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.

Ronald

Still cold…..

Hawklad never fails to surprise me, to catch me off guard.

He was watching The Simpsons – during school time. Oh the bad parenting 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. In my defence, if school sent some work then Hawklad would do it…….

The Simpsons mentioned Vice President Walter Mondale and off Hawklad went, educating his often bewildered Dad. I found out about all things Mondale and then all things President Reagan. Details of Reagan’s landslide and even direct quotes from the campaign. How does he know all this stuff, how can he know the exact number of electoral votes Reagan received. I was so out of my depth with Ronald, now if it was the other Ron, Mr Weasley, then I would be much better informed.

Then the icing on the cake.

“Dad, we need to watch a Reagan movie….”

Wow that would be a first for me. All I could remember about Reagan (prior to my new in-depth briefing) was my mum quite liked him as a movie star but she could never watch his films. Dad hated him, no idea why, but Reagan was banned. So to mums thumbs up and to Dads rather choice Yorkshire scowls, it’s time to go all Reagan.

Never saw that coming on this cold Yorkshire day…….

Random Facts

Another busy Yorkshire motorway…

Here is a completely random fact for you. If this was like one of those fine old Roman Roads, and just kept going ‘straight as a die’. Well if you kept driving straight, in just over an hour, you would get to where Chris Rea was born. I’m not sure this would be the Road to Hell he was talking about. Add another few miles on in that direction and you get to where mum was born. She had a few Chris Rea cd’s.

Sorry, this is what happens when you play with the newly found compass and direction finder on your mobile. Especially when your stood waiting for Captain Chaos to finish off his morning constitutional. It takes a while…..

It’s also happens to be nearly 2 miles to the nearest dog poo bin. Deep joy. Spookily 2 miles in the same direction as Chris Rea.

Actually thinking about it, I could also have picked the Free and Bad Company vocalist, Paul Rodger’s birth place. That would have been ‘Alright Now’. Then again I could have gone for Captain James Cook, but I’m not sure what his Rock Music credentials are like.

It’s nice to be thinking about other things for a few days. Even random things. Schooling was really getting me down. School definitely feels like somewhere between the Road to Hell and Another Brick in the Wall, but let’s worry about that next week. Back to random facts.

This road leads you to the actor Richard Griffiths birthplace, thars the actor who played Harry Potters Stepdad. Go a few more miles down this extended road and you get to Ridley Scott’s birthplace. Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner.

Random Facts……

Cable

One Atlantic storm down, the next one heading towards us.

Is that overhead power cable supposed to be like that….

So far several cranes, vehicles, trucks and at least 14 workers have been parked along this lane for over 16 hours now. All because of this one pesky piece of wire. That’s proper attention seeking for you.

In an ironic twist of fate, this was the very week our area phones got switched over to VOIP. Previously our phones worked when the power was off, now the helpful new service message is “in the very unlikely occurrence of power cuts, your new improved phone will not work. Please ensure you have a backup plan”. Is that mobiles, smoke signals or a messenger pigeon they are talking about. Not every household will have a mobile.

So the power has been mostly on and off today. One cable is still intact but looking very baggy….. When the power is on I have visions of Back to the Future. Some unfortunate worker having to do an impression of Dr Brown, holding two bits of cable in each hand and shouting “1.21 GIGAWATTS” as his hair smokes. Just so I can put on my kettle for a cup of tea. This is Yorkshire….

Hemmed in

The first signs of the next storm heading our way. Cold, wet, bleak and punishingly windy. Not a day to be outside. Problem is when I’m stuck inside, that feeling of being hemmed in just gets ramped up even more. Never suffered from claustrophobia but I have done since the world changed back in 2016.

Over those 5 years I’ve learnt that the best strategy is DISTRACTION. Focus on homeschooling. Housework, more housework, even washing the windows. Wow washing the windows. Kinda worked. But they don’t work as well as some four legged distractions.

I have a new movie franchise.

It’s the action movie this time of year has been waiting for since Die Hard. Fearsome beasts meet the festive holidays.

I give you the trailers to JURASSIC CHRISTMAS…

Apex Predator
Carnage
Fatcatasauros

Endings

My mum had a range of old movies that she would watch over and over again. Every week she would go through the TV listings and carefully circle those movies she just had to watch again. She would the likes of Casablanca and Singing in the Rain at least once a year. As she made 90 that’s a lot of views. But some strange movies would also get onto the ‘watch again and again’ list. Dirty Harry….. Die Hard …….. anything with Chuck Norris in.

But then there were other movies. Movies she would watch for the first time and only ever once. For these B-list movies she had an interesting strategy. If she didn’t like how the plot was progressing she would stop the movie. Stop the movie and make up her own ending. That changed the very essence of certain classics. Maximus doesn’t die in Gladiator. Tom Cruise was the rogue agent who killed his spy team in Mission Impossible. All the Gangsters get captured at the end of The Godfather. Bruce Willis was a ghost in Sixth Sense right from the start and there was no need to watch the rest of the boring movie as he was going to be resurrected at the end. The little fishing boat was completely unsinkable in Perfect Storm.

The strategy worked for mum. She was never disappointed in a movie ending. I must admit I am tempted to give it a go. I could watch the first 10 seconds of a Newcastle United game and then assume we played total football like the great Brazilian side of the 70s, winning the game by at least 6 goals. I could read the first line of my annual tax form and then assume the authorities owe me money. I could start baking a cake then assume it’s a gourmet masterpiece. I could cut one strip of lawn and assume the rest would cut itself.

But here’s the thing. What happens if the bit of the story you miss out actually is the best bit. What happens if you skip the bit where your dreams come true. This will sound bad but I gave occasionally felt like skipping parts of my life. Life can wear you down sometimes. Single parenting sometimes feels like it never stops – it has done the last day or so. Constantly pushing up a never ending slope. I could also miss out the grieving and bereavement section. But if I did skip parts of my story WHAT COULD I BE MISSING OUT ON. The fact that yesterday and today have been tough doesn’t necessarily mean that tomorrow will be. You just never know. You never know when dreams can start to materialise. That’s a reassuring thought.

Out of touch

I had to go into the work unit for a few hours. Hawklad decided to come with me but to stay in the car outside. We are lucky as the unit is basically in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farmland. It’s also down a small dead end lane. It’s quiet and I can park the car right next to the front door so Hawklad is never more than a few feet away and can see me. With the door open he can even chat to me. But not on this visit. He wanted to watch some movies on a tablet. So being the dutiful dad I filled up the storage with movies. You can guess the movies. Avengers, Lord of the Rings, Godzilla, Monty Python, Indiana Jones. Perfect for him…..

“Dad can you delete some of these movies so I can download the ones I really want to watch. I want to watch Victoria and Abdul, Robert the Bruce and Henry V. Historic masterpieces.”

Ok… Definitely will delete some of these movies. Just thought you might like watching them.

“I know Dad. You try 😂😂😂. But you are so out of touch with the teenage years now. 😂😂😂😂. And face it dad your idea of great historic movie is Jurassic Park….😂😂😂😂😂”.

HE KNOWS ME TOO WELL.

Safe list

The 6 week summer school break is only a month away now. Not long. 30 days. Lots to do in that time. Even more after today.

Hawklad has decided that he wants a stress free as possible summer. Summer is difficult as he can remember the summer of 2016. First day of the summer holidays his granny died and then as the school returned he lost his mum. So summer can be tough even without his current anxieties levels.

Stress free means reducing exposure to those triggers that can escalate his worries. And what is one of the most common triggers. Movies and TV shows. I’ve frequently talked about how often story lines involve death, illness, broken families……

So I have a task. Compile a list of movies and shows that Hawklad can watch which are SAFE. No sadness, no illness, no bereavements. 6 weeks is a long time, so it’s going to have to be some list.

Here’s my list so far

Pokemon

Scooby Doo

Smurfs

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Paddington

Yonderland

Madagascar

Ice Age

Banana Splits

Wallace & Gromit

Kicking and Screaming

Herbie

Willie Wonker

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Shrek

Space Jam

Frozen

The Incredibles

Home Alone

Night at the Museum

The Lego Movie

Fantastic Mr Fox

Big Mommas House

Cool Running

Red Dwarf

The Office (US) but avoiding a couple of episodes

Inspector Gadget

Pink Panther

Three Amigos

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Remember no triggers. For example The Guardians of the Galaxy – top movie but just NO to the start…. For example Mary Poppins Returns – great movie but mum dies…. For example the Disney movie I’ve forgotten the name of at the weekend , really good apart from the one line about a serious illness.

Thought for the day….

Why do so many movies have to feature serious illnesses and sad deaths. I know it’s art replicating real life BUT it’s a pain in the backside when you have a son who is fighting fears and phobias about health. A son who has lost his mum to illness.

Even in children’s movies and cartoons….

Even in comedy shows like The Office.

Here’s an idea. Keep the movies as they are but have a separate movie channel. The SAFE CHANNEL. On this channel only safe movies. No illness, no death, no drugs, no broken families. No need to constantly be on edge at the slightest on screen sneeze or pale look.

And more work emails

So a few more hours of work. More work emails. More searching for the work stuff amongst the never ending personal reviews of restaurant meals, pub visits and nights out. Month after month of lockdown has sent a few too many at work into email padding frenzy.

Well this afternoon I was sitting with the computer on the lap and wading through the work crud. I was listening to the Ghostbusters movie blast out on the TV. I was good, I didn’t watch the movie but I did listen. But it was tempting, too tempting to look at the TV. It was a real struggle at times. Trying to force my eye focus to stay on the emails and not onto the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Too hard. Too many potential distractions.

Movies without the picture is the way to go…..movies on cds…..

Why didn’t they ever do proper soundtrack cds for movies. Not just the music, but the dialogue, the sound effects – the whole movie. I’d happily listen to movies while working and trust my imagination to fill in the visual stuff. That would definitely ease the work pain.