August

Heralding a wonderful summers day – NOT

It’s been one of those wonderful Yorkshire Summer Days. Damp, exceedingly windy and cold. The cold that makes your toes curl. August and we have the heating full on. Not a day for cold drinks. It’s been steaming hot tea and decaf coffee. Hawklad has been on hot milk – on repeat. That’s a great way to get some calories into him.

August also sees the ongoing trials associated with my WordPress experiment. That pesky new editor. I am trying, really trying. I hear you shout – Your just so vexing. But I am trying to like the editor. But really should it be this hard. It crashes, it messes up formats, drops links. When you do get round to publishing then posts suddenly disappear or mess up. Comments go missing. And on and on. Even this grumpy Yorkshire man is easier to like than this so called editor.

But I will keep trying to get my head round it. Just like trying to get my head round this summer. Just like I’m trying to get my head round Hawklads food intake. He’s not had his weight officially tracked and assessed by the health professionals in over 2 years now. With the current service restrictions, it’s going to be well into 2021 before that happens. On the last assessment he was right on the edge of being ‘too underweight’ for his height. I think that he’s probably dropped below that now. So following the Paediatricians instructions I’m trying to get as many calories into him as possible. That’s not easy. He has such a limited range of foods he will eat. Over the years I have slowly managed to increase these so that he has 6 different main meals which he has over the week. It’s the same meals, weak in weak out. Not much scope to vary things there. Trying to get him to eat the occasional chocolate bar or bag of crisps helps. So does milk. So a cold day and repeated hot milks is a welcome bonus.

Yes a cold summer is good sometimes.

Blink and it’s gone

Well that was the heatwave then. Early morning haze cleared and blue skies appeared. Yes it was hot but very windy. Apparent we got to 30C (86F). Could get use to this. Winds are so much nicer when it’s dry and hot weather. Not so much fun when they are wizzing up your inside trouser legs carrying freezing cold rain. But today it was so nice that we actually managed to eat outside.

Dad we must do this again. Maybe next year

I suspect he’s seen the forecast then. Eating outside was fun but it did require many pit stops for Hawklad to go inside and wash himself. Those pesky flies.

Just a few hours later the clouds rolled in. We kept the wind but the heat quickly went away.

And this is Yorkshire, 6 hours into the heatwave and this is the scene. Cool, windy and very wet. What was the point of watering the plants….

Does it class as a heatwave when it only lasts a few hours. So it’s 7pm, it’s summer and we have the house lights on. Captain Chaos is refusing to venture out. For once he is a sensible chap. The not sensible one is me. I’m due to be exercising outside in 12 hours. Lovely.

****12 hours came and yes it was still like this. I was cold and wet. But I’m told there is nothing like exercising outside. REALLY……

Heatwave is here – kinda

Blue skies are coming

I have given the weather a hard time recently. A few too many rainy shots through the window. So let’s correct the balance. This is today through the window.

Summer

Blue skies, very warm but with a Yorkshire twist. Blowing a gale. The perfect weather for standing on flimsy plastic chairs looking like a star from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Only joking, I suspect my bruised rump would seriously object.

We’ve been doing a little routine which does help Hawklad put things into perspective. It’s so easy for him to get overwhelmed with the negative. I wonder who else that could apply to….. Basically it involves an empty sweet jar and some brightly coloured sweets. Here Skittles or Smarties work well.

Notice I went for the old Rowntree’s version, rather than Nestle. One day will tell you why. Anyway the secret is to pick a colour which is to represent good things and a colour to represent bad things. Then every time something happens Hawklad decides if it is good or bad. He then picks the appropriate colour sweet. The sweet then goes into the jar. Over time it’s an easy way to see what happens more, good or bad stuff. Thankfully for Hawklad it is usually a jar filled largely with good things. That would be mainly a blue colour then – assuming we can get blue sweets. Depending on who you listen to, blue colouring is either dangerous or difficult to source naturally. This little technique has helped Hawklad. Basically it shows him that yes bad stuff happens but actually more good stuff is out there. You also get to eat the sweets after the experiment has finished.

It’s strange that for such a clever little technique that works, I have never tried it on me. Someone who does have to fight negative thoughts. Someone who can see the world in a dark light. So here goes. This weekend this little muppet with his big bruised posterior is going to try this. Let’s see what happens and what it tells me about life.

Take care.

Baking, it’s not ….

Well it looks ok. Looks like bread. That’s not a bad effort from me. Especially as it’s gluten, dairy and yeast free. But then there is always a downside. Time to taste it. Wow. How can I describe the taste.

Bland….

Tasteless….

Might as well be eating paper….

‘It’s bread Jim but not as we know it”….

Yes even a Vulcan like Spook would struggle to quantify this baking attempt. Even when I spread something on a slice it just tasted odd. Tried to toast it. Refused to change colour even when I incinerated. This is officially NOT bread. So what to do with this non food item.

Maybe it’s better than the paper towel I usually use to rest the spoon on, which is being used to stir the contents of the slow cooker….

Maybe as a saucer….

As a page marker….

As something to sort out the wobble on the table….

As a dog toy…

As a frisbee….

And finally, as bird food….

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.

Flaming summer

A beautiful rose is a timely reminder that its flaming summer. Strange that it’s so very grey, wet and the heating is on full blast. At least there is no need for the air conditioning in the car. My car AC is savage. It has basically two settings OFF and REFRIGERATION. However due to a electrical fault I cannot now switch it off. It’s a cold car. There is a downside to the refrigeration setting. When I took the facial temperature check I registered as a fault on the digital thermometer. Too Low. I had to quickly try to warm up to record a reading. Thinking about it maybe that’s a common problem in a Yorkshire. Can I find a way of turning up the heating any further.

Another day

Another hot one. One more day then proper weather sweeps back in.

Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s overthinking. Maybe it’s these crazy times. Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Maybe it’s feeling just a little bit alone in this fight. Maybe it’s just one of those days. But today has been on off day. A down day. A misfiring day. A depressed day. I get these days. Not as many as I used to but it doesn’t really help when they strike. These days it definitely feels like good weeks and bad days. So it’s a bit of a surprise when the bad days sneak up on you. All the more frustrating because there is not a definite cause. No warning. Just wake up feeling this way.

A day when

  • The mojo has gone on holiday.
  • Life feels hard and unremittingly uphill.
  • Just feeling yucky.
  • Everything is an effort.
  • The daily workout was completed but never got out of 1st gear.
  • You just want to sit and slouch.
  • That smile is an effort.
  • Routine things become annoying.
  • Those various body injuries just hurt that little bit more.
  • An old photo which made you smile yesterday today brings a tear.
  • That inner demon is just a bit stronger today. The negative voice is just that bit louder.
  • Definitely a little snappy and quick tempered.

Basically low and deflated. It will pass but until it does then it’s no fun. I was going to swear but I won’t. Let’s get through the day and see what tomorrow brings. If it’s the same feeling then maybe a bit of shock therapy is required. I think I will ask son to fill a huge bucket with cold water then fill it with ice cubes and whatever else he fancies. Then he can dump it over me. It worked last time I was like this, maybe it will work again. Only one way to find out….

Swiss Sunday

Now that’s a view from a train station. It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland.

Some wonderful news. Switzerland is now open again to most of the world. Hopefully soon the good people from the US will be able to get there as well.

We have not been back to this Alpine Heaven since the summer of 2015. It seems like an absolute lifetime. So much has happened.

Yes we have so many obstacles to overcome but one day WE will return.

Switzerland is just part of us now. Feels more like Home than England. That feeling gets stronger each day.

We still have my partners ashes to spread here. The view across Lake Thun with the snow covered mountains in the background is one of the places she wants to become a part of. Her Home. Our Home.

So yes these virtual trips feel like a return to what should be our home. One day just maybe that will happen.

Good to see someone maintains a balanced diet when he visits his future home…..

Movies

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.

Another week

It’s that kinda day. Definitely a true Yorkshire summer has finally arrived. Time to dig out the thick jumpers (sweaters) again.

We have made it through another School at Home week. That’s something like week 11 or maybe week 14. Definitely week something. So what has this parent here learned this week.

  • Sitting outside and having a few minutes of relaxation is not so much fun when it’s absolutely chucking it down.
  • In some subjects clearly the quality of the spelling is more important than knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Black pens run out of ink quicker than blue pens. Those black pens will also decide to run out in the middle of a test. Then the parent will find a million working blue, red and green pens, but can not find one working black one.
  • Biology education has come on leaps and bounds. Watching videos about DNA and cell structures is far more fun than in my day when biology basically involved randomly dissecting an unfortunate small creature.
  • Being a qualified public sector accountant does not necessarily mean I can do basic arithmetic. We did a maths test together. Son got a score of 97% unfortunately the accountant came a close second with 66%. I’m sure I can account for the difference in terms of depreciation and incremental drift.
  • The paint from an art project looks much better on the painting than it does on the sofa.
  • Young kids are good at expanding the minds of parents. Apparently Penguinone, Sex, Moronic Acid and Arsole are all legitimate chemical molecule names.
  • Tell me why Kryptonite is not an official element. Surely they must have found a green thing they could have named after Superman’s nemesis.
  • Discovering a half eaten sandwich in the bottom of a school bag, which has not been used since March is a real delight.
  • Art have started introducing the pupils to cartoon video making. Apparently the app STOP MOTION was so easy to use, even Dads could use it. Within minutes the house was in fact making Wallace & Gromit like productions. A simple demarcation of responsibility’s was established. Son was Director, Producer and Creative Writer. Dad was the camera person and general gofer. Fun off the scale – now this is education.
  • Clearly Food Technology cooking instructions are based on a standard oven and not designed for our unpredictable, nuclear fusion reactor oven. Is Puff Pastry supposed to be this black….
  • Apparently the capital of Tanzania is Dodoma. When I was at school I’m sure it was Dar Es Salaam.
  • We have discovered a new law of the universe. The time constraint of a homework task deadline is directly proportional to the likelihood of a significant broadband disruption.
  • iPads have great batteries but it is only just sufficient to last a full day of school lessons. If you forget to recharge overnight then you are basically stuffed.
  • In some subjects the use of orange rather than yellow text highlighting is considered a capital crime.
  • How often do I have to say this. Please PE Teachers stop trying to include parents in the games activities. Getting a parent v child sprint race in a small garden may seem like a good way of family bonding. It’s also a great way of getting the not so streamlined Dad (who can carry huge amounts of momentum even though he is travelling so slowly) to crash into the garden fence. Can I bill the school for fencing damage.

So we survived another home school week. Whatever number it may be. It seems to have gone on for so many more months. As if we started in winter, it went through all of summer and it’s still going when winter has come back again….

July is not that far away.

It will be July all too soon and it’s time for another message from Mel.

Break, Eat, Picnic, Nature, RecoveryWordPress bloggers have been a tremendous force for good in recent months encouraging another to STAY AT HOME, STAY SAFE, STAY ALERT and FOLLOW THE DIRECTION FOR EVERYONE’S PROTECTION.

It is a joy to see the blogging community have all been doing their bit in helping each other through these hard times. We are very excited about an event ahead that we hope will help you to build more bonds with fantastic bloggers who make a great contribution to the delightful WordPress blogging community.

2020 flyer

In the last BAKE-OFF post, we told you about the BAKING CONTEST. But the second feature of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 is:

THE SUMMER PICNIC

Many of us are still having difficulties finding baking essentials at our supermarkets. We don’t want to leave anybody out of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, which is why we are all hosting a virtual picnic to coincide with the BAKING CONTEST.

If baking is not an option for you at the moment…or else you are not that keen on baking at all, could you bring along something else to our SUMMER PICNIC. It could be your homemade lemonade or sangria, it could be a dip like hummus or guacamole. Perhaps you make a fabulous coleslaw or potato salad. Indeed salads of every variety would be welcome because it is summer and we are all trying to be healthy.

We would love an international flavour to the SUMMER PICNIC. Do you make spring rolls? Tacos or fajitas? How about pakoras or bhajis? We would love any type of tapas, mezes or canapes. Pickles, chutneys, jams, curds or any other preserve are all welcome.

Undeniably all three of us have a sweet tooth, so we welcome sweet contributions. Do you make trifle or ice-cream or any other sweet treats?

Authentic, Food, Vegetables, Fruits

 

What do we need you to do?

Please send a photo of your bakes so it can be featured in The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off 2020 to:

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

It would be great if you could start making picnic treats now and send the photos in as soon as possible! But the BAKE-OFF and the SUMMER PICNIC will be held in just over seven weeks time. If you want to send us the recipe you followed or a story about what you chose to make, we love all of that. We want to share you as a blogger as well as your bake to the whole of WordPress!

Of course if you would like to create your own post about your picnic creation – please do so, and please mention THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC and invite your blogging buddies and followers to get involved.

(If you have any questions at all – please feel free to post your questions in the comments of any of our posts and we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.)