Bank Holiday

A British bank holiday and its chucked it down. This is not today. This is today….

Not really perfect outdoor table tennis conditions.

We played footy in the garden, in the rain. Great fun. Then I noticed something. Maybe it’s the effects getting older. Hawklad took a shot heading towards the top corner of our goal. A cat like goalkeeper launched himself to tip the ball over the bar. I landed. And wow did I land …. Gravity was definitely working well. It didn’t hurt but here’s the thing. Years ago as a goalkeeper I never dented the ground on any of my dives. Today I did. A huge indent in the lawn. Think ‘The Great Rift Valley’. Maybe I should stick to table tennis.😂😂😂😂

Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise has been filming some scenes for the latest Mission Impossible movie about 15 miles away from here. Doing the usual spy capers….fighting on top of a speeding steam train.

Usually he’s trying to save the world from apocalypse….

If he’s braving the Yorkshire weather then it must be a really big world threat this time. Something truly horrifying must be going down in Yorkshire. In a separate note I’m about to bake a cake.

Avengers

A day outside in the – wait for it – warm Yorkshire sunshine……

An afternoon of outdoor table tennis. An afternoon of losing my pride. It’s never been my sport. One of the few sports I can’t pick up.

Dad Table Tennis is a MARVELlous sport. You do know the sport should be played like a game of chess. Carefully moving your opening around the table until an opening appears. That’s the idea. Your approach Dad is basically the Avengers Strategy. HULK SMASH…”

No need to mess about with the delicate strategy. Why waste time when with one massive swing of the bat you can immediately move to the ENDGAME

But Dad you are supposed to play with VISION.

Ok I’m out now, you win the pun war. Pick up your crisp packet. If you do then you can be scaAVENGERS hero.

I never THORt of that one Dad. Best keep the envIRON MANaged. I wonder if anyone else would understand these puns other THAN US.”

*********

Lets not forget the stereotype. Asperger Kids don’t have a sense of humour and can’t have fun ……….

Splendid

The return of the white stuff. Not much but it does so change the mood of the landscape.

Looking across the farm land to the distant hills it kind of made it seem like we were miles from civilisation. Ok if I turned round I would see the other village houses – but you know what I mean. It certainly felt that way this weekend. Apart from Hawklad I didn’t see another soul. No one on the single village road. No one in the fields. Splendid isolation.

It’s odd how isolation can have such differing impacts on me. Somedays it feels like solitary confinement. A poison chalice. Suffocating. Completely draining on my soul. Too much time to overthink my life. Missing physical company.

Yet other times it’s so different. Much more positive. Reassuring. Safe. Peaceful. Uplifting. A time to think positively. At ease with isolation.

What was the mood today. It was definitely more the latter. Part of me did want to break out and experience being physically amongst civilisation again. But outweighing this was the need to be as far away as possible from the reality of living in England these days. Shutting the door on some of my fellow citizens. A small minded, bigoted, self centred, corrupt, lying, racist, moronic, elitist and throughly shambolic group of numpties as you would ever be unfortunate to bump into – and that’s just the Government. 40% of voters would still vote for them. That thought is staggering and deeply unsettling.

So looking over the deserted snowy fields today felt unusually reassuring. Seemingly so far from the growing madness. Yes definitely splendid isolation.

Options

Something rather bizarre happened today here in Yorkshire. It was sunny with lots of blue sky. Most unusual.

Just after the dinosaurs had become extinct I was as at school. A time before home computers. A time when a domestic microwave was about as expensive as a Fusion Reactor. I was leaving secondary school just as MTV was starting. Definitely a different era. So you would expect a few limitations in the schooling system. Like the options available to kids in our sink school. A poor school in a poor working class area.

I remember the school option meeting. No parents. Just the snotty kid, the careers advisor and the headteacher. It basically went like this for me.

********

What options do you want to take?

I would like to take Latin, French and I would like to learn to program using something like Pascal.

Why?

Because I want to go to university.

Kids round here don’t go to university. You get jobs in the Chemical Works, the Steel Plant. The really smart ones might get a job as a clerk in a bank in the high street.

I don’t really fancy that.

We don’t offer those subjects anyway. Your option choices are woodwork, metal work or home economics. That’s cooking to you son…

*********

That conversation always stuck with me. Clearly stuck with a the others in my year. I was the only one to make university. I managed to scramble through a system setup for the benefits of the local economy and not for the pupils. Fast forward all those thousands of years. We find ourselves in 2021. Surely a more enlightened time. When microwaves are really cheap but bizarrely a 24 pack of toilet rolls is harder to get hold of than a Fusion Reactor.

We are looking at Hawklads option choices. He has to take Mathematics, Sciences and English. But has to choose four more subjects. It’s strongly recommended that French is selected. Which is odd as school are super keen for him to ditch that subject. One option really does suit him – History. As his last teacher told him before she left – ‘you know the subject better than I do’. And he loves history. Then it’s going to be Geography. He is ok with that subject but it’s never really fully connected with him. Two options left….

Here is where the problems start. PE might have been an option but it’s an essential requirement that you represent the school or a club in a sport. So that’s out. Information Technology would have been an option but the last two years of force feeding coding has broken his will in that one. The other handful of options just do not suit him at all. No interest in them. The teaching methods don’t suit him. No connection with the teacher. Or it’s an area he really struggles with.

It really does feel like the schooling system is still not truly aimed at the pupils. Take what you are offered rather than let’s see what really works for the individual. The schools take is rather than look for alternatives let’s just let him not select 4 options. He could maybe only do 3 or 4 exams as that would potentially help him pass something. OK.

So what is he going to do. Well he’s going to randomly pick two more options for now. Go through the hoops in case he sticks with mainstream schooling. But we are going to look at proper alternatives. What subjects can we find which are outside of the school remit which really interest him. That’s how education should be. That’s how it should have always been.

L

Well spent

It’s been wet. Very wet. Many places round here could do with a dry spell. Just look at the flood warning list.

But here’s the thing with a lockdown. Normally I would be moving about . Witnessing the rising waters. Driving through the floods. Going shopping and working in the rain. The raincoats getting a real hammering.

But that’s not the case now. House and garden bound. When it rains I just go inside. The only need for a raincoat is if it starts to rain when I’m doing exercise in the garden. It’s the same for Hawklad. I was in the process of buying him a new coat just before the family lockdowns started. He had almost grown out of his coat back in March. I dread to think how small it is now. But currently no need to worry about that.

Might as well wait until he needs one. He’s still shooting up. I bought him a new school jacket at the end of February. To replace the slightly battered and rapidly getting too small, old one. It arrived the week we started our lockdown. It remains in its plastic cover. UNUSED. I suspect that almost a year later and it will now be getting a little snug on him. With no imminent prospect of needing it, we can officially say that

It was £60 well spent…

Why not

Red morning sky over the temporary farm lake.

Red sky in the morning – fisherman’s warning…..

Well the folklore weather phrase is almost right. The forecast is for the weather to cloud over as the day goes on and then the rain starts this evening. Lots of it. Two days solid heavy rain. Then the gales arrive.

That lake might just get a little bigger…..

We were watching the latest Wonder Woman movie last night. Don’t worry I’m not planning to give any major spoilers away. Now I could talk about a few scenes dealing with grief. But no. Not this time. Just to say that even in a bizarre, fantasy, superhero movie – they still can sting……

No the scene that I’m going to mention is one where a wardrobe is ransacked and different outfits are tried on. If you see the movie then you will know the one I mean. It was pretty amusing. But it got me thinking about my wardrobe. An IKEA sliding door brute that even Wonder Woman isn’t ever shifting. The wardrobe is little visited these days. Life happens and things change. I haven’t worn a suit since the funerals of 2016. Most of the shirts are untouched since they were last ironed dating back to when my partner was still here.

Since March 2020 we have been in our local family lockdown. I that time I have worn jeans just once. Walking trousers not at all. For months on end I’ve just lived in tracksuits, shorts, joggers, T-shirt’s, hoodies and jumpers. If your not going anywhere or seeing anyone then WHY NOT.

Maybe I should have a sort out. Get rid of sone stuff as I probably won’t be needing as many things going forward. But then again. What would I do with the space. I could get a much smaller wardrobe but without Wonder Woman’s help I’m not winning that battle with that IKEA beast.

So let’s leave it for the time being and get back to looking at the lake. A much more pleasant thought than that IKEA wardrobe one….

After three

Today brought the return of awful weather. Cold, stormy winds, driving rain, really dark skies. Days like this are not great for living on a hill top….

School, school, school.

It’s just keeps on giving…..

I had an email exchange with school trying to explain to them that at this stage Hawklad doesn’t want to drop French. He does want to try some alternatives first. Spending part of the teaching time using an online language package which teaches him the basics. The stuff school seem to have stopped. With school its all about learning the various spellings for the various forms of all the French verbs. That’s not really helping. It’s never going to work with someone with dyslexia.

Anyway I was getting nowhere fast with our award winning school. Yes it won an award for excellence. When they dropped into the conversation some news.

The one teaching assistant who has done the most to help Hawklad. The one who asks if he is alright (the only one). The one who is happy to chase up work and queries for him. The one who chases up the other teachers when they forget about him. Is leaving in two days…

PANTS….

I dread to think what that will mean for Hawklads homeschooling. I do have a pretty good idea.

So let’s look out of the window and think about the weather and say again after three.

PANTS….

Damp

It’s still damp and wet….

We seem to be stuck in this grim weather pattern. Definitely feels like Groundhog Day again. But one day it will change. The sun will shine. The cycle will be broken.

It’s funny how sometimes it’s the indirect things that truly demonstrates the changes in life.

Last night I was writing Christmas cards. I remember a few years back. I would sit with my partner. Christmas music cd on the hifi. Going through the address list. Even with the two of us it would take ages to get the cards completed.

Then life happened. Aspergers Patenting. Loss. Single Parenting. Isolation.

So last night I started writing the cards. The same Christmas music cd on the hifi. Then the change. I was through the card list after 4 songs. 4 songs….. What happened to having the listen to the cd several times. Hours down to minutes to complete.

The rapidly diminished card list tells me everything I need to know about the path life has pushed me down. But it is what it is. And actually writing cards is clearly difficult for me. One person almost got a happy Easter and my sister was almost wished happy birthday…. Actually I’ve always had a habit of doing that. Somethings don’t change.

Solar power in Yorkshire

There are some useless things in life. Things like

  • A open top bus to celebrate a trophy win at my so called football club,
  • Chocolate fire guards,
  • That unkillable plant that died in the Yorkshire weather within days (the Yorkshire Summer…..),
  • The last 250 pages of The Silmarillion (I can’t get through the first chapter after thirty years of trying),
  • My baking….

Now we can add solar power in Yorkshire to that list.

Son expectantly waiting for a festive feel in the garden.

I carefully placed the new solar powered Christmas lights into a tree. Positioned the panel in a place which faces the sun all day. Absolutely no shade cover to worry about. Perfect.

Only problem is this is Yorkshire. Absolutely no sun. But don’t worry the lights come with a panel that apparently works in cloudy conditions. Just 4 hours charging required. There is cloudy and then there is Yorkshire.

Two days now. Nothing. Not a flicker from the lights. Well on the bright side we still have 18 days till Christmas. Just maybe in 18 days we might just get enough light to breathe a little life into them. Looking at the forecast. I’m not entirely convinced.