Eat chocolate

I received a lovely present today in the post. The government support package for Hawklad will expire soon. So I need to reapply. Helpfully they have sent the 50 page application form to complete. I can’t submit the old paperwork and need to have more recent assessments and evidence. That’s a nightmare at the best of times but during a pandemic!!!!!!!

Only thing for it….. A bar of dark chocolate, a decaf coffee and listen to some angry music. Today’s choice, the latest from Roger Waters. That’s one seriously cheesed off artist recording those songs. That fits as that’s the music I would make today. Normal people are forced to jump through hoop after hoop for their kids yet friends of the Government are awarded multi million pound contracts without any due process. Roger Waters would certainly get the irony.

Well I then made a start. Book an appointment for a new assessment from a Paediatrician. On the waiting list. That’s currently a one year wait and growing. It’s a start…. Where’s the next chocolate bar.

But here’s the really scary thing. Our Son is fortunate as he has had some support. We somehow battled through the intentionally difficult minefield to get that. So many are either unsuccessful or are just missed. That’s the children, adult support is almost none existent. Discarded by our society that has its priorities so badly skewed. What’s the answer. Certainly to keep fighting. Most definitely to eat chocolate.

Wean myself off

This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.

Eventually you have to accept reality.

Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.

Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….

So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.

So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.

Perfect or imperfect

Just a little something to break up the dark greens, browns and greys. Definitely really appreciated. Si adorable…..

Dad why do they make French so difficult to learn. It feels like we are trying to build a fusion reactor some days. Not trying to describe what I did on a visit to a Paris Park.

Hawklad is so right. Yesterday he was given a long list of French words and asked to work out the correct endings for both Perfect and Imperfect tenses. How about first checking if the pupil actually knows the word first. Asking a dyslexic to write 40 words out perfectly (twice with slightly different endings) is like asking me to cook the perfect Soufflé. It isn’t happening and is basically a waste of time.

The problem is that in the UK teachers are not allowed to teach. They are basically just presenting what the Government tells them to say. The Government is not interested in pupils developing and growing. It’s all about passing one exam. Parrot Learning in the good old way Victorian children did. Only last month schools were instructed to not use any learning materials from sources which are considered to be anti-capitalist.

It’s really time to let Teachers teach and the Government can focus on governing. Oh hang on a minute – our Government can’t even do that properly.

Big sky

I’ve talked about it before but two things really sold our house to us. We were thinking about starting a family. We wanted somewhere quiet with a bit of a garden. We looked at a few places and then we visited this little bungalow in a small village on a hill. The bungalow was a bit small and run down but then we looked out at the overgrown back garden. That view and that sky. There was nothing to block out the view of the clouds. It was a BIG SKY. That was it were were hooked.

It’s definitely still a BIG SKY.

It still kind of takes my breath away. I’ve always been a town and city person. Grow accustomed to buildings and trees blocking out large parts of the sky. At night the artificial lighting just drowning out what sky that is still there. That just doesn’t happen here.

A BIG SKY definitely deserves big dreams. I do need to start working on those. Sometimes it’s too easy to fall back on memories. It certainly is for me. Not today. I’m going to get wrapped up, brew a mug of something steaming and go outside. To look, to breathe and to dream. All thanks to a big sky.

Time to love Yorkshire

I put my hands up. I might poke a bit of fun at my county of birth. Well actually a lot. Yes the weather can be grim, the people can be a bit odd (me certainly included), we might be a little behind the cutting edge, probably spend too much time focusing on the past BUT….

It is a great place to live and visit. So much history, beautiful brooding landscapes, welcoming, diverse, a wonderful quirkiness and a place that has definitely left its mark on the world. So maybe every so often I should really show and tell the good about Yorkshire.

So here goes. I give you just a fraction of what Yorkshire has to offer.

Worth it

That was the backdrop to my early morning workout. So much better that grey, damp , gnarly mist.

At the end of the workout I was finishing off with 10 minutes tai chi when a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. Apart from ITS FREEZING and why on earth did I come outside in cycle shorts.

I thought about clearly looking like a complete Wally and also what my family would think if they could see me now. One of my sisters would be cool with it as she does yoga. The others not so sure. My brother would definitely mutter something involving the word ‘hippy’. My parents would have talked about the world clearly going completely mad. Their idea of a mindfulness workout would have just about stretched to putting on the kettle for a cup of Yorkshire Tea. It’s a Yorkshire thing. We have a saying here

If the country raises the threat level to national panic, Yorkshire would raise the threat level to ‘ put a mug of tea on’.

I guess we all have to find whatever works for us.

But that’s the thing. I’m not sure my parents ever really did. Too many people don’t. We still don’t talk about mental health enough. That has to change.

So tomorrow I will be outside and trying to master Tai Chi. I might look like a Wally but that’s fine with me. Trying to deal with mental health issues is so worth it.

Firsts

2020 is definitely a year of firsts. Still a few weeks to go but maybe it’s safe to call the result in some areas….

  • First year in decades without a visit to a hairdresser,
  • First year in decades without a visit to see my football team get beat (a moan is good for the soul),
  • First year without caffeine,
  • First year with Tai Chi,
  • First year in decades without buying a parking ticket,
  • First year in decades without standing on a mountain top,
  • First year in decades without mooching around a record or book store,
  • First year of not meeting up with a member of my family,
  • First year of turning up at a family birthday party and suddenly realising that I bought exactly the same present last year,
  • First year without buying fish and chips,
  • First year without walking on a beach,
  • First time lockdown applied to me,
  • First year without a visit to an historical site,
  • First year without accidentally bumping into someone you didn’t want to in the supermarket. Then spending the next 30 minutes trying to shop and avoid that person. Hiding behind a mask is way more easy,
  • First year without visiting a garden shop to buy a plant and then killing that plant off within weeks,
  • First year of not popping into a sweet shop and asking for a quarter of midget gems,
  • First year of not popping into a climbing store and looking at all the new gear (even though I don’t climb anymore),
  • First year of not making a single journey on public transport,
  • First year of not popping into a bakery for a quick top up on a pasty,
  • First year of not going to the cinema,
  • First year in decades without going for a bike ride,
  • First year without getting half way round a bike ride and thinking – why is Yorkshire so pigging hilly,
  • First year were I haven’t bothered checking the wear on my cars tyres as they bar not being used,
  • First year of not physically meeting up with a friend to do something,
  • First year in decades of not venturing into a DIY store (Yeh!!!😀😀😀),
  • First year without going clothes shopping, buying that item which might be fun and then driving back thinking – what have I just done.

So yes I don’t think we will forget 2020 in while.

Change

I was listening to the radio this morning and the presenter was happily chatting away. He talked about how things had changed for him. This got me thinking about how much it has for me. Changed beyond recognition.

Let’s go back 20 years

  • Just starting a life changing relationship
  • Still playing football and cricket,
  • Regular mountaineering and climbing,
  • Drinking alcohol a bit too much,
  • My social life often centred around the pub,
  • I would get edgy if I wasn’t meeting up regularly with friends,
  • Using alcohol to overcome social anxieties,
  • Work was super busy with so many meetings. So many people to deal with,
  • Spending little time at home (time at home was seen as a bit of a waste)
  • Holidays,
  • Frequent family meetings revolving around mum,
  • Concerts, football matches, the Theatre and the Cinema,
  • Trying to avoid being by myself and if I was I would try to drown out the silence with my MP3 player,
  • Fuelled on caffeine.

Now contrast that with this week….

  • Single parenting,
  • Aspergers,
  • Revisiting wonderful memories,
  • Emailing one or two friends,
  • Blogging,
  • No work,
  • Housebound with one trip beyond the gates to the Vets,
  • Tea total, no caffeine,
  • Lots of silence,
  • No meet-ups,
  • No prospect of holidays, trips out, concerts,
  • Reading,
  • Time spent talking with Hawklad,
  • Only one other physical conversation (briefly with the Vet),
  • Homeschooling,
  • Working out in the garden,
  • Trying to practice mindfulness.

Life definitely has changed. It always does eventually. Some things for the worse. Some things for the better. Some things I would change back. But many things I cherish. On balance I definitely wouldn’t go back.

New world

The sky is always adapting and changing. Constant motion. Never staying the same.

I was thinking about how life moves on. How life sends you down roads that force changes to your world, to your lifestyle, to your way of thinking. But often you still have to go in that direction. It’s seemingly beyond our control. That is so stressful.

The question for me is whether this stress comes from trying to resist the inevitable or it comes from not adjusting to the new world!

I suspect that it’s a bit of both. Initially fighting being pushed down a life path but then eventually coming to the realisation that it is futile to fight this. What’s the line from The Avengers movie. I AM INEVITABLE….

Now I increasingly find myself saying IT IS WHAT IT IS. But then I have a tendency to then do nothing about the new world. Even when my old self clearly does not match the present anymore. That causes stress. It also risks just surviving and not living.

At least I now realise it’s time for a major rethink.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country that is 900 miles away from our house in England but actually feels more like where our hearts want to be. One day we will return.

Today we are going back to 2015 and our last trip to this alpine wonderland. It was the second last day of our holiday and the weather was glorious. So we went on a bit if an expedition. We went to the Zermatt. From there we caught the mountain train which took us to 10285ft (3135m) to the top of the Gonnergrat. The train is an experience as it’s Europe’s highest open-air railway.

The top is a huge rocky ridge with a luxury hotel, restaurant, shops, astronomical observatories, a beautiful stone chapel and views of The Matterhorn. It overlooks a stunning glacier and has views of 29 4000m mountains. It’s a truly epic place.

After a few hours at the top we walked down most of the way. Poignantly this would prove to be our last long family walk as a team of 3. So it’s extra special to me and our son.

I give you the Gonnergrat.