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?

Sunday Sunday

After the briefest of heatwaves Yorkshire has gone back into winter.

This was midday.

Grey, windy, wet and chilly. You know it’s a great August Summers Day when at 6pm you have the lights and heating full on. Yes the woolies (sweaters) we’re back on as well. The string vests banished until Mr Sun decides to come back…..

But even on a slate grey day you have the potential to find something to lift the heart. To brighten and enrich the day. That happened to me. Feeling kinda grey on a grey day. Bit down, bit frustrated, a little hemmed in and a tad lonely. But then a beautiful life gift and the world seems a better place again. Definitely smiling again. Suddenly I’m more fun as a Dad to Hawklad.

Yes it’s still grey outside but even there ….. I can now spot other colours apart from grey. They were always there just I hadn’t opened my eyes to them.

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.

Blink and it’s gone

Well that was the heatwave then. Early morning haze cleared and blue skies appeared. Yes it was hot but very windy. Apparent we got to 30C (86F). Could get use to this. Winds are so much nicer when it’s dry and hot weather. Not so much fun when they are wizzing up your inside trouser legs carrying freezing cold rain. But today it was so nice that we actually managed to eat outside.

Dad we must do this again. Maybe next year

I suspect he’s seen the forecast then. Eating outside was fun but it did require many pit stops for Hawklad to go inside and wash himself. Those pesky flies.

Just a few hours later the clouds rolled in. We kept the wind but the heat quickly went away.

And this is Yorkshire, 6 hours into the heatwave and this is the scene. Cool, windy and very wet. What was the point of watering the plants….

Does it class as a heatwave when it only lasts a few hours. So it’s 7pm, it’s summer and we have the house lights on. Captain Chaos is refusing to venture out. For once he is a sensible chap. The not sensible one is me. I’m due to be exercising outside in 12 hours. Lovely.

****12 hours came and yes it was still like this. I was cold and wet. But I’m told there is nothing like exercising outside. REALLY……

Heatwave

Summer….

Whisper it very quietly. We are due to get a heatwave. Ok it’s only lasting ONE day. But it’s still a heatwave. On Friday we are due to get to 28C (82F). Wow. Better enjoy it. 24 hours later we are back to 18C (64F). Wow. No thermal underwear for a whole day…

Maybe heavily padded underwear is a better option…

Its was that dreaded feeling. It’s the day for the garden waste collection and yes the bin was empty. As I pay £30 a year for this service I want to get my moneys worth – it’s a Yorkshire thing. Also it’s embarrassing if we are the only house in the village without the bin outside, full of garden trimmings. That’s the sort of behaviour that gets you drummed out of here.

So it was time to cut the hedge. That’s the big hedge. All was going well with the chainsaw until I came to cutting the very top. How to reach that high up without a ladder. So the clearly very safe plastic garden chair was deployed. Within minutes the inevitable happened. Trying to overreach and the chair toppled over. Not great when the chainsaw is in full swing. I would like to say that I performed a beautiful gymnastic roll, landing perfectly on my feet. In practice a large expletive was followed by a muppet landing on his bottom with the ballet poise of an out of control lemming. All this while desperately trying to remember how to switch the menacing blade off. That switch off was not completed until I was finally sat on the ground. No damage done. Well apart from the two new impact hollows in the lawn and the even bigger bruises on my posterior. Following on from the earlier collapsed cycle bruise, I certainly won’t be sitting on any unpadded surfaces for a few days. Oh for some well cushioned pants…

Frustrating

So frustrating. Quite a bit of the sky is blue yet the black clouds keep rolling over the top of us. Keeping the Sun hidden. That’s as close as we have been to a glimpse of the big yellow thing. Which happens to be an awful lot closer than we have had to anything resembling competent government recently…..

So this morning the Government has said that their message is crystal clear, the problem is that some people just can’t understand it…. So they have helpfully clarified some stuff. The new Stay Alert message means you must stay at home and also that you must not stay at home. You can only see one person a day from a different household. So if you have two parents then you can only see one of them. Yet people can go to work and meet work colleagues (as many as you like) as long as you follow the new workplace rules – rules which have not been written yet. People should wear masks, but only if they really want to. Don’t need to worry about things like if the masks meet minimum standards, an old sock will do – anyway that’s what many of our nurses and care workers have had to resort to using as the Government couldn’t be bothered to buy enough protective kit. It’s completely safe to go out but don’t try to use public transport as this may or may not be safe. We have the same rules across the UK and you can drive anywhere you want to. BUT not to Scotland or Wales as they might be using the same rules but differently. It will soon be completely safe to send under 10’s back to school but they won’t be able to play together as that would be completely unsafe. We have the most open and honest government in the world but we won’t be releasing the scientific advice we have been using and we will only answer questions that we think are appropriate. The Government has issued detailed rules, bizarrely many of these are still being written (that’s a minor technicality) and don’t get so hung up on the safety details. Just use good old British common sense and basically wing this …..

So yes the sun has refused to shine so far but there is always hope it will. Unfortunately with Boris there is absolutely no hope of competent government ever appearing. Sadly we are not the only country like this. I just hope you get more of the sun than we do…..

2024

I’ve done my Sunday morning exercise session. The poor bike is a bit like me, during every session something either stops working, starts creaking or drops off. So the bike is going into therapy for a day or so. Can’t think of a worse punishment than having my large behind perched on you for that length of time.

So now I’m sat outside. Now that’s a rarity. Sat with my iPad typing these ramblings. This is my view.

Apologies for the legs and yes my trainers are in real need of replacement. Actually forget the trainers, my body is in need of replacement. I’ve used this one up, can I have another one.

During the lockdown I just haven’t found the time to sit outside and relax. Where does the time go. Its not as if I am undertaking any huge Home Makeover projects or painting a landscape masterpiece. I guess it’s a reminder of the investment you need to make when you signup to a parenting gig. The greater the investment, the higher the chance that your parenting will actually prove worthwhile for your kids.

But this sunny morning I’ve found the time to sit for a few minutes. The main reason is that I’ve just seen the weather forecast. It’s back to proper Yorkshire weather this week. The next scheduled settled sunny spell is not forecast until sometime in 2024. So I had better make the most of that bright yellow thing in the sky while it’s still here.

Looking at the view and the sun slightly hidden by early morning thin mist, reminds me of the ending to last nights movie. The last Star Wars movie. I won’t give away the ending or the key story moments. Mainly because I am waiting for our Son to explain them to me. I found switching off the brain and ignoring the inevitable questions, actually turned the movie into a really fun adventure yarn. Visually and sound wise it was stunning. However the repeated interjections from my resident film critic suggested a few too many issues with the storyline. The general message seemed to be – I’ve not seen so many plot holes since we watched the Alvin and The Chipmunks Road Chip Movie.

And with that the clouds have moved in. So like the current Star Wars story arc, our summer is FINISHED…

Rolling in

This week along with some more flowers blooming, the school emails have steadily been rolling in. I’ve been lucky with 6 emails. Son not so lucky. So far he has 35 unread teacher emails and another 5 this morning. I thought this was the Easter break.

Dad I’m not reading these until the weekend. I’m on holiday”

Couldn’t agree more. Can we just let kids have some fun and have a break from all the crap.

Next holiday I’m putting on out of hours message. Something like – I’m now on holiday which finishes on xxxxxxx if you have any concerns please email my Dad.”

Yesterday was one of those rare Yorkshire days. A day when you here the little used words

Dad I think we need sun cream, do we have any”

Mad parenting panic quickly followed by a mad house search. This is Yorkshire. I remember going to a Test Match (cricket) here many moons ago. The helpful announcer kept playing Government warnings about the need to where hats and use sun lotion to avoid the harmful effects of sunburn. It was ironic as it chucked it down all day and we never once had a glimpse of the sun. Everyone was huddled under umbrellas or seeking cover from the torrential rain in the beer tents. Our county is many things but if you had to list the top 1000 things about Yorkshire, the words hot and sunshine are never going to feature.

After a chaotic search a tub of factor 30 was found. Probably last used on a trip to Switzerland.

Is it still in date Dad?”

I didn’t need to look at the date to confirm the answer. But in the spirit of accuracy I checked. It was only slightly….. 2018.

Well it will have to do but I will be informing my solicitors

We needn’t have worried as this is Yorkshire. In the time we had been protection hunting, the dark clouds had rolled in. Now the most appropriate form of protection was a jumper.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so in these challenging times, I think it’s time for a virtual tour of beautiful Switzerland.

One of the best times we to found to visit Switzerland as a family was over Easter.

In my country Easter, like most holidays has become over commercialised. Not in Switzerland. The atmosphere is just perfect.

The weather was frequently glorious for our visits. Snow still falling on the high mountains and yet beautifully warm at lower levels. The morning trains would find people in summer shorts sat next to skiers in full snow gear.

The weather was perfect for sitting outside and just watching the world slowly walk by.

Spring alpine flowers coming to life.

The snow line slowly retreating in the hot sunshine. Deep blue skies.

The yachts and small boats emerging from winter hibernation.

The colours constantly changing.

And after an exhausting day on the piste for a young one….

Nothing better than returning to the hotel to find the owners have left a little Easter gift. Thank you Switzerland for lifting the spirits again.

Onomatopoeia

That jolly yellow thing in the sky is still here. Any longer and it might qualify for the Yorkshire Cricket Team. I understand it’s called The Sun. A simple name yet so confusing for kids like our Son. Is it a Sun or is it a Son.

So on to this weeks spelling test. Ok campers your simple words this week are

Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Simile, Metaphor, Slang, Rhetorically, Personification, Emotive, Language, Imagery, Verb, Adjective, Adverb.

See I predicted it was only a matter of time before the poor kids had to try and spell complex dinosaur names. The Onomatopoeia was always my favourite flying dinosaur…..

I think school probably thinks that the spellings are getting too easy so they have now added a twist. Previously the teacher would say the actual word to be spelt and the kids tried to write it down. This week the teacher won’t say the word. Instead she will read out a definition and the kids have to decide which word it describes – then spell it. Easy with Onomatopoeia as it will be the only dinosaur….. if only.

So the kids will have to work out which of the above words fits with what the teacher definitions are and then try to spell it. From definitions like these

This is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes

This is when something is said to be something else

A describing word. Sometimes there are three together to make it more effective

A word describing how something is done

This is the repetition of letter sound at the start of a word

What chance has a dyslexic kid got when he struggles to spell and as a result has never really understood the technicalities of the English Language. But what do I know. A simple parent compared to the might and intellectual magnificence of the current government education regime. As our PM’s Dad publicly stated when he stood in for his Son in an interview.

Spelling “Pinocchio? That requires a degree of literacy, which I think the great British public doesn’t necessarily have.”

Its hard being a PM so he only handpicks a few interviews these days. Better to send his Dad. But the message is clear. The great unwashed didn’t go to Eton and Oxford. They are basically illiterate. They need to be force fed things like spelling.

I am one of the great unwashed. An illiterate who went to a poor sinkhole Comprehensive School and only to the clearly unworthy Warwick University. Maybe we are illiterate for a reason. The dreadful state of our crumbling education system. An education system that lets down so many kids. Which discriminates against those who don’t fit the mould. Money allows you to buy a better education. The money which the PMs Dad easily forked out to send his Son to Eton. But in the real world the majority struggle on. Dealing with an education system which has been systematically screwed by those with a view of the world so like that of PM and his Dad.

I might not be able to spell Pinocchio but at least I know my pterodactyls from my Onomatopoeias.