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.

Alien Sun

The thick fog briefly parted this afternoon and we had the pleasure of an almost alien like landscape. Having said that Yorkshire is a weird place most of the time….

We are so lucky to have this view from the back of the house. Maybe not so lucky when the farmers cows decide to turn the field into an open air toilet – normally next to our fence.

It’s a beautiful location at night. The village has no street lighting so apart from a few house lights it makes a perfect place to see the stars. An Astronomers paradise apart from the weather and the cowpats.

I remember the first night we spent here. 18 years ago. My partner was happily sat in front of the fire watching TV. I was outside gazing at a myriad of stars and marvelling at how dark it was. Pitch black. Then over a few minutes I started to get a feeling of being watched. The feeling grew and I became distinctly unnerved. Then a noise. A noise close by. A nervous glance towards the fence and to my horror not one but about 30 pairs of eyes fixed on me. Sheer Terror.

Thankfully the torch revealed no beasts from hell just inquisitive sheep. It’s not easy being the perfect amateur astronomer when in fact you are tonight’s entertainment for so many prying eyes.

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Challenge update: We sat watching Home Alone and looking for the plot hole. I must admit I forgot and switched into movie zombie biscuit eating mode. That was until:

Dad how did Kevin order the pizza delivery when the phone lines are down!”

So another day and it’s another round of jelly bean roulette for me. And again I picked the chamber with a bullet in the form of stinky sock flavour. Deep Joy.

Today’s challenge. Guess how many Scooby Doo films and episodes have been made. The loser again visits the jelly bean roulette lounge.

White Christmas!!!!!!!

“Dad any chance of a White Christmas”

Look out the window and see for yourself.

“It’s not happening is it!!”

I think the current state of the wheelbarrow tells you everything about the current Yorkshire weather situation. Apart from one year when we took our 2 year old son out to show him snow straight after Christmas Lunch, he’s never had a White Christmas. Maybe next year.

But the show goes on. Let’s create the white stuff feel. It’s time for ice cream and watch Snow Dogs. Our son just loves this movie. Now it feels like it’s a White Christmas.

Strange Yellow Disk pt2

Day after day of dark clouds and rain. The usual dog walk preparation – about 10 layers underneath at least two layers of waterproofing. Dog caked in mud after a couple of minutes. Then…

In the distance a small band of blue. Quickly the blue sky approached and then the strange yellow disk poked out from behind the clouds.

That’s two sightings this winter – already a record for Yorkshire.

Now rush back home, quick blog then work work work. Hope for no school phone calls today. After that it’s the late Amazon present scramble. I dream of having our son’s (and beloved partners) planning skills.

Strange Yellow Thing

The morning started as has the last 5 days have – grey, wet and cold.

The school bus was missed yesterday morning – never a good sign. We slightly overslept, only by a few minutes but…. Sticking to the established routine is so important to our son. Routine is king. I tried to stick to the plan but just slightly quicker. It was never going to work. I could sense the tension building within him so we just went back to the usual routine. So we missed the bus. It’s not a disaster it’s only a 15 minute car journey to school. Plus it’s one less bus trip for him to deal with.

On the way back from school a very odd thing happened. The clouds parted and a strange yellow disk appeared in the sky. I don’t know what it was (remember this is Yorkshire) but it was lovely to see. With this being Yorkshire the strange yellow disk disappeared behind grey clouds thirty minutes later.

Update. Looking out into the pouring rain this morning – even too wet for the dog – I am confidently predicting the strange yellow disk has packed his bags and won’t be appearing here anytime soon.

Different takes on the world.

Came across a photograph taken probably 5 years ago. Oh how the world seemed so different then. Every Sunday in Switzerland we had the same ritual. We would take the first boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken. We would immediately head for this hotel and drink hot chocolate outside – regardless of the weather.

I also vividly recall sitting here when one morning my son’s different take on the world (to myself) became clear. I noticed sports cars driving past. I remember saying something like

“that’s a Ferrari and that’s a Porsche and wow that’s a Maserati.” Don’t get many of those in Yorkshire.

I remember turning to my partner who said without raising a glance “that’s nice” as she continued to scan the food menu.

Looking at our son he was excitedly flapping his hands. Not at the cars but at a bird flying above us.

“It’s a vulture.” Don’t get any of those in Yorkshire.

Now that my son has educated me. I realise which view is more stunning. Which view should be treasured. Now I would say “Wow that’s a stunning big bird, son what is it and I wish those noisy dirty cars would sod off”.

It feels like a zoo

This house is increasingly become a zoo. Two mad cats, bonkers puppy and a hyper active mole. Added to this we have:

  • Farm cows – now best friends with puppy
  • Various garden birds
  • A family of Starlings who live in the roof
  • Two squirrels who bury their nuts in our lawn
  • A badger who digs up the rest of the garden, probably pinching the Squirrels nuts
  • What feels like the worlds population of snails
  • Wasp Nest in the attic (found this week)

Well another creature has joined the party now. More on this soon, but first…

Yesterday started quite well and I was in an ok mood when I finally sat down to do some work. But a few minutes later, mood change, one song, one of my partners favourite songs on the radio. Tears and complete feeling of what has been lost. I couldn’t concentrate on work so decided to do a clothes wash. Then drink some very strong coffee. Still feeling sad.

When the wash finished it was time for the tumble dryer currently living in the garage. I took the wet washing into the garage but the phone rang. I put the washing on the floor to answer the call. After an hour of continued sadness I remembered the discarded washing. Went back into the garage and picked up the washing. A reptilian face appeared from the pile of wet clothes. I of course took this crisis like a hero. Screamed, dropped the clothing and ran. ‘Oh my god it’s a snake’ and it could be a big one.

After a few minutes I calmed down a bit. Don’t be daft, this is Yorkshire in autumn, I must have just imagined it. Carefully I went back into the garage. As I moved closer, definite movement in the clothes. Another scream and legged it again. I am petrified of snakes.

In all the panic I had lost track of time. The front door opened and in walked our son from school. He looked on rather dubiously as I told him about the man eating snake in the garage. He convinced me to face up to my fears and confront the beast. Together we carefully went back into the garage. The washing moved again and I legged it again – completely forgetting my son. I ran back into the garage with the nearest weapon I could find, the floor brush. In the garage I found our son laughing his head off.

“Dad you complete muppet. Have a look at your killer snake”

Ok the monster snake in fact did look a lot like a frog, a rather small one at that. So now we have another member of the zoo. This new member has been named “Viper the Frog” by our thoroughly understanding son. Is there no end to my shame.

But thank you Mr Viper, you made me forget all about the sadness, at least for a few hours anyway.

Planet of the Apes

The weather today was wonderful. Warm and still. Countryside filled with fantastic deep colours. Even the dog was almost behaving himself. It should have been a walk to saviour.

Yet a my head was blocking the surroundings out, to busy lost in worries:

– son starting new school, have I got everything ready, I must have forgotten something from the school list, will his uniform fit, will he make friends, will he get bullied, have I got the wrong start day…..

– we haven’t had a holiday in 2 years, I must be a bad parent….

– what happens to my son if I become ill…..

– is it time to have that chat about Santa Claus…..

– am I leaving it too long in getting round to spreading my partners ashes…

– are we spending too much money….. am I working enough hours……

– the lawnmowers broken, can we afford to buy a new one this month….

– did I turn the oven off …. did I lock the front door……

And on and on and on it went. Virtually the whole beautiful walk blocked out by my worries. Then the realisation that I had not spoken to my son in over an hour. Luckily he seemed really happy, walking the dog.

“Are you ok, son?”

“Fine dad”

“What are you thinking about

“What might have happened if the Planet of the Apes was based on a different animal. Currently trying to work out if Planet of the Pugs would make more money than Planet of the Budgies”

……………………………………….

So hopefully I’ve learnt my lesson. Try to live the moment rather than worry about things. There is probably a time and a place for these worries, but it’s not on a beautiful walk.

I missed out on todays Planet of the Apes debate but I’m certainly not planning on missing out on next weeks now booked debate about alternatives to Pirates of the Caribbean.