T minus

Hawklad has been looking for a marker in the sand. Something to aim for which is solid. To him all the attempts to build bridges back into the wider world has to lead to something.

Yes school could be that. A return to the classroom. But he’s still not convinced that it’s right for him. Is he better off learning outside the school system. Plus it’s not a definite marker. It can be delayed. If the bridges aren’t ready say at the start of September, then maybe October might work.

Well now we have a solid marker.

A concert.

One of his favourite bands, The Darkness are playing some gigs in December. So we have bought tickets to see them in quite a small standing only venue. A definite date which is far enough away to allow for steady progress. A true test of his progress. We can leave it to the last minute to decide if he’s ready. We can even get to the venue and Hawklad can see what it feels like. If he’s uncomfortable then we can just grab a pizza and come home. He’s seen them twice already so it won’t be a disaster if he doesn’t manage it this time.

T minus 6 months and counting

Recycling

Meet my new Garden Helper. She hasn’t quite worked out that green waste goes directly into the brown bin….

I must admit that was just about beyond me today. Should it go in the green or brown bin, the recycling containers or the compost heap….. I’m clueless today. Lack of sleep and the second vaccine doesn’t help. So today was a struggle. Trying to stay awake, trying to think, trying to work, trying to be a parent. Today was hard work. Very few smiles. A survival far.

But at 12.40am I’m still here. I’ve not burnt the house down. Not crashed the car. Ok I did drop the mobile and cracked the screen. But I got through the day. Now tomorrow is almost here. New start. New hope. Another chance.

Maybe me and that cow can even figure out the recycling ……

Together

Another day of school at home. Another day of me demonstrating how little I know about Science and French. Surely answering questions like why would the earths magnetic poles switch?, involves more than incoherent mumbling and awkwardly shuffling of my feet.

Je suis un muppet et plutot stupide…..

Maybe those parents doing homeschooling should have some boaster classes. Bring the likes of me up to speed. Deep sigh. Not much chance of that here in England with our current law breaking charlatans in charge. They can’t even look after the pupils correctly.

Our so called Government has announced an extra £50 per pupil to help them catch up and deal with the impacts of COVID education disruption. That disruption has been massive. Apparently £50 is a world beating some that shows commitment to the next generation. The US is giving its students a top up of £1600 per year, Netherlands the funding is £2500.

Our Government would much rather spend money on important stuff like a new Royal Yacht costing £200M. It also comes from a Prime Minister who enjoyed the privileges of a Private Education at one of the worlds most exclusive and expensive schools. In today’s money that cost somewhere near £50000 per year.

Remember we are all in this together….

Faceless

The old village church in the evening sun.

It’s a simple church dating back from the 10th century. The Font and an Effigy date back from the 13th century. The small graveyard shows the age more starkly with many of the gravestones now completely weathered by the Yorkshire wind and rain. Faceless.

Today as I wandered along the village street to post a letter I felt faceless. When I first moved here I knew many in the village. A number of good friends. But slowly those that knew me have thinned out. Left. Passed away. To the point where this morning I walked in a beautiful but alien village. I know hardly anyone here now. That has been amplified during a pandemic. I hope that as things open up just maybe I can start to feel part of the community again. It won’t be easy.

I suspect I’m not the only one facing this new challenge.

Almost Summer

Whisper it. It almost feels like summer here in Yorkshire. Warm, dry, traffic jams, the shops are sold out of strawberries and watermelons. Yep it must be summer here.

So next steps….

This morning Hawklad mentioned that he is now aiming to return to school at the start of September. If he can’t go back then he will go for full homeschooling.

Today in the summer sun we tried a day time walk. The first day time walk for Hawklad in over a year. A carefully selected walk. Quiet. Rarely visited. Across farm land. It was a success. An hour walk completed. Ok not another human encountered but it is another step forward.

So we have less than 3 months to see if we can build Hawklad from deserted walks to being crammed in a classroom with 30 plus other students and teachers. That’s a tough ask. So little time to take so many steps forward.

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.

It had to happen

AV.1.

It had to happen. AV.1 is the Yorkshire COVID Variant. There have been currently 47 confirmed cases in Yorkshire. It’s already spreading. It’s been found in Greece and Chad. The Yorkshire Variant is described as a ‘Triple Mutant’ which potentially opens up the risk of increased transferability and reduced vaccine effectiveness. It is now listed as a variant under investigation.

The worry is that yesterday Yorkshire was described as ‘very low risk’ and people should prepare for full reopening next month. Sadly when a country accepts a relatively high level of infections as acceptable then the risk of mutations increases. As the mutations numbers increase then it’s only a matter of time before current vaccines become ineffective. If mutations are allowed to get out of hand then a tipping point is reached when vaccine updates can’t keep up with virus changes. We then are playing a never ending game of catch-up.

The Yorkshire variant will be one of many to come if nothing significant changes. It highlights the shortsightedness of countries hoarding vaccines while many other places struggle to get any supplies at all. It brings into questions approaches to international travel in the short term.

This war is only just beginning.

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.