Uranium

In Food Technology today Hawklad was set the task to research how wheat is turned into flour. I was expecting this would set him off about the health aspects of bread. Maybe the additives used.

But NO.

His line of attack was – flour mills go through all those stages, make all, that effort, spend all that time. This is on top of the months of hard work performed by Mother Nature. So much effort and then a certain muppet Dad can’t even produce a half edible loaf of bread. What was the point….

Fair comment.

The other task was to forage and with parents help make some Jam. I remember the last time I tried to make Blackberry Jam. Even after two ceiling repaints I can still see the evidence. That Jam stain has a longer half life than Uranium 235. Plus Hawklad hates Jam.

Maybe we might opt out of that one. 😂😂😂😂

Beyond me

There are some problems that are beyond the human mind and there are many questions beyond the muppet dad mind. I’m not talking the deep metaphysical stuff. Not talking cosmology. I’m talking about those run of the mill problems.

How to set the timer on the microwave,

Why don’t I put a long sleeve shirt on when pulling up nettles,

Why did I pick Newcastle United to support,

Why do I keep putting clothes into the dishwasher,

Having bought at least 20 tablet pens, why can I never find just one when I need it,

Why do you only get holes in the socks that are still matching pairs,

Why does my mobile phone never hit the ground when it has its protective case on,

Where do all those batteries I buy end up hiding,

Why do I always miss my mouth while drinking hot chocolate and when I’ve got a white shirt on…..

But most perplexing of all to me is what is the best way to get into a beanbag. Remember I have a ‘not what it was’ type of body. Do I lower myself in using the adjacent furniture. Do I roll into it as if I’m a giant sausage roll. Or do I fall into it like a skydiver with a defective parachute. It’s all beyond me. Especially when I’m trying to get into the beanbag while carrying a cup of decaf coffee and an iPad. So far that has priced beyond me. I’ve even tried putting the coffee cup down next to the beanbag before trying to sit down. All that achieved was me kicking it all over the floor in the maelstrom that was my beanbag entry.

It’s all beyond me….

No Go

You might not believe it but this is an official Yorkshire road.

Impressive…..

The Road to …….

I live in a small bungalow with our son. Small so there is not much room to spread out. Well there is but remember it’s a boy house. Dad, Son, Mad Boy Dog, Massive Tom Cat and two Gerbils. The Gerbils are the sensible ones, but it’s all relative, they are boys as well.

So sometimes space feels at a premium. Especially when there are NO GO AREAS. Areas where LOSS still rules.

Some draws.

One half of the bed.

A wardrobe

Boxes in the loft

A pile of cds – truly awful musical choices which have 0% chance of being played

A pile of videos – we haven’t had a video recorder in 4 years

A box case.

After the funeral in 2016 I had a crazed and largely mixed up clear out. Things like clothes and shoes went to a charity shop. But some things didn’t go. No idea why. They stayed in place and remain there today almost 5 years later. Yes they get dusted but I don’t even feel comfortable doing that. So I kinda just work round those areas.

The time is coming to finally complete the clear out process. Life moves on. It’s about living today not living in the past. Free up the some space for the boys. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy. The temptation will be to move out some of my stuff instead. But it has to be done. One more step down the road.

A unique road in Yorkshire.

Walking

Everyday we go for a walk. Each day a little further. When we get the chance edging a little closer to people. It’s all part of our attempt to build up Hawklad’s confidence in the wider world again. Help overcome his social fears and phobias. Allow him to build bridges into the world again, when he is ready.

We are nowhere near entering crowds and busy public places yet. That will come in time. Next stage will be walking into a shop or supermarket. Then when he’s ready going for an ice cream and cake in a cafe. Then maybe school. I’ve already spoken to school about allowing him to work round the school after the school day has finished. But that’s for another day.

So we did a walk. A local walk. Maybe it’s the impact of over a years worth of lockdown but many local places are looking epic . When everything settles down I’m certainly going to appreciate more what I have on our doorstep.

Take for example yesterday’s walk. A circular 2 mile walk from our house. Tell me why it’s taken all these years to do this……

Islands

Three years since I last stood here. Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the Northumberland coast of North Eastern England . Otherwise known as Holy Island. A place with a rich religious heritage dating back to 635AD.

It’s such a beautiful and evocative place. We would regularly visit here as a couple, as a small family and now as a family of two.

Saint Aidan came from Iona to found a monastery here. Iona is a small island of the western coast of Scotland. He must have liked wind and rain. Shall we say both islands are a tad exposed.

It’s a place I’ve always wanted to move to. Cut off from mainland for large parts of the day. Feels like you are surrounded by the vast open water on all sides. No escape from the unique feel and smell of the sea. A great place to think and breathe.

Not great for the waste. I would live off Fish and Chips…..

I’m talking about this as my mind wandered today. Hawklad is getting older. Won’t be many years before he is 18. Where did that time go. If he’s Independent then MAYBE I will need to find a new place to live. He’s always talked about never moving. So it might be be packing the bags. How knows maybe the bags will head here.

But it’s such a feeling. Such a big step. The thought of potentially starting again

Hyper

The scene from last nights late Hawklad walk. A scene of apparent calm. It doesn’t paint the mayhem which accompanies taking Captain Chaos for a walk. Someone gets hyper on his walk. As he is the most hyper dog in Yorkshire at the best of times, that’s a shed load of hyper….

But it’s not just walks. Most things can send him hyper.

Me trying to tidy up the garden is up there on the hyper league table. Maybe it’s the novelty factor, the garden doesn’t get the attention it deserves….

So today as I tried to weed it was the usual pet mayhem. Helpful frantic digging. Burying anything he can find. Rolling in anything resembling dirt. Crazed running around in circles. That kind of thing.

Then a break. A dog walker walking across the distant fields. A distraction. Much barking. So I had better make the most of this. So I did 5 minutes of rapid weeding, manic digging and rushed raking.

Job done.

One slight problem. Don’t let your mobile fall out of your pocket when your doing speed gardening. Finally only located when I phoned it. Couldn’t hear it ringing inside. But the second phoning attempt, and an usual ringtone coming from the garden rubbish bin.

That could have been a disaster as the bin collection day is tomorrow. Just goes to show the risks inherent in gardening. Might give it a miss for a while now.

Homework

Let’s be honest I’m not the biggest fan of school homework. Not a fan all those years ago when I suffered it as a child and certainly not now as a parent. Occasionally the homework I’ve encountered has had some learning merits. On a few rarer occasions it’s been interesting even wait for it – FUN. Sadly in the vast majority of cases it’s unremittingly dull, of little value to the child and no better than parrot learning dross. A desperate attempt to tick off parts of the government curriculum. I’ve lost count of the times Hawklad has put so much effort into a piece of homework and then gets zero feedback. Too often it’s probably not even marked.

What is the point….

Hawklad has a number of such seemingly meaningless pieces of homework to complete this week. Let’s just look at one of those. How about Religious Education. To paraphrase

Look at your last classroom assessment. Examine your answers and look at the comments. Make corrections to your answers in green pen (must be in green) so that all the teacher comments have been clearly considered. Now fully re-answer two of the assessment questions in your book ensuring all teacher comments are addressed. Homework must be submitted before the start of the next lesson.

That’s RE…. I might be missing something but is that really how you teach this subject. How you teach any subject. How is that approach doing anything positive. Talk about draining the FUN and ENJOYMENT out of school. And guess what.

Dad can I drop this subject….”.

Homework – don’t you just love it…. Well the Government does as it fits in with their schooling vision….How depressing is that.

Tired

There’s tired and there’s TIRED.

I don’t sleep much but even I struggle to function on one hours sleep.

I was trying to wash the bedding this morning. A task clearly beyond a ZOMBIE. I did remember to put washing powder into the right tray. Well kind of. I did pick up a box which was the same shape and size. It didn’t register that the powder was brown and biscuit like.

Yes the bedding was washed with Cat food. That’s TIRED….

Thankfully I don’t work on a Nuclear Power Station….

Sweet Spot

The lake is going, going, gone….

It’s been a busy old day. Much multitasking.

  • Cleaning out the cat tray,
  • Darning holes in jeans,
  • Trying to reassure,
  • Baking bread and some small buns,
  • Cleaning the toilet and bathroom floor,
  • Explaining probability to Hawklad,
  • Hair cutting,
  • Trying to figure out why the dishwasher had stopped cleaning,
  • Putting a new belt onto the hoover,
  • Removing a pet related stain from the sofa.
  • Changing the bedding,
  • Ordering ingredients for next weeks school at home cooking project,
  • Trying to measure Hawklad for new clothes,
  • Trying to make an omelette which is approaching edible.

At work multitasking was so valued. Multitasking usually in areas you might be good at or at least competent. Maybe backed up with some training and clear process guides. At home, my home, it feels very different. Yes it’s multitasking but never in areas I’m good at. Often feeling like I’m not even vaguely competent. Constantly having to refer to incomprehensible instructions, Google searching for help videos or just looking blank as I kinda just wing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have things I’m good at. I’m ace at saving Football penalties. I can smash into Rugby tackles. I can bowl a mean leg break. I can climb rock faces. I’m an expert on Godzilla and the X-Files. I can recite almost word for word every Fawlty Towers and Captain Scarlett episode. I rock cycle shorts (ok I made that one up). I can balance unfeasibly large numbers of coins on my elbow and then catch them one handed. AND I’m one of the worlds great air guitarists.

These are all great talents but strangely have not yet been required in my single parenting career. I wonder why? 🤣😂 But I live in hope. One day one of those skills might just be required. Then I will have found my parenting sweet spot. A task I can excel in. No need for instructions or help. No vacant look or red mist descending. That reassuring feeling of ‘I’ve got this’. How good will that feel….

Birdbrain

Our little part of the world has been rather cut off from civilisation. The occasion delivery person and the daily postie have been our only visitors really for months. Well that’s not strictly true. We have daily visitors. The birds.

Well when I say daily there was one exception to this. The weekend of the national Birdwatch garden survey. We sat for hours and guess what. Our daily visitors decided to give us a miss that weekend. No amount of food could tempt them. Yet as soon as they Birdwatch was over they flocked back again. Pesky characters they are.

But I will forgive them for messing my survey numbers up. They provide so much joy. Over the many months you start to recognise the individual birds. Many having really unique personalities and habits.

One really odd thing is the ‘pecking order’. Small birds first, big birds second. As soon as the food is put out the small ones arrive. The larger hooligan gang start to gather in the trees. After the small ones start to fly off the hooligans arrive. Then it’s about an hour of them squabbling. A few wiser ones just feed while the others are distracted.

That happens like clockwork everyday 363 days a year. Rain, sun and snow…. They obviously take two days off for the Bird Survey. I will grant them that especially as they like my baking. That’s got to count for something.