Worry about it

The thaw has set in. No more snowy sun roses this week, maybe not until next winter.

I wrote a few hours ago about how I was missing the snow when it’s gone. You only really miss those things that are special to you.

There’s a difference between missing something and worrying about something. The disappearing snow is also worrying me a little. During the national lockdown the snow helped create an impression of a really small available world. What we can see and touch is all that is available. We are not missing out on much.

But is the thawing snow a symbol of change?

Some Governments are keen to reopen and relax restrictions. Is that way too soon. Who knows. But the message that it will be soon open for everyone misses the point. It’s not going to be open for everyone. Anxieties and Fears don’t get fixed overnight. The vaccinations won’t have reached many people including the kids. Many will only have had one shot. We have rapidly changing mutations. Some will continue to wear masks others will ditch them.

The works will open for some.

For us the lockdown will continue. In a few months I will have had one of the two vaccine shots. So I will be partly covered but that’s not the point. Hawklad’s fears are actually rising. He knows that I and other vaccinated people can still pass the virus onto him. He knows that he won’t be getting and vaccine protection. He can see that children can get covid and the more severe long covid. He is fully aware of the associated serious disease that is affecting some children. He can knows that some people will drop their guard. Basically his fears are not going away. So our lockdown will continue.

So the disappearing snow kind of symbolises something else. A world is out there. It is opening again but not for us. It’s not a small available world anymore. It’s a big world again but one that we are locked out of. Beyond our reach. That worries me and makes me sad.

Sad to see the snow go.

But then another thought. A better thought. Other people, other families can hopefully start to enjoy these places again. To have adventures. Other young ones can have holidays again. Have more fun. Can be safe doing that. Memories can be born.

Maybe the snow going is a good thing.

Who do I listen to

Another day and another pompous government minister telling the kids what best for them. Not listening. Not accepting differences. Not accepting that some will be ready to jump back into life, others will not. Not accepting that his form of education is really about serving his needs and the economy. Not prepared to listen and work with what individual children and families need. Wanting schools to go backwards towards Victorian values. Totally against the notion of moving schools forward and turning them into wonderful places of learning and personal growth. To make them enjoyable and yes FUN. But what do we know, he clearly knows best. Just do what we are told.

So this middle aged pompous bloke will shut up and tell you exactly how Hawklad sees where he is. This is what he told me last night when I LISTENED to him.

  • I love to go back to school. But not because of the teaching. To meet up with my friends again.
  • Most of the teaching is so not me. Doesn’t suit me.
  • I hate being told what to learn and how to learn it. Getting no choice. Being told what to think and how to remember it
  • Hate always worrying about breaking the rules. Worrying about getting negatives.
  • Hate having to put my hand up in a lesson and ask for help. It’s so hard in front of all the other classmates admitting I can’t read something.
  • Being told it’s perfectly safe to go to school when I know I can catch covid. Being crammed in a class with someone who might have it and not know it. Having to share equipment without them being cleaned. Then being told that I won’t get the vaccine as I’m low risk. Reading about mutations that no one seems to understand. To me school is not safe at all. Just can’t go back for a long time. Until it’s really under control. Until I’ve been vaccinated with something that really works. Until I get some space in school.

That says it all to this middle aged pompous chap. Tells me where he is. That’s who I will listen to. Not some pompous government minister living his closeted life who doesn’t care and doesn’t listen.

Gone mad

Almost feels like winter….

Worlds gone mad. Well this country has.

This morning I was reading a scientific critique of our Government’s partial herd Immunity strategy. To summarise they found the Government’s approach deeply flawed and has resulted in a significantly higher death toll than should have been expected. The report argued that we should have adopted airport controls and checks at 10 months ago. We should have out in place an effective test and trace system. Lockdowns should have been used more effectively. The Governments decision to offer eat out at restaurants vouchers, open up the beaches for summer and ease regulations for Christmas were argued to be catastrophic decisions. The report pointed to the success New Zealand had achieved.

But then the madness starts. The so called impartial BBC Political Chief argued that it was impossible for the Government to do these things. It was also silly for opponents of the Government to compare here with New Zealand as….

New Zealand is an island and Britain is not an island. It’s a Kingdom.

I must go and check out our new found land bridge with Europe then….

If only that was the end of the Madness.

News today that another health contract has been awarded to a close friend of the Health Secretary (the chap awarding the contract). Apparently a close friendship and a personal political donation of thousands doesn’t constitute a conflict of interest!!!

If only that corrupt madness was the end of it.

After almost a year of having zero Covid checks or controls at our airports the Government has suddenly had a change of heart. Now it’s a 10 year prison sentence if you break the new airport rules. Hang on isn’t this the same Government that only a month ago was threatening parents and schools with court action if children did not go into the classroom. Ok so now you can get a 10 year prison sentence for lying on your Travel declarations. Let that sink in. Boris Johnson wants a 10 year prison sentence for people who lie – that’s Boris the serial liar…..

If only that was the end of the Madness.

The Government Numpty in charge of our schools has said that he is seriously looking into extending the school day and drastically cutting school holidays when they reopen. Reopen without any further social distancing or controls. Apparently pupils must catch up academically and that needs hard work. That is the only priority. Remember this chap. He was the one who clamped down on the time off children could have after a family death. He described bereavement leave as an extended holiday.

This might appeal to some but to me it is madness. Already he has slashed break and lunch times to cram in more school work. Let’s flog pupils and staff even more into the ground. No mention of improving the quality or safety of the learning environment. No mention of changing the disastrous national curriculum. No mention of boosting resources to make homeschooling more effective. No mention of offering the option of targeted help. No mention of mental health investment. No mention of a strategy to help with sports and leisure activities.

This island, sorry not an island, Kingdom has gone mad.

Honesty

It’s been that kind of day….

Children and parents should always be ultimately allowed to decide on what’s best for their families. On most issues there will be no right or wrong choice. Just different takes on life. More than ever that should apply in a pandemic.

Currently there is a bit of a Government backed media campaign to get as many pupils back into school as soon as they reopen. Lots of photos of modern, spaced, half empty classrooms. Loads of social distancing. Parents being interviewed telling a tales of homeschooling nightmares. Interviews with pupils demanding schools open now. Government MPs labelling teacher unions and those expressing concerns as left wing and unpatriotic. Government ministers and the PM repeatedly saying that schools are ‘completely’ safe. Children will only get minor symptoms. Soon millions of the older groups will be vaccinated. Alternative opinions hardly voiced in the mainstream media.

Everybody wants schools to open. Open safely…

But ultimately the decision for an individual child to go back surely has to be with that child and parents. Not the PM who has such a problem telling the truth and has been wrong on virtually every big call over the last year. So pleased just be open with us. Trust us to do the right thing.

So schools are ‘completely’ safe….. Children will get minor symptoms……

Today a few media outlets are covering a story that up to 100 children a week in the UK are being hospitalised with a disease (PIMS) that can occur after a Covid infection, leaving them in intensive care.

A quick look at the hospital admissions for England show currently about 4500 children with general covid symptoms have had to be hospitalised.

So families should be presented with the real facts and encouraged to make the right call for them. Some will elect to continue with homeschooling which will free up much needed classroom space. Our classrooms are often outdated and crammed full. Surely if enhanced homeschooling resources are provided then it’s a win win for everyone. What is the problem with being open with the public…

Trust

The sun setting on another school at home day.

The schools are still kind of shut. Open for essential worker parents. They have been for a few weeks now. In that time not much has been done. The Government’s great pupil testing plan has been thrown into chaos. Any child who self tests negative is good to get into the classroom was the plan. Apparently a plan not approved by the medical agencies. But that’s ok as the teachers had been trained up as health experts. But that’s it. No great push to make the classrooms safer. No change to mask policy for pupils. No drive to establish a robust national homeschooling alternative.

But again that’s ok. Our schools are perfectly safe we are told. Parents are found to reinforce the message. Photos are issued of half empty, modern classrooms with lots of social distancing. Unfortunately when the classrooms fully reopen that won’t be the reality for many. Full to bursting classrooms, no social distancing, antiquated facilities with little meaningful ventilation. But it’s ok as children don’t get covid bad apparently. This is clearly NOT backed up the Government’s own statistics service(ONS). The following shows the percentage of patients who suffer significant covid for longer than 5 weeks

17% at age 17-24

15% at age 12-16

13% at age 2-10

Everybody wants schools to open as soon as possible. The Government want them open so parents have no excuse not to return to work. The economy needs a few sacrifices. Others want schools to open safely so many of our kids can learn and socialise. That means changes to schools and education. Creating space. Changing practices. Offering a well established homeschooling option. Even the Government’s own scientific advisers are arguing for this. We are still waiting….

At present Hawklad is able to access all of the lessons virtually. It’s working ok. Unfortunately the school has confirmed that once schools reopen again they will have to switch much of the online system off. The Government currently wants as many pupils to return to the classrooms as possible. Homeschooling options would potentially discourage many parents and pupils from doing this. Don’t want to let people make up their own mind on things like education.

It’s as if the don’t trust us….

March

This is NOT today. Just needed some sun. Needed some fresh air and a different view.

This photograph was taken on our last outing before lockdown mode started way back in March.

Back then Covid was a headline but still only one of a number of main stories. It was very much carry on as usual and nothing to see here. A handful of National cases but everything was apparently under control. The Government insisted that Lockdowns would never be required here due to the countries world class response.

So on this walk we had taken the dog with us. A new local walk. In my mind I was planning to return the week after. Drop Hawklad off at school and 15 minutes later I could be running along this track.

But the first tell signs were already starting to appear. As we approached field gates Hawklad refused to touch them. I was asked to try and open them using a stick. When we got back home we both had to wash our hands for minutes. Full change of clothing required.

A couple of days later our family lockdown started. Then one more week later the national lockdown started and schools closed.

Our world shrank and the remains that way today. This wet and windy January day. Seems a very different world now.

Not happening

Still waiting for the above freezing weather to arrive. It should be here soon. Potentially a short respite before the really cold air arrives again at the weekend.

The covid vaccination programme is up and running here in the UK. It’s still a mess with most over 70s still waiting a first jab or being told that the follow up jab is being delayed. That doesn’t apply to the PMs Dad who has already had his second one.

I will become eligible probably after April. Hawklad…….

The UK Government stance is that under 18s will NOT get vaccinated – no exceptions unless serious life threatening underlying medical conditions exist. Children are deemed to be of lower risk to serious covid complications and are not a government priority. They have not asked the vaccine manufacturers to test on under 18s. Only Pfizer has conducted any tests on the under 18s. Two of the manufacturers are about to start some testing safety and effectiveness on children in the US.

So where does that leave our little family. In Limbo.

I will at some stage probably get vaccinated but that doesn’t mean that I can’t carry the virus. Hawklad is not likely to get vaccinated at all. So as we stand our self imposed lockdown will have to continue indefinitely. That includes me even if I do get the jab.

The return to the world is NOT happening.

Puddings

Where are our biscuits……

So today my country finds itself cut adrift. Many countries have closed their ports, tunnels and airports to us. That’s what happens when you mix an even more pesky variant of Covid with clueless, self deluded, only interested in themselves numpties who couldn’t manage a snowball fight.

Dolly and her biscuit munching woolly friends would do a better job than that prat called Boris and his cronies.

So yep we are cut adrift as a nation. All I can think about is why it took so long for this to happen. Countries like France should have done this years ago. We are not exactly going to be missed. Must be time for Yorkshire to join Scotland in declaring independence and ditching this madness. Let’s celebrate that thought with a large portion of Yorkshire Puddings. I’d rather talk about those puddings than the other puddings who are in charge,

Chickpeas

So the government has known that the new strain, the even more pesky strain of Covid has been here for weeks. In that time it has issued travel warnings and banned travel to other countries that had the slightest whiff of this strain. But it failed to mention that we had it all that time. It encouraged people to meet up and plan for a largely restriction free Christmas. Allowed people and businesses to make plans. Hurled abuse at those who dared to mention that easing restrictions might be a mistake. And then at the last minute they have cancelled the Christmas easing and have hit millions with further restrictions. How do some people still think that these people are fit to lead us. One rule for us and another rule for them. Making a priority of making making millions for their friends and themselves.

Avoiding making decisions, ignoring facts and putting things off to the last minute never works…

I’ve had a supersized bag of chickpeas propped up on the kitchen sideboard for weeks and weeks. The bag is opened at the top. Wide open…..I should have put the chickpeas into a large container. Or resealed the bag. Or moved them somewhere safe. Oh no. I’ve left them there. Courting kitchen floor disaster. Well this morning it happened. As I tried to clean the work surfaces I spectacularly elbowed the open chickpea bag. Given how far it went into the air it might as well have been a NASA Saturn 5 rocket launch. Strangely given an opportunity to escape, chickpeas will not refuse the opportunity. They are everywhere. On the floor. Under units. In the sink. All over the work surfaces. I’m wearing a few. Actually some found their way into the toaster. Even some foolish souls dived into my training shoes. Not content with that, they enticed the pets to spread the chickpea invasion to other parts of the house. Mayhem.

If only I had done something sooner. Now you could argue that I’m just as bad as the government for letting this happen. Well maybe not. I don’t get paid handsomely for doing this. I don’t get advice from top scientists and logistical planners. I don’t have a duty of care to look after millions. Decisions over my 3kg chickpea packet do not impact of the life and health of a country.

Yes I’m a muppet but I’m not wilfully negligent…..

You couldn’t make it up.

Britain basically has self absorbed, one rule for us one rule for them, clowns running the country. Everyday they lower the bar even further. Who would have thought that the ‘everyone needs to isolate if you travel abroad unless you are a HIGH VALUE person who the rules will not apply to…’ gem could be topped. Well yes they did.

Schools had been told at short notice that they should consider closing on the 18th for Christmas to tie in with the temporary relaxation of the pandemic rules. A relaxation which is going against scientific advice. Well now the Government has decided to threaten legal action against schools……

Some schools are suffering from seriously high infection rates amongst pupils and staff. Often the schools find themselves in the highest risk areas. As a result some schools have taken the decision to switch to remote learning. That didn’t go down well The Clowns.

The School Minister Nick Gibb in particular. Remember him, he’s the one he thought it was a good idea to start getting 4 year olds to sit tests. He is the clown who described children taking time off for family bereavement as having an EXTENDED HOLIDAY…. Well he has started contacting schools to tell them that they must immediately shut down online tuition and bring all kids back into classrooms or he will take legal action against them.

How on earth do we end up with these people in charge.

Now I realise that there are people out there who will think the School Minister is brilliant (especially himself). Who think that this country is heading in the right direction under this government. They are so entitled to their option. They have got the government they wanted. They won’t care what I prattle on about. Today they will be happy with the state of the country. For me that sums it all up. When was the last time they opened their eyes. I guess they don’t want to. That’s the thing. In previous times we have had differences of opinion on how the country should be run. But it was clear both sides of the argument wanted the best for the country. Now I am not so sure everybody shares that view. That’s why I have never been so pessimistic for the future and what inheritance we are leaving for future generations.