Sunday, the perfect day for an afternoon walk. Heading down one of those mighty Yorkshire motorways to a beautiful hidden lake.
Ideal for Hawklad, quiet and feeling remote. Plenty of nature and wildlife, no crowds.
On a walk like this you can see the difference in Hawklad. Relaxed, funny, talkative, at ease with the world. Add people, add crowds, add school and the change in him is marked. On edge, worried, pensive, quiet, reserved.
Switzerland is a country that means so much to this little old Yorkshire family. So many holidays there, so many memories. It’s a special place.
But things have changed. The next time we travel there, it will be different. It’s a much smaller family now. It will just be the two of us. It will be the first trip to The Alps without Hawklad’s mum. But how different will it be. We would always have the same holiday base, Spiez. The Hotel Seegarten, just a few feet from beautiful Lake Thun and it’s marina. We would arrive Saturday night and then on Sunday morning we would always take the boat across the lake to Interlaken. Hawklad loved the relaxing boat journey, he would spend his time on deck. Then a walk round Interlaken. A hot chocolate sat outside a beautiful hotel watching the brave souls landing paragliders after an exhilarating trip from the top of the local mountain. Then a bit of crazy golf, the Swiss do like that sport. A pizza them a trip to a beautiful gift shop. A shop with the most elaborate Swiss Clocks and most importantly a huge selection of Schleich Toy Animals.
The question is….
When we do go back again. Do we stick to the Sunday tradition or do we go for something completely different. Those Sunday mornings were definitely fun and memorable but life has changed. Would it feel the same for Hawklad without his mum. We have talked about it and wow do I regret that….. He’s minded to keep the tradition but add one new thing. Paraglide from that mountain. I think I need a Jumbo Jet size glider to carry my most un-aerodynamic body down to the ground in a controlled manner.
Now you that is spectacular. The cliffs at Bempton. Another Yorkshire Gem.
This world has so much to offer.
We travelled here yesterday. A visit to one of the countries best bird viewing sites. That good that the Northern Hemispheres only Albatross chooses here for a summer vacation. No albatross yesterday but we did see many sea birds and a rare chance to see a Short Eared Owl hunt over the fields. That’s some bird.
Hawklad is pushing the boundaries but under his terms. Avoiding crowds, avoiding people. The fact that he can’t face an over crowded classroom doesn’t mean that he can’t venture out. So what next…..
He has set himself some realistic goals for this year. Twelve ‘avoiding people’ targets. I’m signed up to them, so let’s see how many we can tick off during 2022 for him.
1. Visit the New Forest
2. Visit Sherwood Forest
4. Climb Yorkshire’s two highest mountains (they are small ones….)
5. Visit the Lake District and walk up one of England’s bigger mountains
6. Visit a new wildlife park
7. Go to see an Osprey hunt
8. Go for a torchlight walk on the Moors and get to see the stars with zero light pollution
9. Go to Scotland to see a Golden Eagle fly
10. Visit Stonehenge
11. Visit a new castle
12. Go for his longest ever walk
We also have a new golden rule. When we venture out, if a car park is ever half full or busier – then no questions asked, we don’t park. We continue on, find somewhere less busy or we head home.
Hopefully 2022 will show that you can avoid people and still have adventures.
It’s the first Sunday of 2022 so it’s time for our first virtual visit to one of the great destinations in the world. Switzerland.
I can’t believe that in a few months time it will be 7 years since our last holiday here in Alpine Heaven. That’s far too long. But actually there is more to it. My partners family has been coming here regularly for generations. A clear family bond established. But life has happened and that family is much smaller now. It’s now just down to Hawklad and I to keep up that tradition. We have to get back. That’s not just me saying that, Hawklad is committed to that as well. Maybe this year…..
So as the new year arrives, I will leave the photos up to Hawklad. He can pick the locations, the memories. Here are his favourite times and places from this magical country.
There is something truly magical about a Walk in the Woods when the weather has closed in. It can be the start of so many stories and adventures.
A planned meet-up with my sister failed today. Hawklad agreed to go for it and then my sisters car went on strike. These things happen. A distraction would have been good. Just one of those days in which Hawklad’s anxieties spiked. When they hit, they hit in waves. Not just one thing, a range of things. When he gets kind of on top of one thing, two more jump in to replace them. Doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas Eve, these anxiety waves can hit at any time. They confuse his thought process. They cause him sensory overload. They stop him in his tracks.
I know what it’s feels like. I’ve been there as well.
Distraction sometimes works. Pacing about. Scooby Doo. Lego. Walks. But at some stage we have to work through the anxieties. Try to unpick them. Put them into context. Do what we can.
Slowly this time, the waves begin to subside. You can tell when he is getting there. The first signs
“Dad where is The Big Red Fella on Track Santa”
On his way to Madagascar apparently. He arrives in 7 minutes.
“I wonder just how many in England have been put on the naughty list this year”
It’s probably more a massive database than a list. You won’t be on it.
“Dad you are officially on the naughty list with that jumper of yours. Even Elton John wouldn’t wear that.”
I will have you know it’s a handmade Italian climbing sweater.
“Which they export for muppets like you to buy because no self respecting Italian will ever wear that.”
Harsh but fair….
“Why in earth is it about three sizes to big for you…”
I bought it when I was climbing in Wales years ago. My size was standard price but the garden shed size was 80% off. That’sa bargain I couldn’t turn down.
“But it’s far too big for you…”
It’s not that big….
“Dad there’s more room in that jumper than in our loft, a family of 4 could live in there”
That’s mostly down to all the weight I’ve lost on my diets…
“If only Dad….”
Ok. It is a tad big. I can change my T-shirt without taking it off.But I could give it to you. Think of it as a precious hand me downfrom father to son.
“Just NO. That would really give me something to worry about…..”
####he chuckled at that one, that’s a good sign###
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.
Today like the last few mornings has been wet and bleak. So let’s visit slightly brighter days. When do I ever look back….
So one week left of this school term. That’s another term of school at home. I think that’s something like 69 weeks worth of homeschooling. I quickly ran out of fingers and toes so don’t hold me to that. 69 weeks. Wow. Does that qualify as a teacher now…..
Does that qualify me as someone who had the faintest idea what he was doing during most of those 69 weeks……
Does that qualify me as a parent who is deeply regretting giving caffeine up just a few weeks before those 69 weeks started……
If someone had mentioned that the days of school runs, trail runs, shopping runs, running around at the office, would suddenly stop. If someone would have whispered that suddenly my physical contact with the outside world would go on hold. On hold not just for days or months. But years. YEARS NOW. I can guarantee that black coffee consumption would never have ceased, if anything it would have gone through the roof.
So 69 weeks of caffeine free homeschooling. Who saw that coming. I didn’t. If week 70 is anything like week 69 then I will be hitting the espresso BIG TIME…….
What can I say. I can hear the rain beat against the house windows. I can hear the wind whip down the chimney, the gate thump against the wall. The central heating is on full and it still feels cold. England is grim when it’s like this.
Earlier Hawklad basically said ‘why on earth do we choose to live here…..’. There’s a good reason why here we talk about the weather all the time.
I need to distract myself. I need to focus on my dreams. To focus on the best things in life.
Time to make a hot drink, dig out some old photos. Walk again in Switzerland. Yes that pesky Yorkshire weather is well and truly shut out now. I’m dreaming.
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.