To be or not to be

So finally an announcement on schools. Then follows the inevitable confusion, lies and burying heads in the sand. Best summed up by

  • The independent expert scientific panel urging schools to not open as it is not safe,
  • The governments own expert scientific panel demanding schools to be closed as they are not safe in the current environment,
  • Then our so called PM announces that schools are completely safe, it’s people mixing outside of schools which is the problem.

The upshot appears to be that secondary schools will stay shut for a few more days. Most secondary children are expected to be back by the 18th January. By that time a team of volunteers will then oversea a mass virus testing exercise for all pupils. Some schools will stay closed longer but the government won’t say which ones. Most Primary schools will open on the 4th January as normal.

Ok…. I would not be filled with so much cynicism if any Government announcement wasn’t worked out on the back of a cigarette packet and it wasn’t accompanied by a tirade of lies.

Anyway different people are saying different things. Clearly some of the Government including the PM haven’t read the Government’s own policy. So many questions are being ignored. For example why are the schools for younger children staying open when others are closed? Are those children and teachers somehow mysteriously protected? Why are face masks required in public places but not in the classroom? Any person working with children has to be officially vetted yet that’s been dropped for the Covid testing programme. Is that safe? The covid test that will be used is problematic, doesn’t have the greatest accuracy and is difficult to self administer. So how is that going to work with pupils self administering the test in a large group with unqualified volunteers and teachers who have little medical experience? No mention of Special Schools – what do they do? How are schools going to fund the infrastructure required to set up the covid testing. Why are the Government refusing to promote online education for those that it would suit?

Many more questions but you get the picture. It’s a mess…..

Puddings

Where are our biscuits……

So today my country finds itself cut adrift. Many countries have closed their ports, tunnels and airports to us. That’s what happens when you mix an even more pesky variant of Covid with clueless, self deluded, only interested in themselves numpties who couldn’t manage a snowball fight.

Dolly and her biscuit munching woolly friends would do a better job than that prat called Boris and his cronies.

So yep we are cut adrift as a nation. All I can think about is why it took so long for this to happen. Countries like France should have done this years ago. We are not exactly going to be missed. Must be time for Yorkshire to join Scotland in declaring independence and ditching this madness. Let’s celebrate that thought with a large portion of Yorkshire Puddings. I’d rather talk about those puddings than the other puddings who are in charge,

You couldn’t make it up.

Britain basically has self absorbed, one rule for us one rule for them, clowns running the country. Everyday they lower the bar even further. Who would have thought that the ‘everyone needs to isolate if you travel abroad unless you are a HIGH VALUE person who the rules will not apply to…’ gem could be topped. Well yes they did.

Schools had been told at short notice that they should consider closing on the 18th for Christmas to tie in with the temporary relaxation of the pandemic rules. A relaxation which is going against scientific advice. Well now the Government has decided to threaten legal action against schools……

Some schools are suffering from seriously high infection rates amongst pupils and staff. Often the schools find themselves in the highest risk areas. As a result some schools have taken the decision to switch to remote learning. That didn’t go down well The Clowns.

The School Minister Nick Gibb in particular. Remember him, he’s the one he thought it was a good idea to start getting 4 year olds to sit tests. He is the clown who described children taking time off for family bereavement as having an EXTENDED HOLIDAY…. Well he has started contacting schools to tell them that they must immediately shut down online tuition and bring all kids back into classrooms or he will take legal action against them.

How on earth do we end up with these people in charge.

Now I realise that there are people out there who will think the School Minister is brilliant (especially himself). Who think that this country is heading in the right direction under this government. They are so entitled to their option. They have got the government they wanted. They won’t care what I prattle on about. Today they will be happy with the state of the country. For me that sums it all up. When was the last time they opened their eyes. I guess they don’t want to. That’s the thing. In previous times we have had differences of opinion on how the country should be run. But it was clear both sides of the argument wanted the best for the country. Now I am not so sure everybody shares that view. That’s why I have never been so pessimistic for the future and what inheritance we are leaving for future generations.

Time to bring the walls down

I realised that it’s been a while since I mentioned grief. If I’m not careful I will need to change the name of the blog. Maybe it’s time to find something with ‘muppet’ or ‘most excellent baker’ as a new badge to work under. The possibilities are endless when you think about it. So many things to go for

Baking disasters

Parenting mishaps

Homeschooling meltdowns

Single parenting

Mental health

Trying to navigate the Asperger Parenting open waters

Yoga injuries

Truly shocking poetry

Badly behaved pets

Badly behaved wildlife

Village high jinks

Yorkshire tourism

The wonders of Switzerland

Hide behind the sofa politics

Bachelor life!!!!!

How many photos I can squeeze out of one back garden view

Fashion tips

Accountancy

Maybe not accountancy…. Definitely not that. I would actually rather listen to a U2 album than read about that subject. But maybe there is a key message here. Apart from I’ve actually found something I hate more than Bono singing. If you had asked me back in 2016 and 2017 to make a list then it would have been very short. Grief, single parenting and Aspergers. Bereavement and loss seems to rob you of your life. Your gaze drops to your feet, just can’t lift your head up. Walls begin to surround you. But with time, in your own time, things do improve. You can lift your head up again. You start to want the walls to come down again. Yes maybe Bereavedsingledad doesn’t quite fit anymore.

November Rain

Should really be listening to that Guns N’ Roses song while writing this.

Well I did put it on….

It’s November 2020. What happened to October? For nothing much happening it certainly seemed to fly by. The new month sees England about to re-enter a national lockdown. This time until at least the 2nd December. You can go out for education, to work (only if you can’t do it from home), to do some exercise, for a medical appointment, to care for someone and to shop for essentials. Pubs, restaurants, and things like non essential shops will close. Does non essential include Boris Johnson and the Government. Unless you are at school, university or work (as the virus is cool with those places unlike than well run, conscientious little cafes) you basically can’t meet up with anyone.

Is it bad that when I hear our so called leader talk I just utter the words ‘what a pompous, self deluded, lazy prat’. Actually that can be used for most of the Government. Worryingly Boris Johnson isn’t the worst….

For our little part of the world it’s not going to make that much of a difference. We don’t meet up with anyone really. We don’t go out unless for essential stuff. I have no work until at least March. Son is not medically cleared to attend school. Ok his nurse counsellor may not be able to visit. Food shopping might become more difficult. No chance of seeing family or friends. I don’t go for runs. But it is what it is.

Last night I took son for a short drive round the local villages to look at the Halloween decorations. Nighttime when few are out is the only time he will venture out. These trips out probably become illegal from Thursday. Do we care – NO. If members of the government can drive 300 miles with the virus and apparently impaired vision to visit family and tourist haunts – well stuff you Boris. These little trips out can be classed as medical and I’m just acting as any responsible parent would do.

So welcome to November 2020. Will it fly by…

Children going hungry

Sometimes photos just don’t fit the message. Fit the mood. Fit the anger. Fit the shame which I feel towards my country and it’s government.

This week over 320 Government MPs stopped a proposal to extend a free school meal scheme to help thousands of our young ones. Just for a few months during these troubled times. Many families are struggling. Over 2 million children in our supposedly rich country are living in poverty. A significant proportion of those are frequently going hungry. Yes our so called government voted against ensuring our children don’t go hungry this Christmas. Let that thought just sink in.

How could they do that…. They trotted out carefully managed soundbites

**********

We want to return to good old British Values (Victorian)

It’s not our responsibility

Why should we nationalise children

It’s up to the parent to take responsibility

Parents would only spend the money on cigarettes and alcohol

Why are you questioning us, our way is right

Poverty doesn’t exist, it’s all a conspiracy

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Let’s not forget that this comes from MPs who didn’t have any hang ups about giving themselves a generous pay increase just a few weeks ago. From a PM who complained that he struggled to maintain his lifestyle on his £150000 a year salary. From MPs who are in no financial need, some have net worths of over £120 million. From the likes of one Cabinet Minister who can afford to send 5 children to an £18000 a year per pupil exclusive private school.

Thankfully we still have good people here. A young Premier League footballer who went hungry as a child is leading the fight back. Scores of individuals and businesses are stepping up to try and help. They care. Doctors and Teachers are backing the campaign. Even the Government’s own Children Commissioner calls the fact that children are going hungry as ‘horrific’ and ‘the attitude is like something from an Oliver Twist novel’.

Sadly our Government do not care. They have no morals. This is the same Government that has slashed the overseas aid budget which tries to help those in even deeper poverty around the world. They bring shame on our country. The hope is that one day a reckoning does come and we then find leaders who care.

Jarrow March

This photo was taken 4 years ago to the day. A day in October. A day early in my grief journey. A moment in our family history.

Time to turn back the hands of the clock back to before the Second World War. To another moment in our family history.

October 19th, 1936. Chesterfield to Mansfield.

From the 5th to 31st, the Jarrow March took place. 200 men walked 300 miles from the north eastern town of Jarrow to London. Jarrow was like many northern towns in that period. Bleak, stagnant and forgotten. The impact of a world wide depression was hitting this area hard. There was no employment. Unemployment was endemic. In Jarrow the unemployment rate was near 70%. The Government seemingly did not care, blind to the suffering. The Government even blocked loans that would have saved the town’s industries. Rising anger at gross inequality and injustice. The growth of racism and extreme right wing politics.

That was the context as 200 men set off on their crusade. A peaceful and dignified protest, carrying a 12000 signature petition asking for their industry to be reopened. A simple message. We want to work. We want hope.

The marchers were treated as heroes on the route. Galvanised a growing mood in the country. The petition was handed into the government with so much dignity and respect. In the short term the March failed. The Baldwin Conservative Government brushed the march and the petition aside. Clearly in their eyes some people were more equal than others. But in the long run the Jarrow March delivered. It set a new agenda. After the war the new Labour Government set about writing the wrongs. A comprehensive welfare state was introduced. Government with a conscious was established. One that cared for the less fortunate. Sadly a conscious which has started to be unpicked and now unravelled.

We live in a time of rising unemployment. Inequality and injustice are ripe. The growth of extreme politics. Sound familiar. We could learn so much from the Jarrow March. A Crusade marked down in English history. A family history as well. My family was on that march.

New Sport

It’s dark, bit of blue sky, very windy. Good drying weather.

Friday was one of those days. Hassle from school. Missing items. Me being a walking accident magnet. My favourite music magazine, one I’ve been reading for ages, went out of business. And the washing machine….. it decided to eat itself. Two hours of fruitless home repair confirmed that in the words of Monty Python –

E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-WASHING MACHINE…..

A bit of disaster when we have such a heavy lockdown washing requirement. A replacement one was finally sourced that has an expected delivery window of less than 3 months!! So it’s the delights of hand washing for a while. Given Hawklads anxieties – lots of it. I guess it’s a good arm workout.

I need the weather to be nice and cooperate. Outdoor drying would really help. Please help me dry the washing, pretty please….

So here’s the new sport. It’s great for endurance and reactions. Much bending over and sprinting. It’s called ‘catching my pants as they hurtle across the farmers field’. The sizeable wind was clearly trying to turn my underwear into a new post brexit export to Belgium. In fact given the colossal size of my pants they would constitute a bigger new trade deal than anything our clowns of a government have secured in one year…..

The return of terrible poetry…

Chelsea Owens has another poetry challenge on the go. This week it is….

Hey! It’s the A Mused Poetry Contest! Make a gaffe, cause a laugh!

Here are the specifics for this week’s contest:

  1. The Theme is commercials: try radio, newspaper, halftime show, or a high-pressured letter you get in the mail.
  2. The Length needs to run between 5 and 155 words.
  3. Rhyming is at the discretion of the poet (you).
  4. The Rating can be PG-13 (though I’m not fond of cussing). Hear that, E??
  5. MAKE US LAUGH. I wanna hear your ditty passed around online meetings, morning talk shows, and incessant chatting from children at the dinner table.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (October 2) to submit a poem.

The problem is that I started writing a poem. A terrible one. I lime making my poems terrible. It hides how bad I am at being a bard, but it allows me to call myself one. But I went for the wrong subject. Adverts and Brexit. Just couldn’t make it funny. I failed. So I won’t be sending my words to Chelsea this time. It’s terrible. I could make it terrible. Definitely terrible but not funny this time. Sorry just not a funny subject. It’s just very sad.

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

Cue the patriotic music and views of the White Cliffs of Dover

It’s time to sell Brexit to the masses, to buy into the dream, moreover

Just think of the future with our new brightly coloured passports

The fun of all those new travel checkpoints and long queues at the ports

The joy of telling our kids that we have taken away their right to free travel

Watch as our worker rights and environmental standards begin to unravel

Be happy as we sell the NHS to American Insurance Groups in the hope of a deal

Any deal as we cut ourselves adrift, is it time for chlorinated chicken to be revealed

Let’s not forget the rich brexit backers who for some reason have now moved abroad

Let’s be proud that now as a country we are free to rip up international accords

Enjoy the sight of all those companies now moving jobs away from our now free island

Yes remember those glossy Brexit adverts that told us to dream, smile and

Strangely failed to mention all the crap that is about to happen to our country

That’s the problem with adverts, they sell you stuff you don’t need, that’s speaking bluntly…..

We are in this together!

Apparently we are in this all together.

In the UK our Test and Trace system is supposed to be World Leading. Sorry time to shake head and mutter. In practice it has collapsed for many. This true story says it all. Schools are struggling to get those showing symptoms tested. In many areas tests are just not available. I know one school where a number of teachers and students are showing symptoms but local tests have not been available for over a week. The only option for those who are sick has been the offer to travel on a road trip to Shropshire for a potential (not guaranteed) test. That’s a round trip of 470 miles. Because test results are not available the school has not been allowed to go into full lockdown measures.

Remember we are all in this together.

Yesterday our loathsome government told us to Stop Carping and celebrate the phenomenal success of the government’s Test and Trace approach.

Ok I will try. I’m a simple person. I’m seeing an approach which has a Test and a Trace system. Most can’t get a Test, there is a massive backlog of test samples (more than 200000), timeframes are missed, sick are having to travel for hours and then queue, results are inaccurate, we don’t have enough kits. Ok. Let’s look at the Trace system. Currently even by the governments own figures the tracing system is contacting way less than 50% of those they urgently need to contact. That’s an awful lot of people who should be shielding who just don’t know. So in our phenomenal Test and Trace system – Testing has failed, Tracing is failing. So ok if we exclude the test and trace elements, then the Test and Trace system might be a phenomenal success.

Remember we are all in this together.

If you to virtually all schools in the country, they have returned without tests. It’s not considered important for those teachers, pupils, support staff and families. Only when someone has symptoms is it then deemed necessary to have a test.

Many of our government went to a very select and expensive private school – Eton. When Eton returned all staff and pupils had covid tests whether they needed them or not. It was deemed essential for them.

We are all in this together.