Marvel at Scotland

Back to last week. See you don’t need the multiverse to do a spot of time travel.

“Dad tomorrow can we go to Scotland. Don’t mind where just can it be really quiet. Somewhere different. Maybe even exciting.”

Two herbal teas later the solution popped into my head. Visit a place where we can MARVEL at who grand Scotland is.

Quiet means arriving early. As we were heading 180 miles north then we set off just after 5am.

Heading to the stunning coastal village of St Abbs. Part of the Marvel Universe……

The second highest grossing movie of all time, End Game used St Abbs as New Asgard. Hulk and Rocket came here to find Thor. Hawklad didn’t think he would be stood outside Thor’s house…..

I didn’t cause an international incident by taking my shirt off and pretending to be one of the Avengers. Maybe next time. Actually if people think that Thor looked out of shape when he was in New Asgard, wait to they get a look at my version of a shirtless Avenger. Let’s just say the 6 pack is well and truly hidden these days.

As we wandered around St Abbs a thought struck me. The place feels remote almost cut off from modern life. Operating at its own pace with the Sea dominating life. Could somewhere like this be a place which would suit Hawklad. Then the realisation, it might actually suit me. I was brought up by the Sea until I left to go to University. It feels very familiar, very safe. Would a return suit my mindset. Would it blow away the life cobwebs. Would it fix the problem that the world now seems to spin at a different speed to me. Is it a great place to forget the past.

Maybe Thor had a point moving to somewhere as wonderful as St Abbs. A perfect place for his New Asgard

Planning pt 2

Planning can get you to places. Get you to places at the right times. Sometimes planning can get you to places when the weather is nice.

Planning can get you out of the daily routine. Walking on an island in the North Sea is a much needed break from the usual daily routine. That’s good for Hawklad, for Me.

Planning is going to be the key going forward.

To push the boundaries out just a little bit further.

Hawklad wants to see a bit more. Experience a bit more. But his anxieties are spiking again. It’s going to be a challenge. More planning is required.

So can we plan a quiet day trip to another country next.

More gloves

The GIVE A FENCE A GLOVE push continues here in Yorkshire.

So much love to the fences. I’m reminded of a Beetles song

GLOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

As the Bank Holiday kicks in here, the roads are rammed full. The car parks are overflowing. But around our village, all is quiet. Hardly any traffic. Our walk today and we didn’t see another soul.

Quiet amongst the storm. So a few days of local walks, table tennis in the garden, lego. Maybe even croquet amongst the mole hills. That’s what Hawklad needs at present. A time will come when Hawklad has to face crowds but not yet, still too much anxiety. Progress has to be at a pace that suits him. I might wish for bigger adventures further afield but those can’t be now. Certainly not this weekend. So for a few days the adventures are amongst the GLOVES.

Tranquility

The sun setting over Yorkshire.

Very quiet, very peaceful.

Tranquility?

Hawklad wasn’t feeling the calm. A walk through the woods to get here had spooked him. An unexplained sudden noise. I heard it as well. Hard to explain but to me it sounded a bit like a cable vibrating. To me it was puzzling but to Hawklad it was extreme uncertainty. Could it be danger, could it be a threat. It spooked him. Then the anxiety kicked in. It was all he could think of. He was constantly seeking reassurance, endless scenarios playing out in his mind. His thoughts spiralling out of control to the point where he couldn’t think straight. We ended up taking a very long diverted route back to the car. Only hours later did the anxiety storm begin to abate.

When anxiety hits it can be truly debilitating. Even in a truly tranquil setting it can be only one sound away. One unexplained event away.

Anxiety is truly a constant battle for Hawklad.

Poetry woes

We are trying to stick to the school class timetable, starting and finishing lessons at the same time as his classmates. We figured that was a decent way of bringing structure to the school at home week. We also thought that if and when Hawklad returns to school then at least he would be use to working the full timetable.

In practice it is difficult when some lessons are posted late ( hours late, even days late and yes sometimes never posted).

This day started with an English lesson. POETRY. Poems on a theme.

Do not stand at my grave and cry…..

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock…..

I had not thought it would be like this…..

Revising poems about loss and grief. Learning about a poet who had lost his father when he was a child and was now grieving the loss of his mum. You get the picture. Wonderful poetry from the likes of Frye and Causley.

Yes loss and grief are powerful themes but there are other subjects to go for. Safer subjects for children. What about those children who have lost loved ones. Is it fair on them. Should an English lesson and potentially exams bring tears of sadness. If kids want to look at grief poetry then they can but let it be a free choice, when they are ready and never let it be forced on them. Some might say I’m being overprotective of Hawklad but we all deal with loss in our own way, especially important when a child loses his mum when he is only 8. At home we still carefully try to filter out movies that bring sadness to Hawklad. That’s OUR choice.

I’m not frustrated with the school or teacher. They are told what poems they have to teach. Surely when those in charge put the national curriculum together, is it too much to ask that they do this sensitively. Consider what impact some of the coursework could have on some of the pupils. Is that too much to ask.

Waters

Why is it that as I get older my body rejects more and more food and drink. More foods and drinks that it struggles with. AND why is it always the stuff I love. It’s never broccoli or cauliflower or beetroot.

When I mentioned that to Hawklad he simply sighed, shrugged his shoulders and reflected on life.

“It’s because you love the really unhealthy things…..”

There is that…..

Water is good but add shed loads of full on coffee and it’s not so good anymore. Ice is good but add bucket loads of Cream and …….

I guess it’s just like education. Learning is good but add too much British Schooling and sadly ……

Am I being unfair, probably so but it’s sometimes hard not to be. Up to 12 months ago Hawklad loved HISTORY. REALLY LOVED IT. He loved learning about History. He loved learning about details, facts, dates, people. He couldn’t get enough of it. But then the school HISTORY syllabus hit. He has zero interest in Victorian Crime and Serial Killers. He didn’t want to learn about the details of infamous crimes and punishments (month after month). Today I found him staring into space. School history lessons finally moved on from Jack the Ripper. Now he is having to learn about the development of the American Cattle Ranching Industry after the Civil War. Unfortunately that is just not Hawklad. He is rapidly falling out of love with History. He is falling out of love with learning.

That can’t be healthy or right. Is it so hard to tailor learning to the individual. Clearly so as this afternoon hours were spent trying to parrot learn Ionic Chemical Equations. Guess what

More hours of Hawklad staring vaguely into space.

Should it really have to be like this.

Sledging the exam

A beautiful spring day here in the Tropics. Temperatures below freezing for most of the day. Definitely feels like April. 😂😂😂😂

The bonkers weather continues. According to the forecast, in seven day’s time we might be basking in temperatures about 24C higher than todays tropical highs. Will the weather make its mind up.

Unbelievably this morning we were sledging. Wasn’t really enough snow but sometimes you just have to give it a go. The sledge took a bit of setting off but with effort it eventually got going. Two different approaches producing the same amount of decent speed. Hawklad with his aerodynamic streamlined body and his Dad with his very very very large backside (which produces a shed load of momentum when it’s in motion). I must admit I left much deeper tracks than Hawklad (that must be just down to some strange climatic conditions….).

Guess who managed to put a large crack into the bottom of the poor old sledge……

Now here’s the thing. At the exact time that my backside was stress testing the base of the sledge, Hawklad was supposed to be sitting a mock exam. Does it really matter if Hawklad started the exam two hours late. His Invigilator (a person with a sledge breaking backside) was more than ok with the delay. When he finally started the exam he had a pen in one hand and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in the other. Doing an exam with a smile on his face. That’s surely how you do an exam.

It’s back

Yes it’s back. Just when we thought it was shorts weather for the next six months, oh no, it’s back into THREE jumper weather.

Definitely not enough for even the most rubbish snow angel ever but just enough to send all exposed skin a funny shade of blue.

Alberts back as well…

Can’t believe that the only Albatross in the northern hemisphere has decided during this truly tropical spell to return to the Yorkshire coast. Albert definitely needs to fire his holiday adviser. Last year he stayed 30 miles away from our house, for his summer holidays. It was actually mostly very nice and almost warm. Maybe that’s why he stayed for nearly two months. Sadly this years vacation finds temperatures north of zero. He must be tempted to head somewhere warmer.

If he hangs around this time then we will try to catch up with him. Last year was an awesome meet-up.

With any luck we can visit him when the Easter School Break starts next Friday. Easter is a bit of a challenge these days. Hawklad likes to get out, likes to visit places. But he needs these place quiet or even better, EMPTY. That doesn’t often happen over the two and a bit week break. Most places tend to be mobbed. This forces us into the early strategy. Get there as soon as a place opens and then stay until it starts to fill up. It’s not a guarantee of success. Last year we had several visits to RSPB Bempton to try to catch an albatross sighting. Problem is that such an extremely rare epic bird brings people, lots of people. We had a number of trips were although we had set off from home just after 7am, when we arrived a busy car park was way too much for Hawklad. So we started setting off much earlier. 4.30am early….. The prize was for an hour or so we did get the cliffs almost to ourselves and as soon as the crowds started to arrive, we left. Back home before 9am. It might be tiring but even if you don’t get to see Albert it’s so worth it.

Isolation has drawbacks but every so often it doesn’t half deliver. We just wouldn’t be stood on a cliff as the sun comes up.

Daffodils 2

So Yorkshire has enjoyed the briefest of Springs. We are now heading back into one last crack of Winter. Even mention of an outside chance of the white stuff.

So before the poor things are battered into submission let’s have one more Daffodil Fest.

The American Psychiatric Association have now officially recognised Prolonged Grief Disorder as a mental health condition. Intense grief that lasts for more than 1 year that disrupts a persons mental wellbeing and health.

Ok.

Surely much shorter, very intense grief can send people into terrifyingly dark places. Those places will have a profound lasting health effect. That will have just as much impact on a persons wellbeing than the new Official Prolonged version. Grief is GRIEF, regardless of how long it lasts a person.

I just hope that finally GRIEF gets the support it desperately needs. Too many suffer in silence. What support there is poorly funded and badly over subscribed. Even when it comes to children the support is just not there. Hawklad’s Doctor put him on the waiting list for Specialist Grief Counselling. That was back in 2016 and he is still working his way up the list….. How many parents are trying to help their grieving child when they are also suffering as well.

Grief may or may not be a separate mental health condition but it definitely has a direct impact on a persons mental health. Looking back the only support I received was a 12 page pamphlet handed out by the Hospice. For too many that is simply not enough. It wasn’t for me. Hawklad didn’t even get that…… That’s an 8 year old who has just lost his mum. That can’t be right.

Autumn

That feels like a scene from Autumn not a late March day. And not just one leaf, lots of them.

So the online Parent Evening came and went. Four minute teacher video calls was just not enough. But I guess I did get to speak to every one of Hawklad’s subject Teachers plus the Head of Year, all within 50 minutes. Definitely felt all a bit crazy with just one minute gaps between each session. Blink and they were gone.

A couple of the teachers were very proactive. They came with ideas to help his homeschooling. They had clearly been thinking about Hawklad. We will definitely try those ideas. So that was a few minutes well spent.

I made suggestions to some of the other teachers, a couple sounded keen to try them. Others not so interested. Unbelievably with one teacher, the four minutes actually felt too long. Just didn’t seem to be interested.

Another teacher spent the four minutes unsuccessfully trying to explain who Hawklad’s 80% online exam score was converted into a predicted final grade which was borderline fail. Another teacher raised the issue that Hawklad had to improve his spelling and didn’t seem to grasp the concept of dyslexia.

But the main thing about the evening was I pulled Hawklad from the formal exams happening in two months time. He’s just not ready for that step, a view backed by his heath professional. School will now approach the exam authorities to see what can be done. It’s one less worry for Hawklad in the short term, that’s a good thing.

And with that the Parent Evening closed and the School at Home Project continues now into its third year. We might get there one day. Where that is we still have no real idea.