Don’t panic this is not the weather today….
Time creeps up on you…….
I’ve never been one who worried too much about ageing. It is what it is. I was also someone who never really lost too much sleep on the ever growing bucket list. Plenty of time to catch up and tick those all important activities off the list.
Then life happened. Too many trips to funerals. Suddenly I was aware of that ever clicking life clock.
Last night I was watching a movie based on a family skiing holiday. A holiday that went badly wrong. The Will Ferrell ‘Downhill’ Movie. The most un ‘Will Ferrell’ movie ever. It was really good and rather unsettling, especially as the main character was probably about my age. As the movie went on I could hear that clock ticking just that little bit louder.
I’ve always wanted to ski. It’s right up on my bucket list. Near the top. I’ve just never got round to doing it. A couple of trips to a really rubbish rock hard carpet slope. That’s all I’ve managed. We had plans to go to Switzerland as a family during the winter. I could see a route to finally being a proper skier. Then life happened. Those plans evaporated. So last night I was watching that family ski in the movie and that ticking clock was deafening. Will I ever ski…..
It sounds silly but that thought really depressed me. I feel further away than ever from those alpine slopes. Time and my body is not on my side. Too many years of contact sport has left me with a ‘ previously enjoyed’ body frame. A couple of things need patching up. If I get them patched up then skiing might be out of the question. That ticking clock is annoyingly deafening.
Yet I still so want to SKI.
I guess all I can do is keep that dream alive for a while longer. Put off any patching work on the body and accept a few aches. Drop as much weight as I can and stay as fit as I can for as long as I can. Buy as much time as I can for that dream to come true AND JUST HOPE.
We all need to have dreams. I certainly do. Somedays I really need those dreams to hold on to. Those dreams, maybe the best dreams may feel so far from reality. Almost beyond reach. No life path ever seems to exist that would ever lead you to there. But I still dream.
The dreams tell me that I’m still not complete in life. There are still wonderful things still out there to be experienced.
The dreams tell me to keep moving forward.
AND you just never know what life will bring tomorrow. There is always hope.
I had a scheduled call with the bank today. Just routine stuff. Routine stuff which you would just a year ago pop into the branch and sort out at the counter. Nothing is routine now.
Anyway during the call the bank person asked a couple of not really banking questions that kinda through me
“Can I ask. Are you ok. Are you coping. It must be so tough. Are you getting the support you need.”
That’s the bank saying that……
Now before I go on – I am ok. I am coping. A bit of support would be nice but it’s not happening. But here’s the thing. I could so easily be doing not so well in this single parenting gig. Really struggling. Getting no support. Desperate. Looking over the precipice. Sadly many are. In fact forget the single bit, many people are….
I became a single parent in 2016 following the death of my partner. In that time the only official person to ask how I was doing was that bank person. No doctor, no school professional, no education specialist, no one from the local services. NO ONE in the support areas has ever asked what the bank person asked. How many people are struggling and nobody finds out. Nobody asks. I guess the assumption is that those that struggle will always put their hand up. Sadly that might not happen.
That is such a worrying thought.
A day outside in the – wait for it – warm Yorkshire sunshine……
An afternoon of outdoor table tennis. An afternoon of losing my pride. It’s never been my sport. One of the few sports I can’t pick up.
“Dad Table Tennis is a MARVELlous sport. You do know the sport should be played like a game of chess. Carefully moving your opening around the table until an opening appears. That’s the idea. Your approach Dad is basically the Avengers Strategy. HULK SMASH…”
No need to mess about with the delicate strategy. Why waste time when with one massive swing of the bat you can immediately move to the ENDGAME
“But Dad you are supposed to play with VISION.
Ok I’m out now, you win the pun war. Pick up your crisp packet. If you do then you can be scaAVENGERS hero.
“I never THORt of that one Dad. Best keep the envIRON MANaged. I wonder if anyone else would understand these puns other THAN US.”
Lets not forget the stereotype. Asperger Kids don’t have a sense of humour and can’t have fun ……….
Taking just a few moments to breathe. To enjoy what is close by. The beauty in life. The simple things.
A report on the news was talking about the UK Covid vaccine strategy. Currently no plans to extend shots to the under 18s. A child vaccine might be licensed after Autumn in some other countries. Again there are no plans to roll that out in the UK.
Ok so unless there is a real shift in the trajectory of the virus then we are on effective lockdown for the rest of the year.
That makes seeking out those moments to breathe even more important. If that means getting on my hands and knees, then so be it. Needs must.
I’ve been trying to practice yoga and tai chi for months now. I diligently watch and follow the videos. All the really glossy and professional videos. I was trying again this morning. Following the instructor through her perfect routine. Even her dog sits beside her perfectly. Never moving. In the background the gentle sound of peaceful music. Perfect.
Meanwhile in deepest Yorkshire.
A muppet is seamlessly moving from one body creak to the next groan. Losing balance and crashing into furniture. Constantly fearing my pants are going to split under the galactic pressure being exerted on them. Every time I hit the ground a mad dog instantly leaps on me and I replay the Bill Murray Ghostbusters scene – I’VE BEEN SLIMED. And no gentle sound of peaceful music here. Rather the sound of derision and laughter….
“What on earth are you doing Dad”
“If this was on TV it would be banned”
“You look a right sight”
“Funnier than a Will Ferrell movie”
“Say that again Dad. Golden Rooster. More like drunken Pigeon”
“Are you supposed to be balancing on one leg or head butting the wall”
“My Dad has turned into Homer Simpson”
“Please never do this when any of my friends visit”
“Your just embarrassing yourself now”
Technically speaking this probably means that I still have a long way to go on my spiritual exercise journey. Or more likely …. time to get the mega pack of biscuits out and vegetate.
I couldn’t sleep last night. Maybe two hours max. Event after I abandoned and a few minutes later I had a chamomile tea in hand and was channel hoping. I stumbled across some really cheesy B-movie. Then one of the actresses delivered this line
“The hardest thing for me after my husband died was having to be nice to my family.”
Wow. That must have been some family. But it got me thinking. What was the hardest thing about losing my partner back in 2016. Strangely worrying about being nice to my family didn’t feature. The Worst Thing Thoughts that did pop into my head were.
Telling a young son his mum had died
Feeling utterly alone
The dark thoughts
Losing all my dreams
Getting up in the morning and facing the world
That final goodbye at the funeral
Trying to sort through my partners clothes and favourite possessions
Hearing her favourite song on the radio
The deathly silence in the house when our son was at school or asleep
Those were the emotions that I went through in the immediate aftermath. But then something else kicked in a few months later. As I started to clear my head this thought kept dominating my thought. Going forward – “I didn’t want to feel this pain of loss again“. The pain was too much for me. I needed to stop myself from getting close to people again. The feeling of isolation that came from thinking that was utterly soul destroying.
So there you go. I’m disagreeing with a cheesy B-movie, but every loss is different. So family pains can be just as intense as the many I went through. The B-movie did pass some time. It ALSO was so boring that I nodded off. Nodded off still holding my mug of tea. Yep I ended up wearing most of that. Thankfully only lukewarm. Yes piping hot tea would have been a pain I could definitely do without.
So two days after my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and alright. Didn’t feel much on Friday apart from a little prick but hey what’s new… Yesterday I felt a bit achy. Had a two hour spell where I felt really hot (that’s so not me….). As if I was going down with something but that ebbed away. So currently it’s been ok.
What’s not ok is the mixed messages. The medics are telling me that until I get the second vaccine then any protection may be limited. Even after the second shot I will still pose a risk to others. I can still carry and spread Covid. The vaccines may only provide up to 50% protection against spreading it to others. So it’s vital I stick to social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future. YET this morning I heard a government minister say that when you get the shot you are covered. As soon as lockdown eases get out to pubs, to the cinema, to the stadiums and most importantly to the office. By June the minister said we would be back to normal.
Then our really hard working PM. A fine man, who is honest, much admired, never corrupt, never racist, never sexist and most certainly never a self absorbed git…. Most definitely never a someone who has an affair with someone and then gives his lover £126000 of public money. Anyway that pillock was unbelievably working at the weekend and talking. Apparently now was the time to stop home working and get back into the office. Office’s and public transport are completely safe. “Time to stop the DAYS OFF…….” I heard someone in the Government use the term HOLIDAYS….
Do they know 126,000 people have died so far from this pandemic. Days Off and Holidays are the most distasteful terminology to use but it just sums them up. Staggeringly people are still prepared to back them. So what do I know….
Anyway again it’s mixed messages. The Government are telling people offices and schools are perfectly safe. We are soon going to be back to normal. No need to change anything. YET their very own scientific advisers are warning that we are in this for the long run. The vaccine programme is only a part of what is needed. They are warning of the need for long term social distancing. They are calling for places like schools, offices and trains to be fundamentally improved. To make them safer and better placed to work safely during a pandemic (and after). Better ventilation and more space have to be built into them urgently.
Kinda feels like the type of sky you get just before it all goes horribly wrong in a Terminator movie. This time no coming storm. Just me in the kitchen making a curry. Actually very similar when you think about it. Especially if you have ever seen or unfortunately tasted one of my Saag Aloo horrors.
As I watched that cloud formation role through my thoughts had moved from terrible cooking to more important stuff. Doesn’t that cloud look like a polar bear lying flat out on its tummy. Well it did to me….
We spent an hour or so playing the cloud spotting game today. Fantastic free garden entertainment, the kinda stuff you need during a prolonged lockdown. While we were cloud spotting I kept hearing a nagging voice in my head. We could be so easily playing this in a years time. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Hawklads anxieties and phobias will still be here in a years time. If so then our lockdown will still be in place in March 2022. That would make it TWO years. TWO years. Maybe that is what the clouds are telling me. There is a storm coming. A long protracted one.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to an alpine wonderland. To beautiful Switzerland. One of the most stunning countries on our planet.
I have been looking at photos of The Alps in old climbing books since I was a teenager. My home town’s old library didn’t have many books in BUT it did have three about scaling mountain peaks. Every Saturday morning on my trip to the one record shop I would stop off and look at those books. Dreaming of one day standing by those great peaks . The Eiger, The Matterhorn. The Monch.
So how excited was I when I flew into Switzerland for the very first time. Wow those mountains were as fantastic as I had dreamt of. But there was something else. Look at those lakes. Look at the water. I had no idea just how many stunning lakes this place had.
Here’s a fact for you. Little Switzerland has over 1500 lakes and has 6% of Europe’s freshwater stock….
Let’s hear it for those lakes.
Thank you Switzerland.