Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a little walk down memory lane. To holidays spent in the one of the worlds must picturesque countries set amongst the majestic Alps. Yes it’s to go back to Switzerland.

When the sun shines, the skies are so blue in this wonderful country. But if the weather turns, guess what. Switzerland is still a magical place.

If you get the chance, please visit this stunning country. You won’t be disappointed.

Moving two

Another school exam at home today. More walking about. More music. Not much sitting around. The exam room was basically the house and at one stage, extended to the garden. It works for Hawklad. He gets more information onto the papers this way.

So I spoke to school. What are the alternatives to exams. The initial response of a separate room, under exam conditions, just doesn’t go far enough.

I watched Hawklad do his work while in perpetual motion, my mind wandered back to university. My last exam there. I wonder what Hawklad would have made of that.

Everyone in fancy dress. I went as a Roman Centurion including fake plastic sword. I was not allowed to take the sword into the exam room, it was deemed a banned item. I’m not sure how a cheap plastic sword would aid with any Degree Paper. During the exam, the overall experience was bizarre verging on transcendental. I can remember many of my fellow exam candidates. All living the last few hours of a 4 year course. A chap in traditional Moroccan dress, although everyone thought it was actually more like Obi-WAN’s Jedi costume. A girl dressed as a mermaid. Another as a air hostess. Barbarella made an appearance. The Blues Brothers, Thelma and Louise, The Village People and Elvis all turned up. A guy dressed as one of the Charlie’s Angels. That guy was clearly in much discomfort during the 3 hour exam. He couldn’t sit still. Apparently his figure hugging garment was applying too much pressure to his nether regions. I had the other experience. My centurion tunic was a little on the short side and it kept riding up. Not only was my modesty under threat (I was conscious of the poor female friends in viewing distance) but it was also far too draughty for my liking. Those Centurions were seriously tough, wearing so little while stood on the exposed Northumberland Hadrian’s Wall during winter.

The crazy thing is that it all that mayhem and madness worked. We all passed that exam. Most with higher marks than expected.

I wonder if school would consider that particular exam adjustment. I wonder if Hawklad would. One thing is for sure, I’m not fitting into my Roman attire these days. I suspect that even a 10 man Roman Tent would be tight around my thighs now.


Here’s the problem with school exams. Sitting in a deathly quiet hall. Surrounded by people who you probably don’t know and if you did know them, what’s the point as you can’t talk. Sat for hours, without moving, writing in silence. The only sounds, the occasional cough (that might be really off putting these days), the rustle of sweet papers being opened and the never ending clicks of the large clock at the front. Then the deafening booming voice – ‘and that’s time, put you pens down’…..

Today Hawklad had a History exam to sit at home. A slightly different exam environment. Sat on a sofa – sometimes. Then pacing around the house to think. A trip to the kitchen to get a piece of cake and soda. Then relocating to his bed to do the long question. All to the tune of music. Some Queen, some Bowie then some Journey. Not forgetting the 2 minute break to give his fingers a rest, best done by tickling the dog’s tummy and kicking a ball around the room.

That’s how Hawklad thinks, works and is most comfortable. Sitting still for more than 10 minutes is stressful, his body needs to be in constant motion. Quiet spooks him. Concentration is done in short bursts then a break. He thinks best when he’s relaxed and moving.

Looking at his completed paper. That free form exam approach works perfectly. Problem is that it isn’t going to be allowed in the final exams. The traditional exam environment is so alien to him. He just can’t perform in that setting. It’s bad for him.

What on earth do we do about that.

Time changes

Virtually every day for over two decades I have looked at this landscape. Looked at that tree, stood alone in the next farmers field. The occasional trip away, the all too infrequent Swiss day broke those years up. But definitely for 6 years, every day I have looked upon that view.

After my partner died, I couldn’t contemplate making changes to the house. It just didn’t seem right. Then a few hesitant steps. Clothes, shoes, handbags and some books taken to a charity shop. But her cd’s are still sat, untouched, in the same place. Her ornament largely in the same locations. But now the mindset is changing. Time for change if Hawklad is ready.

A start will be my partners cd’s. A quick scan revealing a taste for 80’s pop and dance music. They are never going to get played in this metal and rock house. Music is such a waste of its not played. Time to move them on to a better home. Ok I might keep the Dido cd…..

I’m looking at a sofa that is over 20 years old. Cats, a mad climbing dog, food and drink spills, my enormous backside has taken its toll on the poor thing now. It’s really time for a change. Well kind of. Hawklad would appreciate some more comfort but is kinda attached. So we have plan b. But a new sofa, finally change the living room look. But the old sofa can find its way into the conservatory.

That’s still change.

Life has moved on.

I’m not stood by that permanently closed door anymore.

New neighbours

A couple of new neighbours have moved in to the field over looking our back fence. They are much quieter than the usual neighbours. No farting and no incessant water works. Actually the don’t smell as much as well. That’s just lost me all my sheep and cattle followers. Its ok, I’m just horsing around.

Today was one of those school days. Every subject featured lesson material which was difficult for Hawklad. Covering areas that made him uncomfortable. Content which stoked his anxieties and fears. So today was schooling which focused more on the new neighbours and not much on lesson details.

One of the advantages of homeschooling……


Cold start to the day.

It’s been a day filled with worries. Hawklad gets these days where he just feels like he’s trying to run constantly into a headwind. He woke up with worries. School lessons added to those. The longer he stayed inside the worse things got. So it was time to abandon school for the day. Let’s see what a walk brings.

At least being outside helped stop the stream of new worries. That’s a start….l.

But if you look hard enough there is always something to lift the spirits. To bring a laugh.



Sunday, the perfect day for an afternoon walk. Heading down one of those mighty Yorkshire motorways to a beautiful hidden lake.

Ideal for Hawklad, quiet and feeling remote. Plenty of nature and wildlife, no crowds.

On a walk like this you can see the difference in Hawklad. Relaxed, funny, talkative, at ease with the world. Add people, add crowds, add school and the change in him is marked. On edge, worried, pensive, quiet, reserved.

We need more of these Sunday walks.

Swiss Sunday

Switzerland is a country that means so much to this little old Yorkshire family. So many holidays there, so many memories. It’s a special place.

But things have changed. The next time we travel there, it will be different. It’s a much smaller family now. It will just be the two of us. It will be the first trip to The Alps without Hawklad’s mum. But how different will it be. We would always have the same holiday base, Spiez. The Hotel Seegarten, just a few feet from beautiful Lake Thun and it’s marina. We would arrive Saturday night and then on Sunday morning we would always take the boat across the lake to Interlaken. Hawklad loved the relaxing boat journey, he would spend his time on deck. Then a walk round Interlaken. A hot chocolate sat outside a beautiful hotel watching the brave souls landing paragliders after an exhilarating trip from the top of the local mountain. Then a bit of crazy golf, the Swiss do like that sport. A pizza them a trip to a beautiful gift shop. A shop with the most elaborate Swiss Clocks and most importantly a huge selection of Schleich Toy Animals.

The question is….

When we do go back again. Do we stick to the Sunday tradition or do we go for something completely different. Those Sunday mornings were definitely fun and memorable but life has changed. Would it feel the same for Hawklad without his mum. We have talked about it and wow do I regret that….. He’s minded to keep the tradition but add one new thing. Paraglide from that mountain. I think I need a Jumbo Jet size glider to carry my most un-aerodynamic body down to the ground in a controlled manner.

Gliders land here as we had hot chocolates in that hotel


Don’t you love technology.


All I wanted to do was buy two £8 tickets for a walk around a local castle. With covid you now have to pre book the tickets online. All was going well until the message ‘authorisation code sent to mobile’. No message was received. Resend code and once more nothing. Ok, use confirm the payment via the online banking app. AND that failed….Then everything unravelled. Soon I was locked out of my online banking app and my bank card was frozen. Then my online home fuel oil order failed as by card was locked out. I hadn’t realised that my mobile had suddenly gone faulty …. Not accepting messages or calls but at least it still played music (good to see it got its priorities right).

My only option was to phone my bank’s dreaded customer desk. A helpful message told me that my call was important to the bank but there was a 20 minute wait as call volumes were unusually high. Two pigging hours later a voice at the end of the phone. I needed to confirm my identity. Did I know my unique online banking code – NO…. Could I confirm what £19.99 payment was made on my account last Tuesday – NO (as soon as I put the phone down, I remembered, typical)….. Could I remember my online banking password – didn’t know I had one…… Finally, the last option, they would send a security code message to my mobile – but my mobile was stuffed so it never arrived…… Now it’s wait 5 days for a letter to arrive in the post with a code to reset the online banking. Well at least my card was released from purgatory.

Well that went well. I do love the seamless possibilities offered by technology.

So 4 hours later we arrived at a local country house which thankfully still accepted on the door payments. So we did finally get a much needed walk and it was a good one. That was a blessing, no thanks to technology.


When life changes…..

Out for the daily mad dog walk and we bumped into a couple who have lived in the village for decades. Even more decades than I have. I have been in their house. They know me, they did know me. But that was in a past life. The door has been closed on that life for nearly 6 years now. A pandemic hasn’t helped, but I don’t think I’ve met them since the world changed for our little family.

The wife recognised us, the husband didn’t.

Do you live in the village, have you just moved here….

More and more questions before the penny finally dropped and he was mortified. It’s not his fault at all. With the usual British stiff up a lip, I never mentioned a funeral that he attended. I don’t look like George Clooney anymore, well unless George looks seriously old, gnarly and has a beard like a cheap sandpaper strip. Plus Hawklad is not 3 ft tall anymore, now he is twice that size. Why would he recognise me.

Life moves on…….