Proper weather

It’s been far too dry for Yorkshire. Coming back from the dog walk it was clear that was all about to change. The question would be, do we get back home in time.

No.

Proper weather.

I’m not sure that crazy old tree house would offer much protection these days. Must admit I can’t remember seeing anyone up there since I moved into the village. That’s two decades ago. WOW, two decades. Where did that time go. Anyway just a few pigeons and occasionally the farmer’s cockerel are the only life that makes it up there. The cockerel and hens are clearly very talented.

The farm birds now have branched out into money laundering, honey and eye products.

I could talk about school at home but I would only moan about a day spent revising executions and serial killers. So let’s focus on the farm birds. That’s an egg-cellent choice. Plus if I do moan anymore I run the risk of getting us egg-pelled..

It’s Cold on page 264

Poor Hawklad was trying to do his school at home lessons. A teacher had uploaded work to be done online. That’s always a good thing and most welcome, unless you are Hawklad. The work kept referring to ‘review the key information on page 264 of your text book’. What text book….. Apparently the text book those in class use each lesson as a key part of the teaching programme. The class share copies so there isn’t one available to be sent home, so Hawklad did know that one even existed. At least we know now.

It’s cold. Not as cold as some countries but it’s cold for us. It’s definitely a two wooly jumper day.

It’s the kinda day for hot chocolate, soups and stews. It’s been a bit of a STEW fest recently. I can obliterate baking but I can do a might fine stew. What’s the secret to my STEWPENDOUS creations. Well I discovered that last night. Out of date herbs. Seriously out of date. We are taking Best Before A Very Long Time Ago. Best before ran out during Obama’s presidency (and not his second stint….). Oops….

The ageing adds to the flavour. As my parents would say when food hit the ground when I was a kid. Days when the food was quickly wiped on a sleeve and handed back for consumption.

“It will put hairs on your back son”.

Now a few millennial later and it certainly has done that….. If only my parents had put all this useful information and knowledge into a parenting textbook. I’m sure it would provide much reassurance on the use of out of date food items. It might even enlighten us to what key information can be found on page 264….

Swiss Sunday

It’s very early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire. I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming big.

This week I was going through some old boxes that I had stored away when I cleaned mums house out. Looking for some old papers but I quickly got sidetracked. I found an old postcard. Wow, remember them….. It was one I had sent to my mum from my first trip to Switzerland. Many years ago. Pre parenting times. If I remember right it was sent on the first afternoon of the holiday. I used to write quite big as my handwriting is pretty poor. Not ideal with a small postcard. I struggled to fit mums address in the right half of the card. The first few words read of the message read.

“Hi Mum. Here safe. Switzerland is EPIC. I have never seen a land this beautiful, this magical, this perfect.”

Those words say it all. Switzerland is that good.

Heather

A small family trip to the moors. A carpet of pink.

I’ve always considered my family pretty close knit. No conflicts. No splits. Yes we got geographically spread but we still kept in regular contact. Regular visits.

Then three things happened .

Mum left us…..It wasn’t until she was not there anymore that I noticed that she was the gravitational force that held us together. We would frequently meet up at her house. We would have family get togethers but these usually happened because of mum. We would make the effort because of mum. Now that force of attraction has gone, the family meet ups are becoming less frequent and fewer turn up when they do happen.

Lockdown……The less frequent meet ups STOPPED for over 18 months. One sister who I would see really frequently has ended up not seeing Hawklad in over 2 years now…. Brother its 3 years now.

Time……As time passes we develop our own worlds. New families.

So we had a small meet up today and it felt strange. We should have had plenty to talk about, lots of catching up to do. It never happened. Even though we were physically close there still seemed to be a distance. Even Hawklad felt it. He pulled his hoody fully up – that’s a sign that he wasn’t comfortable. That never used to be the case.

When will the next meet up be, who knows. Zero sign of getting all the brothers and sisters together. The last time that happened was my partners funeral. The slow drifting apart of my family is sad but it feels kinda inevitable.

Chuck

Definitely a moody day. Moody means ‘it’s about to CHUCK it down again…’

It’s now 6 weeks to the schools return. In 6 weeks the classrooms will be full and the Government has removed all social distancing. So in September no masks, no screens, no class bubbles, no additional sanitary facilities, no additional distancing. Schools are perfectly safe. Currently with some protection there are just under 1000 COVID child hospital admissions with an average of 52 new admissions per day. 64 have tragically died from COVID.

It’s within this backdrop that Hawklad is struggling with a potential return to the classroom. He is already talking about the social pressure to stop using his mask if the rest of his classmates and teachers aren’t. It’s just a mess. Some families are desperate to ‘return to normal’, some families are unsure and some are still trying to shield.

It’s just such a mess.

5 years

As I’m writing this, it is almost 5 years to the minute that I last spoke to my mum. She was in hospital and planning to go home. Ok the doctors weren’t planning on her going home for another week or so, but mum was stubborn. A battle of wills was brewing. I can’t remember what we talked about that evening. How often is that the case. I can remember being given a shopping list to fill her home refrigerator – remember she was going home.

We didn’t see the overnight relapse coming.

Yes I really miss her. My sibling do as well. She was the gravity that held us together.

But I’m not sad. Not today. She would have used a Yorkshire cricket expression – ‘had a long innings‘. She did. Lots of great memories. Lots of smiles. That’s what I see now. And today lots of ‘tea and biscuits’. That’s exactly what you got every time you went to see mum. Within seconds you found a biscuit in your hand, as if by magic. Even if you were on a diet that biscuit founds it’s way into your hand. Followed by a reassuring ‘that diet can start tomorrow, how about a piece of apple pie…”

Views

Endless views or no view….

A school email exchange with a teacher kinda went this way yesterday.

Have you started the exam.

No I’ve not seen the paper yet.

Do you understand what your doing…..

No I’ve not seen the paper.

The instructions where clearly set out in the previous lessons.

***************************

After an hour of looking we finally found an oblique reference to a question. Well hidden. One of those – it was clearly set out in section 635, clause 9, subsection B.

As clear as mud and so hard to find. Pupils and Parents don’t have hours available in the daily schedule to pour over every single document. Every single page. Every single well hidden file.

Did Hawklad answer the right question. In the right format. In the right way….. still no idea.

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….

Fame 2

It’s funny how you forget things. A couple of days back I was writing about my lame brushes with fame. Then this morning another memory flooded back into my mind.

My Dad took me on a train to see a charity cricket match. My first ever game. I think I was about 8. It was one of those matches with former cricketers, celebrities and a few local club players. It was a decent turnout of stars so a large crowd turned up.

Some quite well known former Yorkshire and England players with one huge star. One of England’s greatest ever fast bowlers and larger than life characters, Fred Truman.

At the end of the game my Dad told me that I would like to get Fred’s autograph. That was news to me….. Handily Dad had brought an autograph book and pen. Almost as if the autograph was for him…. So I was sent off to obtain the signature while Dad finished off his beer. A bit later I came back with various scribbles, one was definitely a TV celebrity – Leslie Crowther. But no Freddie.

That clearly wasn’t to Dad‘s liking and he decided to help me now. After much looking Freddie was located. He was in the players changing room. Next thing I knew Dad had pushed me through the door with clear instructions. Your not going home until you get that signature….

I was surrounded by men in various states of undress…. All appeared to be drinking. No sign of Freddie. So I asked. Freddie was in the showers. So yes I did get the great mans autograph. When he was completely naked. How could I forget that…..

Dad was happy. I never did see MY autograph book again….

Wow how times have changed……

Sun has got his hat on

“The sun has got his hat on.”

As a kid things seemed so sensible. So believable.

I remember my parents would be always saying that phrase and singing the old song. Normally when the sun was out which as we lived on the Yorkshire coast was on average once every three years….

The sun has got his hat on hip-hip-hip hooray 
The sun has got his hat on 
And he’s coming out today (Gay & Butler)

I remember asking my Dad once why the sun would have his hat on. Dad said that it was to keep the sun from the Sun’s eyes…..

At the time it seemed an entirely plausible explanation. I was happy with it.

Looking back those 930 years at my Dads answer and I can spot one or two minor issues. Surely the hat needs to be inside the Sun to keep itself from blinding itself. Maybe it’s not as scientifically watertight as I had once thought. Ok let’s call it a philosophical metaphor. Not sure Dad did them…

It’s now made me question some of the other things my parents told me.

Thunder rumbling is Cowboys and Indians fighting in the sky….

Lightning was dragons fighting in the sky …… very busy up there

Wind and the clouds moving was down to all the butterflies in the world beating their tiny little wings all at the same time….

Fairies and elves lived at the bottom of our Garden. …… For a while I misheard that one and believed Elvis for some reason had moved to Yorkshire

The Sky was blue because it was reflecting the colour from the oceans and sea …….. most odd as the North Sea is permanently grey offset with the occasional black oil slick

Every Sunday lunchtime my dad would set off in the direction of the pub saying that he was ‘off to see a man about a dog’. As it was every Sunday, that must have been some dog.

You only got curly hair if you ate the crusts from your bread slices.. I’m still waiting and actually probably left it a tad late now.

I suspect some of these parental facts might be a little dubious. My life has been based on so many falsehoods. Well at least I still have Santa. Maybe I need to borrow the Sun’s hat to hide under it for a while. Best thing to do these strange days.