Back

Autumn is here, school is here.

In the great tradition of Yorkshire Awkwardness, the moment the local water company declared a DROUGHT and brought in a hosepipe ban, ITS NOT REALLY STOPPED RAINING.

So SCHOOL is BACK. Is there an anti Alice Cooper ‘Schools Out’ song. Maybe Another Brick in the Wall…

When I say school is back, I kinda say that figuratively. So far only one subject has set up Hawklad with this year’s class codes, so only one subject is available on the online system. Apart from receiving one code the only other message from school was an email to all parents and pupils reminding (maybe threatening them) them of the attendance rules and the penalties. That’s it.

And so just like the autumn rain, so starts the chasing up school rigmarole, all over again. At least we have the hosepipe ban weather to sunbathe in.

Update… now add one more school email stressing the importance of pupils continuing to work as hard during the nations official mourning period while ensuring their behaviour is appropriately reflective. As Hawklad points out, the UK Parliament has closed for 10 days to mourn but that option is not applicable to schools – again one rule for some, another for the rest of us. WOW he is starting to sound like me, that’s not good.

It’s all in the message

Autumn is nearly over for another year. Sadly the same can’t be said about other things in life.

There’s been a few messages being pushed here in the UK since July.

Covid is now just like flu….

We are now learning to beat Covid….

Get a vaccine and you don’t need to worry about things like masks…..

We have a Prime Minister who makes a show of walking round a Hospital with no mask….Even after being told THREE times to put one on by staff. Finally he did after the cameras were turned off.

Photo of a selfish prat from The Mirror

All these messages mean that social distancing is often not happening here anymore. Masks are becoming a bit of a rarity in places like shops and public gatherings like football matches. But now the managed message has become way more disturbing. Here’s a phrase being used by the UK Government and freely repeated in news outlets.

Only 6 healthy children with no underlying health conditions have died due to Covid in the last 12 months here….

As if the other 112 children who died with conditions such as asthma don’t count as much. That attitude is such a dangerous road to go down for a country.

As if 6 plus 112 children dying is an acceptable number. Something which we are prepared to accept as normal. Sadly now this is the becoming the case, the norm. What are we becoming when our PM can say

‘I’ve given you the most important metric. Never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes, just look at wage growth’.

He’s not my leader. He will never me my leader. We deserve better than him. Our children, all our children deserve much better than someone like him.

Cobwebs

It’s that autumnal time of year for cobwebs. The local world is covered in them. Definitely another great reason to go outside. That one is almost good enough to play tennis with.

If only the cobwebs didn’t extend to my brain…..

Trying to show Hawklad how you work this little beauty out.

If 9 grams of water is decomposed, how many grams of oxygen and hydrogen are obtained?

If only it was just this one question. Another 30 questions of increasingly fiendish difficulty are facing Hawklad. As his science expert (🥸🥸🥸🤪🤪🤪) it was my job to explain that to him. Oh the brain cobwebs. That part of my brain has been much neglected over the many years since leaving university. Strangely no cobwebs in the parts of the brain that could answer questions like

Who won the FACUP in 1955?

Who played the hero scientist in Quatermass and the Pit?

Name all the characters in The Penguins of Madagascar?

Recite every word from The Dead Parrot sketch?

But sadly chemistry has much cobwebbing for some peculiar reason. So after 90 minutes of mental short circuiting I asked the next question with some trepidation.

What’s the next lesson?

Its History Dad. All about the 1542 Witchcraft Act.

Oooohhhhh. #@##%##@…..

It’s ok Dad, we have unbelievably done that before. I’m good on that. You can stand down for 90 minutes and have a rest.

The 1542 Witchcraft Act is clearly a horrible moment in our history but I get a rest, so for one day only, it’s gone up in my estimation. Does that make me a bad parent…….

Autumn Adventures

Soon the autumnal colours will be gone for another year. Time to batten down the hatches for winter. But there is still just about time to get out there, be a part of one of nature’s great shows.

It is a wonderful world, so many adventures still to be had.

But here’s the crazy thing. Why if it’s such a wonderful world, with endless possibilities, have I found so many excuses in the PAST to stay INSIDE so often.

That needs to change.

Walk free

Been that type of day. Dark, cold and brooding.

The paths and trails are empty. Another perfect day for a walk for Hawklad.

It’s nice to be school free this week. It’s nice to be able to walk without the anxieties that brings. It’s nice to hear Hawklad talking about fun stuff.

Yes it’s definitely nice to walk free this week.

Autumn

Damp, dark, chilly and windy. Definitely Autumn in Yorkshire. it also means places like The Yorkshire Arboretum will be unusually quiet. That’s the perfect time for Hawklad to have a relaxing visit. It’s good when he feels like he just about has a place to himself. That makes such a difference to him.

And it did.

And it made all the difference to his old Dad as well.

Can’t beat the quiet, can’t beat nature, can’t beat the autumnal colours.

Slope

The long and slightly winding road. It doesn’t look much but it’s a bit of a pull up that slope. Unsurprisingly this little lane blocks quickly when the snow arrives. One day I will pick up the courage to try to sledge this all the way to the bottom. Our very own Cresta Run.

At the bottom of the slope (if I make it that far) I then need to find 2 feet of lift and aim for this gap in the hedge. If I pull that manoeuvre off then I will continue the sledge run across at least one more field. Miss the gap or get no height and it’s going to hurt. Hurt lots…..

As Hawklad points out. He will let Dad go first, clear a path and then if Dad is able to stand without medical assistance, then he will follow. It’s good to know that I still have my uses. 🤪🤪🤪🤪

As the colder, darker months fast approach some of the things that kept both of us going over the warmer months will become harder to keep going. New hobbies and new things to do are really needed. Especially as there is no immediate sign of a breakout from our ongoing family isolation. But we need to keep living. Preferably things that don’t involve pain…

I was looking on eBay for a second hand telescope to help with Astronomy as something we could do together. One to replace my very old small scope. I found a potential option. 4 hours to go on bidding and after 3 bids the price was at £30 plus delivery. That’s great for a £900 telescope. I made the offer. £35…. It was mine…. until 5 minutes before the auction closed. Two minutes later budding was at £300.. Pants. Didn’t bother seeing what it finally went for. Not this time.

But I feel better as I have done something. I’ve tried. Now what other random items can I find. What weird hobbies might open up.

Patchy

Sometimes nothing is better than spending a few minutes kicking fallen leaves randomly around the garden. It’s good to go back to childhood feelings again. Autumn is often a great time for that.

Today’s visit by our son’s health worker has been cancelled. She will try again in a few weeks. It is what it is. At least we are due to get some help, many are not so fortunate. We just have to accept that what support we do get is likely to be very patchy over the coming months. Yep, we will be travelling these roads for a long while to come.

If anything we have just started the journey. Son is still wracked with anxiety and fears. He is most definitely house and garden bound. No sign of progress as yet. Actually no sign if progress in ages. We are not talking a few days here. We are already 7 months into his isolation. We will be adding many more months to that. Realistically his anxieties have become intertwined with the wider pandemic situation. How can he improve, his anxieties ease when the country is still in pandemic mode. If he ventured out he would just end up seeing people wearing masks and frequently looking nervous. It feels like manning the battlements until things start to pick up again.

That’s where kicking fallen leaves comes in. It’s so important that Hawklad still enjoys life. Enjoys his childhood. We find ways to fill our small world with fun. Yes kicking leaves ticks all those boxes. AND it’s fun for his old Pop as well.

Kind

It’s autumn and the leaves are falling. Here when they fall they undertake a kind of heroic mass migration. They migrate to our front lawn. Has to be our lawn, never any of my neighbours. These fallen ones have just started their journey heading inevitably to just below our front window. Then they like to stay put. That’s so very kind of them.

I’ve been trying to be kind to myself as well. If I’m happy then I will be a better parent. Trying to find enjoyable things to do. Maybe discover some new hobbies. One of which is learning to play the piano. Finally making use of an electronic keyboard which has been basically just gathering dust. The piano tuition app I’m using is good. Quickly I can now start to read music. I can play a rustic version of Ode To Joy. But I couldn’t understand why the piano app kept talking about one key being middle C when with my careful marking out of the keys came up with a different answer. Then the penny dropped. Can you spot the deliberate mistake in the pink scrawls……

What a muppet. Ok the app might be right…..

Golden times

Unlikely to get too many trips out to enjoy the wonderful autumnal colours this year. But at least I will spend more time looking at very our own mini displays. Too often these are not fully appreciated.

It is often the little things in life that we miss. Don’t fully appreciate. Take them for granted.

Before 2016 at this time of year we would drive as a family through the tree lined country roads to the local arboretum. A walk round the thousands of autumnal trees ending with a hot chocolate at the cafe. It’s not until these moments are gone that you realise how golden those times were.

After 2016 I would drive son to very the same arboretum. Trying to control a mad dog while son kicked around in the fallen leaves. Ending in the cafe now so he and the dog can enjoy a bacon butty. I would saviour a freshly ground full on caffeine burst. Golden days not possible this year.

So maybe those annoying fallen leaves in the front garden will actually come in useful. Let’s go and have a thrash about in them. Followed by a home made butty and yes a hot chocolate. Yes different times, but still golden times.