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.

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…..

Unpredictable

Today the weather can’t make its mind up. Every few minutes it just keeps changing. So unpredictable. I remember my Dad telling me an expression about unpredictable life. Unfortunately it’s not an expression that translates very well into the modern politically correct world. So here’s one I’ve just made up. The weather today is about as predictable as a ferret which has been let loose in a sweet shop.

Thinking about it – I could do with a sugar rush right now. Better not….

What is pretty predictable is that our little family lockdown is going to extend into 2021. I just can’t see our son making sufficient progress to even consider venturing into busy environments any time soon. We are in this for the long haul. On top of this we is the wider pandemic situation. We are seemingly entering a lengthy period of stricter social distancing rules.

We just have to be realistic. The initial aim has to be just getting son to venture out a few times to remote and quiet outside locations. If we can achieve that over the next 3 months then we are doing well.

So my mindset is now focused around the continuing physical isolation which the rest of this year will bring. But that’s a step forward. Uncertainly and just not knowing is worse for me. At least now I can start to get my head round the situation. Start to draw up plans to get keep our spirits up. Normally the dark months are punctuated with special events and family meet-ups. Not this time. So what do we do?

For son part of the strategy means spending money. Much money…. Going to try and get him the latest Xbox. His current one is well battered now. That will keep him occupied and he enjoys playing his football game. The hope is that I can encourage him to try a few new games rather than just FIFA football. The rest of the approach for him will revolve around just trying to do fun stuff. It’s still his childhood, he still has to enjoy it.

What do I do? I guess I get an old Xbox to play on…. Keep the fitness up. Certainly more reading. Get stuck into improving my spoken German (maybe buy a learning app that can double up as a homeschooling aid). The garden is long overdue a real makeover. Let’s see if I can dust down the 35 year old telescope and get out a bit more on those rare clear winter nights. Going to learn how to play the keyboard

I’ve told the story before of our son asking for a keyboard for Christmas. I did well and got a decent electronic one for next to nothing on a Black Friday sale. Unfortunately when it came to Christmas it transpired that the required keyboard was not supposed to be musical but one for his tablet. So it’s basically sat gathering dust….

Until now.

That’s a start. It’s something to work and build on. I’m no use to our son if I spiral downwards, so it’s time to GET UP and make sure I do more than just existing.

WE can do this.

Strain

After 36 hours the rain finally stopped. How long before the broadband dries out enough to start working again? My poor mobile and it’s dodgy 4G signal are having to try and take up the strain. It’s struggling.

Strain is a quite a good word for the day.

I was trying to do my Sunday morning yoga. My online yoga expert Adriene is always very calm but even she sounds strained when she keeps freezing due to signal problems. Yoga is definitely not without stress when I keep having to try and reload the app as it’s crashed. It’s also a strain when you try to keep balanced when a dog is trying to lick my face and the big boy cat is trying to use the yoga mat as a scratching toy. Yoga is supposed to be a good fit with life. It does feel that way. Today trying to hold a position which is supposed to be good for me. Actually the longer it goes on it feels less good and more a strain.

Strain….. Trying to be ahead of the curve and get Hawklads Christmas presents sorted early. This year will not allow me the fun of Christmas shopping in the local city so its online only. I worked hard to come up with 6 ideas. Unfortunately 5 of those are already out of stock. Maybe others are further ahead of the curve than I am … Shopping strain.

Strain…..Not being able to find my bank card to pay for the one Christmas item… Bank card strain.

Strain….. Finally finding the bank card but then nit being able to find my glasses to read card numbers… Eye Strain.

Strain….. That’s now three weeks without any feedback on work Hawklad has submitted. Is it even been looked at?

Dad what we should do is for one subject not submit any work, rather we should send them a few screenshots of FIFA20. See what happens!!!!”

I’m so tempted to let him go ahead with his experiment. Maybe this week. It’s frustrating as it does look like it’s school at home for at least the next 3 months. Clearly unless the school is forced to shut and go full online tuition then things aren’t going to improve. This is it. It’s something but far from perfect. Will keep pushing school but I have a sinking feeling…. School strain.

Strain….. Trying to clean the kitchen and bathroom floors……. Knee strain.

Strain….. Trying to wash the house windows…….. Elbow strain.

Finally the thought of trying to get these words uploaded via the mobile. Not being able to easily read the posts I want to read. WP strain.

So yes definitely Sunday Strains.

Goals

It’s strange how my goals can shift. This time last year I was thinking about cranking my runs up. Eyeing up some longer trail runs. Trying to find ways to fit them in during school hours and work. Then building towards a 22 mile Moors run. Something to aim for during the winter months.

Fast forward a year and the thought of trail runs has long gone.

Now just a walk across the farmers field to that tree in the distance seems like a real goal. An aim. Something to dream about. How many times can we get to that tree over the next few months.

Until life resets again then that is something to hold onto. I realise it’s important to be realistic. To take account of the circumstances that are currently in place. Short term goals need to change to take account of this. But I can still dream on a grander scale. Push that horizon further. Hold those dreams close and maybe one day when life shifts, and it will, they become the achievable goals.

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.

Pain

There is a physical pain associated with parenting that is off the chart. Excluding childbirth which thankfully I will never have to experience. Standing bare foot on a piece of lego. A weaponised toy. In the garden there is something that comes close to lego. It’s this lovely little thing. A tree which overlooks our garden and likes to drop these little bombs onto the lawn. Accidentally pick one up – agony. Kneel on one – agony. Get one attached to the top of your training shoe – beyond agony. Horse Chestnuts hurt….

Dad I keep hearing that as you get older your body starts to hurt. Is that true. You should know as you are so very old…..”

Yes eventually the body does hurt. Playing contact sport or falling off cliffs doesn’t help. You can do stuff about the pain – mostly. But you do get to a stage when you realise that I’ve used this body up, so can I have a new one.

So when did your body start hurting?”

Everyone is different. At school one of my friends had a Chopper Bike. It had upright handles and a gear stick brilliantly placed right in front of your undercarriage. Chris had a big crash and encountered the pointy gear stick at a frightening rate of knots. His hurting most definitely started when he was 10. It ended his choir signing days. I think my body pain started after I was 30. Playing contact sport on a Saturday and not being able to move on Sunday.

Is that when Dad decided he wasn’t young anymore?”

Yes it was. I suddenly released that being a goalkeeper hurt. I stopped bouncing off the floor so well. There is a brilliant comic from Scotland called Billy Connelly. He says that you know that you are not young anymore when your can’t bend over without making a noise, usually a groan.

I can confirm that. I groaned 193 times during today’s yoga workout.

You

This was a year ago. I stopped on one of my long runs to take this photo. It would have been just after 9am and Hawklad would have been in school. After the run was finished I would then drag my muddy body to the supermarket. Definitely seems like an eternity ago. I wonder when I will go running here again. Probably not in 2020.

We all need those things in life to hold on to. A person, a friendship, a love, faith, a hobby, a destination. It will be different for everyone. Maybe it’s one thing. Maybe it’s a range of things. But we do need these in our worlds. For our health and wellbeing. I remember listening to a politician who I really respected. He talked about his love of hill walking. How walking had become such an important part of his life. But he was sad because due to work demands he had been forced to stop something he loved so much. Tragically it didn’t work out for him and his life was cut short. We do need to hold onto these things which lift us up. We all need to find the time. Listen to what our inner selves are telling us and needing from us. Hold onto and treasure those things and people we love.

So running has gone. I’ve found better more enriching things to focus and care for. But I realise that I do need a fitness activity to replace running. Ultimately the exercise bike is monumentally boring. So at present running has been replaced with yoga. Briefly stopping to take a photo has been replaced with failing to get anywhere near holding a handstand. Happy Days. I feel another lego yoga post coming on. You have been warned.

Joking to one side, please remember to find the time for YOU. You need that.

Tomatoes

It’s taken long enough but at last some tomatoes. For some reason they are about a month later this year. Blame it on 2020. But at least it’s a start.

This morning I had two firsts. To start with, I managed to do a weights move for the first time ever. Instead of using two hands to pick up the laden weights bar and push it over my head, I did it one handed. It’s not clever and a little reckless, but it’s certainly cool when you do it. Never been able to do that before.

Then I finally managed to correctly transition some yoga moves. Normally when the video instructor says carefully transition – that involves me falling on my face, crashing into a wall and swearing lots. Today I was almost ballerina like. A ballerina with hairy legs…

It gives you a lift when you finally achieve something. We all need that from time to time.

I was going through Hawklads school notes today. He’s made great progress, certainly in the time he’s been school working from home. But what concerned me was the lack of progress I was making with the school authorities. It’s been 18 months since I made any headway with them. Just seem to be stuck. Can’t get any more support for him. Can’t get the school to try new teaching approaches with him. Can’t get the regional education authorities to send in a dyslexia expert. Can’t get the authorities to show a little flexibility with his education funding. Basically it’s the set teaching programme, with any additional financial support he’s been awarded just been used to fund general teaching support budgets for all the kids. The so called special funding basically buys a kid with additional educational needs a place at a school. The Government is quick to point the finger at families getting additional schooling funds

– we are taking money off other kids,

– it’s the gravy train,

– waste of tax payers money,

– it’s wasted funding.

Yet what the Government never seems to mention is that the families never see that money. We can’t control it. It is basically recycled into general school budgets. So the kids who need it actually don’t get any direct benefit from it. Sometimes the fundings only purpose seems to be to just shift the blame for school failings away from the authorities and on to a minority of families.

So yes some education progress is needed. Either that or for Hawklad to elect to be educated from home. But progress would be nice.

Help with yoga

What on earth are you doing Dad.”

This is supposed to be yoga.

Really, looks like torture.”

This position is supposed to be called the Downward Dog”

More like Dead Dog.”

And this one I’m transitioning into is called the Reverse Warrior.

You look like a Buffalo trying to do ballet.”

That’s not really helping Son.

This is very funny are you going to try another one Dad.”

This is a Mountain.

That’s just standing…”

Well this is the Siddha Pose.

Now that’s just sitting on the ground”.

Ok well this one is the Crescent Moon.

You look like you’ve just been struck by lightning.”

No pleasing some people. Well this one is Forward Fold.

Looks like you’ve dropped some money now.”

Right be prepared to be impressed now…. This one is called the Standing One legged Pulling Pose.

**** 3 seconds later I’m in a crumpled heap on the ground****

Awesome Dad, I’m calling that the Dead Muppet on the Ground position”