Snowman

An unexpected view today. But it was a good one. For those with really keen eyes you can see York Minster in the distance. The only city building you can see from this here.

A trip to work expecting to be kept busy until the school bell warms up for its last ring of the day. But quickly the full day was over in just over an hour. That’s the problem with zero hours based contracts. It’s not a stable source of income. But needs must. Full time professional employment was consigned to history when the world changed. Full time single parent – part time wage earner. So another Christmas which will need to be carefully controlled. Probably won’t be treating myself to the Italian Sports Car and the Racehorse this year.

So an unplanned dog walk. And that view. For some reason my mind wandered from affordable Christmas present ideas to snow. Many of my friends here have mentioned the snow they are struggling with. This time nine years ago we were in the middle of our own snow event. It was waste deep here. Our little sledging run is just behind this field. Every time it snowed my partner was out with her ruler to measure the depth. That was the only winter when she needed a bigger ruler. Wow it was cold. One day it never got higher than -17C. Was that the coldest I’ve ever been. My Partner would talk about the cold on her adventure to Patagonia. For me it probably was. Oh hang on a minute That night at Uni.

My mind wanders back further to a time before my Partner. Days of studying marked by text books finding a use as beer glass place mats. And that night. A cold dark winters night with fresh snow on the ground. A Hall of Residence Party which is suddenly overtaken with a brilliant plan. Let’s all go outside and make snow angels. A few sensible souls went out fully clothed. The majority didn’t… In the snow much exposed skin…. Of both sexes. For my sins it was trainers and pants – nothing else. So much laughter but it was a tad chilly. Some interesting snow angels and a very large snowman. A snowman who suddenly became one of the sisters as he acquired a bra. Then disaster the Halls Fire Alarm went off. We couldn’t get back inside until the Fire Brigade arrived. Now it was more than a tad cold. The only thing keeping us going was the bottles of Bud. The looks on the Fire Crews faces when they arrived. Still not allowed inside until a sweep has been made of the property. Then another brilliant idea. Form an orderly queue and take turns to warm your bottom on the Fire Trucks hot engine. I suspect we (or to be more precise the female students) made the drivers night.

Maybe one day I will delve back into that year. It got much more bizarre. But now back to reality. Back to my completely sober years. A present idea. Let’s get one of those cheap singing and dancing snowmen. That will bring a few memories back.

Shaggy

I received a card from a university friend who is currently climbing in the Alps. Switzerland is one of places that just stays with you. Gets into your soul. Makes you realise what a beautiful piece of rock we are so fortunate to live on. Shame it feels like such a leap of faith to return there without my partner.

Mad couple of days (& nights) and I’ve finally just about caught up with work (sort of). So its time to completely focus on Christmas and our son. First stage was to undertake the family ritual of me humiliating myself on the Xbox. Even with the use of his weaker hand he still wipes the floor with his Dad. During a particularly one sided football match he asked some more questions about my time at University. I would like to say I was the perfect student. Would be a lie and he wouldn’t believe it. Yes too many hangovers, too much time spent playing sports and sadly not enough dedication to studying. At the time I thought that was really cool.

During an equally one sided Star Wars Jedi Fight the subject moved onto the future. Clearly our son dreams of going to College. But he is so worried about how Aspergers and Dyslexia could limit his opportunities. It doesn’t help that he’s been put in the bottom set – seems a long way to climb. It also doesn’t help that some of the kids name call him. But that happens to far too many kids. We talked through some of the brilliant people that have succeeded in life. We talked about the stories of hope fellow bloggers had shared with me. The mountains that were successfully climbed. We discussed some of the new things we could try. How IT can increasingly help level the playing field. I told him that if a pillock like me could get to University then someone as gifted as he was could certainly do it.

Now we entered the world of ScoobyDoo. Unfortunately my Shaggy Character is no match for this adventure. My points frustratingly remains at 0 as our son’s points moves past 100. Eventually Shaggy gets lost and finally stuck in the maze. At which point our son points out:

“Dad when you where at University you were like a Really Drunk Shaggy”.

That’s not so cool…..

Philosophy

“Dad I’m watching a YouTube video about Philosophy. Do you agree with Sartre?”

My first thought was – WHY and Why….

I searched deep into the recesses of my memory. When I was at University the second year included one hour a week of an option module. I actually selected Philosophy as the option. Why. Because it sounded like the easiest option available. This proved correct. Every week for for one hour I sat at the back and slept. My strategy was to sleep and then when the exam came round to crash read a little philosophy book (“Seven Theories of Human Nature”) which was purchased on the cheap.

I can’t remember much about the course, although I still have the book. But I do recall one particular lesson. The unfortunate Lecturer had placed a chair at the front of the class and was trying to encourage a philosophical discussion about whether this chair was an actual chair. I was at the back with a hangover shaking my head at this nonsense. Then the door opened and a fellow student called Jonathon entered looking like he had seen a ghost with his hair standing on end. A faint smell of burning seemed to follow him.

“Sorry I’m late my electric blanket exploded”

At which point he sat down on the chair which was subject to the philosophical discussion. With perfect comic timing one of the chair legs buckled sending poor Jonathon tumbling backwards. Clearly the Lecturer had been onto something when he questioned the chairs purpose.

THIS IS ALL I CAN REMEMBER ABOUT PHILOSOPHY.

When I told this story to our son he looked quizzically at me for a few seconds then said quietly.

“Might as well ask the cat”