Swiss Sunday.

As a child living in what felt like a remote, cut adrift Yorkshire seaside town, life felt very restrictive. I knew a world was out there but only via a black and white TV, the town cinema and books. Money was tight in that grey misty town, few had cars, holidays were taken locally. Normally any holidays revolved round a visit to another seaside town a just a few miles up the coast. No one I knew ever got on a plane and went abroad.

How times changed in just a few years ……

But back then I so wanted to escape. To travel. I especially loved the idea of mountains. They looked unreal on the screen or in books, I had never seen a proper mountain, just small hills. I loved the idea that each mountain had its own name, it’s own personality. One mountain in particular stood out, the fearsome EIGER. I dreamt of standing below it and looking up.

Years later, holidays to Switzerland, to The Alps. Who would have thought that my son would end up standing next to that might mountain I had dreamt about when I was his age. Hawklad was capivated by the local fairy tale about 3 the great local mountains. About a Monk (The Monch), an Ogre (The Eiger) and a young girl (The Jungfrau).

Switzerland is that kinda place. A place of adventure, dreams and wonderful memories.

Swimming

Surely even I can swim across this mighty river.

“Are you sure Dad, your not exactly fish like”

I know but it’s probably just about within the max of my swimming range.

“Dad the bath is the max of your swimming range…..”

But I am a bit of a sporting super being, I could probably jump across the stream.

“Really Dad”

I think so, I am built for sporting excellence. Some say I have a passing resemblance to Thor 🤣🤣🤣🤣

“Maybe the Thor that had cheese puffs flowing through his veins but you definitely have a sure fire resemblance to Fat Tony from The Simpsons”

*******Harsh but fair*********

Colour

Just a bit of colour can make such a difference.

The weather might be gnarly but how can I not smile with this discovery. It’s amazing how beauty can light up life. I’m smiling so much this morning.

“Dad can you cut my hair”

That’s the problem with single parenting. For every task, I can’t hand it over to someone more able than myself. So I’m a hairdresser today. Simultaneously I am the best hairdresser in the house and without doubt, I am the worst hairdresser in the house as well.

Twenty minutes later Hawklad’s hair is much shorter. A unique haircut. Kinda of different styles depending on which part of his hair you look at. I blame it on the hair clippers. The dog’s hair clippers. So as Hawklad surveyed the damage in the mirror.

“Go on Dad, tell me what your Dad used to say to you, I think it’s very relevant right now.“

After every home hair sheering Dad would say- there is only two days between a shocking hairstyle and an ok one. My Dad would then quickly add – a man on a passing horse wouldn’t be able to see if it’s a good or bad cut. It was easy for Dad, he was bald….

“Dad, as most people won’t be on horseback I’m going to wear a big hat for the next few days….”

Worries

There is something truly magical about a Walk in the Woods when the weather has closed in. It can be the start of so many stories and adventures.

A planned meet-up with my sister failed today. Hawklad agreed to go for it and then my sisters car went on strike. These things happen. A distraction would have been good. Just one of those days in which Hawklad’s anxieties spiked. When they hit, they hit in waves. Not just one thing, a range of things. When he gets kind of on top of one thing, two more jump in to replace them. Doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas Eve, these anxiety waves can hit at any time. They confuse his thought process. They cause him sensory overload. They stop him in his tracks.

I know what it’s feels like. I’ve been there as well.

Distraction sometimes works. Pacing about. Scooby Doo. Lego. Walks. But at some stage we have to work through the anxieties. Try to unpick them. Put them into context. Do what we can.

Slowly this time, the waves begin to subside. You can tell when he is getting there. The first signs

“Dad where is The Big Red Fella on Track Santa”

On his way to Madagascar apparently. He arrives in 7 minutes.

“I wonder just how many in England have been put on the naughty list this year”

It’s probably more a massive database than a list. You won’t be on it.

“Dad you are officially on the naughty list with that jumper of yours. Even Elton John wouldn’t wear that.”

I will have you know it’s a handmade Italian climbing sweater.

“Which they export for muppets like you to buy because no self respecting Italian will ever wear that.”

Harsh but fair….

“Why in earth is it about three sizes to big for you…”

I bought it when I was climbing in Wales years ago. My size was standard price but the garden shed size was 80% off. That’s a bargain I couldn’t turn down.

“But it’s far too big for you…”

It’s not that big….

“Dad there’s more room in that jumper than in our loft, a family of 4 could live in there”

That’s mostly down to all the weight I’ve lost on my diets

“If only Dad….”

Ok. It is a tad big. I can change my T-shirt without taking it off. But I could give it to you. Think of it as a precious hand me down from father to son.

“Just NO. That would really give me something to worry about…..”

####he chuckled at that one, that’s a good sign###

Time

It’s carnage on the roads today. Proper gridlock.

The amount of time I used to waste on the roads. Rush hour first thing, then rush hour on the way home. Travelling distances for meetings. Rushing here and there. Grabbing a sandwich while scurrying to my next appointment. Surviving on ever increasing amounts of caffeine. Time I could have spent truly living, doing things that truly matter. It wasn’t until single parenting forced me out of the rat race that I finally managed to see this. Time passed me by and I didn’t even notice. You don’t get that time back. What was I thinking about.

Now it’s a different life. My priorities have changed. Being a Mum and Dad, Single parenting, homeschooling, housework, trying to keep a part time job going. All mostly done without reference to an appointments diary AND NO TIME LOST in the rush hour, work madness.

When the world changed I kinda assumed that it was just about putting my career on hold. Maybe somewhere after 2023 the career would live again. It doesn’t work like that. I now realise that old life has gone full stop…… Other priorities, other commitments, I’m a different person. A new realisation.

Life has to be about making the most of precious time and not letting it slip through my fingers stuck in permanent traffic jams and never ending meeting cycles. Now the stuff I do MATTERS. If I don’t do it then it doesn’t happen. Can’t do that as a parent. Contrast that with the rat race. Do they even know that I quit my career. Did anyone notice one less driver stuck in the traffic queues.

YES, one person most definitely has.

YES my son. I’m there for him when he needs me, that doesn’t happen if I’m stuck on the M1 somewhere near Junction 42. I’m not there for him if I’m chasing my career.

Time really matters…….

Let’s go walking

Let’s go walking

An early finish to the school day. A big advantage of the school at home project. Usually if a teacher forgets to issue work then we chase it up. Not this day. If the teacher forgets (and they did) let’s not remind them. Let’s see if they notice (and they didn’t).

An early finish means time for a long walk. I so wish Hawklad could use the time to meet up with friends. But as he is stuck with his gnarly Muppet Dad then the next best thing is a walk. Hawklad’s idea.

A walk from our house which we had never fully done before. 15km and we never saw another soul. Perfect for Hawklad.

Definitely beats school and school never missed him.

Thoughts

A path across the hills.

A path frequented by farmers, dog walkers and intrepid Muppet Dads. A path that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere in particular. Meandering around hedgerows and the occasional isolated tree. One of those locations that you can so easily get lost. Definitely a great place to lose yourself. One day it might even be a cool place to find myself.

It’s been one of those days with too much thinking time. Plenty of thinking yet no real insight. No new paths opening up while managing to add more roadblocks to existing roads ahead. It’s been one of those days. Feeling like it’s one step forward, two back and a few too many sideways. That feeling isn’t much fun sat in the house.

But on a path across the hills, it just means more walking is required….

Tree

That’s a tree that deserves to be in a Lord of the Rings story.

So does this mushroom.

I wished I was in that Tolkien world this morning. Without any lesson notes or teaching guidance, Hawklad was trying to answer questions about Stoichiometry and reaction ratios. So in stepped Muppet Dad with his College Chemistry. It didn’t go well.

You know that you are seriously old when Atomic Theory has changed at least twice since you were at college.

Yep I like the sound of a world where people drop rings down big mountain holes, all without having to worry about what mass of Propane would burn in 48g of Oxygen.

And to answer your question. No Hawklad isn’t any closer to understanding this part of Chemistry. When I first started explaining I got the right answer. 13.2g. An hour later and I’m doubting my reasoning. What chance has Hawklad got when I confused myself. That is quite easily done these days.

But here’s the thing. Apart from in one exam, how many times will Hawklad come across Propane to Oxygen ratios. I bet Tolkien appears far more regularly. Maybe a course in Tolkien would be on much more use in life. It certainly will be more rewarding.

Brave New World

Empty shelves in the shops, no petrol anywhere across the area, limited availability of blood test container tubes for Doctors resulting in the rationing of patient tests……..Another day in the Brave New World after Brexit.

As Hawklad rather adroitly put it this afternoon “this is what happens when a country needs leaders but votes in CLOWNS. Really nasty clowns.” As one commentator put it – the kinda clown who would happily pull out the plug on your life support machine so they could charge up their mobile phone.

It’s all going very dystopian here in Britain. To make the Huxley story link then we need a bit of genetically engineered trickery. What follows is the lamest link ever. Genetical engineering in the form of baking. My baking. Yes that is my latest bread loaf. Cheese topped Gluten Free, Dairy Free Honey and Sunflower Seed Bread. Huxley would be proud of me – it tastes rather fine. BUT…

“Dad that’s all very well but weren’t you supposed to be baking a sponge cake .”

Oh yes, I wondered why I was making bread when I already had a full homemade loaf still to eat. I must have got confused.

“That’s what happens when a kitchen needs a parent who knows what he’s doing and ends up with a MUPPET. Admittedly a muppet who can now bake bread.”

Longest

You know summer has gone when you return from an evening mad dog walk and you opt for a hot chocolate rather than a cold drink. Tonight was back to back drinks, that’s proper chilly.

“Dad we should go for a really long walk. Take Captain Chaos with us.”

That’s a big call for Hawklad. That might mean lots of gates to navigate without touching, increases the risk of meeting others. Needs to be carefully mapped out and planned. So maybe we could try to walk a bit further on the evening walk. It’s definitely quiet and I know exactly where the gates are.

Maybe he is thinking about building bridges. Getting use to being out in the big bad world again.

“No Dad we need to go much further but definitely when it’s quiet. It’s nothing to do with meeting people again.”

Ok then we might need to get up at dawn. Does he want to go anywhere in particular.

Apparently not. He just wants a long walk. Maybe it’s just a fitness thing. Maybe he thinks the four legged one needs more exercise.

Apparently not as well. So why does he want the long walk. Actually he wants his longest ever walk.

“It’s really about you Dad”

Oh I never saw that coming. Is he thinking I need to get out more. Maybe start hill walking again.

“No Dad. I was thinking this afternoon about my longest ever. Do you remember it. You took me when I had just started school for a short walk on the army land. You got lost and didn’t bother bringing a map because you didn’t need one. 5 hours later we got back to the car. Do you remember it rained and I didn’t have my coat as you said that I didn’t need one. We didn’t have any food or water. At one stage a soldier told us get back on the path”

Oh yes I remember that….

“I was thinking that my longest ever walk should have a purpose and not just be about my Dad being a muppet.”

He knows me to well……