It’s…..

“Well Dad its ….”

All I had to do was bake 12 fairy cakes. Even I can do that surely. All was going so well. The cake mix passed the Hawklad eating it from the bowl test.

I just had to put it into the oven for 12 minutes and remember to take it out. No need for a timer, I just have to focus for 12 minutes. I can do that. I can avoid being distracted.

TWENTY EIGHT minutes later….Pants…..out the abominations came from the oven. A tad CRISPY.

Attempt two, this time with TIMER.

And the results. The great taste test from Hawklad.

“Well it’s not terrible”

I will settle for that. Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey, that’s a review.

Just a few weeks to raise my game for the 2022 Great Bloggers Bake-off. Mel has all the details and all the proper, delicious baking results.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2022/09/24/so-many-questions/

If I can have a go, surely you can. You know it makes sense.

Swiss Sunday

Looking out on a Yorkshire evening scene and the clouds are rolling in. Yes it’s been sunny at times with blue skies but it’s just not a Swiss sky. It’s something Hawklad talks about, just how BLUE a blue sky is in Alpine heaven.

It’s a breathtaking colour with seemingly so little air pollution to cloud the view. Now I’m thinking about the clean fresh air, I know it sounds strange to say this but breathing in The Alps is just seems better, healthier.

And even when the weather closes in, Switzerland is just perfect. I so hope it’s not too long before we get the chance to experience these special gifts again real soon.

It’s back

It’s been too long.

Time to don your aprons, time to get passionately whisking, time to tend your cobblers. The Great Bloggers Bake-off is coming back on the 15th and 16th of October. You know it makes sense.

More details can be found at Mel’s blog.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2022/09/20/more-details-to-follow/

So in the buildup to the big weekend I will be donning the full HazMat protective gear and baking an item a week. This weekend Frankenstein’s Monster will be a Sponge Cake, sounds simple. However let’s remember some of the high end cuisine this kitchen has yielded in the past.

What could possibly go wrong.

Fog

The first proper autumnal fog, the first of many….

I was looking at an online social media chat about Bereavement ….. well it beats watching my team try to play football. The chat was all about the recent UK State Funeral and how it had triggered emotions in many about their own personal losses. It is hard to watch a funeral and not be reminded of matters much closer to hand. I must admit as I watched the Funeral, one thought really struck me. How on earth do you grieve in front of millions, I couldn’t do it in front 40 people.

Two funerals in 6 weeks and I didn’t grieve at either of them. Focused on an 8 year old and trying to process far too many thoughts. I’m not that sure I took any of the funerals in. I can’t remember anything that was said. Can’t remember the music. Can’t remember that much at all. I can remember my brother whispering something in my ear that brought a half smile. I can remember standing with Hawklad looking at a fishpond after his mums funeral. That’s about it. Just felt like it was about waiting for them to be over.

It does feel so strange that I took far more in for a woman I had never met than I ever did for either of my mum or partner. I sometimes wish I had a video of both Funerals so I could experience them, hear what was said. Feel a part of them after 6 years.

Back to the online chat, the consensus was very similar. Mostly funerals are an ordeal, to organise, to sit through. Often the grieving can only really start when you have the funeral behind you. That definitely was my experience, it felt like it was months and months later before I started. This may sound crazy but until that point I was hurting but I wasn’t grieving. I wasn’t really accepting the reality, wasn’t ready to let go. Maybe if I had let the Funerals in more, maybe I would have been more receptive to grieving.

The fog of life might have started to clear much sooner.

Swiss Sunday

Must be time for another Sunday walk down memory lane. A virtual trip to alpine heaven. SWITZERLAND. This one takes us back to 2012, where did those years go.

A family adventure started with a certain young child wanting to try this cool looking drink, available at the train station. I can’t think why he wasn’t allowed it….

The spectacular Aare Gorge is a just under 2km long with a narrow, raised walkway along one side of the vertical cliffs. It lies just a short distance from the infamous Reichenback Falls where Sherlock Holmes fell into the abyss with Moriaty. At times the Gorge narrows to just a few feet wide. All this accompanied by the sound of a deafening river, crashing through the the narrow rock gap below. Definitely not a place for claustrophobics, but definitely an absolute thrill ride. At night it must be a truly terrifying place. Tiny Hawklad absolutely loved it, he was convinced that monsters and sea creatures must live here, sadly he didn’t managed to capture any on his little toy camera. But it’s still a location he talks about today. Maybe soon he can go back again. Let’s hope so.

Pesky minus

Autumn is here. The Swallows and Swifts have left for warmer climes. Today felt cold even under a thick hoody.

Hawklad is making great strides on the dyslexia front. His reading is really good, now able to read History Textbooks. It’s hard to believe that back in 2020 he struggled to read books aimed at 6 and 7 year olds and school had decided that he would never read, so there was no point trying anymore. Sadly I realise they never really started trying in the first place. I had even gone out and bought a reading pen. He can now accurately read maybe 80% of the words then he can make educated guesses on most of the other ones. It works for him and that’s all that matters.

What is still very much a work in progress is his number dyslexia. He has finally conquered his difficultly with 4 and 7’s. Getting the two mixed up and often writing the two numbers back to front. But he just can’t break the roadblocks that are decimal points, fractions and minuses. Today he was easily expanding out complex equations, yet he would immediately grind to a halt when faced with something like +5-7. He just can’t visualise that. The problem is at home I can gently help with that, but in an exam there is no help.

This week has also highlighted another school stumbling block with reading. SHAKESPEARE. Hawklad’s way of reading just can’t cope with Shakespearean language and spellings.

And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear’st,

An open et caetera, thou a poperin pear!

I did try to read the sonnets to him but I struggle with Shakespeare as well. Plus according to Hawklad when I read, my character voice sounds like I’m reading parts from a SpongeBob cartoon. My Romeo apparently is a dead ringer for Patrick. But at least we have a solution to this one. Just watch the play on thou swear’st Netflix.

Wrestling with the logistics

He misses out on so much, so much of the teenage life. You can only experience so much when you spend so much time isolated. What highlights the isolation is that since March 2020 he has spent some time with only ONE friend in that time – his only contact with someone his own age. Yes a really good friend but that’s a shed load of teenage socialising missed out on. It’s not the same but when a chance to do something special for him presents itself then you grab it, regardless of the difficulties.

The alarm went off before 5am.

300 miles of driving later, two traffic jams and we park up in Cardiff.

Trying frustratingly to find facilities that weren’t too busy and that could be used without causing too much stress.

Trying to take in a bit of the history of the Capital of Wales while avoiding the crowds.

Watching the anxiety levels rise as we join the long queues to get into a huge stadium.

But then the goal. The whole point of this. Getting the wrestling mad Hawklad into the UK’s first major Wrestling Televised Live Event in 30 years, along with 62000 other crazy fans. Was I so underdressed in a grey T-shirt and Jeans…. With much trying I had obtained 2 tickets at the back but crucially in an area with some space around us. Then for 4 hours Hawklad could be part of something, experiencing something different, something exciting. A brief breakout from the isolation

Then it was over, 300 mile night driving and almost 24 hours later we arrived back home. Wow I was tired. Yes it was difficult. Yes the trip highlighted many issues that create roadblocks to eventually easing the isolation and maybe returning him to a classroom. But Hawklad did some of that exciting living and that is all that mattered.

Swiss Sunday

It just seems appropriate to recount this one small tale from a wonderful country called Switzerland.

I think it was back in 2010 and we find ourselves on a quite busy train heading to Geneva Airport, after a family holiday in alpine heaven. The Guard appeared and went along the carriage checking tickets. I’m always amazed at how effortlessly they switch speaking between German, French and Italian. When he got to us, I remember him looking quite sternly at us, then saying ‘oh from England, sorry my English isn’t what it should be. I will come back.” Sounded like we were in trouble for some reason, did we have the wrong tickets…..

After several nervous minutes waiting to be hauled off the train, he returned with an English Translation book in hand. He sat down in the spare seat next to me and with a smile said ‘The rest of the tickets can check themselves. I’m learning English so it’s good to get a chance to try it out”

Did he really say his English ‘wasn’t what it should be’…. For about 20 minutes he talked better English than I could ever manage. And what did he talk about, ask questions about. The Queen, he really respected her. Admired her dedication, her unwavering civic duty and respect for others. He hoped one day to meet her, maybe that was why he was so focused on learning another Language.

Finally he looked at his watch and said the next station is approaching. With that he left toddler Hawklad with a train badge and was off.

I wonder if he ever did get to meet The Queen. I hope so.

Back

Autumn is here, school is here.

In the great tradition of Yorkshire Awkwardness, the moment the local water company declared a DROUGHT and brought in a hosepipe ban, ITS NOT REALLY STOPPED RAINING.

So SCHOOL is BACK. Is there an anti Alice Cooper ‘Schools Out’ song. Maybe Another Brick in the Wall…

When I say school is back, I kinda say that figuratively. So far only one subject has set up Hawklad with this year’s class codes, so only one subject is available on the online system. Apart from receiving one code the only other message from school was an email to all parents and pupils reminding (maybe threatening them) them of the attendance rules and the penalties. That’s it.

And so just like the autumn rain, so starts the chasing up school rigmarole, all over again. At least we have the hosepipe ban weather to sunbathe in.

Update… now add one more school email stressing the importance of pupils continuing to work as hard during the nations official mourning period while ensuring their behaviour is appropriately reflective. As Hawklad points out, the UK Parliament has closed for 10 days to mourn but that option is not applicable to schools – again one rule for some, another for the rest of us. WOW he is starting to sound like me, that’s not good.

A rust bucket

A trip out and more on that another day.

But on that trip we came across what can only be described as a RUST BUCKET. Just parked on an average street, a normal busy street. As we walked to our destination this relic jumped out, sadly I think it’s jumping days have long since gone. It’s like it’s been left here for decades, forgotten, slowly being reclaimed by its surroundings.

I don’t feel too bad about my car now. No more can I call that a rust bucket. We have just found a world class heap of RUST.