It’s back

So much for the ‘warmer’ spell. The white stuff is back.

This is a message to the Brits amongst you. Are you enjoying Brexit? Here its been a great trade off. Losing my right to travel freely across Europe. Increased cost and admin trying to get stuff from the EU. Nationally industries like Fishing are facing bankruptcy because they are struggling to get products out of the country and are sinking in a sea of additional bureaucracy. But on the PLUS side the supermarkets have many empty shelves were fresh food items can’t make it into the country. So yes all the billions spent have been so worth it…..

The shopping was a wonderful experience today. No carrots, no grapes, no oranges, no bananas, no onions, no corn on the cob…….. Hardly any frozen vegetables and fruit.

So it’s a week of processed foods, chips, pizzas, soups and chocolate. How many different things can I make with a bag of grotty looking sweet potatoes.

So here’s my excuse for potentially coming off my diet. I blame it on the PM and Brexit….

Water

It’s been almost a year since I stood near a river. Well over a year since I stood by a lake. Won’t be long before it’s two years since I stood in the Sea.

I was looking out over the fields, trees and hills. I started to yearn for a River. A lake. The Sea. To look at, to stand next next to or even better. To stand in the water.

That’s why that little rain water flood pool that forms in the farm is such a big thing for me. It reminds me of that feeling. Of better times. Of freedom.

One day….

Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Soul

We watched the Pixar movie SOUL last night. Felt like perfect timing. Trying not to give the movie away but it makes you think about life and what it means to you. Its really good, funny in places and sad in others. At times I found it uncomfortable as it was a little to close to home for me.

I came away from the 100 minutes thinking

Life is maybe not about the things I thought it was about (confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a while now)

Actually what are the things in life that make me spark and feel alive

Just how time is wasted

Fears of looking back at life and regretting lost opportunities

I can still grasp those opportunities…..

A few hours later and I’m still reflecting on SOUL. Life and the pandemic have kind of hemmed me in (hemmed many of us in). We have been in our own lockdown for almost a year now. Likely to be in lockdown for much of 2021. Time is to precious to just be content with performing endless holding patterns until life changes again. Have to find ways to live TODAY…

Not happening

Still waiting for the above freezing weather to arrive. It should be here soon. Potentially a short respite before the really cold air arrives again at the weekend.

The covid vaccination programme is up and running here in the UK. It’s still a mess with most over 70s still waiting a first jab or being told that the follow up jab is being delayed. That doesn’t apply to the PMs Dad who has already had his second one.

I will become eligible probably after April. Hawklad…….

The UK Government stance is that under 18s will NOT get vaccinated – no exceptions unless serious life threatening underlying medical conditions exist. Children are deemed to be of lower risk to serious covid complications and are not a government priority. They have not asked the vaccine manufacturers to test on under 18s. Only Pfizer has conducted any tests on the under 18s. Two of the manufacturers are about to start some testing safety and effectiveness on children in the US.

So where does that leave our little family. In Limbo.

I will at some stage probably get vaccinated but that doesn’t mean that I can’t carry the virus. Hawklad is not likely to get vaccinated at all. So as we stand our self imposed lockdown will have to continue indefinitely. That includes me even if I do get the jab.

The return to the world is NOT happening.

Talking

It really is ok to talk about mental health. So why does it still feel so hard to do it? But talking is so important. We need to make it routine. So let’s talk about my depression.

I’ve been struggling with mild depression for a few weeks now. Actually maybe much longer. Feeling hemmed in. Hemmed in but kinda thankful I’m not physically meeting people. Low confidence and minimal self esteem. More hesitant. Finding routine tasks much harder. Difficult sleeping. Feeling emotionally worn out. Finding it just a little harder to smile.

It seems to have stabilised. Not getting any worse but no signs of improvement as yet. I do have an old supply of anti depressant but I haven’t used them as yet. So I’m plodding on. Trying to avoid the news and taking each day as it is. Trying to focus on the positives in my life and there are some wonderful ones. Need to remember that.

Yes it’s good to talk.

Fingers crossed

Still cold but a heatwave apparently is on the way. A few days at 1C. Then after that it’s either wet and windy or a plunge back into the freezing stuff again. Think I will take the freezing stuff. We get far too much of the wet, gnarly stuff and that’s just in summer.

I’ve just finished the morning exercise. Been trying to drag out the workout for as long as possible. It’s so much better than what is to follow…..

I’m trying to work through a 56 page application form. Having to reapply for a small benefit which we get. Only small but it currently makes such a difference. Especially at a time when work is so thin on the ground. Likely to be thin on the ground for some time. Had hoped it would start to pick up in March but that is looking over optimistic. Maybe the Summer. But on the bright side I still do have a job, many have lost theirs. Work is at such a premium.

It’s ironic to look back before the pandemic. I was trying to find a new job that would better suit the homeschooling role which might be needed down the line. I was looking at so many options. Well that homeschooling gig crashed into effect and not in the way that I had envisaged. Due to the pandemic suddenly all the alternative work options have disappeared. It’s now about hoping that I can keep my current job that at least partly fits the homeschooling role. The current full time homeschooling role which may become permanent.

So at present this benefit form needs completing and it’s taking seemingly for ever. Question after question. Trying to find evidence to justify the answers. The problem is that the government has tightened up the eligibility criteria. It’s requiring more evidence. Adding more steps and hurdles. Up to date clinical opinion is required. How does that fit with waiting more than two years to see a paediatrician. Unable to access services due to cut backs. A pandemic. It doesn’t….

So just got to wade through the form. Submit it and see if the benefit continues in March. Fingers crossed.

Big Brother

Still really cold here. Makes a pleasant change from mud.

Fridays school day ended with a ‘live teaching session’. Pupils have to sign in and take part in a live class. The teacher can see the pupils and everyone can hear everybody else. The classes are recorded and reviewed by senior teachers. This is to ensure pupils are behaving and participating. Ironically English are focusing on George Orwell’s 1984. Big Brother comes to mind.

Hawklad tried but in the end had a bit of a meltdown. So we turned the session off within seconds.

School just don’t seem to understand how difficult Zoom like sessions are for some children. The school attitude seems to be ‘well just do it and it will get easier, other pupils are fine with it’. That was the teachers attitude on Friday. “If he doesn’t do the session then he will miss out, he should really be doing it.” It’s that ‘one teaching approach must fit all’ mindset. If something doesn’t work for a child then tough, the child just has to be forced through the hoop.

Well he ain’t doing it…. Not until HE feels comfortable enough. Time is better spent on things that work for Hawklad. Things that he enjoys and which enrich him.

We say Pants to Zoom…..

Baking hot

Don’t worry. No need for the panic room. It’s the other baking…..

Sometimes it’s hard to drag the body out of the warm bed and into the baking hot Yorkshire winter weather. I know what’s likely to greet me when I do finally get to the back room and my exercise bike.

It’s potentially colder in this room than it is outside. And it’s certainly cold outside.

That’s ice…..

I remember the days of jumping on the bike in pretty short shorts and a thin running top. At present it’s 97 layers, gloves and two wooly hats. I’ve got that many layers in that I have to peddle for at least a minute before my very outside legging layer starts to move.

Today the water and energy drinks have been replaced with hot chocolate and a hot water bottle.

So I was on my exercise bike and feeling like I was in an icy snow hole. What I couldn’t make me mind up about was….

Was the iced up windows annoyingly blocking the view of the outside world

OR

Was the iced up window forming a useful barrier, blocking out the reality of the outside world.

In the end I decided it was a bit of both.

Learning time

Could look at this view for ages. It makes life feel so uncomplicated.

It’s been one of those school at home days. The sort of day that reminds me what I’m missing with caffeine (lots of it). The stronger the better.

The third cup of decaf just doesn’t hit the same mark…..

Before summer school basically used Showbie to run its lockdown home schooling system. Teachers delivered lessons via recorded videos, documents and resources available on the web. It was simple and largely worked.

School has now implemented Microsoft Teams and that is being used to deliver the current lockdown home schooling.

Now cards on the table, I have a masters degree in computing. So I’m ok with tech. Excluding the remote control, washing machine and my mobile. Hawklad sorts those out for me…. But Microsoft I can do…..

How can I describe the new Teams learning experience.

OMG 🤯

Really 🙀

##@@##%££🤬

For us its shocking. Talk about school over complicating things. Poor Hawklad has lost the plot. I’m not far behind. And reading many of the pupil comments (and a few teachers) – we are not the only ones.

Today Hawklad must have spent 20 minutes on actual learning. The other 5 hours has been spent dealing with app crashes, lockouts, never ending formatting issues, searching for stuff, trying to find ways to open audio and video files on the school iPad.

Much of this will be down to how school have set up the system. Yes Teams can do so much more and it helps the school with administration. But it’s been at a cost. It’s proving much harder for some of the pupils to learn. Hawklad just doesn’t find it easy using Microsoft apps. They seem to be designed in a way that just doesn’t suit the way his mind operates. Even some of the teachers will start a lesson off on Teams and within minutes switch back to Showbie. PLUS. My decaf budget is going through the roof….

But when your parenting day is not going well the last thing you want to hear is ‘live teaching’ or ‘real time classroom video experience’. Our day is finishing with that beauty. I just can’t wait and there will no doubt be another frustrated post winging your way….