World War petZ

All hell broke out today. Sat with a hot drink trying to convince the laptop that the Excel Macro I had just produced was in fact perfect and not full of errors WHEN

The two cats and dog started scampering around the house like crazed banshees. Chairs crashing into walls, photos knocked off tables, books sent flying. I found the Living Room in a state of destruction as if World War Z had broken out. Three pets clawing and scratching at the bottom of a large sideboard. Oh bugger have we got a visitor and it’s the hunt. Annoyingly the sideboard had a small gap at the bottom big enough for a hiding space but too small to squeeze my hand into. Wonderful going to have to move that 8 tonne chunk of wood. Have to try and rescue the trapped creature.

Could it be a scary House Mouse

Could it be a deadly little shrew

OR is it

one of these little plastic Dalek (Dr Who) megalomaniacs.

Yes after breaking my back, trapping my fingers and squashing my toes – the sideboard was finally moved to reveal a DALEK. Yes the little darlings had been having a fantastic time warping adventure game. The pets excitedly claimed the prize and continued the game in another room. Well that was 2 hours well spent. Unfortunately now the 8 tonnes of wood have to moved back and the pets can’t help because they are too busy saving the earth from a Dalek invasion. Deep Joy!!!!!!

Changes is good just not that early

Today started off in the usual manner. Early morning exercise session listening to rock on the radio. Things going fine apart from the usual creaking body. Put me down for the a full body transplant, I’ve used this one up.

Then things started to change.

I hate doing the plank but apparently it’s good for me. This morning it became even more a form of modern day torture. Two cats decided to sit on my arched back while a dog attempted to lick my face off. Apparently this was one of the Spanish Inquisitions favourite tortures. But I survived.

Then almost immediately the radio signal disappeared. The sound of silence. So I quickly grabbed the first cd I could find. Black Sabbath Vol 4 and tried to complete the session.

Vol 4 is a fine album and features a rarity for Sabbath, a slow reflective song. CHANGES. This song finished off my exercises for the day. Normally at the end of a routine it’s an immediate mad sprint for the warmth of the shower. But not today. I just sat on the cold floor. Lost in thoughts.

A line from Changes had shaken me.

And I can still hear her last goodbyes

I can’t. As hard as I try I can’t remember hearing my partners last goodbye to me – blank. I can vividly remember her peacefully sleeping at the hospice as if it was yesterday. I can remember talking to her gently and holding her hand but as hard as I try I can’t remember her last goodbye. I can remember driving her to the hospital with our son but the conversations are gone. Why would I remember them at the time as she was only going in for a couple of tests and would be out by the weekend. I just can’t remember that last goodbye. That haunts me. Probably will always haunt me.

Mystery Blogger Award

I was nominated by Kristian for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you kindly sir for the nomination and your great site.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?
β€œThe Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

 

The Rules:
1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
6. Nominate 10-20 people.
7. Notify your nominees.
8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
9. Share a link to your best post(s).

Three things about me

  • My dad was really good with wood. He made the most wonderful wooden fort. At school in woodworking I tried to make an owl. Spent 2 months on the little beauty. When I finished everyone thought it was a troll.
  • I’ve got poor coordination but for some reason I have always been able to run backwards effortlessly. When I used to play football and rugby it would freak the pants of opposition players when instead of turning for a ball behind me, I would just run backwards.
  • As a kid I couldn’t ride a bike. Eventually I found a way. I have to grip the handle bar super tight with my left hand. That left hand has to at all times to stay clamped as tightly as possible or I fall off. Also I can’t ware a cycling glove on the left hand (if I do I again I fall off immediately). The right hand can do whatever it wants. I now love cycling but have to still do the left hand routine. Our son also struggles to ride a bike.

Kristian’s Questions

Name something you like to see in a book, that makes you want to read further.

I love stories where the hero fails and has to persevere.

What would make you want to stop reading a book?

Either the last page or clearly a beloved animal is about to die. Any reference to Jeffrey Archer or U2 would immediately require the burning of the book.

If they produced the story of your life, what genre would it be?

Horror, or How not to Dummies Guides

If you could have a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Lukla. Nearest airport to Everest Base Camp.

What advice would you like to give to your ten-year-old self?

Ditch the brown cardigan son, it’s not a good look for a kid.

Nominations

I would love to open this up to anyone who has never had a nomination. You guys are oh so more deserving than me.

Be safe and happy out there good people

School Dracula

This is the Hospitium a 14th century listed building in York’s Museum Gardens. These days it’s a venue for conferences, weddings and special events. Many years ago it was a support building for the Abbey.

St Mary’s Abbey was founded in 1088. The surviving ruins date back from about 1270. York is such a good place for kids to actually touch history.

Over Christmas our son spent a few hours here trying to imagine what life was like before it fell into ruin. Recreating the sounds, the people, the buildings, the life. Big scale creative play. I must admit I was lost in the world of dreams to. Mine was a world of ghosts, ghouls and vampires. I had almost forgotten how much fun you can have when you release your imagination.

This was the visit when the first seeds of home schooling started to be scattered. Last term had been grisly. No real sign of development. No evidence of school making any effort to provide an effective and supportive teaching environment. Most importantly a really unhappy and anxious child.

Our son loves subjects like history but not the way school deliver it. He likes the History Teacher, she is really nice. But being in the bottom set and given his encyclopaedic knowledge – he’s not learning anything. Plus regardless of which class you are in the teaching is so traditional. Text book after text book. Very dry and not very dyslexic friendly. Unfortunately it’s the set teaching approach dictated by the government.

Between my thoughts of ghosts and ghouls I also pondered with so much real life history so close to hand, why not bring the classroom here. Bring the lessons alive. That’s when the thought pinged, if school won’t teach here, why don’t I.

We will see.

The trip was completed with the required extra portions of ice cream. That night my imagination had clearly not been put back in its box yet. A dream about Dracula. But not the bloodthirsty vampire. This one was about a reformed Prince of Darkness. He had sold his Transylvanian castle and bought York’s Museum Gardens. He wanted to turn the gardens into the finest history school in the world. All the teachers were ghosts and ghouls. And Dracula was selling the ice creams and he didn’t skimp on the portions. Now that’s a school.

Going Artistic

The sheep are back in the farm at the back of our house. As a result our mad dog has parked himself at the fence, getting very excited and wagging his tail. He’s been doing this for 3 hours and showing no signs of getting bored.

If it keeps him happy…

Meanwhile inside it’s the dreaded artistic adventure.

Dad can you cut my hair”

Trying to convince him that a trip to the hairdressers would result in a much better final product than the usual dad disaster.

No no no. I’m not going to have a stranger cut my hair. I’d rather take a risk on one of your shockers…”

So we started. I could feel my hands shaking. My IBS gripping my insides.

Dad did you know you stick your tongue out when your cutting my hair”.

I do it every time I panic. I also strangely do it when I watch my football team play.

“Dad you didn’t tell me that you had bought a hair trimmer.”

Didn’t have the heart to tell him I was using the Dogs trimmer.

“Are both sides of my hair supposed to match.”

Theoretically yes.

You don’t think you have taken too much off my fringe.”

Now you mention it that was a bit brutal.

Looks like I’ve got one hairstyle on the left and a different one on the right.”

Technically speaking it’s a highly scientific mix of layering and blending… Or just one massive mess up.

Next time do you think I should grow my hair long. Maybe I would be like Hercules, instead of being super strong I might be super intelligent or be able to read.”

I tried to boost his confidence again. I wish I could find some new words of wisdom. The words I use seem tired and ineffective. I also mentioned my experimentation with 80s metal hair. Unfortunately rather than look like a rock god I ended up looking like Cousin It (Adams Family). This made him laugh. That’s about the only thing I seem to be able to do these days.

Eventually the ordeal was over. Out of 10 I was given a 4. Which is 2 higher than the last one and considerably better than the 0 I got last summer. Let’s see what the dog is up to. Still sheep watching.

Dad that sheep has my hair cut”.

Sadly I agree.

Blessed

A couple of days ago we had a sad face type of day. Old photographs bringing back memories. Sad memories. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Especially when the photograph entails Switzerland.

Today I feel able to correct this….

Switzerland is such a special place. My beloved partner loved it. So did her parents. From childhood she would spend such happy holidays in the Bernese Oberland. The stunning higher part of the Bern canton. Staying in Spiez a beautiful small town on the banks of Lake Thun. Awesome views to the Alps. The summit of the Eiger is visible in the distance and always the last peak to be illuminated by the setting sun. Early mornings would bring on equally stunning landscapes. My partner would sit and just soak up this view. Today this image reminds me of how special Switzerland is and how blessed I was to spend time with my partner. So blessed. Bring on SMILING FACE. 😊

Oldest thing

We have a wall in one part of our little bungalow that never gets any direct sunlight. On that wall we have the oldest thing in the house (I think). It’s small Tapestry carefully and beautifully made by a 12 year old girl called Elizabeth Walgate over 200 years ago.

The photo doesn’t do it justice and I don’t want to move it to try for a better angle – just too fragile. I don’t know anything about Elizabeth or the tapestries history. It’s been passed down my partners family for generations. What forgotten stories are forever hidden amongst your fragile fibres. What I do know is that it’s now in our son’s custody and he treasures it.

Not PC post credit scene

This morning the TV had this lovely chap on. Good buddies with President Trump, lead brexiteer, former leader of a political party, European MEP, darling of the BBC and all round tit – Nigel Farage. This guy deserves an animal likeness.

Again deepest apologies to Hyenas.

Any better ideas please let us all know.

Bird of Prey

Thankfully we made it to the end of the week. Some random animal photos helped. But it’s the weekend and at least for a few hours our son is in a happy place. While he is happy then I am happy.

A few weeks ago we talked about his second favourite animal in the world. Let’s meet his favourite now.

The Peregrine Falcon.

Since an early age he has just loved the Peregrine. Luckily he has had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to handle this just stunning bird of prey. In the U.K. one of our main nature presenters is Chris Packham. He has Aspergers and is brilliant. A tireless campaigner for good. Chris has openly talked about his life with Aspergers. As a child he developed a special bond with a Kestrel. His fascination and bond with the Kestrel mirrors that of our son with the Peregrine.

I now hand over to our son for fact time (his words now)

  • The Peregrine is the fastest animal on the planet. Likely to be the fastest creature ever to live on earth. Potentially the fastest creature in the Universe. In its dive (the stoop) it can reach over 215mph
  • They have special baffles in the nose to stop them blacking out during dives
  • Sometimes called Duck Hawks
  • Favourite diet is pigeons, starlings, doves,
  • It’s nest site is called an eyrie
  • Wingspan is 3ft
  • It flies high, uses its super eyesight to see prey below. folds its wings like a jet fighter and nose dives towards its prey. It will then strike its prey with great force.
  • They can be kleptoparasites. Steal pray off other birds.
  • Lifespan up to 15 years
  • They have larger eyes than humans and can see prey over 300m away