Sleeping Bag

Another morning of home isolation. Another day of home schooling. Another largely sleepless night.

A night spent in a sleeping bag.

Yesterday morning I decided to give my duvet an airing outside as the soon had decided to shine. It wasn’t until 3am when I felt sufficiently tired that I notice the duvet-less bed. Yes it was still outside. Outside in the pouring rain.

My poor duvet has been on the radiator for 8 hours now. It’s still drenched. So I guess it’s another sleeping bag night facing me. But actually that’s no bad thing. It’s something different. In seemingly ever repeating days of sameness, CHANGE is good.

Bring on the sleeping bag.

L

It’s cooking Jim but not as we know it

Warning this post contains some disturbing baking images.

This house had an idea. Some next level pancakes….

Not content with messing up normal pancakes let’s go a stage further. Pancake sandwiches. So what filling could we go for?

Chocolate biscuits. Carefully warmed chocolate biscuits. How hard could that be.

First Try….

Erm…. As Spock would say ‘it’s a chocolate biscuit filling Jim but not as we know it’.

After a number of other shocking tries we finally produced this….

We can officially call this a warmed chocolate biscuit filled pancake sandwich.

The message here. If keep throwing punches, you might be the worst boxer ever, but eventually one will land.

Sunset

What a lovely sunset.

Last night Hawklad reminded me that this Sunday last year was when we first talked isolating. I remember it quite well. A Sunday evening. I was sorting out the school bags for Monday morning. Hawklad came into the room and asked how did we know that this new virus wasn’t already in school. How did we know the bus was virus free. Should we stay off school until it passes. I tried to reassure him but I could sense his anxiety. I emailed the school to let them know that he was anxious. When he’s anxious it can throw off his ability to sit still and concentrate.

He did get to school the next day but not by school bus. He asked to be driven in. A few days later school proved too much for him and our family lockdown started. Soon the world changed.

It’s odd looking back. Its hard to believe that we have been isolating for nearly a year now. I wouldn’t have dreamed that I could have coped with that much isolation fit that long. A world suddenly constricted to our garden and house.

But we have…….

We can do this.

Swiss Sunday – Let’s Walk next to a Giant

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to alpine heaven. A country which might be 900 miles away from our home but to this family will always be within our hearts. So many trips here as a family of 3. So many memories. Let’s visit Switzerland.

Today I needed a walk. A special walk in the mighty Alps. It’s a Sunday so let’s be kind to our bodies. Let’s make it downhill all the way. Why not let the brilliant Swiss transport system take us all the way to the top. To beautiful alpine village of Murren standing at 5700ft above sea level. A special village which CANNOT be reached by public road. Yes it is car free.

Then it’s downhill all the way. Walking through along mountain tracks and Forest trails. One of the world’s greatest mountains, The Eiger towering above you. We finally reach Lauterbrunnen. Another stunning alpine village 3000ft below Murren. Set in a stunning steep sided valley. Next to the village is the famous Staubbach Falls. It’s waters crashing 970ft to the ground.

This is a truly epic area. Staggeringly beautiful. That good it was used as the principal filming location for the James Bond movie – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. One day I so want to come back here. In fact these two villages would be just about at the top of my dream home location.

I can dream….

Daffodil

Look at this. The first daffodil. It’s always such a lift when they appear. The return of a bit of warm colour. Much needed. Can we now officially call it SPRING. For what it’s worth a quick and very unscientific check of the photos is telling me that they have arrived one day earlier than last year.

If only WP was that reliable. Scheduled posts not working. Finding it harder to post comments that actually appear. Random unfollows. Likes not working. Photos refusing to publish. Messed up editing. Yep I think the WP IOS app has beaten me. Need to get myself a better laptop and switch to the web based option. See if it works better with Windows.

But until then we will soldier on. Do what I can. Don’t get too worked up if it refuses to work properly. There a great quote from The Book of Joy. A quote which has Buddhist traditions but was also told to me bizarrely by a cricket coach who was talking about getting out of a bad run of batting form. Basically it says….. Pointless worrying about what you can’t control and why are you worrying about stuff you can control.

Ok let’s try to remember that. Forget WP and my troubles. Think about the things in my life that lift me up and that I love. That will help push the negative thoughts away for some precious moments.

We can do this.

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….

It’s a plan

So the Government has set out the way forward. A roadmap. Starting with all schools opening on the 8th March with parents able to play golf or tennis is socially distanced way as soon as the school buses have left the street. Ending with getting the bunting out just before summer with every adult having been offered at least one shot of vaccine and virtually all restrictions lifted. That’s the plan.

This time they have introduced some gaps between the various stages to check on the impact. It’s an improvement on the first lockdown release. Not great but an improvement on the last shambles.

I’m already hearing people talk about booking summer holidays, binning the masks, going to nightclubs. The message is ‘soon it will be over, we will have won….’.

Sadly I’m not convinced yet….

  • Schools are being fully reopened against the advice of many of the Government’s own scientific advisers. Reopened with no meaningful additional safety measures put in place.
  • No plans to prioritise front line groups like teachers or police for vaccines. Apparently this will just complicate things.
  • No thought given to the Health and Care sectors that have been stretched to breaking point for a year now. They can’t keep functioning like this.
  • No plans for under 18 vaccines at all as schools are ‘perfectly safe’ and the kids can develop herd immunity without getting too sick. Yet no mention of the increasing number of under 18s suffering long covid symptoms. No mention of school outbreaks that are already happening even with 3/4 quarter empty schools. No mention of overcrowded classrooms with no ventilation. No mention of the scores of children going down with associated diseases which have been brought on as a result of a seemingly mild Covid bout. No investment in home schooling resources to take pressure off classrooms and create another avenue for education – just threats of fines for parents.
  • The plans assume that the vaccine is the way out of the crisis. No mention of virus related mutations becoming resistant to the vaccine. A real risk when you have high infection rates and delayed second shot vaccine delivery. The vaccine is good but it’s not 100% effective. Plus we just don’t know how long the protection will last for in individuals.
  • The plan is in tatters if a change in the virus makes current vaccines less effective. In that increasingly like scenario the vaccine programme has to completely reset and start again.
  • No thought on making changes to how we work, study and play to make them safer going forward. We seem to be happy going back to the status quo which so spectacularly failed only a year ago.
  • The plan assumes an acceptable level of Covid infections and casualties. This is not a zero virus plan.
  • No mention of the mental health crisis facing young and old in this country.
  • The Virus will still be here…..

So no I’m not planning for a pandemic free future just yet. I hope we are fortunate and the plan does work. But when do things ever go to Plan.

Pop Art

And still it shrinks. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.

Back to school at home and back to the daily fun…. Started with the usual happy pep talk from a teacher. To paraphrase.

‘Remember I’ve set some work before the week off. It’s voluntary but I can see what people have done and how long you have spent on it. I am checking….I’m about to do your assessment….”

Ok….

Then I accidentally phoned the school. Who hasn’t done the ‘put the mobile in your back trouser pocket just to see how long it takes for your bum to unlock the phone and dial a number’ trick. The mobile can’t have been in the pocket for 2 minutes before suddenly I heard a strange voice coming from my nether regions. How is it that it takes me hours to figure out how to unlock the mobile, find the phone app, then repeatedly fail to type in the number. Yet my butt can unlock the phone and successfully call someone in a fraction of that time…..

So after I had apologised to school reception it was back to the usual fight with submitting pieces of work and trying to find the class work on Teams. Fights with explanations, hidden meanings and unclear instructions.

Quickly followed by the ritual Dad humiliation.

Dad apart from Andy Warhol what other Pop Art practitioners can you name.”

Erm……..

Ok can you at least name a few famous Pop Art pieces and before you say it, NO Godzilla doesn’t count.”

Erm there was that picture with about 100 Madonna’s replicated.

Dad. You mean Monroe and it was 50 times…”

That’s the one. Then there was the soup tin. Erm Andy Warhol was in Men in Black 3, does that count?

So basically no help…….

But maybe my backside could become Pop Art. Probably not. Not sure how big the canvas would have to be to get 50 replicas of my butt on. But if they could then I could literally be sat on an important piece of avant garde culture. Sat on a fortune.

Zombie

Wow how tired did I feel this morning. Definitely the Yorkshire Zombie. I just couldn’t wake up which is just perfect on the first school at home day for over week. I could just about manage walking into walls, nothing else. In a desperate attempt to wake up before I might be needed to check Pythagorean calculations I crawled outside. The fresh cold air and a coffee would spoon the business. It was only after a couple of minutes that I realised that the mug with the steaming hot coffee was still in the kitchen. I had brought out the jar of instant coffee……

Clearly under 3 hours sleep is not enough. The frustrating thing is that my mind is whirling too fast at night and virtually not at all in the morning. If only that was the other way round. As hard a I try sleep is will only come to me around 4am. Sadly on a school day the alarm goes at 630am.

That is a recipe for Parenting Zombies.

Monster

Unbelievably some snowdrops have survived the paws of the mad one. Flowers are always welcome especially when they herald the arrival of Spring. They are even more welcome when they sort themselves out. We just have to enjoy and try to stop the dog trampling them into the ground.

This morning was felt like another Groundhog Day here in our family lockdown. Very like every other morning. Doing the same things. That included trying to find some socks to wear. Where do they go. Ok I will reframe that question. Where does the sock monster put them. It’s not as if we live in a big house with loads of rooms. Only a month ago I had to buy 7 more pairs to boost the numbers floating round our little world. Sill struggling to find a matching pair.

But here’s the thing. Here’s another reason to be thankful of the lockdown. No one will see what I’m wearing. It doesn’t matter. Odd socks rule….