Wean myself off

This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.

Eventually you have to accept reality.

Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.

Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….

So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.

So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.

Route tracking

Just about a year ago I had just dropped Hawklad off at school and about an hour later was running along this country lane while listening to rock music. Another 4 miles and I would be back home. Then it would be a cup of full fat caffeine and then get stuck into work until it was time to pick Hawklad back up again. How times have changed.

No trips to school, no work, no trail running, no caffeine and the MP3 player has not been used since March.

Since then the only running has been a couple of attempts at running round the garden. It’s not a big garden. Each lap lasted lasted less than 10 seconds. Who could forget the marvellous route map from one of those epics…

These days running has been replaced with yoga and tai chi. Or as we like to call them.

Falling over and Falling over with added style.

No need to track my route on those activities. Today I accidentally did track my route for yoga and tai chi…..

That’s kind of worrying as I was supposed to be staying on my small yoga mat. Maybe my tracker is not as accurate as I had hoped for. But I suspect a faulty tracker will not be an issue going forward really. Can’t see too many runs happening this side of Easter. But that’s ok. There are much more important things to worry about. And today I quite enjoyed Falling over and Falling over with style. Kind of felt like I was summoning up a bit of my inner Dr Strange. Maybe there is something to this yoga and tai chi thing.

Groundhog Day again…

The weather is a bit stuck here.

This is basically it…..

Feeling stuck is often not a great feeling. Today I feel must definitely stuck. Stuck in Groundhog Day. It feels like that….

  • I tend to wake up at the same time and experience the familiar tiredness,
  • Sling open the curtains to see mist, greyness and everything dripping wet,
  • I get Hawklad up in the same way and set him up as usual for the home at school project,
  • The home at school hours pass in the same way. The same lessons requiring the same input. The usual lessons delivering the usual frustrations,
  • I cook Hawklad the usual food, repeating the same 7 day food cycle every week,
  • Every day looking over the fence and wondering what it would feel like to run free. Then shrugging my shoulders and start moaning about the weather,
  • The feeling of going round in circles during my exercise workouts. I tried to introduce yoga to freshen it up. But it’s often just the same poses performed in a slightly different order,
  • Spending ages trying to get the never ending cycle of washing to be semi dried on the radiators,
  • Opening up the work laptop and finding nothing in the to do list,
  • Listening to the same news. The same world problems. The same self deluded madmen hogging the headlines. The same lies,
  • Going through the same quarantine procedures with post and deliveries,
  • Feeling the same frustration with hobbies. As hard as I try to learn German and the Piano, each day I seem to be back at square one again,
  • Going round in circles trying to get the support Hawklad needs to truly flourish. Failing and then trying to provide that support in my untrained, and rather random way,
  • Realising it’s another day isolated,
  • Venturing out at night to hopefully look at the stars to only find the mist has turned into heavy rain,
  • Trying to keep myself awake during the evening movie then finding sleep escaping me as we move beyond midnight.

Definitely feels like Groundhog Day.

But here’s the hope. Just like in the wonderful Bill Murray movie it is still possible to break the cycle eventually. Just got to keep trying. Forcing myself to experiment with what alternatives are available. Remembering the good dreams. Yes one day 6.00am will bring a truly new start.

Time to bring the walls down

I realised that it’s been a while since I mentioned grief. If I’m not careful I will need to change the name of the blog. Maybe it’s time to find something with ‘muppet’ or ‘most excellent baker’ as a new badge to work under. The possibilities are endless when you think about it. So many things to go for

Baking disasters

Parenting mishaps

Homeschooling meltdowns

Single parenting

Mental health

Trying to navigate the Asperger Parenting open waters

Yoga injuries

Truly shocking poetry

Badly behaved pets

Badly behaved wildlife

Village high jinks

Yorkshire tourism

The wonders of Switzerland

Hide behind the sofa politics

Bachelor life!!!!!

How many photos I can squeeze out of one back garden view

Fashion tips

Accountancy

Maybe not accountancy…. Definitely not that. I would actually rather listen to a U2 album than read about that subject. But maybe there is a key message here. Apart from I’ve actually found something I hate more than Bono singing. If you had asked me back in 2016 and 2017 to make a list then it would have been very short. Grief, single parenting and Aspergers. Bereavement and loss seems to rob you of your life. Your gaze drops to your feet, just can’t lift your head up. Walls begin to surround you. But with time, in your own time, things do improve. You can lift your head up again. You start to want the walls to come down again. Yes maybe Bereavedsingledad doesn’t quite fit anymore.

New Sport

It’s dark, bit of blue sky, very windy. Good drying weather.

Friday was one of those days. Hassle from school. Missing items. Me being a walking accident magnet. My favourite music magazine, one I’ve been reading for ages, went out of business. And the washing machine….. it decided to eat itself. Two hours of fruitless home repair confirmed that in the words of Monty Python –

E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-WASHING MACHINE…..

A bit of disaster when we have such a heavy lockdown washing requirement. A replacement one was finally sourced that has an expected delivery window of less than 3 months!! So it’s the delights of hand washing for a while. Given Hawklads anxieties – lots of it. I guess it’s a good arm workout.

I need the weather to be nice and cooperate. Outdoor drying would really help. Please help me dry the washing, pretty please….

So here’s the new sport. It’s great for endurance and reactions. Much bending over and sprinting. It’s called ‘catching my pants as they hurtle across the farmers field’. The sizeable wind was clearly trying to turn my underwear into a new post brexit export to Belgium. In fact given the colossal size of my pants they would constitute a bigger new trade deal than anything our clowns of a government have secured in one year…..

It’s Yoga but not as we know it

Why do I always hear Spock’s words to Captain Kirk whenever I try to do yoga.

It’s life Jim but not as we know it!”

It’s yoga just not as we know it. That sums up my yoga talents perfectly. I do try. I guess it’s like my parenting as well – it’s parenting but not as we know it. Anyway back to that instrument of torture which is yoga. I’m part of the Yoga with Adriene App community. She’s really really good but even she can’t sort some people out. This person out. But at least I can laugh at the many times I lose balance and then hit the ground.

Like most things in life, we have to find our own way.

The last ME/MUPPET guide to yoga went down so well and it guided so many lost souls to yoga perfection – well then clearly you need another one. Again I will be assisted by some brave and fearless (mostly) mini lego figures. I will be played this time by Shaggy. Bizarrely the rest of the yoga group are Star Wars characters.

First point is that it’s so important that you get yoga mats, leggings and blocks that are the right size for you. Anything other than a perfect fit could lead to injury or worse, embarrassment.

A perfect fit for a yoga block

Remember to place your mat next to people who have similar abilities to yourself. In my case I tend to look at for certain key signs in the other yoga attendees. Badly fitting gym clothes, a few spare tyres round the middle, scrapes and bruises to the knees, bandages on the elbows, squashed nose and a slightly bemused look.

Perfect person to be next to ?

Be careful if you get your selection wrong then it will only ever end in disaster. Some people are better equipped to do certain yoga positions than others…..

Motorised hips, no arms and no knees make the crow pose so much easier.

Remember it’s a badge of honour to be the only person in the session standing on the wrong leg repeatedly.

I’m on the correct leg everybody else is wrong…

There will come a time when you will be asked to do a one legged dancer’s pose. Don’t be fearful, embrace it. Especially when you find out your the only person in the room who can’t do it.

Can you explain that move just one more time….

Breathe deeply. Struggle onto one leg. I find swearing really helps. Then as gracefully as possible try to headbutt the floor. You may get a sensation something equivalent to five neutron stars exploding in your hips. That will be the correct Dancer’s pose. A certain feeling of lower half detachment may follow.

That hurt…..

The other important tip is to embrace the journey you go on with the instructor. At the start of the session he or she may seem the nicest and most kind person you could ever hope to meet. In my case Adriene’s words are like a warming blanket, settling deep inside my soul. Then the true journey of discovery begins. After about 10 minutes your instructor will start to talk about ‘nice detoxifying hip openers’. At this stage you will now start to view the instructor as more akin to a prison guard, barking out instructions with the threat of a gun.

Do as you are told…

Your yoga journey will be complete when your instructor tells you to adopt the crow position so you can be ‘truly grounded and at one with the earth’. At that stage you will see the instructor as a predator, a carnivore about to feed on your lifeless and broken carcass . Don’t worry this is completely normal and just means that you still have 5 minutes to go before the session has ended.

Only 5 minutes to go before you have been properly tenderised.

I hope this has been of some use to you. Remember your body is a temple. Probably in urgent need of a preservation and restoration order. You can do this. NAMASTE….

Sitting down

I must have run past this monument well into a three figure number. Lots of times. I wonder when will be the next run here? 2021? 2022? or later.

Without running I’ve switched to more CrossFit and Yoga. I can definitely see a few more muscles but I’m not sure how far I could run now. It’s been many many months since I last put on my running shoes. My joints would definitely need a good oiling before I tried.

Today’s yoga was definitely interesting. 10 minutes of doing what appeared to be a simple task. Standing up from a cross legged position without using my hands. The standing up bit was ok, it was the getting down bit which was the challenge. How hard can it possibly be to go from standing up to sitting on the floor with my hands behind my back. Humpty Dumpty comes to mind. Give me running any day please. I can do that. But I guess over the coming months I will get the chance to improve. Not sure my bottom can cope with the bruises for that length of time.

We had two deliveries and the postman this morning. It’s unsettling for me to see each person arrive at the door fully masked up. Imagine what it does to someone fighting fears about germs and bugs. It really did spook Hawklad. Should really say spooked him even more. My job over the week is to rig up a post box outside to stop letters coming through the front door. Another thing that increasingly bothers Hawklad. As these anxieties continue to grow he becomes more clingy with me. His health professional has told me that his fears are so ingrained that they may not start to ease until this pandemic is under control and the vaccine has been rolled out and proven to be effective.

A clear time frame is starting to emerge on our lockdown. This is going well into 2021, maybe longer. That has huge implications for school, my work and our quality of life. Quality of life in the sense that our world will be the house and garden for the foreseeable future.

Running is not happening so I had better start to learn new skills. Skills like not collapsing in a heap when I try to get onto the floor without using my hands.

The third sequel

The third sequel already. The Trilogy done in one day. Eat your heart out Peter Jackson.

So this is the third instalment in the ‘what has changed over the 6 months of pandemic isolation’ saga. This time it’s what has changed for me. I guess this one is called The Return of the Kermit the Frog King. So what has changed then for me.

  • With Hawklads increasingly pronounced Social and Health related anxieties the last six months have seen a ramping up of the parenting pressures. Fewer breaks, more challenges and yes less support. In the UK small amount of support that has survived the Conservative Funding Cutbacks largely stops when kids hit the teenage years.
  • Have become a home educator. A school facilitator. A Classroom Supplies specialist. Much smirking…. After 6 months I’m still winging it.
  • I’m sleeping less. Much less. Just can’t seem to reset the insomnia cycle.
  • Certainly more isolated in terms of actually meeting people outside our little bubble. In 6 months I’ve seen family members twice, one work colleague (and good friend) maybe three times, neighbours a handful of times, the local shop workers maybe a couple of times a month, the dentist once, one visit from the boilerman, a few health workers and doctors. That’s about it. Oh actually forgot one person. The Postman, the only person I see regularly. I count his fairly frequent waves as my most regular physical contact. Luckily I have lovely online friends.
  • With not meeting too many people I’ve started noticing human life more. I notice dog walkers in the fields, cyclists, passing cars, voices from the street, even planes in the sky. A reminder that a bigger world still exists out there.
  • My conversation skills have never come easy to me. I have to work on and practice them. That’s just not happened for months. Even on most phone calls I can feel myself becoming increasingly wooden.
  • My largely unseen dress sense is becoming increasingly avant-garde.
  • I have lost 6lbs but you wouldn’t notice it. Having to resort to consuming far too much Soya (Soy) which isn’t great for my tummy. No I’m not pregnant.
  • I’ve stopped running and walking and road cycling. Must admit it’s not doing my old contact sport injuries any good. Bits are starting to seize up. So I’m trying to find my inner Yoga. Or as I call it Controlled Falling Over.
  • Work has dried up. This was supposed to be a really busy year. Lots of new jobs and major events. In practice that all was cancelled. Remains cancelled. Some plans have been put in place but really I’m not going to get much work until 2021.
  • I’m more able to fill my day without leaving our little household world. No need to visit shops daily, coffee shops, cinema, visit family or friends. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but it comes easier to me now.
  • I do tend to overthink things now. Can have days when I do sober too much time internalising stuff. With me that’s not necessarily a good thing. It’s such a short stroll to self doubt and negativity.

Yes things have changed for me. They will continue to change as our personal lockdown is not going to end anytime soon. Potentially months more, maybe much longer. With us being an Aspergers Family that was kind of in place before the pandemic. Maybe many of these changes were already happening before the March lockdown. They have just become more pronounced. Maybe these are longer term changes. Maybe it’s much more than a three episode trilogy. Maybe it’s a permanent feature.

Creaky World Tour 10

It’s time for another bit of virtual sightseeing. Last year I started my very own world tour. Let’s see how far I can get powered only by

  • My falling to bits exercise bike
  • My falling to bits running shoes

When I started the tour I was restricted to Yorkshire now that has become the garden. So let’s see where we left off last time. At the start of June we had reached Moldova. Now the journey continues. We still had many kilometres unused and we have now added another 1800km. So where have we got to….

Well with quite a few km’s still in the bank we have arrived at Volgograd. Formerly known as Stalingrad. This Russian city was founded in 1589. In certain important days the city can be officially called Hero City Stalingrad. In 1942 the city was the setting for one of the darkest, bloodiest and most horrific battles in the history of warfare. Approximately 2 million soldiers were killed, injured or captured in the 6 month battle. 40000 civilians were killed and the city was destroyed.

The city now has a population of just over a million. So what does it look like now.

******All city photos are from Tripadvisor******

Time for your daily yoga.

Don’t say I never give you new features. First there was bereavement and autism. Then came parenting. Then virtual trips to Switzerland and world exercise bike tours. Then helpful baking tips. Poking fun at the government came next. Then muppet guides.

I hear you. You want more. OK

Brace yourself people. Don your comfy shirts and brightly coloured tight leggings. It’s time for your first Yoga Guide. Today I’m going to start with transitioning into the Warrior Pose. To add to the difficulty (as I am an elite athlete) I will be doing it dressed up as a Star Wars Clone Trooper.

Find a comfortable position. That is difficult dressed up in tight plastic battle gear, so I will just fall to the ground in a heap.

Now transition into a lotus pose or as close as you can comfortably manage.

Now with the grace of a charging Bison, extend you legs while keeping your head in line with your heart which is in line with your buttocks. Brace your thighs as you transition into the warrior pose.

If you are new to yoga or are a lego figure then you will probably find that the use of support blocks will help with stability.

Now hold. Your body, legs and joints will be screaming for mercy. Remember it’s good for you. Count to 10.

Now release the hold. See how good that feels.

Look at the pure delight on my face as I realise just how good my body now feels.

So hopefully you found that most useful. Remember I am an expert so don’t expect to be as good as me straight away. Stick with it and over many months you might end up not feeling so inferior to me.

Please let me know if you would like any other yoga or fitness activity explained to you.

NAMASTE my friends.