Hard life

It’s a hard life for some. Not sure if the hard life applies to The Cap or to that old sofa. The Cap is resting after a hard morning of causing chaos. This sofa is 17 years old. Over the last few years it has had to endure sustained cat and dog attention. Currently it’s covers are being washed for the millionth time.

It’s a hard life for my bottom as well. This morning I was blasting out a few miles on my equally old exercise bike when it basically fell to bits. It collapsed. One minute I was dreaming of summiting the Alpe d’Huez and leading the Tour de France. Three seconds later I’m sat on the floor surrounded by bits of exercise bike. Oh how the mighty fall. Now I know what it feels like to fall of your bike and forlornly watch the peloton scream past you.

Thankfully ten minutes later the bike was reassembled and the snapped retaining bolt replaced. The rest of the stationary ride was completed while I sat on an ice pack and a soft cushion. Bruised buttocks are not fun. But on the bright side, it’s much easier to ice pack your posterior than it is to ice pack your ego.

Bizarrely we were watching the Dora The Explorer movie last night. Yorkshire really knows how to live the dream. Near the start of the movie, poor Dora was dancing at a school ball. It was such a random odd dance that all the other kids were laughing and poking fun at her. Poor Dora, I really felt for her.

Dad she dances like you.”

Really, I’m not that bad am I….

In fact worse, much worse. At least Dora is coordinated. Your dancing is that bad, that if I’m within 50 miles of you, you are banned from any dance floor.”

The shame. How the mighty have fallen. I’m telling you that I once won a New Years Eve Blues Brothers dance competition.

That was thankfully before I was born Dad….”

It’s a hard life……

Movies

We are running out of sun cream this summer….. So need protecting from the unbroken sun beating down on parched Yorkshire……

Over time you find ways to protect your inner self and your family. Unlike sun protection, these things are needed frequently here. With Son’s Aspergers he can suffer with severe anxiety attacks. To be fair I struggle as well. But over time you find ways to block out the anxieties for a little while. For me the best blocking techniques are running, exercise, music and climbing. With Son it’s dreaming, talking and watching wrestling. One thing that works for BOTH of us is watching movies.

I remember being told by various parents that I should limit screen and TV time. It’s bad for all kids. Apparently it’s ok for the same parents to watch as much TV as they like. Ok. We need to remember that all kids are different. Unique personalities. What works for one child may not be suitable for another. In the case of our Son, movies help brake the downward descent into an awful anxiety whirlpool. So when he needs to, he can watch a movie. If it takes two movies, then it’s back to back cinematic viewings. I guess the ultimate would be to watch the entire Marvel Universe in one sitting…..

The other upside to movies is that it helps with my anxieties as well. It’s good sometimes to forget the current world and just escape. Son tends to be in full control of the movie schedule. His choices will work for me. Often these are cartoons. That suits me just fine as I’m a big kid at heart. Nothing better than 90 minutes of ScoobyDoo or Ice Age. Part of me secretly would love to be deposited in one of those cartoon worlds. They always feel so much safer and more fun than ours.

Well the other night we both needed a bit of cheering up. So we sat in front of the TV and Son scanned the available options. Which Scooby movie would he pick. He might even pick a Marvel epic. This is going to be so cool…. Five minutes later we were watching the Playmobil movie.

Now that was not what I was expecting. Son hasn’t played with a Playmobil toy since he was about 4. Ok I will just grin and bare it. Well I will go to the bottom of our garden. WE both loved it. So much so that when I couldn’t sleep during the night, I watched it again. Ok that’s my rock and roll credentials blown out of the water but so be it. Yes its not going to get any Oscars but it certainly wins on the anxiety blocking scale. Now am I too old to get out the Playmobil figures……

Unbelievably while writing this ….the sun has come out. Where is the sun cream.

The Big Screen

Sometimes sitting in the garden feels like the biggest ever BIG SCREEN.

Dad I’ve really got use to our home based movie nights. I was thinking that I’m not sure I ever want to go to the cinema again. Too many people. Too much stress.”

Going to the cinema has always been a bit of a lottery with our Son. We need to carefully manage the process. Arrive before the queues start to form. Carefully select a movie time which will be quiet. Sit on the very front row as this is likely to be empty and you won’t get anyone in front of you. Then keep you fingers crossed that no one sits close to us. Wait till everyone else has left before we depart. So many stress points for both our son and parents. We’ve had to leave movies within minutes (or even before they have started). Slowly the number of movies he would endure the cinema stress would reduce rapidly. Before the virus took hold it was down to just Marvel movies. So no I am not surprised that he’s backing away from cinemas. Sadly I think he won’t be the only one.

It’s not helped that our cinema options are limited. The only cinema he would go to in the end was a large muliplex in the city. It ran early morning showings which where usually empty. Unfortunately they have redesigned the cinema. Bigger, armchair like seats have been installed. Bigger seats means less seats. Less seats means fewer chances to find space. Which means the screenings feel so much busier. For someone with Aspergers that is a major issue. So are the cinema trips over? Well if they are then I have so many memories from them

  • Taking mum to see the Horse Whisperer. She hadn’t been to a cinema in many many decades. She was a little taken aback (and very relieved) that PATHE News wasn’t shown before the movie and she was amazed that people didn’t wait for the credits to finish – as a child she had to wait for the national anthem.
  • Taking son to see one of the Smurf movies and realising we were the only people watching it. Having your very own giant big screen is such a cool feeling.
  • My first date with my partner was to see The Phantom Menace. Unbelievably our relationship survived that experience.
  • Going to our local cinema in the nearest market town. It always looked such a small cinema from the outside. Unbelievably it was actually way smaller. We watched Black Panther with a couple of his old school friends and it felt like we took up half the seats. A screen probably smaller than most peoples TV and with just a handful of rickety old seats. That was the main screen, lord knows how small the second screen is.
  • I was brought up in a seaside town where the cinema was on the beach. During a high tide the gents toilets would flood.

Photo from Trip Adviser

  • Went to see the Blues Brothers at that cinema and someone let off a stink bomb. Only the very hardy got to see the end of that one. Luckily a head cold and a blocked up nose gave me a distinct advantage.
  • Went to see BMX Bandits there as well. It was absolutely heaving. Unbelievably two kids sneaked in bikes and started riding them around during the film. A week later a famous Oscar winning movie was on and no one turned up. Summed up the town really.
  • My first trip to a cinema was to see Digby The Biggest Dog in the World. Yes I am that old.
  • Before I met my partner I remember going to see JFK with a long time girlfriend. Foolishly it was the midnight screening. I fell asleep after the first few minutes and woke as the credits started to role. Strangely I was able to fill in the missing 3 hour gap and actually felt that I had not missed anything.
  • My partners mum wanted to go to the cinema as she hadn’t been in years. She was a devout Quaker so we looked at various religious film options which the local specialist cinema would offer. One film looked very promising. It was a 2 hour documentary about monks living on a remote site. The monks had taken a vow of silence so the movie only featured background sounds, no talking and no music. After seeing the various options her mum opted for the cartoon, Chicken Run and loved it.
  • I took son to see Captain Marvel. Unfortunately his muppet Dad took him into screen 3 rather than screen 2. As soon as the movie started it was clear that the movie running here was Dumbo. Unfortunately Dumbo in 3D. We didn’t have any 3D glasses so we had to rather embarrassingly trudge out.

So just maybe our cinema days are over for the foreseeable future. That’s kinda sad but if that makes our Son happier then that’s fantastic. There is something reassuringly nice about watching a movie premiere wearing your old comfy jogging pants with a big bowl of popcorn on your lap. Also in full control of the movie options, so we can decide to switch films at any stage. So here’s to the days of the home based cinematic experience. Time to create some new memories.

2024

I’ve done my Sunday morning exercise session. The poor bike is a bit like me, during every session something either stops working, starts creaking or drops off. So the bike is going into therapy for a day or so. Can’t think of a worse punishment than having my large behind perched on you for that length of time.

So now I’m sat outside. Now that’s a rarity. Sat with my iPad typing these ramblings. This is my view.

Apologies for the legs and yes my trainers are in real need of replacement. Actually forget the trainers, my body is in need of replacement. I’ve used this one up, can I have another one.

During the lockdown I just haven’t found the time to sit outside and relax. Where does the time go. Its not as if I am undertaking any huge Home Makeover projects or painting a landscape masterpiece. I guess it’s a reminder of the investment you need to make when you signup to a parenting gig. The greater the investment, the higher the chance that your parenting will actually prove worthwhile for your kids.

But this sunny morning I’ve found the time to sit for a few minutes. The main reason is that I’ve just seen the weather forecast. It’s back to proper Yorkshire weather this week. The next scheduled settled sunny spell is not forecast until sometime in 2024. So I had better make the most of that bright yellow thing in the sky while it’s still here.

Looking at the view and the sun slightly hidden by early morning thin mist, reminds me of the ending to last nights movie. The last Star Wars movie. I won’t give away the ending or the key story moments. Mainly because I am waiting for our Son to explain them to me. I found switching off the brain and ignoring the inevitable questions, actually turned the movie into a really fun adventure yarn. Visually and sound wise it was stunning. However the repeated interjections from my resident film critic suggested a few too many issues with the storyline. The general message seemed to be – I’ve not seen so many plot holes since we watched the Alvin and The Chipmunks Road Chip Movie.

And with that the clouds have moved in. So like the current Star Wars story arc, our summer is FINISHED…

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday and the world is barking mad. We are still on lockdown and travel is just possible in our dreams. So let’s dream. It’s time to visit beautiful Switzerland.

I was going through some old photographs and realised that at this time exactly 9 years ago a happy family was enjoying a wonderful Swiss holiday. We had taken the train to one of our favourite places in the world. The beautiful alpine village – Grindelwald. Not a naughty wizard to be seen.

During winter it is one of the country’s most famous winter sports destinations. During the summer it’s a hikers paradise.

Apart from the Harry Potter link it’s well used as a movie setting. The Golden Compass, The Eiger Sanction, Star Wars (the backdrop to Alderaan) and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (James Bond) have filmed here.

What makes this village so special is the views. It is surrounded by some of Europe’s finest mountains. The Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau, Lauteraarhorn, Schreckhorn, Wetterhorn, Lauberhorn, Mannlichen.

It’s the home of one of the most epic backdrops to a crazy golf course on the planet.

It was also home to our Son’s favourite ever train station.

We always struggled to drag him away from it. Thank you Grindelwald for making me smile on this lockdown Sunday.

Ratings

It’s December. Its still sunny and its that time of year when you watch those movies you wouldn’t dream of watching during the rest of the year. It was like that before the world changed. It’s like that after the world changed.

But one teeny weeny request.

Please filmmakers and TV schedulers can we try not to do Christmas movies that at some stage involves death. Death of a parent, death of a lover, death of a pet, death of a main character. Last year we watched festive movies which without warning introduced the mum dying (3x), the dad dying (x1), grandparent dying (x1) and the family pet dying (x2). Really it’s CHRISTMAS. I know it’s hard to believe but many of us out here in viewing land will be going through grief. But it doesn’t stop there. I remember our son saying this during one particularly happy start to a film.

Why is it that so many films have a single dad whose either bad tempered, drinking and gambling. And the child who is behaving badly, has no friends and is being bullied. It’s never just a nice dad and child who are doing ok just a bit sad.

So what’s the answer apart from watch Guardians of the Galaxy on loop. Oh hang on that’s got a mum death. Ok apart from watching Big Hero 6 on loop. Oh hang on the robot dies. Ok part from watching Muppets Christmas Carol on loop.

Well the answer is a new movie classification system. One which actually tells you what the movie is really about. So for example if a PG movie contains a parent death you could label it PG-PD. Or if a pet dies it could be labelled PG-PED. Or if a loveable main character dies PG-LMCD. So as a parent I would be pre informed of the upcoming sadness. That way I can make an informed decision on if we should find another film.

So Big Hero 6 would be classified in the UK as PG-LMCD. Guardians of the Galaxy would be 12-PD.

But the new movie classification system could go further. Suddenly the movie watcher could be truly enlightened.

-JWTT all the best bits are in the movie trailer (Just Watch The Trailer)

-F movie contains super delicious looking Food (helpful for those trying to stick to a diet)

-A movie contains alcohol drinking (for those trying to give up)

-K movie contains Kissing (this ones for our Son, he doesn’t like kissing)

-ET movie contains Expensive Toys which kids may start wanting

-S movie contains Snakes and Spiders (useful for Ophidiophobia and Arachnophobia)

-L movie is Long so you had better go on the toilet before hand

-I movie is so boring that it’s a cure for Insomnia

-TD movie contains a Transport accident or Disaster (for those travelling tomorrow)

-AC movie contains Alvin and The Chipmunks

-NPCS this ones really important to stop wasting 10 minutes waiting for the Credits to finish at the end of the movie. It’s always a bit awkward being the only ones left in the cinema. No Post Credit Scene.

-W movie contains a Wrestler trying to act (think Hulk Hogan)

-WR movie contains The Rock acting (we like him)

-ANS movie has Action but No Story so you can safely fast forward between the action scenes

-HD movie claims to be true but is Historically Dodgie (think Braveheart)

-Q movie is very Quiet so probably not a good idea to get a mega sized popcorn tub

-U2 movie contains a grotesque playing of a Bono song.

Another day

Another day in Yorkshire and another day of rain.

Another day of rain and another very muddy dog.

Another very muddy dog and another very messy house.

Another very messy house and another need to clean.

Another need to clean and another news bulletin on the radio.

Another news bulletin and another interview with a government spokesperson.

Another interview from a government spokesperson and another bunch of lies.

Another bunch of lies and another radio turned off.

Another radio turned off and a another realisation that the clock is ticking..

Another realisation that the clock is ticking and another urgent search for the right colour school football sock.

Another search for a football sock and another school bag not meeting school requirements.

Another school bag not meeting requirements and another day in school.

Another day in school and another day without support.

Another day without support and another set of exams.

Another set of exams and another setup to fail.

Another setup to fail and another shed load of young anxiety.

Another shed load of young anxiety and another failure of school to support.

Another failure of school to support and another mother lode of parent stress.

Another mother lode of parent stress and another phone call to school.

Another phone call to school and another wall punched.

Another wall punched and another ice pack applied.

Another ice pack applied and another attempt to soothe the school anxiety.

Another attempt to soothe the school anxiety and another set of school homework to be done.

Another set of school homework and another list of misspellings to write out three times.

Another set of misspellings to write out and another wave of young anxiety.

Another wave of young anxiety and another search for something that will help.

Another search for something that might work and another frustrated parent.

Another frustrated parent and another attempt to bring some smiles.

Another attempt to bring some smiles and another viewing of The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Another viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy and another bedtime.

Another bedtime and another living room to myself.

Another living room to myself and another forlorn wish to turn back time.

Another forlorn wish to turn back time and another realisation that ‘it is what it is’.

Another realisation that ‘it is what it is’ and another day gone.

Another day tomorrow……

Halloween 2

Ok son what cartoons would you like to see for Halloween?

Dad sounds like a top 5 of cartoons or kids movies for Halloween would be.

  • ScoobyDoo – not sure you need much more than this but
  • Gravity Falls – but needs to be the Weirdmaggedon ones
  • ParaNorman
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Ok Dad what’s yours but I bet I can think of one you will put in. You would put it in for Christmas, Easter and even Valentines…

Am I that predictable son

  • Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons – I knew it Dad…..
  • Penguins of Madagascar but has to be the one with Skipper as a Zombie
  • Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Charlie Brown – Its the Great Pumpkin
  • Coraline

******

So that’s our choices. Any other ideas greatly appreciated.

Dumbo meets Braveheart

Everyday more red bursts through to bring life to Yorkshire In Autumn. No creative license required here. Last night son asked to watched the Mel Gibson movie Braveheart. He quietly watched the movie in one sitting. When it had finished he had one of those looks. The Paddington Hard Stare.

Where do I start. I gave up making a note of the historical inaccuracies when I got past 30. I think they were averaging one a minute. I hope people don’t think it happened like that. As a piece of pure make believe it was ok. As an accurate record of real history I’d rather trust the new Dumbo movie”

I have to say the new Dumbo is great. But it’s one of the THOSE movies which would have been much easier to watch if it had come out before our world changed. Movies with the death of a mum are still very raw. For both of us.

Dumbo also touched on the idea that sometimes we are not prepared for what may face us a parent and as a human. Don’t want to give any real spoilers away so I can’t say too much about the movie.

I wasn’t prepared in the slightest way for being a single parent. For being a widow. For having that awful conversation with your son. For picking up the pieces of a life which had been based purely on three of us. But to be fair as a couple we were not prepared for the loss of one of us. Our lifestyle was based on two parents. Financially it only worked with two of us. After we became a family our careers only continued to work because we could share the load. We only continued to have a bit of a social life because the other partner was there.

So when you suddenly take one partner away …. it all comes tumbling down. Three years later we are still trying to rebuild our life’s. Watching another autumn and another set of red leaves makes you appreciate life goes on – even after a death.

Scene Cuts

Thank you to Jay-Lyn (The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mum) for the Scene Cut Challenge.

This week it’s Horror.

Fortunately it’s not about this particularly unpleasant monster.

Scene Cuts is Rory’s (A Guy Called Bloke) great idea. It’s all about the love of movies. What are our favourite movie clips.

GUIDELINES: SCENE CUTS!

  • SELECT THREE FILM CLIPS FROM THE MOVIES GENRE OF THE DAY
  • THANK THE SELECTOR
  • SELECT 3 READERS TO TAKE PART IN SCENE CUTS

DOESN’T GET MUCH SIMPLER THAN THAT DOES IT ……

So it’s Horror clip time.

An American Werewolf in London

Should be renamed AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON BUT THE ONLY SCARY BIT IS SET IN YORKSHIRE YA BIG SOFT SOUTHERNERS ….

As Yorkshire is too scary they had to get Wales to stand in and pretend to be a more family friendly version of our county for the movie.

The Moors Clip

Shaun of the Dead

This clip proves you can make Zombies funny.

The Record Clip

Dracula

One clip had to be an old Hammer Movie. And it had to include Peter Cushion and Christopher Lee.

Dracula death scene

Nominations

Going to open this up to everyone. If you fancy a go just remember to tag in Rory.