Rare

It’s been over 5 years since I sat down in a restaurant….. That’s as rare as a start to the morning like the photograph above. That’s as rare as my football team winning something. Oh hang on the last time that happened was 1969. So hopefully not that rare….😂😂😂

A bit like my so called football team and silverware, the next restaurant trip is not looking particularly imminent. Hawklad isn’t keen. I can’t think of the last time I went with my family to eat out. Maybe a couple of picnics or a garden bbq before the world changed. It’s well over a decade since I went for a meal with a friend. The height of culinary excellence with friends has been limited to the very occasional grabbing a bag of crisps on the way to see my team get beat again. And the other side of the family is understandably very much more distant now.

But here’s the thing. I’m not missing the food. I’m much happier with a bag of chips , sat on a sea wall and fighting off the mad seagulls. I’m not in a mad rush to expand my social circle again. Do you know what I miss about restaurants. That feeling of being grown up every so often. Having to smarten myself up, even combing my hair…. To sit properly. To feel like I’m doing stuff that other people are doing.

That probably makes no sense at all and anyway it’s not happening anytime soon.

Decisions

I’m pacing in the garden. Distracting myself with thoughts of that tree in the distance.

Jobs to be done. But which ones first today.

– do I Hoover

– do I clean the toilet and bath

– do I do the surfaces in the kitchen

– do I finally deep clean the oven

– do I wash the windows

– do I cut the grass before the weather breaks

– do I phone school to sort out Hawklad’s exams

– do I sort out the Home Insurance Renewal

– do I bake that cakes I’ve been promising Hawklad for days now

– do I start putting together the work payroll

– do I chase up those work orders

– do I respond to those work queries

– do I fix the printer.

– do I complete the government form which needs sending in

– do I read the documents Hawklads psychologist has sent to me

– do I pay those bills sat on my desk

– do I clear the mountain of paper which is burying those bills

– do I sew those rips that have appeared on Hawklads trousers or do I just buy new ones

– do I fix the headlight on my car

– do I put those shelves up that are looking at me

OR do I just go round in circles, too tired to make a decision…..

Contain

That’s a cloud formation. A difference of option.

Well I think it’s a prehistoric fish….

Dad I think it’s a sperm….”

And with that the cloud spotting game ended…..

We are trying something different this week. A new way of trying to manage Hawklads anxieties. At present they can consume his thoughts, consume his day. They just seem to spread out and spiral out of control. Well let’s see if we can try and contain them a bit. This week when he gets an anxious thought then he makes a note of it and then immediately tries to distract himself. We now have a 30 minutes slot each day in which we discuss the anxieties he has made a note of. Talk them through.

Let’s see if this helps contain his anxieties. Helps him recapture more of his day.

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

Broken

A long and winding road if you can find it.

You kind of assume that your country is geared up to support its young people. That they matter. Well they should matter and countries should be geared up. But this is Britain, where support and mental health services have been under funded and in recent times cut back. Britain which has a Government that wants to return to ‘good old Victorian values’. Britain where children are only seen in terms of future economic value. In Britain where support is frowned upon by those in charge. In Britain where children taking time off in the immediate aftermath of a significant bereavement is described by the Government as ‘extended holidays’.

In 2016 Hawklad lost his granny and mum within 6 weeks of each other. A traumatic experience for anyone but for an 8 year old with Aspergers, it’s an emotional maelstrom. But here’s the thing. Sadly he won’t be the only child in this position. But where’s the support. Schools are not set up to cope. In Hawklads case the school cared but where clueless. The specialised education services in the area had been effectively closed down to meet savings targets. I approached his Doctor who just referred to child mental health services. He warned that they had a backlog of cases. That was all the Doctor did. Hawklad was already on the waiting list for Aspergers support.

That was it for over a year. No support. Left up to me, someone who was struggling already. How do you start to help someone when you are broken.

Finally we got to see the Child Mental Health Team. They worked on anxiety issues but no bereavement counselling, no Aspergers support. Luckily his dedicated worker was wonderful and she did try but it was not her area of expertise.

Fast forward to 2021 and Hawklad still has not had any bereavement counselling. Taking a wider view. He had some help with a physiotherapist but that was cut. He started speech therapy but that service was cut. He has had a few months of Aspergers related support but the specialist retired and was not replaced. He has had no dyslexia support. He does get some support for anxiety but that is patchy.

AND he is one of the lucky ones in Britain….

It has to be better than this for all our children. THEY ARE NOT JUST ECONOMIC RESOURCES. It won’t change here under this Government, it will only get worse. BRITAIN is BROKEN when it can’t care for its children.

Challenged

Millions of years of evolution. All that natural selection stuff. Leading to me. This morning it took me 2 hours to work out that I had my top on inside out. It didn’t go on right. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t look right. I was bemused at not being able to find my shirt pockets. I could have sworn this shirt had them……. It still took me two hours.

Here’s the worst thing. It then taken me another two hours to correct the mistake. In fact I’m writing this still sartorially challenged.

It’s either a sign that I’m not likely to see anyone soon or I’m single…..

I will let you make your mind up on that. But with homeschooling there is no uniform requirement. Actually I’ve dressed much worse than this over the last year. Definitely too many fashion crimes. But it really doesn’t matter in the end. Well not until someone sees me.

Missed

Apparently Hawklad missed 6 exams last week. That’s a whole lotta exams missed in just one week. On the bright side, Hawklad did complete 5….. 5 out of 11 is almost a pass.

Hawklad completed those 5 exams because the teacher or teaching assistant emailed him the paper. In the 6 he missed something didn’t happen and I just can’t put my finger on what didn’t happen…. Can you.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. The teachers are now tied up in the year above mock exams. It’s another mess. We bury will be so glad to see the back of this school year.

Cloudy eclipse

Not the best weather for a partial solar eclipse. But there is always hope. Lying on the ground with Hawklad looking up at the clouds when he should have been doing his science class.

Then for a couple of minutes we get the best type of science teaching. Real life science.

I give you the famed cloudy Yorkshire partial eclipse.

Sun burnt

The walk with the mad dog is a lot more pleasant when it’s weather like this. Whisper it, I got a little sun burnt. Sun burnt in Yorkshire. That just sounds so wrong on so many levels.

Feeling a bit burnt by school. The big school year exams start on Monday. We still don’t know the actual timings. We don’t know which subjects are on which days. We don’t know the arrangements for Hawklad. We don’t even know if he is sitting the exams. This week school is closed. So I’m guessing it’s wait until first thing Monday and hope we hear something. If not, then I have no idea what will happen. It’s just a mess.

Nothing I can do at present so I might as well use my time more usefully. Go and find the sun cream. That’s sure to bring the rain back….

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