You meet some odd people in life. I was reading a great blog about the planet Uranus when it reminded me of an old Physics teacher at school. He kept his lunchbox in the science fume cupboard. He was permanently covered in dust. His grey and permanently creased suit was about 5 sizes too big for him. He could take 6 spaces before his suit would move. He employed a simple marking system. Work was crossed out if wrong. Nothing for a correct answer. If he added any comments they were limited to wrong or so wrong. A really poor answer received an illegible squiggle. His class discipline involved him growling ‘You boy’. He even shouted that at the girls. But his coup de grace to effective teaching was his approach to the solar system. He had issues with two planets. He viewed Pluto as a silly cartoon name for a planet. So he just ignored the planet. He had real issues with Uranus. He viewed it as a vulgar name which ‘snotty kids’ could not be trusted with. Any kid found saying it’s name would get detention. It had to be called the Seventh Planet. No wonder I never became an Astronomer.
I guess many of us will struggle to meet many people (odd or not) over the next few weeks. The new life motto is Social Distancing. I wonder if that gives me licence to go out running and go shopping in just my underpants. Very liberating and almost certainly guaranteed to maximise my Social Distancing.
Social Distancing is something which the WordPress support team have been practicing with me recently. I have been trying to renew my subscription for weeks now. I keep getting a system error when I try to hit the renew button. The support team gave me one fix which didn’t work and now they have gone missing. Well my subs run out in 16 hours with currently no way to renew. If my site does go bang then I promise it will return. Maybe this time I will have it as a tribute. Maybe call it Myanus. As a tribute to the seventh planet or a reminder it’s good to meet characters. People we still remember after all these years. And yes the old Physics Teacher was right, snotty boys cannot be trusted with a word like Uranus.
Another weekend and more grim weather is heading our way. So this is the calm before the wet and windy stuff arrives. For those with good eyesight – you can just about see York Minster in the background.
So given the weather we are likely to be falling back on indoor games to amuse ourselves. Kinda looking forward to that.
School is being school. Son is still giving it one last chance. But I get the impression that his spirit is starting to ebb away. But still he has hope that he might get moved up in at least one set before he leaves. He’s done well in the exams given the lack of dyslexia support he received. A low mark in Drama but we have seen the approach they take to the subject – let’s think spellings. French he came midway which is good as he lost lots of marks for his French spellings. As he points out – ‘I’m dyslexic in multiple languages, if I can’t spell in English what chance do I have in French‘. He’s been told he did well in history which is amazing as he had to type in his answers on a computer – his fine motor difficulties makes typing slow and problematic. He came first and second in his maths papers – he lost marks as he misread some of the wordy questions. In Science he was top in his class by a clear 20 percent – a subject which probably did the best job at getting reading support in place.
So son is waiting and hoping that maybe he might get a set move up in at least Science and Maths. Hopefully in his best subject as well – History. Fingers crossed. Even if he does get the move I suspect it’s more about a confidence boost than making a long term commitment to mainstream schooling. Homeschooling will be happening just now a question of when.
I’ve been toying with dilemma. Each night son loves to play a little games competition. Mini Air Hockey, Connect 4 and Jenga. I’ve been trying to decide on another game to add to this daily schedule. Been considering many board game options. Maybe something culturally and mentally enriching. Well at 3am I pressed the purchase option on Amazon. Hopefully it arrives before the weather.
York Minster is one of Europe’s finest Cathedrals.
The central tower is 235ft (72m) tall. It’s Northern Europe’s biggest Gothic Cathedral.
The first religious building was built on this site in 637AD. Work started on the current Gothic structure in 1230 and was completed in 1472. The Minster has 128 stained glass windows which apparently have 2000000 individual glass pieces. It’s a busy place of worship with over 1600 services each year.
Thankfully York has not succumbed to the plague of high rise buildings. So The Minster still dominates the city view from all directions. I remember having a chat with an American work colleague who on visiting the city for the first time told me
“That’s a lovely church but it would have been better if they had built it on a hill”
Unfortunately the nearest hill is about 15 miles away. Strangely our little bungalow is on that very hill. We struggle to fill our little church so I’m pretty sure a Cathedral would be bit of over kill.
It’s absolutely stunning inside but we never make it that far. Son loves to walk round it and think. Then he looks to the skies for a glimpse of the nesting Peregrine Falcons. Finally we always end at a statue of a Roman Emperor. In 306AD Constantious died in York. The soldiers in York immediately proclaimed Constantine the Emperor. So for a brief moment in time York was the centre of the Roman Empire. Son loves to drink up this history.
Surely when you have such history on your doorstep why not use. York has the largest Train Museum in the World showcasing engineering and invention at its finest. What better way to spark an interest. To learn. To grow. But apparently this is not the case. It would seem writing out spelling mistakes 3 times is the way to go. Regardless of the subject – Science, History, Maths, Design Technology, Drama – let’s just get the spelling right. I bet that will spark an interest!!!!
I’ve lived in or around these parts for 20 years now. In that time I must have used one particular road short cut hundreds of times. It keeps you off the dreaded city outer ring road. On the short cut is a little sign for a nature trail. On virtually every pass I would make a mental note to pay the trail a visit one day.
All those years and so many mental notes.
Well the other week on the way to do the weekly shop I did something radical. I stopped. Time to cash in all those mental notes.
And what a little find.
It probably only takes about 10 minutes to walk round the nature reserve.
But it’s so worth it.
You forget that you are on the edge of a city surrounded by farmland and golf courses.
On this wet day I had the reserve to myself.
Teeming with wildlife and wonderful sculptures.
MOORLANDS Nature Reserve, York. And it’s free.
I have been racking my brain for something to get my teeth into. I’m am trying out a number of Hobby options over the next few weeks but I have given the green light to one little project. A world tour.
How far can I get round the world on my exercise bike and on my dog walks. The miles (Km) will be recorded via my helpful bike computer and my mobile phone. Don’t laugh but will be using Pokemon Go to record the walking – might as well catch a few Pokemon as we go. Luckily for this project my exercise bike will have off road capabilities and will be able to traverse rivers. It might even be able to fly. Basically it allows me to cheat on the logistics sometimes. This project also has a big positive – it’s something I can do when our son is off school during the holidays
I’m not sure how far I’m going to get. Depends on my battered body, on my second hand and equally battered exercise bike, my dedication levels and how much my buttocks can take (not much padding on the seat).
Anyway let’s crack on.
Thanks to the bike and Pokemon Go we can check back over the last 2 weeks.
Week 1 … 75km
Week 2 … 100km
Week 1 … 24km
Week 2 … 35km
Where shall we start from. Let’s say York Minster. Dating from the 7th century it is one of the worlds most renowned cathedrals.
So after 2 weeks I’m getting off the bike in Peterborough. A city known for its 12th century cathedral.
Then it’s on foot to Cambridge. The famous university was founded in 1209.
So we set off again tomorrow and head towards the English Channel. Shouldn’t take too long as Kevin Costner when he was Robin Hood managed a similar distance on foot. “Tonight we will dine with my father” having just landed in Sussex. You do know it’s 200 miles old boy….
This is the Hospitium a 14th century listed building in York’s Museum Gardens. These days it’s a venue for conferences, weddings and special events. Many years ago it was a support building for the Abbey.
St Mary’s Abbey was founded in 1088. The surviving ruins date back from about 1270. York is such a good place for kids to actually touch history.
Over Christmas our son spent a few hours here trying to imagine what life was like before it fell into ruin. Recreating the sounds, the people, the buildings, the life. Big scale creative play. I must admit I was lost in the world of dreams to. Mine was a world of ghosts, ghouls and vampires. I had almost forgotten how much fun you can have when you release your imagination.
This was the visit when the first seeds of home schooling started to be scattered. Last term had been grisly. No real sign of development. No evidence of school making any effort to provide an effective and supportive teaching environment. Most importantly a really unhappy and anxious child.
Our son loves subjects like history but not the way school deliver it. He likes the History Teacher, she is really nice. But being in the bottom set and given his encyclopaedic knowledge – he’s not learning anything. Plus regardless of which class you are in the teaching is so traditional. Text book after text book. Very dry and not very dyslexic friendly. Unfortunately it’s the set teaching approach dictated by the government.
Between my thoughts of ghosts and ghouls I also pondered with so much real life history so close to hand, why not bring the classroom here. Bring the lessons alive. That’s when the thought pinged, if school won’t teach here, why don’t I.
We will see.
The trip was completed with the required extra portions of ice cream. That night my imagination had clearly not been put back in its box yet. A dream about Dracula. But not the bloodthirsty vampire. This one was about a reformed Prince of Darkness. He had sold his Transylvanian castle and bought York’s Museum Gardens. He wanted to turn the gardens into the finest history school in the world. All the teachers were ghosts and ghouls. And Dracula was selling the ice creams and he didn’t skimp on the portions. Now that’s a school.
It only takes us 30 minutes to drive into our closest city, the beautiful York. We are so fortunate to live so close to such an historic city. Such a rich pedigree.
- It was founded by the Romans in 71AD,
- The Emperor Septimus Severus ruled the entire Roman Empire from York for 2 years,
- Constantine The Great was proclaimed Roman Emperor in York,
- York was captured by the Vikings and named Jorvik,
- Guy Fawkes (remember remember the fifth of November) was born in York,
- York Minster is one of the worlds largest Cathedrals and took 250 years to build. It is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe,
- The Shambles is the best preserved ancient retail street in Europe dating back before 1086,
- Dick Turpin the famous Highwayman was executed in York,
- It has 3 miles of ancient City Walls still intact,
- It is regarded as one of the worlds most haunted cities with over 500 recorded ghosts,
- It has the worlds largest Railway Museum,
- While other Northern British Cities built their wealth on coal, steel and textiles – York made it on Chocolate and Sweets. Rowntree’s and Terrys.
That was supposed to be the end of the post. Trust me York is worth a visit. Basically it’s a really cool City. Especially for a young kid with aspergers whose thirst for facts just keeps growing. He just laps up the facts. When I started writing this post I asked our son to supply me with the information. I completely trust his memory and haven’t bothered to double check the facts.
So it’s so upsetting when he came out with the following Statement a couple of hours later:
“I don’t want to be stupid, I would love to be clever one day”
So off we went for another late night dog walk. I try to provide reassurance. Try to build up his confidence and restore his faith in his dreams. But it often feels like a short term fix. Applying a temporary bandage to the wound. A bandage only protects the wound it doesn’t treat it. As Extreme would sing – I need to find more than words. I need to raise my game…..