3am

Last night I was tired. Unusually tired for me. But it was one of those pesky tired setups. During the evening I could feel myself nodding off. Plenty of those ‘just starting to drift off while sat on the settee – then suddenly woken by those cataclysmic sudden neck snapping forward’ moments. This went on all evening until it was bed time. But then I just wasn’t tired. Pigging fiddlesticks……

Finally sleep came but all too soon…..

DAD, DAAAAAADDDD!

What’s up son.

Dad I’ve forgotten, sorry we’ve forgotten the art assignment.”

Ooh yeh, that one that isn’t due in until the 12th.

That’s the one, But ITS THE 12th.”

Oh big pants. Can you do it as soon as you get up?

No it’s due at the start of the first lesson.”

***********

I could see by the look in his eyes that until it was done, sleep would be impossible. So a few minutes later I was in the kitchen making hot drinks. Years ago a late night session would have had a very different meaning to tonight’s version. 3am and rocking out to Japanese Art.

Basically I sat there looking vacant, occasionally nodding (in a of course I knew that kinda way) and asking Google such questions as ‘what on earth does wabi and sabi mean’. It took an hour before Hawklad had convinced himself that he had done enough. The school panic in his world was over. His completed presentation was significantly more robust than his Dads initial suggestive assignment text

Japanese Art is cool but Godzilla is real cool. Now it’s time for bed….

Hawklad got to bed and immediately fell asleep. I guess at about 4.30am I found some sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later with one overriding thought. How can you write two pages on Japanese Art and not mention Godzilla‘s Atomic Breath just once. What has become of Art.

Inside out

That’s a sky that could tell several stories in my dreams – so tempted to try them out.

Somedays I can operate perfectly well in tired mode. Then you get other days.

Woke up this morning to find that I was a zombie. I hear you ask – well what is the evidence for these bold claims. Well brace yourself, I shall tell you…..

  • In my head, I was still debating if I should get up or just rollover and go back to sleep again – I didn’t realise I was actually already out of bed,
  • The eyes were open but it felt like they were closed shut,
  • When you try to open the bedroom door but only manage in walking straight into it, TWICE….
  • Take the wrong turning to the bathroom …… yes lost in my own home,
  • Struggle to understand where the toilet has gone and apparently it has been replaced with a fridge and cooker,
  • After I realised I was actually stood in the kitchen, my journey to the bathroom was cut short as I walked painfully into the kitchen table,
  • Once in the bathroom it was thankfully largely uneventful apart from dropping the bathroom paper roll (toilet roll) into the toilet bowl,
  • Time to feed the pets. Somehow gave the dog the cat’s food. Then the bemused cat got dog rations. Dread to think what the gerbils got,
  • Made breakfast completely forgetting that I’m supposed to be on a fasting diet and not eating until the afternoon,
  • Made a herbal tea but then decided to add almond milk – not a great taste.
  • Burnt my hand on the toaster making toast I wasn’t allowed to eat,
  • Went outside to give the dog his morning constitutional. Stood in the garden and suddenly realised that I hadn’t got round to putting a shirt on yet. That was bracing and not entirely liberating,
  • Stumbling back inside to get ready for my morning workout. That seemed to go ok. Well until I started working out only to discover that my shorts were inside out and on back to front.
  • Coming back inside to make Hawklad his breakfast. Completely forgetting that I had already made in an hour ago.

So yes it’s a zombie today. It’s not easy being a zombie.

Groundhog Day

One of Hawklads favourite movies is Groundhog Day. Must admit a I’ve always liked that film. I’m showing my 1000 year plus age now by saying FILM. Anyway I liked that Bill Murray film because it was funny and a bit about redemption. Repeatedly through life I’ve had that Groundhog Day feeling. It’s so hard to put down on paper. That feeling that on this long journey, the circumstances and challenges remain unchanged. Never ending. What ever I do, they just seem to repeat. Slowly it’s starts to eat away at my inner self. Plays havoc with my emotions. My inner belief ebbs away. That’s when it feels like I need another caring hand to lead me into a new tomorrow. So yes I get this movie.

Hopefully I’m not as bad as Phil was at the start of the film – sorry movie. But again it is starting to feel like days are starting to repeat themselves. Even when I try to introduce something new, try just that little harder, then the next day starts very like the previous day. Stuff just keeps repeating itself.

  • A largely sleepless night,
  • Get up and do the same exercises in the garden,
  • Try to get the dog to go outside for his charge around and do his morning constitutional,
  • Check the news – these days it’s always the same headline and the same frustrations,
  • Sticking to the same fasting diet regime,
  • Cooking the same meals for Hawklad (he has the same 7 day food menu which he sticks to),
  • Sort out the mess the pets have made,
  • Hoover and clean the same rooms (we only have 5 small ones, a bathroom and a kitchen to worry about),
  • Try to get the old washing machine door to lock so I can do a wash,
  • Have the same thoughts about been able to run free beyond our garden fence enclosures, *** don’t get me wrong I am so thankful for the garden, so many wonderful people don’t have that***
  • Look at the same walls, with the same pictures, often feeling like they are closing in on me,
  • Spend far too long moaning about the weather,
  • Check the work system and email the same people, saying basically the same thing,
  • Wash up the same plates and cups,
  • Make a list of today’s challenges and they are the same as yesterday’s, the week before, last months…..
  • Jump on the scales and whisper PANTS,
  • Want to eat healthily but having to rely on Soya (Soy). Then watching my body just basically say NO,
  • Try to find my keys which are missing again,
  • Walk 40 yards to the post box to post a letter – my big trip out of the day,
  • Start the car up to make sure the battery doesn’t go flat,
  • The things that brought pain and doubt yesterday are still here today,
  • Check the bank account and whisper BIG PANTS,
  • Talk to Hawklad about hand washing every time he goes to the bathroom – which is about every 10 minutes,
  • Wash my hands constantly to help ease Hawklad’s fears,
  • Unblock the toilet and kitchen sink once a day, the builder who installed those was clearly having a laugh –
  • Reset the WiFi at about the same time every day as it’s gone down with cabin fever,
  • Try to get the cat to eat it’s gluten, grain, dairy free food when clearly it just wants to eat all the stuff that gives it diarrhoea,
  • Bake and Fail – that’s a great book title…..
  • Field the same calls, from the same companies offering the same services I don’t want,
  • If and when it rains, try to stop a flood next to the back door. Basically ends up mopping out the pools of water,
  • Paying bills,
  • Trying to chase moths and insects out of the house – the price you pay for living next to a farm,
  • Fight the same fears and demons,
  • Face the same self questioning,
  • Once a week cut the lawn with a lawnmower which basically hates cutting grass,
  • Every second Thursday realise the garden bin is still basically empty so have a mad gardening rush,
  • My dreams are still just dreams, seemingly no nearer becoming reality,
  • Go to bed so hoping for sleep, yet…..

Now don’t get me wrong some of the routine is just so fantastic. I just wouldn’t dream of changing those things. Going out in the garden at about the same time every day and talking with Hawklad. Spending time with him. Thinking of friends. Finding ways to make connections with those who are special to me. Looking at beautiful photos and videos – and smiling. Having fun playing games. Doing a bit of writing or waffling depending on your viewpoint. Saturday night movie night.

So yes it does feel like Groundhog Day. This time it may well keep feeling this way until our personal lockdown has been partially lifted. Maybe this time it’s could be labelled as Cabin Fever. Whatever it is, just like Phil in the movie, it often feels like I am the only one stuck in this repeat cycle. AND let’s not forget a really important factor – some people long for that repetitiveness. Hawklad is one. So maybe Groundhog Day can also be a good thing. Just got to go with the flow, make each day count as best I can and worry about tomorrow if it ever arrives.

Snappy

Lockdown did have some advantages. One being – No Aeroplanes. Something about seeing a sky without any evidence of man made birds which are polluting the atmosphere. Now the number of vapour trails are slowly rising but clearly not back to the crowded skies of pre pandemic times. Which is still a bit of a win for the planet. Got to be pleased about that.

I did something that I’m not pleased about. Not at all. I snapped at Hawklad. Not a massive snap, but still a snap. Some post arrived and I quickly put the offending letters into the designated quarantine area. I quickly washed my hands then headed out to cut the grass.

Dad have you washed your hands.”

Which towel did you use.”

Which soap did you use.”

Then…

I don’t think you washed your hands for long enough. Can you wash them again.”

Maybe I was tired. Maybe it’s because I had gone 16 hours without food. Maybe I just wanted to get the grass cut before it rained. Maybe I was annoyed at myself for not washing my hands for long enough in the first place. Maybe it’s being seemingly stuck in Groundhog Day. For whatever reason, I snapped. Slammed the front door shut, did that teenage sigh, let out a little mild expletive, stomped to the bathroom and purposely washed in the noisiest fashion possible. Not massive stuff but unusual for me. We’ve all been there. Even Super Hero Parents are human…….

I quickly apologised and went outside to cool down. Easily done in today’s Yorkshire weather. All I could think about was school. What happens if he does decide to go back on the 11th September. His hyper hygiene mode will meet a school system which is basically winging it. Maybe they could make Hawklad into the Hygiene Monitor. Wow he would sort out the teachers and pupils. Definitely the iron fist of authority. But in all seriousness, the teachers and other kids will just not have the time or inclination to get anywhere near the hygiene levels that he’s got used to at home. The levels he needs for his own well-being. I can see some of the less patient teachers issuing so many negatives to him. But that was me just a few moments ago.

So more food for thought. As is the fact that in the broken cloudy skies, I can see three vapour trails. That’s the most in months…..

Groundhog Night

Three hours sleep in two days. All of that came the night before. Surely I should be more tired. Yes a little sleepy. Bags under my eyes – that could be Soya poisoning. Much yawning but still functioning. One of those long nights. Watched happy videos to bring smiles. But eventually the iPad ran out of juice and had to be pipped some of that electricity to bring it back to life. If only we had that option.

Can’t face watching night time TV. Please no QVC or car makeovers. Sleep refusing to come so then it was reading time. A book about a failed climbing expedition. Not happy reading. Loss of precious life, loss of fingers and toes. Was that final reckless push for the top really worth it. Only those climbers will know. My view of success in the mountains was always a little different. Success was seen as returning to camp in one piece with new experiences banked – the summit was just a bonus.

The read and the slow passing night did nothing for my spirit. The clock hands refusing to push forward quick enough. The hours dragging. Mood slowly sinking as fast as my chances of getting any sleep. That feeling of being alone. The iPad still drinking in electricity so no happy videos to lift me up.

Finally the dawn breaks and I’m out in the cool, damp morning air. Probably pushed myself too hard on the exercise. My body didn’t need that but for some reason my mind decided that was what was needed.

Now the day is here. Staggeringly I am not feeling tired. The iPad is back in business again. Quick video, look at some photos. Then a hot drink sat watching the moody Yorkshire skies. My mood lifted. Hawklad will soon be up. Not feeling alone. Almost time to rumble. The day beckons.

Let’s hope it’s not Groundhog Night.

Break in the storm

A brief break in the storm.

A lack of sleep is just a pile of pants. So many of us know the feeling. For me it’s like being a walking zombie. A zombie with dodgy knees and dreadful dress sense. The last few days the zombie state has been growing. So I’ve made an effort to sleep. Earlier to bed, no distractions, calming tea. Unfortunately the fates are just against me. First night the cat escaped out of a briefly opened door at 11pm. The cat is not allowed out under Vet orders. Son would have been mortified. After much searching the cat was recaptured at just after 3am. It’s amazing how such a big, overweight cat can be so fleet of foot.

The next night I was again in bed at 11. Unfortunately that was perfectly timed with the arrival of a massive thunder storm. No sleep was possible. In the end I got up and watched the storm until 4am.

Last night again I was in bed for 11. Then an annoying knocking sound from outside. Knock, knock, knock. Like Chinese Water Torture. Eventually too much. So outside with a torch in the rain and the wind. Time and time again a potential knocking source was found and disarmed. But every time I went back inside. Knock, knock, knock. Finally after a couple of hours the culprit was found. A metal hanging basket. But now I was cold, wet and at 1.30am, most definitely not sleepy.

So let’s hope for tonight’s sleep. It will come eventually. But let’s just embrace my inner zombie and the immaculate dress sense. Where’s my pink T-shirt and green shorts…..

Lost Friends

And another rose photo…. I have to say out garden is blessed with weeds and roses. Each year they appear and they always feel like the return of friends.

Last night I had another weird dream. This time it took me back to my university days. It started off by showing that my career path had been influenced by a slip of a pen. I had applied to do a degree in Economics but had been put on a Home Economics course. A degree in cooking for the worlds worst chef, OK.… But the main part of the dream was centred around friendships. All my college friends were on the course but no one recognised me. As hard as I tried, nothing. I was just blanked by them. Most unsettling.

As ever the weird dream put an end to my nighttime sleep hopes. So it was time to drink tea and think. A quick search on the internet found recent pictures of some of my old college friends. I just about recognised them. Would they remember my face which is perfect for radio – probably the same I guess. But here’s the key thing. These were really close friends. Yet when was the last time we met up in person. Our careers and life’s moved us apart. I’m not sure it was even this century. But it doesn’t stop there

  • I haven’t seen my schools friends since I first left my childhood home to go to University.
  • One really close school friend I did keep in contact with. We would meet up every few months. But again our life’s drifted further apart and the last time I heard she was living in Israel. That must be over 20 years ago.
  • My climbing friends still keep in touch via letters. Yes letters – how old fashioned does that sound…But we haven’t been climbing together in 6 years.
  • I still keep in regular text contact with a good friend who I went to football matches with. But I’ve stopped going to games now due to circumstances, so we don’t meet up in person.
  • Work and parenting friendships have come and gone.
  • Friends in the village have dwindled. Some have moved away, some have sadly left this world.

So in terms of actual physical friend meet-ups it’s down to one chap I normally work with. He occasionally drags me for a game of golf. There are so many stories right theremy golf career is about as good as my cooking career. But due to the pandemic I have not seen him since the start of March.

Life and my choices have sent me down this path. Living in a rural area, bereavement, single parenting and autism in the house have all contributed. But it is was it is. A huge element of personal choice comes into the mix as well.

Yes this is sad but I am so lucky. The gaps left here have created space for blogging friendships. I’m doing the best job in the world – parenting. Job is the wrong word, it’s more a privilege. I have a great life. But I do so worry for others. Feeling alone can be such a dark place. Alone and yet claustrophobic. No one to reach out to. No one to interact or grow with. Some choose that option freely. But many are forced into it by circumstance. Illness, age, special needs parenting, single parenting, location, social factors, fears and yes a pandemic. It’s so easy and unfortunately very convenient to forget about those who drop off the grid. Last night was a timely reminder for me.

Take care my friends.

Thinking

During the summer months two things happen. The Sun beats down from cloudless skies….. And we get constant nosey Parker’s…..

Another largely sleepless night. A combination of a touch of tooth ache and another crazy dream. Great time to get a tooth problem as my dentist is just reopening having been closed for months. Reduced capacity and a horrific waiting list – deep joy….

Yes the crazy dream woke me up but it was so funny. Strangely featuring talking cows. I was trying to garden and the cows were helpfully chipping in with gardening tips. I hadn’t realised that cows knew so much about stuff.

While waiting for the early morning rain to stop, I was pondering life. And not just about talking cows and whether it’s a woolly hat exercise routine. I was thinking about thinking. Some of my thinking is good. Other types of thinking is not so good. It’s taken me years but now I can see this. I do have a habit of overthinking. My thinking starts good. I look at a problem or an issue or a memory. The first thoughts are constructive. How to make things better. The happy stuff. The sad stuff. What to do next. How to live the moment. How to make Son happy.

Then the overthinking kicks in. The second, third, fourth thoughts are hardly ever positive. My internal voices start.

  • What a mess.
  • I caused this.
  • I got that wrong.
  • People will be shaking their heads at me.
  • I am rubbish at this.
  • Why did I do or not do that.
  • People will think less of me.
  • I have so many faults.
  • I am going to make these mistakes again.
  • It’s going to go wrong.
  • I am a loser.
  • I look weird.
  • I talk funny.
  • Poole think I’m an oddball.
  • I am such a let down.
  • Completely useless.
  • They will be laughing at me.
  • And on and on.

Suddenly a never ending downward cycle is perpetuated. I’m spending all my energy on negativity. Living in the past. Forgetting about living today.

So yes thinking is good. But I need to stop the second and third thoughts. Stop the over thinking. That’s easier said than done. It’s a life long battle for me. One thing has got me through life. Helped ease the pain when I have fallen. That is to make sure that I never take myself too seriously. I’ve learnt to poke fun at myself. Ok it might not be great for boosting the confidence. But actually it means that I can accept myself better. It’s also a way of switching off the overthinking. Plus if it makes other people occasionally smile then it’s a complete result. In life it’s often easier to poke fun at others. I’m so not keen on that. Hopefully I will only do that when I know the other person likes it or by their self centred actions – they earn the right for a bit of parody. Unfortunately these days there are a lot of deserving targets. Just got to ensure I save the best put downs for me. You see it’s good for me.

Ants

The little Apple tree is springing into life. This is the time of year when you can gauge what type of crop it will produce in 5 months. This apple tree does have different yields. Sometimes too much fruit. Sometimes hardly any fruit. This year looks like an ok year.

Sometimes you can get a feel for what a day is going to be like by just looking at the first few minutes.

Dragging myself back into the house after the early morning workout. Desperate for that first warming brew of the day. A particularly zombiefied version of exercise today. Very tired today. So nothing better than entering the kitchen to find ants. Lots of ants. Reaching for the ant poison is not an option with pets. Especially with our big boy cat who is the cat version of Ozzy Osbourne. Any substance is getting sampled. So out comes the one part lemon, one part water spray. Apparently ants don’t like lemon. If that doesn’t work then it’s time for the pepper and the inevitable sneezing cat. A few years back ants was no issue. We had a lovely but psychotic girl cat. The ultimate apex predator. Only creatures with a death wish came in the house. But now it’s up to me to sort this issue out.

So by the time schools version of homeschooling started – I was already feeling like it was way past my bedtime.

Then within minutes the first school crisis. Son has failed to submit a project in time. To be fair to him he was not in the lesson when it was given out to the class. That’s not a valid excuse for school as the child or parent should check the school emails and online files for assigned tasks. We did eventually find the relevant document hidden away in a random class file. To be fair to us – it was like searching for a needle in a haystack – when your not aware that a needle has gone missing. The teacher has granted a couple of days extension but that means son will have little free time this week. At least it gives me another excuse not to start any DIY projects. Not that I need much excuse these days.

The rest of the school day passed in a groggy haze. Trying to explain the vagaries of the English Language and working out why so many marks have been deducted for spelling mistakes. Trying to fathom out why a subject is seemingly asking questions about a completely unrelated area. And finally trying to understand what precisely is the teacher wanting the class to do. I think there is still a lot of merit in putting the questions at the end of a document. The teacher referred to 9 questions in the text but after much searching, we could only find 5.

So it’s back to the kitchen and THE ANTS. Clearly our ants are immune to lemons. So now I must resort to using up my dwindling supply of salt and pepper as weapons of ant destruction. Failing that then it’s testing various other kitchen supplies as ant repellents. Curry Powder, Chilli flakes and Turmeric. Let’s hope ants are not fans of spicy cuisine.