Sometimes you need to get out to breathe, take stock, maybe even forget a few things for a while.
In less than 2 months Hawklad’s final school exams begin. I kinda gave one of those Paddington Bear penetrating LOOKS to someone from his school when they referred to Hawklad having an easier exam ride than many other pupils.
Some won’t see a problem with what comes next and what do I know anyway.…
When the exams start, Hawklad will have 20 exams and one video assessment to complete in just under 4 weeks.
And that’s an EASIER ride. Doesn’t seem very easy to Hawklad.
One sweet vacation day in Switzerland and I can remember Hawklad being particularly pleased with himself. He was pleased because he could speak Swiss that day. Which one of the three official Swiss Languages that was, remained UNCLEAR.
I wasn’t quite who he had spoken to and what he had said in his new dialect. Maybe it was over breakfast when he told the waitress what he wanted to eat and drink. Maybe it was to the Guard on the train pulling up the mountain. Maybe it was at the ice cream stall in the shadow of The Alps.
It’s was such a wonderful day, a train to the famous high mountain pass, Kleine Scheidegg. The location for the Clint Eastwood movie, The Eiger Sanction. Shed loads of French fries and then a beautiful walk down to the valley below. Switzerland is such a special place, a place of dreams.
Finally on the train back Hawklad revealed his language breakthrough. The Swiss Swan he was feeding in the lake that morning apparently had understood him. Glad that was finally cleared up.
It’s a hard life on the pet sofa. Boys will be boys.
I’m writing this in my so called car listening to a bit of deep and meaningful art, an art form called Whitesnake. Here is a random fact, that band’s lead vocalist worked in a fashion clothes shop which was next to my Dentist torture site. That Dentist was an ex army, old school medic and it showed. The caring nature of Rambo who has just found out that Arnie has much bigger biceps than him. That Dentist practice was horrible. But to be fair to him after every horrible, painful appointment he would make his one allowance to being a member of the human race. It was his attempt to be nice, to be caring. He would let you pick out a lollipop from the sweet jar, I guess it was all about keeping business healthy…
Anyway I’m parked up in a community library parking place. Hawklad is having his FIRST one to one, direct bit of teaching since March 2020. We have been after this since then but school just haven’t been able to free up teaching resources. Well now, two months from Hawklad’s final exams it’s happening. Unfortunately it won’t cover all the subjects due to teaching resource constraints, the sessions if they can continue will be sporadic. After Science, History and Geography were excluded from these sessions the focus was supposed to be on both English and Maths. Unfortunately school have dropped Maths now. Apparently someone has walked out on school and they won’t be replaced until after the exams.
But at least it’s something. Any helping hand is a good hand.
A Teaching Assistant will be providing a short session covering a bit of English and a bit of exam techniques. I wonder if they will cover any of the areas we have requested. I really hope it helps Hawklad.
Looking at Hawklad’s face as he went into the Library he had the same terrified look that I must have had visiting that Psychotic Dentist, just WAY WORSE. This is so not easy for him, he is so close to an anxiety meltdown. It shows just how little contact he has had with school staff, zero relationships have been established. It’s probably also a reflection of just how painful an experience this school has been for him.
Let’s just hope that like my trips to the dentist, he can put this behind him and actually he gets something out of it. In my case with the Dentist at lease I got some dodgy chemical filled fillings and a sugary lollipop. I want so much more for him. I just want him to feel at ease with life and be happy.
According to the map, there is supposed to be a path here.
Well I couldn’t find it. As Hawklad put it….
“Where’s Indiana Jones when you need him.”
Apparently in the new Indiana Movie, they make him look decades younger. I wonder if I could buy some of that magic from the Supermarket, I definitely need it. Wow, who is that bloke I see looking back at me in the mirror every morning. George Clooney is older than me, how does he do it, maybe it’s the coffee he drinks.
Yet I’ve been drinking coffee for decades and I’M STILL WAITING for any kind of Clooney effect. Now if it was signs of the CLUELESS effect, we’ll that would be a totally different story. I’ve got shed loads of those signs.
The Completely Clueless, So Not Clooney ME reached new levels this Mad March. I just couldn’t balance the work monthly payroll. Who was I missing. I just hadn’t paid out enough.
Oh hang on. I didn’t pay ME. What a monumental Clueless Wazzock.
Maybe that is all that coffee will ever give me. Ineptness and a morning mirror jump scare. But I guess there is always hope.
Next time you bump into George, can you ask him how he does it.
One family trip to Switzerland just 9 years ago with so many adventures. On that trip we came with Hawklad’s Granny. As she happily pointed out “over the years she had more than enough adventures – thank you very much”. She was in her element just sitting on the hotel balcony, drinking Italian coffee and taking in the ever changing views across Lake Thun and towards The Alps. I can so understand that.
So here goes, one week, one hotel. This is why Granny stayed put that week. Just a snapshot, imagine the views and moods we missed when we were on our adventures.
Why is it that in Jurassic Movie World, behind the enclosure gate that has been accidentally left open, there is always the really psychotic, crazed, huge teethed, killing machine. A now free monster that also happens to be really pissed off. It’s never the fluffy, happy, petting zoo Dino called Daisy who is desperate for a cuddle.
When the monster called Slasher has escaped and is after lots of blood, the Jurassic Workers suddenly have that look on their faces. Terrified, slightly vacant and most definitely lost. This week I had exactly the same facial expression when I ventured into my very own Jurassic land, otherwise known as The Apple Store and Service Centre. My version of the terrifying monster called Slasher was two overly helpful and enthusiastic Store Techies. I had just handed them my poorly Apple Device and the mayhem had begun.
I was trying to mask my confusion and terror by nodding profusely while making various hesitant grunting noises. It really shouldn’t be like this, just a few decades back I got my Masters Degree in Computing. I had started a Doctorate in Techie Stuff. But just like the Jurassic Worker now being eyeballed by hungry Slasher, the world had changed and not for the better. Now I can’t even figure out the TV remote control and please don’t ever ask me about the programme settings on our Japanese Washing Machine. Apple Technology is the stuff of Harry Potter Magic to me.
I had no idea what the two Apple Techies were trying to explain to me. Even more disconcerting was how they had clearly disabled all my device security settings in less than 10 seconds. They did eventually ask me to put in a password but I had the feeling that was just to make me feel invested in the process. Even that brought shame. The Apple Experts trying to show me that my way of screen navigating which takes about 15 steps could be done in a flash with the flick of one finger in a certain direction.
Quickly my device was dismantled. How can the Apple Bods talk and do this so quickly. It used to take me hours to dismantle a computer, never mind trying to talk at the same time. Then rather disconcertingly my dismantled device was instantly paired with a Store iPad and clearly the two devices were talking to one another. My device was basically telling on me, describing just how rubbish a user I had been to it. In computer binary the clear message was ‘this prehistoric bloke still uses pen and paper’. Oh the shame, I could feel the life force draining out of me. It all seemed a bit too much like Terminator for my liking.
Then thankfully I was out in the city streets. We do some fun streets here…… Like me, old fashioned.
Out in the rain with just a piece of paper in my hand. That kinda disappointed me, just a paper copy of a service note, I was expecting Apple to use something like a virtual 3D holographic document thingy. Anyway, I was completely at a loss whether my device was getting repaired or was getting binned by Apple. As it later turned out, a Replacement Device was being sourced, so it was getting binned. Fortunately binned within the warranty period. Another shiny new Apple Device to shout at.
Through this process I actually realised something. Wow those Apple Techies were enthusiastic. They clearly were completely at home and loving Technology Land. Can I even venture to suggest that they seemed to LOVE their job. I contrasted that to MY backstory. One day, decades ago, I woke and realised that Computing was basically monumentally, mind numbingly boring to me. With that realisation, I walked out on my Doctorate. Techie stuff never sparked me, never remotely came close. That has to be the key for me. Find things that bring a SPARK into my life and run with them. I have really not done that enough and if I start doing that then just maybe, I will be less likely to feel so pigging lost in life.
There is something special and comforting about slowly cruising across a peaceful lake. Calming, refreshing, recharging. Switzerland is the perfect place for those dreamy boat trips, with its stunning 1500 alpine lakes. That’s such an odd thought, a completely land locked country being such a water paradise. Bizarrely I also got to watch my first ever beach soccer match here as well….
Just a few days ago I was stuck in heavy motorway traffic, going nowhere fast thinking, where was my Road to Hell cd…. Sat in the car dreaming of one of those perfect lake trips. That’s travel, that’s living.
What I would give for a few water based hours this grey, uninspiring English Sunday. A drink, a fine meal, watching the world slowly turn, surrounded by The Alps.
As I’m writing this a long forgotten holiday memory has just resurfaced. A family trip on a steamer across Lake Brienz.
Hawklad’s Mum had ordered food in German to the waitress. A waitress experiencing her first morning in this job as she nervously pointed out to us as she took our order, potentially her first ever order….. Hawklad got his beloved frankfurter and chips. I received my healthy plate of chips with a cheese and calorie loaded pizza. However Hawklad’s Mum had a little surprise. A cheese salad arrived looking a lot like the full meat platter.
I’ve never seen so much meat on one plate.
It was quickly decided that we couldn’t send the wrong order back on the waitresses first morning, especially as clearly Hawklad’s Mums much vaunted PERFECT GERMAN was clearly not so PERFECT. So what to do. My idea of secretly hiding pieces of meat in our pockets was for some inexplicable reason, REJECTED. So was Hawklad’s suggesting of hiding the meat under my baseball hat. Hawklad’s Mum decided the best course of action. She would get the pizza and I gained a full plate of meat. My first meat in about 5 years following my trip down vegetarian boulevard. The things you do to maintain a peaceful lake trip 😂😂😂😂😂.
When his mum went to the toilet I whispered to Hawklad that actually my meat option was really tasty and I was rather enjoying it. For some reason I failed to mention that fact to his mum, sticking to the ‘this is a real struggle, woe is me’ narrative. I think I pulled the deception off although Hawklad might have blown my cover when he pointed out to his mum with a cheeky grin that
‘For someone struggling so much Dad has done so well to eat all the meatand leave nothing apart from the salad bits.’
It’s early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire and my mind has drifted to happy holidays in beautiful Switzerland. It’s been far too long since our last visit.
Sundays would be bliss.
Usually the first day of the holiday. After breakfast we would catch the boat across Lake Thun to Interlaken.
First stop HOT CHOCOLATE and watching the world go by. Then it was CRAZY GOLF (they do like a good game of crazy golf here). Then a walk to a small Chinese Garden with a beautiful fish filled pond.
Walk round beautiful Interlaken and then on the way back, stop off at The EdelWeiss Gift Shop. While Hawklad’s mum looked at clothes and postcards, the two boys would look at the huge Schleich Toy Animal section and the amazing CUCKOO CLOCKS on the wall.
I never did get round to buying one of these clocks, maybe on our next trip. Let’s hope.
Then it was days spent in just the most stunning landscapes.
A new walk for the two of us in North Yorkshire, we are so blessed to live here. So many places to breathe.
Although I think these shelters aren’t going to be much cop against our tropical weather….
Three days since school returned from a week off and not one single communication from a teacher. Nothing. Maybe School has given up any pretence of supporting Hawklad now.
I was thinking back to how naïve I was just a few years ago. I kinda still assumed that life, parenting, everything, was perfectly logical, straightforward, fathomable.
Did I really think that.
What a monumental muppet.
Now I know. I know how I feel. Tired, confused, battered, walking through life’s avenues seemingly wading through unremittingly thick, bucket loads of treacle – seriously hard work.
Why was all this such a surprise to me, I just needed to look back at my parents. Bringing up 5 children, both parents having to work to try and make ends meet. Trying to maintain an old battered house which had an outside toilet and one coal fire for heating. The only holiday they enjoyed was the very rare day trip to the beach at either Saltburn or Whitby. I’m not sure they ever truly figured out their youngest child, ME, I was baffling to them. My parents trying to do all this while coping with a failed, dysfunctional marriage.
I bet they felt a lot like I do, like many of us do. Worn down, tired, disillusioned, perpetually bewildered.
If one word sums of the Yorkshire Coast, then that word is going to be BRACING….. A few brave dogs braved the North Sea but not for long. I lost a game of chicken and had to endure ice cold wet feet. That woke me up.
On the way back WE talked school. Sadly a school that is increasingly ‘missing in action’ as the May Exams fast approach, like an out of control Freight Train.
The more I see, the more I hear, the more I realise just how bad school has been for Hawklad. Looking back to when he was going everyday. He told me that he use to bin most of his pack up school lunches for two reasons. At least once a week he never got the time to eat lunch due to work requirements – I’m not sure a child going hungry is the best way to create an enriching learning environment.
The other reason, the MAIN REASON.
“Dad I used to get so stressed by school, so sad, so unhappy. I truly hated that place, I was scared of it. The teachers didn’t seem to care, the never noticed me. I was never allowed to be myself. It would make me sick, too sick too eat….”
Speaking with his NHS specialist, they can’t keep up with the tidal wave of child mental health problems in school.
How can this happen.
How have we got school so wrong, so stress filled.