Magic wand

Midday….. House lights and heating full on. But at least the mist has retreated for a while.

So another day and another email from school. Another pupil has tested positive and 25 more pupils asked to isolate. A nightmare for the kids and families living with this virus. Its doing nothing for our son’s current anxieties. It can’t be much fun at school as well. Oh for a magic wand.

Yes Dad a magic wand would be much used this year.”

It would Hawklad. Much needs fixing.

Thinking about it I had better have the wand, not YOU.

Don’t you trust your Dad….

You know what would happen. It would be like the TV remote control. You wouldn’t be able to find it. Then after hours of going red in the face you would then stumble upon it. But the wand will be flat out power and you won’t be able to find the right replacement batteries. Finally you will get the wand to work but then you won’t be able to remember how to use it. You will shout at it for a while before you pass it to me to figure it out.”

HE KNOWS ME TOO WELL…..

November Rain

Should really be listening to that Guns N’ Roses song while writing this.

Well I did put it on….

It’s November 2020. What happened to October? For nothing much happening it certainly seemed to fly by. The new month sees England about to re-enter a national lockdown. This time until at least the 2nd December. You can go out for education, to work (only if you can’t do it from home), to do some exercise, for a medical appointment, to care for someone and to shop for essentials. Pubs, restaurants, and things like non essential shops will close. Does non essential include Boris Johnson and the Government. Unless you are at school, university or work (as the virus is cool with those places unlike than well run, conscientious little cafes) you basically can’t meet up with anyone.

Is it bad that when I hear our so called leader talk I just utter the words ‘what a pompous, self deluded, lazy prat’. Actually that can be used for most of the Government. Worryingly Boris Johnson isn’t the worst….

For our little part of the world it’s not going to make that much of a difference. We don’t meet up with anyone really. We don’t go out unless for essential stuff. I have no work until at least March. Son is not medically cleared to attend school. Ok his nurse counsellor may not be able to visit. Food shopping might become more difficult. No chance of seeing family or friends. I don’t go for runs. But it is what it is.

Last night I took son for a short drive round the local villages to look at the Halloween decorations. Nighttime when few are out is the only time he will venture out. These trips out probably become illegal from Thursday. Do we care – NO. If members of the government can drive 300 miles with the virus and apparently impaired vision to visit family and tourist haunts – well stuff you Boris. These little trips out can be classed as medical and I’m just acting as any responsible parent would do.

So welcome to November 2020. Will it fly by…

Irony

It was another one of those Yorkshire days. Cold, wet, windy, brooding.

That weather combined with a pandemic, homeschooling and our enforced lockdown is a heady mix. A mix which gets me pondering life. Probably too much pondering some days.

I was sat looking out through the window at that dark sky. Sat alone while Hawklad did his school work in the bedroom. I was suddenly taken back to before 2016. The old small conservatory had finally fallen to bits. We had found the money for a replacement one. I think we planned for years of sitting in there, spending time together. But here’s the thing. We never really did. Life always got in the way. We always seemed to be too busy. If only we had found a way of slowing life down. Creating time at home. Seemingly having too much time on our hands. No excuses to not sit together in that new conservatory. At the time it kind of never really mattered. We had so many years ahead of us to do that.

Well that plan didn’t go well.

Here’s the irony that 2020 presents. Suddenly time has slowed down. Often a feeling of too much time on our hands. A lockdown enforcing time together. No outside distractions this time. A perfect time to sit with my partner and look at that dark sky. Thinking how lucky we are to have that time together. The irony is not lost on me.

Well that will stop it

So today our so called Government announced that our local city is to be moved up the pandemic risk table. It’s now a tier 2 area risk. That’s officially HIGH. As a result additional rules will apply to those living in the city. One rule is that I can’t now visit my sister at her house in York. But here’s the thing.

Under the rules I could go to work with anyone from York – no issues there. But after work finishes I would then not be allowed to go for a coffee with those same co-workers. Suddenly mixing with them becomes too risky. Well that will fool the pesky virus…..

Bizarrely I have just noticed that my next nearest sister who lives in another city 100 miles away has also been classed as living in a high risk area. So I can’t visit her as well. Well this is going well…..

Challenging

It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s dark. It feels like winter. At least the leaves are still in autumn mode.

It’s going to be a challenging few months.

School has now contacted all parents following the recent in school positive covid cases. Our sons year group have been instructed to return to school. However a further 57 pupils are being asked to self isolate for 14 days. It’s not just our school. Another 5 local schools have at least one year group isolating, with another school reporting its first cases today.

This is on the same day that the government once again stressed the civic responsibility to attend school. Schools are perfectly safe and the risk of infection is extremely low.

Are we supposed to believe you Boris?

I remember you telling university students to go back to college as it was their civic duty, it was perfectly safe and students would risk losing places if they refused. Just a few weeks later and in one local city 1600 of the 2200 new infections are from university students. Nationally over 10000 students have now gone down with the virus In another city a number of the university students have required intensive care treatment due to the virus. Many other students are now on lockdown, confined to their rooms.

Apparently this is all the fault of the students…..

Are you supposed to be in charge Boris?

Going to be a challenging few months.

Uncertain

Over the last few days nature has been providing its very own washing service.

Many people are doing more and more washing over the last six months. Especially hand washing. That’s certainly the case here in our little corner of the world. Since about the age of 6 son has had anxieties relating to touching unclean objects. This would result in fairly frequent hand washing exercises. Thankfully only a few seconds of soap and water was sufficient to calm the fears.

That all changed in 2016 when his mum died at a relatively young age. Suddenly the world was filled with uncertainty and unseen dangers. His hand washing rapidly spiralled out of control. It became more frequent and went on for up to a minute at a time. Thankfully he started working with a wonderful nurse counsellor who over a couple of years brought his hand washing back under control. He was taught to wash like a nurse and get it done in under 20 seconds.

Then a pandemic hit. All the reassurances, all the hard earned confidence was blown out of the water. His fears re-emerged worse than ever. Life is now an ‘avoid touching anything and hand washing’ fest. He will wash his hands several times an hour. When he starts washing, he will wash for anywhere up to 5 minutes. All without trying to touch the tap and only using elbows (usually my elbow).

Any delivery or letter has to be taken into the garage for several days of quarantine before it is opened. After I have touched the item then I need to change my clothes completely and be seen to wash my hands. If I venture out then almost full decontamination procedures have to be followed.

Welcome to 2020.

This time it feels different. More engrained. The health professionals agree. All we can do is try to manage the situation until he sees that the pandemic is under control. A vaccine works and he has had it. But even then there are no guarantees. His fears and anxieties may never truly fade. Maybe they will but only until the next killer bug emerges. The future is uncertain. It is uncertain for many.

Revolution

I was asked about if our son was any closer returning to school. This is his fourth week at home since the school returned full time. Well two things from today really paint the picture.

First an email from school advising that the school had now had its second confirmed case. This time a member of staff. Apparently the confirmed cases so far are not considered to be linked. A small number of individuals have been asked to isolate for 14 days and the school remains fully open.

The second was a conversation with our son. His words need no more elaboration.

“Dad I go into meltdown if the bedroom window is open. In fact I can’t even touch the window handle to close it. I just can’t go back. Can’t go back for some time to come.”

And there is our answer in a nutshell. At present government ministers are telling parents to ensure there kids go to school as it’s perfectly safe and is in fact our civic duty. To not do now apparently makes you a bad parent, someone who is not acting responsibly. Must get those words on a T-shirt.

I will continue to act irresponsibly and avoid doing my civic duty. Our son will return to school when he is ready to do so, when it is safe and when he is comfortable doing that. Until then – Viva La Revolution…..

L

A path

The farm cows are good at making paths. They are pretty straight as well. Wonder if they fancy making me a path as well….

What type of path do I want. I could set my sights really low. Ask the cows to do a path in another direction across that field. Ideally on the usual dog walking route across the overgrown and perpetually damp grass. Maybe I could set my sights a bit higher. A nice short paved path across our lawn to the Apple tree. But I could go really high and ask the clever cows to chart me a life path for the next few years. It would be nice to have a sense of direction for a change.

A nice thought but actually the signposts are already there. Signposts showing the way forward. Just have to keep reminding myself to open my eyes and look for them.

Over the last few weeks I have been looking at what jobs are available for me. Need a job that fits round Hawklad and his needs. So ideally one which is largely home based with minimal travel requirements. With the current and likely homeschooling requirements I need one which is part time with quite a lot of flexibility. Actually a zero hours based contract makes sense. A job which I can do already as I don’t have the time or probably the energy to retrain. One which pays enough to at least cover the bills.

So I’m not asking for much.

As hard as I’ve looked no suitable job popped onto my laptop screen. Actually nothing even remotely suitable appeared. Then I opened my eyes and the penny dropped. I ditched my professional career as it didn’t fit around my new life. Then I was lucky in that I found one which did. The new job just about ticked all the boxes. That’s my current job. Even one of the owners kids are friends with Hawklad. They went to his school. That makes things so much easier.

YES I have an ideal job already. Ok – It’s not ideal in 2020 as its public event based. Public Events and a Pandemic are not particularly that compatible. So the work has had to be largely mothballed until life starts to return to normal. Probably a new normal. So that’s no work for me until that new normal emerges. Hopefully that will start to happen after we get through the winter. Yes that’s no money for a few months but we can batten down the hatches and get through on savings. The worry is that too many in a similar position but are not that fortunate with savings. We are even more fortunate as the lack of work means I can focus a bit more on the homeschooling needs.

So I’ve seen the signpost to a path. Get through the next few months and then hopefully restart the ideal job. My job. I did that all by myself and didn’t need the cows to show me the way. But I still wouldn’t mind that paved path to the Apple tree though. That grass does get a bit muddy.

Red

A trip out to the village post box feels like a real adventure. The stuff you can find even on a two minute walk. Definitely saviour those moments.

Today provided a longer trip out. This time a trip pharmacy to pick up a prescription. It felt odd driving in the local town. Actually it just felt odd driving. I admit that I needed to work out which of the 3 peddles was the clutch – how bad is that. Clearly cars are more than just point and go. In the town definitely more signs of the impact of the pandemic. Some places have closed down. Controlled entry queues outside the stores. 2m spacing tape on the pavements. Definitely more masks on view. In the pharmacy Perspex screens and staff dressed like they are about to perform surgery on the customers. Missing items on the prescription, some medicines are just not available. Sign of the times.

School emailed all the parents to let them know that the school has had its first confirmed coronavirus case. It’s stays open and carries on. Will be such a worry for everyone there. Sadly it won’t be the last one. It certainly doesn’t do anything to change the narrative for our son. He’s schooling at home. He’s schooling at home for the foreseeable future.

We carry on.

Sitting down

I must have run past this monument well into a three figure number. Lots of times. I wonder when will be the next run here? 2021? 2022? or later.

Without running I’ve switched to more CrossFit and Yoga. I can definitely see a few more muscles but I’m not sure how far I could run now. It’s been many many months since I last put on my running shoes. My joints would definitely need a good oiling before I tried.

Today’s yoga was definitely interesting. 10 minutes of doing what appeared to be a simple task. Standing up from a cross legged position without using my hands. The standing up bit was ok, it was the getting down bit which was the challenge. How hard can it possibly be to go from standing up to sitting on the floor with my hands behind my back. Humpty Dumpty comes to mind. Give me running any day please. I can do that. But I guess over the coming months I will get the chance to improve. Not sure my bottom can cope with the bruises for that length of time.

We had two deliveries and the postman this morning. It’s unsettling for me to see each person arrive at the door fully masked up. Imagine what it does to someone fighting fears about germs and bugs. It really did spook Hawklad. Should really say spooked him even more. My job over the week is to rig up a post box outside to stop letters coming through the front door. Another thing that increasingly bothers Hawklad. As these anxieties continue to grow he becomes more clingy with me. His health professional has told me that his fears are so ingrained that they may not start to ease until this pandemic is under control and the vaccine has been rolled out and proven to be effective.

A clear time frame is starting to emerge on our lockdown. This is going well into 2021, maybe longer. That has huge implications for school, my work and our quality of life. Quality of life in the sense that our world will be the house and garden for the foreseeable future.

Running is not happening so I had better start to learn new skills. Skills like not collapsing in a heap when I try to get onto the floor without using my hands.