Ridiculous

Somebody likes a good old water fight. Sends the crazy one even crazier.

Being crazy is hot work, especially when it’s HOT. The little garden weather station reached the big four zero.

That is ridiculous. Maybe not for some places but for Yorkshire, seriously ridiculous. I know it’s unofficial and inaccurate but for what it’s worth, that temperature would have smashed the old UK hottest ever recorded temperature. Many places here officially smashed the old record on Tuesday.

What’s the old Kipling line – mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Well briefly…..

A quick water fight and a well earned ice pop under the shade of the old apple tree, then it was back inside again. NO this is not just a summer thing. This has never been a Yorkshire Summer, not even close.

What have we done.

When are those in charge going to take this seriously.

Our so called Prime Minister skipped an emergency weather planning meeting so he could focus fully on organising a celebration party for himself……. Surely no sane person would ever vote for these self obsessed chancers.

That thought should make all our blood boil. It better do and fast because if it doesn’t then the blood of our future generations will definitely BOIL.

Pushy

The farmer playing real life MINECRAFT.

Day One of the Two Day Heatwave. Todays garden temperature from our mini weather station hiding in the shade was….

That is ridiculously hot for Yorkshire, unheard of. The forecast is that it goes even higher tomorrow. At this rate I might have to take my jumper off. Unbelievably, it was so hot that Hawklad put shorts on, WOW, the last time that happened was when he was at nursery.

You can only fire water pistols for so many hours. Well if the school doesn’t send any work, you have to improvise the learning day….. So as we sheltered inside for a few moments and dried out, I tried to get my head round the Government’s latest ideas to sort out the Special Education mess. From what I can see it’s about replacing one mess with another mess while saving a bit more money….

Currently parents have to jump through a seemingly never ending number of ever shrinking hoops until their child gets a Plan approved (or mostly doesn’t). It’s a process which forces shellshocked parents to take on the mighty big bureaucracy. The lucky few emerge with a plan that is supposed to identify needs to be met. A personalised budget is then awarded to the child to help fund this. Sounds promising but what then tends to happen is that the big bad bureaucracy then says

You now have to give us that money back and that buys you a place in a mainstream school. No money no place. That money then pays for general teaching assistants who the school then use to help out teachers. They provide no dedicated help to Special Needs pupils. Then the big bad bureaucracy talks up the idea that PUSHY parents get this gold plated education for the lucky child. PUSHY parents are taking money from the majority of other pupils. This sets parent against parent while the special need pupil is mostly left without support. That’s the current system.

The new proposed system seems to be, keep the same nightmare approval process, make it harder but add in a bit of mediation when the application is almost inevitably rejected. If you do fluke it through to getting approval then rather than bothering identifying individual child need, parents are just offered a standard ‘one size fits all’ solution. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t suit the individual child, at least we are saving money and it’s much easier to administer.

So it’s a mess and if it changes it’s going to be just another mess, but cheaper.

Sigh, breathe deeply and slump a bit lower in the chair. Definitely time for water pistols…..

Swiss Sunday – Lasting Memories

1954…..

Way before I was an unexpected accident for my parents, the Football World Cup was held in Switzerland. The German National team based themselves in Spiez. Their football base just a few paces from the hotel that was our family holiday base. The German Team coming here was a really big thing for this beautiful small lakeside town, especially as the team went on to win the World Cup. You can still see reminders of how important that memory is to the people here.

Hawklad loved standing by one particular reminder. The German Captain standing just a few feet from the lake and it’s shoreline path.

Something like 60 years after that World Cup we got to see Germany play Switzerland here, in Spiez, in a beach soccer international. Another super cool memory.

We definitely can’t wait to return to create some more lasting memories.

Harvesting

The farmer is hard at work in the fields. Whatever it takes.

We have a real problem with education in the UK. Too much potential is missed. Too many pupils are served up factory production line schooling which is about the needs of the system rather than the needs of the individual child. If you don’t fit the expected mould then you are discarded.

The farmer chooses to focus on the crops that provide him with what he needs to keep going.

What a perfect indication of the health of the UK’s education system than hearing one of the loathsome, self absorbed candidates standing to be our next Prime Minister talking about a disabled child needing to go to a special school because ‘disabled children are generally aren’t intelligent enough’ to go to a mainstream school.

Unbelievable.

Unforgivable.

Lost for words……

Sadly it’s not an isolated view……

Had a long video meeting with school today about Hawklad. Call me NAIVE but I thought school might have been just a tad POSITIVE. A pupil against the odds teaching himself to read when school told him it was beyond him. From having a reading age of about 6 years behind the expected school standard to now reading History Texts without assistance. All achieved through his hard work in just over 2 years. A pupil who is getting really great marks in the exams and tests he sits at home. Definitely NAIVE I am.

‘We are concerned that his marks aren’t reflective of the true position”

“Are you sure that you are not helping him, or he is using GOOGLE to answer questions”

“He is performing way ahead of his predicted attainment levels”

“So he wants to go to college. Has he thought about some more vocational routes rather than college. He may probably not meet Our College’s entry requirements. College might be beyond his academic levels. Don’t want to disappoint him .”

“Other colleges and places might have offerings more suited to his level and requirements.”

“Unless he can demonstrate he can perform in formal exams then there is little we can do, course work and home work doesn’t really count these days. That’s how the system works….”

SPEECHLESS……

School can’t seem to get their head round the sad irony that he learnt to read and overcome his dyslexia when he was REMOVED from their CLASSROOM environment. Like too many pupils with dyslexia, with special educational needs, they are just dumped into the bottom set with minimal help. Assumptions are made on low attainment levels. To get even the most minimal help they are required to put their hand up in front of the rest of the class and admit they are struggling. That is never going to happen long term, occasionally when Hawklad did that, other kids poked fun at him. The teachers often focusing on those pupils with the worst behaviour so even if the hand went up, help never arrived. So he stopped putting his hand up and he started to fall behind. This is not an isolated case, it’s sadly reflective of modern UK schooling. It’s all about EXAMS. Schools become EXCELLENT because of exam results not because they meet individual educational needs. This school is no different to most schools here.

In the UK we have a looming food production crisis because we have become too dependent on factory, one big size fits all farming….

The school term finishes in a weeks time. Then it’s a 6 week break. I’m discussing with Hawklad what he wants to do. It’s his future. It’s has to be his call but I know what I would do in an instant if it was my call. Why does it feel like the school system is working against him.

RED

There are the words that no self respecting Yorkshire person ever thought they might have to utter. No it’s not saying ‘Lancashire is actually quite nice’. No it’s not saying that you can get ‘decent beer down South’. And no it’s not saying that ‘cricket is actually really really, mind numbingly boring…..’.

Here goes….. the words we never thought would be uttered here are.

Yorkshire has an extreme heat weather warning…..

Currently we are just about covered by a Red warning. That is ‘Threat to Life and Serious Risk of disruption to essential services.

WOW

This is Yorkshire. It damp here, it’s windy here, it’s a tad chilly here, often nithering here. It’s a two vest and thermal knickers kinda place. Never extreme heat.

We are the top of the purple bit under the top 42C. Ok it’s not the heat that many places regularly get BUT this is YORKSHIRE. The UK’s highest ever temperature is 38.7C

I know it’s a forecast and this is Yorkshire. We could still ignore the trend and pull out a damp, misty, chilly day but it’s a sobering thought.

A really good friend mentioned about not being able to see the stunning Switzerland glaciers in a just a few years time. They will be gone.

What are we blindly walking into. What are we losing for future generations.

Mr Blue Sky

I probably don’t do that much for Yorkshire Tourism. Actually I might even kill it off a tad. Face it, just how many times do I drone on about the dreadful Yorkshire Weather and rhubarb. Basically I’m screaming – “if you like Rhubarb Crumble with huge dollops of freezing horizontal rain, then Yorkshire is the place for you. “

Well let’s buck the trend. Time for a bit of Mr Blue Sky Yorkshire in the form of a very warm (YES I did say VERY WARM) walk around the countryside surrounding Castle Howard.

Now let’s rewind the Tourism Promotion clock, back to the mid 1970s. I was living in Redcar, a quirky Yorkshire seaside town, surrounded by heavy industry, it was a place that was sadly in decline. The town decided to run a competition amongst its various schools, let the pupils come up with posters and slogans to promote the area to tourists. The best ideas would get displayed in the town’s public art gallery.

Well guess what, this muppet, was awarded a ‘Runners Up’ badge. Looking back they probably awarded ‘Runner Up’ status to hundreds and hundreds of kids. I can’t remember the winning entry but mine is engraved on my mind. It was a really bad painting of the sea front with my catchy catchphrase painted in black across the top. I captured the essential essence of Redcar in B’s.

“COME TO REDCAR – BEER, BINGO AND BEAUTIFUL BEACHES”

How did that not win………

Yes maybe I do need to work on my Yorkshire Promotional Skills. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Here’s a little known fact about Redcar. The Oscar nominated movie Atonement was partly filmed here. One of the movies most iconic scenes is of the troops waiting in Dunkirk to be evacuated. That part of the movie was filmed on Redcar Beach.…..

Out to get me

I was just a few steps away from this sea of purple. It’s was warm, yes Yorkshire can do that sometimes. Deep Blue Skies, rare but yes it can happen even here. So I decided to do the morning yoga (yep I’ve gone full on hippy) under the shade of the apple tree. I found a small patch of grass which hadn’t been dug up by our active tunnelling Mr Mole and off I went twisting, bending and groaning.

A few moments later the helpful yoga instructor blasting out of the iPhone encouraged everyone to undertake a form of torture. Wrapping one leg around an arm, doing the same on with the other leg and then balancing on what limbs remained still free to move. I might have misheard her….. Anyways it wasn’t a pretty site. I felt like an iPhone which had just been permanently bent out of shape. Funnily enough we have a story on that one to come…. I thought yoga was supposed to be relaxing, this is just brutal.

Is yoga out to get me….

Yes it is….

A few hours later we were walking the mad dog down one of the narrow village lanes when a car headed our way. Hawklad went one way and I headed towards the other fence. I recognised the driver and waved. Unfortunately at the very same moment I stepped in a rabbit hole and suddenly entered into an out of control stumble, culminating in me trying to fall nose first over the fence. I clearly gave the driver a really good giggle. And here’s the thing. The driver is a yoga instructor. I’m clearly on the yoga naughty list.

Yoga is out to get me.

Swiss Sunday

I think it’s time to have a wander down memory lane. To a family day spent in The Alps. To picture perfect Switzerland. Back I think 8 years. It didn’t often seem to happen, but to a raincoat day. We headed off by train to the village of Kandersteg. Then an energetic uphill 4km walk to one the planets most beautiful lakes. Oeschinen Lake. It is a true mountain lake. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s one of those places where you find peace, you can breathe, you just smile. On a Sunny Day, the water is the bluest of blues. One small, isolated hotel is the perfect spot to sit and take in the atmosphere.

Oeschinen should be an automatic entry on any travel bucket list. I so want to go back there right now.

Stress

Well that was real fun, a first…..

It’s been over 2 years of Hawklad being off from school. Over two years of trying to replicate what is going on in the classroom, from a living room 12 miles away. In all that time the link with school has been hit and miss. But this week was the first time we had no contact from school. Absolutely no contact. Yes we tried to see if any files had appeared on the online school system, but absolutely nothing was sent from a teacher or teaching assistant. Where he found work, Hawklad submitted it but it always remained unmarked. He was due to sit a couple of exams at home but nothing arrived. Hawklad could have been sat playing computer games or walking round Disney all week and school would not have realised. There was a time when school asked each day for evidence that Hawklad was following the classes, an online register, but that was dropped.

I was getting stressed out about school, on top of getting stressed out about work, on top of all the stress which seemingly has become such a part of this currently mad world. Definitely stressed out. Going round in never ending stress circles. I had to break the circle so I found myself walking across a wild meadow. Still stressed out. Now the walk was stressing me out. I couldn’t stop worrying about stuff. Living in a world full of stress. Then a realisation, this is kinda like how Hawklad gets. Stressed out about everything. Not being able to break out of the entrapment. This isn’t healthy. So what do I say to him. Be happy. Remember the important stuff, remember the good things. We are NOT at home if Mr Worry knocks on the door. If you can do something about a worry then do it, don’t let it eat away at you. Find things you like doing, distract yourself from all the stuff you can’t do anything about and try to breath and have fun.

As I stood in that field, stressed out, I thought….

I really need to come up with catchier advice….

I do talk some rubbish…..

Easier said than done……

Why did I give up caffeine…..

But eventually I did actually follow my own advice. I drafted a work ‘I quit email’. I drafted a ‘Hawklad quits school’ email. That helped. Knowing I can just press one send button and two big headaches disappear. Ok it might create other other issues but at least they would be our created ones which we could better control. I also agreed with Hawklad that if school can’t be bothered then STUFF waiting for them. We might as well do some day trips than wait in school if nothing is coming from them.

Now I’m a lot less stressed out. Yep, I should listen to my own advice occasionally.

Worst

Biodiversity captured in one photo. Just moments later Captain Chaos decided it was a great place to cock his leg. The flying creatures didn’t hang around after that….

Maybe I should send The Captain to 10 Downing Street. Maybe that’s the only way of getting The Serial Liar to finally quit, end this nightmare and we can get our country back again.

Look at the mess here in the UK. That is what happens when you give power to the worst amongst us. When will we learn.