Gaze

Colour has arrived to Yorkshire. Always great to see, it’s such a lift. Sadly it won’t last long and it will be gone for another year. It’s a reminder to me that time is precious. Got to make the most of it. Grab those moments. Live and not just survive.

Yes there will be darker, colder months. Those times will be more manageable if the gaze is in the moment or looking forward, rather than focused on what has been.

It can still be a such a wonderful life.

Summer sleep

Saturday arrives and the Yorkshire summer is still trying to hold on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to feel warm but….. I don’t sleep well these days at the best of times. To have a chance I need to be snuggled under a warm duvet, not lying on top of the covers feeling uncomfortably warm. So the warmth has made sleep even less likely. I’m now getting use to operating through the day with two hours sleep at most. Weeks upon weeks on that. That’s not ideal, it’s not healthy but that’s how it is.

The brain so easily just boots up in auto pilot mode. The body is awake, the brain less so.

It’s Saturday, so I start the day with a yoga session. And thats what I remember doing. So why then after about 15 minutes do I suddenly realise yoga isn’t about throwing a kettlebell about. I can’t even remember taking the kettlebells outside with me. Maybe it was sleep kettlebelling….. Still could be worse. At least I was clothed. At least it was my garden I was in. At least I hadn’t just fallen asleep on the yoga mat.

The worry is that the home at school project restarts on Monday for another 7 week block. The return of the early morning alarms calls are not going to help the sleep.

But on the bright side I have not resorted to early hours QVC or pointless reality TV watching. I am using the extra hours awake to focus on what is truly important to me. That’s why I can still do this. That’s why I might be tired but I’m smiling this Saturday Summers day in Yorkshire.

Cows

Captain Chaos has his friends back. Every summer they return to the field behind our house. Yes summer…….

It’s the same ritual. This off the Cap plays it cool. Even when the cows lean over the garden fence. He ignores them. Plays it hard to get get. But after a couple of days it all changes. Suddenly he stops being coy. Then it’s time to get close and personal with his buddies.

Ok in weather terms, summer hasn’t arrived. But in terms of a mad dog, it’s definitely summer.

Mix messages

So two days after my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and alright. Didn’t feel much on Friday apart from a little prick but hey what’s new… Yesterday I felt a bit achy. Had a two hour spell where I felt really hot (that’s so not me….). As if I was going down with something but that ebbed away. So currently it’s been ok.

What’s not ok is the mixed messages. The medics are telling me that until I get the second vaccine then any protection may be limited. Even after the second shot I will still pose a risk to others. I can still carry and spread Covid. The vaccines may only provide up to 50% protection against spreading it to others. So it’s vital I stick to social distancing and wear masks for the foreseeable future. YET this morning I heard a government minister say that when you get the shot you are covered. As soon as lockdown eases get out to pubs, to the cinema, to the stadiums and most importantly to the office. By June the minister said we would be back to normal.

Then our really hard working PM. A fine man, who is honest, much admired, never corrupt, never racist, never sexist and most certainly never a self absorbed git…. Most definitely never a someone who has an affair with someone and then gives his lover £126000 of public money. Anyway that pillock was unbelievably working at the weekend and talking. Apparently now was the time to stop home working and get back into the office. Office’s and public transport are completely safe. “Time to stop the DAYS OFF…….” I heard someone in the Government use the term HOLIDAYS….

Do they know 126,000 people have died so far from this pandemic. Days Off and Holidays are the most distasteful terminology to use but it just sums them up. Staggeringly people are still prepared to back them. So what do I know….

Anyway again it’s mixed messages. The Government are telling people offices and schools are perfectly safe. We are soon going to be back to normal. No need to change anything. YET their very own scientific advisers are warning that we are in this for the long run. The vaccine programme is only a part of what is needed. They are warning of the need for long term social distancing. They are calling for places like schools, offices and trains to be fundamentally improved. To make them safer and better placed to work safely during a pandemic (and after). Better ventilation and more space have to be built into them urgently.

MIXED MESSAGES.

Am I missing something

A bit of a return to the white stuff again..

Do you get those times when you look at something and you get a completely different answer to the official one. According to the Government the vaccine programme is going so well that it’s time to get ourselves in shape so we are ready for our normal holiday filled summer. Think warm beaches and the sea. The virus apparently is back under control again to such an extent that schools can be potentially fully reopened at the start of March. So that’s the official line.

So why am I seeing a completely different picture.

Vulnerable groups are getting vaccinated but many of those have just only received one of the two doses. The second dose probably not being received until at least 12 weeks after the first one. What happened to the 3 week maximum gap. Even if everything goes to plan by the summer well over half of the population will still not have had any vaccine. The young are not even scheduled to get the vaccine even though they can catch it. The vaccine is not 100% effective and it doesn’t stop vaccinated people still spreading the virus. We don’t even know how long any protection will last and it will be different based on the individual, the number of shots you have had, when you had your last shot and on which vaccine you have had. We have mutations occurring and spreading. We have a health service beyond full capacity, with its professionals beyond exhausted and at breaking point. They can’t run like this for much longer. We haven’t used the time the lockdown offered us to make the required changes to crowded places like schools. They places even the Government yell us are vectors for transmission. So basically schools are in the same position as they were when they were deemed not safe. But this time we will be trying to reopen them with pupils, parents and staff not vaccinated at the time we are desperately trying to control the spread of mutated covid.

Sorry I’m seeing a different picture.

Rain

It’s raining. I mean really raining. It’s so dark that I can’t get a photo….

So here’s one from a few years back. A duck getting wet. A Swiss Duck. A Duck that Hawklad would feed on a morning.

So imagine that weather but then think Yorkshire. Maybe replace the duck with some Rhubard. Now you get the picture.

Living in Yorkshire we are kinda use to the rain. I was bored this morning so I counted. It’s a thing us Accountants do. We can usually count to TWO without too many errors. So yes I counted the anti rain contents of our small house.

9 umbrellas – NINE – all of them boring. I need a cool one.

8 waterproof coats – EIGHT – plenty for any visitors needing a spare one.

4 pairs of waterproof trousers – bizarrely all the wrong sizes for me and Hawklad. One pair is so massive it’s even too big for me. The kind of trousers that you would need to take several steps before they moved.

3 waterproof hats – so one spare for a visitor. Some Yorkshire rain can seem to travel upwards so an extra layer of protection is needed in addition to an umbrella.

3 Wellington Boots – THREE – we are missing one. Stern look at the dog. But ok for a three legged race..

Add to that various waterproofing and anti rust products. It gets that wet here that sometimes even the skin needs even more help with the wetness. Maybe that’s the reason I have a face perfect for radio.

Now it’s time to try and mop out the pool forming next to the back door. We always have a bucket and a mop positioned there.

So completes another brilliant advert for the Yorkshire Tourist Board….

Summer

I do like summer, especially a Yorkshire summer. Those deep blue skies. Wall to wall sunshine. Baking temperatures. Never lets us down.

“Dad it’s like being in The Mediterranean

Not sure how we survive the heat. Can’t believe our house doesn’t have air conditioning. Surely that would be more useful than damp proofing.

Have I ever been sunbathing Dad.”

A long time ago.

I can’t remember doing it.”

You did Hawklad. It was a couple of years ago. A rare hot day. You said that you wanted to try sunbathing.

Oh I remember. We put a couple of towels down on the lawn”

That’s right. We brought the iPad out and found some beach noises to play.

Yes it was just seagulls and whales

We then took some sand out from the sandpit and put it round the towels.

I went and found some of my old seashells and scattered them over the sand. Then we built a small sandcastle”

You brought out a few seaside animal toys like sharks. We put our shorts on.

The shades went on and we went toplessssssss”

That’s right Hawklad. You then laid down on the towel and then before I had a chance to get down on my towel you shouted. I’M BORED WITH THIS NOW CAN WE GO AND WATCH A MOVIE. That was it. You sunbathed for about 5 seconds.

That long. Dad maybe you should get out there now. Top up your suntan.”

***********

The question is did Dad brave the summer weather and go topless?

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for another virtual trip to stunning Switzerland. It might be four years since our last visit but the memories are still so strong.

Memories of vineyards, castles and walking through alpine meadows. The spectacular Alps always in view.

Walks along crystal clear lakes and through spectacular mountain valleys.

Beautiful towns and dramatic rivers.

A walkers and climbers paradise.

Some of the best views on the planet. And let’s not forget the weather.

Sometimes the weather in Switzerland demands two ice lollies. That means poor Dad misses out. The question is – how cold are the lollies.

The answer – VERY COLD.

But definitely worth it.

Closer to the action

It’s been a hot day for Yorkshire. Not as hot as many places, but still hot for us.

Time to do some gardening. For the observant amongst you

  • Yes that conservatory has been taken over by Dinosaurs. I blame them for the mess,
  • Yes that ghostly and out of focus apparition in a red T-shirt is me. That’s the closest your going to get to a photo….. That’s how us with ‘faces made for radio’ like to do things….

An hours weeding. Lots of weeds pulled up and yet seemingly so little progress. But at least I’ve made a start.

Hoping for another clear night. A night of shooting star spotting. The Perseid Meteor Shower is currently ongoing. Last night at 1am we were outside. Sheet lightening frequently flashing across the sky. We always have a little game – who can spot the most… It was close last night.

Hawklad – 50 meteors

Dad – 4

Dad what are you doing?”

I’m lying on the ground, why don’t you join me…

Certainly not AND why?”

I’m thinking that if I’m lying down then I’m comfortable. Don’t have to strain my neck. I get to lie down and scan the sky. I think it’s the best way to see meteors.

*******Not the first time I’ve tried this approach – it worked well but one important safety point. Don’t put your cup of hot drink on the ground next to you. That last time my cup was visited by a slug. That’s not what I want in the dark when I’m taking a swig of warming brew********

“Really Dad. I have a problem with your technique?”

Go on then Hawklad what possible problem can you find with lying on the back while meteor hunting.

Well Dad. I’m standing up. So that takes me at least 5 feet closer to the sky action. Maybe that’s why I’m at 40 meteors and you are at TWO….”

Ok point taken.

Clouds permitting I’m hoping for a huge comeback.

Cool

It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….

In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.

It’s Mafting…….

It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.

It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.

So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.