Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Cold

Do I fancy walking through that. Captain Chaos most definitely does. Maybe even squeeze in a good roll about in that glorious mud. It would certainly be a cold experience.

So the first day of the National Lockdown has passed by. To be fair I didn’t notice much change. Didn’t see any one walking on the street and the fields remained empty. Hardly any traffic on the roads. Spookily quiet. But actually it was like that before the lockdown started. That’s village life for you. So I seemingly had the world to myself as I walked the dog early in the morning. It was a good time to think and contemplate life.

If 2021 is another year of isolation, which it could be….

What do I want out of this year?

Here’s the thing about depression with me. It clouds my mind with so many negative thoughts. Makes me look back anxiously rather than look forward with hope. So on this particular dog walk the ‘what do I want’ question wasn’t yielding the uplifting messages that it should have. Best I could manage wasn’t much more than

  • Not completely messing up the homeschooling gig,
  • Trying not to put on weight,
  • Keeping the bank off my back,
  • Hanging on to what I have,
  • Not losing my marbles,
  • Trying not to go backwards,
  • Just surviving….

All too negative. So yes I have much to work on. But I will. Can’t thank my friends here enough. You have been so supportive, caring and encouraging. Thank you ❤️. Because of you I feel more confident that I will find my way again. Then I can walk the dog across the fields and come up with more uplifting goals.

WE can do this.

Say that again

Say that again…..

I so need to have a notebook which I carry around in my pocket at all times. Every time something is mentioned that has the slightest chance of becoming important then I could write it down. A permanent record to prompt my sieve like memory and stop those say that again moments.

Had a few too many of those over the last few days.

“Dad did you get the glazed cherries for our Christmas Eve treat?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you buy the Home Alone 4 dvd for our Christmas Day movie?”

Say that again!!!!

“Dad did you phone school before they broke up to tell them that the Teams password isn’t working?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to make a donation to the school charity appeal last Thursday?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you phone up XXXXXXX mum to get hold of their address so we can send them a card?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad you haven’t forgotten that we are having Salmon to eat on Christmas Eve?”

Say that again!!!!

“Have we got the sausage rolls, French sticks, onion rings, pineapple rings, Doritos and mango chutney in for our Christmas Eve buffet?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember that you said that you would send a copy of the family tree to Auntie Xxxx”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to take the bread out of the oven. It’s been in there for most of the day and it’s looking a bit burnt.

Say that again!!!!

Mr Xxxxxxxxx did you remember to submit form 5a. It needs to be received by the end of this month or the service will stop.

Say that again!!!!

Ok you will need to give your dog these nasal sprays at least once a day. Will your dog sit still to let you do that.”

Say that again!!!!

Here’s hoping

I sneaked out for an early dog walk. That way Hawklad doesn’t go into Quarantine meltdown. For me and the dog. One thing about our son is that he is so predictable in a morning. After 3am that’s it he is asleep and doesn’t wake up until just before 8am. One of the advantages of the school at home project. This has been pushed from 7am. Much more natural for him, much less forced.

It does allow for a dog walk but sadly no run. Captain Chaos goes into bark mode when I try to sneak out without him. And it’s just a big fat NO to trying to run with Captain Chaos. He’s a dog that doesn’t believe in going in the same direction as the person with him.

But a dog walk is something. It’s a little win. We take any wins these days.

You might not be able to tell but it’s absolutely chucking it down with a howling Gale. But at least some of the mist has been temporarily blown away. Very squelchy under foot.

While someone had a little constitutional in the field I decided to play with the panoramic mode on my phone…..

This field is our sledging slope. Only ever seen us two use it really. Will it get used this year or next? Doesn’t feel like snow. But here hoping. That would be another little win.

Changes

Tis the season for cobwebs.

I don’t know what it is but my car is a particular favourite haunt for the spiders round here. As I’m not driving the car much these days I’m pleased it’s found another use.

Today’s high point was a visit to the vets for the dogs annual inoculations and to check him out as he’s been sneezing a bit for weeks. It’s changed a bit since the last visit.

You now can’t just turn up and you can only attend during your allocated time slot. When you arrive you have to stay in the car and phone to let them know that you have here. I was informed another pet was being seen and we were next up. I had to wait until the red light above the front entrance turned to green before we could enter the building. I was met at the entrance by someone dressed like an Astronaut to ensure I had a mask on and that I had used the hand sanitizer. As I ensured high levels of hygiene, Captain Chaos was happily rolling about in the mud and other unmentionable items. Don’t know why I bothered combing him.

Once inside we were ushered into a tape marked area and told to wait for the vet. The Vet also dressed like an Astronaut promptly arrived and stood behind another marked line on the floor. After a few questions the vet carefully stretched over and took the Cap’s lead and led him into the treatment room. From behind the door I listened to the mayhem. Items knocked over as someone went exploring. The telltale growl as the Captain sees the needle. Definitely dog for you have another thing coming if you think that massive sharp thing is coming anywhere near me… Then the Yelp and Crying – he’s not the bravest fella.

A few minutes later the Cap bursts out of the door and he’s officially in ‘out of here’ mode.

As I try to prevent the dog from destroying the front door the vet tells me that he needs some medicine. The expensive medicine is handed over through a new protective screen at the reception. It’s back home to then immediately phone the Vet up to pay the bill – only telephone payments are currently accepted.

At least somethings stayed the same. The poor potted plant in the waiting room was well watered again by the Captain. It’s a tradition…..

Hibernation

A brief few minutes of decent weather before the next wave of wet and windy ‘yuk’ arrives. It’s good to get outside to breathe even if it only for a short while. Having said that. Try telling that to a dog. A dog who has taken one look at the weather and decided to hibernate inside. Can’t blame him really. Cold wet grass or playing with a toy on the sofa. Not really a tough call.

I remember after my partner died that I felt like hibernating. Straight after a death you are constantly forced out to sort out death certificates, funeral arrangements, banks, legal stuff, family, friends and acquaintances (many you have no idea who they are). It’s the last thing you want to do but you just have to. But then after your back from the funeral it starts to change. The requirements to venture out start to diminish. In my case I had to quit my job to become a single parent. Apart from the school run and shopping, no need to go out. And that’s what I did. Started to hibernate. But home wasn’t a warm and safe nest. It felt cold, empty and scary. But hibernate I did.

I was lucky. For some reason one day I went for a run. Suddenly running was ok. I could avoid people and venture out. It helped break the spell of that lifeless house. Mile after mile running and listening to music. It was a start. I was outside more. Starting to breathe again. People would come later. And yes a mad dog would arrive to bring life back to the house. So yes I will grant the mad one a bit of hibernation. He’s earned that.

Almost ready

The apples are almost ready.

It will soon be apple crumble time. Now what to go for with it – Custard or Ice Cream?

There is always something to be thankful for. Even in 2020.

I heard someone on the radio say that to him 2020 was the worst period he had ever known. We are all different. We will have our own very unique years to forget. Suffering years. To me 2020 has been an odd year. Yes some new battles. Mainly filled with old battles. More isolation but not that much more than previous years. BUT crucially some wonderful things have also happened.

Eventually when I look back at my life 2016 will take some beating as my worst year. But even then that oversimplifies things. The first 6 months were not bad at all. Then the 6 weeks from hell. Lost my mum and then my partner. Came crashing into the competing worlds of grief, depression and single parenting. Those 6 weeks changed everything for ever. The despair associated with those 42 days and the following weeks just mark 2016 as a bad one. But you easily forget the good stuff that happened before and after. For example November 2016 witnessed the arrival of this well behaved and sensible four legged chap.

Yes it’s easy to forget that good stuff happens all around us, even in the darkest years.

Two things

Two strange things have happened over the last few days. And NO it’s not that I have found sleep….

The two things are that clearly we have moved back into winter and I have switched to the new WP editor. I’m hoping both are short term changes.

Not sure the cover to my waterproof exercise bike cover is Yorkshire weather resistant

It’s winter. Very cold, very wet and exceedingly stormy. In fact the storm force wind has managed to shift the exercise bike a few feet since last night. I struggle to do that on a good day. It’s been that wet I’ve spent most of the morning trying to stop the rain from flooding out the Utility Room. Too bad even to exercise outside, so it was an indoor session. Problem with those are trying to find enough space and the PETS. The sight of me on my back trying to lift up weights is too much for a dog and cat. Suddenly it’s play time for the not so little hooligans. What chance do I have I’d focusing on posture and technique when I have various well chewed soft toys dropped on my face.

Using the new WP editor feels a little like having a soggy, well chewed pet toy repeatedly checked at you. It kinda works but only on its terms. It does like randomly reformatting posts, messing up links, deleting posts and generally messing up my blog. The deleting of my posts may well be seen as a wonderful feature amongst many. It’s basically as well behaved as our pets, which is not behaved at all…..

Unbelievably this little white flower continues to survive the buffeting. Clearly it was designed to cope with ‘its raining cats and dogs’ weather. I suspect it’s not designed to cope with mad pets although it might be able to design a more user friendly WP editor.

Pond

A brief moment of colour before the next band of rain arrives. And yes it’s still two jumper (sweater) weather.

As a child my Dad created a reasonably large pond in the garden. He filled it with little goldfish. It was a haven for wildlife. A protected haven. It had its very own guard dog. Our large family dog called Mick. Mick was lovely but he had issues. He took his guarding the ‘family and the garden’ role very seriously. He bit a postman. He then bit a policeman. It’s amazing how quickly some people learn to understand the meaning of a garden gate sign. Do not enter – Dog who will bite strangers beyond this gate……So he was not a chap to be messed with. And the garden pond fell under his care. Fish, small creatures and small birds were most welcome. He would even let the small birds drink from his water bowl. Unfortunately the same privileges were not granted to larger creatures and large birds. So strangely they quickly learnt that Darwin might have a point and they had better quickly adapt. Adapt meaning give that particular garden a wide berth. A policy which was also observed by the postal and police services.

That garden pond is a long time ago. Since then I have never had a pond. That is until last week. Bad weather interrupted a garden tidy up session. So the wheelbarrow contained a few pulled up weeds. However the rain has transformed the scene. The weeds are doing rather well in the slightly damp conditions. I’m calling that a pond. Just lacking some goldfish and a guard dog called Mick.

Lollies and homeschooling

Somebody waiting to share my ice lolly.

This weekend the weather is going to be mad. For a start it’s dry (which is mad for Yorkshire). But the temperature. Midday today it was 21C (70F). Midday tomorrow is due to be 2C (35F). On the Yorkshire temperature scale that’s going from a string vest to two jumpers.

This week it was a 4 day school session. Definitely into a pattern now. Some subjects working well using an iPad and online resources. Some lessons not working well. But what have we learnt this week from the school at home project.

  • School are looking at how to enforce social distancing when they reopen. They are doing this without any help or information or resources from the so called Government. The only way they have managed to find a practical way is to split the existing classes up. Maximum Class sizes have to a third of what they are now. This basically means that it only works if many kids are homeschooled for at least part of the week.
  • The secret with about teaching is understand the particular needs of the child. With our Son and a subject like a History, it’s not about getting new information into him. Already he has a staggering encyclopaedia stored. It’s finding ways to get that knowledge out of him.
  • It’s basically impossible to free hand draw a circle and a pentagram on a tablet.
  • Even at home we have a stationary leak. Pens, pencils, erasers, rulers …. are going missing. I can understand losing them at school but at home …. really. Where are they?
  • When did long divisions become so complicated.
  • Son is enjoying having a regular school lunch. He says that his work on an afternoon has improved. He’s less tired. At school because of too many kids trying to use overstretched catering facilities, Son often doesn’t eat or drink. It’s certainly not helped by government pressure to cut break and lunch times.
  • Kryptonite won’t count when you are trying to name inert elements.
  • Son, the IPad and I do not agree on how most words are spelt.
  • One of the great feels is Son completing a lesson with 30 minutes to spare. Son can go outside and I can hover.
  • I am becoming a bit of an expert in Russian geography. Begs the question why I was so rubbish at Geography when I was at school.
  • The French I learned (or thought I learned) is fundamentally different to the French Son is learning now.
  • In all the weeks we have done this thing at home, most subjects have not set additional homework. Yet we are told that the kids are keeping up on the curriculum requirements. So what is the point of setting heaps of daily homework when they are at school

And the last thing we have learnt. Ice lollies during subjects like Drama really do ease the pain.