All gone

Where have all the leaves gone! I tell you where, in our front lawn.

The last few stormy days have rapidly accelerated the autumnal transition. Soon the colour will feel like it’s been sucked out of the landscape. Just dark greens and greys. The hope is that blue skies will frequently lift the mood. A close friend likes to remind me that as grey as the sky may appear, a blue sky is still close by, just behind those clouds. Yes there is always hope.

That’s so like bereavement and loss. When it first strikes it will seem so claustrophobic. You feel imprisoned in a world of pain and sadness. No way out. No hope. No dreams. No way new happy memories can form. Everything has gone. That’s it.

Every grief journey is different, unique. But so many travelling those roads will eventually in their own time find a way out of the darkness. Clouds will start to part and blue skies will slowly appear again. Hope and dreams will start to form again. You can start to build again. Start to live again.

Mole

My neighbours little tree ready for winter. It’s one of the local mole’s favourite places.

So we don’t feel left out, the Mole has made sure a present was left for us as well…..

Feels like autumn is already passing here. It looks like winter. It most definitely feels like winter. I am trying to get the garden ready for the coming dark months. Hopefully that will be finished this week. Getting ‘me’ ready for the dark months is more of an ongoing process. Needs much work….

Some people think that moles hibernate in the UK. That’s not the case. The underground tunnel structure is far enough down to avoid the frost line here. So they can continue to be active and thrive. The hope is that we(I) can do the same.

Forgotten Memory

It’s another one of those cold damp bleak Yorkshire days. Hawklad is sat in his bedroom trying to get his school work done. Or maybe he is asleep…. I’m sat by a radiator watching the incessant rain rattle against the window. Trying to warm up after my really cold morning garden workout. It feels like this will be long old winter. A long winter on many fronts.

I’m listing to an old Opeth cd. Back in the time when they were still a proper dark metal band. A memory floods black. I went to buy this very cd just before the millennium. A time way before parenting reality found its way to me. From a music shop which would eventually sadly succumb to economic reality. With the gatefold cd in hand I went to pay for it at the till. The clearly just out of school assistant looked at the cd and then gave me a questioning look. He said something like

This is one of my favourite bands but it’s very heavy dude. Might not be your thing. I can show you the section with the more mainstream rock cds”

I stopped him before he got they chance to mention The Moody Blues. I pointed out to him that I had in fact all of Opeth’s records. And while he was probably still in nappies watching the Care Bears I was at gigs watching the likes of Motörhead and Black Sabbath. After that we had a laugh and he admitted that when he saw me walk into the shop he had switched the music he was playing from Iron Maiden to Deacon Blue. I admitted that I had seen Maiden but strangely forget to add that I had also seen Deacon Blue as well…..

A happy, long forgotten memory…. A memory which took my mind off winter for a few precious minutes.

2022

Dad that’s not a bad sky at all”

It’s a grand one Son.

You always say GRAND these days”

It’s just a way of saying something is impressive. It’s a bit like you saying something is sick….

Dad I was thinking about school. What happens if I still can’t go out during next year as well. Maybe I’m not ready to go back until 2022. What happens then?”

Well we just carry on. We’ve coped for most of this year. We just do the same next year then. Although I might have a ZZ Top beard by 2022 .

I so want to see that.”

Make a change for you. Having a Dad who looks cool….

That’s never happening. As you would say Dad. You are a Grand Muppet.”

You never know. One day….

Dad is that your mobile Dad going off.”

Yes it is. A message. Oh look they have rescheduled our Ozzy concert. Was supposed to be next week but they have put it back to October 2022. Time for me to grow a proper beard.

Dad time for me to maybe venture out again…”

Just like a Desert Island

I’m sat here watching the rain falling while listening to Pink Floyd. Nothing like a bit of Floyd to life the mood!!!! My mum would always say that she would listen to sad music to cheer herself up. Maybe it’s in my DNA as I’ve always tended to listen to more darker themed music. Maybe I should try happier ones. Where’s that Alvin and the Chipmunks cd …. that’s why I stick to the darker stuff.

So it’s time to get back to that Desert Island again.

Hawklad is still working on his list so it’s the extra post then. But I hear you cry – there are only two of you. Well here goes.

I was thinking about living on a desert island. The beach, the palm trees, surrounded by seemingly never ending water. That feeling of isolation and being alone. Cut adrift from the world. But actually isn’t that us now. Are we not already on our very own desert island.

Look at the photograph above. Replace the beach with our wet lawn. Palm trees morphed into an apple tree. The shoreline is now a garden fence. The farmer land, nettles and wild ground suddenly our very own version of an ocean. A barrier between our little island and the outside world. Days go by without seeing another human. Definite feelings of isolation and being cut adrift from the outside world. No sign of rescue ships on the horizon. Has the world stopped looking. Did it ever really look. Does it even know that we are here.

It’s such an odd feeling. But here’s the thing. Do I see this as necessarily a bad thing. Hawklad definitely doesn’t. Currently the remoter the better for him. He’s ok as long as he can watch a bit of live football and Disney Plus. But what do I think?

Do I see the dividing ocean as a threat or a godsend. The longer our lockdown goes on then the less I feel physically connected to the outside world. It becomes increasingly hard to see myself fully reintegrating back into the world beyond our island. Actually maybe isolation is what I need and want. Something not to be feared but embraced. Maybe the real fear is that a rescue ship does arrive…….

Irony

It was another one of those Yorkshire days. Cold, wet, windy, brooding.

That weather combined with a pandemic, homeschooling and our enforced lockdown is a heady mix. A mix which gets me pondering life. Probably too much pondering some days.

I was sat looking out through the window at that dark sky. Sat alone while Hawklad did his school work in the bedroom. I was suddenly taken back to before 2016. The old small conservatory had finally fallen to bits. We had found the money for a replacement one. I think we planned for years of sitting in there, spending time together. But here’s the thing. We never really did. Life always got in the way. We always seemed to be too busy. If only we had found a way of slowing life down. Creating time at home. Seemingly having too much time on our hands. No excuses to not sit together in that new conservatory. At the time it kind of never really mattered. We had so many years ahead of us to do that.

Well that plan didn’t go well.

Here’s the irony that 2020 presents. Suddenly time has slowed down. Often a feeling of too much time on our hands. A lockdown enforcing time together. No outside distractions this time. A perfect time to sit with my partner and look at that dark sky. Thinking how lucky we are to have that time together. The irony is not lost on me.

Childhood

So many pupils from our son’s year group are isolating. I’m also hearing that other pupils are being asked to isolate in other year groups as well. Many teachers are off. It’s all a bit of a mess really. Many schools are like this in the UK. They don’t feel like environments conducive to learning at present.

These are stressful times for many. I’m not sure the Government understands this. Or chooses to ignore this. Bland statements that ‘schools are the best place for children’ are recited everyday. It might be in terms of the Economy but….

Some children need to be in school. Some need to be at home. They definitely need to have the chance to have a childhood. A good childhood. It’s often too easily forgotten how much stress and anxiety they are under. Unable to see friends. Unable to do some of the stuff they love. Living in a stress filled world with so much confusion. Told to wear masks in buses and shops, yet told not wear them in classrooms. Frequent enforced teacher switches. Many sadly forced to isolate or deal with the actual virus. Living in a small world with few holidays and adventures. Watching never ending grim news reports. How much stress are many of our children under. We have to do something about this. To me that’s more important than the short term needs of the economy.

Our son is racked with anxiety. Too much to allow him to venture through the front gate. A significant part of his precious childhood is being spent in isolation. That’s hard to take as a parent. All I can do is to keep him feeling safe, try to shutout the bad stuff from the world and to try to find ways to help him still enjoy his childhood. He’s had a tough one already. Loss of his mum, coming to terms with Aspergers and now a Pandemic. That’s why I’ve got to work all the more harder. There’s still a childhood to be enjoyed.

Can wait

Yes much darkness but if you look hard enough – definitely blue sky can be found.

I’m sat looking at the window overlooking the garden. We are on the edge of a small hill. The last hill before the ground falls away and the ground is largely flat for miles. So I was looking into the distance. Looking at the brooding sky and thinking.

Sometimes I look at life and relationships and realise things don’t work out as well as I had hoped for. Maybe some things won’t pan out as I would have loved them to do. Often it’s just down to circumstances. Out of my control. I am just just forced down a different path. In that moment I was pondering which dreams I could still cling on to and which ones I should really put to one side.

Then my eyes caught sight of a small patch of blue sky. Yes small and definitely well into the distance. But still blue sky. I could so easily have missed that. Too caught up thinking about the past and an imaginary future. Standing by closed doors from the past can be both reassuring and emotional. Gazing at so many memories. Yes future dreams are important as well. They provide so much hope and direction. But they do not represent the here and now. You still have to remember to live.

So the little patch of blue sky worked its magic. Time to do some living. The future and the past will still be there in a few hours time, they can wait.

Ghosts

I was listening to the new David Gilmour song and one line really hit me.

Yes, I have ghosts, not all of them dead.

For me that is so true….. Often the ones which are not dead are the hardest ones to deal with. They can appear at any time. They fill my head with negative thoughts. Once there they can haunt me for days. Missed opportunities. Past mistakes. Errors. Broken promises. Heartaches. Dead ends. Let downs. Sad memories. Inhibitions. Self inflicted hurt. Bleak times. They can hold me back, stop progress, bring on self doubt and herald the return of depression.

Those thoughts still live within me. They aren’t dead. Ready to reappear when I drop my guard. When I am low. When I am tired. When I’m facing a leap of faith. They all relate to past events but the memory still lives on within me. They try to shape my present day mood and choices.

Maybe it’s time to deal with them. Exorcise them. End the hold they have over me. Life is too short to waste. Its time to fill my soul with positive thoughts and memories. Ghosts should be dead.

Weekends

It’s almost the weekend, time to enjoy ourselves. Definitely feels like I should be a Fun Guy! Obviously being restricted to the house and garden doesn’t give me Mush Room to do that.

Sorry!!!!!!

Before March weekends felt special. Different. A week of classrooms for Hawklad and work for me – we needed the weekend. So we crammed it with stuff we couldn’t fit into the week. Football, walks, movies, Xbox, games, talking, visiting family, trips out, food outside and talking in the garden. Weekends were fun, unique, different.

Now it’s all changed. Seven months of family lockdown have seen to that.

No trips to school. No work for me. Home all the time. Some stuff is now beyond us. But other stuff is still there but now it can happen any day of the week. Suddenly weekend stuff is happening on a Monday, Tuesday…… Its often the same routine across all 7 days. Weekends don’t feel so special now. They certainly don’t feel that different.

That Truffles me because I have a Lichen for the weekend .

We definitely need to work on this. Recapture the weekend. Make them special again. As a start let’s try the trampoline on Saturday. Let’s have an extra long game of football and chat in the garden. Lets get the table tennis set out. Let’s find a special movie for Saturday. We can do this.