One of those weather days. Kinda sunny, kinda cloudy, kinda windy, kinda warm, kinda chilly, kinda dry and kinda wet. I guess it’s a kinda Yorkshire day. Rather excitingly I walked to that Tree today and back. Keep it quiet, Hawklad doesn’t know. He was too busy watching a Sherlock episode. It was funny as I had just finished my fitness programme for the morning. Definitely slightly out of breath. Probably not the best time to try and sing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music. Probably better trying to sing in the more deeper tones of four fine Yorkshire born Rock front men, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company), David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) or Joe Elliot (Def Leppard). Better off probably dressing like them as well, rather than Julie Andrews. That would kinda make more sense.
I’ve now got this bizarre thought in my head. Monty Python skipping over that hill, signing that song about The Alps, all in a deep Yorkshire accent while wearing wellies and a knitted handkerchiefs on their heads. That’s kinda disturbing.
Changing the subject rapidly. I was doing today’s workout outside in the garden when that Tree caught my eye. I thought about it being months since I ventured there. I decided it was kinda time to revisit there. Sit a few minutes under the branches. Well I did. That’s where I noticed that I was slightly out of breath. But I kinda have an excuse. It was straight after my workout. A slightly longer one.
I have this silly little ritual. Every year I add on one more minute to my exercise sessions. The thinking is that yes that’s one year older but my body is coping with one more minute of workout than it did last year – so I must still be improving. Rather than getting older I’m getting fitter. Kinda getting better, still improving. Well that’s the thinking anyway….. Kinda makes sense to me.
This was a year ago. It must have been taken on one of my really long running routes. As it was the last week of term, I would be trying to cram in as many long runs as possible before the 6 week school holidays started. If only I had crammed in a few super long runs before the pandemic kicked in during March this year. Actually thinking about it, I wish I had crammed in a few other things as well those long 4 months ago
- Real ice cream
- Slush puppies
- Hill walking
- Trips to the beach
- Trips to Switzerland
- Trips to see my football team play – on seconds thoughts, who wants to see them get beat again….
- Trips to Castles and Roman sites
- Rock concerts
- Visits to my sisters and brother
- Trips to see some special friends
- A few mountain biking sessions
- A trip to the running shoe shop
- A trip to a coffee and cake shop
- A trip to the hot donut shop
- A trip to the paper shop to stock up on paper, pens, PENCILS, paint, crayons and other school stationary cupboard requirements
- Trip to the garage, my car has been broken since March now
- A trip to the chip shop
- Clothes shopping for the next year of Hawklad’s growth
- Bathroom paper (toilet roll), face mask and soap shopping
- A trip to the toy shop for Christmas gifts
- Garden furniture shopping – the Yorkshire winters are not kind on outside chairs
- Second hand book store
Thinking about books, the one place I am so glad I never crammed in was a trip to the Library. My books would now be 4 months overdue – that would be some hefty fine.
This week has been wet. Very wet.
This kind of weather really makes you appreciate the garden. When it’s too wet to venture out through the back door you realise just how small your world can seem. Extremely claustrophobic.
Yes that garden has been a blessing over these last few months. A play area. A dream area. A place of quiet. An area to breathe in. An area to exercise in. An area to work in. An area to walk in. An area to see nature. A safe area for someone with Aspergers. An area in sit, look and relax. Our area.
So in a brief lull in the weather bombardment it was time to venture out again. Just a few moments. When we returned to the house we were absolutely drenched. But it was so worth it. I remember someone once telling me that
Sun is fine but it’s a bit of a luxury in Yorkshire. What you really need to grow the best Rhubard is proper rain.
At this stage I have to put my hand up and admit that I am probably the only Yorkie who doesn’t like Rhubard. That’s probably why I’ve been called proper posh Yorkshire. Putting that to one side it is true that the Sun is a luxury in this county. Almost an afterthought. But rain does feel like a time of growth and rebirth. After the rain everything seems just a little more green, just a little more healthy. A few more seedlings will have sprouted. And in my case, I’ve become just a little more rusty. So yes rain is good. It’s an essential part of life, ours life’s. To be fair without it my blog would have a lot less words to wade through. So yes I will venture out again as soon as I have posted this. Time to feel that rain on my face again. Time to feel alive again.
But it is also nice to dry out occasionally so please can we get a guest appearance from the Sun. A bit of Sun is also nice to feel. Time to feel warm again……
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
- Pokemon Go….
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. We had just visited beautiful Timisoara in Romania. Now the journey continues. We still had many kilometres unused and we have added another 200km this week. So where have we got to….
We have arrived in the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. Let’s start with some random facts about this city.
- A population of about 730000,
- The official language is Moldovan,
- During the Soviet Union the city was called Kishinyov,
- It’s called the White Stone Town due to many of its buildings being built from Limestone.
So let’s take a look at some of the city sights.
Officially the biggest wine cellar in the world
Stefan cel Mare Park
So thank you Chisinau. Now where next on the world tour.
********* all City photos from TripAdvisor. ************
Remember those times before 2020. No masks or enforced social distancing. It seems an awful long time ago. So much enforced change. A world which has shrunk for virtually all of us.
After my partner died the world did shrink for me. No more holidays, no long distance work journeys, less visits to family and friends. No climbing expeditions. Things like trips to the gym even stopped. One thing that kept going was running. Son would go to school and my new found work flexibility would allow a couple of long runs every week. I got to see and breathe the local countryside. Run through the hills, valleys and woods. Every so often a little longer trip to the coast. The delights of a beach run. These became such an important part of my coping strategy. A way to manage my mental health and stay fit.
These runs have now stopped. The last run was in early March. Still there but out of reach. Out of reach until September when the secondary schools potentially go back. Maybe Son will opt for homeschooling and the runs cease permanently. But life goes on. It has to. So the runs have had to be replaced with exercise bike sessions – I have developed a pathological hatred of the piece of rock called the bike seat. Replaced with extra weights exercise in the garden. More CrossFit workouts. And yes with garden runs. A small garden doesn’t lend itself to a great variety of routes. Basically I can keep going round in circles clockwise and anti-clockwise. Constantly going round in circles. I measured it out, the longest straight line run possible is a massive 15 paces. Round and round again.
“Dad school have set a running challenge this week. They want the class to run and cycle. Using the Strava running app they want us all to work together to get to ferry in Dover and head off into Europe. Parents are encouraged to join in. Come on Dad. Get your running kit on.”
It’s a bit like my blogs creaky world tour but recorded using Strava. So I downloaded the app and dragged my tired body outside. I had already done my morning weights exercise routine. And off I went. Round and round the garden. Clocking up km after km. Bored out of my mind. Son did a bit of running himself before he went inside to start his next online class.
Eventually the knees said that’s enough. They can only take so much constant turning. And I went inside to send school the running results. The thing about Strava (and other running apps) is that you get a route diagram. A map of your run. They should look something like this…..
Well mine was a masterpiece. It’s my finest work of art I have ever produced….
The final ironic element to the story. A couple of hours later…
“Oh Dad. Just had an email from school. You had better sit down…. Apparently a few parents have complained about privacy and the schools online Strava Running Club. So they have had to delete the club and cancel the running challenge.”
Oh well at least I got a work of art out of it.
It’s been a while since we did the last of these. Last year I started using the miles generated from my exercise bike, fitness tracker and Pokemon Go (Don’t Ask…) to see how far they would get me round the world.
So over the last couple of months let’s see what my entirely house and garden bound existence has generated.
720km Exercise Bike
205km Pokemon Go
Plus we had some km left in the tank from the last trip to Trieste. So let’s see where my little hairy legs have taken me.
So on our last mobile report our intrepid Explorer was leaving Trieste. We now find him 850km further west in Romania. Beautiful Timisoara.
Timisoara has two names. The City of Flowers and Little Vienna. Looking at the online photos, it is such a stunning place. So let’s see a few of the highlights.
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral
Thank you beautiful Timisoara.
We still have plenty of km left over and more to add this week. So let’s see where we are next Thursday. Stay safe and remember to smile.
*****Thank you to Tripadvisor and RomaniaTourism for the photos.******
A Bee with purpose.
I know I’m not the only one who feels like this but this morning I just can’t get going. I should be sat here writing a post after finishing my morning workout. Raring to go with today’s fun and mayhem. But no. Not even got my gym clothes out of the washing machine yet. Just can’t seem to get going….
The Sun is shining and it’s quite warm, so I can’t blame that.
I just feel like a computer stuck in safe mode. Only operating on reduced power. Just going through the motions, slower than normal. Feeling a bit sorry for myself.
- I’m tired, didn’t really sleep last night,
- I’m fed up with the thought of having to wear a chemical and biological warfare suit when I want to pop out to buy some chocolate or post a letter,
- I’m sick of living in a country run by self serving clowns,
- I want to hear news which does not involve a virus,
- Annoyed at the thought of forgetting to do routine stuff. Stuff like probably forgetting to press the washing machine ON button last night….
- I want to go running in the hills without having to stay alert and measure out my safe distance,
- I want to have a car that basically works and one which has a replacement brake system which has been stuck in China since March,
- I have had enough of walking into the kitchen and not finding any food which is even vaguely suitable for IBS,
- AND I am so frustrated at seeing my beloved Son not feel able to venture out through the front garden gate and experience any of the beautiful world we live in.
Well that’s it. Time to start living. Writing those grumpy cat words have done the trick. I finally feel motivated to get my gym stuff out of the washing machine (don’t care if they are unwashed). Going to do some exercise then going to get my big backside back in gear. Going to have some fun. Going to make Son happy. Going to watch some German Football. Going to root about the bottom of the freezer for some nice food. Going to talk to a real good buddy and see if they fancy playing an online game. Then the day will finish with a great movie night, eating full fat crisps and watching a very silly film.
We can do this…..
I’ve done my Sunday morning exercise session. The poor bike is a bit like me, during every session something either stops working, starts creaking or drops off. So the bike is going into therapy for a day or so. Can’t think of a worse punishment than having my large behind perched on you for that length of time.
So now I’m sat outside. Now that’s a rarity. Sat with my iPad typing these ramblings. This is my view.
Apologies for the legs and yes my trainers are in real need of replacement. Actually forget the trainers, my body is in need of replacement. I’ve used this one up, can I have another one.
During the lockdown I just haven’t found the time to sit outside and relax. Where does the time go. Its not as if I am undertaking any huge Home Makeover projects or painting a landscape masterpiece. I guess it’s a reminder of the investment you need to make when you signup to a parenting gig. The greater the investment, the higher the chance that your parenting will actually prove worthwhile for your kids.
But this sunny morning I’ve found the time to sit for a few minutes. The main reason is that I’ve just seen the weather forecast. It’s back to proper Yorkshire weather this week. The next scheduled settled sunny spell is not forecast until sometime in 2024. So I had better make the most of that bright yellow thing in the sky while it’s still here.
Looking at the view and the sun slightly hidden by early morning thin mist, reminds me of the ending to last nights movie. The last Star Wars movie. I won’t give away the ending or the key story moments. Mainly because I am waiting for our Son to explain them to me. I found switching off the brain and ignoring the inevitable questions, actually turned the movie into a really fun adventure yarn. Visually and sound wise it was stunning. However the repeated interjections from my resident film critic suggested a few too many issues with the storyline. The general message seemed to be – I’ve not seen so many plot holes since we watched the Alvin and The Chipmunks Road Chip Movie.
And with that the clouds have moved in. So like the current Star Wars story arc, our summer is FINISHED…
Two daily visitors waiting patiently for breakfast. I must clean the gutters….
After yesterday’s unplanned washing of my mobile, I found myself outside in the cold early morning air. Doing a great workout supplied by a very kind friend and listening to music on my super clean phone. Crystal clear sound. In fact it’s never sounded so good. Maybe I should try my body out in a quick machine wash cycle. If only I could fit the car in our old washing machine.
I was a bad parent last night and I’m not talking about letting son watch Deadpool 2 again. School emailed all the parents to say that they had not been picking up all the students who had been submitting inferior work or worse submitting work late. So to rectify that the only thing they could do would be to send out an email each night at 11.30 to warm parents about any issues which may have occurred with their kids online work for that day. I can imagine many parents sending letters of approval in or even asking for a tougher stance from school. I took a slightly different stance on my short reply.
Please don’t bother.
This morning followed up with a much longer reply basically talking about how tough it is for many kids at present and how about school using the resources they were putting into this sanction into doing something positive – something fun for the kids. Maybe even allowing some social interaction with friends. I’m not hopeful but at least it will get me another black mark in the awkward parent log.
Anyway school might not do fun but that doesn’t mean that we can’t. It’s so important we all find ways of still living. So in between online lessons we have squeezed in some activities. Bouncing on the trampoline, Jenga, air hockey and jelly making. Then after the school day had finished we made some cakes. Played football and attempted to build the largest possible Lego tower. Unfortunately due to the wind, curious pets and my eagerness to build higher before a stable base was formed – it didn’t get much higher than 5ft. It clearly had the same design fault as Trumps Mexican Wall. Oops that’s going to bring on my fan mail from Texas again.
Over Easter we will definitely revisit the Lego tower. It might even stand up long enough to take a photo. The point is that actually fun day is not enough. It really is so tough for kids to enjoy their childhood in 2020. So much anxiety and so little space to dream. So fun day is now fun EVERY day. Maybe just like my mobile phone, we can find ways (maybe unusual) to improve things in life. WE can do this.
Not sure it’s the slightly unhinged world but here the daffodils are looking extra special this year. Much needed colour. Much needed motivation to keep believing in our world.
“Come on Dad, your doing the PE lesson with me.”
So 20 minutes later we are doing a fitness workout. I do slag the school off quite a bit but sometimes it does do things well. The online PE lessons was really good. It started with a daily workout from YouTube. The Body Coach TV (PE with Joe Wicks). The person doing it was great and made the session so much fun for kids. Son warmed to him straight away. Which is no mean feat.
My second workout of the day was definitely very different from the first. Standard weights and short burn military fitness exercises at 7am. Pretending to be Spider-Man and bouncing like a bunny rabbit at 11am. The latter was way more fun. So maybe, just maybe tomorrow at 7am you might see a grown man pretending to be a rabbit. That’s my excuse if I get wheeled away in a straight jacket.
But you need balance in life. If you get good then often the not so good arrives to bring life back into order. The Food Technology online lesson was grisly. Son attempted the task which was so tough for him given the difficulties he has with handwriting, spelling and drawing. But he tried and that’s all we can ask. A bit later the response came back. One or two good efforts but some are very poor presentations. Well that’s done his confidence a world of good.
So we have balance. Motivated and demotivated. Looking forward to the next lesson and dreading the next lesson. One has 1.5 Million subscribers (plus two more from our house) and the other has a kid desperate to drop the subject.
I’m sure even this guy was motivated to move just a bit during the fitness workout.
I should really tell this guys story as well. Completely ignored him when I waffled on about his gnome buddy. His name is Gene. Can you work out why? Gene is a relative baby. He’s about 7 years old. He was a Christmas present from my brother. He was supposed to be fireplace ornament. Unfortunately my partner hated it. As did our dear departed psychotic girl cat. So he was banished to the garden to save him from the sledgehammer and the apex predator. On his bottom a sign says – Not for external use. Yet after 7 years of grizzly Yorkshire weather he is still shinny and looking like new. So he clearly likes dancing in the Yorkshire rain.
Take care my friends and try to smile.