Slope

The long and slightly winding road. It doesn’t look much but it’s a bit of a pull up that slope. Unsurprisingly this little lane blocks quickly when the snow arrives. One day I will pick up the courage to try to sledge this all the way to the bottom. Our very own Cresta Run.

At the bottom of the slope (if I make it that far) I then need to find 2 feet of lift and aim for this gap in the hedge. If I pull that manoeuvre off then I will continue the sledge run across at least one more field. Miss the gap or get no height and it’s going to hurt. Hurt lots…..

As Hawklad points out. He will let Dad go first, clear a path and then if Dad is able to stand without medical assistance, then he will follow. It’s good to know that I still have my uses. 🤪🤪🤪🤪

As the colder, darker months fast approach some of the things that kept both of us going over the warmer months will become harder to keep going. New hobbies and new things to do are really needed. Especially as there is no immediate sign of a breakout from our ongoing family isolation. But we need to keep living. Preferably things that don’t involve pain…

I was looking on eBay for a second hand telescope to help with Astronomy as something we could do together. One to replace my very old small scope. I found a potential option. 4 hours to go on bidding and after 3 bids the price was at £30 plus delivery. That’s great for a £900 telescope. I made the offer. £35…. It was mine…. until 5 minutes before the auction closed. Two minutes later budding was at £300.. Pants. Didn’t bother seeing what it finally went for. Not this time.

But I feel better as I have done something. I’ve tried. Now what other random items can I find. What weird hobbies might open up.

Feels like

Christmas Eve brought the first snow flurries of winter. Not much but it certainly changed the mood. Kind of feels like December now.

Last night we had our first ever Santa Christmas Drive. It replaced a ride on the Christmas Train which is not happening this odd year. Engine 1264 is getting a well earned rest. It is 73 years old.

The car was decked out in Christmas lights. Filled with party food. Christmas music on tap. And off we set to look at the various Christmas lights in the surrounding villages. We parked up halfway round to give the sleigh driver a break and to see how badly we could do at a Christmas Quiz. Spectacularly badly. We couldn’t even answer the questions about a movie we had seen only a few hours previously.

The Santa Christmas Drive definitely worked. Hawklad really enjoyed it. That’s all that matters. Ok he had to have a really really really long bath on his return. A complete change of clothing. Several sessions with the mouthwash. But it was worth it.

Only time will tell if it’s a one off stand in event or it’s now a new tradition. But it’s certainly another reason why it now feels a lot like December.

Patchy

Sometimes nothing is better than spending a few minutes kicking fallen leaves randomly around the garden. It’s good to go back to childhood feelings again. Autumn is often a great time for that.

Today’s visit by our son’s health worker has been cancelled. She will try again in a few weeks. It is what it is. At least we are due to get some help, many are not so fortunate. We just have to accept that what support we do get is likely to be very patchy over the coming months. Yep, we will be travelling these roads for a long while to come.

If anything we have just started the journey. Son is still wracked with anxiety and fears. He is most definitely house and garden bound. No sign of progress as yet. Actually no sign if progress in ages. We are not talking a few days here. We are already 7 months into his isolation. We will be adding many more months to that. Realistically his anxieties have become intertwined with the wider pandemic situation. How can he improve, his anxieties ease when the country is still in pandemic mode. If he ventured out he would just end up seeing people wearing masks and frequently looking nervous. It feels like manning the battlements until things start to pick up again.

That’s where kicking fallen leaves comes in. It’s so important that Hawklad still enjoys life. Enjoys his childhood. We find ways to fill our small world with fun. Yes kicking leaves ticks all those boxes. AND it’s fun for his old Pop as well.

Philosophy

In England we like winding country roads. But occasionally we get a straight one. Like here, almost a French feel to this.

A week ago I was driving along this road and suddenly had a thought. Always dangerous with me. So I parked up and stood by the side of the road. I wonder what the passing drivers thought I was up to. Given the brakes going on the cars, maybe they thought I was a speed camera operative. About 20 years ago I was a civilian manager in a Police Force. It was decided that the handheld speed cameras needed replacing. To cut a long story short the traffic police were asked to test 6 different cameras under similar conditions. Six police cars went to a known speeding zone. Can you imagine the panic on the unsuspecting drivers who screamed over the brow of the hill to be confronted immediately by 6 police officer stood next to each other, pointing 6 cameras at the speeding car. Ones bad enough BUT SIX.

Anyway enough of speeding cars having the worst 5 seconds of their week.

I’d stopped to look at the lane because I had suddenly realised that I had been up and down this road thousands of times over the years and I had never really stopped to look at the beautiful trees. So that’s what I did. But then another random thought struck me. All about which direction to head in. Not easy to choose here as there are so obvious signposts. So left or right – no idea. Bit like life somedays. No obvious direction. Then a smile. My first bit of philosophical thought in years. Why not just head off in the opposite direction to which way your bottom is currently pointing. Yes that works for me.

Kind

It’s autumn and the leaves are falling. Here when they fall they undertake a kind of heroic mass migration. They migrate to our front lawn. Has to be our lawn, never any of my neighbours. These fallen ones have just started their journey heading inevitably to just below our front window. Then they like to stay put. That’s so very kind of them.

I’ve been trying to be kind to myself as well. If I’m happy then I will be a better parent. Trying to find enjoyable things to do. Maybe discover some new hobbies. One of which is learning to play the piano. Finally making use of an electronic keyboard which has been basically just gathering dust. The piano tuition app I’m using is good. Quickly I can now start to read music. I can play a rustic version of Ode To Joy. But I couldn’t understand why the piano app kept talking about one key being middle C when with my careful marking out of the keys came up with a different answer. Then the penny dropped. Can you spot the deliberate mistake in the pink scrawls……

What a muppet. Ok the app might be right…..

Golden times

Unlikely to get too many trips out to enjoy the wonderful autumnal colours this year. But at least I will spend more time looking at very our own mini displays. Too often these are not fully appreciated.

It is often the little things in life that we miss. Don’t fully appreciate. Take them for granted.

Before 2016 at this time of year we would drive as a family through the tree lined country roads to the local arboretum. A walk round the thousands of autumnal trees ending with a hot chocolate at the cafe. It’s not until these moments are gone that you realise how golden those times were.

After 2016 I would drive son to very the same arboretum. Trying to control a mad dog while son kicked around in the fallen leaves. Ending in the cafe now so he and the dog can enjoy a bacon butty. I would saviour a freshly ground full on caffeine burst. Golden days not possible this year.

So maybe those annoying fallen leaves in the front garden will actually come in useful. Let’s go and have a thrash about in them. Followed by a home made butty and yes a hot chocolate. Yes different times, but still golden times.

Colour

It might be autumn. It might feel like autumn. But some bright colours are hanging on there, even if they are getting a bit isolated.

Dad why have you got shorts on.”

Because I feel like having them on

But Dad it’s freezing.”

It’s good for the constitution.

Well it’s not good for my eyes. It’s so uncool.”

Hawklad you have no taste.

Well Dad don’t come running to me when you get Frostbite. Time to cover your legs up.”

*********

I have to admit it was a tad bracing on the legs. That cold that when I tried to have a hot bath to warm up, my legs immediately sucked all the heat out of the water. Sat in luke warm water after just few seconds is no fun.

I understand that Hawklads primary concern with shorts is not for my wellbeing. He doesn’t like wearing shorts. He doesn’t like the feel of fresh air on his legs. He doesn’t like the thought of people looking at his legs. He is not keen on others wearing them as well, certainly when they are near him. He has been this way from about the age of 5. He has not worn them in all that time. It’s even on his medical record and the doctors have wrote to school to tell them to make the necessary adjustments to their sports uniform policy.

I like to exercise in shorts but quite quickly after I have finished you will hear the following words echo across the house – ‘is it about time you cover your legs up…”. It’s another little element of our Aspergers house.

Changes

Definitely it’s a time of change. The season of change. Yesterday was T-shirt and shorts. Today is wet, windy and chilly. 50F probably means the T-shirt season has gone and it’s time for woolly jumpers. Ice Cream replaced with Hot Chocolate.

It’s that time of year.

Four years ago I would have been sat at home looking at the ‘Sincere Condolences’ cards on the mantelpiece. It was a couple of days after my partners funeral. Life was looking bleak. But as the years pass this time of year has increasingly felt like a time of personal change. The end of a period which marked the passing of my partner and mum. A time of sadness moving to thoughts of preparing for winter and all that entails. Thoughts of loss replaced by thoughts of short days and long nights. This year is complicated with our ongoing lockdown which is likely to stretch through the entire cold months. So yes this period of change feels different . Definite change but what? In previous years the next few months brought challenges but also things to look forward to. Concerts, Football Matches, Firework displays, Halloween parties, family meet-ups and meals, Christmas Markets, crisp winter walks and runs. This year these are all none starters. Could that tip the balance of the change. Only time will tell but the change is not yet set in stone. It can still be a positive period but it will need much work.

D

It has started

I love the Autumn colours. The hot chocolate. The coming prospect of winter sports on the telly. An excuse to snuggle into warm, thick jumpers (sweaters). The dark skies filled with stars.

Some things I don’t like so much.

The dark days. The sense of isolation. The sense of foreboding. The rain. The mind numbingly cold wind. The rain seeping through the back door.

AND the leaves. Thousands of fallen leaves. For some reason our garden is seemingly the final destination for all the trees in the area. Today I looked at the neighbouring gardens, at most a couple of lonely leaves – all missing their buddies. Well I can tell them where they are. In my garden….

So it has started. Going to get a lot worse, well in our garden anyway…..

L

Working hard on harvesting

Apparently we are enjoying the last few days of summer weather. It’s kinda sunny and kinda warm – if you ignore the cold wind. The forecasters are warning that soon the weather will be most definitely very different. Very cold, wet, grim and grey. As a result the farmers around here are desperately trying to get on with stuff. Even working when it’s dark.

It’s also time to start harvesting our own little garden crop. Today it’s a few apples, onions, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. Some have done better than others……

Can anyone speak carrot. What’s the carrot for ‘you do know this is Yorkshire and you are about to be given a right weather spanking. You don’t have months of sunny growing weather left, you have no more than 3 days. So get a move on….’

Why is it so simple to grow weeds yet those so called easy grow carrots prove so pesky. It’s as if the carrots pop out of the seeds, feel the Yorkshire soil and go ‘YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING’.

So if the carrots play ball then we are moving into a spell of living off stews, soups and apple crumble. I can happily live with that. I’m always thankful for whatever the garden yields. It does have to contend with the muppet gardener and Captain Chaos.

So yes it’s that time of year. The weather starts to break OR in our case, break even more. It starts to get colder and darker. For many it can be a tough change. Heralding a long period of what feels like ever increasing claustrophobic imprisonment. Me included. That’s where friendships, happy things and dreams are so important. They can help soften the sadness, even lift us into a better place. So for me it’s time to increasingly focus on those things. I can’t do anything about the weather but I can do influence the truly important stuff. Soon the autumn colours will become spectacular. The important stuff can lift the soul. Yes the following months can be bleak BUT they can also yield so much beauty and wonderful moments as well

Now it’s time to give those carrots a good talking to.