Wonder what these cows are thinking?
Hawklad has always loved listening and making stories up. One particular story line has been a common theme. We call it the Mr Mole Stories. It’s a world we’re talking animals live alongside humans. The story started back when Hawklad was a toddler. He was not the greatest of travellers and when he looked out of a moving train window – it was asking for trouble. It came to a head one particularly train journey. In a full carriage Hawklad decided to be sick. I took the full impact. Amazingly everywhere else was spared. I remember my walk of shame up the length of the crammed carriage to our suitcases. A now very distinctively marked black T-shirt needed changing urgently and wow did it stand out.
We needed a plan B as we soon had a long train journey from Geneva to Bern to navigate.
A plan was hatched. I would distract Hawklad with a story. A random story was told. A taking mole was walking down a street. He would happily talk to the various humans he would bump into. Problem was that Mr Mole had a spectacular sneeze. Tornado Force Sneeze. So when he did sneeze things happened. Clothes would be blown off washing lines. Cakes would fly through the air and hit people in the face. Umbrellas would take to the air. The poor postman even lost his trousers. Hawklad loved it – he nearly wet himself with giggles. For two hours Mr Moles sneezes caused increasing levels of mayhem. The Mr Mole Stories were born.
Since then the stories have moved on from sneezing to a self contained world filled with various weird animal characters. Over time the stories became increasingly Hawklads. He would help frame and tell the tales. Over the last 10 years I dread to think how many stories have been made. Hawklad can remember virtually all of them.
Last night was no different. A wild tale was told. Mr Mole with his friends Mr Cheetah and Olive the Ostrich we’re trying to explain wrestling to the legendary Mr Crocodile. A very special Crocodile. A vegetarian. He is scared of water. Actually scared of most things. A crocodile who finds most things confusing. A crocodile who does not always comply with the general laws of space, time and physics. A couple of actual wrestlers had been enrolled to help. Sasha Banks and The Undertaker.
Then the thought hit. We live in a world of over 7 billion people. With almost incalculable numbers of other living creatures. At that particular time. With such a bizarre story. Almost certainly we were the only 2 living creatures in the planet telling a story about talking mole, a mad crocodile and wrestling. Maybe the only 2 living creatures thinking those thoughts in the entire Universe.
That is such a cool thought. It really is.
We all have a story to tell. Every persons story is just as precious and important as the next. Our life’s are filled with good and bad times. A rollercoaster of emotions. Filled with memories. Some bring smiles, others bring tears.
2016, it’s August. A week before I had been to my mums funeral. My partner had not been well but currently no reason to be truly worried. A Wednesday afternoon and we drove her to the Hospital for an overnight stay and some routine tests. I can see her walking across the lawn to the car. We talked in the car. Can’t remember what about. Just general stuff I guess. After she is settled on the ward we are asked to leave so the medics could start the tests. Told to come back tomorrow to visit, maybe even to pick her up. It’s now Thursday lunchtime and I’ve returned to the ward. The Doctor pulls me to one side. A sudden collapse in her condition. I sit in stunned silence. Tests results are shocking and grave. The prognosis horrific. 95% chance that she will be dead within a couple of weeks. Zero chance of making Christmas. She is in and out of consciousness. It’s extremely likely that she is not aware anymore. If family need to say goodbyes then you need to do it really quickly. Driving from the hospital like a zombie – how do I explain this to our 8 year son. She never regained consciousness and died in a hospice a few weeks later. We never did have a conversation again. The last time we talked was in the car and I can’t remember what it was about.
That’s one of my stories. It’s not easy to tell even now. I can feel the darkness starting to sweep over me. But there are other stories. Stories which bring light and are easier to tell.
Holding our son for the first time after the birth. Looking into his eyes and thinking I’M A DAD. Then thinking he’s very small – don’t drop him. Then one overriding thought. How can something so small be so pigging LOUD.
Sat on a scary rollercoaster with Hawklad as we slowly pick up speed. Hearing his must reassuring words echo along the suddenly panic filled seats – “Dad I’ve just spotted two missing nuts and one support joint without any bolts.”
Sat watching a 4 year old Hawklad in Switzerland. He runs up to a man trying to do some post run stretches. He then spends 5 minutes excitedly telling this man all about Dr Who and The Tardis. Speaking to the man later to apologise we found out that the man had never heard of Dr Who and didn’t speak a word of English. What a poor confused person he must have been.
So we all have stories. Some bad and some good. That’s life for you. They add together to make up who we are. Actually taking the time to listen will open your eyes to another person. If you are fortunate you might even hear some back stories. Gain an understanding of who that person really is. What makes them tick. Without that understanding it’s not wise to jump to assumptions. Without those back stories you really don’t know anything about that person.
We are running out of sun cream this summer….. So need protecting from the unbroken sun beating down on parched Yorkshire……
Over time you find ways to protect your inner self and your family. Unlike sun protection, these things are needed frequently here. With Son’s Aspergers he can suffer with severe anxiety attacks. To be fair I struggle as well. But over time you find ways to block out the anxieties for a little while. For me the best blocking techniques are running, exercise, music and climbing. With Son it’s dreaming, talking and watching wrestling. One thing that works for BOTH of us is watching movies.
I remember being told by various parents that I should limit screen and TV time. It’s bad for all kids. Apparently it’s ok for the same parents to watch as much TV as they like. Ok. We need to remember that all kids are different. Unique personalities. What works for one child may not be suitable for another. In the case of our Son, movies help brake the downward descent into an awful anxiety whirlpool. So when he needs to, he can watch a movie. If it takes two movies, then it’s back to back cinematic viewings. I guess the ultimate would be to watch the entire Marvel Universe in one sitting…..
The other upside to movies is that it helps with my anxieties as well. It’s good sometimes to forget the current world and just escape. Son tends to be in full control of the movie schedule. His choices will work for me. Often these are cartoons. That suits me just fine as I’m a big kid at heart. Nothing better than 90 minutes of ScoobyDoo or Ice Age. Part of me secretly would love to be deposited in one of those cartoon worlds. They always feel so much safer and more fun than ours.
Well the other night we both needed a bit of cheering up. So we sat in front of the TV and Son scanned the available options. Which Scooby movie would he pick. He might even pick a Marvel epic. This is going to be so cool…. Five minutes later we were watching the Playmobil movie.
Now that was not what I was expecting. Son hasn’t played with a Playmobil toy since he was about 4. Ok I will just grin and bare it. Well I will go to the bottom of our garden. WE both loved it. So much so that when I couldn’t sleep during the night, I watched it again. Ok that’s my rock and roll credentials blown out of the water but so be it. Yes its not going to get any Oscars but it certainly wins on the anxiety blocking scale. Now am I too old to get out the Playmobil figures……
Unbelievably while writing this ….the sun has come out. Where is the sun cream.
General Elections in the middle of December are unlikely to be conducive to establishing that festive feeling. So we arrive at Friday the 13th are still no thoughts of Santa. So action was needed. Time for a train journey
A train journey with a difference. The Northern Lights Express on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an historic 18 mile line that runs across some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. It’s a not for profit charity with its daily operations carried out by volunteers. It has a fleet of historic steam and diesel locomotives. It is special to our son as his Grandad helped establish the Trust which eventually reopened the line in 1973.
So on this night. The entire outside of the train was decked in lighting. Inside decorations and mulled wine. Son tried to convince the nice volunteer to let him try the wine. But she resolutely stuck to her guns
“Sorry your just a few years to young. Maybe your Dads old enough to buy one”
His reply made me crawl under the table.
Look at his thinning hair on top. That’s tells you he’s way past 18.
The fairy tale story was told and we board the train.
Look out the window at the magical looking forests while listening to Christmas music. The announcer lets everyone know that the Driver has spotted some magical creatures ahead. The carriage goes over a bump in the track and Son instantly informs the carriage that ‘the trains just hit one the magic creatures’.
Then the creatures appear in the forest.
On the return journey it’s a Christmas Quiz and a Sing Song. That’s the first time this year I’ve tried to sing a bit of Wham. The first part of the journey pulled by a B1 Class Steam Engine built in 1947.
The engine pulling the return trip is called Sybilla and is 54 years old.
The election is forgotten for a while and yes it feels a lot like Christmas now.
This Halloween has to make our son happy. Failure is not an option. Best way to achieve that simple goal was to let him choose what spooky activities we will fill our time with. At the start of the week he came up with his list.
- Make a Pumpkin Head. But this year Dad let’s try not to make the poor soul look like Donald Trump. That’s just not fair on any fruit. *** I thought it was a vegetable. Every day is a school day.
- Halloween Costume. Dad I think we should try and go for a Freddie look. We don’t buy a costume we see what we can rustle up. I guess the mad dog will want his party hat on again.
- Watching as many Scooby Doo DVDs as we can find. Finish off with his three favourites. Boo Brothers, Kiss and Witches Ghost.
- Watch a Hammer Horror movie. These are atmospheric but relatively tame these days.
- Have a Lego building competition. This year it’s who can make the best haunted castle.
- Make a spooky music playlist.
- Make up a Halloween story. Dad this year I think it’s a couple of kids stuck in a scary computer game.
- Play our two Top Trump Monster packs.
- Any TV has to be spooky related like Ghostbusters.
- Monster knockout competition to decide the greatest ever horror character.
- Apple Bobbing
- Late night reading in the garden of Hound of the Baskervilles.
- All dog walks have to be after dark.
- Build a garden monster out of what we can find lying around. Then leave it for nature (or the dog) to dispose.
- Halloween treasure hunt in the garden to find hidden objects like chocolate bars.
- See what spooky food and drinks we can invent.
- Eat the cookie/biscuit game. Put a cookie on your forehead and then without using your hands try to somehow get the cookie into your mouth and it’s the first person to eat the cookie wins.
- Jelly Bean roulette. We have stocked up on some new flavours. Cat food, Snail, Earthworm, Earwax, Squid.
- Make Pumpkin Chilli Soup. Even I can manage that.
Have we missed anything. Any more cool ideas?