Start with a change

It’s still a little cold here. Definitely a cold start to 2021.

We have a family tradition. For the last 7 years I’ve taken Hawklad on New Years Day to Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Set off at 8am. Get there for when it opens. Spend a few hours wandering round the animals. Then grab a burger and leave before the real crowds arrive.

It’s a lovely tradition that Hawklad loves.

But life happens. Only essential journeys are recommended. Avoid out of area travel.

AND

Hawklad just isn’t in the right frame of mind to go. He is seemingly a million miles from venturing into public places.

So no Wildlife Park visit this New Years Day. So we improvised. A homemade burger and a Pepsi, just like he would have had. A hot donut replaced with a warmed up cake. Then we sat and watched a David Attenborough wildlife TV series.

Not quite the tradition but a decent replacement given what was available to us. 2021 feels like a year for making the best of it.

Polar express

A beautiful train line in the distance. Even beautiful at night…

Last night we had a chat about Christmas. This year will be a slightly different one. No family visits and wider family meals. No friend visits. No 50000 spectator football match. No concert. No special trips out. No nice country walks. No carol singers. No Father Christmas riding through the village on a tractor collecting for charity and then handing out sweets to the kids. Basically just us, the pets, the house, the garden and one visit from the jolly big fella dressed in red.

It’s still Christmas. Still a time to make memories. Still a time to live. So we make the best of it. Never forgetting those we love the most.

Last year we thought that we had started a new tradition. A trip out on a Christmas Train. A wonderful night trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A beautiful illuminated stream train with even some magical creatures in the passing fields.

So we had planned to do the same this year……

Well it’s not happening. So it’s time for plan b. We have decided that on the same day as last year we will head out on our own polar express. I have some really cheap solar powered Christmas lights. The car will adorned with these. A Christmas music cd will be loaded up on the car stereo. Christmas snacks will find their way into the car. Silly hats and reindeer jumpers will be donned. And off we go on our own polar express. A slow drive around a little used country lane route.

That’s a start. What else can we come up with. What new memories can be born. Always remembering to carry those we love in our hearts as memories are made.

Swiss Sunday

Spiez and The Niesen

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country we haven’t been able to visit since 2015 but it’s still very close to our hearts. The family link started just after the Second World War when my partners worked in the country on charity work aimed at helping injured service men. The link has stated strong since then.

It’s such a friendly and utterly stunning place. It’s a clique but everything does work like clockwork. Once you visit those mountains and lakes the place just stays with you. Gets into your soul.

So here’s the thing. Those in the family with the strongest links to Switzerland have now sadly left us. So the baton has passed to me and our son. To maintain those links. It won’t be easy. Single Parenting, Aspergers, Finances and European Travel will make it difficult. But we both respect family tradition and so love Switzerland. We will find a way.

Swiss Sunday

The Matterhorn

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our little family.

Spiez
The Eiger

1st August is Swiss National Day. It celebrates the signing of the a Federal Charter in 1291. The Charter committed the various individual Cantons to stand together against outside aggressors and judges. It was officially recognised as the country’s founding document in the late 1800s. In 1993 86% of the population voted to introduce a national holiday on this day.

Lake Thun
Lucerne

It’s quite fitting for us that the Swiss National Day falls on the same day as Yorkshire Day. Our little family can have a joint celebration. In many ways we think of ourselves as Yorkshire first, Swiss second, European third, British fourth and English fifth. Our dream would be for Yorkshire to be followed recognised as a Swiss Canton or for us to get Swiss nationality. That’s a fun thought.

Lauterbrunnen
Grindelwald

So what happens on Swiss National Day. Every community holds celebrations which include bonfires and fireworks. Buildings and streets are adorned with flags and bunting. The community comes together to hear speeches, sing the national anthem, enjoy local produce and watch traditional folklore entertainment.

Aare Gorge
Spiez Castle Chapel

So if I time this post correctly then it will just about sneak into the 1st August here. So happy National Day to our families favourite country. We love you.

Hawklad on top of The Niesen

Good Friday ?

The headline in the prime UK gutter newspaper (a publication so bad and so vile I can’t even write its name down) was apparently today

Boris is out – now that really is a Good Friday.

Just those words on the front page….. Yes anyone leaving intensive care in a better state than they arrived is a wonderful little victory but it misses one rather salient point. At least 5000 people died in the UK this week and god knows how many worldwide. Will it be a good Friday for the scores of families who will be bereaved today……. The UK is now recording more deaths than any other European country and because of the shambles the government has made on testing – this probably vastly underestimates the real figure. But no need to report on that….. No need to talk about our wonderful nurses forced into using bin bags as protective uniforms.

What would be a Good Friday would be no one suffering today with only one obituary required – one for that loathsome newspaper. I remember once the newsagent accidentally sent that paper to my mum instead of her normal one. She refused to touch it and she burnt it on the doorstep. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Murdock.

Let’s move on to the real Good Friday.

Our Good Fridays were slightly odd. Normally my partner would introduce all the family traditions. But not on Good Friday. I can’t remember my partner doing anything different on this day. She was a devout Quaker, maybe that was the reason. I do know that I was her biggest trial in life as we were very very different.

For some reason my family traditions kick into overdrive on Good Friday. So unlike me. What’s the old phrase

You wait hours for a bus and then three arrive at the same time.

  • So each Good Friday we would
    • Not be allowed to drink milk all day (No idea where that one came from, probably one of my random dreams tricked me into that one),
    • First food of the day had to be an unbuttered Hot Cross Bun. Not allowed to use a knife to cut it. Every year I’ve done this an yet I don’t like them. My partner hated them so I had to eat hers as well. Then Son hated them as well so that was THREE buns I had to get through.
    • Can’t eat meat all day.
    • The meal at lunchtime had to be fish.
    • Attend a morning cross parade. These don’t tend to happen here anymore and anyway this year they would be banned.
    • No alcohol before you have had the fish. That was actually a very hard challenge when I was at University.
    • We would fly a kite on the afternoon. Apparently this is a tradition which originates from the Caribbean. No idea why that one reached deepest Yorkshire.

    I have to say this year some of the traditions have been dropped while some are just happening out of our daily routine. No milk or meat so far but that’s because son has not had his lunch yet. I’m tea total these days. Not enough wind for a kite. We might have tuna for lunch if I can convince son to change his food routine. However a pesky hot cross bun (plus the one our son won’t touch) will be waiting for my 2pm meal starter. Unfortunately due to the currents our dog is not allowed to help eat them. Thin king about it I might start a new tradition. Have the smallest bite of the bun then share the rest with the birds. That’s a tradition I might be able to stick to.