Groundhog Night

Three hours sleep in two days. All of that came the night before. Surely I should be more tired. Yes a little sleepy. Bags under my eyes – that could be Soya poisoning. Much yawning but still functioning. One of those long nights. Watched happy videos to bring smiles. But eventually the iPad ran out of juice and had to be pipped some of that electricity to bring it back to life. If only we had that option.

Can’t face watching night time TV. Please no QVC or car makeovers. Sleep refusing to come so then it was reading time. A book about a failed climbing expedition. Not happy reading. Loss of precious life, loss of fingers and toes. Was that final reckless push for the top really worth it. Only those climbers will know. My view of success in the mountains was always a little different. Success was seen as returning to camp in one piece with new experiences banked – the summit was just a bonus.

The read and the slow passing night did nothing for my spirit. The clock hands refusing to push forward quick enough. The hours dragging. Mood slowly sinking as fast as my chances of getting any sleep. That feeling of being alone. The iPad still drinking in electricity so no happy videos to lift me up.

Finally the dawn breaks and I’m out in the cool, damp morning air. Probably pushed myself too hard on the exercise. My body didn’t need that but for some reason my mind decided that was what was needed.

Now the day is here. Staggeringly I am not feeling tired. The iPad is back in business again. Quick video, look at some photos. Then a hot drink sat watching the moody Yorkshire skies. My mood lifted. Hawklad will soon be up. Not feeling alone. Almost time to rumble. The day beckons.

Let’s hope it’s not Groundhog Night.

Break in the storm

A brief break in the storm.

A lack of sleep is just a pile of pants. So many of us know the feeling. For me it’s like being a walking zombie. A zombie with dodgy knees and dreadful dress sense. The last few days the zombie state has been growing. So I’ve made an effort to sleep. Earlier to bed, no distractions, calming tea. Unfortunately the fates are just against me. First night the cat escaped out of a briefly opened door at 11pm. The cat is not allowed out under Vet orders. Son would have been mortified. After much searching the cat was recaptured at just after 3am. It’s amazing how such a big, overweight cat can be so fleet of foot.

The next night I was again in bed at 11. Unfortunately that was perfectly timed with the arrival of a massive thunder storm. No sleep was possible. In the end I got up and watched the storm until 4am.

Last night again I was in bed for 11. Then an annoying knocking sound from outside. Knock, knock, knock. Like Chinese Water Torture. Eventually too much. So outside with a torch in the rain and the wind. Time and time again a potential knocking source was found and disarmed. But every time I went back inside. Knock, knock, knock. Finally after a couple of hours the culprit was found. A metal hanging basket. But now I was cold, wet and at 1.30am, most definitely not sleepy.

So let’s hope for tonight’s sleep. It will come eventually. But let’s just embrace my inner zombie and the immaculate dress sense. Where’s my pink T-shirt and green shorts…..

Thinking

During the summer months two things happen. The Sun beats down from cloudless skies….. And we get constant nosey Parker’s…..

Another largely sleepless night. A combination of a touch of tooth ache and another crazy dream. Great time to get a tooth problem as my dentist is just reopening having been closed for months. Reduced capacity and a horrific waiting list – deep joy….

Yes the crazy dream woke me up but it was so funny. Strangely featuring talking cows. I was trying to garden and the cows were helpfully chipping in with gardening tips. I hadn’t realised that cows knew so much about stuff.

While waiting for the early morning rain to stop, I was pondering life. And not just about talking cows and whether it’s a woolly hat exercise routine. I was thinking about thinking. Some of my thinking is good. Other types of thinking is not so good. It’s taken me years but now I can see this. I do have a habit of overthinking. My thinking starts good. I look at a problem or an issue or a memory. The first thoughts are constructive. How to make things better. The happy stuff. The sad stuff. What to do next. How to live the moment. How to make Son happy.

Then the overthinking kicks in. The second, third, fourth thoughts are hardly ever positive. My internal voices start.

  • What a mess.
  • I caused this.
  • I got that wrong.
  • People will be shaking their heads at me.
  • I am rubbish at this.
  • Why did I do or not do that.
  • People will think less of me.
  • I have so many faults.
  • I am going to make these mistakes again.
  • It’s going to go wrong.
  • I am a loser.
  • I look weird.
  • I talk funny.
  • Poole think I’m an oddball.
  • I am such a let down.
  • Completely useless.
  • They will be laughing at me.
  • And on and on.

Suddenly a never ending downward cycle is perpetuated. I’m spending all my energy on negativity. Living in the past. Forgetting about living today.

So yes thinking is good. But I need to stop the second and third thoughts. Stop the over thinking. That’s easier said than done. It’s a life long battle for me. One thing has got me through life. Helped ease the pain when I have fallen. That is to make sure that I never take myself too seriously. I’ve learnt to poke fun at myself. Ok it might not be great for boosting the confidence. But actually it means that I can accept myself better. It’s also a way of switching off the overthinking. Plus if it makes other people occasionally smile then it’s a complete result. In life it’s often easier to poke fun at others. I’m so not keen on that. Hopefully I will only do that when I know the other person likes it or by their self centred actions – they earn the right for a bit of parody. Unfortunately these days there are a lot of deserving targets. Just got to ensure I save the best put downs for me. You see it’s good for me.

Dream

I don’t know why but last night I had a dream about a trip we had a couple of years back to Lindisfarne. A place called Holy Island. You have to drive across a long causeway running out into the North Sea. After a few minutes you arrive at the small island. You can only drive onto the island at low tide. The monastery was founded on the island in 634 by Saint Aiden. It became the base for christian evangelicalism in the north of the country. In 793 it was raided by the vikings and that raid is often seen as the start of the Viking age.

Son absolutely loved this place because of the history. He also liked the thought of walking somewhere his mum had been. We had a lovely holiday here before we became a family of 3.

Don’t know why I dreamt about Lindisfarne. In the dream we were stranded by the tide. Couldn’t get off the island and everywhere was locked up. And the vikings were coming….. Not sure if my car security is Viking raider proof. It will almost certainly invalidate the car insurance.

Bizarre dream.

I keep reading that so many people are having weird dreams at present. I’m certainly on that list. Not going to try and explain it. All I can say is that I do like a good dream but not the endless sleepless hours which seem to follow mine these days. But I am so lucky. A warm bed. Hot drinks on tap. A safe home. Books to read. Old photos to look at. And I am not alone. Tired yes but I can work round that. I’m ok as long I’m not asked about Quantum Theory or French Verb Conjunctions…..

Chaos Theory

Guard duty…

Scrap the guard duty, is that a biscuit I can smell….

I think we all have that sixth sense. Mine kicked in during the early hours. Son had just popped his head round the bedroom door.

Are you awake Dad?”

At the time I was reading about chaos theory. Got to explain my cooking disasters somehow.

I’ve got a question in my head and I can’t sleep.”

Sixth sense fully kicked in. My mind better get up to speed quickly.

It’s to do with the Royal Family and the rules surrounding the line of Succession.”

Relief as I feared a bird and the bees type question.

I’m guessing my question won’t be adequately covered in the Succession to the Crown Act”

Must admit in all my many years, I still haven’t got round to reading that real page turner.

I bet the Act doesn’t reflect the progress made in genetics, physics and quantum theory.”

No, I think that is a safe bet. Already my mind is braced for impact. A wander into his world is truly joyous but often feels like my mind isn’t quite able to take it all in. Maybe a bit like a modern and much safer version of a Psychedelic Trip.

Ok the rules on succession are quite straightforward and a lot fairer now. But what happens if we spiced it up a bit. What happens if through the advancement in genetics we managed to bring back a former King or Queen. Or maybe we develop time travel and can bring forward a previous monarch. A King or Queen who didn’t lose the throne in battle. Say Henry V or Queen Victoria. So the question is…. Would they still have a claim to the throne. Maybe it would lead to a civil war between those supporting the current monarch and those supporting Henry V or Victoria. Victoria won’t be best pleased with the current state of her empire. Henry V will be distinctly horrified at the current leadership of the country.”

And with that mind altering nugget he went back to sleep on it. Suddenly chaos theory seems so clear now.

Tree

Last night I had one of those dreams. That type of dream that leaves me breathless and unnerved for hours. Unable to sleep until after 3am then startled back into sleeplessness forty minutes later. All because I blogged briefly about throwing my knickers at Tom Jones.

I was walking across farmers fields. I was in agony as I was walking barefoot and the ground was rock hard with frost. With every step I seemed to tread on another sharp thorn. On my MP3 player was one song on repeat. Green Green Grass of Home. I was heading towards one tree. A tree on top of a small hill. The only tree on that hill. The closer I got the ground became more painful. Then the heavens opened and it started to rain increasingly hard. So hard my skin started to sting. Then I arrived at the small tree. A hangman’s noose swaying slowly in the wind.

That was clearly enough for me as I suddenly bailed out of that fun little dream.

Green Green Grass of Home was one of my mums favourite songs. You would often walk through her front door and hear Tom beautifully signing this song. The song written by Curly Putman was one of her favourite sad songs. It’s all about a man facing his last night on death row.

In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me neath the green, green grass of home.

What’s the lesson from this nightmare.

Is it

I really should stop blogging as it gives me nightmares.

Or

Next time I do have to throw my knickers at Tom.

Dreams pesky dreams

If I was a flower I wonder what dreams I would have.

Before my partner died I would have the occasional dream that I could remember, but not that often. My sleep would be disrupted but usually by our son. Plus back then, when there are two of you can take turns on the sleepless shifts.

Then after my partner died sleep became increasingly disrupted. Son has always had an interesting sleep pattern. Whatever we have tried has never managed to change that. Eventually the health professionals just called it – it is how it is for him, it works for him, so just run with it. Basically his mind and body are too active for sleep anything south of midnight. He will usually fall asleep between midnight and 1am. Then he will sleep until 6am until his mind and body kick into active mode again. When he was younger he would constantly wake during that time, so one of us would need to be with him to get him back to sleep. But as he’s got older he more often than not sleeps through. A couple of times a week he will still wake and I get the night visits. Checking I’m still here, wanting an answer to a question or wanting to tell me a fact.

Dad Harold (that’s Harold II) was not the last english Saxon king. William beat Harold on the 14 October 1066 but wasn’t officially crowned until the 25 December. In theory Edgar Atheling (Edgar II) was king. He had the strongest blood claim to the throne. Night Dad.

But as our son’s sleep has stabilised my dream pattern has increasingly disrupted mine. It takes an age for me to get to sleep then all to quickly a vivid dream wakes me and then that’s usually it for the night – no more sleep.

The dreams have also changed. I have had three distinct dream stages. Each stage has its own unique dream type – each night its the same sort of dream.

The reliving fond memories stage. This was the nicest, yet saddest stage. The dreams would relive completely accurately lovely memories. Maybe a holiday trip, a birthday, an early date with my partner, finding out when we we’re going to be a family….

The bizarre memory stage. Then suddenly the dreams changed. They still were based on fond memories but always morphed in some bizarre way. A dream about a lovely family trip to a petting zoo, but in the dream the cute little animals were replaced by dinosaurs – we still petted them. A dream about sledging with son on one of our few proper snow days. But in the dream the white snow had become pink.

The current dream stage. The weird/unsettling dreams. No more dreams based on real life memories. Just unsettling made up dreams. Last night for example my partner (who was pregnant) and I had gone shopping in this made up out of town shopping complex. We had gone into a huge furnishing store. We found some items we needed and I went looking for a shopping trolley. Couldn’t find any trolleys inside, so I looked out in the car park. Still no trolleys. So I walked across to the next store which was a supermarket (ASDA). They had trolleys but they needed a coin to release them. None of my coins would work. I then couldn’t find our car to get more coins. So I ran down a short slip road to the next group of shops. Here the trolleys were all vandalised. I ran down another slip road to the another shop which was a huge DIY store. They had trolleys but they wouldn’t push correctly. It took all my strength to move them a few inches. Finally I found an electronics shop which had trolleys that worked. But now as hard as I tried I just couldn’t find my way back to the first store with my partner who would be getting increasingly annoyed with me. I was now completely lost and in full panic mode. Then I woke up. Now I was completely unsettled and that was it for sleep. Too tired to read or blog. So all I could manage was to watch crappy TV and listen for the clock to tick round until son woke up.

I look back with fondness at those memory dreams. Even those bizarre Dino type memory dreams. Yes they could be sad but they where a wonderful gateway into the past. But these current dreams I really hate. No sweet memories here just my brain finding new ways to unsettle my soul. Sleep is now something I desperately need, yet I struggle to do it. It is also becoming something which brings me nothing but stress. I hate being stuck in this ever decreasing sleepless circle.

Under stress

It’s March and finally most of the daffodils are just starting to emerge. Let’s hope the weather is kind to them. Sadly the early blooms didn’t last too long. Three storms in as many weeks proved too much for them. They weren’t the only thing that the storms have put under stress.

My sleeping is poor at the best of times. But with the constant wind and rain slamming into the house my sleeping has become even more erratic. It’s not good for the soul, not good for your health as it puts your body under stress. I guess watching late night channels like QVC and DAVE are unlikely to help as well.

The trampoline has a safety net surrounding it. It’s held in place by 20 strong metal clips. An inspection today discovered that 15 had snapped off. Watch out Belgium if another storm hits. I wonder what the post Brexit arrangements are for recovering British trampolines from EU territory. Maybe it’s classed as an act of war.

A trip to the DIY store in the local town became an urgent priority. Surely a multitude of cable ties would do the repair job and head off a European war. The problem was that free parking is nonexistent in the town and certainly not outside the store. But surely at 10am the infamously effective traffic warden would be still in bed or at least not on duty yet. And then sods law kicked in. Yes as I arrived at the store and guess who was stood outside with his parking ticket book poised at the ready. Unbelievable.

So it’s was plan b then. Surely the supermarket would sell DIY stuff.

Don’t be daft….

Yes the supermarket does sell DIY products and the helpful store assistant confirmed that it does normally stock cable ties. Unfortunately they have been removed to make space for Easter Eggs. The store won’t be selling them until after Easter now.

Marvellous.

The supermarket must have something to secure a trampoline. The ever helpful assistant thought for a while. The only thing they had available was a ball of strong wool. So yes I bought the wool. It was only 50p and may help prevent a war. At least until Easter is over or the traffic warden goes on holiday.

In the end I didn’t use too much of the wool up. The trampoline is a fraction more secure. A diplomatic incident is less likely and I have a ball of wool. My mum used to knit a lot until arthritis took hold. She said that it really helped with stress. So just maybe I might try that. So don’t be surprised if you find me in the early sleepless hours watching QVC and knitting. It may be good for me and I do need some new woolen mittens. It might also take my mind off the awful weather outside for a few moments. That’s a luxury those poor daffodils don’t have.

Late nights

Over the school break we were seeing what we could find with our very old telescope. With a bit of patience we got a photo of a distant power station. Took a steady hand and many out of focus disasters. I guess a lot of patience.

When I’m tired my brain has a habit of going into neutral. That’s fine if your sitting or lying down but try to do anything else and your asking for trouble. Last night at around 4am I was watching Black Panther. I decided my body needed a hot drink. So I make a fine cup of Yorkshire Tea. (That’s the tea which has got the new Chancellor of the Exchequer personal seal of approval).

The photo is from Chancellors own twitter feed.

Anyway my late night Yorkshire Tea was made. Unfortunately as I sat down to watch the movie again I realised that I hadn’t brought my cup with me. I was holding the kettle instead.

A couple of weeks back it was even more painful. I was watching a late night movie and I went for a midway toilet pit stop. On my way to the bathroom I completely missed the open door and walked into a wall.

It’s been even worse that that. About a month ago I was struggling with a leg muscle strain. During yet another late night movie the muscle started playing up. So I decided to apply some Ralgex (Heat Rub). A fine idea but in my zombie state I must have forgot to immediately wash my hands. Unfortunately I rubbed my eye and then with spectacular bad timing I decided to go for a wee. Within a few minutes my eye and my undercarriage were basically on fire. Now that woke me up.

But occasionally the late nights can yield moments of clarity. This happened last night towards the end of Black Panther. I had been spending so much time worrying about the future. All the pitfalls of homeschooling. Everything that could go wrong. How I was missing my partner and her advice. Then it struck me. The one thing I had missed was the opportunities. Homeschooling allows you freedom to design your own days. That puts US in charge. That is such an exciting and liberating prospect. And I missed it.

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives. There is an awful lot to be worried about in life. Yet it still can be a wonderful life. If you let it and have patience. So I need to find a balance. If I’m going to think about the negatives then I owe it to myself to think about the positives as well.