England

It’s no secret that I have fallen out of love with my country. I don’t like what it is becoming. I don’t like the way it’s run. I don’t like the corruption. The inequalities. The new values we are supposed to sign up to. I hate the xenophobic outlook. I constantly seem to be at odds with a sizeable portion of my fellow citizens.

But is it just me .

Dad if we win the lottery can we leave England.”

Why?

England is going down hill. It has been for years. It’s becoming ugly. I’m European but I’m not now allowed to be. I didn’t get a say in that. The country has no future the way it’s going. It’s stuck in the past. Our leaders are racist, law breaking clowns as corrupt as any in our history. I’m ashamed to call myself English now.

I can’t disagree with you sadly. Where might you want to move to.

Switzerland. If they won’t have us then Germany or France or Italy or . I would go to Canada, or America or New Zealand. Anywhere apart from here.

Brought down to Earth.

How do you tell when you son has been watching too much The Simpsons. Maybe it was too much of the American version of The Office….

I thought I was at one with nature. Just completing a 50 minute yoga session out. I thought it going well. I felt a definite natural flow to my movements. Maybe just maybe I have finally found my inner Rhythm and goddess mode. Then I heard the icy tones of a teenage son and the moment was blown out of the water.

Dad there has never been a finer more awesome Dad squeezed into a pair of 56 inch pants…….”

Wow…..

Harsh but fair.

Road

Yes it’s another one of those massive, multi lane Yorkshire motorways.

We are a couple of weeks into the start of trying to help Hawklad build bridges back towards the wider world again. It started with us taking the mad dog for a walk at night. Nighttime as it would be quiet with no other people out and about. Small steps in breaking out of walls that surround our little house and garden. The isolation which started 15 months ago.

We quickly realised that actually it’s always pretty quiet here, not just at night. So we started going for the walk a little earlier. Now nearer 7pm. Guess what. We still hardly see another soul. Currently that’s perfect for Hawklad. Very rarely we see a farmer or another dog walker. When that happens Hawklad immediately turns on his heels and heads quickly home in the opposite direction.

The other thing is that Hawklad doesn’t like to walk on the path. Just doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. So we walk on the road. Our massive and very busy road….

Well you can see just how big our road is. Just how busy it really is can be gauged on one fact. We have been walking every night straight down the middle of the road. Not once have we encountered a vehicle. The road is ours….

That’s such a cool feel. Such a cool feel for both of us. I can concentrate fully on talking and in the quiet bits, on dreaming.

Just in time

That snow shower is coming to get us. Better get a move on with this game of outdoor table tennis.

Thankfully I lost just in time.

What happened to the days when I would let him win. Build up his confidence. Do that parent thing. It’s all change now. Now it’s just about me salvaging any shred of self respect possible. A dad who was once a sporting King who is now one of the oppressed. Beaten down. Defeated. Can’t win a thing.

Time moves on.

Time moves on in a good way.

Sign that this parenting gig might just be working.

I do hope so.

A first walk for son outside. Ok it was late at night. Yes it was only 1 minute on the deserted road. Full decontamination when we came back. But it’s a start. The first time in over a year. As his health professionals point out. Until he can go into a busy cafe. Sit down and be at ease having a drink surrounded by people. Until he gets to that stage a return to school is out of the question. Will it be just in time for the end of this school year. Will it be just in time for a return before the end of 2021. How knows but it’s not a question of just in time. It will be in HIS time.

Witches

Good to see I’m bringing our son up correctly. He learning the important stuff. The stuff which he will need going forward.

English set some homework to be done overnight. Read an article on a specific subject and answer questions. The class is currently analysing Macbeth. So the article was all about King James I and witchcraft.

Oh that’s fine Dad, don’t need to look at the article. I can answer any question on that subject….”

Really Son. The questions are quite random. They are about witches and folklore.

No problem at all Dad. I can do that…”

Ok without reading why was Macbeth shorter than other plays

James I was well known to become restless sitting through long plays”

Ok how many people were killed in Scotland during the witch trials.

Somewhere between 1400 and 1800″

What event convinced James I to act on witches

A bad storm almost killed Anne of Denmark at sea”

How do you know that… what was his first act against witchcraft after that event.

Easy he ordered the biggest ever witch hunt and witch trials around Berwick.”

Unbelievable.

James I wrote a book on witchcraft. He clearly had issues with witches. He passed the Witchcraft Act which made the first offence for any suspected witch behaviour a hanging and burning offence. Before that you only got executed if murder was involved

I think I need a coffee. That’s my level. I can’t even find my glasses most days….

Say that again

Say that again…..

I so need to have a notebook which I carry around in my pocket at all times. Every time something is mentioned that has the slightest chance of becoming important then I could write it down. A permanent record to prompt my sieve like memory and stop those say that again moments.

Had a few too many of those over the last few days.

“Dad did you get the glazed cherries for our Christmas Eve treat?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you buy the Home Alone 4 dvd for our Christmas Day movie?”

Say that again!!!!

“Dad did you phone school before they broke up to tell them that the Teams password isn’t working?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to make a donation to the school charity appeal last Thursday?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you phone up XXXXXXX mum to get hold of their address so we can send them a card?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad you haven’t forgotten that we are having Salmon to eat on Christmas Eve?”

Say that again!!!!

“Have we got the sausage rolls, French sticks, onion rings, pineapple rings, Doritos and mango chutney in for our Christmas Eve buffet?”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember that you said that you would send a copy of the family tree to Auntie Xxxx”

Say that again!!!!

Dad did you remember to take the bread out of the oven. It’s been in there for most of the day and it’s looking a bit burnt.

Say that again!!!!

Mr Xxxxxxxxx did you remember to submit form 5a. It needs to be received by the end of this month or the service will stop.

Say that again!!!!

Ok you will need to give your dog these nasal sprays at least once a day. Will your dog sit still to let you do that.”

Say that again!!!!

Eat chocolate

I received a lovely present today in the post. The government support package for Hawklad will expire soon. So I need to reapply. Helpfully they have sent the 50 page application form to complete. I can’t submit the old paperwork and need to have more recent assessments and evidence. That’s a nightmare at the best of times but during a pandemic!!!!!!!

Only thing for it….. A bar of dark chocolate, a decaf coffee and listen to some angry music. Today’s choice, the latest from Roger Waters. That’s one seriously cheesed off artist recording those songs. That fits as that’s the music I would make today. Normal people are forced to jump through hoop after hoop for their kids yet friends of the Government are awarded multi million pound contracts without any due process. Roger Waters would certainly get the irony.

Well I then made a start. Book an appointment for a new assessment from a Paediatrician. On the waiting list. That’s currently a one year wait and growing. It’s a start…. Where’s the next chocolate bar.

But here’s the really scary thing. Our Son is fortunate as he has had some support. We somehow battled through the intentionally difficult minefield to get that. So many are either unsuccessful or are just missed. That’s the children, adult support is almost none existent. Discarded by our society that has its priorities so badly skewed. What’s the answer. Certainly to keep fighting. Most definitely to eat chocolate.

Magic wand

Midday….. House lights and heating full on. But at least the mist has retreated for a while.

So another day and another email from school. Another pupil has tested positive and 25 more pupils asked to isolate. A nightmare for the kids and families living with this virus. Its doing nothing for our son’s current anxieties. It can’t be much fun at school as well. Oh for a magic wand.

Yes Dad a magic wand would be much used this year.”

It would Hawklad. Much needs fixing.

Thinking about it I had better have the wand, not YOU.

Don’t you trust your Dad….

You know what would happen. It would be like the TV remote control. You wouldn’t be able to find it. Then after hours of going red in the face you would then stumble upon it. But the wand will be flat out power and you won’t be able to find the right replacement batteries. Finally you will get the wand to work but then you won’t be able to remember how to use it. You will shout at it for a while before you pass it to me to figure it out.”

HE KNOWS ME TOO WELL…..

Growing

Hawklad, does the costume fit?

Don’t know yet Dad!”

I’m waiting for Jason to appear with his chainsaw.

“You might have to wait a while. It’s a tight fit.”

How tight.

Well the trousers are now shorts that don’t get over my knees. The top won’t even get over my head. The mask is more like an eye patch and the strap isn’t long enough to wrap round my head. But at least the plastic chainsaw fits in my hand but it’s kind of like a Swiss Army knife now.”

Oh. That’s your fault for growing so much in a year. It kind of fit last year.

No it didn’t, it was too small last year. Dad does your costume fit. But it’s not even a Halloween one?”

Yes it is number one son. It’s a ghoul.

Dad it isn’t a ghoul. It’s Dr Who Cyberman mask which is supposed to fit a toddler and a black bin liner with holes cut in it.”

It’s a fantastic ghoul costume which I grant you is a little tight.

Fantastic is not the word I would use. How tight

Erm the mask doesn’t even cover my nose and my bum has ripped a hole in the bag. Apart from that it’s good to go.

Shall we give the costumes a miss this year?”

Good idea Hawklad what shall we replace them with?

More chocolate.”

Perfect. But with all those calories I certainly won’t get into next years costume.

Dad who said you were getting the chocolate……”

3am

Last night I was tired. Unusually tired for me. But it was one of those pesky tired setups. During the evening I could feel myself nodding off. Plenty of those ‘just starting to drift off while sat on the settee – then suddenly woken by those cataclysmic sudden neck snapping forward’ moments. This went on all evening until it was bed time. But then I just wasn’t tired. Pigging fiddlesticks……

Finally sleep came but all too soon…..

DAD, DAAAAAADDDD!

What’s up son.

Dad I’ve forgotten, sorry we’ve forgotten the art assignment.”

Ooh yeh, that one that isn’t due in until the 12th.

That’s the one, But ITS THE 12th.”

Oh big pants. Can you do it as soon as you get up?

No it’s due at the start of the first lesson.”

***********

I could see by the look in his eyes that until it was done, sleep would be impossible. So a few minutes later I was in the kitchen making hot drinks. Years ago a late night session would have had a very different meaning to tonight’s version. 3am and rocking out to Japanese Art.

Basically I sat there looking vacant, occasionally nodding (in a of course I knew that kinda way) and asking Google such questions as ‘what on earth does wabi and sabi mean’. It took an hour before Hawklad had convinced himself that he had done enough. The school panic in his world was over. His completed presentation was significantly more robust than his Dads initial suggestive assignment text

Japanese Art is cool but Godzilla is real cool. Now it’s time for bed….

Hawklad got to bed and immediately fell asleep. I guess at about 4.30am I found some sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later with one overriding thought. How can you write two pages on Japanese Art and not mention Godzilla‘s Atomic Breath just once. What has become of Art.