When this photo was taken I was in full on planning mode for what promised to be a staggeringly busy year for our little company. Just a few weeks later everything was cancelled.
A year later and it looks like some work is potentially starting to brew again. Summer and Autumn may see a few items hitting the to do list. I actually wrote my first official email in months this morning. How times have changed. Who would have thought that I would be writing the word ‘Biosecurity’ in an email. Thats this muppet officially using that word. WOW. That’s the kinda word that only entered my world in an episode of the X-files. Now it’s a reality. Yes the world has changed….
A heatwave is coming but it’s certainly not here yet. It’s a tad bracing on the knees.
The weeks keep passing without going for a run. So needs must. My old exercise bike is getting some hammer. Last year I started a Creaky World Tour. How far can I get round the world by exercising in Yorkshire. Initially using the Pokemon Go app to track my runs and dog walks. Then as our family lockdown tightened that became mainly using my battered old exercise bike. The last time I checked I had made it to Volgograd. So let’s check in again.
The bike is showing just under extra 2000 miles. Wow didn’t think my little legs could go that far in 20 odd weeks. So where am I?
Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. (All the photos from Tripadvisor)
No rest for the wicked. Let’s see how far I get in a few more months time. Plenty of months of exercise biking still to come.
If only we had the technology that the Time Lords build into things like The Tardis. Much bigger on the inside than on the outside. Doctor Who tech let rip on domestic appliances and the home would be so cool. No more crammed to breaking point drawers and cupboards. Think of the clothes, towels and bedding you could get into one washing machine load. No more having to sit on the freezer lid to try and force it shut.
We don’t have a big freezer. But it should be perfectly big enough for just two of us. That’s the theory anyway. The reality is rather different. It’s full to bursting. Like Homer Simpson’s brain – as something pops in then something has to pop out to make space for it.
Well today I had enough. Time for a freezer audit. What on earth is in there.
Many ice lollies. Burgers, sausages (lots of them), pizzas. A few random bags of frozen veg. Three bags of chips (I know what I’m having tonight). A few bags of ‘I know not what’. But then the main culprit was identified.
BREAD. Three frozen loafs. And more. I’ve tried to be more careful with food wastage this year. As a result any unused slices of bread have been carefully frozen over the many months. The result, A BREAD MOUNTAIN. That many slices came out of the freezer, I am sure the earth tilted slightly on its axis. What was this muppet thinking about.
The end result is that we will be eating toast and sandwiches at every sitting for weeks. The birds will be spectacularly well fed over most of winter.
The days of Dr Who Freezers cannot come quick enough for me.
A time for wooly jumpers, gloves and warm hats. Sliding on ice patches. Snow ball fights, sledging and snow angels. Steaming hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Writing names of frozen car windscreens. Fires and hot water bottles. Crisp winter walks with stunning moody landscapes. Long dark night skies filled with the wonder of the cosmos. Warming soups and stews. A perfect time to cuddle close to those you love. A time to feel alive.
Winter is coming.
A cold, bleak time. When the frequent bad weather forces you inside. Cuts you off from the world. When the darkness and howling winds matches the mood. When loneliness echoes around the surrounding walls that makes your home feel like a prison. A prison where the sentence is solitary confinement. Memories filled with loss and grief send shivers down your spine. Counting the long days until Spring returns. A time to survive.
Winter is coming.
I have experienced both. I know the opportunities and the threats it can offer. Which one will this Winter be?
Ok I know I go on about Switzerland. How I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. But I need to set the record straight. In my eyes we are so lucky to live in a world with so many wonderful places. Every country, every region will have at least one place. One special place. I’ve been so lucky to actually visit many of those places in Yorkshire, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Congo, South Africa and yes Switzerland.
Yes today Yorkshire is separate from England – must be time for the next King Richard III to take us out of the place which has became the play thing for the Madness of King Boris.
If I can’t physically visit places then I can see the beauty through virtual trips.
Yes we live in a world which can still be beautiful. It can still be a wonderful life. Surely it’s time for us to not to always focus on all the ugliness which fills the news these days. Time to focus on the beauty. Time to delete the #itsanuglyworld and get behind something like #itsabeautifulplanet. Time for us to promote those special places. To give others a glimpse of what is truly out there.
So I will give you my first offering. I give you Northumberland.
It is my civic duty to continue your enlightenment in the dark arts of being from Yorkshire. Think of it as a Public Service Broadcast. Think Bear Grylls and Born Survivor. One day you might end in deepest, darkest Barnsley – these help guides may just end of saving your life.
So here goes. Pay attention and digest the following Yorkshire list.
Don’t ever get into a discussion with someone from Yorkshire about how tough your childhood was. A true Yorkie will be compelled to outdo you. If you don’t believe me look up the Monty Python and the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch.
Queens English is not recognised in Yorkshire. You need to speak Yorkshire. It’s the only dialect which not one single voice recognition system has been able to crack.
To say Yorkshire you need to say YARKSHAR…
To say Hello you need to say OW DO or EY UP
To say Goodbye you need to say SE’THE
To say Very you say REET
To say ‘Can I Please Borrow’ you say CADGE
To say Nothing you say NOWT
To say You it’s THA
To say Yes it’s AYE
To say ‘I would like that one’ then you say BAGSY
Be careful with the word CHAMPION. In most part of the worlds it’s a fine shoe and sports clothing brand. In Yorkshire Champion means Excellent
Similarly in the rest of the world OK means I’m OK. In Yorkshire to say I’m OK you need to say ‘I’m fair t’ middling’
Someone approaching you and asking for a CROGGY is either a term of affection or they are asking for a lift on your bike.
If someone shouts ‘tha Chuffing ……’. That could mean you are being physically sworn at or it could be a warning that you are smoking and you need to jump into the nearest river.
You need to remember that the first Heavier than Air Manned Flight took place in Yorkshire over 150 years ago. I hear you ask WHY. The answer was that in the same year it became the law that Yorkshire Ferrets had to be kept in trouser pockets. Wouldn’t you be desperate to leave the county….
When you speak to someone from Yorkshire then you need to brace yourself. It’s only a matter of time before Yorkshire being the centre of the known universe is brought up. Quickly followed by the following line ‘which over place can claim to have a Captain of the Starship Enterprise, the first ever female Dr Who, the head of the X-Men and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Never try to argue with someone from Yorkshire as this will either result in the Yorkshire Terriers being set upon you or you will have to endure the following words – ‘you do know that Wuthering Heights was set here.’
If you are offered a Yorkshire Pudding then you need to be on your toes. This could either mean it’s being served as a starter, main course or sweet – or probably ALL three. In inclement weather you might also be offered one as a protective hat.
If you spend more than 5 minutes in the presence of someone from Yorkshire then the subject of CRICKET will enter the conversation. Specifically Cricket and Rhubarb. Just nod and smile and let the following local expression rattle around your brain. ‘Me ol mum could ave hit tha’ ball witha stick o’ rhubarb’. Also don’t be shocked if you then here ‘tha’s got more edges than a cracked bedpan’ – *** please note I cleaned that one up considerably***
You will hear many references to needing a Yorkshire passport. Currently this is not the case but in certain parts of the county the wearing of string vests and knotted hankies is a requirement.
The word ‘Scraps’. Here in Yorkshire it can mean two things. It can mean what happens when people get physical as they fight over the last frozen chicken left n the shop freezer. But it can also mean food heaven. Ask for a ‘bag a scraps’ in a Yorkshire Fish and Chip Shop and you will get a portion of the deep fried batter leftovers which are at the bottom of the fryer. But be careful with how you say ‘scraps’ to the Chipman and don’t ever make eye contact. This might end up with the chipman attacking you with a frying pan.
I remember my parents telling me that – ‘You were born in Yorkshire not in England.’ Rather sums up many of the views round here. We like to call it the People’s Republic of The White Rose. Surely it’s time for our county and our neighbours Lancashire to put two fingers up to Johnson in London.
So if Yorkshire did go it’s own way what could the world expect. Apart from weaponised Rhubard. Well as a taste, let’s see what Yorkshire has given to the world already…..
Wensleydale Cheese (Wallace & Gromits favourite)
The Bronte Sisters
The first ever full sized glider (50 years before the Wright Brothers)
The worlds loudest actor – Brian Blessed
The current Dr Who
Captain of the Star Trek Enterprise and the Head of the X-Men
And then we come to the really important stuff. The sweets…
Terry’s Chocolate Orange
After 8 Mints
See Yorkshire can be a driving force for good. A beacon of hope and rain. A place lost in time. Where chocolate is still seen as a staple food. Up the Great Republic.
A stream about 5 miles from our little bungalow. Near the boundary of my current world.
It’s funny as a kid I always thought that my world was a small place. We didn’t have much money so holidays would tend to be just day trips on the train to places like Whitby and Scarborough. If we we’re lucky a school trip would take us maybe 50 miles in land. Dad had a car but it was only used sparingly – just for getting him to work. I remember watching exotic places on the TV and thinking one day I want to see them. I looked at books about mountains and so wanted to see The Eiger, The Matterhorn, K2 and Everest. I always thought that as I got older I would travel more. My world would grow and the world would shrink.
For a time it did workout that way and yes I did get to see The Eiger and The Matterhorn. I visited parts of Europe. I even got to see South Africa.
Then the world shifted again. Autism. Bereavement. Money concerns.
Now I find my world rapidly shrinking again and the world growing ever larger. Increasingly son sees comfort in his own little world. Our house, garden and the landscapes that immediately surround him. Longer travel is so difficult for him. It has to be mapped out and carefully controlled. That’s before we factor in the limiting factors of travel as a single parent and money constraints. My world is shrinking again. Even work has to operate within these constraints. My world has shrunk. One of the few bridges into the wider world is the occasional concert. These still work for our son.
We are due to travel to see The Who play in a couple of weeks. We will have to travel by car as public transport here is minimal and stops by evening. Regardless of its availability son struggles with buses, trains and planes. These are likely to induce panic attacks. So we travel everywhere on foot or by car.
Two weeks ago the car was in for a service. They found problems with the brakes which needed some parts to be replaced. The garage said I was ok to drive it for a couple of weeks until the garage could fix it. So this Monday was supposed to be the repair day. The garage phoned today to apologise. They we’re going to have to cancel the repair for a few weeks. They just can’t get the parts. The Parts Suppliers are out of stock and are waiting for new items to arrive from China. The garage is a national chain and all the branches are out of these parts. Apparently all the other rival garages in the area are in the same boat. So the repair is on hold. The suppliers are hoping to have new stock arrive soon but that may not be until April. So I’ve been told to try and really limit the car use until the parts turn up. My world shrinks further.
So in a mirror image of my childhood – the car will only be used sparingly. Just for the occasional short distance work trip and the school runs. A long distance concert trip is probably not a practical option.
My world has shrunk again but as ever we will make the best of it. Think our carbon footprint. Think more fun at home. Enjoy what we have on our doorstep.