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.

One foot in front of the other

The school holidays have now kicked in. Amazingly the usual UK rain deluge has not accompanied the kids being off. Never thought I would say this but I can’t remember what rain feels like. It’s been over two months since our last bit of rain.

You get so used to something, you take it for granted and then when it stops you quickly start to forget it. It’s been over two years since my partner died and I’ve got a growing list of things which fall into this category:

– forgotten what it’s like to go out for a meal

– forgotten what it’s like to hold hands

– forgotten what it’s like to have an argument

– forgotten what it’s like to share a bottle of wine with someone

– forgotten what it’s like to plan a holiday together

– forgotten what it’s like to have a tug of war over the duvet

I could go on but you get the point. Well another thing on the list was I had forgotten what it was like to do our local walk which circles our village. We would walk this most Sundays.

Well today I crossed that one from the list today….well sort of. The walk used to take us 40 minutes, well today it took over 2 hours as I managed to get lost.

One small rose

The last present I gave to my partner was a Yorkshire Rose. In the turmoil of that fateful year, I cannot recall if she managed to see it flower before she left us. Well for the second year I’ve successfully not managed to kill it – very unusual for my not so green fingers. The difference this year is that the rose flowered on my partners birthday. Strange how one small flower can bring light on such a bleak day.

Winter continues

Tomorrow March arrives yet winter continues here. It’s bleak and very cold.

The weather is matching my mood. Today the world seems a cold, bleak and lonely place. Luckily my son will return from school soon and he will lift my spirits. Even the bleak landscape will start to be transformed. Its amazing what a snowman can do.

Christmas Cards

You get good days and then bad days. Since the world changed it sometimes feel like it’s “You get good days then bad weeks”. Luckily today is so far a good one. Nice walk on the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors.

When we returned home we found a Christmas card on the door mat. The card was addressed to the three of us (including my late partner).

Last year I dreaded receiving cards. In my disorganised state before the funeral, I had failed to let some people know of the suddenly changed world. Hence when Christmas arrived, so did the cards still addressed to the three of us. Each card was like a dagger to the heart.

This year the number of cards addressed to the three of us has dropped and also the feeling is slightly different when reading them. Along with the feeling of loss, I’m also getting a feeling of warmth. In a strange way, they help reaffirm that we are still a family of three. That she is still very much with us every time we think of her. And that’s a comforting feeling.

Warning – Snake

It’s taken a year but we’ve started trying to visit places again. We started going on a couple of hill walks.  Very quiet and avoiding crowds.  It might sound bitter but I didn’t want to see happy families – it would just remind us of what we have lost.  I know my son struggled for months when he saw other children being with their mums.  

But time moves on and I’ve got to try and give our son the happiest childhood he can possibly have.  So as soon as he became more comfortable with seeing ‘happy families’, it was time to try and make new good memories.  He has started to enjoy visiting places again, where as I still spend too much time seeing reminders of the past.  But on each new visit I do try to spend more time living in the present.   Trying to keep the retrospective to when I’m alone, not when I’m with my son.  My son is now good at telling me when he wants to talk about his mum.

We ventured to Doncaster Wildlife Park.  It’s one of our favourite places, such a good family day out.  As we were walking towards the Polar Bear zone we stopped dead in our tracks.  In the middle of the path was a snake – a Grass Snake I think.  It was happily consuming a poor frog.  That’s the first wild snake I have ever seen in Britain.  All the years spent walking through the countryside and you end up seeing your first wild snake in a zoo.  We watched it for 10 minutes before it slid off into a grassy bank.
It’s a memory, a new memory, a good memory.