Swiss Sunday

It’s early Sunday morning so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. As a family we haven’t been able to visit this alpine wonderland since 2015. It was a very different world back then for us. A very different world for many of us.

What hasn’t changed is that we have places of staggering beauty and perfection. Places which should provide joy for generations to come. That’s as long as we protect and cherish our world.

Places like this stunning glacier. A glacier which is predicted to have completely disappeared by the end of the century. Another victim of climate change.

Let’s hope that we act in time. Act to save what is so precious. So countless generations can live in awe of places like Switzerland.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our family and is also close to our hearts.

A country which has just the most amazing views.

Ok we haven’t managed to make it back since 2015 but each year that goes by the urge to return keeps on growing. It won’t be easy but we will find a way. Create some new wonderful, life changing memories.

It’s a breathtaking place. That just keeps on giving. If you have never been then it needs to go to the top of your wish list. You won’t regret it.

Ski

Don’t panic this is not the weather today….

Time creeps up on you…….

I’ve never been one who worried too much about ageing. It is what it is. I was also someone who never really lost too much sleep on the ever growing bucket list. Plenty of time to catch up and tick those all important activities off the list.

Then life happened. Too many trips to funerals. Suddenly I was aware of that ever clicking life clock.

Last night I was watching a movie based on a family skiing holiday. A holiday that went badly wrong. The Will Ferrell ‘Downhill’ Movie. The most un ‘Will Ferrell’ movie ever. It was really good and rather unsettling, especially as the main character was probably about my age. As the movie went on I could hear that clock ticking just that little bit louder.

I’ve always wanted to ski. It’s right up on my bucket list. Near the top. I’ve just never got round to doing it. A couple of trips to a really rubbish rock hard carpet slope. That’s all I’ve managed. We had plans to go to Switzerland as a family during the winter. I could see a route to finally being a proper skier. Then life happened. Those plans evaporated. So last night I was watching that family ski in the movie and that ticking clock was deafening. Will I ever ski…..

It sounds silly but that thought really depressed me. I feel further away than ever from those alpine slopes. Time and my body is not on my side. Too many years of contact sport has left me with a ‘ previously enjoyed’ body frame. A couple of things need patching up. If I get them patched up then skiing might be out of the question. That ticking clock is annoyingly deafening.

Yet I still so want to SKI.

I guess all I can do is keep that dream alive for a while longer. Put off any patching work on the body and accept a few aches. Drop as much weight as I can and stay as fit as I can for as long as I can. Buy as much time as I can for that dream to come true AND JUST HOPE.

Cut the grass

I know it’s all gone but the field looks better for it….So let’s go back to just before the thaw.

I was sat in my car. It hadn’t moved in weeks so I thought I had better run the engine for a bit. Reverse it a few times up and down the our little drive. Make sure the brakes haven’t seized up. If I was sat for weeks my knees would definitely have stopped working. I was looking at the three peddles and scratching my head. I had forgotten which one was the clutch. After a few test presses I sussed them out again. Clearly driving doesn’t come naturally to me.

That’s probably very like parenting with me as well. I’m probably better at being the kid than the one apparently in charge.

Then a worrying thought. What if I’m getting this parenting lark completely wrong. What if I’m making things worse for a Hawklad. Who knows. I’ve never been assessed. It was easy when there was two parents. Someone would tell me if I was wrong. A quietly whispered ‘tell you what why don’t you go and cut the grass and I will do that’. But then that abruptly stopped in 2016. This summer it will be 5 years of me parenting solo. No checks. No assistance. No manual. Doing this all by myself. Over those years there were many times I would have definitely told myself to go outside and cut the grass.

What if I’ve got this wrong….

Would my partner have done it differently. Probably. We often politely disagreed. Even down to how to change a nappy. She wanted him to go to a different school. Was she right? She had a different view on the approach that should be taken with his Aspergers and Dyslexia. Have I been too laid back on the implementation of his Education and Health Care Plan. Have I done all I could for him. Have I missed something which would help him with his fears and phobias.

I guess the answer is that I will never know. All I can do is my best. Hope I get most things kinda right. Hope I don’t drop too many balls along the way. Maybe even find the time to cut the grass.

Worry about it

The thaw has set in. No more snowy sun roses this week, maybe not until next winter.

I wrote a few hours ago about how I was missing the snow when it’s gone. You only really miss those things that are special to you.

There’s a difference between missing something and worrying about something. The disappearing snow is also worrying me a little. During the national lockdown the snow helped create an impression of a really small available world. What we can see and touch is all that is available. We are not missing out on much.

But is the thawing snow a symbol of change?

Some Governments are keen to reopen and relax restrictions. Is that way too soon. Who knows. But the message that it will be soon open for everyone misses the point. It’s not going to be open for everyone. Anxieties and Fears don’t get fixed overnight. The vaccinations won’t have reached many people including the kids. Many will only have had one shot. We have rapidly changing mutations. Some will continue to wear masks others will ditch them.

The works will open for some.

For us the lockdown will continue. In a few months I will have had one of the two vaccine shots. So I will be partly covered but that’s not the point. Hawklad’s fears are actually rising. He knows that I and other vaccinated people can still pass the virus onto him. He knows that he won’t be getting and vaccine protection. He can see that children can get covid and the more severe long covid. He is fully aware of the associated serious disease that is affecting some children. He can knows that some people will drop their guard. Basically his fears are not going away. So our lockdown will continue.

So the disappearing snow kind of symbolises something else. A world is out there. It is opening again but not for us. It’s not a small available world anymore. It’s a big world again but one that we are locked out of. Beyond our reach. That worries me and makes me sad.

Sad to see the snow go.

But then another thought. A better thought. Other people, other families can hopefully start to enjoy these places again. To have adventures. Other young ones can have holidays again. Have more fun. Can be safe doing that. Memories can be born.

Maybe the snow going is a good thing.

Miss it

A few more hours of snow before the warmer weather arrives.

I think I’m going to miss it…

As I was looking at our lake set in a winter wonderland. Briefly illuminated with a beautiful sun beam. All very fleeting and temporary. All too soon it will be blasted away by our normal Yorkshire weather. Soon the snow will be gone. Soon the lake will be gone.

Our little family lockdown feels way more permanent and long lasting. No chance to travel and explore. The snow covered Alps, Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia and the Lakeland Fells seem so out of reach at present. No prospect of walking on the moors and the beach. So it was kind of nice that the snow came to us. Bringing the wilds to us.

But just all a bit too fleeting.

Once it’s gone then it feels like the lockdown will really kick in again. More about grinding the days out than setting out on adventures. But at least we have had a taste of what it’s like to be out there. A reminder of what a beautiful world we live in. Why there is always hope and something to live for.

Origami

Tracks. Can you guess the little visitor?

***********

Dad I’m not happy…”

What’s wrong?

School. Apparently they think that origami is a fun activity”

Well many would agree.

Not here they won’t. So when a teacher says ‘I have a fun activity for youI personally would not be then referring to origami. I am tempted to contact my lawyer on this.”

You might enjoy it.

Not happening. Two videos each 10 minutes long to follow. Making a bird and a dragon. I’d rather eat broccoli.”

Wow must be bad if broccoli is a better option. Why don’t you have a go and see what happens.

Well only if you do it as well. Parents should be made to share the torture.”

##### 30 minutes later#####

Well Dad did you enjoy that….”

No I didn’t Son. Broccoli is a better option.

Any idea what those two creations are supposed to be. Certainly not a bird or dragon. And we followed the instructions….”

No idea what they are. We might as well have spent 30 minutes randomly scrunching up some paper.

So the visitor….. it’s this one.

Comes and stands tight next to the front door and waits patiently for me to get my backside in gear. It’s a clever strategy. Always gets some food first. What a clever bird.

New Pal

Somebody has a new pal….

That’s not entirely true. The snowman has a guard dog. I grant you not the most scary or attentive guard. Actually the Captain Chaos is waiting to pounce and claim his spoils of war. The football cone, two twigs and the ultimate prize – a carrot.

From the evidence it would appear that the Captain was helping.

If ripping chunks out of the side of the snowman’s body counts, then yes helping. So yes enough snow here to play. Unfortunately the presence of The Cap usually rules out snow angels. But luckily Hawklad had a solution.

Thankfully the trampoline had remained unused. Does my bum look big?

Definitely beats school at home, just don’t tell the French Teacher.

Dystopian

One of the downsides of school at home is that it takes out the potential for no school – snow days. That’s more for me than Hawklad. Hawklads attitude is that he’s done sledging this year so no need to overdo things. Much better to stay warm and wait for Spring. The problem is that there is still school work to be done. Hopefully after the school day is over I might be able to tempt him into a bit of snowman building. But need to get there first….

Dad I have to read or watch a Dystopian novel or movie. Do you think they would count Deadpool as suitable…”

Sadly I don’t think they will. Nice try.

I was thinking about just watching your football team play. That’s definitely dystopian.”

That would make 1984 seem like a slapstick comedy. Newcastle United are definitely bleak, grim and soulless.

And often pointless as well Dad.”

Come on we are doing quite well. We are 5th bottom. That’s good for us. You could listen to Iron Maiden’s Brave New World cd. That’s based on a dystopian novel.

That’s an idea but I need to write a review. Not sure talking about guitar solos is quite going to be ok”

What about watching Hunger Games.

No lots will be doing that. Fancy something different. Something like Deadpool.”

What about Brazil. It’s 1984 meets the darker side of Monty Python.

That sounds like a plan Dad.”

Or you could watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. They are like the entertainment version of my football team.

Dad that doesn’t sound like a plan”

**********

And that was the best lesson of the day. The other lessons being a tad grim. Learning things that would seem to be just for the purposes of the national curriculum. He’s never going to need them after school. The learning process was so dry and boring. He has absolutely no interest in what he was trying to take in. So many frustrations. Ultimately what is the point. Queue Another Brick in the Wall. Maybe we are living in our very own dystopian world.

Easy

Not quite snow drifts yet. Maybe not this time.

I keep thinking back to a childhood memory. The family house had no central heating and just two fires. A fake burning log pile electric fire in the back room and an old cold fire in the living room. I can remember having to help dig a path through the piled up snow to the outside coal bunker. That woke you up in the morning. It also focused the mind. No coal. No fire. No heat in the house as the electric fire used up the coins set aside for the electric meter far too fast.

Looking back I am so in awe of my parents. How on earth did they cope with 5 kids without the help of things we so take for granted now. They didn’t even have a fridge for so many years. They either grew they own food or bought it from the local small estate shops. No supermarkets to fall back on. Both had to work as well. Work hard. No overseas holidays to recharge for them. A holiday for them was catching the train to local seaside tourist towns. Whitby and Scarborough. No overnight stats as well. Jump on the train. Potter about for a couple of hours then grab fish and chips for the train journey back home. That’s one of my other vivid childhood memories. The family jumping back onto the train with our fish supper wrapped up in newspapers. As the train set off we started passing round the bottle of tomato ketchup. Proper ketchup, the stuff you had to shake vigorously before unscrewing the bottle top and copiously spreading a think layer of the red stuff over the chips. Unfortunately someone had forgotten to screw the bottle top back on. My dad started to vigorously shake the ketchup bottle just as the Ticket Collector appeared. The top flew off and dad sprayed the carriage – very very red. I still can’t work out who was more angry. Dad or the Collector. It was definitely a frosty trip home.

Seems like a different world now. As hard as I think my parenting life is these days, it pales compared to those times a few decades back. I so need to remember that the next time I start to complain about how hard my life is. Nothing compared to what my parents had to survive.

It’s a relatively easy life now.

L