Thoughts

A path across the hills.

A path frequented by farmers, dog walkers and intrepid Muppet Dads. A path that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere in particular. Meandering around hedgerows and the occasional isolated tree. One of those locations that you can so easily get lost. Definitely a great place to lose yourself. One day it might even be a cool place to find myself.

It’s been one of those days with too much thinking time. Plenty of thinking yet no real insight. No new paths opening up while managing to add more roadblocks to existing roads ahead. It’s been one of those days. Feeling like it’s one step forward, two back and a few too many sideways. That feeling isn’t much fun sat in the house.

But on a path across the hills, it just means more walking is required….

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

Isolation

Late evening colour from Yorkshire.

It’s been one of those pushing up hill days. School doing as little as possible. A flu jab that ended up being a magical mystery tour around an NHS property – the signs had blown over in a wind storm and countless potential jab recipients were walking aimlessly around a vast site like a scene from ‘Night of the Zombies’ or ‘The Teletubbies’. Then news that Hawklad’s mental health support is getting reduced again. Was supposed to be a couple of yours every week. Then it was reduced to 45 minutes every two weeks. Soon it’s going to 45 minutes every month. Just not enough resources to meet rising mental health needs amongst our young. It’s all about government priorities. Well at least he’s still getting some help, that’s something.

Finally time to relax a bit. Hawklad was watching an Adam Sandler buddy movie. He does make Hawklad laugh a lot. I watch bits of it as I caught up with some housework. Funny how housework doesn’t ever sort itself out.

The movie was all about a group of childhood friends meeting up now they were middle aged. I must admit it got me wistfully thinking about how life has worked out over the last few years. Single parenting, living out in the sticks, a pandemic…. All are the equivalent of the FRIENDSHIP Hulk Buster Suit. Seeing friends has been officially been BUSTED. In over 5 years I’ve had one meet-up with a friend which lasted 2 hours at a so called football match. What I would give now for a few of those Adam Sandler type friend meet-ups. Just his much I would give for just 30 minutes with my best friend. Sadly I bet I’m not the only one feeling this way. These are isolating times.

Kindred Spirit

That’s one hardy leaf. Some would say ‘mad’. Coming out now, just before the Yorkshire winter commences. When all it’s buddies will give it another 5 months or so….

Or is that Mr Lazy Leaf. “Sorry chaps, I think I overslept, oh pants did I miss summer. Big pants, missed Autumn as well……. Anyone got a hot water bottle and a warm blanket.”

Must admit I kinda feel like that most days. Kinda feeling out of synch with life. Not been in synch for years. I’ve heard this from quite a few people who have gone through LOSS. Your time slows down (even feels like it stops) while the world keeps spinning without missing a single heartbeat. Initially I found that hard to deal with. If my world has stopped why hasn’t the world stopped, actually does it even know what’s happened.

Over time I realised that life has to keep going. Why should the world stop for one person. But even now that feeling of being out of synch still won’t go away. Maybe the more I live, the more baggage I shed then maybe, just maybe, I will start to find that synch again with the big bad world.

So yes I feel like that little green leaf is a kindred spirit.

Tree

A brief bit of sun to lift the spirits of a tree that still stands proud after many years of weather beatings. Stood on an exposed hilltop with nothing between it and the prevailing weather systems heading across from the Atlantic. Countless storms, damaging winds and more than two direct lightning strikes.

When I need a lift, I look across the fields to this friend and it is a friend. A constant reminder of resilience. But also so much more. A reminder of what life can still mean, of beautiful dreams and new memories to be made.

We can do this.

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.

Colour

As Winter fast approaches, there is still so much colour around. Just need to keep looking, it’s too easy to assume that colour has left for the year.

A venture inside a small shop for Hawklad. Maybe 8 other shoppers and a couple of shop staff. It took all his strength to survive 2 minutes inside. But here’s the thing, his anxieties in there weren’t just focused on Covid thoughts. Yes those fears explained his refusal to touch any alien surfaces or objects. But those in the shop all had masks on (strict shop policy). He just felt uncomfortable in that relatively small space. Too hemmed in. Too many faces. A space to small for that number of strangers.

The Covid vaccine might help will some anxieties but not with all the ones circulating in his world. A small village shop is a world away from an overcrowded classroom in a school with 900 pupils. His well-being is paramount. It has to be the basis of any decision going forward. Life has to fit for him. That’s the only way he will be happy.

That feels like a roadmap to guide the future.

Walk on

The week walks on.

Another walk for Hawklad. Autumn is such a beautiful time. The colours and the moody skies. It’s also very quiet here. Hardly a soul on the trails, maybe the occasional farmer. Perfect for those seeking the reassurance and safety of solitude.

That’s such a distance from crowded classrooms and bustling school corridors.

Let’s just keep walking and see where it leads.

Keep on walking

I know it’s another walking post. Kind of…. That’s been the theme of the week. A chance to regroup, recharge and refocus. Start to see the future more clearly. Focus on choosing the right pathway. Try to spot the dead ends.

A step forward today. Hawklad had his first shot of the covid vaccine. The second shot is still not approved in the UK for children. He made me smile. To the question from the Nurse about allergies, he promptly responded

BROCCOLI.

He was also not impressed with my mask. I couldn’t find my usual one, so I had to go with the spare. Last year when I bought our first masks, I didn’t bother to check if that white mask had a pattern on the front. We both took one look when they arrived and said NO.

Needs must, so the mask got its first outing today. Hawklad would only be seen with me if I completely coveted my face with a hood. I looked like a Sith Lord. When the nurse asked if I was his dad, the response was

Certainly not with that mask……