Reading

Mostly a day to stay inside and dry but always keeping an eye out for those brief gifts.

In the end, no video conference call this week with school. School staffing unavailability led to a late cancellation. Apparently school will organise another teacher – parent day in a months time.

Ok move on, it’s the weekend.

As a kid I remember one thing really clearly from childhood weekends. Virtually every Saturday morning I would walk to the town’s library. The northern coastal town looked old and tired yet the library was a bit of an oasis. On the outside it looked like any other slate grey concrete block. But on the inside it looked brand new. Clean, bright. It even had a little indoor goldfish pond in the middle of the children’s section. I would select a book and sit beside the pond. For a couple of hours it was an escape from the claustrophobic reality. A working town cut off from the world by the sea on one side and polluting industry on all other sides. Hardly anyone went on holidays. It seemed like most adults would venture as far as the local chemical and steel plants to work, then it was back to the town to live. It did feel so claustrophobic. The only two escapes. The freshness of the beach and books in the library.

Fast forward far too many decades and it was like life repeating itself. Now miles from that old existence and a pandemic hit. Suddenly a picturesque village on a hill became isolated. Month after month of enforced isolation and it felt claustrophobic again. In the modern life there was thankfully a few more escape routes. One of which was again a library. This time quite a bit smaller and an awful lot redder than the old town library.

The village library

The converted old telephone box is the village community library. So a bit like when I was a child, excitedly checking out books to read, let’s see what books are in the library today. Sadly no goldfish to share the books with this time, it’s probably going to be with cows in the farmers field.

Spot anything you like ? Pleasingly the books I’ve donated on a few occasions are not there. Hopefully someone in the village is reading them as I write this.

I can’t begin to tell you just how great it felt during the lockdown to be able to walk a few yards to a little red library. To pick a book and have an adventure. Just like that little boy from that northern town, having an adventure in a library.

Swiss Sunday

About 10 years ago I remember talking to a super polite Japanese Guy in who was sat next to us in Geneva Airport. Someone who had seen years and years of life. He told the story about how he had attended an international conference here in Geneva during the sixties. At that stage he hated travel, hated being away from Japan. That all changed on that trip to Switzerland. He fell in love with another country. Since then he had travelled for a holiday here, every single year without fail. He said he would keep coming until his body failed.

I knew why he said that. I understood immediately his sentiments. I still do. I wish I was there right now.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in the UK. I’m sat nursing a bruised foot, shin and fingers. That’s what happens when you walk into a metal road sign, drop a heavy box on your foot and then try to fix a large hole in the fence with a Thor like hammer. Try is the optimal word. As the light failed the fence was still is still with hole. Lots of bruises with so little end products.

OH PANTS.

So I need calming. Time to look at family holiday photos. Only one place will do tonight. Switzerland. Yes definitely time to walk in the Alps and forget about the bruises.

Switzerland work your magic.

Proper weather

It’s been far too dry for Yorkshire. Coming back from the dog walk it was clear that was all about to change. The question would be, do we get back home in time.

No.

Proper weather.

I’m not sure that crazy old tree house would offer much protection these days. Must admit I can’t remember seeing anyone up there since I moved into the village. That’s two decades ago. WOW, two decades. Where did that time go. Anyway just a few pigeons and occasionally the farmer’s cockerel are the only life that makes it up there. The cockerel and hens are clearly very talented.

The farm birds now have branched out into money laundering, honey and eye products.

I could talk about school at home but I would only moan about a day spent revising executions and serial killers. So let’s focus on the farm birds. That’s an egg-cellent choice. Plus if I do moan anymore I run the risk of getting us egg-pelled..

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a trip down memory lane. To very different times . To family holidays to Switzerland. As I look at the photos the memories flood back. But also a feeling of hope. The photos are a reminder of the world that can be so easily found out there.

It still can be a wonderful world.

Marvel at Scotland

Back to last week. See you don’t need the multiverse to do a spot of time travel.

“Dad tomorrow can we go to Scotland. Don’t mind where just can it be really quiet. Somewhere different. Maybe even exciting.”

Two herbal teas later the solution popped into my head. Visit a place where we can MARVEL at who grand Scotland is.

Quiet means arriving early. As we were heading 180 miles north then we set off just after 5am.

Heading to the stunning coastal village of St Abbs. Part of the Marvel Universe……

The second highest grossing movie of all time, End Game used St Abbs as New Asgard. Hulk and Rocket came here to find Thor. Hawklad didn’t think he would be stood outside Thor’s house…..

I didn’t cause an international incident by taking my shirt off and pretending to be one of the Avengers. Maybe next time. Actually if people think that Thor looked out of shape when he was in New Asgard, wait to they get a look at my version of a shirtless Avenger. Let’s just say the 6 pack is well and truly hidden these days.

As we wandered around St Abbs a thought struck me. The place feels remote almost cut off from modern life. Operating at its own pace with the Sea dominating life. Could somewhere like this be a place which would suit Hawklad. Then the realisation, it might actually suit me. I was brought up by the Sea until I left to go to University. It feels very familiar, very safe. Would a return suit my mindset. Would it blow away the life cobwebs. Would it fix the problem that the world now seems to spin at a different speed to me. Is it a great place to forget the past.

Maybe Thor had a point moving to somewhere as wonderful as St Abbs. A perfect place for his New Asgard

Swiss Sunday

It’s a few minutes past midnight here in England. A muppet dad is fighting to put on duvet covers. In this case, a ‘George from Peppa Pig’ cover. The duvet cover is winning….. What makes it worse is that it’s for my bed. Hawklad wouldn’t dream of sleeping under that these teenage days. But it’s still a good cover so, waste not want not. Plus as it’s just me under that duvet, who will ever know.

So can you keep a secret……

Anyway I have given up the cover battle for a few moments and I’m thinking 2015.

I wouldn’t have got away with that themed cover back in 2015. Not a chance. Back in 2015 it was also our last holiday we had as a family of three. Seven days in beautiful Switzerland.

The next time we go back to The Alps things will be very different and not just what’s allowable in terms of bed furnishings. I had hoped that 2022 might have been return year but maybe things are still against a trip this year but you ever know. But wow, I wish I was there right now. I wish I was back in Switzerland.

Swiss Sunday

Another walk down memory lane. Special places like Switzerland help create everlasting memories. So on this Easter weekend let’s go back ten years. Back to an Easter weekend in 2012. A wonderful family weekend in Switzerland. Time to remember and smile.

A hotel gift
Traditional singing on the lake boat
Another hotel gift
Hotel room view
Just had to play on this

Issues with Horses

Hawklad was playing online with his best friend so I had an afternoon to burn. Let’s go for a local walk.

I have issues with HORSES. Always have. Some say its because they like me for some reason but I know differently. The truth. They are after me.

As a child I once went to Africa to visit my sister. At one stage I was asked to stand next to a horse so my family could take a CINE film. Remember those…. As I stroked this particular fella, much laughter ensued. The horse literally ate my T-shirt. From then on the vendetta took hold. A few years later I was trying to get into a Football Stadium to see Newcastle get beat again. Stood in the queue chomping on a chocolate bar when a police horse stood on my foot. As I spun round in pain another police horse ate my Mars Bar……

The theme continued. I was walking on Dartmoor when a wild pony pinched my sandwich……

If only it was always that end. I was walking through a city centre to a meeting one afternoon when I came across a crowd. A new Betting Shop was opening and the famous Racehorse, Red Rum was the guest of honour. I found my self in a queue which I thought led to a free T-shirt but no, it was the queue to stand next to the great horse. I patted the huge horse with some trepidation and he repaid me by crapping on my shoe….

See they have issues with me. Maybe it’s because they know that I once voted for that horse loving movie, The Godfather as my favourite soundtrack ever. They know….

So on this particular grey Yorkshire afternoon I found myself walking across a field when over the hill a pack of ravenous beasts appeared. They came closer….

And came closer…

And closer….

And closer….

And sensing blood, even closer….

I was surrounded. I now knew what it felt like for Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum to be surrounded by a pack of blood thirsty Jurassic Raptors.

And remembering the best Jurassic Park survival strategy, I legged it. And when I got back home guess what. I had stood in horse poo….. See they have issues with me.

Swiss Sunday

Just one day. Just one day almost 10 years to the day. A family holiday back in 2012. Was it really 10 years. So much has happened over that decade. The family is so much smaller now. But one thing hasn’t changed. Switzerland. A picture perfect dream land. A relatively small land offering boundless adventures.

So yes, one day in Switzerland, all the photos just from one day.