Torquay

My neighbours bird bath. Over the years it has become increasingly hard to fill. Thankfully the Yorkshire weather usually takes care of that.

Yesterday was a decently fun day. Any day with Pizza helps. We played football in the garden. Son fired a million questions at me. Including the following belter.

Name 10 best things about Torquay”

We had been watching John Cleese in old episodes of Fawlty Towers. It’s set there.

“Son your going to annoyingly tell me that you know 10 such facts”

Actually 17 facts Dad”

I whispered a silent bugger under my breathe.

We then tried to watch the new Joker movie. I was watching it thinking the acting is brilliant but I’m not enjoying this in the slightest bit. Then son broke my thought pattern.

Dad I’m really not in the mood for this. I enjoy a good bit of Joker but this isn’t a Joker movie. It’s a movie about how a country fails to deal with mental health and how people look down on others who are different. I don’t like the way the film is doing it. Let’s watch it another day.”

So ten minutes later we had the new Shaun The Sheep movie on. That there is a movie.

But I understand what our son was talking about. Not the right time or mood for this Joker movie. There is too much going on in the world. It is also Mother’s Day in the UK. That’s one of THOSE days…. I must admit the social distancing has severely restricted our visits to the shops. That means less chance to walk past all the cards, flowers and potential gifts. Dealing with it for just one day is better than having it rammed down our throats for weeks on end.

I must admit this one has been less painful than the other ones we have endured. We have wished our lost mums a happy day. In my partners case we have kissed the ashes. Then so far we have gotten on with the job of making the most of today. My heart does go out to many mums today. Because of the restrictions and other factors outside of their control, they may not see kids and grandchildren today (or for many days to come). I really hope a way is found for a connection to be made. A text, a video call, a card, a cute photo, a virtual hug or a telephone call saying ‘I LOVE YOU’.

Stay safe and to all mums out there. Sending you a big hug. Thank you for being super heroes.

Don’t mess with the Squirrel

Let’s get the rant quickly out of the way. The UK’s School Minister has opened his mouth again. Remember him. The chap who wants to test kids from the age of 4. The chap who described kids taking time off for bereavement as – an extended holiday. The chap who introduced changes to the teaching of English which severely disadvantaged dyslexic kids – against the advice of health professionals and dyslexia groups. The chap who on several interviews refused to answer any of the questions he was expecting kids to answer. Well now he has told schools and parents what to do in terms of the Coronavirus. Even if the school gets a suspected case then parents should send their kids to school as normal. Schools should remain open. This contrasted with the Chief Medical Officer who yesterday was talking about the potential of closing schools for two months if the virus started to spread in the UK. Well the Schools Minister can take a running jump. He is the last person I would trust my child’s wellbeing with. If it comes to this decision then I will make the call not this over promoted pompous twat. Rant over….

I’ve just been bullied by a squirrel…..

I went out to feed the wildlife in the garden. The usual collection of birds and a squirrel waited not so patiently to be fed. I had a couple of uneaten pancakes to add to the usual menu. As I kneeled down to tear the pancakes up into little pieces the squirrel moved in. He grabbed both pancakes out of my grasp. He wasn’t waiting or sharing these goodies. I did try to have words with the bushy tailed one. But clearly somebody wasn’t listening today. At least somebody likes my pancakes.

Why

School is back on Thursday. Deep Joy. So we have completed the dreaded school bag and uniform audit. Pigging hell. I blame it on this Pokemon.

Please tell me why

  • The school bag seems to have developed zipillitis. Every single zip has either jammed half open or have decided to become stunt lemmings and dropped off onto the floor,
  • We don’t have any black or blue pens but we helpfully have a shipping container full of yellow and red ones. Particularly helpful as only teachers are allowed to use red and yellow ink seems to be as fashionable as German Sausages at 10 Downing Street drinks party these days,
  • Why is every single pencil snapped at the same time as our 38 pencil sharpeners have eloped with coloured crayons,
  • Why is the only useable pencil case PINK with Peppa Pig on it,
  • All the rulers and set squares and protractors are missing or appear to have been sat on by an African Elephant,
  • Why has the French Dictionary (which we had to buy even though its never likely to be used) clearly gone for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea and decided not to dry itself properly,
  • Every single eraser has got as much rubber left on them as I have hair left on my scalp,
  • Why has the never need batteries calculator run out of power. Who thought it would be a good idea to use light as an energy source in Yorkshire,
  • No black socks at all – all buried in the garden by helpful dog,
  • His school blazer has developed more holes in the sleeves than my empty bank account,
  • Blue shirts now so badly worn that he might as well just wear a see through bag,
  • All Trousers 3 inches too short with more patches than on my 30 year bike tyres,
  • The school tie which was blue but now seems to be more Tomato Ketchup colour,
  • Finally the all important school shoes. Still just about black but unfortunately with two holes in the soles so large that they must have got in the way of an Alaskan Oil Drilling operation.

Don’t you just love school……

Deadly Question Time

So she is leaving before the job is done. Tears for her own job but not for 72 people who died in London on the 14th June 2017. Says it all. Time for the next numpty.

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You do get asked some questions in life. Some you can answer, some you can’t and some which you can’t quite comprehend. In 2016 the world changed for us. Over 6 weeks our young son experienced two much death for someone so young. I got plunged into single parenting – a role I was completely unprepared for and at a time when I was close to breaking. Since those fateful 6 weeks we have been asked so many questions about bereavement, single parenting and the future. Here are some of the left field ones.

“What’s it like not to have a mum” – a classmate asked that 4 days after he lost his mum

Have you thought about hiring a full time nanny” – a Parent

Do you think he is too young to properly grieve” – a Parent

Have you thought about a dating agency ” – a neighbour 2 weeks after the funeral

Luckily he is autistic so he won’t feel as much” – a Parent.

“I’m sorry for your loss but can you start back at work tomorrow as your project needs to stay on track” – a Senior Manager one week after the funeral

Now your a single parent what are you going to do with your new found free time” – a Dad in the school playground

Dads don’t cook so do you get lots of takeouts” – a classmate with a Dad who spends most of his time in the pub and playing golf

“Surely your career is the most important thing to you” – a Senior Manager after I quit to be there for our son

“Can’t your son just go to stay with someone during the week so you can do this role. Have you got family who could look after him” – same Senior Manager

“We are reading a book in lesson next week which has a boy who has just lost his mum. You don’t have any objections do you” a teacher

“You must think yourself quite lucky. You have closure. When my wife left me I didn’t get closure” – a Dad in the school playground

Have you phoned the Samaritans.” – a mum. I only asked if she had any idea why my bread wasn’t rising evenly.

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This time can we get a Leader how is up to the job. No numpties should be allowed to apply – that includes you Boris.

Question Fun – Adventuring

The Wonderful Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) came up with a question challenge about Adventuring. As my adventure days are on hold answering Rory’s question will be as close as I get to adventure for a while. So here goes.

What are five [in your eyes only] top quality Adventure films?
Touching the Void, North Face – German film and it’s grim, Eiger Sanction, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked…….

What would be your ideal Adventure [not holiday – Adventure]

Climb Everest

If you were planning your Adventure of a Lifetime which is the best season for you to go?
Cold and Snow – called Summer in Yorkshire

What kind of activities do you enjoy doing and what would you never do?

Definitely Climbing never Caving

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year out of the answers below, where would you choose?

In a Castle

Under the Sea

In a Forest

In a Dungeon

On an Alien Planet

On the side of an Active Volcano

In a Castle haunted with nice ghosts. If I could get an Ironman suit then it would be an Alien Planet.

What are three great adventure quotes?

“Climbing up a mountain beats staying at home peeing on your rhubarb” – Bizarrely I came up with that one while climbing in Lake District.

“I look at climbing not so much as standing on the top as seeing the other side. There are always other horizons in front of you, other horizons to go beyond and that’s what I like about climbing.” – Chris Bonington

“Because it’s there” – George Mallory

America is named after?

Was it named after the America’s Cup? Or after Captain America.

Who reached North America first out of the following people’s?
Spanish, British, Vikings, Portuguese

I thought Donald Trump said it was him.

What was Christopher Columbus’s aim of  his second voyage to the New world?
Clearly it was to find somewhere unpopulated to discover and claim. Because you can’t discover and claim a land if somebody is already living there.

What happened to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan?

I think it was knocked down to build a big wall. Apparently that part of the world needs one.

What was the most exciting Adventure you have ever been on?

Trying to pick up a Christmas Food order from M&S on Christmas Eve

Where in the world have you had the most fun exploring as an adult?

Lake District Fells

When in Rome, one does as the Roman’s do, however When on a Sandy Beach,  one does ……….. ?
Pick up the discarded plastic bottles.

Whilst out and about exploring on an adventure, what is the most scariest thing that has happened to you?

My climbing partner started playing U2 on his Walkman while we were halfway up a rock face.

Of the following choices which would you prefer to explore?
A sunken city 

A lost city 

A forgotten city

An uninhabited island

An uninhabited island

Would you rather swim with sharks or dolphins?

Can’t swim so sharks (get the agony over with quicker)

What’s the worst piece of travel advice you have ever received?

You look like you know what your doing. You can navigate.

What’s the best piece of travel advice you have ever received?

Don’t get lost

What is on the top of your bucket list?

My bucket list is probably binned now. My efforts will go to letting son achieve his.

Best musical track you can think of for each of the following: explortation, adventuring or travelling?

Iffy Pop – Lust for life

How many countries [or States/Counties] have you visited – please list.

France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa, Congo

Three items you simply could not travel without?

Camera, Sunglasses, A Whip

Great Questions.

On a trip to Newcastle last weekend our son remarked

“I know that the river is beautiful at night but just imagine how stunning it would have been without humans”. “Do you think the world is a better place for having humans?”

This slightly took me aback as I has only asked him if he wanted pizza or a burger to eat on our way home….. It’s been week after week of questions that seem to have befuddled my limited reasoning powers.

“How do you think a plant cell first adapted to include Chloroplasts?”

“Do Alice Coopers friends call him Alice or his real name?”

“Why do kids laugh at people who can’t read but don’t seem to laugh at people who can’t do art or do maths?”

“Do you think the Doughnut Shaped universe theory is right?”

“Why can some people sing and some like you can’t sing – is it your body, a skill you learn or just luck?”

“Why do they keep saying those pesky kids in Scooby Doo when they must be older than you these days?”

“Why are there so many religions?”

“Rather than always trying to be good, would I get more help if I started to behave badly at school. If I did get more help would that not mean that I would have a better chance of improving?”

“Why are paper cuts so painful?”

“I have to paint a picture for Art homework, it has to be like one by Henri Rousseau, what is his style?”

“Why do we have to grow up?”

“Do you think Donald Trump gets his bodyguards to search for his golf balls?”

“How do we really know that the colour green is actually green, or it’s just a fault in the human eye?”

“In Spongebob why don’t the crabby patties ever get really wet being under the sea?”

“Did the Astronauts have to wipe their boots on a mat when they came back to the ship after a moon walk?”

“What’s your favourite Pokemon from each of the regions?”

“The Prime Minister is old. All the people helping her are old. Why are there never any young people helping. Leaving Europe effects the young as well. Is it because they wouldn’t agree with our view of the world?”

“Why is Dinosaur Train never on TV now, is it because they are having to redraw all the dinosaurs with feathers?”

“Who decides what a swear word is?”

“If Crocodiles survived the mass extinction why couldn’t some of the dinosaurs survive?”

“Why are schools made to be so unfriendly?”

“If some mountain ranges are rising up from earth movements does it mean somewhere else has to be getting lower?”

“Why after all those years of not winning a single thing and constantly letting you down, do you keep supporting that football team?”

“Do you think Stan Lee would rather go to Heaven or Valhalla?”

“What’s your favourite Batman bad guy excluding The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mr Freeze, Two Face, Bane and al Ghul?

“If I lived on a deserted island and I never met another person ever again, could I just forget that I have Aspergers and Dyslexia ?”

Even google couldn’t help me with some of those questions. As I’m writing this he has just stopped watching his tablet and asked:

“If we know so little about the universe, this man has just said less than 1%, how can scientists be so certain about things?”

Thankfully this was followed up by “have we got any ice cream in?” – I can answer that one.