Leaning

One of the first things you notice living in the hills is that you don’t get many poles that are straight up. There is always a bit of a lean to them. Nowt wrong with that. It feels like I’ve had a bit of a lean for years.

There is a really apt song line that Roger Waters wrote a few years back.

You lean to the left but you vote to the right.

This morning I read a work email exchange. One guy was saying that he had voted for Brexit because it seemed cool but hadn’t voted for higher food prices and more expensive import taxes. He certainly hadn’t voted for the nightmare it had become to own his time share in Spain.

Ok…..

Maybe its just me. 😳

But I guess we all do a bit of that lean to the left but vote to the right thing.

I’m not immune to that. As a kid I fell in love with football. What an exciting game it could be if I picked a great team. I then picked Newcastle United to support. If I liked football so much why did I pick that bunch of numpties.

Then there was a time when I was a fully paid up member of CND. Proud owner of the ban the bomb T-shirt. I picked what look like a really interesting University option. All went well until I found out where my option was based. The National Atomic Weapons Research Facility…… I’m not making that up. How on earth did I get through the vetting.

But it goes much wider. I wanted desperately to be a parent but not sure I would have initially voted to be a single parent. Definitely not this way.

So I guess there are times when things are out of our control. Life happens. But there are times when it is down to our decisions, our actions. If that happens you just have to own the consequences….

Brain Freeze

Another one of those warm Yorkshire Spring days….

Trying to do mindful yoga outside works ‘so well’ when your fingers are blue and you can’t feel your toes. Actually can’t feel any part of your body. Not so much mindful as Mind Numbing. Brain Freeze.

A bit later Hawklad wanted a slush puppy. Really…. Well I guess it is the warmer months. So the slush was made and taken outside.

Dad it’s not melting in fact it’s refreezing….”

So yes it cold but here’s the thing. It’s been just what I needed today. Not enough sleep last night. Not enough for a while now. So I woke feeling like a zombie. As I’m trying to be healthy, caffeine is not an option to get me going. The next best thing is a shock to the system. An ice cold bath or in this case a Yorkshire Spring day…

Just in time

That snow shower is coming to get us. Better get a move on with this game of outdoor table tennis.

Thankfully I lost just in time.

What happened to the days when I would let him win. Build up his confidence. Do that parent thing. It’s all change now. Now it’s just about me salvaging any shred of self respect possible. A dad who was once a sporting King who is now one of the oppressed. Beaten down. Defeated. Can’t win a thing.

Time moves on.

Time moves on in a good way.

Sign that this parenting gig might just be working.

I do hope so.

A first walk for son outside. Ok it was late at night. Yes it was only 1 minute on the deserted road. Full decontamination when we came back. But it’s a start. The first time in over a year. As his health professionals point out. Until he can go into a busy cafe. Sit down and be at ease having a drink surrounded by people. Until he gets to that stage a return to school is out of the question. Will it be just in time for the end of this school year. Will it be just in time for a return before the end of 2021. How knows but it’s not a question of just in time. It will be in HIS time.

Warning

Warning. In some countries the self absorbed, moronic idiots are still in charge.

Photo from The Guardian

Remember this PRAT. He is in Secretary of State for Education. Yes the idiot with a horse whip on his desk. A bloke who has been recently described by a respected former member of the Government as a ‘venomous, self seeking little s**t’.

Well the Prat has spoken again. Apparently ‘a generation of children have lacked discipline and order during the pandemic’. So he will be launching a crackdown on behaviour in schools……

Is he going to bother revealing his evidence for his claim. Or as usual is he just getting his views from the a couple of extreme right wing political lobbying groups that he follows.

It’s odd as every teacher and parent I have heard have been praising just how good school children have been, how well they have reacted to the pandemic. They have been brilliant. An unprecedented time of disruption. Schools open and closed. Exams on and off. Exam results messed up by the actions of this prat. Not being able to meet with friends. Holidays cancelled. Sports and leisure activities curtailed. Living through such awful times. AND TOO many going hungry as families struggle.

But this prat thinks they need discipline. Has he forgotten that he was sacked by the last PM when he was the Defence Secretary for leaking official secrets. He broke the Official Secrets Act, behaviour that ends up in prison for mere mortals. Clearly someone with high personal behaviour standards.

How did my country go so wrong. So wrong that someone like him ends up running our schools. Now people will vote for him, it’s currently still a free country. They might agree with him. Fine but if that is how they view our younger generation then I have the same contempt for them as I do for this prat. The children aren’t the problem, it’s the people who think the way this prat thinks who are the real problem. The children are the future, the hope, the solution to this corrupt mess.

Perspective

Proper Easter weather…..

Nothing like a Yorkshire Spring. As the say round here. This kind of weather puts hairs on your back….

It definitely puts several jumpers over your back.

But here’s the thing. It might seem cold in Yorkshire but is it really. In Nunavut it is -34 today. That’s proper cold.

Perspective is required.

It’s the same with my life. Sometimes it might seem tough. Not much support. Single parenting is hard. Tired. Isolated. Few too many lows. Loss.

But in reality it’s a GOOD life. I don’t need much support. I get some sleep. Single parenting means more quality time my son. I have wonderful friends. There have been many HIGHS. Still much to gain.

Perspective is always required.

Fame 2

It’s funny how you forget things. A couple of days back I was writing about my lame brushes with fame. Then this morning another memory flooded back into my mind.

My Dad took me on a train to see a charity cricket match. My first ever game. I think I was about 8. It was one of those matches with former cricketers, celebrities and a few local club players. It was a decent turnout of stars so a large crowd turned up.

Some quite well known former Yorkshire and England players with one huge star. One of England’s greatest ever fast bowlers and larger than life characters, Fred Truman.

At the end of the game my Dad told me that I would like to get Fred’s autograph. That was news to me….. Handily Dad had brought an autograph book and pen. Almost as if the autograph was for him…. So I was sent off to obtain the signature while Dad finished off his beer. A bit later I came back with various scribbles, one was definitely a TV celebrity – Leslie Crowther. But no Freddie.

That clearly wasn’t to Dad‘s liking and he decided to help me now. After much looking Freddie was located. He was in the players changing room. Next thing I knew Dad had pushed me through the door with clear instructions. Your not going home until you get that signature….

I was surrounded by men in various states of undress…. All appeared to be drinking. No sign of Freddie. So I asked. Freddie was in the showers. So yes I did get the great mans autograph. When he was completely naked. How could I forget that…..

Dad was happy. I never did see MY autograph book again….

Wow how times have changed……

Reality

Where are the Yorkshire clouds?

That faint red sun pillar is a bit like an X marks the spot.

I had been thinking about mountains today. Thinking is bad for me really. I should leave that to others better qualified than me. I should stick to reading the instructions πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. But I was thinking and it was me and TIME again. Years ago I set myself a goal of climbing or walking up every Scottish Munro (282), every Lakeland Fell (214), every Yorkshire large hill (38) and every Welsh mountain 3000ft mountain (15). For years I made decent progress. Maybe 20 to 30 a year. Then life happened. It’s been about 10 in the last decade and zero since 2015.

PANTS…..

So today I was trying to visualise restarting the project. Which mountains where nearest. How to pull off some summits. Much creative thinking was required. Just maybe the Yorkshire ones would be a start. Logistically difficult given life. Impossible currently but just maybe one day….

There is always HOPE. And getting back to that faint sun pillar and its significance. It marks the exact direction I need to head off in to turn that Hope into REALITY.

Hopes great but reality is better.

Time

Finding time to live.

I think as you get older you start to realise the true value of time. We don’t have a finite amount of time to do the things we want to in life. In 2016 that point was brought into the starkest focus for me. Time can suddenly run out…..

So when the penny starts to drop the question then becomes Do you then do anything about it.

We all need to find time to really live.

I remember taking a job on the south coast of England. In Portsmouth. I was there for 6 months. It’s such a cool town, with much to see and do. It was new to me. In those 6 months I spent one afternoon wandering along the beach and looking at the naval history. That was it. The rest of the time I worked and basically just existed. Don’t get me wrong I had the opportunities to do much more with my time but I didn’t. Not much living went on there. Was I happy – certainly NOT.

Things are different now. Life has become a little too out of synch. Much feels out of my control. Beyond reach. Opportunities are not so apparent. But that fact doesn’t stop time slipping by.

Still need to find ways to live. Seize whatever opportunities that do present themselves.

We can do this. We can do some of that living.

Trying

Sunny but cold. Cold we are used to, sunny feels like a pleasant change.

Spot the photobombing bug.

How can hand stands be so difficult. I have been trying to do one in decades. As apparently I’m hundreds of years old well then that’s a lot of decades of failure. Today joined the long line of those. But what chance do I have. I can’t even balance on one leg (somedays two legs is even beyond me). I tried the old wall trick again. Slowly raise myself against a wall. Let the wall provide balance. All goes swimmingly. Well for about second. Then the gravitational pull on my excessively large bum takes over and I hit the ground. Somedays my backside feels like a villain in the Marvel movies. It is inevitable….

But I keep trying.

One day just maybe.

There is always hope.

I remember back in 2016 and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this single parenting gig. I’m going to collapse. And yes I have repeatedly fallen over. Can’t blame my inevitable rear ended for most of those….. But I’m kinda still here. Still trying. Still doing that parenting gig. You never know I might actually get it right one day. There is always hope.

Now let’s have one more go at a handstand.

Brush with fame

I’ve had my brushes with the famous but on a really MINI scale

We were watching a silly comedy movie when one of the characters starting talking about all the famous people he had met in his life. Presidents, Popes, Hall of Famers, Astronauts….. you name it, everyone.

“Dad as you are about 50 times older than he is you must have 50 times as many famous encounters than he has…”

Sometimes even Hawklad can’t keep the smirk from his face before he has landed the verbal punch….

  • Ok here goes. My attempt to be 50x more exciting than that comedy character.
    • I once was smiled at by a beautiful international tennis star, kind of. We were walking in a small town in Switzerland when Anna Ivanovic walked past me and smiled at me…. Well actually she smiled and waved at the blue eyed toddler who was holding my hand. But that counts.
    • Years back I was out for a run when a bus pulled up and this rather familiar looking lady stepped out and asked if I knew the way to the local concert venue. I gave her the directions and it wasn’t until later that I passed the venue and saw the poster. Thankfully I had correctly directed Alison Moyet to the venue.
    • The former 6ft4 England Rugby captain once stood on my toe while I was waiting for strawberries at Wimbledon. I think the price of the 5 strawberries was far more painful than the trodden toe.
    • I was training at a gym in York when the world snooker champion came onto the mat next to me to do sit-ups. Bizarrely Ronnie O’Sullivan had a broken leg…..He was playing in a major tournament in the city.
    • At school we played cricket against a boy who would go on to be a fast bowler for England. Paul Jarvis. We lasted 4 overs as a team and got bowled out for 11. I bravely scored 8 of them. Two boundaries. Actually both were attempts to keep the 90mph ball from hitting me in the head. Paul Jarvis got 8 wickets. One lad refused to go out to bat. My claim to fame is that he never got me. I was bowled out by a spotty face kid who was barely strong enough to hold the cricket ball. He slowly bounced the ball down the pitch, I took the biggest swish with bat, missed and on the fourth bounce the ball trickled sadly into my wickets.
    • I once got the former European footballer of the year, Kevin Keegan to sign my arm. I didn’t have any paper…
    • Peter Ustinov walked past me once.
    • Some of the cast of the hit TV show Auf Wiedersehen, Pet stood next to me at a bar before a Newcastle United game.
    • I once patted the backside of the famous racehorse Red Rum.
    • When I was at college I picked up the courage to ask this girl to dance with me at a nightclub in Middlesbrough. She unsurprisingly said NO. But one minute later she said yes to an international footballer. Bernie Slaven.
    • Michael Caine might have or might not have sat at my work desk when a spy movie did some filming one weekend at the computer firm I was working for.
    • In my very early 20s I had been visiting friends in London. It was early Monday morning and I was making my way back home. I was stood on the tube platform looking an absolute state. Long, uncombed hair, unshaven, metal T-shirt, holes in my tight jeans. Next to me was this immaculately dressed old man in a pin striped suit and bowler hat. He kept giving me one of those LOOKS. The great unwashed look. That chap was Enoch Powell. A famous politician. Former Member of the Government. The person who made one of the most infamous and racially charged speeches in British political history. Clearly he wasn’t impressed with me. Which is ok as I was giving him a real Paddington Bear stare back…..

    That’s it. That’s my encounters with the Presidents and Popes of the world. Took me about 2500 years to do achieve all this. But it’s my own brush with fame….