Farmer

Been far too grey and misty over the last few days. Too much winter. So let’s have a little bit of summer. Yes Yorkshire does get some of that. Sometimes.

This is one of those great footpaths. A footpath across the crop field that the local farmer dutifully maintains. Not easy to get lost of this one. I always think it would be funny if the farmer built in a maze to this path. He could get hordes of walkers lost here for hours. Could be a nice little money earner for him. Send his sheepdogs in to rescue the walkers for a small fee.

In that photo if you keep going straight. Climb the hill. Keep going straight and in about 10 minutes you will crash into our overgrown garden. You could get seriously lost in there.

I feel a little lost today. I think many of us are. A little tired of Groundhog Day. Bored with 2020. Hours , days, weeks and months seemingly merging into each other. Having to constantly look at the date on my mobile and then check the calendar to work out where I am. Is it a Sunday? Not sure.

But there is always hope.

This time will pass. Directions will be rediscovered again. The farmer will work on his lovely straight path again.

Back to normal

Do you ever have those moments in time that are just a little too busy. When lots of random events decide to bloom at exactly the same time. When life goes kinda mad. Well I’ve just had another one of those career defining epochs.

I was happily trying to cook tea. Pan boiling nicely. Grill turned on. Looking through the window at the washing gently drying on the outside clothes horse. Everything under control. Even time for a little air guitar listening to Kiss and then …..

For some reason the TV Speaker Bar kicked into life and decided to join in with the kitchen speaker and blast out Kiss. And I mean blast out. Deafening. It does have a mind of its own, definitely when it comes to Bluetooth. So I rushed to turn it off but couldn’t find the remote control (it doesn’t have any useful buttons on the speaker, apparently that is progress). Then a shout from the toilet…

Dad the toilet is blocked and flooding.

So I ditched trying to turn the music down and headed towards the toilet. The phone rang.

Can I phone you back, bit of a crisis here (having to shout above the music),

Running towards the toilet and the front doorbell rang.

Can you leave the parcel there ….. Apparently not and I had to sign for it. Definitely getting an evil look for listening to that type of music so loud.

Heading towards the toilet when the smoke alarm goes off. Run to the kitchen to find the grill was arc welding the once tasty food options. Turn off grill and throw the food embers outside. Then throw the smoke alarm out as well. That’s now happily screeching away on the lawn.

Head towards the toilet and the cat knocks the school iPad off the table. I try to catch it but fail. Check the damage. Screen looks slightly cracked.

Dad the toilet is flooded and I’m busting. Hawklad shouting over Kiss.

Head towards the kitchen sink to find the plunger only to find the pan was now boiling over and the top of the electric cooker is like a boating lake. Turn the pan off.

Dad I’m busting. The words almost lost amongst the dialled to 11 metal music.

Plunger now in hand. Front doorbell rings again. Can our postman leave a parcel for next door with me. Apparently he likes Kiss and went to see them 20 years ago.

Dad the cat is drinking the toilet water and I’m seriously busting.

Ten minutes later the toilet is working. Son isn’t busting anymore. Kiss is playing at less than 150 decibels. Soup has now replaced the wrecked food. I’ve got no idea who phoned. The smoke alarm is getting a free wash on the front lawn in a passing rain storm. As is the once almost dry washing.

Back to normal again.

Magical sky

Looking at a big sky opens up so many possibilities. It can fill your heart with wonder. It can fuel dreams and adventures. Bring back forgotten memories. It can also calm the internal raging storm.

It can also stop you taking a large sledgehammer to the telephone…

I received a letter from the bank informing me that my local branch was closing. I apparently had two options. Start using a branch which is 15 miles further away or set up an online banking option. I opted for the latter as the setup process was fully online and could be completed in just a few moments.

Did have a third option…. switch to another bank.

So I started the process from the comfort of my sofa. Rather than being complete in just a few moments the process was clearly going to be more akin to spending a few hours in the company of the Spanish Inquisition. Three hours later the trial was still ongoing. New passwords, passcodes, PIN numbers, memorable words and identifying questions seemingly required for each screen. The process was clearly not complicated enough so suddenly the iPhone was required to join in with the tablet. Verification codes started flying between the two. I’ve got a degree in computing and the process was still pigging beyond me.

Then at last the final screen. Confirm your new online banking arrangements….. then the sting in the tail.

You will need to go into your branch in person to sign a form before the process can be completed. You can now however view your account balance online.

Very kind of them to allow me to view my bank balance (or lack of it) online. Who needs the other stuff like transfer money, make payments, control direct debits. That’s all minor stuff when it comes to online banking.

Then followed a most enjoyable one hour spent in a call queue listening to a recorded message telling me that I was a valued customer but unfortunately the bank was experiencing high call volumes. Finally a person. Unfortunately a person in a different country who didn’t understand the fine twangs of the Yorkshire accent and also clearly had no idea what it was to live in a country dealing with lockdowns.

So I eventually found myself outside. Trying to calm the internal rage and work out how to pay a visit to the new bank branch. But then the sky caught my attention. Thoughts quickly moved to happier things. Yes the sky is magical.

Help

Sometimes you need help. Help with routine stuff. Something like Broadband. So Saturday brought a broken service. Our broadband doesn’t like rain. Certainly doesn’t like 14 hours of solid rain.

No service, no internet on an afternoon is not going to cut the mustard with a teenager. So it’s time to make the dreaded call to the BT helpline. One hour later I finally speak to a human who then decides to play me some more annoying music. Another hour later I’m handed to a service engineer. Having explained the situation in some detail to the expert he agreed to look at his system. After 20 minutes of much tutting the expert told me that the service was ‘not optimal‘. When I told him it was in fact ‘not working’ I never did get to hear his response. Rather an automated voice kicked in to inform me that the department was now closed and would reopen again at 8am on Monday. Dont you just love service…..

So we have resorted to my very patchy mobile signal as our broadband option. It kinda reminds me of what it was like a few years back with dialup internet. How did we survive.

Frustrating

So frustrating. Quite a bit of the sky is blue yet the black clouds keep rolling over the top of us. Keeping the Sun hidden. That’s as close as we have been to a glimpse of the big yellow thing. Which happens to be an awful lot closer than we have had to anything resembling competent government recently…..

So this morning the Government has said that their message is crystal clear, the problem is that some people just can’t understand it…. So they have helpfully clarified some stuff. The new Stay Alert message means you must stay at home and also that you must not stay at home. You can only see one person a day from a different household. So if you have two parents then you can only see one of them. Yet people can go to work and meet work colleagues (as many as you like) as long as you follow the new workplace rules – rules which have not been written yet. People should wear masks, but only if they really want to. Don’t need to worry about things like if the masks meet minimum standards, an old sock will do – anyway that’s what many of our nurses and care workers have had to resort to using as the Government couldn’t be bothered to buy enough protective kit. It’s completely safe to go out but don’t try to use public transport as this may or may not be safe. We have the same rules across the UK and you can drive anywhere you want to. BUT not to Scotland or Wales as they might be using the same rules but differently. It will soon be completely safe to send under 10’s back to school but they won’t be able to play together as that would be completely unsafe. We have the most open and honest government in the world but we won’t be releasing the scientific advice we have been using and we will only answer questions that we think are appropriate. The Government has issued detailed rules, bizarrely many of these are still being written (that’s a minor technicality) and don’t get so hung up on the safety details. Just use good old British common sense and basically wing this …..

So yes the sun has refused to shine so far but there is always hope it will. Unfortunately with Boris there is absolutely no hope of competent government ever appearing. Sadly we are not the only country like this. I just hope you get more of the sun than we do…..

Kick the wall type of day

Spending time near water can be so relaxing. Today felt like I needed to be submerged right in the middle of this river. Stood on the banks probably wouldn’t bring my BP down much below 5000. Yesterday was a kick the wall type of day. Even today my BP is probably 250 points higher than my IQ.

You plan to work from home but that’s the day BT decides to turn off the broadband. You then decide to drive to work but then find out that’s the day the Council decides to close ALL THE roads leading to it. Aargh…

You drive to the supermarket to find it was as empty as my wallet. When I say empty it had plenty of items as long as they were not on my shopping list. Shopping for someone with Aspergers often revolves round a small range of food items. If the food is not quite right then he won’t touch it. Today the only pasta, soup, pizza and sausages he likes were frustratingly missing. The upcoming weeks menu for our son has suddenly become even less varied (if that is possible).

Then we come to my menu. You try to go healthy. You try to go environmentally friendly. The key phrase is ‘you try’. In my case that is meat free, dairy free, gluten free, soya free. In a supermarket of 32 aisles my shopping area constitutes no more than one quarter of one aisle. At best it’s a very limited range of products. Today most of that small portion of an aisle was empty. When I asked the ‘shoppers champion’ (title on badge) helpfully said

“It’s becoming really popular so we run out normally in the middle of the week”

Well order more stock and why not give just a bit more of your shop to this really popular range…. While I’m at it let’s vent some more. If I am eating healthier (as the government wants me to) and I’m buying more environmentally friendly items. Why am I being penalised for it. Why are these products so bloody expensive. How can they justify charging £2.50 for a small loaf of gluten free bread. Why are all the ‘healthy and socially good’ products three times the price of the bad ones….. Aargh….

You rush back home so you are in plenty of time for an afternoon delivery only to find a note pushed through the letter box. Unfortunately you were not in when we called at 9.45am. You will need to collect the item from you local delivery depot. When is 9.45am an afternoon delivery AND how is a 25 mile trip to the LOCAL PIGGING Depot defined as local. Aargh…

You then venture into the utility room to put on a wash when your faced with a waste spillage even BP and Exxon would be proud of. Why has the big fat boy cat suddenly decided to use his litter tray sideways rather rather long ways. He’s a big fella and using the tray sideways means he now misses by over 1ft. Aargh…

Then you get a phone call from the bank. One of my cheques bounced. Why. Apparently the other bank wanted .00 adding to the total I had wrote on the cheque. It was a round number so why do I need that. Aargh…

Then we come to the main event. Already my blood is boiling.

I was getting sons Games Kit ready for the next day. Like most school things you have a prescriptive list of items. Any variations from the list gets the child an automatic negative. Only one light blue football sock could be found….

Son wasn’t sure if he brought it home or had left it at school. We ransacked the house to no avail. With every passing minute son is getting more upset and my BP has gone to Green Rage Hulk levels. Not angry at son angry with life in general. Then a great idea we have 40 minutes to get to the nearest sport shop. Some frantic driving and we get there just in time. The shop has an extensive football range. Every colour sock going EXCEPT Light blue… Normal blue would be a school negative (as it’s not the official colours). Ask the shop assistant. “Yes we have some light blue behind the counter”. At last we catch a break….

“We only have two in stock and I’m afraid they might be a bit small for him”. If it’s tight don’t worry. “Both are 5-6 Year Old size”. Bloody hell… Aargh.

So that was that. Son was sent into school with some royal blue footy socks and a note pleading our case. But the damage was done. I spent most of the night and early morning trying to calm our sons anxiety meltdown. A meltdown caused by one missing light blue sock. It sounds trivia but it isn’t. On that night it was the single worst worry one particular kid with Aspergers could have. Caused by petty school rules.

So yesterday was officially a kick the wall type of day. To the outsider it’s all mundane stuff. No internet. A few road closures. No expensive hippy food. A missed delivery. A cat missing the target. A cheque which needs amending. AND a light blue sock. But to me it was a massive pain in the bootocks….