Churchyard

While Hawklad had a sleep in I pushed the boat out just a little. A one minute walk to the churchyard. Yes it was a very short walk in the scheme of things but it felt like a different world. Just to see different sights. Experience a little bit more of the world. An important reminder that there is much more to life than our little house and garden.

A few seconds to lean against the very old wall and breathe.

Then it’s back home all too soon. Back behind the castle walls. Return to our little family lockdown. Virtually all of 2021 looks like it will be spent in the house and garden. But just maybe I can sneak out occasionally. Even if it’s just a few yards to the churchyard. It will be good to breathe.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. This wonderful little country has been a special holiday destination for our family for a couple of generations now. Life has happened and that family is much changed now. Much smaller. Now the baton of Alpine Trips is really just lies with Hawklad and me. We must find a way of keeping that tradition going. Why?

Because family tradition is so important. Once it’s gone it’s gone….

Because Switzerland is so special and so worth it…..

Sadly 2021 doesn’t look like being a year where we can venture those 1000 miles again. It’s been 5 years now since our last trip. So let’s keep those memories strong until life opens up again and once more a family trip to alpine heaven can happen again.

Art

It’s not often I get a free work of art left on the car window. On closer inspection I realised just how intricate and special the work of nature was.

I could so easily have missed this. A few hours later it may have melted.

It’s such a great reminder for me that even though I’m living in a much restricted world that there is still much to experience. I can make this work. I just need to remember to open my eyes and continue to dream.

Old…

Dad I have to interview someone for Food Technology. That person has to be old apparently. That’s you then Dad”

Charming….But sadly very true….

****that’s the thing about Aspergers with Hawklad. He tells it as it is, no filters.****

Dad I have to ask you about the confectionery you used to eat as a child. I’ve seen the photos, you clearly liked the odd one or two sugar bars…..”

****sadly also very true****

What were your favourite sweets and chocolates all those many centuries ago….”

Decades boy not centuries…. That would be midget gems, flying saucers, black jacks, milk guns, fizz wiz, pineapple cubes, cherry lips and refreshers. Chocolate it would have been Toblerone, Marathon, Wagon Wheels, Minstrels, Revels,Time Outs, Banjos and Curly Wurly’s.

Dad why is it that when I ask you about science, history or art you just look blank at me. Yet I mention chocolates and sweets and I can’t stop you talking….”

Got to get my priorities right.

What’s the biggest changes with current confectionery then Dad?”

Well some of the stuff have disappeared. Some stuff has changed name. What’s this thing called Snicker Bars – it’s a Marathon…. And the sizes. Much much bigger in my day as you can tell from the old photos of my tummy.

Last question Dad. What was the worst thing about confectionery in your day….”

Well I dread to think what they put in those old sweets and chocolate bars. E Numbers were classed as one of your 5 a day healthy options back then. And then some of the stuff was so wrong. One of my favourite chocolates was pretend cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes and even came in a realistic cigarette packet.

Dad what were they thinking of…”

Getting kids hooked on smoking. Making money and seeing children as a commodity to make money from. Sadly that hasn’t changed….

Breathing

Hanging over the fence, looking at the sunset and breathing….

I have just been reading the helpful letter that comes with the government application form I’m trying to complete. Apparently I have to remember that the form will allow the government to better target funds. To weed out false claimants. Ultimately the additional questions and evidence requirements are there to help me.

Well that’s good to know. Currently made to to question 27 out of 71. It’s taken me two days so far. Most of the evidence they want me to include is just not available or out of date. I have plenty of stuff that I could send them but this won’t be considered as it hasn’t been requested.

I’m getting this all wrong. What I should have done is donate thousands to the Governing Party and then you get a better service. The current so called Government can’t help itself dishing out funds and lucrative contracts to its buddies – no questions asked, paper work not required.

When I started the form I was listening to some relaxing classical music. By page 27 I have migrated to Mongolian Throat Metal. I’m guessing by question 71 it will be German Death Metal…..

Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Soul

We watched the Pixar movie SOUL last night. Felt like perfect timing. Trying not to give the movie away but it makes you think about life and what it means to you. Its really good, funny in places and sad in others. At times I found it uncomfortable as it was a little to close to home for me.

I came away from the 100 minutes thinking

Life is maybe not about the things I thought it was about (confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a while now)

Actually what are the things in life that make me spark and feel alive

Just how time is wasted

Fears of looking back at life and regretting lost opportunities

I can still grasp those opportunities…..

A few hours later and I’m still reflecting on SOUL. Life and the pandemic have kind of hemmed me in (hemmed many of us in). We have been in our own lockdown for almost a year now. Likely to be in lockdown for much of 2021. Time is to precious to just be content with performing endless holding patterns until life changes again. Have to find ways to live TODAY…

Not happening

Still waiting for the above freezing weather to arrive. It should be here soon. Potentially a short respite before the really cold air arrives again at the weekend.

The covid vaccination programme is up and running here in the UK. It’s still a mess with most over 70s still waiting a first jab or being told that the follow up jab is being delayed. That doesn’t apply to the PMs Dad who has already had his second one.

I will become eligible probably after April. Hawklad…….

The UK Government stance is that under 18s will NOT get vaccinated – no exceptions unless serious life threatening underlying medical conditions exist. Children are deemed to be of lower risk to serious covid complications and are not a government priority. They have not asked the vaccine manufacturers to test on under 18s. Only Pfizer has conducted any tests on the under 18s. Two of the manufacturers are about to start some testing safety and effectiveness on children in the US.

So where does that leave our little family. In Limbo.

I will at some stage probably get vaccinated but that doesn’t mean that I can’t carry the virus. Hawklad is not likely to get vaccinated at all. So as we stand our self imposed lockdown will have to continue indefinitely. That includes me even if I do get the jab.

The return to the world is NOT happening.

Talking

It really is ok to talk about mental health. So why does it still feel so hard to do it? But talking is so important. We need to make it routine. So let’s talk about my depression.

I’ve been struggling with mild depression for a few weeks now. Actually maybe much longer. Feeling hemmed in. Hemmed in but kinda thankful I’m not physically meeting people. Low confidence and minimal self esteem. More hesitant. Finding routine tasks much harder. Difficult sleeping. Feeling emotionally worn out. Finding it just a little harder to smile.

It seems to have stabilised. Not getting any worse but no signs of improvement as yet. I do have an old supply of anti depressant but I haven’t used them as yet. So I’m plodding on. Trying to avoid the news and taking each day as it is. Trying to focus on the positives in my life and there are some wonderful ones. Need to remember that.

Yes it’s good to talk.

Fingers crossed

Still cold but a heatwave apparently is on the way. A few days at 1C. Then after that it’s either wet and windy or a plunge back into the freezing stuff again. Think I will take the freezing stuff. We get far too much of the wet, gnarly stuff and that’s just in summer.

I’ve just finished the morning exercise. Been trying to drag out the workout for as long as possible. It’s so much better than what is to follow…..

I’m trying to work through a 56 page application form. Having to reapply for a small benefit which we get. Only small but it currently makes such a difference. Especially at a time when work is so thin on the ground. Likely to be thin on the ground for some time. Had hoped it would start to pick up in March but that is looking over optimistic. Maybe the Summer. But on the bright side I still do have a job, many have lost theirs. Work is at such a premium.

It’s ironic to look back before the pandemic. I was trying to find a new job that would better suit the homeschooling role which might be needed down the line. I was looking at so many options. Well that homeschooling gig crashed into effect and not in the way that I had envisaged. Due to the pandemic suddenly all the alternative work options have disappeared. It’s now about hoping that I can keep my current job that at least partly fits the homeschooling role. The current full time homeschooling role which may become permanent.

So at present this benefit form needs completing and it’s taking seemingly for ever. Question after question. Trying to find evidence to justify the answers. The problem is that the government has tightened up the eligibility criteria. It’s requiring more evidence. Adding more steps and hurdles. Up to date clinical opinion is required. How does that fit with waiting more than two years to see a paediatrician. Unable to access services due to cut backs. A pandemic. It doesn’t….

So just got to wade through the form. Submit it and see if the benefit continues in March. Fingers crossed.