Nightmares

3.30am (Yesterday)

Dad I’ve had a nightmare. The Great Heathen Army came looking for me. They keep swarming over the hills towards us”

That time during the night is not the optimum time for my brain to discuss Norse Armies. Especially ghost ones. But parents find ways, especially when they are beyond tired. You just want the best for your kids. It’s tough when you see them distressed.

What weapons did they have.

Blood covered swords, hammers and axes

Ok now imagine them with some silly weapons. Something like sticks of rhubarb.

Bananas”

Perfect. What are they wearing

Viking clothes”

No make them wear something silly, sillier the better. The least scary thing you can think of.

Summer dresses”

Perfect. Did you see the Viking Leader.

Yes he was massive. A fearsome warlord.”

Would he be so fearsome if I was the warlord.

Your not massive or fearsome”

That’s the point.

Dad you will need a name. Your version of Erik the Red, Snake in the Eye, Forkbeard or Ivar the Boneless”

Ten minutes later much laughter. Some of the names are unprintable. But

  • Erik has lost the remote control
  • Halfdan Apple Crumble Slayer
  • Bagpuss the soft furry one with fleas
  • Ubba the demon cook
  • Sigurd my pants are buried in the garden
  • Sven Fork Lightening Farter
  • Ivor Big Arse

Tonight a bit of silliness quelled the storm (or to be more precise the Ghost Viking Army). Son found sleep again. But it’s tough. Tough on kids stressed out. Tough on the patents. My batteries seem pretty flat. But that’s what you get when you sign up to be a parent.

Sleep won’t come for me but at least I can have some bizarre daydreams about me being a Viking warlord, running over the Yorkshire hills in my finest summer dress armed with a stick of rhubarb and a banana. Now that is the stuff of nightmares.

Pepper

Today was a trip to the Zoo. Cold and a bit damp but so worth it. Helps take son’s thoughts away from school. Animals never fail to deliver. Need to make him smile.

We bought a heavily discounted season pass last year. Unbeknown to a certain Dad the pass expired last night. So the trip was significantly more expensive than expected. As we go every couple of months the pass is worth it. Not often can you say that about the stuff you end up forking out for.

Son challenged me to the usual ‘who can spot the Painted Dog first competition’. As ever Dad lost. So what was the forfeit. In the cafe I was to buy a coffee. I could enjoy half the cup THEN….

It was seasoned with pepper. Plenty of pepper.

Strangely the Peppered Coffee was not the worst thing I’ve tasted this year. I can think of a few horrible tasting Jelly Beans which take that particular award. However I suspect Peppered Coffee isn’t going to feature too heavily on the Starbucks menu.

It certainly cleared my blocked nose.

Tonight we had a lovely dog walk. Enjoying an other world type sunset – all with an underlying peppery undertone.

Perfect Sunday Mornings

For us the perfect Sunday morning was a Swiss one. Maybe I should get sponsored by the Switzerland Tourist Board – any free bars of Toblerone would be happily received ….. in my dreams. Suspect that the Visit Yorkshire Team wouldn’t even give us a free stick of rhubarb.

A leisurely breakfast of hot chocolate, caffeine, freshly made bread, butter, various cheeses, fruit and birchermuesli. Sat by the lake looking at the Alps.

Then a short walk to the boat stop and wait for the precision perfect boat to arrive. Sometimes it’s a stunning Steam Boat.

Then sit and watch the world go by for 2 hours. Stunning views. An early wine or fresh peppermint tea. Maybe even some Swiss choir signing. Certainly some chocolate.

Happy Days.

I am walking

Well he survived the first day back at school. Currently he is bouncing on the trampoline. I have got no idea where the energy comes from. He trooped in from school. Gave the school day 2 out of 10. Demolished 3 tomatoes, an apple and a slice of cake. Gave me a run down on the newly announced Generation 8 of Pokemon. Apparently this generation is based on Britain – that’s going to the grumpiest bunch of Pokemon ever…. Then he set off for the trampoline.

This is all on the back of 2 hours sleep last night. Just too anxious to sleep.

His Dad is somewhat less energised. Evidenced by this morning. I had a morning meeting. So I left the house with car keys in hand. Ten minutes later I came to my senses. I had walked straight past the car, down the drive, out of the village and heading down the path towards the next village. No idea where I was walking. If it was work then that’s a 10 mile hike…….

Changes

We had a lovely trip to Doncaster Wildlife Park today. It was a relatively brief visit. He was a bit uncomfortable with the crowds, but as we got there early so we had an hour of relative quiet before the masses started to arrive. The animals all outside – basking in the warm sun…Yes warm sun and Yorkshire.

On the way back home he was getting increasingly agitated at the amount of building work appearing in the countryside. I have to say it is staggering and so frustrating. The amount of derelict and unused land in built up areas and we still decide to encroach on what is left of our unspoilt areas. Can we please leave just a bit of our beautiful planet for future generations.

A few miles later I asked our son what things he would change in the world today. Reading my mind he initially said

The last 4 Star Wars Movies

And

Buying that Alvin and The Chipmunks DVD

And

Giving the pup that really annoying squeaking Toy Crocodile

And

Buying those Lycra Cycle shorts (I added that one, what was I thinking of)

But eventually he answered for himself and the changes he proposed were revealing.

  • Tackling Climate Change
  • Not one more tree felled
  • U.K. NOT leaving Europe
  • Finding a way to end Terrorism
  • Replacing President Trump and Prime Minister May.

I really can’t argue with theses changes.

What would you change?

Dog walk

I suppose I am a creature of habit. Everyday the dog gets exactly the same walk twice. One with me in the morning and then a nighttime walk with our son.

It’s kinda reassuring as I can let my mind wander onto today’s areas of concern leaving the legs and the dog to navigate the route.

It’s an introverts paradise. Hardly ever bump into anyone. Open views. No sign of habitation. At night our son is guaranteed complete isolation.

Every country will have places like this. Places you can still escape from the rat race. Seemingly cut off from the hustle and bustle of modern life. I give you Yorkshire.

Walls Work

The snow has left little old Yorkshire. Still cold but no white stuff. At the edge of the garden the thaw has revealed the first signs of spring. At last some colour. Before this photo we had four flowers. Unfortunately a slightly excited dog obliterated one. So now a hastily erected wall of stones – eat your heart out Mr President – is protecting the remaining delicate buds. And as we are told walls do work.

Countries gone mad

“Dad if we won the lottery could we buy a deserted island and live there?

It’s kinda sad that an 11 year old thinks that way. But I fully understand why and YES I would jump at the chance. I remember a time when I loved my country. Those days have sadly gone. Like many folk from Yorkshire we would happily declare independence. York becoming a capital city sounds cool. The national dish could be the Yorkshire Pudding. Our national sports would be cricket and being grumpy. The national animal would be the Ferret. Instead of having a nuclear deterrent we could threaten people with our rhubarb sticks.

You might think this is daft but trust me this is off the scale sensibility compared to the stupidity of modern Britain. Nothing sums up the state of the union better than just one single news story. Given all the potentially catastrophic events circulating around us (and there are many) – the attention of the media and a good proportion of the population has been on …… the horror of a bakery introducing a vegan sausage roll across its 900 stores. The likes of Piers Morgan (one of the not funny loonies and self pronounced TV Star) went into meltdown saying things like “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage you PC ravaged clowns”. The news story is everywhere, you just can’t get away from it. I use the term news story very loosely.

I waited with anticipation for our son to return. He would cheer me up, bring much needed sensibility to my world. Unfortunately not this time.

“Dad the school want me to either write left handed or type left handed until my right hand gets better, that includes trying to do exams with my weak hand. I told them that I struggle to coordinate my left hand and that’s the reason I can’t tie knots. Told them that the Doctor was trying to help me with it but the teacher said I just had to do it”

“Dad did you complain about the behaviour in our bottom class”

Yes….

Well they did something”

Please let it be something positive

They moved a really well behaved girl up a set because she was struggling with the behaviour in our class and they moved a really naughty boy in to replace her. It was a lot worse today”

Only thing left is to go and buy a lottery ticket. That remote island is calling. Anybody fancy joining us.

New Years Day

The New Years Day trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park is now a lovely tradition. A new one since the world changed. Life is about creating new memories and not being completely stuck in the past. New Year Day is also the perfect time to go. Get there when it opens and you virtually have the park to yourself for an hour or so. Takes the anxiety out of the visit. Leave as the crowds arrive.

My photos don’t do the Park justice. It’s time to upgrade from the camera phone. Keep filling the coin jar. Much scouring of the second hand pages is required.

So many animals. He loves the two Giant Otters. So playful. And so inquisitive. The Lion Pack. The Rhinos.

An elusive Amur Leopard.

Newly rescued and re-homed Brown Bears from Japan.

Unbelievably cute Squirrel Monkeys.

The Polar Bears are one of his favourites. Until you have seen one you don’t appreciate the size and power of these majestic creatures.

The final part of the walk round the park takes us through a small wood to the Baboons and Painted Dogs. If you remember the Jelly Beam Roulette Challenge was who could spot the elusive dogs first. My strategy was to take us down the wrong path then before our son realised sprint off towards the dogs. Unfortunately a perfectly timed peloton breakaway left me trailing. To compound the misery the elusive dogs today decided to sit right next to the fence nearest the path. Game over.

So we come to the main event. The Battle for Helms Deep. It’s the Jelly Beam from hell. Skunk Spray. 2 litres of water later and it finally stays down. If I ever meet the kind soul who invented that one……..

Resolutions

We started a tradition after his mum passed away that every New Years Day we would drive the 90 minutes to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It’s a fun day. Perfect for our son. Maybe this kinda qualifies as a resolution.

I honestly can’t remember what my 2018 New Year Resolution was. Must have been a good one.

On our dog walk today, strangely a rather blue sky one, our son without prompting announced:

“I’ve got two resolutions this coming year. The first one is to learn to read. The second is to move from bottom set, to the second bottom set.”

It is so frustrating that someone so clearly special is just hoping to get out of the bottom set into the next bottom set. I suspect all the parents of kids in the bottom set will be saying the same thing. But it does just seems to add further fuel to the idea of pulling him from school and looking at other options. How can I afford it. How can I not afford it. It’s so difficult. So confusing.

The mad dog brings us back to the present. Why does he have to eat whatever he can find at the same time that he poops. It’s a bit of a talent. Today’s poop snack was the foulest looking leaf. Talking about foul food so we come to the Jelly Bean Challenge. Today’s question was how many Roman Emperors reigned. I realised this may not be a level playing field when our son asked

“Are we only counting Emperors and Co-Regents from the unified empire”

Eh!!!

Before you get the West and East Empire split, often Emperors did not recognise the other Emperor”

Eh Yes Absolutely. I have given this much thought and gone for 500.

“That’s a silly answer”

Ok I will go for 1000

“Even sillier”

Ok 150

“The answer is 70 or 71”

So today I enjoyed Rotten Egg flavour Jelly Bean. This was the first one which sent me edging towards the toilet. I can’t remember this being in the Parent Job Description!!! Anyway tomorrows challenge is a zoo related one. The winner will be the first person to spot a Painted Dog.

I hope everyone has a really good 2019 and all tears are hopefully banished.