Swiss Sunday – Lasting Memories

1954…..

Way before I was an unexpected accident for my parents, the Football World Cup was held in Switzerland. The German National team based themselves in Spiez. Their football base just a few paces from the hotel that was our family holiday base. The German Team coming here was a really big thing for this beautiful small lakeside town, especially as the team went on to win the World Cup. You can still see reminders of how important that memory is to the people here.

Hawklad loved standing by one particular reminder. The German Captain standing just a few feet from the lake and it’s shoreline path.

Something like 60 years after that World Cup we got to see Germany play Switzerland here, in Spiez, in a beach soccer international. Another super cool memory.

We definitely can’t wait to return to create some more lasting memories.

Pat

You get these days……

Hawklad was taking his science revision really seriously. We were in the garden playing football. Actually I was trying to show off. Trying to show Hawklad that I could curl a free kick around the sundial and nestle the ball into the top corner. All with my left peg.

Sadly I am no Messi.

The ball screamed into the farmers field. Like an Exocet missile it landed perfectly into a new and very deep cowpat. I jumped over the fence again landing perfectly into an even bigger cow gift. I wasn’t picking that ball up so I decided kick it. Have you ever kicked a cowpat. It explodes…… I was covered. It even went up my nose. Up my pigging nose. That’s emasculating.

The smell taking me back to days living near a sewage treatment facility. All very Nose-talgic……

Definitely one of those days….

My country

“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

That’s Tyrone Mings, a member of the England Football Team standing up to the Government. That’s the thing we have a national Football Team that has players who have principles. Who are prepared to stand up for what is right. And a Government without principles or any moral compass. A manager of the England Football Team who makes a stand for multiculturalism and inclusiveness. Yet we have Prime Minister whose language is frequently racist, sexist and homophobic.

There is so much ugliness, intolerance and hatred in my country. It starts from the top. A Prime Minister who fuels hatred and division. Feeds off it. Happy to back the extremists and bullies yet so quick to attack those taking a stand.

But it’s not too late. It can change. People can change it. Good people who care can change it for the better. We have to take a stand for what is right. We have to support those taking a stand. We have to reclaim our country from the bullies.

Bank Holiday

A British bank holiday and its chucked it down. This is not today. This is today….

Not really perfect outdoor table tennis conditions.

We played footy in the garden, in the rain. Great fun. Then I noticed something. Maybe it’s the effects getting older. Hawklad took a shot heading towards the top corner of our goal. A cat like goalkeeper launched himself to tip the ball over the bar. I landed. And wow did I land …. Gravity was definitely working well. It didn’t hurt but here’s the thing. Years ago as a goalkeeper I never dented the ground on any of my dives. Today I did. A huge indent in the lawn. Think ‘The Great Rift Valley’. Maybe I should stick to table tennis.😂😂😂😂

Leaning

One of the first things you notice living in the hills is that you don’t get many poles that are straight up. There is always a bit of a lean to them. Nowt wrong with that. It feels like I’ve had a bit of a lean for years.

There is a really apt song line that Roger Waters wrote a few years back.

You lean to the left but you vote to the right.

This morning I read a work email exchange. One guy was saying that he had voted for Brexit because it seemed cool but hadn’t voted for higher food prices and more expensive import taxes. He certainly hadn’t voted for the nightmare it had become to own his time share in Spain.

Ok…..

Maybe its just me. 😳

But I guess we all do a bit of that lean to the left but vote to the right thing.

I’m not immune to that. As a kid I fell in love with football. What an exciting game it could be if I picked a great team. I then picked Newcastle United to support. If I liked football so much why did I pick that bunch of numpties.

Then there was a time when I was a fully paid up member of CND. Proud owner of the ban the bomb T-shirt. I picked what look like a really interesting University option. All went well until I found out where my option was based. The National Atomic Weapons Research Facility…… I’m not making that up. How on earth did I get through the vetting.

But it goes much wider. I wanted desperately to be a parent but not sure I would have initially voted to be a single parent. Definitely not this way.

So I guess there are times when things are out of our control. Life happens. But there are times when it is down to our decisions, our actions. If that happens you just have to own the consequences….

Short movies

Dad can we switch this movie off. I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this.”

Son loves Marvel movies but for some reason he just can’t handle Spider-Man Homecoming. It’s just that one movie. The other Spider-Man movies he really enjoys. Certain movies just throw him. It starts off with him fidgeting then he is not able to look at the screen. Then he starts to pacing about. Finally he has to leave the room until it’s switched. Last night a few minutes later he was happily watching a Wolverine movie.

I remember the first film he did this with. We had gone to see Hotel Transylvania at the cinema. Within 15 minutes we had left. We ended up watching another movie and he enjoyed it.

So some movies just get to him. The last Joker movie is another we switched off quickly yet he loves all the other Batman films, even the much darker ones.

It’s so unpredictable. Just can’t anticipate these movie meltdowns. The problem movies don’t have a common theme. Last year a nondescript Disney Christmas movie set him off. At Easter the Pixar movie UP caused another meltdown. It’s not that they are scary. They are not more sensory than other ones. Not louder and not more violent. It’s not about death. We have never been able to pin the reason down.

But at least he knows that as soon as he gets the feeling that a movie is wrong then he can just switch it off. No questions will be asked and we will find another one to watch.

Dad it’s like you and your football team.

He is so right. These days watching them play is deeply unsettling and often requires me to look the other way….

Missed goal

I admired this beautiful plant. Admired it as I was sat on the bench. I was actually sat on the bench to inspect my injuries. A rather too enthusiastic attempt to score a garden goal ended up with my head first in the hedge. A few cuts and scrapes but the flower took my mind off the pain. Can’t believe after all the damage, I didn’t score the goal. This was all done to the backdrop of Hawklad laughing his socks off.

Dad do you want help getting out of the hedge. Are you ok?”

Hawklad concern is better when your not wetting yourself with laughter.

It was like an albatross with too much in its belly trying to get into the air. Little legs struggling to pick up enough speed to take off. And failing spectacularly. That was too funny Dad”.

Hawklad that was a cracking goal

You missed Dad. It was all for nothing.”

Oh man. I thought I had hit the target.

You certainly hit the hedge, unfortunately the ball was less accurate. Actually it was very similar to your head. It ended up buried in the hedge. Shall I help you out Dad.

No I’m doing that by myself now.

Dad you’ve left a big hole in the hedge. Maybe it’s your new art. Body dents in the natural world.”

I could tour the world hurling myself head first into different world landmarks.

It’s a big hole you have left. Looks like a hippo has crashed through.”

Hawklad are you saying I’m as big as a hippo……

“Of course not Dad. That would be unfair on Hippos.”

Now you mention it, that is a big indent. Did I really make that.

Yep. Being a responsible parent weren’t you Dad. It’s a good job I moved out of the way as you would have hit me.”

Responsible parenting goes out of the window when your son is taller than his Dad. Look at the bruises on my shins from your kicks. All the world great footballers have to endure the dastardly attempts to stop their artistry.

“I’m only defending myself from a charging hippo. Funny I’m not seeing Messi or Neymar playing in my garden. It’s more like Gloria from Madagascar. ”

Absolutely no appreciation from my so called son.

That’s right Gloria. Now go and fetch the ball from the hedge….”

I will after Gloria sits down and inspects her injuries. Oh… Look at that flower.

And it rains

And still it rains.

And rains.

And rains.

And rains…

It’s refusing to stop. At least I won’t need to water the tomatoes until say 2023. There is a joke here about it always rains on a bank holiday weekend. Guess what this weekend is….

Dad sometimes having social and virus phobias is a good thing. Little chance of me asking to go to the beach or a fun park today. It saves you getting drenched.”

That’s true Hawklad. Always something to be thankful for.

Apart from supporting your football team. Wow that’s grim.”

We all can’t support teams that win anything. Newcastle United’s job is to give all the other teams a good laugh. At least we have a good shirt. Can’t go wrong with black and white stripes.

The shirt never changes Dad. It’s boring. You look like a walking barcode.”

It does change. Sometimes it’s black and white stripes. Then sometimes it’s white and black stripes.

You do pick your teams. What happened when you started supporting that German Team”

They got relegated.

Then you followed that Swiss Team, what happened.”

Erm they got relegated.

Bit of a pattern developing here Dad. Oh do you remember you owe me a forfeit for losing the last challenge.”

How could I forget.

Wasn’t it to sit outside in the pouring rain with no shirt on”.

I believe it was to sit outside when it was warm.

Dad WHAT was it.”

To sit outside in the pouring rain with no shirt on.

Now would be an ideal time. But as I am kind I will grant you something. You can wear your barcode footy shirt.”

I’d rather not. Given how rubbish my team is, that shirt will just disintegrate in the rain.

**********

So yes I sat outside in the pouring rain. With a cup of tea and yes my football shirt. The tea was warming, my shirt didn’t fall to bits and I thought about some happy things. Yes definitely always something to be thankful for.

1000 odd days

This is a photo from 3 years ago. I stumbled across it while looking for some old climbing ones. Another typical Yorkshire August day – all four seasons in one day. It got me thinking – what’s the same and what’s changed in those 1000 odd days. See that’s what a professional accountancy qualification can do for you – I’m good at those complicated adding up calculations.

THINGS WHICH ARE THE SAME

  • Getting no dyslexia support from school,
  • Getting no Aspergers support or accommodations from school,
  • Still bereaved,
  • Still a single parent,
  • Still a metal head at heart,
  • Hawklad is still a lovely character,
  • No holidays, no Switzerland,
  • Pets causing chaos,
  • My football team is still useless,
  • Still see myself as European,
  • Brexit is still a shambles and a monumental exercise of self destruction,
  • Vegetarianism,
  • Can’t cook,
  • Still exercising,
  • Still 5ft 10 and a half (don’t forget the half – it takes me beyond average height),
  • Still not climbing,
  • Still can’t work out the TV remote control,
  • The garden is still a mess,
  • Still don’t like U2,
  • Still haven’t seen Avatar without falling asleep,
  • Haven’t seen my brother even though we live only 50 miles apart,
  • The garden gate still needs fixing,
  • The washing machine is still possessed,
  • Still having bought myself that ginormous telescope,
  • The blog is still going,
  • Still writing about the same stuff,
  • Still waiting for official recognition of my stellar poetry skills,
  • Still haven’t won the lottery,
  • Still losing my car keys.

THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE WORSE

  • As Hawklad has reached the teenage stage many of the health support packages have been removed,
  • The waiting list to see The Paediatrician is now approaching 2 years,
  • A pesky pandemic,
  • Hawklads anxiety levels,
  • Hawklads isolation from the world and other kids his age,
  • Due to circumstances had to stop running,
  • Boris,
  • Trumps antics,
  • Might be a metal head but the days of skin tight jeans have gone,
  • Lost a couple of much loved pets,
  • Don’t really see my sisters anymore,
  • School’s view of Hawklad – definitely revising his perceived ability levels downwards,
  • The number of times I have to shout or pull my hair out at school is rising,
  • I’m physically meeting less people,
  • The list of things on the need sorting out when funds are available is growing.

THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER

  • Hawklad understands himself and his Aspergers much better now,
  • Hawklad is overcoming his dyslexia,
  • I understand now that it’s just as ok to Laugh as it is to Cry, YES it’s ok to live,
  • Friendship
  • Close Friendships,
  • Faith,
  • Love,
  • Happiness,
  • One step closer to home schooling (hopefully),
  • My dress sense – I finally chucked out some of my pink climbing shirts.

You might be thinking that looking at the relative number of entries on these lists that the last 1000 odd days have been generally bad. But look at some of those things on the last list. It’s not about quantity it’s about quality. Yep looking at that last list, over the last 1000 odd days we have challenges but some really good stuff has still happened. That’s why there is always hope.

Gnomeless

Maybe it’s my dear parents influence but I’ve always liked a garden gnome. But for years we had a problem. My partner hated them. Which is unusual as she was the kindest soul going. Never a bad word about anyone. All except gnomes. She had serious issues with them. When I suggested the garden would benefit from at least one of these sweet little chaps the response was razor sharp

If I find one in the garden then it’s getting smashed with a hammer….

Even when I suggested that a gnome would significantly raise the IQ in the garden when I was gardening alone, the response was similarly brutal

The garden gnome will get it then your next…..

What I will now tell you will probably get a really pissed off spirit coming my way. I might have ignored my partner just a tad. A few gnomes did get sneaked into the garden. To ensure their life expectancy was measured in days rather than seconds they needed to go into deep cover. Very deep cover. The compost heap, under bushes, hid behind plant pots. Unbelievably a few survived the inevitable apocalypse.

One such hardy soul is still with us. Now he is enjoying life in the open. He has long forgotten the long years buried under the hedge. He’s a gnome from my favourite footy team. He’s over 20 years old and is still to see his team win anything. What was I thinking of when as a toddler when I picked Newcastle United as my team. I could have picked a team which won things. No I picked the team which is in a permanent state of chaos, a never ending winless soap story. No wonder the poor gnome looks so washed out. I went through a stage of telling the gnome the teams results. Unfortunately as that usually entailed breaking the bad news of another defeat I changed to just letting him know of good team news. As a result I haven’t spoken to the gnome in years…….