Autumn

Damp, dark, chilly and windy. Definitely Autumn in Yorkshire. it also means places like The Yorkshire Arboretum will be unusually quiet. That’s the perfect time for Hawklad to have a relaxing visit. It’s good when he feels like he just about has a place to himself. That makes such a difference to him.

And it did.

And it made all the difference to his old Dad as well.

Can’t beat the quiet, can’t beat nature, can’t beat the autumnal colours.

7 days

Sun setting on another day. Looking at the forecast I think the sun is going on holiday for a few days and that holiday won’t be taken in Yorkshire.

It’s now a week off from school and the school at home project. Much needed. The last 7 weeks have been a grind. Lots of hard work and pushing, feeling like it’s lots of effort just to stand still. This week off needs to be about recharging the batteries. Letting Hawklad be himself, try to make it as fun as possible for him. Maybe even catch up with a little bit of Dad sleep. That alarm clock is definitely being switched off for a few days.

So I looked out across the hillside and across the Vale. Looking West towards the setting Sun which was briefly illuminating a strong, resilient tree. We can do this. So many wonderful moments can still be played out. Dreams are out there. Dreams can happen. It can be a wonderful life. It really can be.

Swiss Sunday

It’s just turned Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to Alpine Heaven. Trip down memory lane to a country which means so much to our little family. Time to dream about Switzerland.

The last trip was 6 years back. A lot has happened in that time. Lots….. Lets hope the next visit is just round the corner. But until then the memories keep me going.

Like memories from our favourite Swiss base, Spiez. A walk around the Schloss and vineyards. Little known fact, Switzerland makes some mighty fine wine.

But the real memories. Someone mountain climbing. Someone burning off the energy around the Castle Gardens.

Happy Day.

Life

“Sir can you read out the unique software licence number again, our system isn’t recognising the code.”

Any call to a Help Desk is a challenge, especially when your tired. Tired and brainwashed. Softened up by hours on hold, listening to the drone of a lame b-side singles and the endless ‘your call is important to us’ mantra.

Can I ask why your licence number is so long

“Its to improve core security and improve the client interface.”

I so wanted to scream ‘Will you speak in English please’ and I have a degree in IT. Don’t hold that again me……

You do know that licence numbers are frequently between 10 and 20 digits long. Yours is about 60 characters long, Why can’t I just copy and paste this, or I forgot, your App turned that function off for Security and Customer Care reasons.

‘That’s why our system is so robust”

It’s also why I’m smashing the phone repeatedly into my laptop in frustration. Here goes again then. Let’s see if I can read out the code perfectly. Would be easier reading out War and Peace.

3ZH8AWE4A11ZZ4DF099SD80683D5F2988C0DDC9ABEE9724201A2512E36620CC6E1E7FSDSZEH1

A true test of my eyesight, my memory and my oral skills. After about 15 failed attempts where I started doubting my sanity, the penny finally dropped. The person from London can’t understand my northern accent. C in not a Z… and H is not a E

Happy days . That’s 4 hours of my day I won’t get back. Hours I could have been outside focusing on what is really important in life. When will I learn.

Waterproofing and holidays

That’s a proper Yorkshire view. A midday view… It’s going to be a right test of your wind and waterproofing.

Much shaking of the heads this morning. A teacher sent a brief revision guide ahead of an exam straight after the half term. Notes on the areas covered so far. Worryingly 3/4s of those areas are new to Hawklad. Just how much of class learning hasn’t been shared with him. Just how far behind is he falling. AND school don’t know as they are clearly not tracking his progress. Not one teacher has asked. How much of his submitted work is being marked. Often the only marking is where the answers are provided and Hawklad has to mark his own work.

Much shaking of the head….

So Hawklad has a much needed week off in a few days. Much needed for pupils, teachers and parents. These are tough times to be at school. So much stress, anxiety and pressure. That week off is needed.

Over that week Hawklad has to revise for 5 core subject tests that happen within the first 2 days of his return. That’s a shed load of revision over the holiday.

What is the issue with letting our children have true time off to actually enjoy themselves. Oh I forgot, Victorian Hard Work Ethics are good for society. Well I’m sorry if our Prime Minister can have a week off in a luxury holiday destination, painting his watercolours, unavailable for work, WELL surely our children can as well.

River

The rivers are starting to fill up again. Much more rain and it will flood. Autumn is definitely here

How cool must it be to have boat at the end of your garden. Cool I guess until the boat starts floating in the house.

But it is a beautiful river.

We took a trip out to a local historic site. The weather wasn’t great so we hoped that it would be quiet. When we arrived there were just too many cars for Hawklad’s liking. A walk round the ruins was out of the question.

But on the other side of the river was a quiet but very muddy footpath. That was definitely quiet enough for Hawklad to give it a go.

And it was so worth it…

Yes is important that Hawklad continues on his road to managing his anxieties but it’s much more important that he enjoys himself. Sometimes the quiet, secluded path is best for that.

And you just never know what you might find.

View

If your going to be a tree this is not a bad place to take root. Not a bad view at all.

Hawklad’s Granny thought so as well. One hundred paces away lies our garden and in a few weeks her ashes will get scattered there. In a quiet corner overlooking that view. It’s taken a while, a pandemic happened.

My mind goes back a few years. After my partner died, her mum would come out to see us every Sunday. She would always look out over that view. One Morning she quietly said

You don’t mind if my ashes are scattered in that corner.’

Of course not.

You are planning to weed it…..’

So my project over the next few weeks is to weed that garden corner. Clear the nettles on the other side of the fence. Clear that VIEW.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday here in Yorkshire. It’s wet and windy outside. I so wish I was in Switzerland right now living out my dreams.

It’s a country that I have visited many times (not enough). A perfect setting for family holidays. So many family memories. It’s now been 6 years since the last adventure here. The family is much smaller now but just maybe next year, more memories can be born amongst The Alps. You just never know when those rainbows will bring those pots of gold to your soul again.

Painful

Beautiful walk but why did I do it in shorts. Those thistles are painful on the shins.

I’m trying to work out what’s more painful

The Dentist…

OR

School…

Unusually this time it’s not physical pain with the Dentist. Just pain on the wallet. How much for no work. Here is another thing. When the Hygienist is talking like at a million miles an hour about life, the universe, homeschooling. How did she remember that I’m a single dad with Hawklad at home. When she is firing questions at me about how I’m doing…what’s school doing….. will he go back….have you seen the Bond movie….

What is the protocol for responding. Do I just nod. Do I do someform of eyelash/eyebrow morse code. Do I try to talk as she is prodding around my teeth. Do I wait and save the answers up until she has finished.

It’s all beyond me.

The pain of school……

Hawklad asked a teacher a civil question about some lesson work. The teacher’s response was much less civil. Actually very sarcastic. Basically saying ‘what’s the point answering that if you can’t be bothered to send in any homework’. Hawklad stood his ground and said that he had submitted all the work to date. Teacher came back with ‘wrong, I’ve not seen anything from you all year’. Angry Dad got involved providing screen copies of all the work submitted, in the right location. Sarcastic Dad sensing blood added a screen copy of one piece of homework which showed clearly that the very same teacher had actually marked that piece of work. The words ‘Full Marks’ with the teachers signature next to it. Eventually a sheepish teacher replied ‘I might have been a little quick with those email’s’. Righteous Dad pointed out that the teacher hadn’t bothered to mark any of the other work Hawklad had submitted……

If only it was just one subject and just one teacher that I have had a run in with this week…. Much groaning which actually was probably the sound I made trying to respond to the hygienist while she was scraping around my teeth

Yes definitely today – The pain of school is far worse…….

Frustration

This week has been frustrating. So frustrating.

It’s been as tough a week that I can remember on this school at home project. Links with a number of teachers have become very strained. I bet the teachers are as desperate for the upcoming week break as we are.

Work has been a struggle. What can you do when so many are off with Covid. Not enough people still standing to cover the jobs. As much as I move the pieces around I’m always going to be short. Oh yes, sorry, apparently the pandemic is over….

My diet is a struggle. It’s a gluten and dairy free life for me at present. Yet those items are strangely unavailable at our local stores. Clearly the gluten free wagons are stuck somewhere trying to get into this brexit wonderland. I guess it’s a week of mostly jacket potatoes. I know what Matt Damon feels like in The Martian now….

Wow I need a break. But that break seems further away than ever. If only I could be Boris Johnson. Tell everyone we are in this together, take £20 a week off the poorest in our country then jump on a jet for a weeks painting and drinking at a Billionaires pad in the sun.

Dreams of a much better life are there. Stronger than ever. Just not this week. Not any time soon. Need to be patient.

Sleep. I find it’s a commodity vastly overrated but actually much needed….

And yet…..

If I just look up it’s amazing what I can find even on a 1 minute walk to the postbox.

There is always something to hold on to. There is always hope. When I focus on what really matters to me. The amazing in my life. I realise actually it’s still a wonderful life. Yes I’m ready to go again…..