In years gone by if I needed to think. Be with my thoughts. I would go for a run. Maybe go climbing. Those things worked best for me. But then parenting and then single parenting curtailed the climbing option. It was then running. Fell running to collect and process my thoughts. Often I would start a run then become lost in my thoughts. Only the alarm on my watch would bring me back to reality. I would be miles into the hills and it would be a mad sprint to get back home for the return of the school bus.
Then the pandemic happened. We went into our family lockdown. So far 16 months of a lockdown. I lost running. But I didn’t lose my need to think. So I discovered the joys of leaning against our back garden fence. Thinking while looking over the fields and scanning the distant horizon from a little hill top home.
So this morning I was leaning on the fence. Thinking. Looking at a distant beautiful tree. Dreaming.
But then I was joined. Someone decided to invade my space and block my view.
I’m can’t really see the tree now. I’m having to stroke and feed this one. I’m telling this cow my dreams. She seems udderly fascinated. Or maybe she’s herd then all before. Definitely deja moo…
What’s the definition of a mad dog. Definitely one that has worked out how to climb onto the kitchen work tops, pinches a box of tea bags and then sprints around the garden scattering tea everywhere. Definitely top canine entertainment for the mad one.
After that mad 10 minutes then there could only be one record I played as I sat down to do some work. Yes a bit one music perfection in the form of one of Yorkshire’s finest. Joe Cocker is sadly missed.
This is one if my oldest records. I accidentally pinched it from one of my older siblings. They never noticed all those years ago, so I’m probably safe now. My kind sibling bought it in 1970. I kind of acquired it around 10 years later….
They don’t make them like this anymore. Gatefold with full size poster.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…..
Well we have a mad dog. We have an Englishman. Still waiting for the sun sadly……
Bereavement and loss changes everything. My previous life foundations came crashing down. As I sat battered and dazed amongst the wreckage it was just impossible to see clearly. All I could think about was what was lost and how on earth was I going to be able to function as a single parent. My autocorrecttried to change that to single patient – that works as well.
I’ve talked about the impact on DREAMS many times. In the rubble of my former life , dreams and hopes were extinguished. All I could see was nothingness. My dreams had been stolen from me.
It’s now nearly 5 years on. I’m still clearing away the rubble but a new life has started to be built. Here’s what is sometimes forgotten. My old life was far from perfect. It had many issues, many downsides. I couldn’t rebuild the old life if I wanted to. Yes for too many months I did try to do that. Finally I realised the reality. Maybe just maybe I could learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again. Maybe this time I could build a new and improved life. Dreams and hopes play a huge part in that process.
YES they are back. Back stronger than ever. Ok they might seem like pipe dreams. They might seem really unlikely to ever happen. But that doesn’t make them any less important to me. They are a key part of my rebuilding process. Let’s see where those wonderful dreams and hopes take me.
Time does slip by. Sometimes as fast as those clouds wizzing across the Yorkshire sky.
As a kid one of the things I wanted to be was an Astronomer. I remember the look on the career advisors face when I would mention that. It was definitely a ‘that ain’t happening so stop being silly’ kinda look. Actually the career advisor only ever had a few options to suggest. Work in the local steel works, work in the local chemical plant, work in a factory, work in a shop, join the army or the truly gifted might even pushed towards a job in the local bank branch.
Ok no Astronomy job did turn up. But I did eventually buy myself a small telescope. But the Yorkshire clouds, sleep and then parenting restricted the times it was used.
The telescope is still with me. Battered and a bit out of focus. Now is that describing the scope or its user….. If I’m not using the scope much so there is no point buying a better one. But I did set myself a goal of using it a bit more over the winter months. When the skies get darker for longer. The best time to gaze up.
Time slips by….
That telescope has not been out all winter. I thought about it a few times but there was always an excuse. There was always a tomorrow. Now winter has gone.
Music has always been important to me. Even from a really young age I would love listening to my much older siblings playing their records. My first ever record was a single my sister bought me. It was a classic. Wait for it…..
Pinky and Perky singing Yellow Submarine and Those Magnificent Men in a Flying Machine. 😂😂😂😂😂
After that I slowly started building up a reasonable collection. Normally acquiring the occasional record from my siblings. I wasn’t picky, quite happy with their castoffs. By the time I was at college it was a hefty rock and metal collection. But then disaster. A house move left no available space, so some records were given away and the rest stored in my mums garden shed. A bad storm and flood destroyed much of the remaining records. A few survived.
Since then it’s been a slow rebuilding exercise. So let’s see what I can find in the metal cases now…. not taking any risks this time.
A newish record is first out of the case. Tin Machine. This one makes me smile. Back in 1991 I was going out with a girl from Newcastle and we had tickets to see the Moody Blues in a few weeks time. I was pottering around in the city one afternoon when I came across a queue outside a small concert hall/night club. Bizarrely many people in the queue had David Bowie shirts on. A polite enquiry revealed that Bowie’s current band was going to play this small venue on the same day as the Moody Blues concert. You didn’t get the chance to see Bowie everyday of the week and certainly not in a little venue like that. So I joined the queue and luckily got two tickets. We never did see the Moody Blues… Funny thing was the girl I was with was a massive Bowie fan so I kept the tickets secret. She only clicked on when we arrived at the Mayfair and I showed her the tickets. And yes Bowie was mesmerising.
The next record out of the case is an old one. It came from Hawklads Granny. She was having a clear out and wanted rid of her handful of records.
You know it’s a few years old when it comes with the following helpful label….
The thing about this box set is that it’s never been played. After all these decades. Never played. I think Hawklads granny bought it to get the music sheet booklet that came with it. She played the cello. Maybe it’s never going to be played.
And then the last one out of the case tonight is bizarrely the newest record in my collection. I’ve actually bought vinyl this year. Now virtually all of my records are rock and metal. A couple of classical records like the one above have been passed onto me. I’ve only ever bought rock or metal. Until now…..
Yes I have to come clean. I’ve bought a Taylor Swift record. That’s my metal head credentials blown out of the window. So can you keep a secret…..
Thursday night is chip night here. When we moved into this little house on the hill two decades ago we quickly found out the real pace of village life. The ultimate highlight of the week here was the Thursday night visit from the mobile chip van. It parked in the road 50 yards from our house. Rapidly the tradition of Thursday Chip night was set. Eventually we even discovered that the new mad dog was also a chip monster. His favourite food.
A pandemic then happened.
Suddenly Hawklad was not comfortable with getting chips from the van. So we stopped being part of the chip social. But the tradition lived on. Now replaced with oven chips. A vegetarian pie for me and skinless sausages for Hawklad. And yes a small plate of chips for the mad one.
So last night was THURSDAY. Time to dine like royalty. Well that was the plan. If you look back a few months you will see a certain muppet falling fowl of the crime of not labelling freezer items. Guess what happened last night. No pies were available from the store so it was time to root around in the deepest recesses of the chest freezer. Success a fine looking pie. Maybe a mushroom one. Maybe a Quorn one.
Chips and a pie smothered in Tomato Ketchup, salt and vinegar. Result…..
The reality sweet cherry pie is and interesting taste sensation when combined with vinegar and ketchup. Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out….
A few years back before parenting happened I played for a little village cricket team. They had a lovely tree lined cricket ground. Sadly the land was sold and they had to move. They moved to some land set on a sea cliff, right next to the edge. After every storm one side of the pitch shrunk by an inch or so. Washed out to sea. It was usually really cold. Not a tree in sight. On the other side of the pitch was a water treatment facility. Get a wind from the West and the smell brought tears to your eyes.
The actually pitch wasn’t exactly flat more like a mountain range….. And every April at the start of the season the outfield was covered in Daffodils.
It seemed that all our fears about the move were justified.
The cricket team was allowed to use the field by the local landowner for free. The two rules he insisted on was that he got a game for the team and as he liked Daffodils, we weren’t allowed to cut them back even if they started growing on the pitch. So yes we played around them. Made the game different. Took a lot of getting used to. But soon we got used to the change. And actually it was FUN. To the point that when the daffodils died back, we missed them. The game didn’t seem as good. Yes it was cold but the view over the sea was stunning. Even the Water Treatment Centre worked out great. They started sponsoring the team and soon we started getting brand new gear.
That’s the thing, change doesn’t have to be bad thing. Often change works out just fine and in fact can improve life. Improve it in ways you just can’t visualise before it happens.
I was born by the Sea. Brought up by the sea. When I’ve been struggling in life I have often headed towards the Sea to breathe. A brilliant place to head to as a parent. Some of my best times have been by the Sea.
Even when I moved inland I would frequently find a way back for a few precious hours. Then life happened. A Pandemic changed everything. It must be over 18 months since my last trip to the Sea now. My longest time away.
So when life changes again AND IT WILL – guess where I’m heading.
It’s funny how you forget things. A couple of days back I was writing about my lame brushes with fame. Then this morning another memory flooded back into my mind.
My Dad took me on a train to see a charity cricket match. My first ever game. I think I was about 8. It was one of those matches with former cricketers, celebrities and a few local club players. It was a decent turnout of stars so a large crowd turned up.
Some quite well known former Yorkshire and England players with one huge star. One of England’s greatest ever fast bowlers and larger than life characters, Fred Truman.
At the end of the game my Dad told me that I would like to get Fred’s autograph. That was news to me….. Handily Dad had brought an autograph book and pen. Almost as if the autograph was for him…. So I was sent off to obtain the signature while Dad finished off his beer. A bit later I came back with various scribbles, one was definitely a TV celebrity – Leslie Crowther. But no Freddie.
That clearly wasn’t to Dad‘s liking and he decided to help me now. After much looking Freddie was located. He was in the players changing room. Next thing I knew Dad had pushed me through the door with clear instructions. Your not going home until you get that signature….
I was surrounded by men in various states of undress…. All appeared to be drinking. No sign of Freddie. So I asked. Freddie was in the showers. So yes I did get the greatmans autograph. When he was completely naked. How could I forget that…..
Dad was happy. I never did see MY autograph book again….
I think as you get older you start to realise the true value of time. We don’t have a finite amount of time to do the things we want to in life. In 2016 that point was brought into the starkest focus for me. Time can suddenly run out…..
So when the penny starts to drop the question then becomes Do you then do anything about it.
We all need to find time to really live.
I remember taking a job on the south coast of England. In Portsmouth. I was there for 6 months. It’s such a cool town, with much to see and do. It was new to me. In those 6 months I spent one afternoon wandering along the beach and looking at the naval history. That was it. The rest of the time I worked and basically just existed. Don’t get me wrong I had the opportunities to do much more with my time but I didn’t. Not much living went on there. Was I happy – certainly NOT.
Things are different now. Life has become a little too out of synch. Much feels out of my control. Beyond reach. Opportunities are not so apparent. But that fact doesn’t stop time slipping by.
Still need to find ways to live. Seize whatever opportunities that do present themselves.