More Grey

More grey weather. More puddles. Still banned from using a hosepipe by the Water Company. It’s a drought you know.

School is being very like school. So far this week, out of 16 lessons only 2 provided any material for Hawklad to try at home. Actually that is just one subject, radio silence from the other teachers. It does feel like in most subjects we have transitioned into full on homeschooling. Maybe school’s function now in most subjects is just to sort out the arrangements for the final exams, the teaching is down to me. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 clearly they haven’t seen my old school reports 🤣🤣🤣Well at least we can work the homeschooling around the World Cup Matches.

There are far too many children who are struggling or who are at risk. Safeguarding was everything before Covid shuck up the schooling systems. Not sure it is now….

I can’t remember the last time someone from school asked how Hawklad was doing, how is he feeling, are there any issues. It’s well over 2 years since anyone from school has directly spoken to him. Not one teacher has heard his voice in that time, communication has been through the very occasional email. Ok they might think I’ve got things covered but don’t they have a duty of care over the well-being of one of their pupils. Are all parents trustworthy? Should they not check. Should they not at least arrange to speak to the pupil directly. Am I being naive, maybe schools are just focused on exam performance these days. Hawklad’s School is clearly ticking all the right boxes as it’s rated as Outstanding by the authorities.

It must be me….

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.

Stuck in the middle

How did that old Stealers Wheel song go – Stuck in the middle with you…

Hawklad has done fantastically to start to overcome his dyslexia. He had found a way to read to the point that he now only occasionally asks for help but he still really struggles with handwriting and keyboard skills. He was due to get some help with that but the service was pulled basically because of national governmental changed priorities. School can’t provide any help as they don’t have the resources and the local education authority has drastically cut back special educational support. His Doctor thought about putting him on a health programme for support but the waiting list runs into years. Rapidly rising demand meets budget cuts…. Definitely feels like we are STUCK IN THE MIDDLE. Like most things, Hawklad and his muppet Dad will wing it ourselves.

Things are getting worse in this country, far worse. Special education and the support systems have become an easy target for budget cuts. For example the local council had to find a few million of savings so it slashed the Special Education Transport budget. On top of this health and schools are being stretched to breaking point with Covid. Many families are really struggling financially, they just don’t have the money to go private for support.

What worries me is just how many children with real pressing needs are just being left to fend for themselves. I had wrote ‘Forgotten about’, but that’s not strictly the case. Sadly they aren’t forgotten, they are just not a priority. That is unforgivable.

Settled

The weather is unusually settled here. The garden water tubs are nearly empty. What is going on, this is Yorkshire….

Not much of the much advertised heatwave so far. It finally arrived on Saturday and went Saturday. It was a bizarre day. Started warmish. Then just after midday the wind dropped and the temperature rocketed up. The garden thermometer hit 30C. Don’t laugh but that’s as far as the thermometer will go. Guess where that piece of technology was made. It didn’t have to travel too far… Yorkshire clearly doesn’t go past 30C.

But then just 4 hours later. We were outside enjoying an ice lolly and suddenly the wind picked up and changed direction . Within minutes we had to go inside for warmer clothes. It was Yorkshire cool again. A 4 hour heatwave…….

If only other things were settled.

Work is a nightmare as we are losing staff through COVID quicker than ever. Apparently it’s over……

Village life is in uproar as there are tentative plans to build houses on one side of the small village. How many. Well for a village of about 100 odd buildings, the idea is to add another new 130 homes ….. I can sense the pitchforks getting sharpened……

Car. The thirsty car now costs over £100 to fill up with diesel. The home fuel oil tank costs nearly £1000 to fill up now. Living is getting crazily expensive……

School mostly has disappeared. The work provided has in many subjects just completely dried up. Have they run out of things to teach Hawklad. Talk about feeling cut adrift…..

Yes definitely could do with some of that settled stuff.

Look but don’t touch

It’s been a long time….

Back before 2020 Hawklad had made fantastic progress. Not a natural socialite, even School was endured rather than embraced. Apart from one or two really close friends, he avoided large groups. But he pushed on. He forced himself on to do a few things he wanted to do even though it meant being amongst the masses. Sports matches, normally to see my so called team lose. Thankfully the wise young one picked a team that didn’t play in black and white to support. He could relax and laugh at his Dad.

The other thing he wanted to do was go to Rock Concerts. He managed it. Hood pulled firmly over his head and he found a way that worked for him. But then a pandemic hit. Alter Bridge and Shinedown was his last concert back in December 2019.

Everything then stopped.

2022 finds his fears and anxieties ramped up even further. But HE WANTS TO GO TO CONCERTS AGAIN.

So here goes.

With much planning, we find ourselves on a car journey right across to the other side of the country. A walk through a strange new busy city. Public Transport strictly avoided so we walked for miles to a football stadium. We waited outside for the right moment. A lull in the queues. We dived in. On the pitch and standing, that way we can control how close people get to him.

And with luck on our side Hawklad gets to see Echo and The Bunnymen AND THE ROLLING STONES. Yes it was crowded but we maintained a clear zone at all times. Yes I did have to get the elbows out at times to enforce that…. but the zone held. Years of metal concerts fully prepared me for that job.

A few hours later we are heading back home on the motorway. From Car to STONES to Car without Hawklad once touching an alien surface. But he did it. Hawklad a chatterbox telling me just how fantastic the Stones had been.

Here’s the sting in the tail. Poor Mick Jagger then went down with COVID a couple of days later. He may well have caught it doing this concert or in the city we had visited. That has been duly noted by Hawklad. But it’s still a step forward.

May

Glorious May weather here this week…..

Yes wet but still great for exploring our little part of the world. Even the mad one can always find things that stop him in his tracks….

School have agreed to book in a formal review meeting for Hawklad. He is supposed to get one every year but a pandemic rather messes up the normal. A lot has changed since the last one. COVID became a word. Hawklad taught himself to read. So let’s see what options school can give Hawklad for the final academic year. We need to see options for what happens if he returns to school in September. If he returns part time in September. If his return is further delayed. If he can’t go back at all. It’s one last push to get more support for him. An NHS Consultant has agreed to attend as well, definitely one last push on School. We are not entirely hopeful…..

The Government made a big promise about funding extra help to pupils to catch up following Covid, sadly it’s more hot air, bluster and fibs. Hundreds of millions can be found for a Royal Yacht but not for the children. There is another source of funding but school decided not to apply as they thought that there was little additional support that could be successfully offered to Hawklad. Rather frustratingly Pupil, Parent and Medical Professionals were not consulted……

NO, not entirely hopeful but let’s see what one last push can achieve.

Ashes to ashes part 1

It’s coming up to six years now. Six years since THAT YEAR. 2016. When EVERYTHING changed. I quickly scattered my mums ashes but we still have Hawklad’s mums ashes in the back room. On a mantelpiece overlooking the garden and fields beyond. There is no rush and to be fair, we have gone through a pandemic. We kinda assumed that at some some stage in the future we would get round to scatter them.

Then out of the blue.

One of her family have asked for a little portion of the ashes to spread. It’s odd I assumed it would be tough to say yes. For Hawklad, for me. Yet it wasn’t. Within seconds we both went – THATS FINE.

That’s progress. Life has moved on for both of us. The next question is where that leads.

But back to the ASHES, just maybe the hard part is still to come. The doing bit. We shall find out in a few hours.

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.

Reading

Mostly a day to stay inside and dry but always keeping an eye out for those brief gifts.

In the end, no video conference call this week with school. School staffing unavailability led to a late cancellation. Apparently school will organise another teacher – parent day in a months time.

Ok move on, it’s the weekend.

As a kid I remember one thing really clearly from childhood weekends. Virtually every Saturday morning I would walk to the town’s library. The northern coastal town looked old and tired yet the library was a bit of an oasis. On the outside it looked like any other slate grey concrete block. But on the inside it looked brand new. Clean, bright. It even had a little indoor goldfish pond in the middle of the children’s section. I would select a book and sit beside the pond. For a couple of hours it was an escape from the claustrophobic reality. A working town cut off from the world by the sea on one side and polluting industry on all other sides. Hardly anyone went on holidays. It seemed like most adults would venture as far as the local chemical and steel plants to work, then it was back to the town to live. It did feel so claustrophobic. The only two escapes. The freshness of the beach and books in the library.

Fast forward far too many decades and it was like life repeating itself. Now miles from that old existence and a pandemic hit. Suddenly a picturesque village on a hill became isolated. Month after month of enforced isolation and it felt claustrophobic again. In the modern life there was thankfully a few more escape routes. One of which was again a library. This time quite a bit smaller and an awful lot redder than the old town library.

The village library

The converted old telephone box is the village community library. So a bit like when I was a child, excitedly checking out books to read, let’s see what books are in the library today. Sadly no goldfish to share the books with this time, it’s probably going to be with cows in the farmers field.

Spot anything you like ? Pleasingly the books I’ve donated on a few occasions are not there. Hopefully someone in the village is reading them as I write this.

I can’t begin to tell you just how great it felt during the lockdown to be able to walk a few yards to a little red library. To pick a book and have an adventure. Just like that little boy from that northern town, having an adventure in a library.