Sunday

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.

We need more of these Sunday walks.

Adventures

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

3. Switzerland

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.

Gladiator

Definitely feels like the we are about to walk into the opening scenes of the movie, Gladiator. Maybe once I had a passing resemblance to Maximus 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Very passing….. Thankfully no barbarian hoards this time although our squirrels can get a bit frisky.

As we walked I asked Hawklad about the imminent recommencement of the school at home project. Is there anything I could do to make it run better for him.

Nothing he could think of apart from me upping my IQ into double figures.

Ok, is there anything I can get in or buy that would help him. Text books, supplies, tech, tutor support. He thought carefully for a while, finally concluding

Yes there is. As he would still be largely cut off from others, then …..

WE NEED MORE BOARD GAMES

I never saw that one coming. But actually that is a top idea. He needs to have fun. So it’s time for a board game search of the house and then let’s see what Amazon has to offer. He will get more from them than he will ever get from another text book.

Mud

Another day, more weather.

At least it’s starting to dry up a tad….

Anybody like mud, we have plenty to spare in the fields around us.

The weather brought hope. Maybe fewer crowds, so it would be quiet enough for Hawklad. Unfortunately not quiet enough. We arrived at a remote abbey ruins to find a busy, small, muddy car park with just a few spaces. Just a handful of cars but still too many. So we returned home. Hawklad is still no where near returning to the classroom.

Back home and safe. No crowds here. Hot chocolate and biscuits on top. Time for board games. It’s so much easier for Hawklad here and if he wants mud, no need to jump in a car. Another attempt at a trip out can wait for tomorrow now.

Winter Solstice

I’m sat finalising this weeks food order. Another Christmas, another one where its just the two of us. With the pandemic Hawklad has forgotten what it feels like to meet up with extended the extended family. To meet up with friends. I really have to try and make memories for him. He only gets one childhood. Fun is required. Fine food is required (that might be a problem). Christmas movies on tap. Currently he’s enjoying Die Hard. Ok it’s no Wonderful Life but it is fun.

The winter solstice. Almost sunbathing weather.

At least the horse has a coat, a much needed coat. It’s days like this that I wish we have a roaring log fire. I don’t care how warm radiators are, they just aren’t the same. Maybe it’s time for my sisters strategy. Put an old TV in the front of the blocked fireplace and play roaring fire videos on repeat all day. It does make a difference.

This weather is playing havoc with our outside solar powered Christmas lights. The daily sun count is currently enough for about 3 minutes running time. Basically blink and you miss them.

What was I thinking, solar power and Yorkshire.

I think my solar power banks must running a tad low as well.

Any sun would be nice and I mean any sun. Looking at the forecast there is zero predicted over the next 7 days. It’s not looking good for those lights, hopefully Santa doesn’t need them as landing lights. He might need to call for John McClane.

Just my imagination

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.

Club

A misty scene from a couple of days back. No morning walk today, otherwise engaged. Stood in a queue patiently waiting my booster covid shot. After two doses of AstraZeneca it was time to join the Moderna club. So stood in the queue about 50 deep. Three queues for three different group of needle waving awesome nurses. Everyone with masks on, carefully keeping 2 metres apart. Hundreds of people stopping their daily routine to get vaccinated. All this happening before 9am.

In the queue I stood pondering life. Does the young woman in front of me realise that she is still apparently wearing her pyjamas. I wonder what the chap in front of her has is his folder marked IMPORTANT. how life has changed since the start of 2020. Does the chap opposite me know that as he plays his game on his mobile he keeps making Mick Jagger facial pouts.

I wonder what people are thinking of me.

I pondered other things. How many of those stood patiently are struggling. How many secretly would love someone to strike up a conversation. Be social. This is a very changed world. A very more isolated and fractured society. As I watched those around me carefully maintain a sufficient personal gap, my mind wandered back just a couple of years. Remember birthday parties. Everyone tightly huddled round a cake with candles. A child or adult, probably with a streaming cold, desperately trying to blow out the candles. After failed 3 or 4 attempts, more people joining in, probably with a myriad of ailments, blowing until the candles were out. Then the much breathed on cake is quickly handed round, people sharing not enough cutlery, from person to person the cake is passed for immediate consumption. How alien does that concept sound now. Will we ever truly get back to those days. How long will we all be stuck in this endless cycle of variants and vaccinations.

Then remarkably quickly I’m back home. Back to the quiet, back to the isolation. Back to single parenting, cut off from much of this bonkers new world. It felt odd being amongst so many other people. Almost uncomfortable. Definitely not feeling like a normal experience. The world has changed. Have I changed?

Too bright

Unbelievably it was bright sun for the dog walk today. Too bright. YES that’s a phrase you don’t here in connection with Yorkshire too many times. TOO BRIGHT. Not in terms of the usual weather and also not in terms of the competitors at the local Shin Kicking tournament. That’s going to get my Yorkshire Passport taken off me……

The light was too bright for my mobile. It produced some weird lighting effects. Normally I would just delete them but this time, no. The results are kind of rainbow cool

See it’s one of those Yorkshire Super Highways with rainbow special effects. Maybe we should keep them.

School sent an email out to parents this afternoon. In line with Government instructions, masks will still not be enforced in school as nationally schools are deemed safe. In line with national instructions , pupils will be issued with covid test kits to use over Christmas to ensure that schools are adequately protected when they reopen. Unfortunately the test kits are not available as supplies have run out. School understands that kits won’t be sent to them in the foreseeable future, potentially well after the next school terms begins. Any test supplies available will be prioritised to other areas.

Feels like the school holidays can’t come quick enough.

Well at least the sun is shining. Hopefully shinning for most of the holidays. Pupils in school and those at home deserve a great break. It’s been a grim and anxious time for all of them.

Trails

Paths in the sky. Never thought vapour trails could be a thing a beauty.

A pandemic forced a change of education path for us. Classroom schooling became school at home. The living room became the classroom. Not true homeschooling as school still provided the lessons. Sometimes the whole class was off, often it was just Hawklad. That’s gone on for 21 months now. 21 months and counting.

Over that period the idea was ultimately a return to the classroom. That’s what Hawklad wanted. Repeatedly Hawklad decided he wasn’t ready to return.

He’s still not ready to return.

Deep down I don’t think he’s going to feel able to return anytime soon. That’s not just my view. The medical opinion is a return to school is now unlikely before his final exams in 2023. Hawklad is starting thinking of a return to the classroom but that might not be until he potentially starts college in 2 years time. If he returns before his exams then that’s a bonus. It’s when Hawklad feels it’s the right time.

The question now is what do we do up to his exams. It’s looking like the school at home project is a path with many miles still to walk.

So

Black Coffee

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…..

Sadly no.

Does that qualify me as someone who had the faintest idea what he was doing during most of those 69 weeks……

Sadly no.

Does that qualify me as a parent who is deeply regretting giving caffeine up just a few weeks before those 69 weeks started……

Most definitely.

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…….