Swiss Sunday

I love Switzerland. So many holidays, so many memories. It’s such a special place. I would move there in a heartbeat. Hopefully these Sunday homages give just a feel for why I feel that way. But it’s not just me. Hawklad feels the same way. It’s a country where he feels comfortable and safe. He finds it exciting and full of wonder. Yes Switzerland is special.

Moors

The North Yorkshire Moors late on a cold January evening. This is truly an amazing planet with so much staggering beauty to be experienced and enjoyed. It’s really there, we just need to remember to lift our gaze upwards.

Back in 2016 that was an alien concept. Gazing upwards. Why when all I could see was never ending emptiness with no sign of light. Robbed of dreams and a way forward. Refusing to move from a door which had abruptly slammed shut and as long as I waited, would never open again. I felt like screaming but what was the point, who would hear, I’m not even sure I would have heard or even cared.

But now in 2022, as I watch the setting sun cast a golden light over the moors, my gaze is lifted once more.

Yes life might still be tough somedays but it’s good to dream again. Different dreams, bigger dreams. It feels wonderful to want to experience the world and what it has offer again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday here in damp and cold Yorkshire. I so want to be somewhere else, somewhere special. I want to have the best of dreams and adventures in a magical land. The best dreams should involve Switzerland.

I have been fortunate to visit this wonderful country on a number of occasions but sadly never during December. I so want to experience that time there, but I want to arrive in plenty of time. Santa arrives on the 6th December. On a donkey from the local forests rather than travelling airmail with reindeer’s all the way from the North Pole. This day is called Samichlaus Abend, that’s Santa’s Night. He brings bags of treats. Presents are exchanged on the night of the 24th and onwards. But Santa also comes with a dark hooded companion. That chap is in charge of punishing naughty children by hitting them with a broom of twigs. From what I’ve heard, his role is like a lighthearted pantomime villain.

From then until Christmas Eve (Helliger Abend – Holy Night), wonderful street markets, festivals and processions take place. Christmas Day often marks the start of the winter sports season.

Yes one year I would love to experience Christmas in Switzerland. We live in hope. Another dream to be worked towards.

Unique

Even on a grey, bleak day, there is always something to see. Always something to admire.

So many leaves on one small bush and every one is unique. How cool is that. Nature gives uniqueness a chance to shine.

Some things are hard to fathom out. Hawklad has made astonishing progress over the last couple of years. Two years ago he was struggling to read, falling further behind the class. Getting no help from the system. The attitude was that if he couldn’t read by that age then real progress was unlikely. Any help should focus on getting him used to using technology to help assist with his permanent dyslexia.

Fast forward today and he’s been happily reading a history textbook. No help required. He might need to guess the occasional word. He might read the occasional word incorrectly. But he’s reading. He’s aiming to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy next year.

It just shows what can be achieved.

Why does the system give up so quickly on so many of our children. So much untapped potential.

I remember being told by a Psychologist of an autistic teenager who was profoundly dyslexic. She was wrote off by the school system yet she was clearly incredibly gifted in so many areas. She had a dream of learning to fly a plane. So many obstacles were placed before her. She was told her dreams were unrealistic, beyond her. Yet years later she became a qualified helicopter pilot.

Hawklad has kept believing. That helicopter pilot never stop believing. Isn’t it about time our society KEPT BELIEVING in every child.

Swiss Sunday

What can I say. I can hear the rain beat against the house windows. I can hear the wind whip down the chimney, the gate thump against the wall. The central heating is on full and it still feels cold. England is grim when it’s like this.

Earlier Hawklad basically said ‘why on earth do we choose to live here…..’. There’s a good reason why here we talk about the weather all the time.

I need to distract myself. I need to focus on my dreams. To focus on the best things in life.

Time to make a hot drink, dig out some old photos. Walk again in Switzerland. Yes that pesky Yorkshire weather is well and truly shut out now. I’m dreaming.

Tree

A brief bit of sun to lift the spirits of a tree that still stands proud after many years of weather beatings. Stood on an exposed hilltop with nothing between it and the prevailing weather systems heading across from the Atlantic. Countless storms, damaging winds and more than two direct lightning strikes.

When I need a lift, I look across the fields to this friend and it is a friend. A constant reminder of resilience. But also so much more. A reminder of what life can still mean, of beautiful dreams and new memories to be made.

We can do this.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in Yorkshire. Time for a trip down me,pry lane. Back to family holidays to beautiful Switzerland. The family has changed over the years. It’s currently a much smaller family which can make the next trip. Hawklad and I.

Maybe next year……..

Whenever we do get to having holidays again things have to change. Things that worked before just won’t seem right anymore. So new places, new adventures, new experiences. Yes maybe some new countries. But one country will keep being the destination we head back to, time and time again. Yes it has to be Switzerland. Switzerland is a part of us.

And when we arrive in Switzerland it will be time to explore new wonders. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t find time to revisit some old family haunts. Definitely time at one particular lake. Lake Thun. We have a real connection to that one stunning part of The Alps. We have family ashes scattered there. More to scatter on the next trip.

Just one lake, but it is such a part of our history. Just one lake yet so many memories.

Thinking

A Sunday in a very quiet part of Yorkshire. A good place to think.

It’s now over 5 years since I became a widow. Where did those 5 years go. Some days it feels like a lifetime, then there are times when it only seems like yesterday. Whatever it feels like, a lot has changed over those years. I’m a changed person with a changed outlook on life (and death). There were times when I thought that was it, life was over. It was just a matter of survival. But I made it through those times and I’m ready to start experiencing what this world has to offer again. I am dreaming again. Different dreams and whisper it, bigger dreams. Maybe that’s a surprising thought. Grief has taught me how to better LIVE. Looking back, to the run up to my partner dying, my priorities were far too often skewed. Maybe I was just surviving. Taking life for granted. Going through the motions. Not looking for adventures. Already personally hemmed in, struggling. Then everything changed within two weeks. Suddenly life’s safety net was removed. I was a single parent with the established script ripped up. I didn’t realise it but I suddenly had to face up to life. Over those 5 years I had to make changes, reappraise everything. Finally decide what was truly important to me.

So as I stood looking across that peaceful graveyard I could see something which I had missed. Grief was about coming to terms with loss, coming to terms with regrets, trying to be the best parent I could be to a young child who needed me AND a process of coming back to life again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time to spend a few minutes remembering family holidays. Family holidays to Switzerland. Going back a few years now. To a trip to a stunning mountain pass high up in the Alps. An epic train ride up to 6800ft, to Kleine Scheidegg. Then a wonderful downhill walk to Lauterbrunnen. But before the walk time to stand in the footsteps of one of the worlds greatest mountains, The Eiger.