Swiss Sunday

It’s a stormy here in the UK. Sat inside listening to the weather batter our little bungalow on top of a northern hill. But my thoughts are elsewhere. To dreams of walking again in Switzerland. One of the most beautiful countries in the world. Home to many family holidays and memories. A return is more than overdue. How that happens is still a work in progress. A world gripped with a pandemic. Now just a family of 2. No more extended family get together. Ashes to be brought along and scattered. Heightened anxieties and phobias. Aspergers. A long trip, with many variables to be managed now as a single parent.

But it can still happen. The frenzy of an airport might be beyond Hawklad. Train is an option, less frenzied but still hemmed in. Driving, it’s a long way for one driver. Maybe 13 hours. But I can do that plus it offers Hawklad a controlled space to travel in. Yes car is favourite at present

Google Maps Makes 13 hours seem very doable…..

Yes we can do this. Sometimes dreams don’t come easily. But look at these memories. Definitely worth the effort.

Tigers

Yorkshire does have its moments.

Here’s the thing, I almost missed that view. I have a habit of just looking straight ahead when I’m walking. As that view was behind me, it was lucky that I went out of character and I did glance back. Dad would be pleased.

I remember one relevant piece of wisdom which my Dad imparted on me when I was a LITTLUN. One day I was walking with him on the beach after he had stopped off to buy fish from the returning fishing boats. As we walked he pronounced that “I didn’t look behind me enough”. He was that kind of Dad, why just talk when a pronouncement could be made. When I asked why I needed to look back, his response will never leave me.

“You never know when you are being stalked by something like a Tiger…..”

Following my clearly bemused expression Dad quickly added

“Clearly it works as a tiger has never taken a chunk out of your Dads behind….”

I guess you can’t argue with the logic. A logic honed in the British Army as a Sergeant Major. Most of his service was in a land famed for Man Eating Big Cats. The tropical jungles of ICELAND….. But look at the evidence. No Tiger did ever attack my Dad on Redcar beach that morning. Further he avoided any unfortunate Tiger incidents for the rest of his life. Although I never did raise the fact that ‘my not looking back strategy’ had also avoided any Tigermageddons….. it wasn’t really worth raising things with Dad, he was born and bred in the heart of Yorkshire. Pointless arguing with anyone wearing a flat cap.

So yes, don’t forget to look back, you never know what you might be missing.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s must be time for our weekly trip down memory Lane. To family holidays to alpine heaven. Holidays to Wonderful Switzerland. Switzerland has been a part of Hawklad’s mums family for well over 70 years. I just needed just one visit to realise why you would want to keep coming back here, time and time again. It is a truly magical place. So as time has moved on and now those family trips are solely in the hands of Hawklad and his Muppet Dad….let’s hope the next trip is only just round the corner.

It is a family tradition.

A beautiful tradition.

Music and Concerts

The sun sets on another day.

Back in summer Hawklad asked if he could have something to aim for this year. Something fun. Anything other than a potential return to the classroom. So we agreed to take a punt on some concert tickets for December. Back in July, December seemed a long term goal. Now with weeks to go, it’s unremittingly approaching with pace….

There is still time but that concert still seems like a mighty step too far. He is still struggling. Still struggles to touch alien surfaces. Close contact with people is wracked with anxieties. He still can’t venture into shops, even for just a few moments. Inside with a thousand other people, very hemmed in, doesn’t seem practical or achievable yet.

But we always live in hope.

Tomorrow is a new day, yes it is (sorry borrowed that line from WWE wrestling….)

But we are lucky. We still have the open spaces of the Yorkshire countryside. We still have a quiet garden. Today we took our mind of that fast approaching target by thinking about a musical challenge we have seen others do online. So here goes Hawklad’s take on the questions.

First Concert – Hollywood Vampires (Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry), The Darkness, The Dammed

Last Concert – The Darkness

Best Concert – Iron Maiden

Worst Concert – some bloke painting pictures on stage before Kiss…..

Loudest Concert – Kiss

Seen the most – Alice Cooper, The Darkness

Most surprising concert – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Next concert – The Darkness ???????

Wish I had seen them – David Bowie during the Ziggy Days

Top of wish list (can still see them) – Journey

Hawklad got two positive things from me. His eyelashes and his taste in music….. Ok time for his Gnarly Old Dad to have a go…..

First Concert – Whitesnake, Samson

Last Concert – The Darkness

Best Concert – can’t choose Tin Machine (David Bowie), Whitesnake (City Hall, Newcastle), Iron Maiden, Rory Gallagher, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Scorpions (supporting Deep Purple at Knebworth)

Worst Concert – Meatloaf with a broken leg, that bad he got bottled off stage. To be fair seen him twice more and he was really good.

Loudest Concert – Motörhead

Seen the most – Whitesnake

Most surprising concert – Tina Turner…. Ok that’s a big bad fib…. I took Hawklad’s Mum to see Ronan Keating (twice), whisper it, he was not bad at all.

Next Concert – The Darkness ???????

Wish I had seen them – Led Zeppelin or Leonard Cohen

Can still see them – AC/DC

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in Yorkshire. Time for a trip down me,pry lane. Back to family holidays to beautiful Switzerland. The family has changed over the years. It’s currently a much smaller family which can make the next trip. Hawklad and I.

Maybe next year……..

Whenever we do get to having holidays again things have to change. Things that worked before just won’t seem right anymore. So new places, new adventures, new experiences. Yes maybe some new countries. But one country will keep being the destination we head back to, time and time again. Yes it has to be Switzerland. Switzerland is a part of us.

And when we arrive in Switzerland it will be time to explore new wonders. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t find time to revisit some old family haunts. Definitely time at one particular lake. Lake Thun. We have a real connection to that one stunning part of The Alps. We have family ashes scattered there. More to scatter on the next trip.

Just one lake, but it is such a part of our history. Just one lake yet so many memories.

Plans

So much on our doorstep. So much to see and visit on a daily basis.

I was going through a box of maps, trying to find one covering part of our area. Why was it at the bottom of the box, buried under all the other maps….. Why was it as good as new, almost unused…….

As I searched through the other maps I found various handwritten notes. The notes, an insight into my former days. Route maps, climbing plans, camping sites, potential itineraries. One note caught my eye. A 4 day plan to climb 12 mountains on the Isle of Skye over one extended weekend. A real challenge for me, something to work to.

For years it has stayed a plan, gathering dust in that box.

It’s a different world for me now. Single parenting happened.

I smiled at that 4 day climbing plan and then carefully put it back in the box – maybe I can still use that one day. But at present my plans need to be much closer to hand. So the local map I was looking for was found. What can be found on my doorstep. That’s a start.

Thinking

A Sunday in a very quiet part of Yorkshire. A good place to think.

It’s now over 5 years since I became a widow. Where did those 5 years go. Some days it feels like a lifetime, then there are times when it only seems like yesterday. Whatever it feels like, a lot has changed over those years. I’m a changed person with a changed outlook on life (and death). There were times when I thought that was it, life was over. It was just a matter of survival. But I made it through those times and I’m ready to start experiencing what this world has to offer again. I am dreaming again. Different dreams and whisper it, bigger dreams. Maybe that’s a surprising thought. Grief has taught me how to better LIVE. Looking back, to the run up to my partner dying, my priorities were far too often skewed. Maybe I was just surviving. Taking life for granted. Going through the motions. Not looking for adventures. Already personally hemmed in, struggling. Then everything changed within two weeks. Suddenly life’s safety net was removed. I was a single parent with the established script ripped up. I didn’t realise it but I suddenly had to face up to life. Over those 5 years I had to make changes, reappraise everything. Finally decide what was truly important to me.

So as I stood looking across that peaceful graveyard I could see something which I had missed. Grief was about coming to terms with loss, coming to terms with regrets, trying to be the best parent I could be to a young child who needed me AND a process of coming back to life again.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time to spend a few minutes remembering family holidays. Family holidays to Switzerland. Going back a few years now. To a trip to a stunning mountain pass high up in the Alps. An epic train ride up to 6800ft, to Kleine Scheidegg. Then a wonderful downhill walk to Lauterbrunnen. But before the walk time to stand in the footsteps of one of the worlds greatest mountains, The Eiger.

Outings Part 2

Whisper it. It’s Sunny in Yorkshire.

Sunny with the hint of rainbows.

I wonder what lies in the direction of that rainbow. Is it a pot of gold or just maybe its the best dreams ever.

That rainbow took me back several centuries to when I was at school. School had set off on a school outing. Given the rather robust nature of some of the kids at our school, we should have had a police escort to keep us in check. The trip was described as a ‘Mystery Tour’. You get on the bus and have no idea where you are going. They were popular in Yorkshire and I remember mum going on a few with her bingo chums. Dad would do his own mystery tours but usually always in the local pub for some reason.

Anyway the 4 coaches set off just after the morning roll call. One coach for each year group. There should have been 5 coaches but one complete year group spectacularly all got banned from the trip. Something to do with the Headteachers desk being set alight and the words ‘Year Group 3 waz here’ graffitied in the vicinity.

So the bus convey set off with our rust bucket at the rear. All went well for an hour until we got stuck in traffic and lost touch with the other vehicles. Here is where the plan started to unravel. The young reserve teacher had as much idea of the our final destinations as we did. Unfortunately the bus driver was equally in the dark. Apparently he was a very late substitution as well and assumed the teacher would know. His instructions had been to follow the other buses and if he lost touch, one of the other drivers would wait for him or just ask the teacher……. They BUSES DID NOT WAIT……

So we aimlessly drove around the countryside for a couple of hours. No sign of the other buses. This was an era in human history before mobile phones had been invented. The only Red Public Phone Boxes we encountered were out of order. When we did find one that was working the teacher ran out of coins waiting for the person who had answered the phone to go and locate the headteacher.

Eventually the complete mystery trip was abandoned and we headed back to school. Unfortunately soon afterwards the rust bucket bus broke down in the middle of nowhere. A kindly passing farmer helped fix the poorly bus. But it took a couple of hours. So we all sat by the side of the road and ate our packed lunches. As a rain shower passed through, a beautiful rainbow appeared over the hills. The young teacher asked the year group if they could remember the colours of the rainbow. Unfortunately some of the kids were long since past caring about education. I remember a young angelic voice booming out across the landscape.

‘F### Knows, I’m cold, I’m eff*** bored and Tommy has just tipped Vinnies Tizer all over the floor’

A fight then broke out as the chastened teacher kept his head down and ate his sandwich.

We did eventually make it back. Strangely our year group was banned from the next outing. Can’t say I was exactly upset about that when we found out where that was heading to. The beach in winter. Saltburn, otherwise known as The Yorkshire Winter Siberia…. At least we didn’t have to turn the headteacher’s desk into ashes to get out of that tropical delight.

Secret

Some blue sky is always welcome here. Ok it might only last for a couple of hours before the next rain clouds roll in, but it’s still most appreciated. Especially when the days are filled with much frustration and road blocks.

A couple of hours is enough time for a mini adventure.

Been at out home for a couple of decades now. Life has happened over that time. Seen 6 cars, 5 UK Prime Ministers, 2 Pandemics and something like 460 Simpson episodes. And now we can add 1 hidden lake.

Almost from day one the local map showed up an expanse of water on one side of the village. In all those years we never found a way to get to it. Until now. Sometimes you just have to live on the edge. Be a rebel without a cause or maybe without a clue. Time to ignore some PRIVATE signs. Pay back for a tractor dropping mud outside our garden gate over all those years. Jump a few farm fences and finally get to see the Hidden Lake. It might have only lasted for a few minutes but it was worth it. It’s good to have adventures some days.