Churchyard

While Hawklad had a sleep in I pushed the boat out just a little. A one minute walk to the churchyard. Yes it was a very short walk in the scheme of things but it felt like a different world. Just to see different sights. Experience a little bit more of the world. An important reminder that there is much more to life than our little house and garden.

A few seconds to lean against the very old wall and breathe.

Then it’s back home all too soon. Back behind the castle walls. Return to our little family lockdown. Virtually all of 2021 looks like it will be spent in the house and garden. But just maybe I can sneak out occasionally. Even if it’s just a few yards to the churchyard. It will be good to breathe.

Old…

Dad I have to interview someone for Food Technology. That person has to be old apparently. That’s you then Dad”

Charming….But sadly very true….

****that’s the thing about Aspergers with Hawklad. He tells it as it is, no filters.****

Dad I have to ask you about the confectionery you used to eat as a child. I’ve seen the photos, you clearly liked the odd one or two sugar bars…..”

****sadly also very true****

What were your favourite sweets and chocolates all those many centuries ago….”

Decades boy not centuries…. That would be midget gems, flying saucers, black jacks, milk guns, fizz wiz, pineapple cubes, cherry lips and refreshers. Chocolate it would have been Toblerone, Marathon, Wagon Wheels, Minstrels, Revels,Time Outs, Banjos and Curly Wurly’s.

Dad why is it that when I ask you about science, history or art you just look blank at me. Yet I mention chocolates and sweets and I can’t stop you talking….”

Got to get my priorities right.

What’s the biggest changes with current confectionery then Dad?”

Well some of the stuff have disappeared. Some stuff has changed name. What’s this thing called Snicker Bars – it’s a Marathon…. And the sizes. Much much bigger in my day as you can tell from the old photos of my tummy.

Last question Dad. What was the worst thing about confectionery in your day….”

Well I dread to think what they put in those old sweets and chocolate bars. E Numbers were classed as one of your 5 a day healthy options back then. And then some of the stuff was so wrong. One of my favourite chocolates was pretend cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes and even came in a realistic cigarette packet.

Dad what were they thinking of…”

Getting kids hooked on smoking. Making money and seeing children as a commodity to make money from. Sadly that hasn’t changed….

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….

Breathing

Hanging over the fence, looking at the sunset and breathing….

I have just been reading the helpful letter that comes with the government application form I’m trying to complete. Apparently I have to remember that the form will allow the government to better target funds. To weed out false claimants. Ultimately the additional questions and evidence requirements are there to help me.

Well that’s good to know. Currently made to to question 27 out of 71. It’s taken me two days so far. Most of the evidence they want me to include is just not available or out of date. I have plenty of stuff that I could send them but this won’t be considered as it hasn’t been requested.

I’m getting this all wrong. What I should have done is donate thousands to the Governing Party and then you get a better service. The current so called Government can’t help itself dishing out funds and lucrative contracts to its buddies – no questions asked, paper work not required.

When I started the form I was listening to some relaxing classical music. By page 27 I have migrated to Mongolian Throat Metal. I’m guessing by question 71 it will be German Death Metal…..

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…..

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.

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…..

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….

Lagoon

The real village lake and it’s frozen. That does not happen that often. Must be cold.

The call came from Hawklad’s counselling team. All visits are suspended until further notice. Basically until the lockdown is lifted. Which is such a shame as Hawklad had just met his new lead professional. She seemed really good. She set up weekly sessions but these are now on hold. They are going to try a video version but she is not hopeful that it will do any good. He hates all things Zoom and it really throws him.

It’s clear that she also thinks that this is a long term process. Maybe well beyond 2021. The worry is that it will just keep on getting longer until real counselling sessions can regularly commence. But it is what it is.

Anyway back to the frozen lake. I have history here……

I bought the two of us a mini drone to play with. Hawklad struggled to fly it as he found the coordination difficult. So it was down to Top Gun Maverick to show him how it was done. The first controlled garden attempt resulted in the drone being launched like a missile and flying rapidly over our house roof. It crashed near the road, thankfully with no casualties. It’s not big or clever kids…..

So after the drone was repaired with superglue, tape and blu tack, it was ready to go again. The second flight took place in the farmers field. More controlled with a less dramatic crash landing. Only problem was that some of the farm animals took a liking to the drone. That took some retrieving. That never happened to Tom Cruise.

After several more test flights I started to really master the high speed nose dive (wings smashing off) landing. One more flight. This time higher. Quicker. Then disaster. A tight banking turn was too much for the patched up aircraft. The wing dropped off. A spectacular crash followed unfortunately not into the farmers field. A direct village lake hit. Let’s try to be cool and say I performed an ‘in the ocean’ emergency ditching. No recovery craft here. Basically I had to jump over the fence, take my trousers off and wade in. The lake is surprisingly deep. Definitely bracing…. Belly button deep and very muddy. Certainly nothing like Tom Cruise emerging from the ocean. Now you can see where they got the idea for the Monster from the Black Lagoon movie.