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.

Trampoline

Not bad mobile camera work given I was bouncing on a trampoline. Who needs to be 7ft tall or balance precariously on ladders…

Yep it’s still wet and that farmers field is a tad damp under foot.

I must admit to being still a bit of a kid at heart. I know it’s not my trampoline but it’s there so why not have a bit of fun. My childhood as deprived of such fun. We never had a bouncy trampoline. Not one of my friends had one. The seaside Yorkshire town never had a public one. The first time I ever bounced was when I tested this one out before Hawklad would venture on to it. I finally have a use as a crash test dummy.

Not only is it fun and can take me back to childhood feelings but trampolining is a great exercise. Not many exercises which are actually fun doing and this easy to do. Plus when I fall and I always fall, it doesn’t hurt. Now it’s a photographic tool. But there is more. It keeps on giving. It’s a great safe store for things like balls. It’s so far been storm and pet proof. AND it’s such a comfy place to lie down on. To cloud watch and to star watch.

Just had a thought. For Pancake Day maybe it’s a super place to get really spectacular pancake tossing going.

I love Hawklad’s trampoline. That’s another little thing to be thankful for during these months of lockdown and isolation. Although I might give it a miss right now for some reason….

Costs

And finally the rain stops. For the time being….

We needed something for the house. Where we would normally buy it from is out of stock and is unlikely to be getting any new ones in any time soon. It was a similar story in the other online UK stores. Amazon was a similar story. Finally I found an option from a German Store. But here is the new post Brexit reality.

The store were most helpful. If I had ordered the item before we left the EU delivery the store would have added £20 delivery to the £300 item. Now the store had to warn me that another UK customer had just been charged an additional £140 in Customs Duties and Tax. The store had also had to increase the delivery charge to £40 to cover the additional bureaucracy they had to deal with.

Well I’m not paying that….

So we will just have to do without it until some UK stores manage to source some stock – eventually.

Please tell me just one benefit we are getting from Brexit. So far the best one I’ve seen is from the pompous moron who is the Leader of the House of Commons. He said that apparently “The key is that we have our fish back. They are now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it…..”.

This is the politician who claimed he had more common sense than the victims of the Grenfell Tower Disaster. Our PM kept him in the Government……

What a monumental prat and what a monumental mess….

Snowball

Trying to figure out if Captain Chaos was starting on his first ever snowman. If it is then he was making a good start on his project. That was until the thaw came along….

I definitely could do with making a good start on a project this morning. I think that we can officially call it. I’m moping around today. Feeling frustrated, flat and bored. Hawklad is cracking in with homeschooling. Needs me infrequently. It’s pouring down outside so can’t really get any fresh air in the garden. Cant pop out. Can’t go for a run. Can’t go to visit anyone. Wasn’t in the mood for music or TV. Housework to be done but not in the mood for it. No work available (going to be that way for months). Can’t seem to settle down to anything at present. Quickly seem to lose interest.

So I’m kind of just moping. Sometimes sat down. Sometimes walking aimlessly around the house. Had a few of those days recently.

Maybe it’s better to call it ‘pottering about’ rather than moping.

So I’m just going to keep on pottering. Feeling just a bit detached from life. I guess I’m not the only one feeling that way.

Chickpeas

So the government has known that the new strain, the even more pesky strain of Covid has been here for weeks. In that time it has issued travel warnings and banned travel to other countries that had the slightest whiff of this strain. But it failed to mention that we had it all that time. It encouraged people to meet up and plan for a largely restriction free Christmas. Allowed people and businesses to make plans. Hurled abuse at those who dared to mention that easing restrictions might be a mistake. And then at the last minute they have cancelled the Christmas easing and have hit millions with further restrictions. How do some people still think that these people are fit to lead us. One rule for us and another rule for them. Making a priority of making making millions for their friends and themselves.

Avoiding making decisions, ignoring facts and putting things off to the last minute never works…

I’ve had a supersized bag of chickpeas propped up on the kitchen sideboard for weeks and weeks. The bag is opened at the top. Wide open…..I should have put the chickpeas into a large container. Or resealed the bag. Or moved them somewhere safe. Oh no. I’ve left them there. Courting kitchen floor disaster. Well this morning it happened. As I tried to clean the work surfaces I spectacularly elbowed the open chickpea bag. Given how far it went into the air it might as well have been a NASA Saturn 5 rocket launch. Strangely given an opportunity to escape, chickpeas will not refuse the opportunity. They are everywhere. On the floor. Under units. In the sink. All over the work surfaces. I’m wearing a few. Actually some found their way into the toaster. Even some foolish souls dived into my training shoes. Not content with that, they enticed the pets to spread the chickpea invasion to other parts of the house. Mayhem.

If only I had done something sooner. Now you could argue that I’m just as bad as the government for letting this happen. Well maybe not. I don’t get paid handsomely for doing this. I don’t get advice from top scientists and logistical planners. I don’t have a duty of care to look after millions. Decisions over my 3kg chickpea packet do not impact of the life and health of a country.

Yes I’m a muppet but I’m not wilfully negligent…..