Families

Families are funny.

I come from quite a big family. I’m the youngest of the brood. In many ways the odd one out. The one with the funny diet. The one who works out. The one outdoor person. The one that went to university. The one who is bereaved. The one single parent. The one Aspergers parent. The one who blogs. I could go on…..

Don’t get me wrong we are a loving family. No egos. No fights. No cross words.

We are geographically spread but would fairly regularly see each other. Would…..

Mum was the gravitational force that held us in orbit. The force that would bring us together. Now the gravity has gone. We don’t meet up much now. The links are now mainly phone calls and texts. 2020 has not helped. I’ve not seen one sister and my brother in over 2 years now.

But we are still loving and caring. But here’s the thing.

You can be loving without being close. You can be family and not share. Be caring without understanding.

I share things on this blog that my family never hear. If I need a shoulder to cry on I don’t turn to my brother or sisters. I turn to my closest friend(s). That’s were I’m best understood.

Yep families are funny.

L

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a visit to alpine heaven. A true dream destination. A beautiful country that our little family hasn’t been able to visit since 2015. But one day we will again. Let’s spend a bit of time in stunning 🇨🇭 Switzerland.

Oh the Hotel Savoy in Interlaken. I have never ventured inside the building but sat outside so many times. On every visit to this beautiful country we would catch the boat across lake Thun to this wonderful little town. Always the first Sunday morning of the holiday. We would walk to this hotel and sit outside. The first hot chocolate and cake of the trip. I remember always thinking while we watched the world go by – this is what life should feel like on a Sunday.

What would I give to be there this very Sunday. To be sat with those I love.

So where ever you dream destination is. I hope it’s not long before you are there. To me that will always be Switzerland.

Mud

Mud glorious mud. If only we could sell mud then we would be quids in.

Sometimes it feels like life is just a constant trudge through waste deep thick, clinging mud. Much harder than it was supposed to be? Was parenting supposed to be this demanding? Was the bank account supposed to be that empty? Was the career supposed to abruptly come to an end? Was my social diary supposed to be as empty as my bank account? Was I supposed to be this out of synch with life? Was grief supposed to hurt that much? Was I supposed to be walking these fields on my own? Why did depression and anxiety have to come knocking at my door?

But wait. Mud is good for the complexion. It keeps you grounded. Walking through it makes you stronger over time. You learn things about yourself. You grow. So……

Does a large bank balance matter – NO IT DOES NOT. Is living rather than following a career a better route to happiness – YES IT IS. So is parenting supposed to be this good and rewarding – YES IT IS. Is grief just another way of saying you love someone – OH YES IT IS. Do your real friends and those who truly love you always stick with you – YES THEY DO. Can I overcome my demons – YES I CAN.

Is it still a wonderful life – YES IT IS. It most certainly is.

That feeling

Holidays, special occasions and anniversaries can be a beautiful time BUT…

They can be a nightmare for many. A time when isolation, fear, anxieties and loss are amplified. Where a spotlight is directed on what is no more, what will never happen and what is looming. A time when probably the last thing you want to hear about is all around you. Blasting out from the TV and Radio. Seemingly the only thing that people are talking about.

I know that feeling because I’ve been there. Been in that position. I know what it feels like. Even after 4 and a bit years (is it really that long). Even though I’ve started down new roads, new paths. Even though I’ve learnt to smile again. That feeling can still be there. It probably always will be.

With me it’s a double edge sword. That feeling hits. My heart and spirit drop. I want to retreat. Hide away in my room. Find safety and sanctuary there. Yet doing that immediately opens up that feeling of isolation and being confined in a small space. A prison. Feeling even more alone.

So yes I so understand this feeling. That feeling still lives with me. Not all the time but it’s never that far away. Especially at these special times.

If you are in that place. Your not alone. I’m with you as well.

Winter is coming

Winter is coming.

A time for wooly jumpers, gloves and warm hats. Sliding on ice patches. Snow ball fights, sledging and snow angels. Steaming hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Writing names of frozen car windscreens. Fires and hot water bottles. Crisp winter walks with stunning moody landscapes. Long dark night skies filled with the wonder of the cosmos. Warming soups and stews. A perfect time to cuddle close to those you love. A time to feel alive.

Winter is coming.

A cold, bleak time. When the frequent bad weather forces you inside. Cuts you off from the world. When the darkness and howling winds matches the mood. When loneliness echoes around the surrounding walls that makes your home feel like a prison. A prison where the sentence is solitary confinement. Memories filled with loss and grief send shivers down your spine. Counting the long days until Spring returns. A time to survive.

Winter is coming.

I have experienced both. I know the opportunities and the threats it can offer. Which one will this Winter be?

Welcome sight

That’s one of my favourite electricity poles. Why? Because when I used to run it was the first thing I saw when I got close to home again. Always a welcome sight.

I was thinking that after this trying year we could all do with a welcome sight or two.

For everyone that welcome sight will be different. For me what would it be….

Maybe a rock concert,

Maybe going to see my team get beat again at St James Park,

Maybe it’s the view from the top of a mountain,

Maybe it’s the Sea,

Maybe it’s seeing Switzerland again,

Or just maybe it’s seeing a friends smile in person.

Let’s hope that whatever that view is, you and I will see it in 2021.

Sunday Sunday

Greyness lingers all around this small part of a world that seems quite alien today.

I’m watching the ebb and flow of the tiny water droplets seemingly suspended in the air while listening to Leonard Cohen. Does the world still exist beyond the ever closing bleak murk. Feeling a little too detached this morning. Maybe a little too ground down today. The waves of grief and loss seeming a little stronger over the last few hours. Worries for my son feeling just a bit more oppressive. Have I still got the energy to do this.

But it is what it is. Life must go on.

I really must stop listening to Cohen on a Bleak Sunday morning. Or maybe I really should.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”

From Anthem by L Cohen

Greyness lingers all around this small part of a world that can still be wonderful. The mist will clear. When it does it will reveal blue skies, blue skies which are always there.

Time to start living.

Full Moon

Last nights Full Moon. Almost beyond my little camera phone but it had a go. One moon but so many looking up at it. So many you don’t know but some you do know. Looking at the moon together can shrink the miles.

That’s so important in these strange times. When travel is not happening. When meet ups have to be virtual. When the telephone starts to become your friend again (sometimes….).

The problem is that as essential as email, social media and the telephone are they are not perfect. Certainly not for me. They have a huge drawback. I can still feel a long way from the person I’m communicating with. Sometimes feels like I’m stood rather alone shouting (and hoping to be heard) across the county lines, country borders, across the waters. But for some reason looking up at the moon is different. The thought that others are maybe looking up at the very same moon feels like the miles are shrinking. As if I’m stood next to others, to you.

So the next time you look up at the moon just remember so many others are. Maybe even your friends and those you care for. It’s the greatest free get together. Something that even 2020 hasn’t found a way of stopping.

Swiss Sunday

We haven’t been able to visit Switzerland since 2015 but it still remains very special to our little Yorkshire family. One day we will return but in the mean time let’s take a virtual trip to this beautiful land.

In these troubled times there are certain thoughts that I cling onto. Thoughts that are so dear to me that they always part the clouds and make the sun shine. One such thought is that Switzerland is there. It’s still there and is most definitely still that beautiful.

Golden times

Unlikely to get too many trips out to enjoy the wonderful autumnal colours this year. But at least I will spend more time looking at very our own mini displays. Too often these are not fully appreciated.

It is often the little things in life that we miss. Don’t fully appreciate. Take them for granted.

Before 2016 at this time of year we would drive as a family through the tree lined country roads to the local arboretum. A walk round the thousands of autumnal trees ending with a hot chocolate at the cafe. It’s not until these moments are gone that you realise how golden those times were.

After 2016 I would drive son to very the same arboretum. Trying to control a mad dog while son kicked around in the fallen leaves. Ending in the cafe now so he and the dog can enjoy a bacon butty. I would saviour a freshly ground full on caffeine burst. Golden days not possible this year.

So maybe those annoying fallen leaves in the front garden will actually come in useful. Let’s go and have a thrash about in them. Followed by a home made butty and yes a hot chocolate. Yes different times, but still golden times.