A weekend to remember

The centenary of armistice is upon us.

I write this 100 years to the day, of the end of the great war. The war to end all wars. From an early age I was brought up to respect the 11th day of the 11th month. It’s importance indelible in my memory as my parents gently introduced me to the futility of the human condition.

I’ve eased the cubs into some sort of recognition of events, sparing them the sheer volume of life lost not just in the great war, but in the following war and subsequent conflicts. There’s so much to unravel in there but there’s no rush.

Eldest, at 8 year’s old has a good understanding. The school has done a good job there. For her part, she took things into her own hands when she began to take on in-depth, self learning about Mary Seacole. She became inspired.

On friday, four of the local schools came together to pay their respects at the principal church in our town. It’s a majestic, ornate building, that I had only ever driven past. It dates back to the time of the civil war and the Reverend delighted the gathered children with a story of how a cannon had been placed atop the church to fire upon a nearby castle. Collective gasps echoed.

He then pointed out that the ceiling was adorned with symbols from the Islamic faith, delighting in his house of worship’s multi-cultural appeal.

The school children were given pride of place in the front pews duly shepherded by respective teachers. They were bursting with energy

Parents were welcomed and as I had the day off, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being anywhere else. Of course, I broke protocol, went over and made sure that she knew I was in attendance, before taking my seat at the back.

A headteacher took the reigns and began proceedings. Calling the schools up one by one, the children paid their respects in different ways.

Cub’s class got up and expressed themselves, to music. With the odd monologue thrown in for good measure. One soliloquy punctuated the passing of a giant poppy and they were done. I was up and applauding; Eldest cub delivered her lines beautifully and projected across the 400 strong audience, wearing and wielding her poppy with pride.


Remembrance Sunday

Eldest’s Brownie Pack has been asked to lead a procession from the local church to the war memorial.

The pack, church and memorial are all in the village where we used to live and next door to the cub’s school. We awoke early to make sure they were both properly fed and looking smart.

Daddy made the effort too, with very shiny shoes.

The Brownies had the first two rows; the Scouts on the opposite side. The church, more compact than friday’s affair but full nonetheless. I had my concerns about youngest cub. Whilst he’s lively, he’s also quite well-behaved; but I had concerns about the two minute’s silence.

As it transpired, I did my boy a disservice.

A smartly turned out gentleman behind us, with his equally attired family walked forwards to read the names of local servicemen who had passed in both conflicts. His wife kept hold of twin girls, aged about 5.

As dad began to read, the girls began to giggle. Then chuckle; then laugh aloud. Mum tried her best to quiet them but they were having none of it. Dad pressed on, his disdain etched on his face.

Youngest cub, standing on the pew to oversee proceedings turned to look at them, gave a long stare, before looking at me and shaking his head. Mum ushered the girls out of the church.

A second of judgement rushed into my head, before I remembered where I was and dismissed it.

The moment was upon us. The last post played and as the bugle fell silent, so did the congregation.

Youngest became a statue, to the point that he physically jumped when the bugle broke the silence. I gave him a big hug and kissed his forehead.


We walked the short distance to the local memorial. Youngest couldn’t believe his luck as we got to walk down the middle of the road, hand un-held. We are spoilt by the weather. It’s unseasonably warm and it’s bright. Earlier, the heavens had opened.

Having young children, we took pride of place near the front. We read another short sermon before the last post played again. This time, youngest smiled and nodded at me, showing that he knew what to do.

Giggles breakout. It’s the usual suspects. Their dad is glaring..

The bugle blows on.

Brown Owl had given youngest a crucifix with a poppy on it to place on the memorial. We watch everyone else before taking our turn. We begin well but the sense of occasion begins to get to him. He clings to my leg and buries his head in my thigh.

We press on, to compassionate sighs from the crowd and cameras snapping. He begins to fold, but I steady his had, and we place the crucifix together. A respectful departure from the memorial is nigh on impossible with the level of entanglement but we give it a go.

As the service ends and we depart, several couples say how proud I should be of my children.

I think my face said it all.

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Ps, extra stars all round, chocolate and a brief spell in the park showed my appreciation.

BSD

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3 years on; I’ve figured it out

Why single parents are so tired.

Questions!

They come thick and fast and at any time. Now I’m a great believer in educational opportunity so I aim to inform as much as possible.

When I’m tired though….

Questions asked

What I  should have said What I actually said
What’s your favourite colour Adults don’t tend to have favourite colours Blue
Who’s that? (TV weatherman) I’m not sure; his name will come up shortly Alan
Who’s your favourite Power Ranger I don’t really have a favourite, as I’m an adult Alan, the Purple one. You may not know him as he only fights crime on a Saturday
Where are they going (car driving the opposite way) I couldn’t possibly know that Primark
How fast can you run (after watching Usain Bolt) Fast humans can do about 20 mph Just a little slower than him
Where’s that sheep’s mum Not too far away Driving that tractor
Why’s Saturday It just is ?????
Why are those birds on the roof It’s a safe perch away from predators They’re keeping an eye on you
What keep the planet spinning Interactional forces of the magnetic poles Children eating their vegetables
Why can you see the moon during the day It’s a satellite of earth that orbits independently to our rotation It’s keeping an eye on you

I’ll set them straight before they do any exams.

BSD

From the Bible; it’s Jewish..

It’s the end of their stint with me for the school holidays. Having pulled my back yesterday (on my birthday!), we had what was primarily a down day.

Late afternoon I felt sorry for my caged cubs. We jumped in the car and went to our favourite park.

Parenting trick; take them out near their supper time. They’ll then naturally leave the park in search of their next meal.

I had a plan for supper but was pressed for time. At the stove, they glossed over the fact that my usual ‘come and get it’ was replaced with ‘well, that’ll have to do’.

She finishes eating first, and leans into my personal space to tell me something.

“Daddy; there’s this story in the bible, about a stranger who knocks on a man’s door…”

Quite familiar with the bible, I’m at a loss for this particular story.

She chimes on.

“A man opens the door and the stranger asked ‘do you have a space for me to sleep?’ but the man said no”

Definitely not familiar with this story.

“The stranger then says ‘but I can help you! I can cook you a wonderful meal!'”

I’m wondering if this a Samaritans remix or some stranger danger thing that has become clouded in her brain.

She continues and I continue to fork food into my face.

“So the man let’s the stranger in and he starts cooking a soup. But the stranger hadn’t brought any ingredients so instead, he popped in a magic toenail…”

At this precise moment, something in my mouth went crunch.

“and then he popped to the neighbours to get some broccoli…”

I’m not listening any more.

The final element of confusion flooded in and brought me back to reality when she tailed off with,

“I think it might be Jewish”

“no; Christian…”

She angles her head in thought.

I fear my appetite may never return.

person standing in front of food tray
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

BSD

Is it always a struggle?

This question seems to roll around my head quite often; usually when I forget how lucky I am.

Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with failure.

Tough emotions are part of our contract with life” Susan David, PhD

I lifted this straight off of a Ted Talk that I stumbled across on twitter. I like it. At some point this weekend I’ll listen to it all, but it did get me thinking.

Why do we have adversity?

I think there are a number of answers to this question, the main one being equilibrium. A term that actually refers to the state of a chemical reaction in equal flux but has found comfortable use in day-to-day language.

Balance. That’s why. If we didn’t have the rough, we would neither recognise or enjoy the smooth.

Then there’s the others

As in the worse off. There is always someone worse off than you. It’s worth remembering but to be honest, that’s a skill. A divine one at times.

Silver lining

This is the bit I like. I’ve spoken about it before; when going through tough times, something invariably turns up to turn the tide.

It’s always worth remembering this.

It’s also worth remembering, as the psychologist Susan David said, the only way to avoid the pain and heartache that comes with life is to not live it. Don’t expose yourself to it. Don’t take chances.

But where’s the fun in that?

So as you’ve probably picked up, things are challenging at the moment. The positive thing is that I now recognise the signs. Once you can do this, you can attempt to control your responses.

Owning your feelings and responses is a better option than shying away from any experience that may well be painful.

The greatest rewards are often linked to the greatest risk.

Ending on a cliché,

BSD

PS, stay positive my lovely people.

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Time to reflect.

It’s that time of year again where I like to take stock of the last 12 months. It’s a thing I do that allows me to press on into the oncoming new year with vigour and determination.

I try to weigh up the good and the bad in an attempt to learn the lessons that I was supposed to.

Sometimes I’m a slow learner.

The cub’s mum

We had more downs than ups. It’s still new and the wounds are still open I guess. This morning we managed to have a row after I asked how she was; the accusation? I phrased the question incorrectly.

I backed off. Part of my philosophy; it takes two to have an argument and I’m not playing.

stress

The lesson

This was one of a few flash points that we collectively experienced over the last year. So how do I avoid them in future, and why should I?

The easy answer is the stress that arguing brings. I just realised that my teeth were clenched whilst typing!

Some disagreement is inevitable, but it’s the handling of such that is all important; the reasons to avoid it are pretty obvious:

  • Poor health
  • Poor relationships
  • Unhappy cubs

The last one is crucially important.

I’ve spoken before about the fact that I will never speak ill of her in front of the cubs. It’s not fair; they only have one mum and they deserve to hold her in high esteem. I will do nothing to change that image.

This is where the teachings of the ‘7 Habits’ come in; seek to understand, before being understood.

In future, I’ll choose my words more carefully; consider my tone and watch my timing. Communication, not confrontation.

Failing that I’ll ignore her until the end of time, plus 15 minutes.

My home

I’ve mentioned already that I’m not overly happy where I am at the moment; it’s too far out for where I need to be, most of the time.

home

The lesson

Stop moaning! It’s warm, it’s dry, there’s food in the fridge. Some folk have none of those.

I’m sure that I will move in the not too distant future but for now, this is one blessing that I am counting.

Relationships

I’m single. I have been for a while now; the longest while in over two decades. For once, it actually feels ok.

love

The lesson

Historically, I used to bounce from relationship to relationship, without a break, without ever reflecting on why the last one didn’t work. Sometimes, perhaps inevitably, I’d go on to make the same mistakes again, and again.

I had to stop and ask myself why this was.

  • What was I compensating for?
  • what was I afraid of?
  • what was lacking in myself that I sought from a companion and could that ever be the successful driver of any relationship?

I know that I need to be the complete article before I can share that place in my heart.

I believe in the Law of Attraction; thoughts become things etc.

I also believe that the Universe will keep giving us the same lesson, until we learn it. I’m just thankful that the Universe is very patient.

I’m getting nearer to those answers by spending time with myself, discovering who I am, after all this time.

In the meantime, the most important relationship is the one I’m proudest of; the one with my cubs. They give the most amazing cuddles.

I’m sure that when the time is right, she’ll find me, or we’ll find each other. Then I’ll have to change my pen name.

Finances

Tough! as they no doubt are for us all. Everything seems to be going up apart from our wages.

green shoots

The lesson

Take control and keep control.

If you’ve read my last post on clearing my debt, you’ll know that I plan to smash this one in 2018.

My ultimate goal is to have 3 income streams. Something recommended by the successful out there. I’ll give you more on that one in 2018.

Health

I know the benefits of exercise, especially in the world we live in today. You absolutely have to do it. I use it to defuse stress too. See my first point, above.

why train

The lesson

Schedule my workouts!

I schedule everything else important, so why should this be any different?

I’m fit; I’m healthy and I’m thankful; truly, truly thankful.

More of the same next year and maybe something to aim for..?

So that’s about it for now. The planning is the next phase and the important thing is to set my goals early and write them down.

Commitment is everything!

XperiaZ3 762

So that’s it for now. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I know what I need to what I need to stop, what I need to start and what I need to keep doing in 2018.

Bring it on!

BSD

When you’re going through hell…

Keep going.

Winston Churchill

This time last week

Last week I let you in on the peripheries of some tough times I was facing. I purposely didn’t go into detail but there was enough vague information to give you the general idea. I was under it.

At times like that it’s hard to imagine a way out. It’s hard to imagine things will ever be good again and it’s hard to see positives.

Somehow, I managed to keep my head. I made a conscious effort not to succumb to any ‘all is lost‘ feelings but rather to believe that things will work out for the best. I quite literally, relaxed and essentially did nothing. It was the hardest thing I [haven’t] done in my life.

How

I did other things. I forced myself to feel positive; I prayed a little more, specifically for an answer, although at the time I didn’t know what that answer was. I asked the Universe for an answer again, not knowing what that answer was. I wonder how many of you I just lost…

I also sang this quite a bit..

There will be an answer;let it be.

This time this week

All has changed.

Actually, they had changed by the middle of the week. Out of the blue and with no prompting from me, I received an official letter that changed everything. It proved to be the catalyst that kicked off a chain of events that will change everything.

It also increased my positivity and my positive outlook, which again gained momentum to help me see more ways to tackle my issues.

It’s the best feeling in the world.

And the moral of the story

Whatever you’re going through, have faith that you will come out the other end.

It doesn’t have to take belief in God or the Universe; just belief in yourself to find a way through your struggles.

Your answer will come.

person-stream-cliff-river

Ps. Life will always throw poo at you; you just have to either dodge it or catch it and throw it back!

As we speak i’m writing this on my older, back-up laptop, as my (old) primary laptop is having an identity crisis, taking all my passwords and other stuff with it. I’ve asked the Universe for a new one..

BSD