September

On its own.

So the Government has started recruiting for Attendance Advisers who will be paid £500 per day to chase up children who are not at school due to Covid. The line is that schools are perfectly safe. Crossing the road is more dangerous than Covid….. Covid is now a ‘virus we just have to live with’. Parents will be taken to court if they refuse to send their children back to the classroom.

Hawklad will go back to school when HE is ready. It will be HIS decision. It will NOT be down to some pompous idiot with a horsewhip on his desk whose only motivation is his own self interest. If Hawklad decides not to go back in September then I have a medical exemption note and I will happily see the Government in Court.

Summer holidays

So we are deep into the Summer School Holidays. Actually in Yorkshire they should be rebranded as the ‘Are you kidding me, is this really supposed to be summer’ School Holidays.

Currently I’m thinking about some of the things Hawklad gets up to and contrasting them back to my school ‘summer’ holidays. Bearing in mind that this was before home computing and just prior to the mass dinosaur extinction. Back then my brain was officially switched off for 6 weeks. Sharks think they are so clever when they can shut down half the brain for sleep but keep the other part of the brain functioning so they can still swim. What’s really special is me shutting all of my brain down for the entire summer holiday and still managing to occasionally get out of bed by lunchtime. I didn’t need the brain to find Dads secret chocolate stash each day. That tin in his garage was always filled with chocolate cigarettes – wow how things have changed. I could also just about name Newcastle United’s upcoming fixtures. That was the sum of my holiday brain work.

Now contrast that with this ‘summer’ holiday. Hawklad is memorising the French kings and queens. He’s learning the outcome of every case that went before the Nuremberg War Trials. He’s also trying to improve his knowledge on UK Sea Birds. He has also been watching every season of the American version of The Office on the TV while at the same time also watching a YouTube series about the Roman Empire on his tablet. Apparently he can only get through both series in the 6 weeks if he watches them at the same time. That’s in between playing online with his friend who has covid and trying to build bridges to the outside world again.

Has he really got 50% of my genes or are those genes just heavily concentrated in his bushy eyelashes.

Heather

A small family trip to the moors. A carpet of pink.

I’ve always considered my family pretty close knit. No conflicts. No splits. Yes we got geographically spread but we still kept in regular contact. Regular visits.

Then three things happened .

Mum left us…..It wasn’t until she was not there anymore that I noticed that she was the gravitational force that held us together. We would frequently meet up at her house. We would have family get togethers but these usually happened because of mum. We would make the effort because of mum. Now that force of attraction has gone, the family meet ups are becoming less frequent and fewer turn up when they do happen.

Lockdown……The less frequent meet ups STOPPED for over 18 months. One sister who I would see really frequently has ended up not seeing Hawklad in over 2 years now…. Brother its 3 years now.

Time……As time passes we develop our own worlds. New families.

So we had a small meet up today and it felt strange. We should have had plenty to talk about, lots of catching up to do. It never happened. Even though we were physically close there still seemed to be a distance. Even Hawklad felt it. He pulled his hoody fully up – that’s a sign that he wasn’t comfortable. That never used to be the case.

When will the next meet up be, who knows. Zero sign of getting all the brothers and sisters together. The last time that happened was my partners funeral. The slow drifting apart of my family is sad but it feels kinda inevitable.

A Yorkshire Summer

Almost too wet for the iPhone to cope….. That’s wet……

Later in the day, thankfully we can finally record a few hours of sunshine.

It doesn’t look like it but the fields are drenched. Two miles away a large concert became a mud bath at the weekend. Thankfully tractors came to tow cars out of the field car park. A Yorkshire summer….

As clouds roll in and the once again hidden sun sets, I find myself in the backroom. Putting off work that needs to be done this evening by writing these words. Listening to crackly copy of The Godfather soundtrack on vinyl which kinda sums up my mood. Drinking Chamomile tea to try to sooth a nervous stomach which isn’t very happy. Feeling fatigued after far too little sleep again, yet realising insomnia will win out again tonight. Hawklad is in the living room trying to forget about his rising anxieties. He’s playing games online with a close friend who has COVID. Yes a very Yorkshire summer……

Autumn

Autumn is coming…..

Basically we have had about 36 hours of rain and drizzle. I looked up the weather stats and for hours of sunshine it has ZERO for two days now. I can’t remember the last time I went looking for the sun cream. Probably back into early July.

Perfect weather for rhubard….

Another hit on the return to school journey for Hawklad.

He is still struggling to be close to others, even outside. His trusted Psychologist has now left and we are waiting news on a replacement. The one restaurant he was considering trying to go inside for a meal, burnt down….

So it’s not been straightforward but he is still trying.

He was hoping to see a close friend early this week. Spend time at the friends house. Another important step. But we got a telephone call. His friend has Covid.

A September classroom return is seemingly becoming more problematic for Hawklad. A

utumn might see more homeschooling.

No Carrots hurt during baking

We would love you to still take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel has received so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.

Ok time for Sunday Blogger Bake Off Entry . A heart shaped Carrot Cake. First problem… No carrots…. I foolishly used them all up while making Sunday Lunch. The garden ones are out of bounds as Captain Chaos has been wee’ing on them. I’m not driving today so just have to make do again. But no viable alternatives. No pumpkin, no zucchini, no pineapple, no coconut. Then the madness set in. Carrot is ORANGE. Cheese is also Orange and can be shredded. Lactose free cheese was added…..

So now it’s a heart shaped cheese cake.

Then the shaping issues. The carefully moulded HEART shaped cake fell to bits.

So I give you a bit of a disaster cake. Presentation needs a bit of refinement. The actual cheese tasting cheese cake is interesting. Think sweet spice. Think cheddar cheese. It kinda works. But do I serve it with custard or with butter.

Swiss Sunday

It’s very early Sunday morning here in wet and windy Yorkshire. A storm is raging and the central heating is on. But I’m awake and dreaming. Dreaming of what is still to come. I’m smiling.

It’s been far too long since I’ve stood on Swiss soil. A place which has been a huge part of my family holidays for years. It is such a place of dreams. So this stormy morning I will dream and yes many of those dreams will be set here.

Ice Cream

It’s time to dream. Dream big.

As I dream then what better time can there be to try to make some homemade ICE CREAM. So after a hunt I located one of those random impulse purchases that never made it out of the box. An Ice Cream Maker. Then the panic. How on earth am I going to fit that big bowl which needs freezing for 8 hours into a rammed freezer. I can’t remember that bit on the glossy advert. It just said make delicious ice cream easily at home….. So an hour later the freezer is bursting at the seems. The lid is weighted partly down with my heaviest kettlebell.

Wait patiently for 6 hours….. I’m sure two hours won’t make that much difference.

So in went the dairy and gluten free ingredients. Lots of tinned coconut milk, vanilla, decaf coffee and maple syrup. That kinda thing. Plus cookie dough….. why does my attempt at cookie dough look like rabbit droppings 😳😳😳😳😳

Then the press the machine button and it stirs…..why didn’t I just use my food mixer and save the money.

The end result…..

Not sure the famous ice cream brand will be too happy being associated with my attempt. But it is recycling….

Whisper it. It was nice……. WOW.

We would love you to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel is receiving so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.

Albatross

Another early trip to the coast. Early means tiredness but it is good. At that time it is quiet. That is perfect for Hawklad. Normally you also get to witness the beauty of first light. NOT THIS DAY….

It was dreadful. Heavy rain, Misty, Windy, Cold. Within minutes of standing in the cliff viewing platform the weather had made its way through our coats and clothes. Today birdwatching was going to be a trial. A few intrepid (bonkers mad) souls were hoping to catch sight of one of the rarest birds. An Albatross. The only Albatross in the Northern Hemisphere. Albert has decided to make the Yorkshire coast one of his pit stops. Last year he spent 3 days here. This year it’s been a month so far. Resting on one particular spot on a steep cliff.

This was our fifth visit to try and see him. We had been lucky on one trip. Seeing him through a telescope on the cliff. But no luck seeing the true spectacle of an Albatross flying. The other visits – no luck. Albert spends a lot of time at sea, or further down the coast or flying to an island off Northern Germany.

Today was not looking hopeful. No sign as he has been last seen flying off to sea. The weather was trying to drive us back to the warmth of the car. The other mad souls had given up. After an hour that was enough for Hawklad and we dragged our sudden bodies back to the car park. But then a couple of men ran back. He might have been spotted. So we headed back to the cliff. NOTHING.

Must have been an earlier sighting. After 30 minutes it was enough for Hawklad again. But for some reason I said ‘5 more minutes’. NOTHING. I started to pack away the drenched binoculars when suddenly a shout. ‘What’s that’.

Amongst the Gannets, one much larger bird with black wings.

Unbelievably Albert the Albatross was there. For 5 glorious minutes he performed close fly passes. Sometimes no more than 20 yards away. These photos don’t do him justice.

Finally Albert settled on the cliff and rested. One chap shouted over that this was like a bird spotters dream that could never happen.

So a very wet Hawklad had seen his first ever Albatross. As a toddler he had a soft toy just like Albert. He loved it and always said he wanted to one day see one. Who would have thought that one would come to him. Now let’s hope Albert somehow finds his way back home. But while he is here he will bring so much joy to many.

But it just goes to show that even when things are seemingly against you. When it’s looking grey and tough. Great things can just be around the corner. DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.

Bananas

It’s almost upon us. Time to show that baking love.

But first. Time to dive into those panic rooms. I’m baking. I’m baking something new. Banana Bread. How difficult can this be. Even for me. So I carefully measured out the gluten and dairy free ingredients. I had everything accept Bananas. Unbelievable.

So a rapid tour of the local stores yielded NOT ONE single yellow fruit. Have bananas been banned from Yorkshire. How can bananas be so difficult to get round here. But undaunted, I wasn’t going to let the lack of bananas spoil my banana bread. Didn’t some big bloke once say ‘I am inevitable’. 😂😂😂😂😂

The only alternative to the funny shaped yellow fruit I could find were a few mini satchels of a banana recovery protein gel. The stuff long distance cyclists use. Needs must. The evil smelling gel was squeezed into the dough. The gel was also out of date……

The end result was…..

And the smell. Not so much bananas. More I guess akin to something being stuck in a cyclists lycra for several months. The taste – challenging…..

Which self respecting cyclist will reach for a plastic covered recovery gel when they can have recovery cake like this….

We would love you to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel is receiving so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.