This week we won’t be venturing too far away from water. All the photos feature beautiful Lake Thun.
It’s a wonderful deep blue coloured lake that sits on the northern edge of The Alps. So it is surrounded my imposing mountains and rolling hills.
Deep snow does not often fall here even during winter. But you are often surrounded my snow covered mountains. So very close. During the summer it is often very warm here. Then the cooling lake waters are such a delight.
During the summer months it is popular with those who sail, windsurf and swim. Lake steamers take tourists on relaxing trips across the waters. Those who like to fish come here all year round. It’s also a hikers and runners dream.
Lake Thun and the little town of Spiez are just so stunning. It’s tempting to spend all your holiday here. Why travel when you have all this.
Lake Thun also has one of the most beautiful little playgrounds in the world. Definitely one of Hawklads favourite places ever. A great place to dream.
Grief definitely comes in waves to me. Sometimes the waves are gentle, other times they are storm filled beasts. The waves can crash over me, leaving me feeling as if I am drowning. Other times gentle waves bring solace and comfort.
So yes grief can bring sadness and tears. It can also bring comforting memories and reassuring flashbacks.
Plus as time has passed I have started to understand that even the really bad grief storms will eventually pass. The crashing waves will ebb.
Which waves will it be this week?
30th August sees the first Grief Cafe.
An online virtual meet-up led by The Grief Reality and YogaofLife. Details can be found here.