Not ready.

Another weekend has come and gone. Again just the two of us. Talks in the garden, walks around the deserted fields. Occasionally passing a fellow dog walker in the village, bringing just a quick nod. No deliveries. No postman. No sign of the neighbours. No phone calls.

Here some are starting to ignore the Government line that Covid is under control. Numbers are rising rapidly here. The hospitals are stretched again. So people are far less likely to stop and talk, preferring a quick shout from across the road.

That is adding to the isolation feel here.

We did look at visiting somewhere else, Hawklad fancied a historic site but the online booking systems clearly showed that there where extremely busy. So we stayed put. A weekend at home. Not using the car saved a bucket load of cash.

The last person I had a conversation with before the weekend was with his health professional. When I raised the school pushing for him to sit exams, she was clear. A clear “ he is not ready, not ready at all for that, he is potentially months or more likely much longer away from being anywhere near ready for classrooms or exams’. So let’s see what schools attitude is when I convey that message to them.

Back in the fields again

Almost 2 years ago we crashed into a national lockdown. Months of being at home. Restricted to the house, the garden, to the adventures around the surrounding fields. The car was hardly used. It became such a luxury item, it gathered dust.

Yesterday I filled the car up with Diesel. I drove past two service stations which had NO FUEL signs showing that they were closed. The third station was open but with long queues. Wow it was expensive. The price has almost doubled in just under two weeks. Hardly any people wearing masks. The shop radio playing as I waited to pay had a Government expert saying that they didn’t know why Covid cases were rising so fast again, but don’t worry as we are now living with Covid. I reached the checkout, wow that’s almost three figure money to feed the car.

As I drove back it started to feel like 2020 and 2021 again. Time to park up the car. Let it gather dust again. Treat the car as a luxury item. Restrict long trips out. A period where adventures are just local ones. Ones we walk from the house.

One mile walk from our house, Captain Chaos almost trod all over these beautiful flowers. We are back in those fields again.

It’s safe to go back.

I have to admit that I am not in the slightest bit upset about Hawklad avoiding a return to the classroom this week. He is not ready. As new covid cases average 200,000 a day. That’s a number that doesn’t include the large number of people getting reinfected, it’s also at a time when many with symptoms can’t get tested. The worry is schools have been closed for 2 weeks, what happens when the variant hits the classroom. Without schools, today in England 157 children were hospitalised with Covid.

Apparently schools are safe and the Government has done everything to protect the children and those who work in them. Reluctantly they have reintroduced masks. Pupils will be tested twice a week if schools can get hold of the test kits. And with a big fanfare it’s been announced that 7000 ventilation units will be finally purchased for schools.

UK classrooms are frequently cramped and poorly designed. We also have some of the largest class sizes across Europe.

One problem with that announcement is that there are over 32000 schools in the UK. Let’s say each school has 10 classrooms, Hawklad’s school has well over 50. So which of those 300000 plus classrooms will get the 7000 ventilation units. That’s a lot of cramped, over crowded classrooms left with inadequate air quality levels. Good indoor ventilation is seen as a key defence against an airborne virus. As one headteacher pointed out, the Government could have put in a ventilation unit into EVERY classroom for half the cost of the new Royal Yacht, which the Government is buying. The Yacht is seen as an essential purchase. Our children clearly aren’t……

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.

Just my imagination

Is it just my imagination but has every recent Christmas movie featured at some stage a shot of a TV in the background showing It’s a Wonderful Life. Funnily it’s never Hulk Hogans Santa with Muscles epic opus in the background……

I use the term epic opus very very very loosely.

Is it my imagination but when I am down I reach for sad or melancholy music. Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Johnnie Cash. Wouldn’t I be better off putting on the magical Wonderful Life. Even in the middle of summer, I could get so much from that movie. But I guess I take after my mum. She would reach for the sad music.

There’s been a lot of music played recently. 22 months of lockdown and isolation. Now everything is pointing towards another national lockdown imminently. How can I help Hawklad rebuild those bridges when the world is this messed up. I guess it’s just about trying to help him ride it out until things finally settle down. But when will it start to settle down. I remember the talk of 2021 being so much better than the year before. How could it be any worse. Well that went to plan.

So tonight there is NO melancholy music being played. Tonight it’s time to watch James Stewart. I think it’s my imagination, but I need that movie tonight. Really need it.

Club

A misty scene from a couple of days back. No morning walk today, otherwise engaged. Stood in a queue patiently waiting my booster covid shot. After two doses of AstraZeneca it was time to join the Moderna club. So stood in the queue about 50 deep. Three queues for three different group of needle waving awesome nurses. Everyone with masks on, carefully keeping 2 metres apart. Hundreds of people stopping their daily routine to get vaccinated. All this happening before 9am.

In the queue I stood pondering life. Does the young woman in front of me realise that she is still apparently wearing her pyjamas. I wonder what the chap in front of her has is his folder marked IMPORTANT. how life has changed since the start of 2020. Does the chap opposite me know that as he plays his game on his mobile he keeps making Mick Jagger facial pouts.

I wonder what people are thinking of me.

I pondered other things. How many of those stood patiently are struggling. How many secretly would love someone to strike up a conversation. Be social. This is a very changed world. A very more isolated and fractured society. As I watched those around me carefully maintain a sufficient personal gap, my mind wandered back just a couple of years. Remember birthday parties. Everyone tightly huddled round a cake with candles. A child or adult, probably with a streaming cold, desperately trying to blow out the candles. After failed 3 or 4 attempts, more people joining in, probably with a myriad of ailments, blowing until the candles were out. Then the much breathed on cake is quickly handed round, people sharing not enough cutlery, from person to person the cake is passed for immediate consumption. How alien does that concept sound now. Will we ever truly get back to those days. How long will we all be stuck in this endless cycle of variants and vaccinations.

Then remarkably quickly I’m back home. Back to the quiet, back to the isolation. Back to single parenting, cut off from much of this bonkers new world. It felt odd being amongst so many other people. Almost uncomfortable. Definitely not feeling like a normal experience. The world has changed. Have I changed?

Too bright

Unbelievably it was bright sun for the dog walk today. Too bright. YES that’s a phrase you don’t here in connection with Yorkshire too many times. TOO BRIGHT. Not in terms of the usual weather and also not in terms of the competitors at the local Shin Kicking tournament. That’s going to get my Yorkshire Passport taken off me……

The light was too bright for my mobile. It produced some weird lighting effects. Normally I would just delete them but this time, no. The results are kind of rainbow cool

See it’s one of those Yorkshire Super Highways with rainbow special effects. Maybe we should keep them.

School sent an email out to parents this afternoon. In line with Government instructions, masks will still not be enforced in school as nationally schools are deemed safe. In line with national instructions , pupils will be issued with covid test kits to use over Christmas to ensure that schools are adequately protected when they reopen. Unfortunately the test kits are not available as supplies have run out. School understands that kits won’t be sent to them in the foreseeable future, potentially well after the next school terms begins. Any test supplies available will be prioritised to other areas.

Feels like the school holidays can’t come quick enough.

Well at least the sun is shining. Hopefully shinning for most of the holidays. Pupils in school and those at home deserve a great break. It’s been a grim and anxious time for all of them.

Trails

Paths in the sky. Never thought vapour trails could be a thing a beauty.

A pandemic forced a change of education path for us. Classroom schooling became school at home. The living room became the classroom. Not true homeschooling as school still provided the lessons. Sometimes the whole class was off, often it was just Hawklad. That’s gone on for 21 months now. 21 months and counting.

Over that period the idea was ultimately a return to the classroom. That’s what Hawklad wanted. Repeatedly Hawklad decided he wasn’t ready to return.

He’s still not ready to return.

Deep down I don’t think he’s going to feel able to return anytime soon. That’s not just my view. The medical opinion is a return to school is now unlikely before his final exams in 2023. Hawklad is starting thinking of a return to the classroom but that might not be until he potentially starts college in 2 years time. If he returns before his exams then that’s a bonus. It’s when Hawklad feels it’s the right time.

The question now is what do we do up to his exams. It’s looking like the school at home project is a path with many miles still to walk.

So

Don’t matter

Looks like someone has been trying to draw clouds with a pink crayon. Very nice 😊

If only everything else was very nice.

Two contrasting messages from Hawklad’s school today.

We hope all pupils enjoy the well earned Christmas break which starts on Friday.

This contrasts nicely with messages from 5 subject teachers (so far)

Remember to revise for your important subject exams over the holiday. Exams happen immediately after your time off….

I’m sorry but I can’t ever remember enjoying myself while I was revising. I guess it fits in with the Government message that children must work harder and play less. But over the last few years children are increasingly seen as second class citizens in this country. Last night the CLOWNS in charge of the country announced an emergency campaign to give all adults a THIRD booster covid shot within weeks. NO MENTION OF CHILDREN. Currently only something like 50% of secondary school age pupils have received just one vaccine shot. Younger children aren’t eligible for even one shot. Most schools here have still not received any air quality monitoring devices or any air filters that were promised months back. Promised so that schools would be safe. Masks are required in all public places, all except the school classroom…. The government person in charge of schools went on the television to talk about covid – he never mentioned schools or children ONCE. Not once….. The Governments only education strategy currently is to KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN AT ALL COSTS, surely it has to be KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE AT ALL COSTS.

Sadly children just don’t matter to those in charge.

Unknown

A walk into the unknown……

As I’m typing this we should be in queue waiting to get into a rock concert in a busy northern city. As we are still 100 miles away, sat at home while Hawklad watches episodes of Parks & Recreation, I think we can call that a NO SHOW.

It was always more of a target for Hawklad to aim for, rather than a must see concert. A great band but The DARKNESS can wait for another year. Plus we have seen them twice already, in fact they were the last band we went to see before a certain pandemic hit. This concert was more about a potential marker to a return to a more normal, involved life. His return (and mine) into the real world. Six months to build bridges. In reality you can’t put a time on these processes, especially as yet another variant starts to surge through communities.

Hawklad isn’t ready yet. Those bridges are largely unbuilt. Certainly not ready to be packed in with a few thousand strangers.

The walk into the unknown continues…….

Much to ponder about life, the universe and homeschooling.

Time for a new target. Let’s call it a goal this time. A smaller step. Maybe not bridges built rather bridge building starting. Hawklad’s call is….

Go to the cinema to see a movie when it is really quiet. Almost empty cinema with no one sat near. More realistic as masks are enforced again.

Ok we can work towards that. May takes months (or longer) but it could happen eventually. Achieve that mini goal and then maybe THE DARKNESS might be more achievable.

The walk towards the known continues.