Apple pie

It’s the Great Bloggers Bake-off this weekend. So here goes, time for a bit of homemade apple pie, made with home grown super sour apples. From this very rainbow tree.

After some very careful editing of which part of the pie to show you, it kinda looks edible.

And the official taste test….

“It’s reasonably decent but are you going to give the first attempt to the birds….” Shush… let’s not mention the first try.

Yes the birds will feed well tomorrow.

For all the latest on the Bloggers Bake-off go over to Mel’s great site.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/blog/

Reading

Mostly a day to stay inside and dry but always keeping an eye out for those brief gifts.

In the end, no video conference call this week with school. School staffing unavailability led to a late cancellation. Apparently school will organise another teacher – parent day in a months time.

Ok move on, it’s the weekend.

As a kid I remember one thing really clearly from childhood weekends. Virtually every Saturday morning I would walk to the town’s library. The northern coastal town looked old and tired yet the library was a bit of an oasis. On the outside it looked like any other slate grey concrete block. But on the inside it looked brand new. Clean, bright. It even had a little indoor goldfish pond in the middle of the children’s section. I would select a book and sit beside the pond. For a couple of hours it was an escape from the claustrophobic reality. A working town cut off from the world by the sea on one side and polluting industry on all other sides. Hardly anyone went on holidays. It seemed like most adults would venture as far as the local chemical and steel plants to work, then it was back to the town to live. It did feel so claustrophobic. The only two escapes. The freshness of the beach and books in the library.

Fast forward far too many decades and it was like life repeating itself. Now miles from that old existence and a pandemic hit. Suddenly a picturesque village on a hill became isolated. Month after month of enforced isolation and it felt claustrophobic again. In the modern life there was thankfully a few more escape routes. One of which was again a library. This time quite a bit smaller and an awful lot redder than the old town library.

The village library

The converted old telephone box is the village community library. So a bit like when I was a child, excitedly checking out books to read, let’s see what books are in the library today. Sadly no goldfish to share the books with this time, it’s probably going to be with cows in the farmers field.

Spot anything you like ? Pleasingly the books I’ve donated on a few occasions are not there. Hopefully someone in the village is reading them as I write this.

I can’t begin to tell you just how great it felt during the lockdown to be able to walk a few yards to a little red library. To pick a book and have an adventure. Just like that little boy from that northern town, having an adventure in a library.

Rainbows

One rainbow makes the last 24 hours of rain worthwhile.

One day the dark times my country are experiencing under this charlatan of a leader will be over and a true rainbow will be there. I just want to give you the words of our Rogue Prime Minister yesterday live on TV. Strangely not being publicised by his friends in the media but it’s telling of his character. So telling.

I’ve given you the most important metric, which is – never mind life expectancy, never mind, you know, cancer outcomes – look at wage growth,”

This man would happily unplug your life support to charge up his mobile phone. One day he will be history, just a really bad memory. Until he is gone then he will continue to destroy and ruin so many life’s.

As dark and as difficult as life can seem, a rainbow might just be around the corner.

Another school at home week dawns in a few hours. How long can we give this. Today Hawklad seems further than ever from a return to the classroom. I am convinced more than ever that his learning lies elsewhere. But is his call. His future. Is it better to stick in this less than ideal course until after his exams in 18 months time or is it better to twist now. On top of his anxieties he is wrestling with these thoughts. My job is to support him and to keep reminding him that as tough as it seems, that rainbow may be closer than he imagines.

Rainbow LOST

First rainbow of the year here. Sadly I failed to find that pot of gold. If I had found that pot then I could have happily binned this application form in front of me.

Having carefully followed the IKEA flat pack like instructions that came with the application pack I was officially LOST. Don’t you just love filling out Government Forms. Especially the ones which are designed to stop you claiming any money from them. You know your in trouble when your lost on the FIRST page with another 30 to go. Only thing left was for me to contact the dreaded customer care line. 🤯🙈

Having showed them the tattoo on my left buttock as proof of who I am and confirmed that I was a UK citizen… the main event started. I carefully explained my personal circumstances

“How can I help you Sir.”

Box 4. I’m not sure which option to tick in terms of circumstances.

Well sir you are not classed as a widow. You also don’t meet the definition of single, divorced, separated or married. So you would tick the box marked OTHER.”

Ok there is a problem being OTHER. That option then directs me to the final page. I get a paragraph to fill out with any other information and that’s it. I don’t get the chance to fill out the other 28 pages of questions. I’m guessing they are kind of important to the overall claim…

Unfortunately those are the current protocol rules. You do get that box on the final page to set out you circumstances and information relating to your claim.

Is there anything else I can help you with….

Would you mind answering a few prerecorded customer care questions…..”

*****

So I’m not entirely convinced that my claim will go that well. More chance of finding that pot of gold….

Rainbows

Who doesn’t love a rainbow. My partner adored them. They remind me of happy memories. But they also show me that life goes on. A rainbow doesn’t last for long. But if you are patient, then another will eventually appear.

Life goes on. After you lose someone special, you do forget this. There is always rebirth. That took me a long time to figure that out. For months death marked the end. That’s the frustration. If it’s the end, why is the world still spinning.

Maybe a better way to look at it for me is that death actually marks a boundary. A demarcation between two life’s. That way life does seem to go on. That’s how the world keeps spinning. That makes more sense to me.

So now I look back and see my partners death slightly differently. Her death marks a boundary. The ending of our life together. As the boundary is crossed, no more joint memories can be created. She has left this world. But here’s the key. She left the world a better place than she found it. She did her bit to enrich the people she encountered. That’s a sign of a life well lived. Surely that’s what we all should be hoping to achieve. When she left. She left her little part of this world, a better place. Filled with many memories. Some memories make you smile. Some bring a tear. But these are all memories to be treasured.

So my partners death did mark a boundary. I crossed that boundary. I brought those memories with me. On the other side of the boundary my life changed. Full time parent, tidying up the outstanding issues from the last life, treasuring the precious memories and starting to live again. Striving to leave this world a little better than I found it. Just like a beautiful rainbow.

Pot of gold

As a kid I remember my parents telling me about the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The catch was that you had to run real fast as the Leprechauns would only wait long enough to down one Guinness. I didn’t fancy my chances today. Looks like the rainbow is at least three farm fields away. That includes the field with the giant, bad tempered bull and a large stream with the missing bridge (didn’t survive the last flood). Maybe next time.

Yes I know the Apple Tree needs a good trim. In my defence the last time I tried the tree fought back. I lost and ended up in the Accident Unit with an eye ball cut. Since then our only set of ladders has fallen apart. Replacement ones have to get in line with the other essential purchases. It’s going to be a long wait. With the pesky virus likely to significantly curtail my zero based hours contract, things are going to get tighter for a few months. A pot of gold in the garden would be nice. Knowing our luck it will end up on top of the Apple Tree and we won’t be able to reach it. Who needs money anyway. No guarantee that it buys you happiness. Look at the poor Leprechauns. An eternity just protecting a pot of gold. As good as a pint of Guinness is – surely there is more to life than that.

It was such a disappointment when I found out the science of rainbows. That’s another childhood belief which turns out to be a fairy tale. A large list of shattered dreams.

  • Rainbow Pot of Gold,
  • Easter Bunny,
  • Father Christmas,
  • Fairy rings,
  • Dragons,
  • Lightning was an angry dragon,
  • Tooth fairy,
  • Magic,
  • Man in the moon.

As I grew older more and more childhood beliefs went bust. The magic and awe in life slowly ebbing away. But to quote the XFILES – I Want to Believe. So I grimly hold onto the few which are still left. Ignoring the clear science because I Want to Believe. So in my eyes the Loch Ness Monster is still a possibility. Maybe a dino living in a deep loch cavern. My head wants to myth bust yet the heart still dreams of a Scottish Dragon.

The loss of magic and awe is a bummer. It’s a bummer for our son as well. I remember that dreaded Santa chat with the floods of tears. My tears as well. I remember the sadness of life unpicking childhood beliefs. I can see the same pain in our son. With his Aspergers traits he latches strongly onto these myths. They bring much needed warmth and magic to this cold, unforgiving alien world. I’ve told him that it’s always his choice what he believes or doesn’t believe in. Christmas now is not seen in terms of the magic of Santa but in the magic of Christmas. Some will say it’s bad parenting not to immediately disprove these fables. My take is life can be unremittingly grim, a little bit of hope, a sprinkle of magic can lift the heart. It’s good to dream. It’s lifts the heart and feeds the imagination. And just maybe brings a pot of gold.