Swiss Sunday

Is it really 7 years since we were last in Switzerland. SEVEN YEARS. That’s a crazy and seriously sobering thought.

Is our much smaller family any closer to returning? Well we have various plans to get there but ultimately it all depends on how Hawklad is doing and feeling. It’s just about keeping the light burning brightly and being patient.

Patience is the word.

Before I started visiting this wonderful country, I desperately wanted to see two massive Swiss Treasures. The mighty mountains, The Eiger and The Matterhorn. The Eiger was an immediate success. On my first trip, I could see the mountain as the train carried us away from the airport and towards Spiez. Then the next day, a trip in Spring snow to Grindelwald, the clouds parted to reveal its awesomeness. Every holiday seemed to bring more and more epic Eiger encounters.

Then we come to The Matterhorn, the PESKY mountain. The clouds never seemed to part, the mountain never made an appearance. For years it was like that. Summer, Autumn, Spring, Late Winter, always the same result. Arrive at Zermatt and the thickest of clouds had rolled in. But with patience, eventually the clouds did part. That first time as I pushed baby Hawklad in his pushchair, trying to stop him bawling out Zermatt high street. It was seriously cloudy, one last not so hopeful look and unbelievably the clouds parted for a few brief seconds. It was so worth the wait. I so wish I could find that photo I managed to take in those brief moments . But the spell was broken and from then on, no more mountain in hiding.

So yes, let’s hope for a return to this magical land. Just got to be PATIENT.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday and it’s the perfect time to think dreamily of a place that means so much to our little family, Beautiful Switzerland.

I don’t know why but my mind went back to my first ever visit to this alpine heaven. We had just arrived at Geneva Airport on a deep blue sky day. I couldn’t get over seeing The Alps for the first time. Definitely even better than I had ever imagined. As we made our way through Passport Control, the Security Officer checking our ID was very formal with perfect English. He asked if this was the first time we had visited Switzerland. When I said it was my first time, the Officer looked at me and said.

“Trust me Sir, it WON’T BE YOUR LAST VISIT.

How right he was….

Swiss Sunday

Have you ever nearly been arrested at Airport Security.

It almost happened twice to me, twice in 7 days.

Heading towards a family trip to wonderful Switzerland, we found ourselves going through airport security at Leeds Bradford Airport. I was taking a young Hawklad through the dreaded body scanner when Hawklad set the scanner off. Apparently he had an alien object in his shoe sole. Several large armed guards quickly surrounded us….

His muppet Dad had completely forgotten that his new shoes had a hidden special feature. A small Transformer like toy in a compartment located underneath the sole.

That took some explaining before we made it onto the flight……

Unbelievably as we boarded the plane, the Pilot let Hawklad look round the cockpit prior to takeoff. Not sure that was supposed to happen these days. Still Hawklad loved that and yes the pilot was asked about every button.

A spectacular week in The Alps and then trouble at the airport again. This time at Zurich.

Going through passport security, and we faced the question – ‘have you anything to declare’. Hawklad helpfully answered that one.

A couple of days earlier we had visited Zermatt on a seriously hot day. This parent had treated Hawklad to an ice lolly and for himself, an ice cold SHANDY. Hawklad was puzzled by my drink. What’s that. I explained it was mucky beer and lemonade. Dad can I try it. Mum was off somewhere and out of sight. Why not, a small sip.

So to the question, ANYTHING TO DECLARE, Hawklad decided to come clean.

YES, MY DAD GAVE ME A MUCKY BEER…

Thankfully this time I wasn’t surrounded my armed guards.

You know what, I really miss those holidays. I wish I was in Switzerland right now. I’m dreaming.

76 months

It’s still muddy.

In fact a bit more muddy.

Very tempting to 76 month old puppy.

76 MONTHS. This PUP was born in the week Hawklad’s mum passed away. Isn’t that a sobering thought. Why does 76 months sound so much longer than 6 and a bit years.

Stuff has changed in those 76 months, yet other stuff is still the same. Still walking these same muddy tracks. Still trying to figure out the parenting gig. Still trying to juggle things while still trying to pay the bills. Still spending far too much time having conversations with myself. Still not get enough sleep. Still fighting the school system. Still getting post addressed to Hawklad’s mum. Still getting those feelings of guilt. Still getting those pangs of anger. Still feeling like life is on hold.

But yes, some stuff changed. 74 months ago a Mad Pup walked in and that is just about the best decision I made in those 76 months.

Any excuse for a puppy pic….

Swiss Sunday

We met some fantastic people on our trips to Switzerland, these stars added so much warmth to our times in this great land. The Hotel Owner from our favourite holiday base was one of these characters. A man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, someone who had packed so much into his long life. So many stories. An encounter with Audrey Hepburn. A skiing extra in a James Bond movie. A meal with a famous tennis star, bizarrely me and Hawklad literally bumped into and got a smile from a French Open winner on a street in Gstaad.

The time some American Business Men arrived at his hotel for a skiing holiday in the middle of a boiling hot summer….. Helping out on the making of a Bollywood movie. Meeting Roger Moore. I could go on and on. I’m sure we only scratched the surface of his life in the chats we would have as he watched over perfect hotel breakfasts.

The time he overheard Hawklad talk about one day going to a circus and he immediately got on the phone to one of his friends who was a circus owner. Within minutes we had tickets to a circus which was passing through the region during our week holiday.

Or the time we were in Switzerland during early June and the weather was glorious. So glorious and seemingly settled that we had suitcases filled with summer clothing only. As we sat having breakfast in shorts, he came over with a concerned look. ‘Have you any warm clothes, it’s going to snow today’. When we said no, he hurried off and brought back some fleeces, gloves and wooly hats. And guess what, within a couple of hours, the snow arrived.

Yes this is a special country with special people. I can’t wait to get back there.

Swiss Sunday

A time just before parenthood and I was sat in Departure Lounge at Zurich Airport, waiting for a plane back to England. Opposite was a young couple clearly waiting for the same plane. As we chatted they excitedly described their first venture into this wonderful land called Switzerland. I remember them saying that they had found a wonderland. They told a story about being caught out in heavy rain while walking and a local farmer brought them into his house for a warm drink. When the rain didn’t pass he drove them to the nearest train station.

Here’s the irony. Probably during the very same rainstorm, we were walking through beautiful Gstaad and guess what, yes the heavens truly opened. Proper RAIN. We tried to take shelter in the nearest doorway. Quickly the door opened and we were beckoned inside. In Swiss German we were told to ‘come inside before we got soaked’. We were treated to Italian coffee and cake as the storm passed over. Our hosts being truly kind and nice. I remember joking that if this had been England, the door would have been quickly bolted shut with us still outside. The smiling response said it all..

“Probably, but this is Switzerland and it’s just different here…”

It so is…..

And to be fair to Gstaad, every other time we have been there the weather has been perfect. Plus they do a mighty fine watermelon….

HAPPY NEW YEAR. WE CAN DO THIS. ❤️

Swiss Sunday

We were stood outside a rather chique looking clothes shop, waiting for Hawklad’s mum to stop perusing it’s contents. Just breathing in the fresh alpine air, watching the world go by. I remember Hawklad being particularly fascinated with people on the other side of the road, playing crazy golf. The Swiss do seem to really like that great, dangerous, whacky sport. Hawklad was thinking about spicing the sport up even more by adding real dinosaurs and zero gravity. A few minutes later we were taking on that beast of a course (without additional Jurassic hazards).

He loved this place. He loved the golf, he loved the mountains, he loved the train station, he loved the ice cream, he loved the playground, he loved the cable cars, he loved that restaurant which served the best pizza ever.

Hawklad had fallen for Grindelwald.

As Christmas Day arrives, I dream of just how good it would be to spend Christmas in Grindelwald. Epic I think.

Swiss Sunday

Switzerland, a magical land of mountains, lakes and DINOSAURS…..

One of Hawklad’s favourite holiday adventures was to Aathal Dinosaur Museum, on the outskirts of Zurich. It like something from the set of Jurassic Park, well it was to me. To Hawklad it was all things Dinosaur Train. Now it would probably be the other way round, I do miss Buddy and his Dino Pals, Hawklad would be full on Spielberg and the Indominus Rex.

I remember Hawklad’s mum calling me a FOSSIL as we stood next to the T-Rex skull. Fossils have to be well preserved to make it into this collection, sadly that would rule me out then….

Hawklad absolutely loved the museum and he asked to go back again one day. I hope he does sooner rather than later and hopefully I get an invite as well.

Swiss Sunday

May 2014. Yorkshire had gone the winter without any snow. Hawklad had almost forgotten what the white stuff was like. May was leaving it late, but finally a family holiday to Switzerland saved the day.

Hawklad got his winter playground.

Happy memories.

Switzerland is a special place, it generates happy memories.

Muddy Puddles

Sometimes it sneaks up on you.

You think you have it cracked and then your nice clean shoes land in the muddiest of puddles.

I was shopping today and I came across a special offer on Jam Donuts. I immediately grabbed a box and thought ‘Mum will be pleased, shall I get her a second box”. Mum loved these and she most definitely loved a special offer. But then the realisation. She is not here anymore, she hasn’t been since 2016.

Definitely one of those unexpected muddy puddles.

Then another muddy puddle.

A few hours later I saw a trailer for ‘A Wonderful Life’, it was on the TV soon. I headed towards my mobile to phone mum. She loved that movie. Then the realisation. She isn’t here anymore.

Stepped in another muddy puddle.

Those muddy puddles seem muddiest during holiday or special occasion time. Maybe you get more muddy puddles to step in. Yes times like Christmas do have a habit of throwing those curve balls, most definitely when your on the grief journey.

If you do stand in one of those muddy puddles, your not alone. We can do this.