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.
That’s as close as we come to a river around our village. It’s a beautiful walk here. Hardly ever visited. It’s one of Hawklad’s favourite spots. Looks tranquil but amazingly a few years back the old bridge was swept away in a storm. That’s some storm.
So it’s a knighthood for Gavin Williamson. Remember him, the prat in UK Government who was in charge of the UK’s education system. Actually PRAT in the GOVERNMENT doesn’t really narrow the field down too much…. Anyways, he was in charge of the schools and made a point of being photographed at his desk with a horse whip in prominent view. His incompetence messed up thousands of pupils final exams. He was even too incompetent for this calamity Government and was sacked. Not his first sacking. The last Prime Minister sacked him as Defence Secretary for being personally responsible for a security leak. In the PM’s words – ‘lost confidence in his ability to serve’.
So his track record of success clearly merits being called SIR from now on.
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.
A walk in the deep, dark wood. No encounter with The Gruffalo on this walk, maybe next time.
Another Yorkshire Gem, Dalby Forest on the edge of the Moors.
A short school at home week. Just 2 days. Should be eight lessons, one lesson dropped for Covid testing. Three lessons, no idea whether they happened or not. One lesson with a few brief notes provided. One quite detailed lesson and one exam to be sat at home.
Sometimes you have to go with the flow. Schools are struggling. Teachers off. Support staff off. Pupils off. Old, unventilated classrooms. Covid in school. Additional pandemic workload. These are challenging times. I will politely chase up homeschooling issues but with understanding.
So when the lessons don’t happen, we go with the flow. Lost schooling time creates more time for the school of life. That school is fun. It has few boundaries. Definitely no exams. Only expectation, having fun. A trip to the Deep Dark Wood is definitely fun……
Even on a grey, bleak day, there is always something to see. Always something to admire.
So many leaves on one small bush and every one is unique. How cool is that. Nature gives uniqueness a chance to shine.
Some things are hard to fathom out. Hawklad has made astonishing progress over the last couple of years. Two years ago he was struggling to read, falling further behind the class. Getting no help from the system. The attitude was that if he couldn’t read by that age then real progress was unlikely. Any help should focus on getting him used to using technology to help assist with his permanent dyslexia.
Fast forward today and he’s been happily reading a history textbook. No help required. He might need to guess the occasional word. He might read the occasional word incorrectly. But he’s reading. He’s aiming to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy next year.
It just shows what can be achieved.
Why does the system give up so quickly on so many of our children. So much untapped potential.
I remember being told by a Psychologist of an autistic teenager who was profoundly dyslexic. She was wrote off by the school system yet she was clearly incredibly gifted in so many areas. She had a dream of learning to fly a plane. So many obstacles were placed before her. She was told her dreams were unrealistic, beyond her. Yet years later she became a qualified helicopter pilot.
Hawklad has kept believing. That helicopter pilot never stop believing. Isn’t it about time our society KEPT BELIEVING in every child.
That’s another weekend gone. Feels like I immediately need another one to recharge. Wishful thinking…..
It’s been the usual school effected weekend. Six pieces of homework talking Hawklad about six hours to complete. Why as a society do we have such a problem in letting childhood mean fun, freedom and adventures. I keep saying it….. if our countries so called Leader has to have his weekends off (because he needs them) then why can’t we let our children have the same leisure time. Is it because some people are deemed more important than others….
Hawklad didn’t complete all the work that was required of him but I stopped him. Enough is enough. Time to try and recharge. He won’t ever recharge doing Calculus questions but he just might when he can be outside and free.
Damp, dark, chilly and windy. Definitely Autumn in Yorkshire. it also means places like The Yorkshire Arboretum will be unusually quiet. That’s the perfect time for Hawklad to have a relaxing visit. It’s good when he feels like he just about has a place to himself. That makes such a difference to him.
And it did.
And it made all the difference to his old Dad as well.
Can’t beat the quiet, can’t beat nature, can’t beat the autumnal colours.
Another early trip to the coast. Early means tiredness but it is good. At that time it is quiet. That is perfect for Hawklad. Normally you also get to witness the beauty of first light. NOT THIS DAY….
It was dreadful. Heavy rain, Misty, Windy, Cold. Within minutes of standing in the cliff viewing platform the weather had made its way through our coats and clothes. Today birdwatching was going to be a trial. A few intrepid (bonkers mad) souls were hoping to catch sight of one of the rarest birds. An Albatross. The only Albatross in the Northern Hemisphere. Albert has decided to make the Yorkshire coast one of his pit stops. Last year he spent 3 days here. This year it’s been a month so far. Resting on one particular spot on a steep cliff.
This was our fifth visit to try and see him. We had been lucky on one trip. Seeing him through a telescope on the cliff. But no luck seeing the true spectacle of an Albatross flying. The other visits – no luck. Albert spends a lot of time at sea, or further down the coast or flying to an island off Northern Germany.
Today was not looking hopeful. No sign as he has been last seen flying off to sea. The weather was trying to drive us back to the warmth of the car. The other mad souls had given up. After an hour that was enough for Hawklad and we dragged our sudden bodies back to the car park. But then a couple of men ran back. He might have been spotted. So we headed back to the cliff. NOTHING.
Must have been an earlier sighting. After 30 minutes it was enough for Hawklad again. But for some reason I said ‘5 more minutes’. NOTHING. I started to pack away the drenched binoculars when suddenly a shout. ‘What’s that’.
Amongst the Gannets, one much larger bird with black wings.
Unbelievably Albert the Albatross was there. For 5 glorious minutes he performed close fly passes. Sometimes no more than 20 yards away. These photos don’t do him justice.
Finally Albert settled on the cliff and rested. One chap shouted over that this was like a bird spotters dream that could never happen.
So a very wet Hawklad had seen his first ever Albatross. As a toddler he had a soft toy just like Albert. He loved it and always said he wanted to one day see one. Who would have thought that one would come to him. Now let’s hope Albert somehow finds his way back home. But while he is here he will bring so much joy to many.
But it just goes to show that even when things are seemingly against you. When it’s looking grey and tough. Great things can just be around the corner. DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.
Another early start. This time a seriously early one. A perfect insomniac storm. 3am. Hawklad has woken and can’t sleep. I have not been to bed yet and sleep feels a million miles away.
Hawklad wonders if we can see the dawn brake. On the coast.
So a few moments later and after I had sampled the meanest of espressos, we are driving. Driving past badgers, foxes and owls. Before 4am we arrive at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It’s still pitch black and we have the site to ourselves. It’s such an eerie feeling walking in the complete absence of light and sound. Even to early for the thousands of seabirds perched precariously on the cliffs. No wind and even the sea was strangely becalmed.
In perfect time to watch dawn brake. No thoughts of an Albatross who was apparently out at sea. Who needs one bird when you get to watch all this unfold.
The dark was a challenge to my iPhone camera but it gave it a go.
By 7am a few people had started to arrive, mainly here to take up prime spots and wait. Hoping on catching sight of one particular bird. They had no idea what they had just missed. The deafening sound of seabirds hides the peace that existed just 2 hours ago.
We were back in the car and driving a few minutes later. The site had lost its appeal to Hawklad. Even a handful of strangers proving too much for him. But he had got to see a spectacular show first hand. Just the two of us so without his anxieties. He slept during the ride home.
Yes it was a ridiculously early start. Yes I went more than 24 hours without sleep. But it was worth it for those couple of hours when Hawklad felt that he had the world to himself. I suspect it won’t be the last time we do this. Yes there will be time for trips out to build those social bridges but those come with anxieties. We all need these times and places of sanctuary. Hawklad does. Yes even a worn down parent needs them.