Open Air

It’s been over a year since I last managed a run. It’s hard to get my head round that fact especially as up to that point I would go trail running at least 3 times a week, every week.

But here’s the thing.

Do I miss the blisters – NO.

Do I miss the aches and pains – NO.

Do I miss having a face that you could fry and egg on – NO

Do I miss running up hill – MOST CERTAINLY NOT.

But I miss the feeling of open air and wow I miss the views.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. This wonderful little country has been a special holiday destination for our family for a couple of generations now. Life has happened and that family is much changed now. Much smaller. Now the baton of Alpine Trips is really just lies with Hawklad and me. We must find a way of keeping that tradition going. Why?

Because family tradition is so important. Once it’s gone it’s gone….

Because Switzerland is so special and so worth it…..

Sadly 2021 doesn’t look like being a year where we can venture those 1000 miles again. It’s been 5 years now since our last trip. So let’s keep those memories strong until life opens up again and once more a family trip to alpine heaven can happen again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which we haven’t been able to visit in a few years but which still holds a special place in our hearts.

Someone asked why we love this country so much. Well the first thing is that is has so many links to our Hawklad. His mum’s family have had links to the country for nearly 80 years now. That’s so important to our son.

Another reason is how the Swiss villages just look so perfect in the alpine landscape.

Another reason is the country’s beautiful lakes. They have a magical quality.

Another reason is those walks through the wooded mountain valleys. They are simply breathtaking.

We hardly get much snow these days where we live. The excitement of coming to land where the snow is always there. Even in summer.

The mountains are nothing short of epic.

Finally its not a bad place for an 8 year old to have breakfast.

#itsabeautifulplanet

Ok I know I go on about Switzerland. How I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. But I need to set the record straight. In my eyes we are so lucky to live in a world with so many wonderful places. Every country, every region will have at least one place. One special place. I’ve been so lucky to actually visit many of those places in Yorkshire, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Congo, South Africa and yes Switzerland.

Yes today Yorkshire is separate from England – must be time for the next King Richard III to take us out of the place which has became the play thing for the Madness of King Boris.

If I can’t physically visit places then I can see the beauty through virtual trips.

Yes we live in a world which can still be beautiful. It can still be a wonderful life. Surely it’s time for us to not to always focus on all the ugliness which fills the news these days. Time to focus on the beauty. Time to delete the #itsanuglyworld and get behind something like #itsabeautifulplanet. Time for us to promote those special places. To give others a glimpse of what is truly out there.

So I will give you my first offering. I give you Northumberland.

Cool

It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….

In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.

It’s Mafting…….

It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.

It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.

So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland.

We have been so blessed to visit Switzerland so many times. The weather has virtually always been with us. Just stunning. But occasionally the weather closed in. One day it poured down. Rather ironically it was on a trip to Meiringen. To see the location of the the final battle between Sherlock Holmes and Moriaty. The village is a homage to the great detective. A little bit of England in The Alps. Of course it had to rain. Through the rain clouds the infamous Reichenback Falls can be seen.

But normally the sun shines and the views are almost to perfect to be real.

If anything these photos don’t do Switzerland justice. It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.

Always something that takes the breath away.

But let’s not forget that as beautiful as the views might be……It’s always time to play with animals. Especially new ones freshly acquired from a lovely shop in Interlaken.

It’s always ice lolly time.

Weeds weeds weeds

In this photo the farmers field looks well kept, flat with short grass. In reality it’s like walking over a minefield. No flat bits, huge holes, long grass, thistles and presents from the farm animals. Maybe I should try taking a long distance photo of our garden. It might look semi tidy. Ha Ha Ha

Yes we currently have a well cut lawn – well if you ignore the beautiful mole hills and badger diggings. That’s also conveniently ignoring the rampant moss growing amongst the grass. The other parts of the garden are not good at all. It’s an uncoordinated mix of weeds, flowers, more weeds and vegetables. I was hoping the theory that ‘beauty can be found in the random’ might be true. Always an exception to the rule.

Apparently some vegetables in that mess
A bit of a tidy up has started…

Then looking on in amazement at Erika’s wonderful garden. Now that’s a garden. Looking at Derrick’s stunning garden. Now that’s a garden. Time to convert that amazement into action. Time to ditch the random…

I’m in planning mode. Making plans for a potential future road trip to Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Making plans for a dream trip to another continent. Now making plans for the garden. That’s a plan that I can start to implement NOW. If we are going to be garden bound, might as well make it a nice one. Under orders from Hawklad the plan will need to include a rock pool and a weed section. Well with the Yorkshire rain we won’t need to worry about refilling the pool and weeds – we have plenty of those. That’s a good start.

It’s also a good check on my life in general as well. My life has become far too cluttered. Too messy. Trying to fight on too many fronts at the same time. Not sure of what my priorities are. Just like the garden, it’s become overgrown and confusing. I then don’t seem to achieve enough. Lose sight of the path ahead. So yes a garden plan is good, a new life plan would be really good. That way I can really focus on what is special to me.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly virtual trip to stunning Switzerland. Pure Alpine Heaven.

One morning on every trip, I would be let out early to go for a short European jog.

Not too far as breakfast would be soon calling.

Everyone of today’s photos was taken from the route of my run.

It took me just under 40 minutes to do the route. Adding a couple of photo stops.

So in just 40 minutes, all this beauty.

So much on the doorstep of the hotel. The amazing thing is that Switzerland has so many places like this.

You don’t need to be running here to literally have your breathe taken away.

I might enjoy running but I have to say there are better ways to exercise and take in the beauty of Lake Thun.

Trip

Reminders of what is still out there. So close yet in this changed world, so very far away. Photos from a time before lockdown. Seems almost a lifetime ago.

Trying to reintegrate back into the big bad world will be a challenge for many. Certainly it will be for our little family. We have however taken the first very hesitant steps. The overall journey will not be easy and will require frequent retreats.

A couple of houses close to ours have started large renovation projects. Much scaffolding, many trucks and vans. With that comes workers, strangers on the door step to our sons safe world. Now the safe boundary has shifted from the front gate to the front door. His world has contracted again.

We just have to live with this. Thankfully the back garden is still safe in his eyes.

Over the last week we have been building towards a short journey. A little round car trip. Unfortunately the new strangers to the village disrupted those plans. But we have made it with a few tweaks. We went early before anybody had time to arrive. That way we also had the roads to ourselves. Careful car reversing managed to get the car close enough to the house to allow son to take a few hesitant steps. I opened the car door so he didn’t have to touch any alien surfaces. We then drove for 10 minutes without stopping. No time for walks or photos. Then back home for Son to shower and change clothes.

That’s a start. We may go again next week. We will go when Son says so, not me. I suspect it will be a long time before we have new photos from the trips. But these few shots from winter show what even a little 10 minute drive can reveal. As hard as some governments try to wreck our life’s – it’s still a wonderful world.

Fashion expert

A mass of red from a plant that my big sister bought for us as a house warming present many years ago. Still so colourful, still so stylish. Unfortunately other things in the house are not ageing so well….

We have a school week holiday coming up. A week to give the kids and teachers a break. Let’s not forget parents, grandparents, guardians, support staff as well. We might be homeschooling but it feels like a break is much needed. A week without schooling to allow kids to be kids….

We call the week before a half term the T minus clock. T minus days before the school breaks up. Can we survive the T minus clock without holiday homework. Well….

It’s T minus 3 days to go and it’s not going well so far. So far Son has Art, English and Science holiday homework. Large projects. So much for kids having a break.

I clearly need a break or at the very least a fashion consultant.

“Dad are you seriously going to wear that“.

I thought it was a fine shorts and Jumper (sweater) combo.

“You hair is sticking up and you haven’t shaved today”

I’m calling it the Indiana Jones look.

Maybe for Indiana Jones 6 when he’s about 110.”

Clearly Dr Jones has aged well then….

The jumper is a bit big for you.”

It was a Christmas present and I never got round to changing it.

And I’m probably taller than you now.”

Something strangely emasculating about when your son has edged passed you, when he is barely 13.

How can I put this politelyErm …. You look like a hobbit from Lord of the Rings”

Any cheap fashion experts out there?

Update: School are clearly joining in the fun. The class have been asked to watch a fantasy movie for the next lesson. And why movie are we watching. The Hobbit. The Shame never ends.