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.

August

Heralding a wonderful summers day – NOT

It’s been one of those wonderful Yorkshire Summer Days. Damp, exceedingly windy and cold. The cold that makes your toes curl. August and we have the heating full on. Not a day for cold drinks. It’s been steaming hot tea and decaf coffee. Hawklad has been on hot milk – on repeat. That’s a great way to get some calories into him.

August also sees the ongoing trials associated with my WordPress experiment. That pesky new editor. I am trying, really trying. I hear you shout – Your just so vexing. But I am trying to like the editor. But really should it be this hard. It crashes, it messes up formats, drops links. When you do get round to publishing then posts suddenly disappear or mess up. Comments go missing. And on and on. Even this grumpy Yorkshire man is easier to like than this so called editor.

But I will keep trying to get my head round it. Just like trying to get my head round this summer. Just like I’m trying to get my head round Hawklads food intake. He’s not had his weight officially tracked and assessed by the health professionals in over 2 years now. With the current service restrictions, it’s going to be well into 2021 before that happens. On the last assessment he was right on the edge of being ‘too underweight’ for his height. I think that he’s probably dropped below that now. So following the Paediatricians instructions I’m trying to get as many calories into him as possible. That’s not easy. He has such a limited range of foods he will eat. Over the years I have slowly managed to increase these so that he has 6 different main meals which he has over the week. It’s the same meals, weak in weak out. Not much scope to vary things there. Trying to get him to eat the occasional chocolate bar or bag of crisps helps. So does milk. So a cold day and repeated hot milks is a welcome bonus.

Yes a cold summer is good sometimes.

Heatwave is here – kinda

Blue skies are coming

I have given the weather a hard time recently. A few too many rainy shots through the window. So let’s correct the balance. This is today through the window.

Summer

Blue skies, very warm but with a Yorkshire twist. Blowing a gale. The perfect weather for standing on flimsy plastic chairs looking like a star from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Only joking, I suspect my bruised rump would seriously object.

We’ve been doing a little routine which does help Hawklad put things into perspective. It’s so easy for him to get overwhelmed with the negative. I wonder who else that could apply to….. Basically it involves an empty sweet jar and some brightly coloured sweets. Here Skittles or Smarties work well.

Notice I went for the old Rowntree’s version, rather than Nestle. One day will tell you why. Anyway the secret is to pick a colour which is to represent good things and a colour to represent bad things. Then every time something happens Hawklad decides if it is good or bad. He then picks the appropriate colour sweet. The sweet then goes into the jar. Over time it’s an easy way to see what happens more, good or bad stuff. Thankfully for Hawklad it is usually a jar filled largely with good things. That would be mainly a blue colour then – assuming we can get blue sweets. Depending on who you listen to, blue colouring is either dangerous or difficult to source naturally. This little technique has helped Hawklad. Basically it shows him that yes bad stuff happens but actually more good stuff is out there. You also get to eat the sweets after the experiment has finished.

It’s strange that for such a clever little technique that works, I have never tried it on me. Someone who does have to fight negative thoughts. Someone who can see the world in a dark light. So here goes. This weekend this little muppet with his big bruised posterior is going to try this. Let’s see what happens and what it tells me about life.

Take care.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to Alpine Heaven. Stunning Switzerland.

Switzerland is a place we visited many times as a family. Not been there since 2015 but it’s still a special place for me and Hawklad. This Sunday we are going to revisit one of our finest memories. The trip to the Gonnergrat.

The Gonnergrat is a rocky ridge that stands at 3135m (10285ft). At the top the you find a gothic looking hotel, a beautiful chapel, restaurants and two astronomical observatories.

The train trip from Zermat to the top is truly epic. Its Europe’s highest open air railway. It’s a nice feeling to know that the electricity it takes to climb the mountain is generated by the trains breaking system on the way down.

The summit has a stunning alpine panorama but the jewel is being so close to one of the worlds most iconic mountains, The Matterhorn.

The Gonnergrat overlooks two glaciers. The glacier system is the second largest in The Alps.

It’s just the most glorious place. It has the most amazing atmosphere, the air is staggeringly fresh. It’s as if you are almost able to touch heaven.

In places the Gonnergrat has an out of world look which contrasts with the stunning alpine valleys below.

So I give you the Gonnergrat. A truly epic place. A place which is currently our highest ever location. It is 41 times higher than the hill we live on. That fact is very important to Hawklad. He likes that fact very much.

Schools out for summer ONE

As Alice Cooper would sing – Schools out for summer….

I know I am over critical of school but occasionally I like to balance out with the good stuff. There are good teachers there.

So it was the last day and Hawklad came to the Maths lesson. The simple instruction from his teacher. Your only task today is to tell me three maths jokes……

So here goes then….

Why was the Calculus exam not very happy? – Because it had too many problems to solve.

Why was the pupil unhappy when the teacher called his work AVERAGE? – Because it was really MEAN of the teacher to say that.

Why should you never argue with Decimals? – Because Decimals always have a point.

Baking, it’s not ….

Well it looks ok. Looks like bread. That’s not a bad effort from me. Especially as it’s gluten, dairy and yeast free. But then there is always a downside. Time to taste it. Wow. How can I describe the taste.

Bland….

Tasteless….

Might as well be eating paper….

‘It’s bread Jim but not as we know it”….

Yes even a Vulcan like Spook would struggle to quantify this baking attempt. Even when I spread something on a slice it just tasted odd. Tried to toast it. Refused to change colour even when I incinerated. This is officially NOT bread. So what to do with this non food item.

Maybe it’s better than the paper towel I usually use to rest the spoon on, which is being used to stir the contents of the slow cooker….

Maybe as a saucer….

As a page marker….

As something to sort out the wobble on the table….

As a dog toy…

As a frisbee….

And finally, as bird food….

The Great Bloggers Bake-off is fast approaching on the 18th-19th July. Why don’t you join in the fun. Whether you can bake or not. Let’s have fun.

Remember to send in your creations (you can start early) to Mel (CrushedCaramel). Maybe your entry is not baking just something for a picnic like a sandwich, drink or salad….

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

Let’s see if we can literally blow Mel’s and our wonderful judge Jeanne’s (A Jeanne in the kitchen) socks off with our creations and monstrosities.