Strange Yellow Disk pt2

Day after day of dark clouds and rain. The usual dog walk preparation – about 10 layers underneath at least two layers of waterproofing. Dog caked in mud after a couple of minutes. Then…

In the distance a small band of blue. Quickly the blue sky approached and then the strange yellow disk poked out from behind the clouds.

That’s two sightings this winter – already a record for Yorkshire.

Now rush back home, quick blog then work work work. Hope for no school phone calls today. After that it’s the late Amazon present scramble. I dream of having our son’s (and beloved partners) planning skills.

Strange Yellow Thing

The morning started as has the last 5 days have – grey, wet and cold.

The school bus was missed yesterday morning – never a good sign. We slightly overslept, only by a few minutes but…. Sticking to the established routine is so important to our son. Routine is king. I tried to stick to the plan but just slightly quicker. It was never going to work. I could sense the tension building within him so we just went back to the usual routine. So we missed the bus. It’s not a disaster it’s only a 15 minute car journey to school. Plus it’s one less bus trip for him to deal with.

On the way back from school a very odd thing happened. The clouds parted and a strange yellow disk appeared in the sky. I don’t know what it was (remember this is Yorkshire) but it was lovely to see. With this being Yorkshire the strange yellow disk disappeared behind grey clouds thirty minutes later.

Update. Looking out into the pouring rain this morning – even too wet for the dog – I am confidently predicting the strange yellow disk has packed his bags and won’t be appearing here anytime soon.

Different takes on the world.

Came across a photograph taken probably 5 years ago. Oh how the world seemed so different then. Every Sunday in Switzerland we had the same ritual. We would take the first boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken. We would immediately head for this hotel and drink hot chocolate outside – regardless of the weather.

I also vividly recall sitting here when one morning my son’s different take on the world (to myself) became clear. I noticed sports cars driving past. I remember saying something like

“that’s a Ferrari and that’s a Porsche and wow that’s a Maserati.” Don’t get many of those in Yorkshire.

I remember turning to my partner who said without raising a glance “that’s nice” as she continued to scan the food menu.

Looking at our son he was excitedly flapping his hands. Not at the cars but at a bird flying above us.

“It’s a vulture.” Don’t get any of those in Yorkshire.

Now that my son has educated me. I realise which view is more stunning. Which view should be treasured. Now I would say “Wow that’s a stunning big bird, son what is it and I wish those noisy dirty cars would sod off”.

It feels like a zoo

This house is increasingly become a zoo. Two mad cats, bonkers puppy and a hyper active mole. Added to this we have:

  • Farm cows – now best friends with puppy
  • Various garden birds
  • A family of Starlings who live in the roof
  • Two squirrels who bury their nuts in our lawn
  • A badger who digs up the rest of the garden, probably pinching the Squirrels nuts
  • What feels like the worlds population of snails
  • Wasp Nest in the attic (found this week)

Well another creature has joined the party now. More on this soon, but first…

Yesterday started quite well and I was in an ok mood when I finally sat down to do some work. But a few minutes later, mood change, one song, one of my partners favourite songs on the radio. Tears and complete feeling of what has been lost. I couldn’t concentrate on work so decided to do a clothes wash. Then drink some very strong coffee. Still feeling sad.

When the wash finished it was time for the tumble dryer currently living in the garage. I took the wet washing into the garage but the phone rang. I put the washing on the floor to answer the call. After an hour of continued sadness I remembered the discarded washing. Went back into the garage and picked up the washing. A reptilian face appeared from the pile of wet clothes. I of course took this crisis like a hero. Screamed, dropped the clothing and ran. ‘Oh my god it’s a snake’ and it could be a big one.

After a few minutes I calmed down a bit. Don’t be daft, this is Yorkshire in autumn, I must have just imagined it. Carefully I went back into the garage. As I moved closer, definite movement in the clothes. Another scream and legged it again. I am petrified of snakes.

In all the panic I had lost track of time. The front door opened and in walked our son from school. He looked on rather dubiously as I told him about the man eating snake in the garage. He convinced me to face up to my fears and confront the beast. Together we carefully went back into the garage. The washing moved again and I legged it again – completely forgetting my son. I ran back into the garage with the nearest weapon I could find, the floor brush. In the garage I found our son laughing his head off.

“Dad you complete muppet. Have a look at your killer snake”

Ok the monster snake in fact did look a lot like a frog, a rather small one at that. So now we have another member of the zoo. This new member has been named “Viper the Frog” by our thoroughly understanding son. Is there no end to my shame.

But thank you Mr Viper, you made me forget all about the sadness, at least for a few hours anyway.


When we walked up Roseberry Topping it felt like such a big achievement for our son. He had wanted to start ‘climbing’ as many of the other kids in his class were doing it. He just wanted to be like them and yet he thought it was beyond him. I think it gave us all a lift when he picked up the courage to finally do it.

The other thing about that climb was the sheep incident. We were stood at the top eating a snack when we noticed a scruffy sheep stood next to us. As we moved it followed. It seemed to be fixated on the half eaten apple I was holding. So I sat down and proceeded to feed the sheep this fine apple. I then told my son “always do a good deed to an animal as you never know when you might need that animal to help you”. When I stood up my son burst into laughter. I had sat down on some sheep droppings. White shorts and sheep poo is not a good cat walk look. Never used that stupid phrase again.

Another thing our son is conscious of is that he has poor fine motor skills and finds coordination difficult. This has been characterised by a number of issues which have continued to plague his life and have really effected his self confidence:

  • Unable to tie knots – shoe laces
  • Accident prone
  • Takes a long time to dress
  • Struggles using knifes and forks
  • Poor balance – can’t ride bikes
  • Can’t swim
  • Struggles to open food packets
  • Inability to catch balls
  • Struggles to play all types of sports

We have tried a number of strategies to help with these problems. Many have been unsuccessful but some have helped.

  1. We have tried many types of balancing exercises, most have proved frustrating failures. But two exercises, the superman stretch and the one armed superman have been more successful. It is something that he has managed to get a hang of and improve.
  2. Reading from a grid of numbers while trying to do something else like clapping. This again was really frustrating at the beginning but has started to improve. Apparently this exercise can help with coordination and also in some cases help with dyslexia.
  3. Bouncing a ball while talking. Our son has always liked to go in the garden and talk. Everything from Pokemon to dinosaurs. Last year I started to encourage him to try and bounce a ball at the same time. At first he hated it, struggled to even bounce the ball while talking. If he did bounce the ball he just couldn’t catch it. Then we tried it with a brightly coloured small bouncy ball. Suddenly he found it easier to bounce the ball but he still struggled to catch it. But for some reason he started to enjoy the challenge and would set himself targets. It started off with trying to catch two balls in a row, then three. After a few months he seemed to be talking and bouncing the ball independently. The number of successful bounces has slowly increased. Now we are at 100 in a row.
  4. Bouncing on a trampoline. Buying a trampoline has been a real success. Initially our son was keen to have a trampoline as he hoped kids would come to use it and he might make new friends. This sadly hasn’t happened but our son has fallen in love with it. He says it shuts out all the distractions and worries. He spends a lot of time on it. Then one day I started throwing a ball into the trampoline for him to catch it. He loved it. After a couple months he can now bounce on the trampoline and catch at the same time. He has even started diving and catching one handed. It’s just been a big success. His general catching skills have been significantly improved and he’s found an exercise he loves doing.

His improvements in catching have allowed him to dream. One dream is that one day he can be a goalkeeper for a football team. Let’s hope.

Planet of the Apes

The weather today was wonderful. Warm and still. Countryside filled with fantastic deep colours. Even the dog was almost behaving himself. It should have been a walk to saviour.

Yet a my head was blocking the surroundings out, to busy lost in worries:

– son starting new school, have I got everything ready, I must have forgotten something from the school list, will his uniform fit, will he make friends, will he get bullied, have I got the wrong start day…..

– we haven’t had a holiday in 2 years, I must be a bad parent….

– what happens to my son if I become ill…..

– is it time to have that chat about Santa Claus…..

– am I leaving it too long in getting round to spreading my partners ashes…

– are we spending too much money….. am I working enough hours……

– the lawnmowers broken, can we afford to buy a new one this month….

– did I turn the oven off …. did I lock the front door……

And on and on and on it went. Virtually the whole beautiful walk blocked out by my worries. Then the realisation that I had not spoken to my son in over an hour. Luckily he seemed really happy, walking the dog.

“Are you ok, son?”

“Fine dad”

“What are you thinking about

“What might have happened if the Planet of the Apes was based on a different animal. Currently trying to work out if Planet of the Pugs would make more money than Planet of the Budgies”


So hopefully I’ve learnt my lesson. Try to live the moment rather than worry about things. There is probably a time and a place for these worries, but it’s not on a beautiful walk.

I missed out on todays Planet of the Apes debate but I’m certainly not planning on missing out on next weeks now booked debate about alternatives to Pirates of the Caribbean.

One foot in front of the other

The school holidays have now kicked in. Amazingly the usual UK rain deluge has not accompanied the kids being off. Never thought I would say this but I can’t remember what rain feels like. It’s been over two months since our last bit of rain.

You get so used to something, you take it for granted and then when it stops you quickly start to forget it. It’s been over two years since my partner died and I’ve got a growing list of things which fall into this category:

– forgotten what it’s like to go out for a meal

– forgotten what it’s like to hold hands

– forgotten what it’s like to have an argument

– forgotten what it’s like to share a bottle of wine with someone

– forgotten what it’s like to plan a holiday together

– forgotten what it’s like to have a tug of war over the duvet

I could go on but you get the point. Well another thing on the list was I had forgotten what it was like to do our local walk which circles our village. We would walk this most Sundays.

Well today I crossed that one from the list today….well sort of. The walk used to take us 40 minutes, well today it took over 2 hours as I managed to get lost.

One small rose

The last present I gave to my partner was a Yorkshire Rose. In the turmoil of that fateful year, I cannot recall if she managed to see it flower before she left us. Well for the second year I’ve successfully not managed to kill it – very unusual for my not so green fingers. The difference this year is that the rose flowered on my partners birthday. Strange how one small flower can bring light on such a bleak day.

Winter continues

Tomorrow March arrives yet winter continues here. It’s bleak and very cold.

The weather is matching my mood. Today the world seems a cold, bleak and lonely place. Luckily my son will return from school soon and he will lift my spirits. Even the bleak landscape will start to be transformed. Its amazing what a snowman can do.