Let’s go walking

Let’s go walking

An early finish to the school day. A big advantage of the school at home project. Usually if a teacher forgets to issue work then we chase it up. Not this day. If the teacher forgets (and they did) let’s not remind them. Let’s see if they notice (and they didn’t).

An early finish means time for a long walk. I so wish Hawklad could use the time to meet up with friends. But as he is stuck with his gnarly Muppet Dad then the next best thing is a walk. Hawklad’s idea.

A walk from our house which we had never fully done before. 15km and we never saw another soul. Perfect for Hawklad.

Definitely beats school and school never missed him.

Thoughts

A path across the hills.

A path frequented by farmers, dog walkers and intrepid Muppet Dads. A path that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere in particular. Meandering around hedgerows and the occasional isolated tree. One of those locations that you can so easily get lost. Definitely a great place to lose yourself. One day it might even be a cool place to find myself.

It’s been one of those days with too much thinking time. Plenty of thinking yet no real insight. No new paths opening up while managing to add more roadblocks to existing roads ahead. It’s been one of those days. Feeling like it’s one step forward, two back and a few too many sideways. That feeling isn’t much fun sat in the house.

But on a path across the hills, it just means more walking is required….

Plans

So much on our doorstep. So much to see and visit on a daily basis.

I was going through a box of maps, trying to find one covering part of our area. Why was it at the bottom of the box, buried under all the other maps….. Why was it as good as new, almost unused…….

As I searched through the other maps I found various handwritten notes. The notes, an insight into my former days. Route maps, climbing plans, camping sites, potential itineraries. One note caught my eye. A 4 day plan to climb 12 mountains on the Isle of Skye over one extended weekend. A real challenge for me, something to work to.

For years it has stayed a plan, gathering dust in that box.

It’s a different world for me now. Single parenting happened.

I smiled at that 4 day climbing plan and then carefully put it back in the box – maybe I can still use that one day. But at present my plans need to be much closer to hand. So the local map I was looking for was found. What can be found on my doorstep. That’s a start.

Walk on

The week walks on.

Another walk for Hawklad. Autumn is such a beautiful time. The colours and the moody skies. It’s also very quiet here. Hardly a soul on the trails, maybe the occasional farmer. Perfect for those seeking the reassurance and safety of solitude.

That’s such a distance from crowded classrooms and bustling school corridors.

Let’s just keep walking and see where it leads.

Keep on walking

I know it’s another walking post. Kind of…. That’s been the theme of the week. A chance to regroup, recharge and refocus. Start to see the future more clearly. Focus on choosing the right pathway. Try to spot the dead ends.

A step forward today. Hawklad had his first shot of the covid vaccine. The second shot is still not approved in the UK for children. He made me smile. To the question from the Nurse about allergies, he promptly responded

BROCCOLI.

He was also not impressed with my mask. I couldn’t find my usual one, so I had to go with the spare. Last year when I bought our first masks, I didn’t bother to check if that white mask had a pattern on the front. We both took one look when they arrived and said NO.

Needs must, so the mask got its first outing today. Hawklad would only be seen with me if I completely coveted my face with a hood. I looked like a Sith Lord. When the nurse asked if I was his dad, the response was

Certainly not with that mask……

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……

Walking

Everyday we go for a walk. Each day a little further. When we get the chance edging a little closer to people. It’s all part of our attempt to build up Hawklad’s confidence in the wider world again. Help overcome his social fears and phobias. Allow him to build bridges into the world again, when he is ready.

We are nowhere near entering crowds and busy public places yet. That will come in time. Next stage will be walking into a shop or supermarket. Then when he’s ready going for an ice cream and cake in a cafe. Then maybe school. I’ve already spoken to school about allowing him to work round the school after the school day has finished. But that’s for another day.

So we did a walk. A local walk. Maybe it’s the impact of over a years worth of lockdown but many local places are looking epic . When everything settles down I’m certainly going to appreciate more what I have on our doorstep.

Take for example yesterday’s walk. A circular 2 mile walk from our house. Tell me why it’s taken all these years to do this……

Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Cold

Do I fancy walking through that. Captain Chaos most definitely does. Maybe even squeeze in a good roll about in that glorious mud. It would certainly be a cold experience.

So the first day of the National Lockdown has passed by. To be fair I didn’t notice much change. Didn’t see any one walking on the street and the fields remained empty. Hardly any traffic on the roads. Spookily quiet. But actually it was like that before the lockdown started. That’s village life for you. So I seemingly had the world to myself as I walked the dog early in the morning. It was a good time to think and contemplate life.

If 2021 is another year of isolation, which it could be….

What do I want out of this year?

Here’s the thing about depression with me. It clouds my mind with so many negative thoughts. Makes me look back anxiously rather than look forward with hope. So on this particular dog walk the ‘what do I want’ question wasn’t yielding the uplifting messages that it should have. Best I could manage wasn’t much more than

  • Not completely messing up the homeschooling gig,
  • Trying not to put on weight,
  • Keeping the bank off my back,
  • Hanging on to what I have,
  • Not losing my marbles,
  • Trying not to go backwards,
  • Just surviving….

All too negative. So yes I have much to work on. But I will. Can’t thank my friends here enough. You have been so supportive, caring and encouraging. Thank you ❤️. Because of you I feel more confident that I will find my way again. Then I can walk the dog across the fields and come up with more uplifting goals.

WE can do this.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country that is 900 miles away from our house in England but actually feels more like where our hearts want to be. One day we will return.

Today we are going back to 2015 and our last trip to this alpine wonderland. It was the second last day of our holiday and the weather was glorious. So we went on a bit if an expedition. We went to the Zermatt. From there we caught the mountain train which took us to 10285ft (3135m) to the top of the Gonnergrat. The train is an experience as it’s Europe’s highest open-air railway.

The top is a huge rocky ridge with a luxury hotel, restaurant, shops, astronomical observatories, a beautiful stone chapel and views of The Matterhorn. It overlooks a stunning glacier and has views of 29 4000m mountains. It’s a truly epic place.

After a few hours at the top we walked down most of the way. Poignantly this would prove to be our last long family walk as a team of 3. So it’s extra special to me and our son.

I give you the Gonnergrat.