There comes a time

One day your child is a toddler happily scribbling his name on the white living room walls with tomato ketchup. Then in a blink of an eye that child is two inches taller than you and has started making you blush with quotes from the US Office TV Series.

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“Hawklad did you enjoy the trip out”

Yes Dad it was cool. Not too busy and definitely fun. Did you enjoy it Dad.

“Yes Son, I did. I just wish it had lasted longer“

Dad….That’s what she said……

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New Years Day.

2022….

Well the most has gone. That might even be the smallest patch of blue sky.

Can you spot the bird of prey gatecrashing the photo.

No zoom on the mobile, so this is the best I can do. The Gatecrasher.

I meet this gatecrasher every morning when I come down this lane, usually sat on the overhead power line. Such a thrill.

Soon we were on the road to the local wildlife park. A New Year Day Tradition which went on covid hold last year. This year we will arrive as it opens, wear masks and keep our distances. To protect others. Make sure we leave before the crowds arrive. The two of us have done this every year since Hawklad was a toddler. Just the two of us. His mum always decided to give it a miss, preferring a day at home. Maybe TV. Maybe catch up on sleep. It is an early start and a 90 minute drive. A quiet house can be very appealing. If she had realised time was so limited would she have stayed at home. Put things off repeatedly for another year.

I think I know the answer to that…..

Some choices you don’t get a second crack at them.

Swiss Sunday

It’s the first Sunday of 2022 so it’s time for our first virtual visit to one of the great destinations in the world. Switzerland.

I can’t believe that in a few months time it will be 7 years since our last holiday here in Alpine Heaven. That’s far too long. But actually there is more to it. My partners family has been coming here regularly for generations. A clear family bond established. But life has happened and that family is much smaller now. It’s now just down to Hawklad and I to keep up that tradition. We have to get back. That’s not just me saying that, Hawklad is committed to that as well. Maybe this year…..

So as the new year arrives, I will leave the photos up to Hawklad. He can pick the locations, the memories. Here are his favourite times and places from this magical country.

Hawklad’s favourite Switzerland.

favourite town, Speiz
A seriously cool mountain
Wants to do this one day. The quick way down a mountain
Want to build that in Lego.
Beach Soccer
First ever glacier
The chocolate
The ice lollies
The golf
The drinks
The boats
The waterfalls
The Pea Soup River.
That’s a proper train station
The Cows
Sherlock Holmes
The Alps
History
That playground next to Lake Thun

New year

Guess what. More mist…..

So Hawklad’s School Production Line Report arrived today. His best subjects ranked by school as his worst subjects, possible fails. His weakest subjects ranked better. Lots of random grades and targets. No pattern.

Then a pattern.

The few subjects where the teacher has looked at his work. Made suggestions. Actually tracked his work while he has been away from the classroom, tried to be proactive, these are his highest ranking subjects on the report. The subjects that are no more than borderline fails are the subjects where the teacher effectively has not been there for Hawklad during his homeschooling days. The subjects featuring no marking, no feedback, at best just minimal work sent out.

Does this show the inaccuracies of a metrics based report without any context.

Does it just show that because of the excessive teacher workloads, those pupils away from the classroom just suffer educationally.

Does it show that some teachers still fall back on assumptions. Pupils with unique educational needs are just shoehorned into the bottom set, labelled low attainment. Much more productive to spend teaching time on other pupils

Does it show a school system ravaged by a pandemic.

Does it show the way forward for Hawklad.

I’m not sure yet. I’m kind of too tired to process all this yet. But it’s clear as we move into the new year, to me Hawklad is making massive strides forward especially given the challenges he is having to deal with. It’s also yet another year which starts with the a school system which for whatever the reason, apparently isn’t delivering for Hawklad. Another year of battles with school.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, let’s all dust ourselves down and go again. We can do this.

Factory Line

More mist.

More confusion.

So the school end of term report arrived today. Lots of numbers, lots of letters, hardly any words. No individualised teacher comments, each pupil reduced to performance data. As I tried to figure out the metrics and what that means for Hawklad, a thought crossed my mind. The Government doesn’t see individual children, they just see production assets. That’s why the school report now is basically a factory production line quality control card.

They don’t see the children, they just see the greater good. The greater good as seen through the politician’s eyes. Those are not pure eyes, they are not trustworthy eyes in my country.

Surely our children deserve better than this.

Gladiator

Definitely feels like the we are about to walk into the opening scenes of the movie, Gladiator. Maybe once I had a passing resemblance to Maximus 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Very passing….. Thankfully no barbarian hoards this time although our squirrels can get a bit frisky.

As we walked I asked Hawklad about the imminent recommencement of the school at home project. Is there anything I could do to make it run better for him.

Nothing he could think of apart from me upping my IQ into double figures.

Ok, is there anything I can get in or buy that would help him. Text books, supplies, tech, tutor support. He thought carefully for a while, finally concluding

Yes there is. As he would still be largely cut off from others, then …..

WE NEED MORE BOARD GAMES

I never saw that one coming. But actually that is a top idea. He needs to have fun. So it’s time for a board game search of the house and then let’s see what Amazon has to offer. He will get more from them than he will ever get from another text book.

Moodiness

Rapidly deteriorating vision. Oh the delights of wearing glasses in bad weather.

At least bad weather does bring out the full Yorkshire Moodiness.

Today Hawklad told me that he’s not going back to school next week. He feels that it’s beyond him currently. I can’t say that I’m exactly surprised by his call. So I’ve emailed school so they are aware. I also attached the latest medical exemption letter provided by the NHS. Those letters are like gold dust here. The exemption was provided just before Christmas, so they didn’t think he was going back as well. With that letter, the Government can’t take me to court for being a bad parent. Up yours Boris.

So as of the middle of next week, here we go again on the school at home project. Fast approaching two years now….. Never saw that coming. One day I might just figure out what I’m supposed to be doing as a teaching parent. But to be fair, I can’t remember seeing that on the parenting job description.

Mud

Another day, more weather.

At least it’s starting to dry up a tad….

Anybody like mud, we have plenty to spare in the fields around us.

The weather brought hope. Maybe fewer crowds, so it would be quiet enough for Hawklad. Unfortunately not quiet enough. We arrived at a remote abbey ruins to find a busy, small, muddy car park with just a few spaces. Just a handful of cars but still too many. So we returned home. Hawklad is still no where near returning to the classroom.

Back home and safe. No crowds here. Hot chocolate and biscuits on top. Time for board games. It’s so much easier for Hawklad here and if he wants mud, no need to jump in a car. Another attempt at a trip out can wait for tomorrow now.

Rain

And still it rains.

Oh no, another bath coming his way….

Oh no, I’m cleaning the bath and floors, again. I suspect I won’t be getting any help from him….

As that bath was being administered to Captain Chaos I again pondered life. How on earth has he got mud on the ceiling. As no one will be visiting anytime soon, does it really matter if I don’t immediately clean it off. No bathroom visitors this year, no bathroom visitors the year before. I’m not sure Santa ever uses the bathroom on his big day. That must be some bladder he’s got. I think I would be paying a visit several times in each country visited. Would take me months to deliver the presents. Anyway, will there be any visitors next year. But as my parents would probably say – if you don’t clean it then there will visitors.

So do I want visitors or don’t I….

Depends who the visitors are…. Santa won’t be here for another year.

Best take no chances, so the ceiling was cleaned. But while I was up there I noticed more bathroom cleaning duties. I really hope Santa didn’t pay a visit here. If he did then I’m clearly heading for the naughty list. So I ended up deep cleaning the bathroom. All because the mad, 63 month old pup got muddy. It’s his fault. It’s his fault I have a spotless bathroom. Spotless and still no visitors.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday here in damp and cold Yorkshire. I so want to be somewhere else, somewhere special. I want to have the best of dreams and adventures in a magical land. The best dreams should involve Switzerland.

I have been fortunate to visit this wonderful country on a number of occasions but sadly never during December. I so want to experience that time there, but I want to arrive in plenty of time. Santa arrives on the 6th December. On a donkey from the local forests rather than travelling airmail with reindeer’s all the way from the North Pole. This day is called Samichlaus Abend, that’s Santa’s Night. He brings bags of treats. Presents are exchanged on the night of the 24th and onwards. But Santa also comes with a dark hooded companion. That chap is in charge of punishing naughty children by hitting them with a broom of twigs. From what I’ve heard, his role is like a lighthearted pantomime villain.

From then until Christmas Eve (Helliger Abend – Holy Night), wonderful street markets, festivals and processions take place. Christmas Day often marks the start of the winter sports season.

Yes one year I would love to experience Christmas in Switzerland. We live in hope. Another dream to be worked towards.