Back in 2011, a family holiday to stunning Switzerland, this time Hawklad’s Granny was with us. Joining us on this family adventure for a panoramic mountain train journey to Lucerne. Granny had been coming to this wonderful country since the 1950s. This journey proved to be her last visit, it was one she really enjoyed.
Lucerne is a small city famed for its historic architecture built on the banks of a beautiful lake to a backdrop of snow covered mountains.
The star attraction being The Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge), a 205m covered wooden footbridge featuring beautiful wall art. It was built in 1333 and is Europe’s oldest covered bridge.
As ever Hawklad brought some of his friends for the trip. By all accounts they enjoyed the adventure as well.
More grey weather. More puddles. Still banned from using a hosepipe by the Water Company. It’s a drought you know.
School is being very like school. So far this week, out of 16 lessons only 2 provided any material for Hawklad to try at home. Actually that is just one subject, radio silence from the other teachers. It does feel like in most subjects we have transitioned into full on homeschooling. Maybe school’s function now in most subjects is just to sort out the arrangements for the final exams, the teaching is down to me. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 clearly they haven’t seen my old school reports 🤣🤣🤣Well at least we can work the homeschooling around the World Cup Matches.
There are far too many children who are struggling or who are at risk. Safeguarding was everything before Covid shuck up the schooling systems. Not sure it is now….
I can’t remember the last time someone from school asked how Hawklad was doing, how is he feeling, are there any issues. It’s well over 2 years since anyone from school has directly spoken to him. Not one teacher has heard his voice in that time, communication has been through the very occasional email. Ok they might think I’ve got things covered but don’t they have a duty of care over the well-being of one of their pupils. Are all parents trustworthy? Should they not check. Should they not at least arrange to speak to the pupil directly. Am I being naive, maybe schools are just focused on exam performance these days. Hawklad’s School is clearly ticking all the right boxes as it’s rated as Outstanding by the authorities.
Apparently one of my sisters has put her Christmas Tree and Outdoor Lights up today. Which prompted a household discussion on when to put our decorations up. The consensus was MOST DEFINITELY NOT NOW.
This all brought Hawklad to revisit the Great Santa Claus issue.
“Dad, a few years back, exactly when were you going to tell me”
At some stage, maybe when you reached 50.
Sorry, that was a joke #### I have to be so careful as Hawklad still can take everything I say literally##### I was going to give you one more Christmas before you found out. I certainly wasn’t planning on the pesky School Religious Education Teacher telling all the class to grow up and then let the cat out of the bag in the week before Christmas. My MINI FIB was blown out of the water.
“Are there any more MINI FIBS I need to know”
I don’t think so.
##### That sadly is not strictly true. Following a long family tradition our sick bowl doubles up as the baking mixing bowl. 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️ Some things are best not shared especially as he is about to tuck into some homemade bread…..
Surely it’s time to have a wander down memory lane to family holidays to magical Switzerland.
Ask Hawklad to name his favourite playground and without hesitation he goes for the ‘one by the Swiss Lake’. It sits on the banks of Lake Thun, between Spiez and Faulensee. So many trips there. So much Hawklad happy playtime there.
Looking at the latest web photos, it’s changed so much since we we’re last there in 2015, lots of money spent on it. Now it’s called Spielplatz Piratenbucht and it still looks wonderful. Aptly given the name it’s a great place to watch boats as well.
Guess where we will be visiting when we do get back to this special country. More memories to be made, just like this photo below. The man stretching in blue had just been subjected to 10 minutes of Hawklad telling him all about Doctor Who. Poor man didn’t speak a word of English. He just stood there smiling and nodding. Trying to explain to this man what Little Hawklad had been telling him really did stretch my German. Try explaining a Dalek to someone who has no idea who this person Dr Who in a language your not entirely fluent in….
Have I mentioned that our local area still has a hosepipe ban. That pesky scorching sun. The other day Hawklad queried why people in Yorkshire don’t emigrate to somewhere nearer the Equator. I’m not sure my answer was entirely convincing.
My oldest sister would share Hawklad’s view on Yorkshire, it’s weather and the attraction of the Equatorial Climate. Anything below 25C is too cold for her. But it does beg the question how she will cope on her Bucket List Holiday next year. Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights and Alaska. Not exactly Toasty.
Toasty was how I was trying to feel as I made a call to a local college while sitting on the back room radiator. A radiator turned on FULL. I was trying to book Hawklad in for a taster visit. School had failed to let us know that the window for booking these was now open. They hadn’t even mentioned what this college can offer. The reason apparently is that they don’t believe college is a viable option for Hawklad. Deep SIGH.
The college does appear promising as it has a well established setup to offer post school opportunities for pupils who have special educational needs. So we will see if Hawklad can attend a taster session in the New Year and see what he thinks. If the main college is too busy for him then they do have a separate smaller offsite teaching block which has been setup specifically to provide a quieter, more tailored learning environment. He could start in September.
But first we have to focus on Hawklad’s immediate wellbeing and helping with his anxieties. Then it’s the issue of the final exams in June without any real support from school. But at least we have the first opportunity door appearing in the distance. It’s a start.
Hawklad had been working towards his Mock Exams, waiting for school to clarify the arrangements. This week the exams started and we got clarification. Hawklad will definitely not sit mock exams until at least February. The question is how much more teaching will be made available to him from now on as much of the online school material has dried up. There is talk of one to one tuition for a couple of hours a week, however school can’t afford to buy that support in. As school are understaffed we don’t have a start date for support. So we plod on effectively with homeschooling and rely on school to arrange the final exams. Hoping we cover the right areas, find the right things to learn.
It really does feel like that a gap is opening up with his school based classmates.
“Well Dad I might end up failing my exams but at least I can watch the World Cup”
Back to 2015 and our last family of 3 trip to Alpine Heaven, just before the world changed. A perfect deep blue sky week – almost. One slate grey day, so we heeded across the lake towards the closest mountain for a mini adventure. The Niederhorn is a relatively small mountain (6440ft) which seemed to be just below the cloud line.
A relatively small mountain here but way higher than anything the UK has got to offer. Memories are flooding back now. Chatting with Hawklad about how this mountain must kinda get overlooked sometimes in The Alps. Yet if the mountain packed it’s bags and moved to the UK it would be treasured, held in awe. Hawklad laughing at the thought of the Niederhorn needing to buy a waterproof coat for the weather in its new home.
Coats were definitely needed on this day. So was the hot chocolate and warming soup in the mountain top restaurant. But you know what, it was a fantastic adventure, Switzerland always is….
The fungi keep on coming in Yorkshire, must be the perfect weather for them.
Hawklad was muttering about school, in particular HISTORY.
“Dad why do they just focus on the bad stuff in history. Wars, murders, executions, purges, treachery, villains. We clearly spent month after month after month studying Victorian Serial Killers for a bit of light relief from the bad history stuff.”
Yes it has not exactly been a barrel of laughs.
“It’s been like this for years. Just bad history. Never the Good Stuff in history. The uplifting things. The Heroes. The groundbreaking discoveries. The breakthroughs. The great reformers. The adventures. The fun stuff. So many great things have happened in history yet we never look at them. “
It does make you think. Why months of schooling on Jack the Ripper and yet nothing on Mother Teresa or Marie Curie. Not a mention about the Moon Landings, Climbing Everest, Discovering Penicillin, the first flight, development of philosophy, art and literature, the good stuff we can be proud of in history.
History can be uplifting and inspiring. It’s doesn’t have to be always BAD…..
Just a few paces from here is one of the places we have been thinking would be a nice place to scatter some of Hawklad’s mums ashes. His mum loved to walk here. However the area is becoming increasingly wet as the years pass by. The landscape is definitely changing. We might need to rethink the plans.
24 hours after my double shot of Flu and Covid booster vaccines. The arm which enjoyed the Pfizer needle was feeling like it had been repeatedly punched by Tyson Fury. The rest of me was just feeling cold, like I had a cold. Not sure why but every single time I have had the Flu vaccine, the next day I have without fail come down with cold symptoms and it was no different this year.
So feeling COLD and THINKING next to this awesome little lake.
“Dad I’ve come up with a Christmas list idea, how about a Scalextric Set…”
Bang goes my one great big surprise idea….. Pants…..
“You don’t need to get me any Shakespeare stuff Dad, anything to do with School English Literature is not ever making the list now. Definitely not after school sucked the life out of it.”
It’s ok, Shakespeare was not in the Gift running list. The one and only time he did make the GIFT list, it was via the wonderful Horrible Histories BILL movie.
“Dad we haven’t watched the Horrible Histories movie in ages. I learnt more from that movie than school has ever managed to teach me about Shakespeare in years. The movie was fun, school isn’t….”
He’s not wrong there….
Can you remember the last time you had fun with your schools.
“Not happened so far, but to be fair, I’ve only been at school for 11 years.”
And stood by this cold lake, we probably stumble on why education in the UK is in such a mess for so many families.