Didn’t see that coming

We pass that tree everyday on the mad dog walk. Actually it’s the mad dog pull. Near that tree is a gate that has a hidden wooden stake that trips me every couple of days. It’s been doing that for years…

We are slowly trying to reintroduce Hawklad back into the wider world. Trying to encourage him to build bridges in his own time. It’s not easy at the best of times but when a pandemic is still raging…….

One regular trip out has really helped. A trip to his favourite fast food restaurant. Before the pandemic it was the one place he would be comfortable eating inside with others. He is nowhere near ready to venture inside at present but he has built up the confidence for us to use the drive through. The plan was to keep coming here. Maybe more regularly during the summer holidays. It was the big hope for that first indoor adventure, a meal inside. Get to that stage and a classroom return might start to be in reach for him.

It’s that important it’s built into his health plan.

So we ventured there on Saturday afternoon. To find this.

The photo is from the local paper. The York Press.

It had burnt down on Friday. Thankfully no one was hurt but apparently it’s 60% to 80% destroyed . WE didn’t see that coming. Plan A out of the window. Plan B …… not really sure.

Decisions

I’m pacing in the garden. Distracting myself with thoughts of that tree in the distance.

Jobs to be done. But which ones first today.

– do I Hoover

– do I clean the toilet and bath

– do I do the surfaces in the kitchen

– do I finally deep clean the oven

– do I wash the windows

– do I cut the grass before the weather breaks

– do I phone school to sort out Hawklad’s exams

– do I sort out the Home Insurance Renewal

– do I bake that cakes I’ve been promising Hawklad for days now

– do I start putting together the work payroll

– do I chase up those work orders

– do I respond to those work queries

– do I fix the printer.

– do I complete the government form which needs sending in

– do I read the documents Hawklads psychologist has sent to me

– do I pay those bills sat on my desk

– do I clear the mountain of paper which is burying those bills

– do I sew those rips that have appeared on Hawklads trousers or do I just buy new ones

– do I fix the headlight on my car

– do I put those shelves up that are looking at me

OR do I just go round in circles, too tired to make a decision…..

Walking

Everyday we go for a walk. Each day a little further. When we get the chance edging a little closer to people. It’s all part of our attempt to build up Hawklad’s confidence in the wider world again. Help overcome his social fears and phobias. Allow him to build bridges into the world again, when he is ready.

We are nowhere near entering crowds and busy public places yet. That will come in time. Next stage will be walking into a shop or supermarket. Then when he’s ready going for an ice cream and cake in a cafe. Then maybe school. I’ve already spoken to school about allowing him to work round the school after the school day has finished. But that’s for another day.

So we did a walk. A local walk. Maybe it’s the impact of over a years worth of lockdown but many local places are looking epic . When everything settles down I’m certainly going to appreciate more what I have on our doorstep.

Take for example yesterday’s walk. A circular 2 mile walk from our house. Tell me why it’s taken all these years to do this……

Thoughts and dreams

In years gone by if I needed to think. Be with my thoughts. I would go for a run. Maybe go climbing. Those things worked best for me. But then parenting and then single parenting curtailed the climbing option. It was then running. Fell running to collect and process my thoughts. Often I would start a run then become lost in my thoughts. Only the alarm on my watch would bring me back to reality. I would be miles into the hills and it would be a mad sprint to get back home for the return of the school bus.

Then the pandemic happened. We went into our family lockdown. So far 16 months of a lockdown. I lost running. But I didn’t lose my need to think. So I discovered the joys of leaning against our back garden fence. Thinking while looking over the fields and scanning the distant horizon from a little hill top home.

It worked.

So this morning I was leaning on the fence. Thinking. Looking at a distant beautiful tree. Dreaming.

But then I was joined. Someone decided to invade my space and block my view.

I’m can’t really see the tree now. I’m having to stroke and feed this one. I’m telling this cow my dreams. She seems udderly fascinated. Or maybe she’s herd then all before. Definitely deja moo

Test subjects

As of last Monday the Government withdraw the instructions relating to wearing masks in schools. Masks are now not recommended for use in classrooms and communal areas. But they are still required in school buses but masks are to be removed once the pupil enters school property. The official line is that schools are perfectly safe. This is contrary to the Government’s own scientific advice.

In unrelated news it has been revealed that the UK Government removed a page from this weeks Public Health Release which showed the extent to which new COVID variants are spreading at alarming rates in UK Schools. The draft report featured that data but the final approved version dropped that entire section. The official word is that data will be released at a later date. Some data was released late last night (very odd timing for Public Health) but with the key school data still missing.

So why the secrecy?

Is it because the data shows that the Governments own criteria for the ongoing easing of COVID restrictions have not been met.

OR

Is it because the Government is sticking to its original discredited Herd Immunity strategy. This time doing it by stealth and using our children as the test subjects.

This is all starting to feel like an X-Files story line coming true.

Really

School. Oh school. Oh what fun it is….

Couple of burning questions from today’s school at home project.

1) Of all the subjects Hawklad has to take this year, two stand out as the strictest. The subjects in question are Art and Religious Education. Today’s message from the RE Teacher. You have to do your RE homework. If it’s not completed by the start of the next lesson, in full and to a high enough standard, then you will receive the appropriate penalty.

I’m sorry that approach won’t work with Hawklad. Stress him out and you have lost his focus. He ain’t going to learn like that.

2) Unusually school has sent work today for Hawklad. But here’s the thing. Hawklad is struggling with severe anxieties relating to health fears. So what was the work they sent….. Research heart disease. Watch a video about someone having a heart attack. Read about other common causes of death…..

Deep sigh. Let’s hope the next day goes better…

Road

Yes it’s another one of those massive, multi lane Yorkshire motorways.

We are a couple of weeks into the start of trying to help Hawklad build bridges back towards the wider world again. It started with us taking the mad dog for a walk at night. Nighttime as it would be quiet with no other people out and about. Small steps in breaking out of walls that surround our little house and garden. The isolation which started 15 months ago.

We quickly realised that actually it’s always pretty quiet here, not just at night. So we started going for the walk a little earlier. Now nearer 7pm. Guess what. We still hardly see another soul. Currently that’s perfect for Hawklad. Very rarely we see a farmer or another dog walker. When that happens Hawklad immediately turns on his heels and heads quickly home in the opposite direction.

The other thing is that Hawklad doesn’t like to walk on the path. Just doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. So we walk on the road. Our massive and very busy road….

Well you can see just how big our road is. Just how busy it really is can be gauged on one fact. We have been walking every night straight down the middle of the road. Not once have we encountered a vehicle. The road is ours….

That’s such a cool feel. Such a cool feel for both of us. I can concentrate fully on talking and in the quiet bits, on dreaming.

Hugs

How do you hug cautiously?

So the great UK coming out of lockdown started today. You can go inside pubs, restaurants, museums, comedy clubs….. You can hug. You can travel. We are on the way back to normal. Everything is good to go.

But then the mixed messages. Hang on our daily COVID cases are stubbornly high, higher than when we first went into lockdown. We have the Indian variant doubling in size every week. We have significant local outbreaks which are having to be managed. Large numbers of the young have not been vaccinated. The long term effectiveness of the vaccines against the variants is still not confirmed.

So we kind of reopen with everyone just making up their own rules. Some will be masked. Some will sometimes wear a mask. And others will refuse to wear a mask. Mixed messages. It’s either completely sorted and no need for any social distancing going forward. Or it’s we need to be cautious and stay safe, we need to keep social distancing. Or it doesn’t really matter whatever we do as we will be back in lockdown soon.

Never has HUGGING been so complicated….

So please feel free to hug anyone you want to as long as you hug cautiously. Cautiously hug doesn’t mean wearing masks but it might be an idea to do so if you are being cautious. Kissing might be ok but only if it’s a cautious kiss.

Dad did I just hear Johnson tell us to go out and hug people”

Yes he did say that.

I’m not hugging anyone, not even if that smeg head tells me to…..”

No I didn’t think you would. You haven’t hugged me since you were a toddler. You quickly worked out your preferred way of showing affection for your Dad was to smash him over the head with the nearest toy, book or item of cutlery.

Dad that’s much more hygienic. I had no idea where you had been….”

Just remember your partly me. My DNA runs through you. Having said that if you are lucky my genes are concentrated in your long eyelashes and your posterior.

If I get a flabby, hairy bum then I know who to blame and it’s definitely not mum. Anyway I am doing what the government is telling me to do with hugs. I’m hugging cautiously. I’m not hugging anyone…..”

That’s definitely cautious…..

Catch up

Can you believe it. 14 months of school at home. Just over half of that time has happened with most of his classmates back at school. Trying to maintain a remote link with his class was always going to be difficult. It can never be perfect. Especially when the Government’s attitude has been to try and force all children back into classrooms as soon as possible. Schools instructed to make it more difficult for children to work remotely. Schools and parents threatened with legal action if pupils are not back in the class. Our school wanted to offer a remote learning option. Wanted to change the school week with most pupils spending part of the school week, remote learning. Wanted to tailor education and create a better school working environment. Unfortunately that was not allowed so the remote learning option had to be largely turned off. That makes things much harder…..

Revision is supposed to start for the upcoming school year exams this week. No idea how they will work for Hawklad. But the individual subjects are now issuing revision guides. Indicating which pieces of school work have to be revisited and revised. In a couple of subjects there are no surprises – we have covered those areas, undertaken the work required. But then there are other subjects. Areas that the class have undertaken that Hawklad was not aware of. In a couple of subjects clearly large tracts of class work, entire areas have not been shared. Is it ok to call it revision when he’s visiting an area for the very first time.

It’s such a mixed bag. Yes a couple of subjects have exceeded expectations, Hawklad has done the entire teaching requirements. A couple have been kind of as expected, covered most areas but with gaps. And some subjects have gone so much worse than expected, with Hawklad being so far behind his classmates.

Surely in the modern world, with everything that technology has to offer in terms of keeping connected, surely my country should be so much better at remote learning. So much better at EDUCATION.

Transition

Have we transitioned to home schooling without thinking.

Another week of family lockdown. Another week of school at home. But things are changing. Increasing amounts of the school day being unsupported. Yes a couple of lessons still try to provide good teaching support but…… The other subjects provide support which is at best patchy and often not there at all.

So what are the scores on the school doors this week….

Lessons this week 20

4 lessons well supported

7 lessons providing a little support, enough to allow us to try and fill in the missing sections

9 lessons absolutely NO support, no idea what was done in the class, don’t even know which area the teacher looked at.

So the amount of classroom radio silence is creeping up every week. Some subjects have gone weeks without any feedback or guidance. Without support we are having to do our own thing. No idea if Hawklad is working on the same areas as his classmates in a range of subjects. So increasingly what he is learning is determined by him and his hapless dad, not be his teachers. That’s starting to feel like homeschooling. With no classroom return imminent, maybe we have transitioned to homeschooling by accident.