Comments

For some reason some of my posts have suddenly and rather randomly decided to remove the comments option. This is not intentional. All options are correctly set and haven’t changed. So I can only assume Skynet or Ultron have started taking over the worlds IT. Lord knows why they would bother with my ancient tech. Anyway I’m trying to sort it. Sorry.

Creaky World Tour 3

Currently not allowed to run due to knackered body so was in desperate need of a fitness hobby to stop me going stir crazy. Came up with the idea of seeing how far I would get around the world powered only by my stationary exercise bike and walking with Pokemon Go….

The creaky world tour left us in Rochester.

So on this leg of the expedition we have managed

Bike – 280km

Pokemon Go – 30km

So here we go.

First stop is to a little favourite of mine. Not been here in over 25 years – I hear you scream but you are only 21. We find a way to the Isle of Sheppey after a 28km trip. A small island just off the northern edge of Kent. My sister used to live here. Apparently the first Britain flew an aeroplane here in 1909. A few years later here I got chased into Sheerness by a gang of ducks after they decided they wanted more bread from me. Ended up taking refuge in a pub. To be polite I had to try a pint of the local brew from Shepherd Neame. To my Yorkshire palette it was a shocker.

Now let’s get some distance covered. A hard 90km get us to Dover. First thing that comes to mind now are the 350ft tall White Chalk Cliffs.

Thanks to TripAdvisor for the photo.

The Ferry Port now opens up our world tour. Passport is ready and in a blink of an eye and after another 190km we find our French destination. It’s the city of Lille. It’s a wonderful city. Great history, great art, great markets. It’s a wonderful place to eat as well. It also happens to be the home of a contender to the title of the worlds stinkiest cheese. Maroilles. It’s a tasty one.

On my first overseas holiday with my partner we had to change trains at Lille station. So excited to have left Britain behind us for a week. To completely forget our life’s for a while. Then a booming voice.

“Now Bonny Lad. Wat are yee doin here” – imagine deep Geordie accent – think Brian Johnson from AC/DC.

Unbelievably the guy who sat behind me at Newcastle United matches was randomly stood next to us on this faraway French Platform. He was off to Bordeaux to see his French mum.

Me Me Me

Blue skies have been a rarity over the last couple of weeks. Strangely this photo is a few weeks old. Can’t remember the last time I had to water the tomato plants. If anything it’s more about trying to stop them drowning in the rain water. The mad dog is currently sat looking out through the back door. Yet when I open it for him he just continues to sit and seems to shrug – if you think I’m going out in that you have another thing coming. Other areas of the county have seen bridges swept away and a Dam almost breached. Wasn’t it only a few weeks ago I was talking about Yorkshire and temperatures in the 90s. Strange old summer.

We have largely been cut off from the outside world this holiday. The occasional and extremely brief trip to the shop but son has stayed in the car. Trip to a castle but at a time (and with the poor weather) that it would be largely empty. We are thinking about a trip to another castle, a zoo and hill walk – but these will be scheduled at the quietest times possible. This is how our son likes it.

But it does have a downside. Next month son will return to school. Small site with over 800 kids and adults. Its just not a natural environment for someone with Aspergers. It doesn’t help that within a few days of school opening it’s the anniversary of his mums death. It not easy for anyone but no kid should have to go through that.

Soon we will need to start the process of getting him as ready as possible for that dreaded return. We will have a few visits to the school. A word with the caretaker will allow a walk round the empty corridors. But that just won’t prepare him for so much noise, so many faces. So we are going to have to visit a few busy places. A couple of trips to a Supermarket. Maybe a visit to a popular museum – York’s Train Museum. It’s a balancing act trying to acclimatise yet not trying to unnecessarily spook him.

The other part to this is ME. It’s about trying to get ME used to people again. It really doesn’t come naturally to ME. Just look at that it’s all ME ME ME with me. I blame it on the rain.

Current mood – Dampish….

Dashboard

This post has been sat around my draft section for a while. Messed around with it but couldn’t get it right. So gone back to the first version (without fancy spreadsheet graphs and using the original rubbish hand drawn ones) and let’s get it out there.

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Reading between the lines from the occasional comment and the offline emails – my mood is sometimes misinterpreted. That’s not a criticism of anyone. It’s a reflection of my dodgy writing style or the mixed messages I can send out.

Then a thought crossed my mind. Maybe I should start each blog with a disclaimer clearly stating that my current mindset might be very dark even though I might include a little bit of silliness. No confusion there.

But why don’t we take it a stage further. An emotional dashboard. Each post with a current state of mind forecast. These might need to be worked on but how about the following

Or if that is too confusing why not just have a photo which sums of how I feel.

Tired

Very Tired

Zombie

Happy

Distinctly Average

Sad

Like Sh*t

Confused

Pissed Off

Ok

Ok is just one of those words. As a kid our headteacher would give you an automatic detention for saying it. It was a banned word along with Punk, Booze, Ciggy, Damm, T**t, F*** ………. I think it was not seen as proper English. Strange as it was a school in Yorkshire and we could say words like Wazak, Jiggered and Chuffin Heck.

Now I have a problem with ok. It’s a twofold issue

  • It’s too easy when someone asks how you are to just say “OK”. It almost becomes automatic. What does it mean really.
  • When I ask after somebody’s wellbeing I often say “Are you Ok” or “Hope your Ok”.

Hope your ok…..

The more I think about it the worse that sounds. First of all are you ok. It sounds like I’m hoping someone is basically average, somewhere between wonderful and sh**e. It’s hardly the same as saying are you great, spectacular or wonderful. Basically setting a pretty low expectations bar. Don’t get me wrong we all feel just average somedays. It’s not as good as being happy but way better than being like sh*t. It would be nice if we were all happy some of the time.

Are you ok…..

You are often talking with people who have suffered or are suffering so much pain. Depression, Grief, Loneliness, Despair, Hardship, Physical Pain. Are you ok sounds such a trite way of asking after someone’s wellbeing. Well of course they are not OK.

It’s just a personal thing but I am going to try and find more suitable alternatives to Ok. Maybe they don’t always exist but it’s worth a try. Recently when people have asked how I am I’ve started trying to say Distinctly Average rather than ok. It’s actually feels like a good summary of my usual mood. It certainly feels a more meaningful response than OK. But I will definitely promise that when someone does take the time to ask how I feel I will be honest. Hopefully no more bland OKs.

Asking after someone’s wellbeing is proving more difficult. It’s definitely still a work in progress. Maybe How are you doing is the way to go. What about How are you feeling. Actually it’s probably the follow up question which is the key. We shall see. I’m going to have a good ponder about this. I hope that’s ok with you.

Terrible Poetry

It’s time for Chelsea Owens weekly poetry challenge. If you want to have a go pop over Chelsea Owens great site by 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 8) to submit a poem. This week the challenge is.

  1. Our Topic is Anything. You choose.
    The catch? Whatever subject you select has to be way too flowery and/or descriptive. Adjectives and adverbs are your new best friends, closely followed by metaphor, simile, hyperbole, synecdoche, and personification.
    The other catch? The type of poem is free verse.
  2. Length? For the judge’s time and sanity, keep things under 250 words.
  3. For the first time, you may NOT Rhyme! What could be more poetic than free verse? Most people think that’s true and who are we to add rhyme to their meter?
  4. As always, make it terrible. Poets who take themselves way too seriously must applaud your efforts, worried to be the first to point out the emperor has no prose.
  5. Although a bawdy free verse poem is likely to exist somewhere, most stay around PGor cleaner; you can as well.

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In our darkest times you bring unbroken sunshine

With a bouquet unrivalled amongst the finest wine

Like a fragrant flower sat below the finest red pine

How can something so small be so life enriching

Your smell, your taste so utterly bewitching

Just one drop is so completely uplifting

You shine out on our world like the stars of the southern cross

You are as wondrous and spectacular as the wandering albatross

You paint the world with a sparking diamond jewel embossed gloss

In the kitchen you are the unrivalled boss

Riding across the sky like the ancient god Helios

You are our light oh Great Tabasco Sauce

****come on you try to find something that rhymes and fits with sauce

Castle Time

Why is it that when you take the car in to a garage the words you never never hear are

Don’t Worry it’s nothing

It’s a cheap fix

It’s sorted and there is no charge

So today the car misbehaved. Took it into the garage and within minutes was told it needs a new ……. and it’s going to cost £XXX

One of the benefits of a spectacularly unreliable and expensive to maintain car is that they seem to have allocated it its own dedicated service team. We can look at it straight away. It will be ready in a couple of hours.

So we had a couple of hours to pass and luckily we were in walking distance of a castle. A fine ruin of a castle.

Pickering Castle was originally built around 1070. It is reasonably well preserved as it missed out on the carnage which was the War of the Roses and the English Civil War. I hoped that this unplanned visit would count against our sons target of 12 new places to visit. Sadly he pointed out the exact date and time of his school visit here 4 years ago.

I always think castles look better in black and white. Brings out their hidden Hammer Horror character.

It was a fun couple of hours as son explained in great detail the history of the castle. It’s linkages to wider English History and the various different structural improvements which have occurred over the years. I added important stuff like cool places for ghosts to hide.

Unfortunately the hours flew by and all too soon it was time to return to the garage. Luckily they still take cheques. That buys a couple of days to keep the bank manager happy. Son helpfully pointed out that a few hundred years ago I could just have raised taxes to pay for it – probably a Poll Tax. That assumes my role would have been Lord and not Peasant. In my all to likely Peasant role I had better start shovelling that muck quicker.

Fun stuff.

Thank you to Chelsea Owens for the Liebster Award, Riya Gupta (World of my Thoughts) for the Wanna Know You Better tag and A Single Parents Life for the Mystery Blogger Award. The questions really tickled my fancy.

What’s your favorite cheesy joke? What do you call a dinosaur made of cheese – Gorgonzilla


Who would win in a boxing round; rock, paper, or scissors?
The scissor it has a two point head start

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? I stole the cookies from the cookie jar


Why is it always the last place you look?
As the great Billy Connolly said – Of course it is. Why would you keep looking after you found it.


Which storybook villain would always win a limerick competition?
The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town. Not sure many outside of the UK will remember this brilliant Two Ronnie’s sketch.


Given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, how soon before they realize typewriters are outdated and they’ll need to learn sign language?
I’m only 21 – what’s a typewriter?


What is the best letter of the alphabet?
C – Coffee, Chocolate, Chips, Crisps….


Who is the most misunderstood nursery rhyme character? Baa Baa Black Sheep. Clearly a
n early political science ditty complaining about unfair wool tax rates.


How much chocolate is too much? None
unless you are a dog.


Who would win in a duel: chocolate volcano cake or bananas foster? I
would guess Bananas Foster. In my house anything remotely flammable is banned from the cooking environment. Imagine the devastation I could cause with Rum.

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  1. What really makes you angry? Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Bono singing….
  2. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Apple Crumble and Custard
  3. What is your biggest fear? It’s also my biggest hope. Son and his place in this alien world.
  4. What has been your best moment this year? Last week son read at the subtitles which came up in a movie – got them all virtually correct. Real progress.
  5. If You Could Live Anywhere In The World For A Year, Where Would It Be? Switzerland
  6. How do you relieve stress? I load up a wheelbarrow with the heaviest things I can find then push it round the garden.
  7. Would You Rather Go To Space Or To The Bottom Of The Ocean? Space. I will leave the Oceans to those who can swim. The brilliant Carl Sagan and Patrick Moore fostered a life long love for space.
  8. What’s your favorite season? Winter.
  9. What’s your favorite sports? Football, Biathlon, Ski Jumping and combat Knitting.
  10. Did you like Riya’s blog ? Yes I do like good poetry.

Now, 10 this or that questions:

What would you prefer?

  • Beach or mountains – mountains
  • Ice cream or milkshakes – Ice cream
  • New York or Paris – Paris
  • Ugly genius or Good looking stupid – I like my look – ugly stupid
  • Pizza or Burger – Pizza
  • Summer or Winter – winter
  • City or Village – village
  • Spring or Autumn – spring
  • Mathematics or Science – science (did an accountant just say that)
  • Train or AeroplaneTrain

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Three Things About Me

  • I had a few drinks with and went to college with a serial killer – true
  • The England Rugby Captain once stood on my toe – true
  • I once got to blast the foghorn in a Lighthouse as a result I think I was directly responsible for several heart attacks of the poor anglers sat immediately below.
  1. Are you on Twitter? How can we find you? No. Dislike what it has become. Now you have to be really selective who you follow.
  2. What career/job do you do? I have been a Computer Programmer, an Accountant, a Procurement Manager, Logistics Planner and a Coffee Maker.
  3. How many kids do you have? One (I think)
  4. What pets do you have? 1 mad fat cat, 1 madder not fat dog, 3 super beings pretending to be Gerbils
  5. Are you on time, late, or early to things? Late but if you are really late it suddenly becomes early for the next meeting.

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Sorry but I’ve stopped nominating. Had a skill for picking people who hated being nominated. But please check out these great sites and if you fancy have a go at the questions.

Alviiiiiin!

I wonder if the cow is even aware of that strange thing in the sky. Should I warn the cow. Probably not – would just think I’m full of hot air.

I think saying stupid or silly things is a release for me. It’s a way of relieving pressure. Diffusing the dark thoughts that can crowd my mind. However that Monty Python in me is often misinterpreted.

He’s a happy soul.

Not a care in the world.

OR

He’s got over things now.

He’s moved on.

That is so far from the truth. Everyday is a struggle. You just have to learn to coexist with Depression and Grief.

I would love to release my inner demons through beautiful paintings or dark soulful poetry. Unfortunately that’s just not me. It doesn’t work for me and the end result is a pile of pants. All it does is bring out my inner Alvin and The Chipmunks. Not sure that would be a box office winner – Alvin and The Grief Trip.

Sorry there I go again.

The point I’m trying to make if Alvin would just let me is that how you appear on the surface is often very different to how you actually feel inside. It doesn’t help that often people don’t want to hear how you really are feeling. They will ask – how are you? They desperately want you to say – fine. And guess what – when you get asked that question your almost preprogrammed to say – I’m ok.

Maybe we should have a deal. From now on let’s all REALLY ask how someone is. When they say fine or ok how about we follow up with – are you really sure. Or I’m here for you I know how tough it can be.

The other part of the deal is when someone takes the time to really ask how you are then be honest. Instead of saying just dandy it is ok to say like shit or not good or I’m struggling. Or if your feeling really brave just say I could really do with a hug.

We all struggle sometimes. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we could all just be a bit more open about that. What do you say Alvin.

Coordination

Beauty in the sky masked evil intentions. Twenty seconds later a successful bombing run covered my car bonnet. Not so beautiful. The one hand giveth; the other hand taketh away.

Basically I have knackered my body up. Medical advice was to rest the right side for a couple of months. No running. If you play football in the garden – don’t use your right foot to kick. That’s a bit of a problem. During my sporting career the left leg has been a bit of a spectator. It is used for standing on and just getting in the way. Nothing else. So since a toddler I have been completely right footed.

So this garden football season was approached with trepidation. The first attempts confirmed the fears. Absolutely useless. Even the frequent cow audience clearly most unimpressed with my attempted kicks.

But a couple of months later and….

With one hand giveth.

The left leg is like a magicians wand. Better than the right foot ever was. Complete ball control, pinpoint passes, power, curling shots into the top corner of our small net. It just shows that with practice what you can achieve.

But with the other hand taketh.

Now the right side is a little less painful I’ve started using it again and just maybe I could be a natural two footed footballer. Guess what. The right foot is now completely useless. Can’t use it. All my hard work has basically switched me from being completely right footed to completely left footed.

Maybe my brain can only cope with one usable leg.

Son struggles to tie shoe laces. He also can’t use a knife and fork at the same time. He just can’t coordinate two limbs simultaneously. It’s a bit like riding a bike. Son can peddle but not at the same time as steering or braking. If he turns a corner he can’t peddle. He did manage to learn to swim but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s either using his legs or using his arms – not both at the same time.

He has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia which often goes hand in hand with Autism. The bottom line is coordination does not come naturally. We have been doing some exercises to work on this. Jumping on a trampoline and catching at the same time has been our single most fun exercise. We have seen some improvements for example he has developed good catching skills. But things like shoe laces are probably going to be life long issues. We realise this. The main reason we do coordination exercises is to help with his Dyslexia, other improvements are bonuses.

Maybe you just have to accept and work with how your body is setup uniquely for you. Make the best of it. We all can’t be brilliantly coordinated like birds. To fly, aim and poo at the same time. That’s beyond me.