Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday here in Yorkshire. It’s wet and windy outside. I so wish I was in Switzerland right now living out my dreams.

It’s a country that I have visited many times (not enough). A perfect setting for family holidays. So many family memories. It’s now been 6 years since the last adventure here. The family is much smaller now but just maybe next year, more memories can be born amongst The Alps. You just never know when those rainbows will bring those pots of gold to your soul again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in the UK. Whisper it but I would much rather be saying that it’s Sunday her in Switzerland. It’s definitely a land that I would love to live out my dreams. The best of dreams in the best of lands.

Switzerland is a land of lakes, mountains, valleys and alpine meadows. The air is crisp, fresh and pure. It’s healthy. It’s good for you. It has the highest percentage of people over a 100 years old across all of Europe. It has the highest average life expectancy of any country in Europe and it is in the top 4 countries world wide.

Dreams and good for you, YES I wish I was in Switzerland right now.

As good as it’s got

It’s been a funny old summer. Most odd. For some reason the only thing growing here has been weeds and the lawn. Actually it was a spectacular year for nettles.

In terms of garden produce this is about as good as it’s got.

Is this it. Is this as good as it gets.

My hopes and dreams would definitely say NO, so much more to come. The tired mind and body today might give a different answer. Sometimes I feel stuck. Caught in an endless loop. Two steps forward then two steps back. No clear route to my dreams. Lots of effort and then a few weeks later I’m still stood in the same place.

But then I drag my body to the back fence and I look at a particular tree. A tree that had come to represent so much in my life. A tree that is battered and bruised. Storm after storm. A couple of direct lightning strikes to boot. Once accidentally hit by a farm tractor.

Definitely a lob sided tree, stood alone on an exposed hill.

Yet it’s still here. It still stands proud. Every day I can see it in the distance.

One day maybe the rainbow will land on that tree. It certainly deserves that.

So yes I might be tired and frustrated today but that tree has reminded me to keep going. Change might not come today, but tomorrow is not set in stone. It could just happen. Hopes and Dreams most definitely still in play.

Is this it. Is this as good as it gets. LETS SEE ABOUT THAT.

Swiss Sunday

It’s very early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire. I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming big.

This week I was going through some old boxes that I had stored away when I cleaned mums house out. Looking for some old papers but I quickly got sidetracked. I found an old postcard. Wow, remember them….. It was one I had sent to my mum from my first trip to Switzerland. Many years ago. Pre parenting times. If I remember right it was sent on the first afternoon of the holiday. I used to write quite big as my handwriting is pretty poor. Not ideal with a small postcard. I struggled to fit mums address in the right half of the card. The first few words read of the message read.

“Hi Mum. Here safe. Switzerland is EPIC. I have never seen a land this beautiful, this magical, this perfect.”

Those words say it all. Switzerland is that good.

Anniversaries

Another year and another anniversary. Time passes. It never stops. It never stops.

These words will go live almost 5 years to the minute when I received that call from the Hospice. That conversation has faded into the mists of time now. I remember just a few words “I am so sorry”.

The first two anniversaries were so tough. I was in a bleak place. I couldn’t understand why my time had stopped but the world kept turning. It never missed a beat. How could that be possible. One thought dominated. Why her, why not me. The wrong person went. Over an over, the same thought. I was kinda rooted to the spot. No dreams left intact. Living purely through the eyes of our son.

Now it’s 5 years. What does an anniversary feel like now.

More like any other day. Does that sound bad….Even for me time doesn’t stop. Yes some moments spent remembering. Maybe not enough moments. But I know now. Those times have gone. The good and bad times. Just memories now. Time has moved on. I have moved on. New Dreams. Time moves on.

I won’t lie to you. Yes I still sometimes think -‘maybe it should have been me’. But……There is a phrase that can grind on me but in this case it’s true.

It is what it is.

Yes it is. That’s how it’s worked out. I can’t change it.

Memories are in the past, locked in time. I need to deal with today. Yes it’s an anniversary but it’s also another parenting day. Time doesn’t stop, even on an anniversary. Yes hopefully time for memories but also time to dream.

So how does this anniversary feel. Important YES but i realise it’s just about the past. Important but not as important living. So what does it feel like. It feels like today. It feels like the gateway to the future.

Memories will come but forgive me I need to dream first.

Ice Cream

It’s time to dream. Dream big.

As I dream then what better time can there be to try to make some homemade ICE CREAM. So after a hunt I located one of those random impulse purchases that never made it out of the box. An Ice Cream Maker. Then the panic. How on earth am I going to fit that big bowl which needs freezing for 8 hours into a rammed freezer. I can’t remember that bit on the glossy advert. It just said make delicious ice cream easily at home….. So an hour later the freezer is bursting at the seems. The lid is weighted partly down with my heaviest kettlebell.

Wait patiently for 6 hours….. I’m sure two hours won’t make that much difference.

So in went the dairy and gluten free ingredients. Lots of tinned coconut milk, vanilla, decaf coffee and maple syrup. That kinda thing. Plus cookie dough….. why does my attempt at cookie dough look like rabbit droppings 😳😳😳😳😳

Then the press the machine button and it stirs…..why didn’t I just use my food mixer and save the money.

The end result…..

Not sure the famous ice cream brand will be too happy being associated with my attempt. But it is recycling….

Whisper it. It was nice……. WOW.

We would love you to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel is receiving so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.

Albatross

Another early trip to the coast. Early means tiredness but it is good. At that time it is quiet. That is perfect for Hawklad. Normally you also get to witness the beauty of first light. NOT THIS DAY….

It was dreadful. Heavy rain, Misty, Windy, Cold. Within minutes of standing in the cliff viewing platform the weather had made its way through our coats and clothes. Today birdwatching was going to be a trial. A few intrepid (bonkers mad) souls were hoping to catch sight of one of the rarest birds. An Albatross. The only Albatross in the Northern Hemisphere. Albert has decided to make the Yorkshire coast one of his pit stops. Last year he spent 3 days here. This year it’s been a month so far. Resting on one particular spot on a steep cliff.

This was our fifth visit to try and see him. We had been lucky on one trip. Seeing him through a telescope on the cliff. But no luck seeing the true spectacle of an Albatross flying. The other visits – no luck. Albert spends a lot of time at sea, or further down the coast or flying to an island off Northern Germany.

Today was not looking hopeful. No sign as he has been last seen flying off to sea. The weather was trying to drive us back to the warmth of the car. The other mad souls had given up. After an hour that was enough for Hawklad and we dragged our sudden bodies back to the car park. But then a couple of men ran back. He might have been spotted. So we headed back to the cliff. NOTHING.

Must have been an earlier sighting. After 30 minutes it was enough for Hawklad again. But for some reason I said ‘5 more minutes’. NOTHING. I started to pack away the drenched binoculars when suddenly a shout. ‘What’s that’.

Amongst the Gannets, one much larger bird with black wings.

Unbelievably Albert the Albatross was there. For 5 glorious minutes he performed close fly passes. Sometimes no more than 20 yards away. These photos don’t do him justice.

Finally Albert settled on the cliff and rested. One chap shouted over that this was like a bird spotters dream that could never happen.

So a very wet Hawklad had seen his first ever Albatross. As a toddler he had a soft toy just like Albert. He loved it and always said he wanted to one day see one. Who would have thought that one would come to him. Now let’s hope Albert somehow finds his way back home. But while he is here he will bring so much joy to many.

But it just goes to show that even when things are seemingly against you. When it’s looking grey and tough. Great things can just be around the corner. DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.

Swiss Sunday

You might have realised by now. I’m kinda fond of Switzerland. Is started when I was young. As a teenager I was seemingly stuck in a North East English seaside town. Surrounded by pollution and poverty. The world seemed so far out of reach. Yet virtually every Saturday morning I spent so many hours looking at the photos in a battered old climbing book. One of the few interesting books in the town’s rundown library. The book was a gateway to a far off wonderland called Switzerland. Fast forward many years and regular family holidays confirming just how amazing this wonderland was in reality. The perfect location for adventures and living out big dreams.

It’s now been 6 years since my last visit. It does feel like a far off land these days. But I need to go back. I need to experience Switzerland again. I need to remind myself that this world is still a place of wonder.

Endings

My mum had a range of old movies that she would watch over and over again. Every week she would go through the TV listings and carefully circle those movies she just had to watch again. She would the likes of Casablanca and Singing in the Rain at least once a year. As she made 90 that’s a lot of views. But some strange movies would also get onto the ‘watch again and again’ list. Dirty Harry….. Die Hard …….. anything with Chuck Norris in.

But then there were other movies. Movies she would watch for the first time and only ever once. For these B-list movies she had an interesting strategy. If she didn’t like how the plot was progressing she would stop the movie. Stop the movie and make up her own ending. That changed the very essence of certain classics. Maximus doesn’t die in Gladiator. Tom Cruise was the rogue agent who killed his spy team in Mission Impossible. All the Gangsters get captured at the end of The Godfather. Bruce Willis was a ghost in Sixth Sense right from the start and there was no need to watch the rest of the boring movie as he was going to be resurrected at the end. The little fishing boat was completely unsinkable in Perfect Storm.

The strategy worked for mum. She was never disappointed in a movie ending. I must admit I am tempted to give it a go. I could watch the first 10 seconds of a Newcastle United game and then assume we played total football like the great Brazilian side of the 70s, winning the game by at least 6 goals. I could read the first line of my annual tax form and then assume the authorities owe me money. I could start baking a cake then assume it’s a gourmet masterpiece. I could cut one strip of lawn and assume the rest would cut itself.

But here’s the thing. What happens if the bit of the story you miss out actually is the best bit. What happens if you skip the bit where your dreams come true. This will sound bad but I gave occasionally felt like skipping parts of my life. Life can wear you down sometimes. Single parenting sometimes feels like it never stops – it has done the last day or so. Constantly pushing up a never ending slope. I could also miss out the grieving and bereavement section. But if I did skip parts of my story WHAT COULD I BE MISSING OUT ON. The fact that yesterday and today have been tough doesn’t necessarily mean that tomorrow will be. You just never know. You never know when dreams can start to materialise. That’s a reassuring thought.