Nothing

It’s nearly 1pm. I need to pinch myself. Is it really a school day. School at home day. So far absolutely nothing from school this week. No lesson material, no assigned work, no idea what the class is doing. Nothing. That’s three blank lessons so far.

It’s been that quiet we even checked to make sure we hadn’t got the dates wrong and school is on holiday. But no, it’s a full school day.

What shall I do Dad then….”

Well as we have no idea what his class was doing. No idea even what subjects the class was looking at. It’s a blank sheet of paper. A good chance for Hawklad to set the agenda. Take control of what he learns. So I said what any self respecting Dad would say.

Well Son you can go and wash my car……

No Dad. What school work shall I do.”

What one subject do you most want to learn about.

History, definitely history. Second World War.”

Ok spend the morning indulging yourself in the that. And when you finish. You can get off your backside, go outside and clean my car 😂😂😂

***********

And that’s what he did. He studied the Nuremberg War Trials. He so far hasn’t got round to cleaning my car. But here’s the problem. He’s taller than me so I can’t really put my foot down anymore. I might just have to do that job myself.

Grey

It’s a grey morning definitely in need of a few smiles.

We have both just sniggered a bit. Trying to help Hawklad with his school at home day. It’s French. I’m not much help really. German yes I could help. Speaking gibberish certainly could help. French not really. It doesn’t help that French is one of the subjects that he isn’t getting much support with these days. So he often just has to look at the online class chat system. It’s sometimes used in class and can give at least an indication of what the lesson is supposed to be all about. Maybe even provide some of the questions the class are working on. Well that’s the theory…..

This morning no set work provided so all he can do is crack on with other subjects or find things to learn about and wait… Today he was researching the American Civil Rights movement while waiting for anything from French. Then a class comment was posted.

ma belle-mère a bu trop de champagne et ma grand-mère est tombée du cgair.

Oh my….Dad. Whats that supposed to be”

Wow is there anything else.

No Dad just that. Any ideas apart from it’s about a Grand Mother and a Step Mum”

It surely can’t be what I think it means. Have a go at translating it with your dictionary

Dad it means thanks to Google “My step mum has drunk too much booze and my grandmother has clearly been at it as well and fallen off the chair…. “

Yes I thought it kinda did mean that.

Ok Dad as given my family world I am unlikely to need those French words, can I ignore it and get back to Martin Luther King.”

Yes you certainly can……

What

Always something to look at. Just need to take the time to find things to raise the spirits and lift the soul.

So far this week it’s been 8 lessons. 8 lessons of school at home. So what has been on the educational menu so far

Two lessons thankfully did deliver interest in the form of The Scottish Play and learning about some geographical features in Africa. But THEN…

An abstract artist he will probably never hear of again, some random French words relating to reality TV which he is unlikely ever to use again, drawing out a family tree, cutting an pasting some bible quotes onto the tree, learning about a computer app that he will probably never use again, looking at classroom comments in one class with no idea what was going on and three lessons with zero work provided.

The upshot of all this is too many lessons just missing the point with Hawklad. Just not connecting with him. Is he really learning enough. Is he really learning what he truly needs. Is he really enjoying learning.

That’s why you frequently catch him multitasking in many classes. Kind of following what’s happening in the class. Doing just enough. But then at the same time watching videos on things that do interest him. History, politics, geography, climate change, animal science.

Can’t blame him.

Crime and Punishment

Still that kind of weather. Might leave the sunbathing for another day or so.

So school is open. Here we go again.

Four lessons today. Two with work provided. Two without.

Ok Dad I’ve emailed the teacher to ask them what I’m supposed to be doing but haven’t received anything back. So I’m going to look at History. I know what they are looking at next year so might as well focus on that. “

What are you going to look at then.

It’s Crime and Punishment from Victorian times. So might as well start with Jack the Ripper, hangings and Victorian prisons.”

That’s nice.

#####

What happened to the days of watching The Tellytubbies……

Witches

Good to see I’m bringing our son up correctly. He learning the important stuff. The stuff which he will need going forward.

English set some homework to be done overnight. Read an article on a specific subject and answer questions. The class is currently analysing Macbeth. So the article was all about King James I and witchcraft.

Oh that’s fine Dad, don’t need to look at the article. I can answer any question on that subject….”

Really Son. The questions are quite random. They are about witches and folklore.

No problem at all Dad. I can do that…”

Ok without reading why was Macbeth shorter than other plays

James I was well known to become restless sitting through long plays”

Ok how many people were killed in Scotland during the witch trials.

Somewhere between 1400 and 1800″

What event convinced James I to act on witches

A bad storm almost killed Anne of Denmark at sea”

How do you know that… what was his first act against witchcraft after that event.

Easy he ordered the biggest ever witch hunt and witch trials around Berwick.”

Unbelievable.

James I wrote a book on witchcraft. He clearly had issues with witches. He passed the Witchcraft Act which made the first offence for any suspected witch behaviour a hanging and burning offence. Before that you only got executed if murder was involved

I think I need a coffee. That’s my level. I can’t even find my glasses most days….

Mist

I don’t know why but as soon as I saw our morning sky I immediately thought of two opposing medieval armies preparing for battle. Just waiting for the mist to lift before they crash into each other.

Our area has had so many bloody battles dating back to Viking times. Who is to say that these very fields have not witnessed that grim sight.

Today’s grim sight was restricted to this unshaven, unkempt Bloke with zero fashion sense leaning against the fence. Coffee cup in hand, exposing his partly covered hairy legs to potentially the ghosts of the past. I guess in years gone by I would have opted for the kilt look. Need to get the air onto those ‘airy knees.

Mist is an apt way of describing my current thinking this morning. After a year of lockdown (now just two weeks short of that anniversary), I still can’t see the way forward. No nearer establishing when (or if) Hawklad will feel able to return to the outside world. Is it school or permanent homeschooling. Will my job survive. When will be our next holiday or excursion. Are my dreams on hold or permanently cancelled. Will I ever get to where my heart desperately wants to go. Is that it for concerts or football for us. When will we see friends and family. Is that it for hugs. Is the world still out there. Has anyone even noticed that we aren’t part of the crowds anymore.

A pandemic year and I still can’t answer those questions.

Mind and hope mist.

That is not a great feel.

Sheep

The sheep are back. Winter can now officially start.

For those with good eyesight you can see the city in the distance. Well you can just about see the cities stunning cathedral. That’s the only evidence of city life. That’s how it should be. No sprawling high rise cityscape here thankfully. Feels reassuringly old school. Apart from the power lines this view will have stayed the same since The Minster was completed in 1472.

So the sheep are back. That means our biscuit budget will be busted. They come for a daily biscuit. That’s a lot of biscuits. Thankfully they are not like our household pets and are not picky. Any biscuit will do. Even the really cheap ones. The farmer recommends Rich Tea or Digestives. So that’s what the sheep get.

It’s a two way process. The sheep get treated and Hawklad gets time with animals. That’s special time to him. Any time with animals and birds is. They relax him. They fascinate him. He feels at ease with them. He loves being with them. All animals.

Well almost all. English Cattle and Giraffes spook him. They always have. He is relaxed with Swiss Cattle just not English ones. When he goes to the Zoo he loves getting the chance to hold spiders and snakes. Will confidently handle Birds of Prey. Wants to get as close as possible to the big predators. But gives the Giraffe section a wide birth. He just doesn’t feel as trusting with them and English Cattle.

But Sheep are definitely on the trusting list. He would happily have all the sheep move in with us. Probably move me out to make room.

I know my place….

Time to love Yorkshire

I put my hands up. I might poke a bit of fun at my county of birth. Well actually a lot. Yes the weather can be grim, the people can be a bit odd (me certainly included), we might be a little behind the cutting edge, probably spend too much time focusing on the past BUT….

It is a great place to live and visit. So much history, beautiful brooding landscapes, welcoming, diverse, a wonderful quirkiness and a place that has definitely left its mark on the world. So maybe every so often I should really show and tell the good about Yorkshire.

So here goes. I give you just a fraction of what Yorkshire has to offer.

Jarrow March

This photo was taken 4 years ago to the day. A day in October. A day early in my grief journey. A moment in our family history.

Time to turn back the hands of the clock back to before the Second World War. To another moment in our family history.

October 19th, 1936. Chesterfield to Mansfield.

From the 5th to 31st, the Jarrow March took place. 200 men walked 300 miles from the north eastern town of Jarrow to London. Jarrow was like many northern towns in that period. Bleak, stagnant and forgotten. The impact of a world wide depression was hitting this area hard. There was no employment. Unemployment was endemic. In Jarrow the unemployment rate was near 70%. The Government seemingly did not care, blind to the suffering. The Government even blocked loans that would have saved the town’s industries. Rising anger at gross inequality and injustice. The growth of racism and extreme right wing politics.

That was the context as 200 men set off on their crusade. A peaceful and dignified protest, carrying a 12000 signature petition asking for their industry to be reopened. A simple message. We want to work. We want hope.

The marchers were treated as heroes on the route. Galvanised a growing mood in the country. The petition was handed into the government with so much dignity and respect. In the short term the March failed. The Baldwin Conservative Government brushed the march and the petition aside. Clearly in their eyes some people were more equal than others. But in the long run the Jarrow March delivered. It set a new agenda. After the war the new Labour Government set about writing the wrongs. A comprehensive welfare state was introduced. Government with a conscious was established. One that cared for the less fortunate. Sadly a conscious which has started to be unpicked and now unravelled.

We live in a time of rising unemployment. Inequality and injustice are ripe. The growth of extreme politics. Sound familiar. We could learn so much from the Jarrow March. A Crusade marked down in English history. A family history as well. My family was on that march.

Questions

This is a little tree which is close to our house. It sits at the side of the farmers field which backs onto our garden. It’s close by as a couple of my garden football shots have nearly hit it….. In the years that we have lived here it has never grown. It just seems to lean over a little further each year. I know how it feels…..

So many questions today. So many school work queries.

Dad what are your thoughts on Gladstone‘s and Disraeli‘s political reforming achievements. They didn’t go far enough and do you think their colonial record negated what good they did do?”

“Dad what do you know about DNA structure and it’s impact on identical and fraternal twins?”

“Dad how would you write the mass of the earth in standard notation?”

“Dad in Animal Farm what does the character Moses represent and his relationship to Soviet history?”

Dad have you ever studied John Agard’s poem FLAGS. Is it about the dangers of patriotism?”

Dad I can’t get my head round French Verb Conjugation. Can you explain it to me?

As any self respecting parent would do I looked suitably vacant and thought wishfully back to the questions about which was my favourite Tellytubby. I was good at those questions.