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.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time to dream. Dream about family holidays to Alpine Heaven, to beautiful Switzerland. It’s been a while now but maybe that time will come again.

I was listening to the radio when the Presenter talked about how difficult it was to find new holiday ideas because travel blogs were getting longer and longer. More detailed. The choice was getting tougher.

So an idea popped into my head. SEVEN word only travel blogs. Just 7 words to describe a country, a city or a tourist attraction. So we tried it on Switzerland. Hawklad went for

Happy childhood memories, beauty, warm, mountains, love.

And Muppet Dad went for

Alps, Lakes, Relaxation, Mountain Air, Walking Heaven

Another SEVEN words come to mind.

The best place I have ever visited

And another SEVEN words

I want to go back to SWITZERLAND.

Missing

Sadly we haven’t seen too many of these visitors this year. Add that to the almost complete lack of Bees 🐝. Only a few years back our garden was mobbed by garden visitors but not anymore. Very worrying.

A few weeks back we had a day in the garden and we counted insects for a wildlife survey. You count the highest number of insects at any one time and the best we found was

2 Butterflies in the garden at any one time

0 Bees… ZERO, ZIP, we never saw one all day long

We have been doing this local survey for a few years now. The first time we did the survey, was before Covid, before a Trump President thing, we had the following scores

16 Butterflies at one time

14 Bees at one time

Not good, not good at all.

Sadly something which isn’t missing is the use of the death of a family member in TV and Movies, for dramatic effect. Fine, if it’s a drama movie but Kids stuff….. Two nights ago Hawklad was watching a random Disney type movie and without any warning the mum died. I could see the sadness in his eyes. Then today he’s watching a cartoon and guess what, the mum dies. He turned the TV off and went outside.

At least give some warning if the show is aimed at a young audience. Grief is tough enough without the likes of Disney adding to it.

A few minutes later, Hawklad came back in and quietly said “I’m probably going to stick to Tom & Jerry from now on”. I really can’t disagree with him on this one.

Summer going

Where did that summer school break go. Just over a week left now and the weather is suitably moody as well.

Something hasn’t really properly sunk in until now. This is Hawklad’s last proper school summer holiday. He leaves school in under one year now. Yes some will get another summer break before college starts but others could jump into a job straight away – official end of childhood according to society.

Where did those years go.

Still no clearer on the educational path ahead. Kinda feeling like I’m going round in circles as a parent. What’s right, what’s wrong, what works, what might not work. What’s best for Hawklad’s future, what’s best for Hawklad now.

I really don’t know anymore.

One thing I do know for sure. I wish I could reset this summer break. Go back 5 weeks and make SUMMER last just that bit longer. Hawklad probably needs that. I definitely need that.

Swiss Sunday

Last week I was asked when was the last time I was in Switzerland. Instantly I responded.

August 2015.

The follow up question was much tougher. Back then did I realise it was going to be my last trip, certainly for many years.

Not officially. Some vague discussions briefly mentioned about another family trip in a years time. Maybe that next time we could take Hawklad’s Granny for one last visit, her husband’s ashes are scattered here. But this time it felt different to me, it felt like times were changing. Some things can’t be avoided for too long. So I walked those Swiss paths and kinda realised things might be very different if another trip happened.

Hawklad’s mum clearly had things on her mind as well. Without any warning, on one walk she pointed to a spot and with a matter of fact tone, quietly whispered. “You can scatter some of my ashes here one day”.

A day later on a Swiss train to Grindelwald she mentioned another place in Switzerland where she wanted Ashes scattered. Same location as her Dad.

You sometimes never join the dots up…

Now the next trip will be very different. But one day when Hawklad is ready, we will venture back. A very different family now.

Autumn….

You can almost feel the nights drawing in.

A conversation today with Hawklad’s lead Clinician kinda confirmed the Plan A course. It’s been increasingly the likely path. Support which now comes his way from the NHS will not focus on a return to the school classroom. It will shift towards trying to get him ready for sitting exams in 10 months time, but sitting them away from the main group of pupils. A neutral, non school location. Plus the long term goal is to see if they can help him start College after this year is finished. They will issue a ‘can’t currently return to classroom note on medical grounds’. That is a relief as The Government is pressuring schools to start fining parents for keeping children away from school, even when the parent believes it’s in the child’s best interest.

So another year of school at home beckons, maybe it’s will end up being a full on homeschooling approach. Better stock up on the coffee then. Oh hang on, I’ve quit caffeine. Better stock up on Donuts then…..

Rainbows

Maybe there is a pot of gold there.

Now there are just under 3 weeks until the school opens it doors again. No news on the proposed school plan for Hawklad’s exam year. I know how school works, we won’t hear a thing until at least a few days into the new academic year. Will he get the few hours of one to one support that we have requested. Will they install the technology that would allow him to remotely attend classes. Will school just pull him from exams as they clearly feel he is a risk to their overall exam performance (already they have pulled him from two subjects). Have they looked into alternatives to exams if he is unable to sit them or they just don’t let him sit them. If he was to return to classes have they put in the plans that they promised.

One thing school has never got its head round is that Hawklad needs certainties. He needs to know what is going on, to have a plan and then he can build to it. Anxieties spike when there is uncertainty. I have repeatedly told school this, health professionals have told school this. Yet every year he starts school with no plan. He doesn’t know his teachers, his timetable, what support (or lack of support) he will get. This year he still doesn’t even know which subjects if any that he will sittings exams in, just under 10 months away now. This is starting to be deeply unsettling for him, this anxiety will just keep building.

Maybe that educational pot of gold is there. School will deliver. All we can do is wait for the rainbow to appear, unfortunately we never really know when that will be.

Swiss Sunday

I’m writing this post sat in our little back room, which in the great tradition of Yorkshire reasoning, is actually at the front of the house. A room which six years ago was mostly the reserve of Hawklad’s mum, I rarely ventured in there. It was her quiet room, a place she could escape from parenting and ME. It was filled with her clothes, her work files, her pictures and her books. Time moves on and it is a very different room now. Yes some of the pictures on the wall are reminders of the past but most of her things are now gone. Her wardrobe made way for Hawklad’s Xbox. The work files on the old desk replaced by my old battered record player. The sound of typing and silence now replaced with the latest FIFA game and my terrible taste in music.

Hawklad’s mum loved the sound of silence, that’s why she loved Switzerland and in particular one small town. Spiez is located around a small bay on the banks of Lake Thun, just on the edge of The Alps. It was a gateway to so much yet was very peaceful. Yet the peace was sometimes broken by the sound of excitement, much to the consternation of Hawklad’s mum. But all very exciting to others….. International Beach Football matches, Speed Boating, Sky Diving, Bollywood Movie Filming and Music Festivals. Not often, but sometimes the town came truly vibrantly alive for a few brief days before the peace was restored.

So this Saturday night, while a David Gilmour vinyl crackles away, I’m thinking of an anything but peaceful Spiez. Tonight is the second night of the annual Spiez Seaside Music Festival. That’s some Yorkshire logic right there as no part of Switzerland is anywhere near the sea….. The closest sea is 160km away. So right now, the concerts will be in full swing. I’m guessing a Swiss Music Star, Stephan Eicher will just be finishing before TOTO close out. It’s decades since I saw Toto support Tina Turner. Hawklad’s mum would hate the loud music whereas Hawklad and his muppet dad would be somewhere in the crowd. But then by Monday the peace of this small beautiful Swiss town will be restored.

And let’s not forget that Spiez is a TWO Lolly kinda place…

I figured something out

It was time to live life on the edge. We finally charged up one of Hawklad’s birthday presents, a remote control helicopter. Not one of the professional ones, this one was surprisingly tiny made out of what appeared to be the thinnest of plastics and the most brittle of metals. It was one of those Amazon ‘80% off’ deals that entices you in for that one extra present, yet never quite explains to you that basically there is a really good reason this thing is so CHEAP.

Anyway after a few months it was time to give this helicopter its inaugural and probably only flight. The instructions talked optimistically of 15 minutes battery flying time, yet it gave off the impression of a single use item. As Hawklad said

“Well if it’s going to crash and burn on its first flight, let’s make it spectacular and film it”.

He remembers….

This is not our first dabble into the world of remote control, cheap toys.

There was the rally car that split in two when it hit the apple tree.

There was the toy drone that launched itself over the house and imbedded itself in the neighbour’s drive. It ended up as flat as a pancake.

There was the first helicopter then smashed into the house at a Warp Speed 10 and smashed into a thousand pieces.

And there was the so called unbreakable hovering glowing ball that had one uncontrolled hop before it smashed into the fence. It was then definitely anything other than unbroken.

So we were understandably not very hopeful. But you know what. The helicopter actually flew. It hovered. It landed. Yes it had a few heavy landings but it SURVIVED.

It was unmarked when the batteries ran out. Here is the really cool bit that made me smile. Hawklad took the remote control and flew it himself. Normally he backs away and watches others take control. He often just watches me do it. But on this day he had confidence in himself. Yes I had to check that we were fully alone first but he did it. He enjoyed it.

Yes that lawn has taken a hit from a family of moles, a badger and an excavating pup…

And here is what I figured out. Actually this was the first time that he took the controls, the first time I could convince him to have more fun doing than just watching. The first time he could overcome his fears of failure. So what did I figure out then…..

I’ve had the controls every single time one of the toys has crashed and burned. Muppet Dad is a liability. Toys last when I watch and don’t play. OH PANTS.

So my job is now paying for things and then most definitely just filming when they are enjoyed…….