Reading

Mostly a day to stay inside and dry but always keeping an eye out for those brief gifts.

In the end, no video conference call this week with school. School staffing unavailability led to a late cancellation. Apparently school will organise another teacher – parent day in a months time.

Ok move on, it’s the weekend.

As a kid I remember one thing really clearly from childhood weekends. Virtually every Saturday morning I would walk to the town’s library. The northern coastal town looked old and tired yet the library was a bit of an oasis. On the outside it looked like any other slate grey concrete block. But on the inside it looked brand new. Clean, bright. It even had a little indoor goldfish pond in the middle of the children’s section. I would select a book and sit beside the pond. For a couple of hours it was an escape from the claustrophobic reality. A working town cut off from the world by the sea on one side and polluting industry on all other sides. Hardly anyone went on holidays. It seemed like most adults would venture as far as the local chemical and steel plants to work, then it was back to the town to live. It did feel so claustrophobic. The only two escapes. The freshness of the beach and books in the library.

Fast forward far too many decades and it was like life repeating itself. Now miles from that old existence and a pandemic hit. Suddenly a picturesque village on a hill became isolated. Month after month of enforced isolation and it felt claustrophobic again. In the modern life there was thankfully a few more escape routes. One of which was again a library. This time quite a bit smaller and an awful lot redder than the old town library.

The village library

The converted old telephone box is the village community library. So a bit like when I was a child, excitedly checking out books to read, let’s see what books are in the library today. Sadly no goldfish to share the books with this time, it’s probably going to be with cows in the farmers field.

Spot anything you like ? Pleasingly the books I’ve donated on a few occasions are not there. Hopefully someone in the village is reading them as I write this.

I can’t begin to tell you just how great it felt during the lockdown to be able to walk a few yards to a little red library. To pick a book and have an adventure. Just like that little boy from that northern town, having an adventure in a library.

Weeding

A proper garden…

Sometimes not weeding is the right approach.

Tomorrow is one of those school video meetings. 9 minutes with the schools lead Special Education Teacher. So much to discuss in just NINE minutes. Where’s the support. What are the options if Hawklad can’t sit exams. Scope for one to one tuition. Let’s see what comes of it.

Today was supposed to be a mock exam but nothing came from school. Maybe they aren’t allowed to send it out, maybe it’s coming later. Another one for the 9 minute discussion.

So without a home exam to sort out it was time to do a spot of gardening. Well look at the garden. Surely looking and planning counts as gardening. As I was doing that hands free gardening I managed to find some lost (or dognapped) property. Numerous socks, a slipper, a plastic dog bowl, several balls and bizarrely a pair of my pants…. I can’t remember losing them while weeding.

Thunder

A couple of hours later and this quiet lane would have been a raging, torrential river. Huge thunderstorms. Too dark even for the iPhone to take a photo.

It’s been that kinda day.

Power cuts. No mobile phone signal. Even the satellite tv had no signal. Frustratingly for Hawklad, the school online system was still working. Work to produce revision notes on a topic that Hawklad had no idea that the rest of the class had covered a few months back. Oh the joys of the school at home project. The schooling system here is just not designed to be flexible for individual needs and circumstances.

Then another discovery. A moment of insight into a subject in which absolutely none of Hawklad’s submitted work (week after week since September) has ever been marked. Conveniently difficult to locate on the system, we accidentally discovered answer sheets. Apparently the pupils had to mark and correct their own work . That would explain things then. It will be one of those things where the teacher has explained that to the class but the message hasn’t made it over the internet to Hawklad.

One day we might get this right.

But then a more pressing thought. Why has the herd of cows that was sheltering next to our garden fence, seeking protection from electrical storm, suddenly decided to leg it to safety, seemingly as far away from our house as possible. What do they know. Maybe it’s time to hide under the table. But apparently not.

“Dad what do you expect when you have started singing Schools Out at the top of your voice. A voice that is scarier than my sock draw. Faced with that, no wonder the cows decided to risk lightening strikes to escape that awful fate.”

Definitely been one of those days…..

Swiss Sunday

About 10 years ago I remember talking to a super polite Japanese Guy in who was sat next to us in Geneva Airport. Someone who had seen years and years of life. He told the story about how he had attended an international conference here in Geneva during the sixties. At that stage he hated travel, hated being away from Japan. That all changed on that trip to Switzerland. He fell in love with another country. Since then he had travelled for a holiday here, every single year without fail. He said he would keep coming until his body failed.

I knew why he said that. I understood immediately his sentiments. I still do. I wish I was there right now.

Punishment

A much needed late afternoon walk. Feels like we have the place to ourselves.

Next week the School starts the mock exams for Hawklad’s Year Group. We are still waiting to hear what the arrangements are for Hawklad as he is still not in school. We know when the exams are and the clock is ticking. We are assuming he is sitting them in some form so he has been revising. Like for most of us – he is not enjoying the experience. But he is trying. Many pupils will be trying. I wish certain teachers would realise that.

One particular Teacher approaches revising by setting shed loads of homework. And I mean SHED LOADS. Question after question. But also setting tasks such as getting pupils to write out detailed revision notes and then submit them so that the teacher can make sure sufficient work is being undertaken. If a pupil doesn’t complete all the set homework then punishments will be issued. The Teacher emailed all her class and emphasised that if all the homework was not completed by the end of the weekend to a high standard then Detentions will be issued…..

Hawklad asked me how School would operate a DETENTION if he was issued with one. I gave this much thought since we don’t have a suitable classroom. Best option would be to send him into the back room. The room which has his XBOX which I’m sure will be ON.

Hawklad just doesn’t learn facts by writing out comprehensive neat revision notes. His mind doesn’t work like that. He watches videos and podcasts. He reads books. He thinks about stuff while pacing around the house. He creates images and visual maps in his mind. That’s how things stick for him. That’s certainly not helped by the threat of detentions for doing things that just don’t work for him.

I’ve emailed the teacher to explain this and stressed that revision notes will not be submitted. Maybe I will get a detention as well. Maybe we can play FIFA 21 together while serving our punishment.

Detention might be a good break from the chores of revision.

Accident

Morning view
Evening view
Dog view

Not a great time to have hay fever. A dog with hay fever. He sneezes and sneezes. Wow does he get some distance…… I’ve said it before, imagine being slimed just like Peter Venkman was in Ghostbusters. All done with a wagging tail. He’s having fun with it.

But it has messed up his taste sensation. That’s what his Vet has said. So he only eats warm food now. Only eats it outside. Whatever the weather, outside. Only eats if one of us sits next to him. As the Vet says, he is a complex Chap (that’s Captain Chaos not the Vet). No wonder you don’t get many Cocker Spaniel, German Spitz crosses. In this case, definitely an accident in a park.

He was brought into the family to bring back the feeling of life and fun. He has definitely, definitely done that.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday here in the UK. I’m sat nursing a bruised foot, shin and fingers. That’s what happens when you walk into a metal road sign, drop a heavy box on your foot and then try to fix a large hole in the fence with a Thor like hammer. Try is the optimal word. As the light failed the fence was still is still with hole. Lots of bruises with so little end products.

OH PANTS.

So I need calming. Time to look at family holiday photos. Only one place will do tonight. Switzerland. Yes definitely time to walk in the Alps and forget about the bruises.

Switzerland work your magic.

Expelled

Well that was a different home at school week. A first, I believe. Not one interaction with school. With quite a bit of digging on the school online system we found a few pieces of work to try. We also found a homework task about Serial Killers which had been set for the rest of the class. But no emails, no communication from the teachers. Hawklad was completely left to himself. When he submitted work, it’s remained unmarked. I’m not sure if they would have noticed if he had stayed in bed all week watching Jumanji.

As the next school break is not for a few weeks ……… Has Hawklad been EXPELLED. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Proper weather

It’s been far too dry for Yorkshire. Coming back from the dog walk it was clear that was all about to change. The question would be, do we get back home in time.

No.

Proper weather.

I’m not sure that crazy old tree house would offer much protection these days. Must admit I can’t remember seeing anyone up there since I moved into the village. That’s two decades ago. WOW, two decades. Where did that time go. Anyway just a few pigeons and occasionally the farmer’s cockerel are the only life that makes it up there. The cockerel and hens are clearly very talented.

The farm birds now have branched out into money laundering, honey and eye products.

I could talk about school at home but I would only moan about a day spent revising executions and serial killers. So let’s focus on the farm birds. That’s an egg-cellent choice. Plus if I do moan anymore I run the risk of getting us egg-pelled..

Fashion sense

Clearly the Sun has well and truly set on my fashion sense…..

Not being able to take a rapidly growing teen into a clothes shop is an issue. These days I also can’t often offer him some of my old items. He is long and thin, I’m NOT…. So it’s mostly taking a punt on the style and sizing of online fashion. Whisper it, often from the bargain basement aisles. I

remember the happy days of a son who had as much interest in fashion sense than I had in doing the splits….. Anything was super cool and fashionable if it had a Dinosaur emblazoned across most of it.

Oh I miss those days.

Dad I can’t believe you are expecting me to wear a turtle neck in 2022….”

Wow, that’s most of my wardrobe. Yep the Sun has gone down on my fashion sense.