I must have walked past this tree at least a 1000 times and yet today was the first time that I truly noticed it…..

So it’s 8 exams down another 12 to go. So much for Hawklad to learn and revise over the next three weeks. Currently he is ‘enjoying’ a week long revision school holiday before the exams come flying back at him. Poor Hawklad is mentally shattered, these exams are taking so much out of him, he is drained. Trying to cram in almost 3 years work into just a few weeks, across a number of subjects. Trying to do this while trying to cope with the stress which the revision and exams are placing on his hard earned reading skills. Trying at the same time trying to learn to type exam answers up without any speech or grammar assistance.

It’s unbelievable to think that just under three years ago school had decided that he would never be able to read. The fact he is doing these exams unaided is already the biggest of big WINS for him.

But he is drained. Really drained.

So we through out the revision playbook. He needed a break. So he is having a couple of days off before he dives back into the work again. Two days off will hit the revision but it was the right decision. We all need to recharge sometimes.

Swiss Sunday

I think it was on our last trip to Switzerland back in 2015. It was just after dawn and the family was still asleep, so I headed out for a lakeside run. One part of the lake path gets really narrow and coming in the other direction was an elderly chap carrying fishing rods. We got talking, initially in German but then switching to English. I couldn’t remember ever learning any Fishing related German words 😂😂😂. Clearly the Swiss fisherman was more up on plenty of English angling vocabulary.

He was about to head off in his little boat to his favourite spot on the lake. He had been doing this nearly every day, in every type of weather for over 40 years . When he used to work he would go fishing before dawn.

I remember saying that was dedication. He smiled, shook his head and quietly said ‘No, it’s love’. He went onto say that he tells his family it’s all about the fish. But in reality it was an excuse, he just needed that time out in the lake, amongst the mountains. It was his HOME, where he felt at one with life.

As we parted I asked, do you ever catch and fish. He laughed and said very rarely but on the way home I pass a really good place that sells fresh fish catch…..

Ok that wasn’t part of the plan

Routine and familiarity is so important to Hawklad. Change is best approached with planning and preparation. Especially when he is under so much additional exam stress. As a result we have been trying to map out a course that has been as smooth as possible but sometimes all we can do is whisper “REALLY…..”

Been so many instances just over these first few exam days that have put obstacles in the smooth path.

After the first exam, Hawklad getting stuck in the classroom for an hour due to a faulty printer and national rules. Then having his invigilators changed at the last minute. Then being given teacher tips on banker questions that always come up and then they don’t this year. Or finding the day before the exam that he hadn’t been given part of the course. Or the cat and dog having a fight for the first time ever, a proper full on fight, just before another exam. Or other things…..

And then we got those extra days. A day mapped out to just focus on revising for his weakest subject for the upcoming exam. Minutes into starting work and this happens to the conservatory where he was sat.

Yes a shimmering sheet of supported roof glass shattered in seconds. I think that’s a bit of ‘s’ alliteration – I’m clearly learning as well. The end result….

Randomly one inner roof glass sheets turned into a glass rain.

I have never seen so much glass pieces. On the floor, on furniture, in revision papers, in Lego sets, in clothing. Everywhere. Thankfully the safety glass did its job and no injuries, well apart from my hands trying to sort out the mess. Spooked Hawklad, Spooked Muppet Dad, Spooked Pets. We could have REALLY done without that. So his favourite revision spot is not so favourite now.

Don’t you just love exam time….

Swiss Sunday

It’s after midnight and I’m sat in front of heaps of geography papers and notes, trying to summarise it into last minute revision notes that Hawklad can use. Saxon playing on the record player, trying to keep awake. Typing this as I desperately needed a break. We are both completely frazzled, definitely stressed out. Wow do I wish we were somewhere else, playing out dreams, relaxed and having fun. Switzerland, wish we were there right now.


Week 1 completed.

4 exams.

15 still to go.

Back to back exams on Monday.

Brain fudge level, OFF THE SCALE and that’s just me.

The high point (🤯🤯🤯) of the week has to be poor Hawklad having to stay in the exam room for an extra hour after the first exam had finished while IT tried to fix a misbehaving printer. National rules state that if you use a computer to complete an exam then the student has to stay in the exam room until each typed sheet has been signed and dated. The teachers were really apologetic but they had to follow the rules.

The other highlight has to be me printing out what was a highly rated article on ASPERGERS and then sat scratching my head why the article appeared to be a cooking recipe. I did find out how to make ASPARAGUS creamy parcels.

What a monumental MUPPET.

Swiss Sunday

This week I came across my old iPod, stuck in an old suitcase side pocket. Unbelievably with a bit of that magic piped electricity, it still worked, hasn’t been used in maybe 8 years. When it had fired slowly up it revealed all the old movies and tv shows that Hawklad would watch on his Swiss holidays. Some classics

Old Scooby Doo

Wacky Races

Deadly Sixty episodes



Monsters Inc


My wanders back to those Swiss family evenings. After the hotel meal we would end up back in the room. While Hawklad watched his iPod , we would sit on the balcony and watch the sun go down over the mountains and the shimmering lake. Wonderful, talk about being relaxed.

I wish I could be doing that tonight but failing that, I think it’s time to watch some old classic tv. Where’s that iPod…..


Not one of the local farming communities newer tractors…

Not yet had a Dream about a tractor…. YET.

One of the few pieces of information I can remember from University is that recurring themes in adult sleep dreams are likely to indicate unfulfilled need, a missing element or an unresolved trauma. I got that gem not from lectures (I was mainly asleep in those) but from an Irish girl who lived in the same student accommodation block as me. She shared this piece of wisdom while beating me at Darts in the Student Union Bar. Quite odd really as she was studying Robotics and usually only talked about stuff more akin to a Terminator script. However she did seem to know her DREAM stuff in that moment. I also remember that she had recurring dreams involving exploring a non existent cave system back in her Irish hometown of Wexford. Before I could ponder the deep meaning behind those dreams she pointed out that she was a keen POT HOLER and didn’t find this passion until she moved from home – kinda explains things……

Strange how you remember these odd events and yet almost instantly forget important things like names.

Anyway I also have recurring dreams. One is about my football team winning a trophy, I’ve had those for over 40 years. I think that is just down to me being a permanently delusional optimist.

But I do have another recurring dream theme. Don’t worry it doesn’t involve anything as racy as sticks of rhubarb, ferrets, Cricket Balls and other Yorkshire stuff. But it is a dream that is recurring more with passing time. In the dreams I’m usually back in my mid twenties and either in college or at work. The dream starts with just some routine work or day, something mundane but it always ends up with a group of friends having a nice restaurant meal together. Nothing exciting ever happens just that meal with friends. When I do wake up, always during the dream meal, I feel melancholy. I’m pretty sure this dream is pointing to how things that once kept me socially connected have over time dwindled away or just maybe it’s actually that I regret not having more opportunities to do these things in life. The last sit down meal I had was a family one back in 2016 and that was funeral related. I can’t even remember the last restaurant meal with friends. But looking further back, what is abundantly clear is that I really didn’t do much of this socialising ever. I didn’t realise this back then, I do now. I probably don’t need my dreams to point this out to me.

One week

The daily dog walk is getting very yellow…

More farmers opting for this round here.

It’s less than a week before Hawklad’s first exam starts. It’s starting to feel very real now. Very rushed. Very unnerving. Not feeling planned, feeling very out of control. Not controlling direction, much more being bounced and pushed around.

No exam revision breakthrough yet but he is trying. The problem is that this statutory process suits the system, certainly not Hawklad. He works best when he can focus on one topic and then go deep on that. Switching between topics disrupts his thinking, his learning, unsettles him. So randomly sitting 20 exams, across 6 subjects, over just a few weeks is so counterproductive to him. To him it feels like any progress made is then largely lost as he switches to a completely different topic.

The last few weeks he has also been trying to build rapport with a Teaching Assistant he has worked well with previously at school. If he needed to use a scribe in the exam then this seemed like a good option. The Student and Scribe need to develop that understanding and confidence for the best chance of success. With Asperger’s this is even more important. But now the Exam Board has ruled out using this Teaching Assistant in his exams. New regulations prevent scribes having a direct teaching link with the student. The Teaching Assistant has been providing some one to one English help as part of the weekly school sessions. Back to square one on this, any scribe would now be a stranger to Hawklad, he won’t have time to build up a rapport with a new potential person. A scribe is now not an option. So he is committed to reading and typing up his exams without help. With the grammar and spelling assistants turned off – he losses marks for using these.

A week to revise.

A week to try to learn to type much faster.

A week isn’t long enough.

Less than a week to go.

Swiss Sunday

Another random Swiss story today. One that to me is so very Swiss. One family holiday we had ventured to Zurich to visit the wonderful Dinosaur Museum and the City Zoo. A zoo sadly without BIG Jurassic Creatures.

Later in the day we returned to the city centre and we went looking to buy Hawklad a Schleich. Dinosaur Toy. The museums shop had been closed that day. We eventually ventured into a really cool looking Toy Shop but could not find any Dinos. So in very broken German, I asked a man who worked in the shop, where the Dino Toy Section was. In perfect English he told us that sadly his shop didn’t sell any thing like that, but there was another shop that did have. As it was quite hard to find and to make sure we found the rival shop, he walked with us for 5 minutes through the myriad of centre streets until we stood by its front entrance. Hawklad got his DINO.

That wouldn’t happen in the UK….

But it does in Switzerland.

I do miss this wonderful country.


The garden is still largely bereft of colour. Thankfully a couple of colourful characters are trying to buck the trend.

I was musing over a concert next year which happens to be nearby. Three old Rock Bands from my youth. Judas Priest, Saxon and Uriah Heep. One I managed to see a few decades back, the other two, it would be my first time. Maybe this time.

Following much friendly winding up from Hawklad, I worked out that the current combined age of those 3 bands was in excess of a 1000 years. Following on from his maths revision, Hawklad estimated that adding me into the mix takes the number closer to 2000 years. 2000 years ago the Romans hadn’t even got round to invading England yet. There’s a thought…

Another thought is that the first exam is less than 2 weeks away. Less than 2 weeks and some of the subjects are still teaching, still trying to get through the set curriculum. Hawklad ain’t getting through everything as it is, never mind adding to it. As Hawklad put it

Next week would be bad enough just trying to learn 25 love poems for English Literature which might as well haven been written in Vulcan, but I’m also supposed to revise six other subjects and all this new stuff. Actually I could do with being a Vulcan like Spock.

Deep sigh.

Is it time to go to my prehistoric heavy metal concert yet…..