Sherlock’s Yorkshire Canon

Last night we sat down to watch a couple of episodes from the wonderful Sherlock TV series. One of which was the Hound of The Baskervilles. Or as my helpful word checker wants to autocorrect to – the Hound of the Basketballs – that would be a slam dunker of a book. It is the episode where Holmes and Aspergers are specifically referenced. When Lestrade talks about the great detectives awful people skills Watson specifically mentions Aspergers. I could see no apparent reaction from our son.

However later the following was said

I know it helps explain Sherlock’s character and his abruptness with others. And it’s kinda nice that the we get a hero with autism. But people will start to think that we are all brilliant, unfeeling and very very odd. Definitely psychotic. One day we will get a character who is just in the middle.”

He is so right. It’s called a spectrum for a reason. Labels just don’t fit. The media focus on the extreme ends but hardly ever look at the middle. But that’s the media and entertainment for you. It’s like when we crashed into the world of single parenting, single father parenting. I remember having a similar conversation

Why do so many movies and TV shows depict the single dad as a suicidal drinker obsessed with dating sites and clearly unable to cope with at least one wild child who has gone bad and needs saving.

Currently sat here with a herbal tea and listening to classical music. That’s not going to make for an interesting movie. Anyway back to Sherlock. We sat enjoying the episode when two thoughts struck me.

ONE: Sherlock was one of my partners favourite TV shows. We are watching her DVDs. She should be sat next to our son enjoying the experience. Life is not fair.

TWO: Looking round at the room. It’s a mess. She would kill me.

So this morning before the dog walk into the strangely blue skied Yorkshire countryside I had a major cleanup. Even put the Sherlock DVDs neatly back in the box. Then on the walk I almost could here her voice saying ‘stop taking so many photos’ so I only took the one this morning. Rather than snap away I looked at the view, imagined a demon hound stalking Dartmoor and I wondered what a Yorkshire themed Sherlock would sound like.

Ferret of the Baskervilles

A study in rhubarb

A scandal in Barnsley

The adventure of the missing Yorkshire Pudding

The adventures of the crooked Lancashire man

The adventures of the Yorkshire Terriers Main.

As much as I love Yorkshire thank god Sherlock was based in London.

Kapellbrücke

Not often am I speechless. But walking along a centuries old wooden structure trying to work out if I should look at the glorious Swiss mountains, or if I should look at the beautiful city architecture, or the beautiful alpine river, or the stunning historical artwork or just look at one of the worlds greatest bridges.

Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) is a glorious wooden bridge which runs over the river in Lucerne. The bridge was erected in 1365. It is the oldest surviving Truss Bridge in the world. In 1993 a devastating fire struck the bridge almost destroying it. Before the fire 147 of the original 17th century paintings were on display in the bridge. After the fire only 30 could be saved. But the bridge was restored to its former glory and reopened a year later.

Frustration today. I came across these photos which jogged so many wonderful memories. But I can’t find the photos of the bridge interior or the family enjoying the experience. Particularly poignant as only 2 of the party of 4 are still here today. Almost like the bridges artwork. But the search continues. Kapellbrücke should be on any bucket list of things you need to see before you …..

Soulless

That pesky grief monster sneaking up on innocent folks again. Should be a law about that. On sorry I forgot our Government ceased being a viable legislative body two years ago. Still we can look forward to Johnson or Hunt now. OMG. One is a self serving buffoon who dresses up outrageous racist comments as free direct speech. A man whose middle name should be dishonesty. The other is a man who forgot which country his wife was born in (supposed to be our Foreign Secretary) and who wilfully wrecked our NHS.

So no help coming from the Government any time soon then.

I was having a 50 minute walk – can’t believe how much I miss my runs. Tired but been worse. Then out from a side path a couple emerged. Holding hands and clearly so in love. Suddenly waves of grief and remorse smash me into the ground.

That was us a few years ago…

We should be still holding hands today…

Those days have gone…

Suddenly I feel very tired, very old and very broken.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.

An hour later I’m back at work but basically I’m going through the motions. My heart is trapped in a different year. It’s unlikely that it will be released. I feel soulless, yes that’s the word, SOULLESS. Just an empty shell. Just focus on that one job – give our son the best childhood possible. That gives me a purpose. Something to keep me going.

Kinda Day

Sometimes a damp walk in the forest is just perfect, just fits your mood. It’s been a kinda tired day, kinda sad grieving day, kinda lonely day, kinda frustrating day. Nothing is specifically wrong yet nothing is specifically right. Following on from yesterday’s post it would read 30th May – National Feels like one of those Days. Not sure which way it will go. Towards the light or towards the dark. We all get these days. Maybe we should rename it already- International We all get these days which kinda sucks Day.

But we move on. Make the best of things.

Breathe in nature. Touch the damp foliage. Talk about dreams and fantasy worlds. Make our way back home. Football in the garden. Hot Chocolate and Coffee. Popcorn. An Avengers Movie (maybe two). Eventually you make it through the day unscathed. Hopefully dream filled sleep will usher in another day. A better day. A happier day. Shall we call it the International We are all going to have a good Day. We all deserve that.

Wooden

Apparently native to Yorkshire… wonder if they fancy a chat. If they don’t then I won’t get the hump.

I have never been someone completely at ease with people. Once I get to know a group then I can come out of my shell. Occasionally a bit too out of my shell. But often I was the person talking to the plant in the corner at parties. As the years went on I found that I could find a reasonable way of communicating with people. It was hard work but it sorta worked.

These days I have no practice. I have become socially very isolated. At work I often work on my own. The days of meeting people at the school gate have ceased. We live in a small village with no pub or shop. I might see a member of my family every few months. I don’t go to football matches now. Climbing trips have ceased. Team Sport is a thing of the past. Meet ups with my friends have completely dried up (it’s been a drought). The last night out with friends was in 2015. We occasionally go to a concert or wrestling show but because of our son’s Aspergers we tend to limit public exposure to a bare minimum.

You get the picture.

As a result I have completely lost my social confidence. When I do bump into people these days I am so painfully wooden. Can hardly string a sentence together. End up just being quiet and completely stressed out. Shackled with self doubt – I’m not sure I could even manage to talk to the plant in the corner now.

I am so lucky to have a fantastic son. I am also fortunate that I have adjusted reasonably well to spending large chunks of the day so isolated. So if I get completely cut off from society then so be it – at least I won’t have to get stressed out about being so wooden. But it does bother me that so many good people have experienced something similar or far worse. Isolated and cut adrift in an increasingly crowded world – alone and in need of company. I really don’t think the scale of the problem has been fully appreciated yet. If you are in that situation my heart goes out to you and I send you my love.

For me I have a job to do for the next few years. Give son the best childhood possible. Nothing else really matters. If and when he has left the nest then I will worry about the other stuff. Hopefully my hermit beard won’t be too long by then. I might even get round to working out how to play Fortnite properly. Hugging trees can be fun as well I hear.

17 years

These two beauties have been with us for 17 years now. My sister gave them to us as a house warming present. Along with two garden gnomes!!! My partner loved the plants but she hated with a passion the idea of garden gnomes. To save them I had to hide the two chaps under the hedge. I was supposed to have taken the sledgehammer to them. As the hedge grew the gnomes got increasingly buried within the branches. Now they are completely lost. Must have an expedition to find them one day.

The two plants have been stars. All those years ago I dumped them in two large plant pots and that’s it. Never touched them again and every year they deliver. It’s really poignant that they are still here and yet my partner….

I remember having a long chat with my partner all those years ago. Sat outside with a bottle of wine looking at these two small plants. Do we plant them or put them in containers. If we put them in containers we can bring them with us when we move. Our small bungalow was not going to be big enough for the family we were about to hopefully start. Stay here until the second was on its way and then move. However even back then my partner was always reading the property pages to find that dream family house.

17 years later I am again outside looking at the two plants. How times change. The wine is replaced with a herbal tea. A large part of the lawn has disappeared under a trampoline. The hedge is much bigger. The same two chairs we sat on 17 years ago are much more weather beaten now. The garden which was filled with conversation and laughter back then now feels a very lonely place this afternoon.

Soon the school bus will be heard and family life with recommence. The rest of the day will hopefully be filled with questions, dreams and smiles. It’s family life but certainly not the one we dreamt of 17 years ago.

Racy Book

I wandered into the Village Library. When I say Library it’s really a converted red telephone box. Just enough room to open the door and edge a few inches in before you are face to face with the books. It is well looked after and has a surprisingly large number of titles. But the book range reflects the village we live in. Clear indication of the type of literature residents read before they drop off the books at the Tardis. That’s the nickname our son gave to the ex telephone box- it’s from Dr Who for those scratching their heads.

So I perused the book covers. Jeffrey Archer, Catherine Cookson, Wilbur Smith, Le Carré, Agatha Christie. Books on farming, the military, Bridge Tactics, embroidery. You get the picture. But wait – one book stands out. Fifty Shades of Grey. Somebody’s brave – the village will be holding an investigation. I can see witch trials.

Then a sinking feeling. Bugger I brought that one. I do have a reasonable excuse. In the weeks after my partner died I was not really on this planet. People kept telling me to clear the house . Be organised, get on with stuff, don’t live in a mausoleum. So I quickly (probably too quickly) started sorting out many of her belongings. Clothes went to the Hospice charity. Books to the Village Library.

I really regret rushing the process. I should have done it when I was ready not when others thought it was the right time. Potentially really important memories might have been lost in the rush. I missed the chance of involving our son in the process (when he was ready of course). I’m sure the early purge did me no good at all. If anything it delayed the grieving process. It certainly didn’t help my depression. Just destabilised me further.

So yes back to Tardis. One of the books found in the house was Fifty Shades. She bought it I think for a train journey from the vast array (not) of books available at the station. I remember my partner saying it was tacky rubbish and she was going to send it out as a joke present. Sadly she never got the time to do that. So it was one of about 20 books that found its way to the library.

I can see the look on the faces of some of the village Bridge Club society. I remember the complaints the Utility Company received when they used ‘dirty’ sandbags to anchor down some of its road work signs on our Main Street. It’s stupid but I was genuinely embarrassed that I had dropped that book off. What are people thinking of me. Am I getting the dreaded tut tutting. He should know better, I thought he was a respectable person.

Should I quickly put the book into my pocket and destroy the evidence. I could even bury it on one of our dog walks – forever hidden in the woods, amongst hundreds of white flowers.

In the end I left it. You should never destroy books. Visions of that scene of book burning in the third Indiana Jones movie flooded my mind. It also really helped finding another dodgy book in the Library. Shockingly a Mills and Boon title.

But hang on a minute.

Now I’m panicking even more. My mum would read M&B books, she had a load of them. I cleared her house out. Surely not. Without thinking did I also add this book to the Library as well. Oh the shame. Grief does crazy things to you….

The view

Looking out into the distance.

Dad that’s a top View. Unbeatable.”

It is. Completely fogged out. Can’t see more than 5 yards in front of us. See kids with Aspergers can do irony.

The garden could be beautifully cut and looking like a football pitch before a major cup final. Wonderfully straight stripes.”

Now he is in full irony mode. It’s more like a cow field at present.

Since we don’t have a view to look at we have license to make our own one up. I’m seeing Whitby Habour on a stormy day.

Dad I’m seeing one image. Do you remember that day when I stood on top of the world. I loved that.”

I so do. He was about 5 and we ventured onto his first mountain. A beautiful Swiss one. Glorious blue skies. Fresh alpine air. Surrounded by dream like peaks. The two of us having a crazy snowball fight. My partner and her mum happily sat in the mountain top restaurant having hot chocolate.

A beautiful moment.

This can be such a wonderful life if we only just give it a chance.

Ronan did me again

Grief is really sneaky. It’s like you at sea in a boat in perfectly calm water. But somewhere underneath you know a Great White Shark is silently hunting. Could be hundreds of miles away or it could be feet away. You just never know.

Everything seemed ok. Yes my partners birthday is approaching but I was ok. Needed to go food shopping. No red flags yet.

At the Supermarket walked passed the flowers. No problem. On passed the birthday cards. No problem. Uneventful food shopping then…..

Without warning the background music started playing Ronan Keating – Life is a Rollercoaster. This was one of her favourite songs. She would always be singing it. I took her twice to see him in concert.

Full scale grief attack. Floods of tears. Lord knows what the other shoppers thought in the soup aisle.

That’s the thing when you lose someone the world doesn’t stop. You might but the rest of the world does not. When you eventually do brave the world again it will try and get you – you just never know when….

When I dreamed

It seems a very long time ago. Days when I dreamed of being a parent. I really had not the first idea of what parenting was. No thoughts of tiredness, frustrations, sacrifices, battles, diagnosis, isolation, heartbreaks, bemusement and an empty wallet. Just visions of

  • The moment of excitement when you find out that you are to be a parent
  • The first gentle embrace with your little one
  • Happy family holidays
  • Fun packed Christmas mornings
  • Those first steps
  • A child doing so well and happy at school
  • Frequent kiddies parties, playing with loads of friends and sleepovers
  • Trips to the cinema with the kids sandwiched between two loving parents
  • Your life continuing unabated as you perfectly share the small workload with your beloved partner.

This morning sat in my battered clothes fuelled on black coffee. Feeling knackered. Looking like crap. Battle worn. Thinking ‘what a prize naive numpty I was’. I might not be the finest example of a parent but at least I look like one now.

I really didn’t have the first idea about life and parenting. Would I have been so keen if I had been more switched on to reality….

“Dad can we have a movie marathon today”

Thoughts of Marvel, Tolkien, DC, Indiana, Bond, Mission Impossible. Losing myself in another world for a while.

Great I’ve got the 4 DVDs ready”

Deep Joy. Alvin and the Chipmunks.

In all the wonderful parenting dreams that super annoying out of tune rodent never made an appearance. The little bushy tailed sod kept quiet until it was too late.

But although I resemble a badly worn zombie this morning. Even after all the bad things that have happened. All the sleepless nights. The worries. Regardless of the lost dreams.

Without a doubt – Parenting is the single best thing that will ever happen to me. That makes me smile.

Now it’s time drag my body out of this chair and take the dog for a walk. Talk about Alvin (sounding like he’s one of my favourite characters ever) while bracing myself against the wind and rain. Imagining the view over the Vale of York as it won’t be making an appearance anytime soon. AND Dream of tomorrow – preferably without Alvin.