It’s Sunday so another perfect day for a walk. A much needed chance for Hawklad to relax. Feel part of the world, a world that still can be sampled without too much human contact. We didn’t see another walker today.
Six miles, six glorious miles in the Yorkshire mud. Proper mud.
But it was definitely worth the slog.
And what would Sundays be without another one of those Farm signs.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for a little walk down memory lane. To holidays spent in the one of the worlds must picturesque countries set amongst the majestic Alps. Yes it’s to go back to Switzerland.
When the sun shines, the skies are so blue in this wonderful country. But if the weather turns, guess what. Switzerland is still a magical place.
If you get the chance, please visit this stunning country. You won’t be disappointed.
Another school exam at home today. More walking about. More music. Not much sitting around. The exam room was basically the house and at one stage, extended to the garden. It works for Hawklad. He gets more information onto the papers this way.
So I spoke to school. What are the alternatives to exams. The initial response of a separate room, under exam conditions, just doesn’t go far enough.
I watched Hawklad do his work while in perpetual motion, my mind wandered back to university. My last exam there. I wonder what Hawklad would have made of that.
Everyone in fancy dress. I went as a Roman Centurion including fake plastic sword. I was not allowed to take the sword into the exam room, it was deemed a banned item. I’m not sure how a cheap plastic sword would aid with any Degree Paper. During the exam, the overall experience was bizarre verging on transcendental. I can remember many of my fellow exam candidates. All living the last few hours of a 4 year course. A chap in traditional Moroccan dress, although everyone thought it was actually more like Obi-WAN’s Jedi costume. A girl dressed as a mermaid. Another as a air hostess. Barbarella made an appearance. The Blues Brothers, Thelma and Louise, The Village People and Elvis all turned up. A guy dressed as one of the Charlie’s Angels. That guy was clearly in much discomfort during the 3 hour exam. He couldn’t sit still. Apparently his figure hugging garment was applying too much pressure to his nether regions. I had the other experience. My centurion tunic was a little on the short side and it kept riding up. Not only was my modesty under threat (I was conscious of the poor female friends in viewing distance) but it was also far too draughty for my liking. Those Centurions were seriously tough, wearing so little while stood on the exposed Northumberland Hadrian’s Wall during winter.
The crazy thing is that it all that mayhem and madness worked. We all passed that exam. Most with higher marks than expected.
I wonder if school would consider that particular exam adjustment. I wonder if Hawklad would. One thing is for sure, I’m not fitting into my Roman attire these days. I suspect that even a 10 man Roman Tent would be tight around my thighs now.
Here’s the problem with school exams. Sitting in a deathly quiet hall. Surrounded by people who you probably don’t know and if you did know them, what’s the point as you can’t talk. Sat for hours, without moving, writing in silence. The only sounds, the occasional cough (that might be really off putting these days), the rustle of sweet papers being opened and the never ending clicks of the large clock at the front. Then the deafening booming voice – ‘and that’s time, put you pens down’…..
Today Hawklad had a History exam to sit at home. A slightly different exam environment. Sat on a sofa – sometimes. Then pacing around the house to think. A trip to the kitchen to get a piece of cake and soda. Then relocating to his bed to do the long question. All to the tune of music. Some Queen, some Bowie then some Journey. Not forgetting the 2 minute break to give his fingers a rest, best done by tickling the dog’s tummy and kicking a ball around the room.
That’s how Hawklad thinks, works and is most comfortable. Sitting still for more than 10 minutes is stressful, his body needs to be in constant motion. Quiet spooks him. Concentration is done in short bursts then a break. He thinks best when he’s relaxed and moving.
Looking at his completed paper. That free form exam approach works perfectly. Problem is that it isn’t going to be allowed in the final exams. The traditional exam environment is so alien to him. He just can’t perform in that setting. It’s bad for him.
Virtually every day for over two decades I have looked at this landscape. Looked at that tree, stood alone in the next farmers field. The occasional trip away, the all too infrequent Swiss day broke those years up. But definitely for 6 years, every day I have looked upon that view.
After my partner died, I couldn’t contemplate making changes to the house. It just didn’t seem right. Then a few hesitant steps. Clothes, shoes, handbags and some books taken to a charity shop. But her cd’s are still sat, untouched, in the same place. Her ornament largely in the same locations. But now the mindset is changing. Time for change if Hawklad is ready.
A start will be my partners cd’s. A quick scan revealing a taste for 80’s pop and dance music. They are never going to get played in this metal and rock house. Music is such a waste of its not played. Time to move them on to a better home. Ok I might keep the Dido cd…..
I’m looking at a sofa that is over 20 years old. Cats, a mad climbing dog, food and drink spills, my enormous backside has taken its toll on the poor thing now. It’s really time for a change. Well kind of. Hawklad would appreciate some more comfort but is kinda attached. So we have plan b. But a new sofa, finally change the living room look. But the old sofa can find its way into the conservatory.
That’s still change.
Life has moved on.
I’m not stood by that permanently closed door anymore.
A couple of new neighbours have moved in to the field over looking our back fence. They are much quieter than the usual neighbours. No farting and no incessant water works. Actually the don’t smell as much as well. That’s just lost me all my sheep and cattle followers. Its ok, I’m just horsing around.
Today was one of those school days. Every subject featured lesson material which was difficult for Hawklad. Covering areas that made him uncomfortable. Content which stoked his anxieties and fears. So today was schooling which focused more on the new neighbours and not much on lesson details.
It’s been a day filled with worries. Hawklad gets these days where he just feels like he’s trying to run constantly into a headwind. He woke up with worries. School lessons added to those. The longer he stayed inside the worse things got. So it was time to abandon school for the day. Let’s see what a walk brings.
At least being outside helped stop the stream of new worries. That’s a start….l.
But if you look hard enough there is always something to lift the spirits. To bring a laugh.
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.
Switzerland is a country that means so much to this little old Yorkshire family. So many holidays there, so many memories. It’s a special place.
But things have changed. The next time we travel there, it will be different. It’s a much smaller family now. It will just be the two of us. It will be the first trip to The Alps without Hawklad’s mum. But how different will it be. We would always have the same holiday base, Spiez. The Hotel Seegarten, just a few feet from beautiful Lake Thun and it’s marina. We would arrive Saturday night and then on Sunday morning we would always take the boat across the lake to Interlaken. Hawklad loved the relaxing boat journey, he would spend his time on deck. Then a walk round Interlaken. A hot chocolate sat outside a beautiful hotel watching the brave souls landing paragliders after an exhilarating trip from the top of the local mountain. Then a bit of crazy golf, the Swiss do like that sport. A pizza them a trip to a beautiful gift shop. A shop with the most elaborate Swiss Clocks and most importantly a huge selection of Schleich Toy Animals.
The question is….
When we do go back again. Do we stick to the Sunday tradition or do we go for something completely different. Those Sunday mornings were definitely fun and memorable but life has changed. Would it feel the same for Hawklad without his mum. We have talked about it and wow do I regret that….. He’s minded to keep the tradition but add one new thing. Paraglide from that mountain. I think I need a Jumbo Jet size glider to carry my most un-aerodynamic body down to the ground in a controlled manner.
I hated exams. Really hated them. I hated the time pressures. I hated the enforced silence. I hated having to sit still for three hours. I hated the weeks of revision (maybe days, ok maybe hours….) and I really hated realising that I had revised the wrong subjects. That unsettling feeling, gazing round at all the pens scribbling away frantically while my pen was being twiddled in my fingers as I waited for the brain to find just one relevant point to write down.
But I really hated the stress and anxiety which goes with exams. I would make myself ill with worry. I felt terrible. That can’t be healthy or good for a teenager.
Already Hawklad is starting to get significant worries from the impending mock exams. Really bad worries. He’s worried about struggling with understanding the time constraints. He’s worried about his handwriting. He’s worried about the alternative (trying to work with a scribe that he just doesn’t know). He’s worried about not being able to get the stuff in his brain out onto the paper. He’s worried about the pressure causing his dyslexia to return and nit being able to read the questions. He’s worried about having to sit still (he naturally paces around). He’s worried about sitting next to strangers. He’s worried about exam questions that remind him of his anxieties that have beset him. He’s worried about the silence and how that could spark anxiety meltdowns. I could go on but let’s just say the exams are getting to him.
How can all this pressure be anything other than harmful for someone who is battling serious anxiety and phobia issues…..
His main exams are in June next year, although he has to take a couple this year. So what do we do. I’m going to speak to his psychologist for advice but decisions have to be made. I’m not going to let exam worries get to him like they got to me.