Start again

Another Monday and the start of another school at home week. I make that Week 38. That’s a lot of weeks. Funny thing is that it doesn’t feel like 38 weeks. Somedays it feels like only a couple of months. Other days it seems like years.

In all probability during the early part of 2021 it will be a full year of schooling at home. That wasn’t really in the plan.

It has really all felt a bit hit and miss. Some good bits and some not so good bits. Lots of frustrations. But equally lots of laughs. Some subjects where the teaching is working. Others where after 38 weeks it is still a complete waste of time. But that’s thing. With having to stick to the school curriculum we don’t have much scope to change things. We are dependent on the school making changes. But they have to stick to the national curriculum.

But over those 38 weeks we have settled into a rhythm. Parent and Son. No need to set the alarm as we just naturally wake up at the right time. No real pressure if Hawklad starts a few minutes early or late. No need to think about breaks or food. They kind of just happen. We know which lessons will work and which won’t. If we don’t have an item for a lesson we now know how to wing it. We are not surprised by the lack of feedback. Hawklad doesn’t panic now if a teacher forgets about him. I get on with stuff until I’m needed to help out. The school week just happens now.

True homeschooling did feel daunting now it feels very doable. Tough but something we can cope with. But Week 38 also marks a dangerous time. That’s a lot of weeks of emailing and phoning school. Trying to make improvements to the teaching. Make it more tailored to Hawklad. Am I starting to take my eye off the ball. Not pushing the school as much. Maybe week 38 is time to refocus and start again. Or maybe it’s just going to be another one of those weeks. If I was a betting man I would put my money on the latter. It just feels that way.

Black Friday

Dad what on earth have you bought…”

Tibetan Singing Bowl Set — Easy to Play with Cushion & New Dual-End striker for Holistic Healing, Calming & Mindfulness ~ Antique Design

It’s a Tibetan Singing Bowl.

Why…..”

It was really cheap in a Black Friday sale.

Ok Dad but why….”

It offers a multi sensory path to enhanced meditation and spiritual enlightenment.

You’ve just read that from the label.”

Yep you busted me. It does sound good.

So does an 100 inch TV and that would be much more useful. ”

Yes but the TV would not be less than £10. So tomorrow you might catch me sat outside creating some beautiful vibrations and hypnotic, haunting moods.

Can I throw a bucket of water over you.”

What’s it feel like to have a really cool and hip Dad.

I wouldn’t know. I can talk about having a muppet as a parent.”

Ok, do you think I should just use it as an ornament.

“Yes Dad but that still doesn’t change the fact that you are a monumental muppet.”

No I guess it doesn’t, especially when you see what I’ve bought next…..

Wean myself off

This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.

Eventually you have to accept reality.

Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.

Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….

So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.

So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.

Hide behind the sofa.

Another grey and damp morning. Now where did I put that brilliant and always helpful Parenting Guide again…..

I had an email from school. One of those emails that immediately sent me scurrying for safety behind the sofa.

It’s a legal requirement for school to deliver sexual health education in Year 9. The education will be across a number of lessons. It will cover Relationships, Puberty, Sexual Transmitted Diseases, contraception and other sexual health issues.

As Hawklad is not in school, the teacher will send me the lesson materials and I was asked if ‘The parents would be ok delivering the material to your son…..”. Well that will be me then.

As I see it I have basically four options

Say No

Continue to hide behind the sofa

Deliver the material

OR just show him an episode of South Park.

Yellow Pages

We are now into the second half term of the school year. That’s 8 more weeks of school at home. Hawklad is sat at home trying to do the class work. Absolutely no sign of his anxieties and fears abating. So our little family is definitely in this for the long run. The prospect of missing the complete school year is not seeming so far fetched now as he’s already missed a sixth ot it. It’s certainly no consolation that he is currently not alone in doing that. Significant numbers of the school are having to isolate. But the message is carry on, nothing to see here. So the country is in lockdown but the schools and universities are most definitely open.

So we carry on making the most of the situation we find ourselves in.

WE learn what we can.

WE includes the slightly bemused single parent.

Dad can you help me with Citizenship. I’m stuck on one of the questions.”

He must have heard my sigh. I love helping but some subjects are just a bit of a chore. French, Design Technology, Drama (thankfully now dropped) and Citizenship. Citizenship seems to have moved on from learning about politics and how the country works. Now it’s all about drug, smoking and alcohol abuse. Not an easy area to explain to a teenager with Aspergers and anxieties.

Dad can you look at the three photos and tell me which one is Cocaine, Spice and Marijuana. ”

Not a clue. Spice was apparently not the stuff you cook with (well I hope not).

“Have you ever taken drugs Dad then.”

Well yes to alcohol. Too much alcohol when I was younger. Thankfully completely tea total now. Apart from that it would just be the pain killers you get from the doctor. Nothing else.

Then I told him the only time I had kind of dabbled. When I was at University I went to a party and I was drinking with friends. None of us did any other drugs. Anyway one friend spotted someone smoking a joint. I can’t remember why but I was sent to try and get one for us to try. I thought it was a bad idea but that was the order. Anyway a few minutes we were passing round a fine yellow looking thing. We all agreed that it had no effect, wasn’t very good and it didn’t last very long. So I think that was hopefully the end of all our smoking drug habit.

I never did tell my friends what we were smoking. Not really your typical high. I had ripped up a page out of the telephone book. Rolled it into a cigarette shape. Yes we smoked a telephone book. It was yellow. Those in the UK may remember the Yellow Pages which each house got every year.

There you go. I’ve come clean.

Spectacular

Last nights fireworks. That’s as pyrotechnically awesome as the display got. But that’s the point. Some others in the village will spend huge amounts on expensive fireworks. Not here. The tradition is get the cheapest box set available and then laugh at the results. That makes for such a fun night. That’s basically the point of fireworks.

Then it was time for another crack at toffee apples. It went as badly as the previous night. Finally with the last drops of syrup (out of date maple left over from pancake day) we managed to kind of coat some apples. Kind of. Not enough to cover a full apple. We had to cut the apples up into pieces and hope for the best. I might have forgotten to boil the apples first so they didn’t like keeping the toffee coat on.

The end results can be best described in one word.

SPECTACULAR

A bit later

Moody midday.

So we now are in lockdown officially. I should dig out my tinned foil hat. Must admit I’ve not noticed any real difference so far. The dustbin wagon turned up on time. Next doors gardener has been busy. Not much four wheeled traffic on the roads but plenty of cyclists. The mole and badger have continued to dig up the lawn. Hawklad is doing his school at home work. I’m wandering around being a muppet. So same old same old.

Well when I say nothing has changed well that’s not quite true. Shopping wise it’s a different matter. Many of the nonessential shops have closed. And food shopping has returned to being a pain in the buttocks again. As soon as lockdown is mentioned the availability of gluten free foods and Hawklad’s favourite sausages takes a nose dive. I blame it on Boris.

I also blame it on Boris that I’m clearly an old fart…..

Dad what on earth is that?”

It’s vinyl Son. A record. It’s the first Pink Floyd album…

This produced a bemused look on number one son. A bit later….

Say that again. You didn’t have computers when you started school.”

No. Home computing was not yet a thing. In fact calculators had just come out but my school didn’t believe in them. We were expected to do stuff in our heads or use the dreaded slide rulers.

What on earth is a slide ruler?”

Basically an analog mechanical calculation device that looks like a big ruler. It has scales on and you have to slide the middle bit of the ruler out to read the results off the scale.

Another bemused look. A bit later….

“Can I put the hot water bottle in the microwave to warm it a bit Dad.”

Don’t need to ask. In my day I would have had to fill it with boiling hot water from the kettle.

Another one of those looks. And finally this morning….

Dad it’s a shame that you haven’t got some videos or DVDs which you taped of some TV shows you watched as a kid. I bet there is a load that you can’t buy now on Amazon. That would be fun to watch.

Hawklad when I was a kid even video had not been invented. We didn’t get them until the 80s.

So how did you record stuff?”

We couldn’t. If you missed the show on the TV that was it. You had to just hope that it was repeated in a few months time.

And a really really really big one of those looks. Definitely feeling like an old fart…

Return of the muppet baker

The sky that keeps on giving.

That’s so unlike our kitchen which certainly does not keep on giving. We are not having much luck with shopping over the last week. No pumpkin for Halloween and now no toffee apples for bonfire night. Our local store is only stocking essential items. Clearly they don’t have children – toffee apples are most definitely essential. Our supermarket is not stocking them this year. But most helpfully are stocking toffee apple flavour breakfast bars (not very good on a stick) and toffee apple flavour strong alcoholic cider. Actually cider might work for some teenagers but again not very good on a stick.

So the only option was to try and make them ourselves. I’ve had major issues with toffee apples before. Looking good as we had golden syrup and caster sugar in stock. Attempt 1 and 2 arc welded to the pan. Attempt 3 had the stickiness factor of water (even after 20 minutes boiling away).

Attempt 4 produced a little bit of stickiness so we took that one.

Dad I will get the wooden sticks, where are they?”

Oh no I forgot to get them. We can just use forks stuck in the apples….

What a muppet.”

Sorry Son.

“Dad where are the apples.”

Pants I didn’t get any apples as well….. We’ve only got the ones from our tree. They taste super sour.

You are a gigantic muppet”

We could just eat the toffee with a spoon….

AND THATS WHAT WE DID….

Blue

Way to go Yorkshire. Blue skies. Blue is such a good colour. Lifts the spirits. Let’s hope for more blue.

Not much chance of tthat yesterday. It was another pretty grizzly day. Much of the day stuck inside. Somedays I can cope with that. Then other days not so good. Yesterday was one of the not so good days. Definitely feeling cooped up. The small bungalow seeming just that little bit smaller. The prospect of many more months like this. Sone Aspergers related anxieties are not going to be leaving our house any time soon. Definitely needed to breathe.

So late at night I took some rubbish to the wheelie bin at the side of the road. A few seconds later I found myself stood in the middle of the road. We have no street lights so it was pitch black. Hardly any lights from the other houses as well. For the first time that day I felt like I was breathing.

Do you know how you can tell the main difference between city and village life. Try to stand in a city street at night – it’s not going to end well really quickly. Last night I checked my watch. I had stood alone on the road for just under 10 minutes. Absolutely nothing.

Yes it’s good to breathe.

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.