Swimming

Surely even I can swim across this mighty river.

“Are you sure Dad, your not exactly fish like”

I know but it’s probably just about within the max of my swimming range.

“Dad the bath is the max of your swimming range…..”

But I am a bit of a sporting super being, I could probably jump across the stream.

“Really Dad”

I think so, I am built for sporting excellence. Some say I have a passing resemblance to Thor 🤣🤣🤣🤣

“Maybe the Thor that had cheese puffs flowing through his veins but you definitely have a sure fire resemblance to Fat Tony from The Simpsons”

*******Harsh but fair*********

It’s back

Yes it’s back. Just when we thought it was shorts weather for the next six months, oh no, it’s back into THREE jumper weather.

Definitely not enough for even the most rubbish snow angel ever but just enough to send all exposed skin a funny shade of blue.

Alberts back as well…

Can’t believe that the only Albatross in the northern hemisphere has decided during this truly tropical spell to return to the Yorkshire coast. Albert definitely needs to fire his holiday adviser. Last year he stayed 30 miles away from our house, for his summer holidays. It was actually mostly very nice and almost warm. Maybe that’s why he stayed for nearly two months. Sadly this years vacation finds temperatures north of zero. He must be tempted to head somewhere warmer.

If he hangs around this time then we will try to catch up with him. Last year was an awesome meet-up.

With any luck we can visit him when the Easter School Break starts next Friday. Easter is a bit of a challenge these days. Hawklad likes to get out, likes to visit places. But he needs these place quiet or even better, EMPTY. That doesn’t often happen over the two and a bit week break. Most places tend to be mobbed. This forces us into the early strategy. Get there as soon as a place opens and then stay until it starts to fill up. It’s not a guarantee of success. Last year we had several visits to RSPB Bempton to try to catch an albatross sighting. Problem is that such an extremely rare epic bird brings people, lots of people. We had a number of trips were although we had set off from home just after 7am, when we arrived a busy car park was way too much for Hawklad. So we started setting off much earlier. 4.30am early….. The prize was for an hour or so we did get the cliffs almost to ourselves and as soon as the crowds started to arrive, we left. Back home before 9am. It might be tiring but even if you don’t get to see Albert it’s so worth it.

Isolation has drawbacks but every so often it doesn’t half deliver. We just wouldn’t be stood on a cliff as the sun comes up.

Worries

There is something truly magical about a Walk in the Woods when the weather has closed in. It can be the start of so many stories and adventures.

A planned meet-up with my sister failed today. Hawklad agreed to go for it and then my sisters car went on strike. These things happen. A distraction would have been good. Just one of those days in which Hawklad’s anxieties spiked. When they hit, they hit in waves. Not just one thing, a range of things. When he gets kind of on top of one thing, two more jump in to replace them. Doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas Eve, these anxiety waves can hit at any time. They confuse his thought process. They cause him sensory overload. They stop him in his tracks.

I know what it’s feels like. I’ve been there as well.

Distraction sometimes works. Pacing about. Scooby Doo. Lego. Walks. But at some stage we have to work through the anxieties. Try to unpick them. Put them into context. Do what we can.

Slowly this time, the waves begin to subside. You can tell when he is getting there. The first signs

“Dad where is The Big Red Fella on Track Santa”

On his way to Madagascar apparently. He arrives in 7 minutes.

“I wonder just how many in England have been put on the naughty list this year”

It’s probably more a massive database than a list. You won’t be on it.

“Dad you are officially on the naughty list with that jumper of yours. Even Elton John wouldn’t wear that.”

I will have you know it’s a handmade Italian climbing sweater.

“Which they export for muppets like you to buy because no self respecting Italian will ever wear that.”

Harsh but fair….

“Why in earth is it about three sizes to big for you…”

I bought it when I was climbing in Wales years ago. My size was standard price but the garden shed size was 80% off. That’s a bargain I couldn’t turn down.

“But it’s far too big for you…”

It’s not that big….

“Dad there’s more room in that jumper than in our loft, a family of 4 could live in there”

That’s mostly down to all the weight I’ve lost on my diets

“If only Dad….”

Ok. It is a tad big. I can change my T-shirt without taking it off. But I could give it to you. Think of it as a precious hand me down from father to son.

“Just NO. That would really give me something to worry about…..”

####he chuckled at that one, that’s a good sign###

Sheep

The sheep are back. Must be time to dig out my old Pink Floyd – Animals LP.

The return of the sheep always makes me smile.

Memories.

A much younger Hawklad carefully feeding the sheep. Following the instructions from the farmer on which sheep liked which biscuits.

And yes that’s a puppy Captain Chaos.

Sometimes that wooden fence wasn’t keeping those sheep from those biscuits.

Sheep.

Then there was the first night in our home. My partner was watching the newly unpacked TV and I had come out into the crisp night air to look at the stars. Wow no light pollution here. No street lighting. Pitch black. So many stars. Then suddenly that sinking feeling.

I AM NOT ALONE…..

Somewhere near the fence dozens of eyes fixed on their prey. Me. I took it like a man. Screamed and ran inside, the door bolted behind me. As a modicum of courage returned, I tentatively ventured outside again with a torch and Slazenger cricket bat. I found dozens of sheep stood at the fence, all eyeballing me. Clearly saying ‘Where’s the biscuits..’ That was definitely the SHEEP OF THINGS TO COME. But I guess it was ALL’S WOOL THAT ENDS WOOL. I will shut up now. Don’t to RAM THE POINT HOME, I wouldn’t do that to EWE.

Time

It’s carnage on the roads today. Proper gridlock.

The amount of time I used to waste on the roads. Rush hour first thing, then rush hour on the way home. Travelling distances for meetings. Rushing here and there. Grabbing a sandwich while scurrying to my next appointment. Surviving on ever increasing amounts of caffeine. Time I could have spent truly living, doing things that truly matter. It wasn’t until single parenting forced me out of the rat race that I finally managed to see this. Time passed me by and I didn’t even notice. You don’t get that time back. What was I thinking about.

Now it’s a different life. My priorities have changed. Being a Mum and Dad, Single parenting, homeschooling, housework, trying to keep a part time job going. All mostly done without reference to an appointments diary AND NO TIME LOST in the rush hour, work madness.

When the world changed I kinda assumed that it was just about putting my career on hold. Maybe somewhere after 2023 the career would live again. It doesn’t work like that. I now realise that old life has gone full stop…… Other priorities, other commitments, I’m a different person. A new realisation.

Life has to be about making the most of precious time and not letting it slip through my fingers stuck in permanent traffic jams and never ending meeting cycles. Now the stuff I do MATTERS. If I don’t do it then it doesn’t happen. Can’t do that as a parent. Contrast that with the rat race. Do they even know that I quit my career. Did anyone notice one less driver stuck in the traffic queues.

YES, one person most definitely has.

YES my son. I’m there for him when he needs me, that doesn’t happen if I’m stuck on the M1 somewhere near Junction 42. I’m not there for him if I’m chasing my career.

Time really matters…….

Brave New World

Empty shelves in the shops, no petrol anywhere across the area, limited availability of blood test container tubes for Doctors resulting in the rationing of patient tests……..Another day in the Brave New World after Brexit.

As Hawklad rather adroitly put it this afternoon “this is what happens when a country needs leaders but votes in CLOWNS. Really nasty clowns.” As one commentator put it – the kinda clown who would happily pull out the plug on your life support machine so they could charge up their mobile phone.

It’s all going very dystopian here in Britain. To make the Huxley story link then we need a bit of genetically engineered trickery. What follows is the lamest link ever. Genetical engineering in the form of baking. My baking. Yes that is my latest bread loaf. Cheese topped Gluten Free, Dairy Free Honey and Sunflower Seed Bread. Huxley would be proud of me – it tastes rather fine. BUT…

“Dad that’s all very well but weren’t you supposed to be baking a sponge cake .”

Oh yes, I wondered why I was making bread when I already had a full homemade loaf still to eat. I must have got confused.

“That’s what happens when a kitchen needs a parent who knows what he’s doing and ends up with a MUPPET. Admittedly a muppet who can now bake bread.”

Longest

You know summer has gone when you return from an evening mad dog walk and you opt for a hot chocolate rather than a cold drink. Tonight was back to back drinks, that’s proper chilly.

“Dad we should go for a really long walk. Take Captain Chaos with us.”

That’s a big call for Hawklad. That might mean lots of gates to navigate without touching, increases the risk of meeting others. Needs to be carefully mapped out and planned. So maybe we could try to walk a bit further on the evening walk. It’s definitely quiet and I know exactly where the gates are.

Maybe he is thinking about building bridges. Getting use to being out in the big bad world again.

“No Dad we need to go much further but definitely when it’s quiet. It’s nothing to do with meeting people again.”

Ok then we might need to get up at dawn. Does he want to go anywhere in particular.

Apparently not. He just wants a long walk. Maybe it’s just a fitness thing. Maybe he thinks the four legged one needs more exercise.

Apparently not as well. So why does he want the long walk. Actually he wants his longest ever walk.

“It’s really about you Dad”

Oh I never saw that coming. Is he thinking I need to get out more. Maybe start hill walking again.

“No Dad. I was thinking this afternoon about my longest ever. Do you remember it. You took me when I had just started school for a short walk on the army land. You got lost and didn’t bother bringing a map because you didn’t need one. 5 hours later we got back to the car. Do you remember it rained and I didn’t have my coat as you said that I didn’t need one. We didn’t have any food or water. At one stage a soldier told us get back on the path”

Oh yes I remember that….

“I was thinking that my longest ever walk should have a purpose and not just be about my Dad being a muppet.”

He knows me to well……

Decisions

I’m pacing in the garden. Distracting myself with thoughts of that tree in the distance.

Jobs to be done. But which ones first today.

– do I Hoover

– do I clean the toilet and bath

– do I do the surfaces in the kitchen

– do I finally deep clean the oven

– do I wash the windows

– do I cut the grass before the weather breaks

– do I phone school to sort out Hawklad’s exams

– do I sort out the Home Insurance Renewal

– do I bake that cakes I’ve been promising Hawklad for days now

– do I start putting together the work payroll

– do I chase up those work orders

– do I respond to those work queries

– do I fix the printer.

– do I complete the government form which needs sending in

– do I read the documents Hawklads psychologist has sent to me

– do I pay those bills sat on my desk

– do I clear the mountain of paper which is burying those bills

– do I sew those rips that have appeared on Hawklads trousers or do I just buy new ones

– do I fix the headlight on my car

– do I put those shelves up that are looking at me

OR do I just go round in circles, too tired to make a decision…..

England

It’s no secret that I have fallen out of love with my country. I don’t like what it is becoming. I don’t like the way it’s run. I don’t like the corruption. The inequalities. The new values we are supposed to sign up to. I hate the xenophobic outlook. I constantly seem to be at odds with a sizeable portion of my fellow citizens.

But is it just me .

Dad if we win the lottery can we leave England.”

Why?

England is going down hill. It has been for years. It’s becoming ugly. I’m European but I’m not now allowed to be. I didn’t get a say in that. The country has no future the way it’s going. It’s stuck in the past. Our leaders are racist, law breaking clowns as corrupt as any in our history. I’m ashamed to call myself English now.

I can’t disagree with you sadly. Where might you want to move to.

Switzerland. If they won’t have us then Germany or France or Italy or . I would go to Canada, or America or New Zealand. Anywhere apart from here.

Brought down to Earth.

How do you tell when you son has been watching too much The Simpsons. Maybe it was too much of the American version of The Office….

I thought I was at one with nature. Just completing a 50 minute yoga session out. I thought it going well. I felt a definite natural flow to my movements. Maybe just maybe I have finally found my inner Rhythm and goddess mode. Then I heard the icy tones of a teenage son and the moment was blown out of the water.

Dad there has never been a finer more awesome Dad squeezed into a pair of 56 inch pants…….”

Wow…..

Harsh but fair.