Autumn….

You can almost feel the nights drawing in.

A conversation today with Hawklad’s lead Clinician kinda confirmed the Plan A course. It’s been increasingly the likely path. Support which now comes his way from the NHS will not focus on a return to the school classroom. It will shift towards trying to get him ready for sitting exams in 10 months time, but sitting them away from the main group of pupils. A neutral, non school location. Plus the long term goal is to see if they can help him start College after this year is finished. They will issue a ‘can’t currently return to classroom note on medical grounds’. That is a relief as The Government is pressuring schools to start fining parents for keeping children away from school, even when the parent believes it’s in the child’s best interest.

So another year of school at home beckons, maybe it’s will end up being a full on homeschooling approach. Better stock up on the coffee then. Oh hang on, I’ve quit caffeine. Better stock up on Donuts then…..

Heritage 2

A trip to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. It’s a seriously atmospheric and stunning location.

It gets really busy here in the summer so it was an early start. Do as much as we can until the crowds get too much for Hawklad and then it’s a quick exit.

The trip went well. Almost first in the queue when the site opened and for a couple of hours, Hawklad had his much needed space. Precious moments in the 11th century Cistercian Monastery. Precious moments spent without touching anything, spent maintaining distances. Hawklad spent the time dreaming and instructing me on history. Well mostly…

Stood under this amazing rood structure and I asked Hawklad to enlighten me, to teach me something. He instantly described some interesting facts about Starfish reproduction. I must have had one of those slightly confused looks that parents develop increasingly to which he replied.

“Oh you wanted some information about the monasteries….”

History comes alive when you can see it, touch it, smell it. We have so much history on our doorsteps. Bronze Age, Roman, Viking, Saxon, Norman and onwards, all within a short drive of the schools. So why is school history exclusively learnt via textbooks. Not one single school trip to a experience history. What a missed opportunity.

Then the crowds started to arrive, scores of family picnics breaking out everywhere. Time to leave. Time for our picnic but ours is taken away from view, a remote road lay-by with a view. Then it’s a scenic route home.

Definitely a decent trip out but still a million miles from returning to the classroom. I think we can safely say that won’t be happening in just over 3 weeks now.

Door

A random door appeared in the village today. I wonder which world it leads to. I wasn’t brave enough to open it this time, maybe the child in me might have a few years back.

A closer inspection revealed a note, ‘free to a good home’. Is that referring to the wooden door or the world behind it.

Just over 5 weeks now until school reopens. A return to the classroom appearing to be a more distant prospect than the mystery world behind that white door. Constant hand washing, repeated clothing changes, inability to touch any alien surfaces, unable to be physically close to others, debilitating anxieties bubbling just under the surface. In a quiet, peaceful village with few people and much space, this is manageable. In a classroom and overcrowded school, definitely not currently manageable.

So let’s try to make this summer holiday time as fun and as relaxing as possible. Let’s see where the education door leads Hawklad when it’s time to open it……

Weeks

Why do my wheat photos always come out so GRAINy.

It’s BARLEY believable that I told that one. Might be the last STRAW for many.

Sorry….

10 weeks. Just 10 weeks before the start of the new school year. Hawklad’s last in this school with the delights of the final exams. Just 10 weeks now. Deep down, I realise it’s not enough time. Yes he has made great strides, even a concert. BUT. He’s so on edge when people get too close (within yards). He can’t touch alien surfaces. That’s outside, inside the issues are ramped up so much more. He can’t even stand in a shop for more than a few moments.

He’s a million miles from returning to the cramped classroom, sitting there for hour after hour. Probably too many miles to cover in just 10 weeks. If that’s the case then where does that leave us. Starting another school year at home with exams that he might not be able to sit. The antiquated UK school system just has no flexibility or desire to cope with that.

At least this pesky school year will be done in 4 weeks time. That’s 6 weeks of freedom from schooling. 6 weeks to be free to wander the fields. Good weeks but never enough good weeks before it all starts again.

Bluebells

Just a short walk out of the village and there is a magical little wood. Especially magical at this time of year.

A carpet of blue.

It’s good to have those moments of dreams. It’s a release from the challenges of the day.

It’s a great place for Hawklad to spend some time. To dream. To forget his worries for a while at least. Currently these are not easy times for him to navigate. Another week and another source of worries in these unsettled times. News of yet another scary named infectious virus. Already sky high anxieties ramping up even higher. Yes he can get out but he is a million miles from truly returning to society. He can’t touch any surface away from the safety of his house. Probably in all reality real progress needs a settled, safer feeling environment. That’s not these times.

So a few dreamy, care free moments in BLUEBELL WOOD makes all the difference.

Fashion sense

Clearly the Sun has well and truly set on my fashion sense…..

Not being able to take a rapidly growing teen into a clothes shop is an issue. These days I also can’t often offer him some of my old items. He is long and thin, I’m NOT…. So it’s mostly taking a punt on the style and sizing of online fashion. Whisper it, often from the bargain basement aisles. I

remember the happy days of a son who had as much interest in fashion sense than I had in doing the splits….. Anything was super cool and fashionable if it had a Dinosaur emblazoned across most of it.

Oh I miss those days.

Dad I can’t believe you are expecting me to wear a turtle neck in 2022….”

Wow, that’s most of my wardrobe. Yep the Sun has gone down on my fashion sense.

Isolation

Perfect isolation.

Sometimes isolation is needed. Over the last two years some of that isolation has been enforced. But much has been locally needed isolation. Needed by Hawklad. It will be needed going forward. The question is how much. Maybe less. Maybe more. It will change over time. This week it’s been needed much more.

Whisper it as well. Isolation maybe needed by me as well.

Perfect isolation.

Marvel at Scotland

Back to last week. See you don’t need the multiverse to do a spot of time travel.

“Dad tomorrow can we go to Scotland. Don’t mind where just can it be really quiet. Somewhere different. Maybe even exciting.”

Two herbal teas later the solution popped into my head. Visit a place where we can MARVEL at who grand Scotland is.

Quiet means arriving early. As we were heading 180 miles north then we set off just after 5am.

Heading to the stunning coastal village of St Abbs. Part of the Marvel Universe……

The second highest grossing movie of all time, End Game used St Abbs as New Asgard. Hulk and Rocket came here to find Thor. Hawklad didn’t think he would be stood outside Thor’s house…..

I didn’t cause an international incident by taking my shirt off and pretending to be one of the Avengers. Maybe next time. Actually if people think that Thor looked out of shape when he was in New Asgard, wait to they get a look at my version of a shirtless Avenger. Let’s just say the 6 pack is well and truly hidden these days.

As we wandered around St Abbs a thought struck me. The place feels remote almost cut off from modern life. Operating at its own pace with the Sea dominating life. Could somewhere like this be a place which would suit Hawklad. Then the realisation, it might actually suit me. I was brought up by the Sea until I left to go to University. It feels very familiar, very safe. Would a return suit my mindset. Would it blow away the life cobwebs. Would it fix the problem that the world now seems to spin at a different speed to me. Is it a great place to forget the past.

Maybe Thor had a point moving to somewhere as wonderful as St Abbs. A perfect place for his New Asgard

It’s back

Yes it’s back. Just when we thought it was shorts weather for the next six months, oh no, it’s back into THREE jumper weather.

Definitely not enough for even the most rubbish snow angel ever but just enough to send all exposed skin a funny shade of blue.

Alberts back as well…

Can’t believe that the only Albatross in the northern hemisphere has decided during this truly tropical spell to return to the Yorkshire coast. Albert definitely needs to fire his holiday adviser. Last year he stayed 30 miles away from our house, for his summer holidays. It was actually mostly very nice and almost warm. Maybe that’s why he stayed for nearly two months. Sadly this years vacation finds temperatures north of zero. He must be tempted to head somewhere warmer.

If he hangs around this time then we will try to catch up with him. Last year was an awesome meet-up.

With any luck we can visit him when the Easter School Break starts next Friday. Easter is a bit of a challenge these days. Hawklad likes to get out, likes to visit places. But he needs these place quiet or even better, EMPTY. That doesn’t often happen over the two and a bit week break. Most places tend to be mobbed. This forces us into the early strategy. Get there as soon as a place opens and then stay until it starts to fill up. It’s not a guarantee of success. Last year we had several visits to RSPB Bempton to try to catch an albatross sighting. Problem is that such an extremely rare epic bird brings people, lots of people. We had a number of trips were although we had set off from home just after 7am, when we arrived a busy car park was way too much for Hawklad. So we started setting off much earlier. 4.30am early….. The prize was for an hour or so we did get the cliffs almost to ourselves and as soon as the crowds started to arrive, we left. Back home before 9am. It might be tiring but even if you don’t get to see Albert it’s so worth it.

Isolation has drawbacks but every so often it doesn’t half deliver. We just wouldn’t be stood on a cliff as the sun comes up.

Not ready.

Another weekend has come and gone. Again just the two of us. Talks in the garden, walks around the deserted fields. Occasionally passing a fellow dog walker in the village, bringing just a quick nod. No deliveries. No postman. No sign of the neighbours. No phone calls.

Here some are starting to ignore the Government line that Covid is under control. Numbers are rising rapidly here. The hospitals are stretched again. So people are far less likely to stop and talk, preferring a quick shout from across the road.

That is adding to the isolation feel here.

We did look at visiting somewhere else, Hawklad fancied a historic site but the online booking systems clearly showed that there where extremely busy. So we stayed put. A weekend at home. Not using the car saved a bucket load of cash.

The last person I had a conversation with before the weekend was with his health professional. When I raised the school pushing for him to sit exams, she was clear. A clear “ he is not ready, not ready at all for that, he is potentially months or more likely much longer away from being anywhere near ready for classrooms or exams’. So let’s see what schools attitude is when I convey that message to them.