“What is the point of this. Will I ever need most of the stuff I’m having to learn…..”
Not much at all…..
Parrot fashion, trying to cram in formula after formula, memorising orders, big words, diagrams, tables, definitions.
Today it was all about learning how to calculate half-life’s. Memorising the charge, mass, ionisation, equations for alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Trying to force in the ways to calculate SIN, COSINES and TANGENT, apparently learning the abbreviation SOHCAHTOA helps with that 🤦♂️😱. Then it was trying to memorise chemical formula for the production of photosynthesis, respiration and I don’t know what. Finally it was trying to have a photographic recognition of the teacher annotations for various random love poems. If I see any more references to enjambment or anaphora then I’m going to scream and I’m not the one trying to learn this rubbish.
What is the point.
So when Hawklad asked, ‘Did you learn anything from school that you could use’, what could I say.
Could I honestly say lots to set me up for life then. NO. Why are we doing this to our children. Is it for them or is it for others.
I remember one glorious Chemistry A Level lesson when we spent a lovely sunny afternoon outside while the science blocked was made safe after a gas fume leak. For some reason the Fume Cupboard had failed as we undertook some mind numbingly boring experiment, so we got the rest of the day off. Bart Simpson would be so proud if some one had pulled that prank off.
So did I learn anything from school, YES.
I learnt how to disable a FUME CUPBOARD. Now that proved really useful, I just wish Hawklad could find something similar.
76 MONTHS. This PUP was born in the week Hawklad’s mum passed away. Isn’t that a sobering thought. Why does 76 months sound so much longer than 6 and a bit years.
Stuff has changed in those 76 months, yet other stuff is still the same. Still walking these same muddy tracks. Still trying to figure out the parenting gig. Still trying to juggle things while still trying to pay the bills. Still spending far too much time having conversations with myself. Still not get enough sleep. Still fighting the school system. Still getting post addressed to Hawklad’s mum. Still getting those feelings of guilt. Still getting those pangs of anger. Still feeling like life is on hold.
But yes, some stuff changed. 74 months ago a Mad Pup walked in and that is just about the best decision I made in those 76 months.
We met some fantastic people on our trips to Switzerland, these stars added so much warmth to our times in this great land. The Hotel Owner from our favourite holiday base was one of these characters. A man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, someone who had packed so much into his long life. So many stories. An encounter with Audrey Hepburn. A skiing extra in a James Bond movie. A meal with a famous tennis star, bizarrely me and Hawklad literally bumped into and got a smile from a French Open winner on a street in Gstaad.
The time some American Business Men arrived at his hotel for a skiing holiday in the middle of a boiling hot summer….. Helping out on the making of a Bollywood movie. Meeting Roger Moore. I could go on and on. I’m sure we only scratched the surface of his life in the chats we would have as he watched over perfect hotel breakfasts.
The time he overheard Hawklad talk about one day going to a circus and he immediately got on the phone to one of his friends who was a circus owner. Within minutes we had tickets to a circus which was passing through the region during our week holiday.
Or the time we were in Switzerland during early June and the weather was glorious. So glorious and seemingly settled that we had suitcases filled with summer clothing only. As we sat having breakfast in shorts, he came over with a concerned look. ‘Have you any warm clothes, it’s going to snow today’. When we said no, he hurried off and brought back some fleeces, gloves and wooly hats. And guess what, within a couple of hours, the snow arrived.
Yes this is a special country with special people. I can’t wait to get back there.
A time just before parenthood and I was sat in Departure Lounge at Zurich Airport, waiting for a plane back to England. Opposite was a young couple clearly waiting for the same plane. As we chatted they excitedly described their first venture into this wonderful land called Switzerland. I remember them saying that they had found a wonderland. They told a story about being caught out in heavy rain while walking and a local farmer brought them into his house for a warm drink. When the rain didn’t pass he drove them to the nearest train station.
Here’s the irony. Probably during the very same rainstorm, we were walking through beautiful Gstaad and guess what, yes the heavens truly opened. Proper RAIN. We tried to take shelter in the nearest doorway. Quickly the door opened and we were beckoned inside. In Swiss German we were told to ‘come inside before we got soaked’. We were treated to Italian coffee and cake as the storm passed over. Our hosts being truly kind and nice. I remember joking that if this had been England, the door would have been quickly bolted shut with us still outside. The smiling response said it all..
“Probably, but this is Switzerland and it’s just different here…”
It so is…..
And to be fair to Gstaad, every other time we have been there the weather has been perfect. Plus they do a mighty fine watermelon….
At last, some negative COVID tests. Finally the taste of coffee has returned, not fully, but I can taste it now. Spicy foods are still hit and miss, the strongest of curry flavours only produce a bit of a sweet taste but zero spice. With Hawklad his messed up taste is fish related. Prior to COVID he loved fish, now apparently the taste is horrid. Most bizarre. Plus an annoying, never ending, simultaneously blocked and runny nose. But in the scheme of things, luckily a seemingly minor bump into COVID.
As a result a very quiet and isolated festive holiday so far. Hawklad could really do with more social life with friends his own age. Maybe that can come if he gets to College in September. At least meeting with people who can master the rudimentary elements of FIFA23. A game most appreciated by Hawklad during COVID. To me it’s the gaming equivalent of Nuclear Fission and completely beyond my advanced levels of muppetry. How can randomly pressing four buttons and two triggers be so hard…..
In less than a week it’s over and pesky school is back.
We were stood outside a rather chique looking clothes shop, waiting for Hawklad’s mum to stop perusing it’s contents. Just breathing in the fresh alpine air, watching the world go by. I remember Hawklad being particularly fascinated with people on the other side of the road, playing crazy golf. The Swiss do seem to really like that great, dangerous, whacky sport. Hawklad was thinking about spicing the sport up even more by adding real dinosaurs and zero gravity. A few minutes later we were taking on that beast of a course (without additional Jurassic hazards).
He loved this place. He loved the golf, he loved the mountains, he loved the train station, he loved the ice cream, he loved the playground, he loved the cable cars, he loved that restaurant which served the best pizza ever.
Hawklad had fallen for Grindelwald.
As Christmas Day arrives, I dream of just how good it would be to spend Christmas in Grindelwald. Epic I think.
But now a few days of less cold weather. If it’s not going to snow then the weather can keep its pesky ice then….
Snow hasn’t called yet, but Covid finally has. Double whammy, we both caught it. Fortunately so far it’s been just cold like for Hawklad. A weird cold for me. I could almost feel like it was going round the body trying to find a weakness. Throat, then try the nose, then try the head, then the chest, then try the tummy, then try the joints, then back to the throat. Not too bad at all, just annoying.
The other weird thing for me has been TASTE. I can still taste most things but not everything. COFFEE taste missing, CURRY taste missing, CHAI TEA taste missing. It’s bizzare drinking a Coffee and tasting just water. Eating CURRY and getting nothing. I even tried a super strong curry powder I had mistakenly bought one shopping trip. Normally it would have blown my socks off, but now, NOTHING……. But again fortunately, I have started to get the faintest of coffee experiences again this evening, maybe this tasteless period is very temporary. But please tell me ……. why I lost the good tastes like COFFEE yet the horrible Chesty Cough Medicine taste is unaffected…. Maybe this is the time to try Brussels Sprouts and Beetroot, maybe this is the one time I can eat them without pulling a proper face.
So we patiently wait until the tests go negative, at this rate we are going to not get the cards sent off, especially as a two day postal strike is looming. Postal strikes, train strikes, nurse strikes, is there nothing this Corrupt Government can’t purposely screw up.
Hawklad never fails to surprise me, to catch me off guard.
He was watching The Simpsons – during school time. Oh the bad parenting 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. In my defence, if school sent some work then Hawklad would do it…….
The Simpsons mentioned Vice President Walter Mondale and off Hawklad went, educating his often bewildered Dad. I found out about all things Mondale and then all things President Reagan. Details of Reagan’s landslide and even direct quotes from the campaign. How does he know all this stuff, how can he know the exact number of electoral votes Reagan received. I was so out of my depth with Ronald, now if it was the other Ron, Mr Weasley, then I would be much better informed.
Then the icing on the cake.
“￼Dad, we need to watch a Reagan movie….”
Wow that would be a first for me. All I could remember about Reagan (prior to my new in-depth briefing) was my mum quite liked him as a movie star but she could never watch his films. Dad hated him, no idea why, but Reagan was banned. So to mums thumbs up and to Dads rather choice Yorkshire scowls, it’s time to go all Reagan.
Never saw that coming on this cold Yorkshire day…….
May 2014. Yorkshire had gone the winter without any snow. Hawklad had almost forgotten what the white stuff was like. May was leaving it late, but finally a family holiday to Switzerland saved the day.
Hawklad got his winter playground.
Switzerland is a special place, it generates happy memories.
Apparently one of my sisters has put her Christmas Tree and Outdoor Lights up today. Which prompted a household discussion on when to put our decorations up. The consensus was MOST DEFINITELY NOT NOW.
This all brought Hawklad to revisit the Great Santa Claus issue.
“Dad, a few years back, exactly when were you going to tell me”
At some stage, maybe when you reached 50.
Sorry, that was a joke #### I have to be so careful as Hawklad still can take everything I say literally##### I was going to give you one more Christmas before you found out. I certainly wasn’t planning on the pesky School Religious Education Teacher telling all the class to grow up and then let the cat out of the bag in the week before Christmas. My MINI FIB was blown out of the water.
“Are there any more MINI FIBS I need to know”
I don’t think so.
##### That sadly is not strictly true. Following a long family tradition our sick bowl doubles up as the baking mixing bowl. 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️ Some things are best not shared especially as he is about to tuck into some homemade bread…..