Storm Dudley

One word sums up the weather today.

GNARLY……

Storm Dudley is blowing over the top of our little house on top of a little hill. All the garden furniture is bunched in the garden trampoline, only problem is that I’m not entirely sure which garden the trampoline is currently found in.

Overhead power cables and storm force winds are not a great combination, so the power has been on and off. Mostly off. So how long will my old iPhone pick up the weak data signal before the battery gives out. The poor power company are doing their best but the power must be out in so many areas round here.

So it’s a dark house lit by candles. Working through a box of Pot Noddles while playing old school board games. We might need more than one storm to complete a game of Labyrinth – which warped mind invented that game of prolonged torture.

So it’s fortunate that a second storm is less than 2 days away. Storm Eunice is the next unwanted visitor. We might just get this never ending game completed. It’s definitely a two storm game.

Gladiator

Definitely feels like the we are about to walk into the opening scenes of the movie, Gladiator. Maybe once I had a passing resemblance to Maximus 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Very passing….. Thankfully no barbarian hoards this time although our squirrels can get a bit frisky.

As we walked I asked Hawklad about the imminent recommencement of the school at home project. Is there anything I could do to make it run better for him.

Nothing he could think of apart from me upping my IQ into double figures.

Ok, is there anything I can get in or buy that would help him. Text books, supplies, tech, tutor support. He thought carefully for a while, finally concluding

Yes there is. As he would still be largely cut off from others, then …..

WE NEED MORE BOARD GAMES

I never saw that one coming. But actually that is a top idea. He needs to have fun. So it’s time for a board game search of the house and then let’s see what Amazon has to offer. He will get more from them than he will ever get from another text book.

Five words

White cloud over a tree. That’s five words….

We tried a new game yesterday. Try to describe things, people, events in just five words or less. It’s a nightmare. Well a nightmare for me. Hawklad wisely decided to just ask the questions and leave the mental hernia to me. It started off very sensibly for example a Rose was ‘a flower with sharp thorns’. York was ‘a historic northern english city’. Sadly it went down hill rapidly.

My football team – can’t win a thing, USELESS

Cricket – Red ball aimed at sticks

Golf – excuse to wear silly trousers

Brexit – well that’s on plan, NOT

Gardening – OW that hurts

Yoga – that’s not supposed to bend

School – best done in bed

Boris Johnson – Lazy, corrupt, so called leader

Trump – can’t find his tax return

Calculus – number witchcraft

Red – my face after a workout

Lord of the Rings – chucking a ring at volcanoes

The Hobbit – some blokes lost a ring

The Silmarillion – absolutely no idea what’s happening

A Dinosaur – imagine your Dad just younger.

You Dad – a walking gnarly old fossil

The Terminator – Austrian speaking walking remote control

Chess – Draughts or Checkers with attitude

Twitter – being nasty with limited characters

Facebook – an excuse to photograph breakfasts

Star Trek – don’t beam down with Kirk

Star Wars – Star Trek but way longer

Gravity – Add Falls for cool cartoon

Real Gravity ….. – Reason my body is saggy

Combinations

Some combinations go so well together. Blue Sky and Yorkshire. Bill and Ted. Fish and Chips. Batman and Joker. Trump and publishing tax returns. Kirk and Spock. Tom and Jerry. Cheese and Onion. Boris Johnson and Lies. Spongebob and Crabby Patties……

We do have some random conversations in the garden. Just like today. No idea why but Muppet Dad and Hawklad decided to try and randomly combine things.

What do you get when you combine a Tom Hanks movie and a US President – Forest Trump.

Much groaning – but you get the point. This went on for hours. I must admit the really funny ones unfortunately fail the good taste censor. Maybe I will do a late night version of this. But some of the cleaner ones included.

Combine a infamous US building with a famous 70s UK Comedy series – Trump Fawlty Towers

Bringing together a Marvel Character and Whale movie – IronWilly

Bring together a movie about Hobbits and a Disney movie – Return of the Lion King

Combine a British PM with a Donkey – Doris

Combine a young wizard with Toy Stories Mr Potato Head – Harry PotHead

What do you get when you combine an Arnie movie with a popular kiddies series. The Smurfinator.

Try combining a popular burger with a bit of Shakespeare – Big Macbeth

I hear you cry – Please no more…. I will be kind. But the point is that we had been having a conversation about missed opportunities. Maybe if things had been different then we could have spent this sunny day somewhere else. Somewhere different. Maybe the beach. Walking in the hills. Hawklad could have been visiting friends. Maybe a trip to a historic site. But just a few minutes later we were having fun. Fun in the garden. Making the most of what we have available to us. Sometimes the best place to have fun. To find happiness is rather close at hand.

New game

We are always on the look out for new games. Son likes to spend time outside talking and having fun. Fun normally entails making up stories and playing silly mind games. Yesterday we started a new one.

Ok Dad I’m going to tell you a name or thing and you have to tell me the first words or first image that pops into your head”…

So here are some of the responses we mustered.

Donald Trump

  • Dad – Orange Turnip playing golf
  • Son – Orange hot air balloon

Summer

  • Dad – Cold
  • Son – Wet

Boris Johnson

  • Dad – Emperor Nero
  • Son – Clueless

McDonald’s

  • Dad – Burgers
  • Son – Rubbish buns

Cricket

  • Dad – Stick of Rhubard
  • Son – Boring

Frodo

  • Dad – Frodo getting to Mount Doom and realising he left the ring back in the Shire
  • Son – unwilling hero

Football

  • Dad – Newcastle United
  • Son – Chelsea

Sherlock Holmes

  • Dad – Reichenback
  • Son – Aspergers

ScoobyDoo

  • Dad – Jinkies
  • Son – Dad liking Thelma in the movie

King Richard III

  • Dad – White Rose
  • Son – Misunderstood

Wrestling

  • Dad – Hulk Hogan
  • Son – Edge

Dinosaurs

  • Dad – Dinosaur Train
  • Son – Jurassic Park

Brexit

  • Dad – Waking off a cliff edge
  • Son – My generation going to take us back into Europe

Muppets

  • Dad – Kermit
  • Son – Dad

The Avengers

  • Dad – Captain America
  • Son – Ironman

Childhood Hero

  • Dad – Captain Scarlett
  • Son – Batman

America

  • Dad – Grand Canyon
  • Son – Yellowstone

Pandemic

  • Dad – Masks
  • Son – Hand washing

School

  • Dad – Detention
  • Son – Homework

Bill & Ted

  • Dad – Medieval Dickweed (sorry first thing that popped in)
  • Son – Party on dudes

Mars

  • Dad – Chocolate bar
  • Son – Fourth Planet

Scotland

  • Dad – Deep Fried Mars Bar
  • Son – Macbeth

Braveheart

  • Dad – Freedom
  • Son – Mel Gibson’s accent

Avatar

  • Dad – Boring
  • Son – Why?

Star Wars

  • Dad – Obi-wan
  • Son – Darth Vader

Dad

  • Dad – erm Muppet
  • Son – definitely Muppet

Son

  • Dad – Tomato Ketchup
  • Son – Bigger than you….

Toying

Another weekend and more grim weather is heading our way. So this is the calm before the wet and windy stuff arrives. For those with good eyesight – you can just about see York Minster in the background.

So given the weather we are likely to be falling back on indoor games to amuse ourselves. Kinda looking forward to that.

School is being school. Son is still giving it one last chance. But I get the impression that his spirit is starting to ebb away. But still he has hope that he might get moved up in at least one set before he leaves. He’s done well in the exams given the lack of dyslexia support he received. A low mark in Drama but we have seen the approach they take to the subject – let’s think spellings. French he came midway which is good as he lost lots of marks for his French spellings. As he points out – ‘I’m dyslexic in multiple languages, if I can’t spell in English what chance do I have in French‘. He’s been told he did well in history which is amazing as he had to type in his answers on a computer – his fine motor difficulties makes typing slow and problematic. He came first and second in his maths papers – he lost marks as he misread some of the wordy questions. In Science he was top in his class by a clear 20 percent – a subject which probably did the best job at getting reading support in place.

So son is waiting and hoping that maybe he might get a set move up in at least Science and Maths. Hopefully in his best subject as well – History. Fingers crossed. Even if he does get the move I suspect it’s more about a confidence boost than making a long term commitment to mainstream schooling. Homeschooling will be happening just now a question of when.

I’ve been toying with dilemma. Each night son loves to play a little games competition. Mini Air Hockey, Connect 4 and Jenga. I’ve been trying to decide on another game to add to this daily schedule. Been considering many board game options. Maybe something culturally and mentally enriching. Well at 3am I pressed the purchase option on Amazon. Hopefully it arrives before the weather.

Kerplunk….

Deadpool

Sleeping feels a bit like a Jenga tower these days. Takes a lot of effort to get it going then it’s so precarious that the slightest disturbance and it’s over. Most days the effort seems wasted given the time the tower actually stands. So last night the same pre sleep ritual then all too quickly a random dream wakes me. That’s it can’t sleep. So at 4am I’m watching Deadpool 2. Not sure if It was the sleep deprivation but I found the movie absolutely hysterical. So by the time son was up I was ready to rumble.

I certainly have to rumble. The first signs appearing of son becoming anxious for the upcoming week and the return to the big bad world. I’ve given him the option of immediately pulling him from school. But he thinks he should give it some more time, even if it’s just for a few more weeks. He wants to see what school does with the class settings. Does he finally move up sets or is he again consigned to the bottom set. I must admit I’ve given up hope in the mainstream school system. It’s not improving any time soon. Kids like our son are going to continue to be labelled an inconvenience and consigned to the educational bin. I will continue to try and work with the teachers but movement at this late stage is unlikely. Homeschooling looks like the only positive call. So yes things will be really tight. Yes I’m going to have to watch out that I don’t burn myself out. But for me the homeschooling time has arrived. But it’s son’s education so it’s his call. So on Monday school starts again. So already the anxiety levels are starting to build.

So we need to rumble harder. Need to work harder on the fun. The smiles and laughs will be just that little bit harder to produce. So Project Fun needs to go into overdrive. Today we try a new game. The Trampoline Water Challenge. Let’s try to bounce while holding various containers containing cold water. Bouncing with a full washing bowl will be the ultimate challenge. It’s a challenge which is designed to get you wet. Very wet. If unbelievably I don’t end up drenched then it may call for a headfirst dive into the farmers field rain lake. Whatever it takes today.

If Deadpool wasn’t so naughty then this would be a really funny movie to watch. If you took out the unsuitable bits then I guess the running time would be down to seconds. So it’s a time to either watch a series of Red Dwarf or Black Adder. Or maybe it’s time to revisit Monty Python and the Holy Grail. All guaranteed to make him laugh and LAUGHTER is the only currency we are dealing in today.

Is winning best

At last sun. Just a couple of hours but even that feels like a win. Certainly lifts the soul.

Dad are you trying. That’s 9 – nil to me”

Mini Air Hockey is a tricky sport. Requiring a unique combination of hand eye coordination, reflexes, ability to bend your back for more than 10 seconds and unchecked brutality.

“Just look at my fingers. That’s missing skin. Yep I’m trying. Your just too quick for me.”

Son worries that I let him win. That’s such a difficult area for parents. Do we play hard or do we let our children win. I remember reading a story about a former giant international rugby player. He was playing touch rugby in his garden with his kids. As a feel for how seriously he was taking this game ask his garden shed. Apparently in an attempt to win the ball off his young son he crashed into the wooden structure. The poor shed was basically demolished. The Dads take on that. They have to learn to compete. When I play I always play to win. Kids need to learn this.

But on the other side I was watching a video of the great Mohammed Ali. He was boxing with a small child. Ali was repeatedly knocked down and finally the kid scored a dramatic K.O. The kid walked away with the biggest smile and feeling like a champion.

For what it’s worth I was in the Ali camp. I wanted to see my kid smile and feel like a winner. Yes the occasional defeat was important to learn about life and that failure will happen. As you get older failure comes regularly so why not grant a few years of success to the young. Son has been through so much in his short life. Seen so much sadness. He’s earned the right to feel good sometimes. But what do I know – I’m still trying to learn this parenting gig.

But time moves on. With a cruel flick of life’s switch, happily letting your young ones win becomes increasingly hard. Suddenly you can’t buy a win. The cold reality sets in. Your kid is better at stuff now than you. Maybe he should go easy on his Dad. He is quicker, thinks faster, has better reactions and has higher skill levels. What happened to Dad being a computer game legend. Now Dad is a Noob. Oh the shame.

Yes there are complications. A kid with Aspergers and Dyspraxia will struggle in some areas. It’s so important I factor those things in. Confidence levels are so brittle. It sends daggers through a parents heart to hear you kid say things like ‘I’m just stupid’, I’m useless’, ‘I’m so rubbish‘, ‘ hate being different’. So yes allowances are still made. He loves Jenga but struggles with his fine motor skills. He hasn’t noticed yet that I play just using my left hand. Connect 4 is another favourite but he struggles to see diagonal patterns. Yes I will tend to ignore the obvious connections.

So what’s your take on winning or losing?

Am I getting this so wrong?

Whatever the rights and wrongs of my approach. Dads are strange sensitive souls. We still need to feel like kings sometimes. Yes to show off a bit. Those area are becoming increasingly difficult to find these days. That’s why bench pressing weights and the ability to stomach increasingly disgusting tasting jelly beans are so important. That’s all I’ve got left. Long may I rule over those two talents.

Raining

Is it safe to venture out yet? Certainly not. Absolutely chucking it down with flying branches. At least Storm Dennis is saving me a pruning job on the old apple tree. Strangely the day we took Son to see the above panda was equally wet. At the end of the day we were frozen, huddled over hot chocolates at Edinburgh Castle and thinking what possessed us to come to Scotland in the middle of winter. Oh hang on it was August, the height of summer. I guess that’s the price you pay for living in the UK.

Yes bad weather curtails the outdoor activities but it’s a great excuse to dig out the indoor games. Connect 4, mini Air Hockey, Top Trumps, Guess Who and Jenga. So much simple fun. Going to try Monopoly (when I can find it). The last time we tried it Son struggled with it. He couldn’t get his head round the money element and he didn’t like having to get his community chest cards read out for him. I wish I could find a few of my old games. Haunted House, Mouse Trap and the Bermuda Triangle. Now I’ve started. I loved my old horse racing board game – Totopoly. Then there was that art and painting game which should never have worked but it did – Masterpiece. Our Cluedo was a bit pointless as we had lost many of the cards. Colonel Mustard ended up being a serial killer – he was about the only character card we had left. Kerplunk was fun until you lost the marbles. As many people point out – I have most certainly lost my marbles. Yahtzee was impossible as we didn’t have any rules. Must have another look in the attic tomorrow.

What are your favourite games?

So as Son watches YouTube videos I’m catching up on my blog. Got to thank Jess (Beyond the front cover) for the Sunshine Blogger tag. It’s greatly appreciated. As you’ve taken the time to set some questions let’s answer them.

1 – What is your greatest achievement to date?

Son and not burning the house down while baking.

2 – Name one thing that is guaranteed to annoy you?

Boris Johnson and Newcastle United.

3 – What made you decide to start your blog, and does that reason still stand for why you continue?

It kinda just happened. Not sure what I was thinking about in the months after the world changed. I had started reading blogs I think to try and reconnect with the world. Then one night I randomly set my own one up.

4 – If you could visit one place in the world then where would you go, and why?

Switzerland because it’s so special to my partner. Everest Base Camp.

5 – If you could only read books from one genre then which one would you pick?

1. Fantasy 2. Climbing 3. Horror

6 – What was the last thing that happened to make you smile?

Watching an old ScoobyDoo episode.

7 – If you could live a day as a character from a book then who would that character be, and why?

Sherlock Holmes. Just the coolest character ever. Very complex.

8 – Which season is your favourite?

If we got proper snow then winter. Problem is that all our seasons tend to be similar. Wet and windy. See the Brit is off talking about the weather again.

9 – What is the best piece of advice that you have been given?

When learning to ride a bike – don’t try to go backwards

During cricket coaching – imagine your bat is a stick of Rhubard

10 – Which subject at school was your favourite, and which did you hate?

None hated school. Biology was the least bad one.

11 – If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life then what would you pick?

Cheese and onion crisps.