Call

The mobile phone is leading a charmed life. Yesterday it found its way into the garden refuse bin. Today as I weeded suddenly the little bucket next to me I was filling with weeds started playing music. Never been so thankful for one of those nuisance marketing call.

With the mobile safely back in my pocket. I got back on with the job of weeding.

Then another call. A work call. 60 minutes worth of …… what’s the word I’m looking for. I can think of a few, some I can even safely write down…

Boring

Dragging

Tiring

Fruitless

Frustrating

Dull

Monotonous

Wearisome

Mind-numbing

Soul-destroying

Insipid

Stupefying

After 60 minutes I was so tempted to switch the mobile off and voluntarily drop it back in the garden waste bin. I’m old enough to remember a time before mobile technology AND today I vote for going back to then….

Walking up the hill

Walking up the hill…

It’s hard work. Sometimes it seems never ending. But eventually the hill flattens out. You get there. There might be bigger hills or mountains surrounding you. But in that moment you can breathe. You can enjoy the moment. You can see clearly. See for miles.

The perfect place for a cheese sandwich, pasty, packet of crisps and a warming brew.😂😂😂

Today it feels like I’m not even half way up the latest hill. I’m tired. Feeling battered and worn down. Unsure of the direction. If anything it feels like I can’t chose the path. I’m being forced along one route which is probably not heading in the direction I want to.

But you know what. I like a good sandwich and a brew on top of a mountain. So I’m going to keep on trying to climb.

See you at the top.

Reality

Where are the Yorkshire clouds?

That faint red sun pillar is a bit like an X marks the spot.

I had been thinking about mountains today. Thinking is bad for me really. I should leave that to others better qualified than me. I should stick to reading the instructions 😂😂😂. But I was thinking and it was me and TIME again. Years ago I set myself a goal of climbing or walking up every Scottish Munro (282), every Lakeland Fell (214), every Yorkshire large hill (38) and every Welsh mountain 3000ft mountain (15). For years I made decent progress. Maybe 20 to 30 a year. Then life happened. It’s been about 10 in the last decade and zero since 2015.

PANTS…..

So today I was trying to visualise restarting the project. Which mountains where nearest. How to pull off some summits. Much creative thinking was required. Just maybe the Yorkshire ones would be a start. Logistically difficult given life. Impossible currently but just maybe one day….

There is always HOPE. And getting back to that faint sun pillar and its significance. It marks the exact direction I need to head off in to turn that Hope into REALITY.

Hopes great but reality is better.

Welcome sight

That’s one of my favourite electricity poles. Why? Because when I used to run it was the first thing I saw when I got close to home again. Always a welcome sight.

I was thinking that after this trying year we could all do with a welcome sight or two.

For everyone that welcome sight will be different. For me what would it be….

Maybe a rock concert,

Maybe going to see my team get beat again at St James Park,

Maybe it’s the view from the top of a mountain,

Maybe it’s the Sea,

Maybe it’s seeing Switzerland again,

Or just maybe it’s seeing a friends smile in person.

Let’s hope that whatever that view is, you and I will see it in 2021.

Lists

Some of the plants are already starting to show some Autumnal colours. It’s only August….

It’s 131 days to Christmas. In normal times 131 days sounds like ages. I suspect this year it may not seem such a generous amount of time for many people, including parents. Pandemic rules, shopping restrictions, reduced product availability, money just that bit tighter, many still isolating. Plus remember last year – one of Hawklads presents was ordered in November and finally arrived in March. Yep this might be a challenge. I think I need to write a list. Yes I am good at doing lists. Unfortunately I am not so good at following list. And as for trying to find those lists after a few days – I’m a complete disaster. I need a list to help find the lists.

Occasionally I do stumble across long forgotten lists. I found one recently dating back 15 years. It was a list of mountains I had set myself a goal of climbing. 60 bucket list climbs. 15 years and I had ticked three as climbed. Another one had been attempted but I had to turn round near the top as I came across someone who had hurt their knee. So ended up helping her back down. So that’s 4. In my book just attempting a climb and coming back in one piece counts as ticking it off. Basically been stuck on 56 to go for years now. That’s another one of my great lists just basically gathering dust. Maybe I can change the wording on that list. How about 56 bucket list climbs that I will never complete. Change the wording and suddenly the list is completed. I can then bin it.

But no. The original list went back into the cupboard. A bit of paper soon to be lost again. This time I took a photo of the 56 climbs still to be attempted. Actually added a couple of Himalayan mountains to the list – might as well make it more sexy. The list is on my iPad now. So it won’t be lost and actually it might be a rare useful Gary list. It’s a great reminder that I’ve STILL got stuff to do and achieve in my life. It might seem like that I have not yet ticked off many things from my life lists but from today that CAN start to change.

Swimming

Yesterday the sun was shining and the garden was filled with colour. Today the sun is gone. It’s cold, very cold. A biting strong wind blows across a grey landscape.

The weather matches my mood…..

After days of care free smiles, today the smile is a little forced. Thoughts are a little darker. The world seems a cold and increasingly lonely place. Rather than thinking of memories as precious blessings, all too easily my wanders to thoughts of what has been lost. What is no more. Waves of self doubt crash in. Problems outweigh opportunities.

But that’s life. Just like the weather you get good days then bad days. In my case the secret is to try and make sure it doesn’t turn into Good Days and then Bad Weeks. That’s the risk with my depression. It’s so easy for me to fall into that negative mindset. Nothing comes after the Bad times. Life becomes a never ending slog.

I look out of the window at the awful weather and what do I see. Yes no sun, but the white and red flowers are still there. They still have colour and beauty. That reminds me that the weather may change but hope can always remain. Got to keep working at this thing called life. Bad times will pass and the sun will return. Yes even in Yorkshire.

As I get older, I become more convinced that life, bereavement, whatever journey I’m on is like swimming. Swimming to an ever receding islands. As hard as I swim, that island can never be reached. If I stop trying then I will definitely start to drown. Somedays the waves are heavy, the tide against me. Swimming is so hard. But if I keep going then eventually the waves will ease and that tide will change. Flowing in my direction. Still have to work but suddenly swimming becomes enjoyable. Enjoy those moments, live in the moment.

So today the swimming is hard work. But got to keep going. Got to keep aiming for that island.

Motivation

Not sure it’s the slightly unhinged world but here the daffodils are looking extra special this year. Much needed colour. Much needed motivation to keep believing in our world.

“Come on Dad, your doing the PE lesson with me.”

So 20 minutes later we are doing a fitness workout. I do slag the school off quite a bit but sometimes it does do things well. The online PE lessons was really good. It started with a daily workout from YouTube. The Body Coach TV (PE with Joe Wicks). The person doing it was great and made the session so much fun for kids. Son warmed to him straight away. Which is no mean feat.

My second workout of the day was definitely very different from the first. Standard weights and short burn military fitness exercises at 7am. Pretending to be Spider-Man and bouncing like a bunny rabbit at 11am. The latter was way more fun. So maybe, just maybe tomorrow at 7am you might see a grown man pretending to be a rabbit. That’s my excuse if I get wheeled away in a straight jacket.

But you need balance in life. If you get good then often the not so good arrives to bring life back into order. The Food Technology online lesson was grisly. Son attempted the task which was so tough for him given the difficulties he has with handwriting, spelling and drawing. But he tried and that’s all we can ask. A bit later the response came back. One or two good efforts but some are very poor presentations. Well that’s done his confidence a world of good.

So we have balance. Motivated and demotivated. Looking forward to the next lesson and dreading the next lesson. One has 1.5 Million subscribers (plus two more from our house) and the other has a kid desperate to drop the subject.

I’m sure even this guy was motivated to move just a bit during the fitness workout.

I should really tell this guys story as well. Completely ignored him when I waffled on about his gnome buddy. His name is Gene. Can you work out why? Gene is a relative baby. He’s about 7 years old. He was a Christmas present from my brother. He was supposed to be fireplace ornament. Unfortunately my partner hated it. As did our dear departed psychotic girl cat. So he was banished to the garden to save him from the sledgehammer and the apex predator. On his bottom a sign says – Not for external use. Yet after 7 years of grizzly Yorkshire weather he is still shinny and looking like new. So he clearly likes dancing in the Yorkshire rain.

Take care my friends and try to smile.