Time

Finding time to live.

I think as you get older you start to realise the true value of time. We don’t have a finite amount of time to do the things we want to in life. In 2016 that point was brought into the starkest focus for me. Time can suddenly run out…..

So when the penny starts to drop the question then becomes Do you then do anything about it.

We all need to find time to really live.

I remember taking a job on the south coast of England. In Portsmouth. I was there for 6 months. It’s such a cool town, with much to see and do. It was new to me. In those 6 months I spent one afternoon wandering along the beach and looking at the naval history. That was it. The rest of the time I worked and basically just existed. Don’t get me wrong I had the opportunities to do much more with my time but I didn’t. Not much living went on there. Was I happy – certainly NOT.

Things are different now. Life has become a little too out of synch. Much feels out of my control. Beyond reach. Opportunities are not so apparent. But that fact doesn’t stop time slipping by.

Still need to find ways to live. Seize whatever opportunities that do present themselves.

We can do this. We can do some of that living.

Needs must

Taking just a few moments to breathe. To enjoy what is close by. The beauty in life. The simple things.

A report on the news was talking about the UK Covid vaccine strategy. Currently no plans to extend shots to the under 18s. A child vaccine might be licensed after Autumn in some other countries. Again there are no plans to roll that out in the UK.

Ok so unless there is a real shift in the trajectory of the virus then we are on effective lockdown for the rest of the year.

That makes seeking out those moments to breathe even more important. If that means getting on my hands and knees, then so be it. Needs must.

Pain

I couldn’t sleep last night. Maybe two hours max. Event after I abandoned and a few minutes later I had a chamomile tea in hand and was channel hoping. I stumbled across some really cheesy B-movie. Then one of the actresses delivered this line

The hardest thing for me after my husband died was having to be nice to my family.”

Wow. That must have been some family. But it got me thinking. What was the hardest thing about losing my partner back in 2016. Strangely worrying about being nice to my family didn’t feature. The Worst Thing Thoughts that did pop into my head were.

Telling a young son his mum had died

Empty beds

Feeling utterly alone

The dark thoughts

Losing all my dreams

Getting up in the morning and facing the world

That final goodbye at the funeral

Trying to sort through my partners clothes and favourite possessions

Hearing her favourite song on the radio

The deathly silence in the house when our son was at school or asleep

Those were the emotions that I went through in the immediate aftermath. But then something else kicked in a few months later. As I started to clear my head this thought kept dominating my thought. Going forward – “I didn’t want to feel this pain of loss again“. The pain was too much for me. I needed to stop myself from getting close to people again. The feeling of isolation that came from thinking that was utterly soul destroying.

So there you go. I’m disagreeing with a cheesy B-movie, but every loss is different. So family pains can be just as intense as the many I went through. The B-movie did pass some time. It ALSO was so boring that I nodded off. Nodded off still holding my mug of tea. Yep I ended up wearing most of that. Thankfully only lukewarm. Yes piping hot tea would have been a pain I could definitely do without.

Mix messages

So two days after my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and alright. Didn’t feel much on Friday apart from a little prick but hey what’s new… Yesterday I felt a bit achy. Had a two hour spell where I felt really hot (that’s so not me….). As if I was going down with something but that ebbed away. So currently it’s been ok.

What’s not ok is the mixed messages. The medics are telling me that until I get the second vaccine then any protection may be limited. Even after the second shot I will still pose a risk to others. I can still carry and spread Covid. The vaccines may only provide up to 50% protection against spreading it to others. So it’s vital I stick to social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future. YET this morning I heard a government minister say that when you get the shot you are covered. As soon as lockdown eases get out to pubs, to the cinema, to the stadiums and most importantly to the office. By June the minister said we would be back to normal.

Then our really hard working PM. A fine man, who is honest, much admired, never corrupt, never racist, never sexist and most certainly never a self absorbed git…. Most definitely never a someone who has an affair with someone and then gives his lover £126000 of public money. Anyway that pillock was unbelievably working at the weekend and talking. Apparently now was the time to stop home working and get back into the office. Office’s and public transport are completely safe. “Time to stop the DAYS OFF…….” I heard someone in the Government use the term HOLIDAYS….

Do they know 126,000 people have died so far from this pandemic. Days Off and Holidays are the most distasteful terminology to use but it just sums them up. Staggeringly people are still prepared to back them. So what do I know….

Anyway again it’s mixed messages. The Government are telling people offices and schools are perfectly safe. We are soon going to be back to normal. No need to change anything. YET their very own scientific advisers are warning that we are in this for the long run. The vaccine programme is only a part of what is needed. They are warning of the need for long term social distancing. They are calling for places like schools, offices and trains to be fundamentally improved. To make them safer and better placed to work safely during a pandemic (and after). Better ventilation and more space have to be built into them urgently.

MIXED MESSAGES.

Terminator

Kinda feels like the type of sky you get just before it all goes horribly wrong in a Terminator movie. This time no coming storm. Just me in the kitchen making a curry. Actually very similar when you think about it. Especially if you have ever seen or unfortunately tasted one of my Saag Aloo horrors.

As I watched that cloud formation role through my thoughts had moved from terrible cooking to more important stuff. Doesn’t that cloud look like a polar bear lying flat out on its tummy. Well it did to me….

We spent an hour or so playing the cloud spotting game today. Fantastic free garden entertainment, the kinda stuff you need during a prolonged lockdown. While we were cloud spotting I kept hearing a nagging voice in my head. We could be so easily playing this in a years time. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Hawklads anxieties and phobias will still be here in a years time. If so then our lockdown will still be in place in March 2022. That would make it TWO years. TWO years. Maybe that is what the clouds are telling me. There is a storm coming. A long protracted one.

Schools Out

Schools Out, Schools Out for Easter.

The last day of term was marked with another school letter. Another positive pupil case with 45 other pupils in isolation for 10 days. Across the country infection rates amongst the 5 to 14 age group are rising since schools returned. On Monday some of the country’s lockdown rules are eased.

Well at least everyone is still wearing masks…..

On the way back from the vaccination centre yesterday I stopped off for petrol. Straw pole. Me and the person behind the till had masks fully on. One lady appeared to have a mask but she was carrying it in her hand. Another guy had a mask hanging loosely around his neck. Everyone else, no mask.

Lockdowns Out, Lockdowns Out for Easter

So the two week break has started. Started with sitting out in the baking sun. Talking with Hawklad on what he would like to do over the next few days. First ice creams of the break. Sat outside in the freezing wind.

Wooly Jumpers Out, Wooly Jumpers Out for Easter.

Typical Sunday

Sunday morning in Yorkshire. Like every Sunday morning for over a year now. Not enough sleep. Get up. Feed the pets. Exercise. Housework. Give Hawklad his breakfast. Feel frustratingly hemmed in. Isolated. Overthink life.

But eventually I start to breathe. Remembering what is important in life. In my life. Remembering those personal treasures that are so close to my heart. That always lift me up. That make me smile inside and out. And I realise just how truly fortunate I am.

Yes it’s been a typical Sunday. Well almost

It’s not RAINING…

WE can do this.

Problematic

A brief few moments of blue sky before the Yorkshire mist and drizzle rolled back in. It was nice will it lasted.

I received an email from school today informing parents that a pupil had tested positive for Covid. The pupil has been sent home and a further 20 pupils have been asked to self isolate. The concern is that the pupil had no symptoms and it can’t be established how long they had been infectious for. It is entirely possible that the in-school test last week provided an inaccurate all clear result.

Can’t say I’m entirely disappointed that Hawklad is currently at home.

But it’s sometimes not the easiest of options.

Did we have a hockey stick. Did we have a hockey ball. Kind of made hockey practice a little problematic….

Did we have any graph paper. Had the printer run out of ink. Kind of made detailed and accurate graph work a little problematic…..

Could we find a working green pen. Kind of made self marking work (if it’s not done in green then it’s additional marks deducted) a little problematic…..

Could we find the video showing the science experiment. Kind of made writing about the results a little problematic…..

Trying to keep a full, overcrowded school open based on solely on unreliable Covid self tests is a little problematic…..

Biathlon

I’ve always loved winter sports. Definitely my favourites are biathlon, ski jumping, skiing and ski cross. One of my dreams is to see it in person one day. Still waiting….. November to March is great as I get to binge watch it on TV. But when March comes it’s always quite sad as soon the season will be over. No winter sports for 7 months.

That thought has been praying on my mind. 7 months is a long time. What to do.

I’ve looked for some Winter Sports DVDs and Books but there isn’t much about. So I have a stock pile of 3 books and one dvd documentary. Plus one game on the Xbox. The probability of our family lockdown continuing through those 7 months is really high. With no trips out. No runs. Just feels like I need more this year to keep me going.

“Dad what are you doing?”

I’m trying to see if I can do GARDEN biathlon.

Really. It looks like you have gone mad…”

No there is method to my madness. I’ve dug out my two old walking poles. So to pretend I’m Nordic skiing I’m going to use the poles to walk round and round the garden. About 30 times round the garden is about 1km.

Ok how long is a biathlon thing then”

Going to start small first. The Spring is 10km with two shoots. So I would do 100 laps of the garden between shoots.

I think I can see what’s coming next but ok, why have you got my Nerf Gun.”

Well after 100 laps of the garden my pulse will be racing just like a Biathlete. So I will need to control my breathing and steady myself for the shoot. Ok I don’t have a rifle and five circular targets. So I’m putting some tins on the fence and I’m going to try and knock them over with your foam Nerf bullets. For every miss I will have to do a penalty loop or in my case 5 garden loops. The first shoot will be prone and the second will be standing.

OMG Dad. You have cracked.”

So from April one of my daily workouts every week will be my Biathlon competition.

“You have lost the plot”

Most probably Son, most most probably. But just be thankful I’m not trying to recreate Ski Jumping. 😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣

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.