Are you sure

A moment of quiet contemplation between the mayhem. A penny for his thoughts.

I wonder if it was ‘in a few minutes I get a chance to really bark at the shopping delivery driver’.

Well he needed patience today. Definitely late delivery.

We are so fortunate to be able to book a weekly food delivery. Ok what comes is a little random but it so helps during these strange lockdown days. The drivers are usually really friendly and helpful. Today it was a new driver who looked only just old enough to drive the van. About an hour late the phone rang.

“I’ve been sat outside for 10 minutes and your not in. I’ve food to be delivered.”

Sorry but you are not outside our house.

Yes I am”

Sorry I can’t see you on our drive.

‘Well I am parked on your drive”

Sorry but your not. You might be at the wrong house.

Definitely not, I’m here”

Wait a second and I will see if I can see you….. I can see you. I’m waving at you. You are at the wrong house.

No you must have used put the wrong address on the order. It says xxxxxxxxx as the address ”

Yes that’s our house address. It’s the one that has been used by the supermarket for 9 months. It’s the address to this house not the one your parked at.

Are you sure…..”

Strangely yes I am sure. I’m currently stood outside my house and you are parked outside the wrong house.

*******

Finally the van arrived at the correct address. The food was delivered and then the deep philosophical discussion continued.

That house had the same colour door as the one you included in your instructions..”

I don’t think it does. I put on the order that our house had a white door. That one over there has a brown door.

It’s very confusing I bet the other drivers have struggled to find you.”

No you are the first to get lost.

For the future could you add some more detail to the delivery address.”

So apart from the correct address, the correct colour door, instructions on how to get to our house from both village entrances. The ones which are on the order already – what would you suggest.

Anything to make it clearer….”

*********

So on the next order maybe I should include the door colours that do not apply to our house. A note saying that it might be an idea to check the door number on the door matches the one on the order. And listen out for the really noisy dog. That should do it…

Disappear

Those snow blizzards are intensifying here. Not sure I will be able to keep digging us out. Tough winters here in Yorkshire. Need to but some ski boots……

I realised something this morning. Apart from Hawklad I’ve not actually seen another human since last Wednesday. Ok I’ve seen people in videos and movies but not actual seen anyone. Not even someone in the distance. No one. No dog walkers. No neighbours. No one walking on the street. No postman. No delivery people. That must be a record for me.

It just shows how easy it is to disappear these days.

It’s going to feel really odd when I finally bump into someone. Maybe even talk to them. Wow that’s a thought. What will I say? Probably need to practice a bit just in case. Practice holding eye contact. Better practice with the sheep first. Maybe work on a different conversation opener though

Hi. You are cheeky. Do you fancy a biscuit….”

Doolittle

I think I’m starting to channel my inner Dt Doolittle. Fit those without this gift can I translate the look I’m getting from the sheep.

Will you stop taking photos and please go and fetch the biscuits. Doris is in the other field so you don’t need the Digestives. Now be a good chap and get the packet of Rich Tea. By the way you really don’t suit cycle shorts…

So that’s what I did. It was biscuits for all our wooly jumper friends.

If only my Doolittle skills extended to people. Would have come in useful this morning. A mid morning knock at the door and a delivery driver. As I opened the door she preceded to talk to me in a foreign language. For many seconds….. I just smiled and nodded. She pointed to the parcel on the floor and started to walk off. She suddenly stopped turned round and in English said

Please tell I haven’t just spoken to you in polish”

Having confirmed that she spent the next two minutes apologising. Apparently she forgets some times. And with that said she said goodbye and left. I still don’t have a clue what she said in polish though. She forgot to mention that….

Jim Morrison

Definitely been one of those mornings. One of those French mornings…..

It’s taken us 8 weeks to work out that class has been accessing a learning resource that we didn’t know about. So two months later Hawklad finds himself behind. I guess it was one of those things that was discussed in class but not passed on. Deep joy.

I can officially say that this subject has become a disaster.

Anyway I think the time it would take to catch up would be better spent on other activities. Maybe even playing with a non school sanctioned language app. Let’s see if we can find one that works for him. That would be a start. At least it would start to give him the basic skills and bugger the school tests in this subject.

I must admit that this so mirrors my time at school. I so struggled to learn French. Just wouldn’t stick. In the end sitting my final French exam was a bit of a Hail Mary Pass. Not much hope.

But strange things can happen.

Half the exam was the expected shambles. A series of random guesses really. Then the final question accounting for 40% of the marks. Read a long French newspaper article and answer questions in English. I should have had zero chance. But unbelievably the article was about Jim Morrison and The Doors. OMG I know every answer without reading the text.

Two months later I received my certificate in French. I had scraped a PASS. Must have got a perfect score on the final question and winged 10 marks from my other guesses. Yes I owe my French Qualification to Rock Music.

Francais

So the dawn of another school at home week. Let’s ignore the fact this is a sunset…..

School at home is kind of working for some subjects. That’s often down to the availability of the online content, the accessibility of the material and how interesting the material is. Unfortunately some subjects are just not working. Prime amongst all of them is FRENCH.

Le Francais ne fonctionne pas

This is not something new. I remember struggling with the subject at school. The teaching method seems to be very dry. This works great for some kids but not others. But in the UK we are still focused on delivering one teaching approach to all pupils regardless of it works or not. One day we will shift to tailoring learning to suit the individual child rather than the needs of the Government.

Our Son is dyslexic. That presents significant issues when trying to learn another language. For a start certain languages are less transparent than others. Presenting more issues with learning pronunciation, spelling, grammar and word order. English and French are two really difficult languages in that respect. Potentially presenting greater challenges for those with dyslexia. Languages like German, Italian and Spanish may present easier routes to learning.

Our Son has Aspergers. The impact on language learning is not entirely clear. It largely depends on the individual. In our sons case he can visually remember lots of facts and instantly remember then. Not so good if it involves text. Visual imagery is best.

Then we come to the learning approach. What is the current approach. Trying to remember words parrot fashion. Translating text. Writing out sections of text. Old school spelling tests. Then expecting that to be brought together into listening and answering comprehension questions on spoken dialogue. Penalising errors. That just isn’t working for our Son. In his words

“I’m now dyslexic in two languages.”

Maybe a better approach is to let the child pick a language first…..

Then offer a range of multi sensory learning methods. See which ones work and which don’t. Every child will be different. Maybe our son would benefit from concentrating on listening and speaking. Focusing any other learning on more graphical approaches. He loves history. Maybe try to incorporate history about the country into the language learning.

That’s the ideal world.

But back to reality. The current school approach. I keep stressing to school that the current approach is just not working. He is quickly losing interest and patience with French. Eventually school has said that it will see what it can do. It looks like they will try to add some more explanations to the text and potentially video some parts of the classroom lesson. Problem is that it’s still the same teaching method just with added detail. It’s a bit like when you go abroad and struggle to make yourself understood. So what do you do. Often you don’t try to change what you are saying, you just end up saying exactly the same thing but now shouting it. So I’m not entirely hopeful of progress.

If and when we do go full homeschooling then language learning will be the very first thing we change. Find something that works for our Son. It has to be that way.

Ca doit etre mieux que ca

Failure to communicate

I wonder what it’s like not to communicate. Doesn’t seem to do the roses any harm. I guess they communicate in other ways – scent, colour, thorns….

When I communicate it too often messes up or the point completely misses its target. One day I will find a way.

I also said something similar about my football team. One day they will be crowned champions. I’m still waiting. The last time was 1926-1927. Even I am not that old.

So I should have known better when I picked up the phone to school. Maybe I could still persuade school to be a bit more proactive with our son. Give him a tad more support at home. Maybe even some feedback on how his submitted work is looking. Even possibly if school would work with me by using the enforced time at home to try out some new learning approaches. For example a more online and interactive approach to learning French.

Twenty minutes later. Well that went well. NOT. So basically nothing will change unless the school is forced to go into lockdown. At that stage more support and access to online systems will be opened up to all pupils. Must admit school is following Government guidance and is clearly experiencing some staff shortages. Anyway I got the proverbial Talk To The Hand.

So yes verbal communication is vastly overrated.

Moon

A few nights back we had the most glorious full moon. Appearing to be much larger than normal but what took the breath away was the colour. For about 20 minutes it was a free cosmic air show. Almost like a second sun. My poor mobile struggled to capture it but I did my best.

While talking through the show our Son misspoke a common phrase. It’s always a dilemma whether to correct him or not. We’ve had conflicting advice from a number of professionals on the best way to handle communication skills and Aspergers. The approach I’ve taken (certainly not saying it’s the best) is to quietly point it out then immediately reinforce that everyone does these things AND his Dad is as bad as anyone. This is so important with our Son because the slightest thing can effect his confidence. After I pointed this one out he immediately stumbled over his next few words. So the Silly Dad stories got trotted out.

The time I was supposed to say Area and said ARSE.

The time I was delivering a team talk and my stammer crashed back into operation over the word Operational. After seconds of not being able to say Operational I did my normal trick of replacing the word with something easier to pronounce. Unfortunately this time the brain decided to replace it with OCTOPUS.

As a kid I was playing cricket and I got struck in the balls with the very hard ball. Absolute agony. To make things worse I was given detention for saying my balls really hurt, maybe I should count them’. Apparently this was inappropriate language. So later I asked the sports teacher what was an acceptable phrase. He kindly told me that the ‘nether regionswas the phrase I should use. Unfortunately I misheard him and for years I called them ‘my Netherlands‘.

Thankfully this made Son laugh and his little bit of mispronunciation was forgotten. Then it was back to the Moon show.