According to the map, there is supposed to be a path here.
Well I couldn’t find it. As Hawklad put it….
“Where’s Indiana Jones when you need him.”
Apparently in the new Indiana Movie, they make him look decades younger. I wonder if I could buy some of that magic from the Supermarket, I definitely need it. Wow, who is that bloke I see looking back at me in the mirror every morning. George Clooney is older than me, how does he do it, maybe it’s the coffee he drinks.
Yet I’ve been drinking coffee for decades and I’M STILL WAITING for any kind of Clooney effect. Now if it was signs of the CLUELESS effect, we’ll that would be a totally different story. I’ve got shed loads of those signs.
The Completely Clueless, So Not Clooney ME reached new levels this Mad March. I just couldn’t balance the work monthly payroll. Who was I missing. I just hadn’t paid out enough.
Oh hang on. I didn’t pay ME. What a monumental Clueless Wazzock.
Maybe that is all that coffee will ever give me. Ineptness and a morning mirror jump scare. But I guess there is always hope.
Next time you bump into George, can you ask him how he does it.
One family trip to Switzerland just 9 years ago with so many adventures. On that trip we came with Hawklad’s Granny. As she happily pointed out “over the years she had more than enough adventures – thank you very much”. She was in her element just sitting on the hotel balcony, drinking Italian coffee and taking in the ever changing views across Lake Thun and towards The Alps. I can so understand that.
So here goes, one week, one hotel. This is why Granny stayed put that week. Just a snapshot, imagine the views and moods we missed when we were on our adventures.
Why is it that in Jurassic Movie World, behind the enclosure gate that has been accidentally left open, there is always the really psychotic, crazed, huge teethed, killing machine. A now free monster that also happens to be really pissed off. It’s never the fluffy, happy, petting zoo Dino called Daisy who is desperate for a cuddle.
When the monster called Slasher has escaped and is after lots of blood, the Jurassic Workers suddenly have that look on their faces. Terrified, slightly vacant and most definitely lost. This week I had exactly the same facial expression when I ventured into my very own Jurassic land, otherwise known as The Apple Store and Service Centre. My version of the terrifying monster called Slasher was two overly helpful and enthusiastic Store Techies. I had just handed them my poorly Apple Device and the mayhem had begun.
I was trying to mask my confusion and terror by nodding profusely while making various hesitant grunting noises. It really shouldn’t be like this, just a few decades back I got my Masters Degree in Computing. I had started a Doctorate in Techie Stuff. But just like the Jurassic Worker now being eyeballed by hungry Slasher, the world had changed and not for the better. Now I can’t even figure out the TV remote control and please don’t ever ask me about the programme settings on our Japanese Washing Machine. Apple Technology is the stuff of Harry Potter Magic to me.
I had no idea what the two Apple Techies were trying to explain to me. Even more disconcerting was how they had clearly disabled all my device security settings in less than 10 seconds. They did eventually ask me to put in a password but I had the feeling that was just to make me feel invested in the process. Even that brought shame. The Apple Experts trying to show me that my way of screen navigating which takes about 15 steps could be done in a flash with the flick of one finger in a certain direction.
Quickly my device was dismantled. How can the Apple Bods talk and do this so quickly. It used to take me hours to dismantle a computer, never mind trying to talk at the same time. Then rather disconcertingly my dismantled device was instantly paired with a Store iPad and clearly the two devices were talking to one another. My device was basically telling on me, describing just how rubbish a user I had been to it. In computer binary the clear message was ‘this prehistoric bloke still uses pen and paper’. Oh the shame, I could feel the life force draining out of me. It all seemed a bit too much like Terminator for my liking.
Then thankfully I was out in the city streets. We do some fun streets here…… Like me, old fashioned.
Out in the rain with just a piece of paper in my hand. That kinda disappointed me, just a paper copy of a service note, I was expecting Apple to use something like a virtual 3D holographic document thingy. Anyway, I was completely at a loss whether my device was getting repaired or was getting binned by Apple. As it later turned out, a Replacement Device was being sourced, so it was getting binned. Fortunately binned within the warranty period. Another shiny new Apple Device to shout at.
Through this process I actually realised something. Wow those Apple Techies were enthusiastic. They clearly were completely at home and loving Technology Land. Can I even venture to suggest that they seemed to LOVE their job. I contrasted that to MY backstory. One day, decades ago, I woke and realised that Computing was basically monumentally, mind numbingly boring to me. With that realisation, I walked out on my Doctorate. Techie stuff never sparked me, never remotely came close. That has to be the key for me. Find things that bring a SPARK into my life and run with them. I have really not done that enough and if I start doing that then just maybe, I will be less likely to feel so pigging lost in life.
There is something special and comforting about slowly cruising across a peaceful lake. Calming, refreshing, recharging. Switzerland is the perfect place for those dreamy boat trips, with its stunning 1500 alpine lakes. That’s such an odd thought, a completely land locked country being such a water paradise. Bizarrely I also got to watch my first ever beach soccer match here as well….
Just a few days ago I was stuck in heavy motorway traffic, going nowhere fast thinking, where was my Road to Hell cd…. Sat in the car dreaming of one of those perfect lake trips. That’s travel, that’s living.
What I would give for a few water based hours this grey, uninspiring English Sunday. A drink, a fine meal, watching the world slowly turn, surrounded by The Alps.
As I’m writing this a long forgotten holiday memory has just resurfaced. A family trip on a steamer across Lake Brienz.
Hawklad’s Mum had ordered food in German to the waitress. A waitress experiencing her first morning in this job as she nervously pointed out to us as she took our order, potentially her first ever order….. Hawklad got his beloved frankfurter and chips. I received my healthy plate of chips with a cheese and calorie loaded pizza. However Hawklad’s Mum had a little surprise. A cheese salad arrived looking a lot like the full meat platter.
I’ve never seen so much meat on one plate.
It was quickly decided that we couldn’t send the wrong order back on the waitresses first morning, especially as clearly Hawklad’s Mums much vaunted PERFECT GERMAN was clearly not so PERFECT. So what to do. My idea of secretly hiding pieces of meat in our pockets was for some inexplicable reason, REJECTED. So was Hawklad’s suggesting of hiding the meat under my baseball hat. Hawklad’s Mum decided the best course of action. She would get the pizza and I gained a full plate of meat. My first meat in about 5 years following my trip down vegetarian boulevard. The things you do to maintain a peaceful lake trip 😂😂😂😂😂.
When his mum went to the toilet I whispered to Hawklad that actually my meat option was really tasty and I was rather enjoying it. For some reason I failed to mention that fact to his mum, sticking to the ‘this is a real struggle, woe is me’ narrative. I think I pulled the deception off although Hawklad might have blown my cover when he pointed out to his mum with a cheeky grin that
‘For someone struggling so much Dad has done so well to eat all the meatand leave nothing apart from the salad bits.’
It’s early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire and my mind has drifted to happy holidays in beautiful Switzerland. It’s been far too long since our last visit.
Sundays would be bliss.
Usually the first day of the holiday. After breakfast we would catch the boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken.
First stop HOT CHOCOLATE and watching the world go by. Then it was CRAZY GOLF (they do like a good game of crazy golf here). Then a walk to a small Chinese Garden with a beautiful fish filled pond.
Walk round beautiful Interlaken and then on the way back, stop off at The EdelWeiss Gift Shop. While Hawklad’s mum looked at clothes and postcards, the two boys would look at the huge Schleich Toy Animal section and the amazing CUCKOO CLOCKS on the wall.
I never did get round to buying one of these clocks, maybe on our next trip. Let’s hope.
Then it was days spent in just the most stunning landscapes.
A new walk for the two of us in North Yorkshire, we are so blessed to live here. So many places to breathe.
Although I think these shelters aren’t going to be much cop against our tropical weather….
Three days since school returned from a week off and not one single communication from a teacher. Nothing. Maybe School has given up any pretence of supporting Hawklad now.
I was thinking back to how naïve I was just a few years ago. I kinda still assumed that life, parenting, everything, was perfectly logical, straightforward, fathomable.
Did I really think that.
What a monumental muppet.
Now I know. I know how I feel. Tired, confused, battered, walking through life’s avenues seemingly wading through unremittingly thick, bucket loads of treacle – seriously hard work.
Why was all this such a surprise to me, I just needed to look back at my parents. Bringing up 5 children, both parents having to work to try and make ends meet. Trying to maintain an old battered house which had an outside toilet and one coal fire for heating. The only holiday they enjoyed was the very rare day trip to the beach at either Saltburn or Whitby. I’m not sure they ever truly figured out their youngest child, ME, I was baffling to them. My parents trying to do all this while coping with a failed, dysfunctional marriage.
I bet they felt a lot like I do, like many of us do. Worn down, tired, disillusioned, perpetually bewildered.
If one word sums of the Yorkshire Coast, then that word is going to be BRACING….. A few brave dogs braved the North Sea but not for long. I lost a game of chicken and had to endure ice cold wet feet. That woke me up.
On the way back WE talked school. Sadly a school that is increasingly ‘missing in action’ as the May Exams fast approach, like an out of control Freight Train.
The more I see, the more I hear, the more I realise just how bad school has been for Hawklad. Looking back to when he was going everyday. He told me that he use to bin most of his pack up school lunches for two reasons. At least once a week he never got the time to eat lunch due to work requirements – I’m not sure a child going hungry is the best way to create an enriching learning environment.
The other reason, the MAIN REASON.
“Dad I used to get so stressed by school, so sad, so unhappy. I truly hated that place, I was scared of it. The teachers didn’t seem to care, the never noticed me. I was never allowed to be myself. It would make me sick, too sick too eat….”
Speaking with his NHS specialist, they can’t keep up with the tidal wave of child mental health problems in school.
How can this happen.
How have we got school so wrong, so stress filled.
Most Sunday Mornings here in this Alpine Wonderland, we would make our way to this very hotel. We would sit outside, watch the world go by and enjoy the first Swiss hot chocolate of the holiday. In this part of Interlaken, ‘the world going by’ heavily featured watching paragliders landing just a few steps away, after a dramatic trip from the top of local mountains. Definitely thinking, they don’t make paragliders big enough to support my ginormous rear end…..
It’s been sometime since I’ve sat outside any cafe or hotel. It’s been 7 years since we sat outside in Interlaken. Life happens. But if life happens then just maybe it could be that a return to Switzerland is just a bit closer.
That would be wonderful.
I’m missing Swiss Heaven and Hawklad is as well. How could you not miss this special place. Let’s DREAM.
Waiting for his evening balanced meal. One night Pizza, another night sausages and French Fries. Guess what, he’s might be way bigger and older now, but the food order won’t have changed one bit. Happy Days….
The perfect weather for the Farmer to make a fence.
Peaceful and so unlike much of modern life. We spend far too much time in places that vex us. Places like Garages….. No wonder many of us are are so tired.
There can’t be many more inspiring settings to spend a couple of your precious hours than a GARAGE WAITING area 🤯😳. In this case a GARAGE kinda feeling like it’s perpetually stuck in a Downton Abbey Filming Set – that’s the lower class pleb part of the story line. This Garage feels like it hasn’t changed in decades, will never change. A waiting room definitely stuck in time. I dread to think just how many countless cigarettes and coffees been waiting for a re . Filled with ancient sofas that consume you, you instantly sink to the ground, while at the same time, rather unnervingly you start to stick to the fake once black leather covering.
So last week I found myself in this strand old place, the poorly Mercedes Sprinter Van was in need of some seriously expensive fixing. All beyond me, so I just said ‘I’m not paying, WORK is, just do it, I’ll wait’
So that’s what I did, WAITED. The unfortunate mechanic assigned to repair our rusting heap of metal said that you can get WiFi in the waiting room but you’re much better off going outside and sitting on the wooden fence. There you can use the neighbouring furniture store’s WIFI which actually works. Apparently all you need to do is to remember the Store’s wifi password. Brilliantly that password is PASSWORD.
It was far too cold to sit outside, so I opted for the waiting area.
A few moments in the waiting area suddenly made that cold wooden fence look rather appealing. Here I was surrounded by Giant Posters of Red Italian Sport Cars, all driven by what appeared to be genetically perfect models. This all helped to creat an interesting aesthetic mood, lavish car culture stuck onto a grimy yellow wall covering that might well have been white once, probably way before I was born. AND in the corner a Coffee Vending Machine, another item that looked way older than me. It wouldn’t have looked out of place in Dr Who’s Tardis. The hot drink names lovingly hand scrawled on bits of moth eaten card, randomly attached with cellotape to layers of dust. But it’s FREE. Try the Continental Dark Roast then. The machine slowly whirled into action, then the noise. It sounded like that terrifying basement boiler in Home Alone. Better stand back. That drink is not very black or coffee like. It’s RED. It’s tomato soup… Having tasted it, I wasn’t so sure. Maybe.
Few moments later I was joined by another customer who I noticed went for the milky tea option on the Vending Machine. Same noise. And the culinary result was confirmed by the confused chap saying “bloody thing has given me tomato soup”. Next customer (victim) opted for the Hot Chocolate and yes got the inevitable SOUP result.
It had to be done, I braved the vending machine in the interests of science. What happens when you press the Tomato Soup option. Yes more soup. All roads lead to SOUP.
As I was flicking through a luxury super car magazine (while struggling to finish two plastic cups of soup), I was joined on this particular sofa by another confused soup drinking customer. After a nervous soup related conversation she informed me that her ‘JAGUAR’ was getting a headlight fixed, what was I in for.
“One of the three Mercedes is playing up…”
She seemed strangely fascinated by a banged up van.
‘What’s it like to drive, is it fast, I’ve always wanted to drive a Mercedes’
Why would you want to drive a white van 🙄🙄 “it’s not great, really slow, dreadful handling, like driving a super tanker, always breaking down. In fact the Ford is better.“
She looked seriously disappointed.
‘Oh really, I thought they would be fantastic, I was thinking about getting one but I think I will stick with Jaguar then or look at BMW.”
It was only after she had driven away in her newly fixed Jaguar Sports Car that it dawned on me. Mercedes… OH. She thinks I was talking about a Mercedes high performance sports car, not our 10 year old completely driven into the ground Mercedes Sprinter Van. A van that might have sprinted once but those days had well since gone. Even Lewis Hamilton isn’t going to get that thing sprinting.
Opps sorry Mercedes, I think I might have cost you a customer.
Memories from back in 2014, a family break to beautiful Switzerland. I remember the days starting in the same way that trip. Sat cross legged in front of the TV with an Italian Coffee, trying to translate the German version of Dinosaur Train to an excited Hawklad. That was a test, wishing I had studied the dinosaur module of my language programme 🤣🤣🤣🤣
After breakfast it was time for a mini adventure.
A beautiful river walk takes us to the foot of an imposing mountain.
Twenty minutes later thanks to a seriously steep train ride, we find ourselves thousands of feet up. Wow the view has changed.