Swiss Sunday

2013.

2013 October.

Where did those years go.

A family break to Wonderful Switzerland during the October School Half Term. One morning where the clouds dominated. We caught a bus to a remote village a few miles away from Lake Thun. That bus ride made me smile so much. Every time someone got on the bus they greeted everyone with a cheerful hello as they found a seat, I could get use to that. After the bus ride we found ourselves walking through farmland, rolling hills, heading back towards the Lake.

We found eventually ourselves at a lakeside hamlet just in time to catch the ferry for a leisurely trip back towards Spiez.

Definitely a good day, but was it really 9 years ago.

Eggs

Still not feeling very Spring like.

Somebody’s been busy….

These EGGS make a cracking Egg and Soldiers. Mighty fine very local honey as well. Every few months the Bees do a mighty impressive fly past directly over our house. There is something much more regular than that. Every morning the Cockerel provides a morning alarm call at 6am. Not always welcome.

If only we could bribe the big fella to call out at other times. Hawklad would appreciate that. He really struggles to get the concept of time. Digital or Analog, doesn’t matter, he just struggles to tell the time. Sometimes he can work it out but it’s a real effort. Thankfully he can use his iPad to read out the time for him and to set alarms.

Unfortunately iPad audible alarms and time prompts are not allowed in the exams. Exam timekeeping will be a huge issue for him. So as Hawklad pointed out, “I wonder if they would rather me take the cockerel into the exam hall instead.”

Why not, I bet Cockerels are not specifically mentioned in the regulations.

Swiss Sunday

Sunday brings thoughts of family holidays to beautiful Switzerland. Trips to an alpine wonderland from a much different time. Yes the last holiday was only 6 years ago but it does feel like a lifetime ago. Much has happened to the world, much has happened to our family over those 6 years. It’s actually quite hard to remember how that former life felt like.

That former life isn’t coming back but Switzerland is still there. Maybe our much smaller family can return sooner rather than later, start to create some new memories. Life has to go on.

Time to see what memories some old holiday snaps can bring back.

New Years Day.

2022….

Well the most has gone. That might even be the smallest patch of blue sky.

Can you spot the bird of prey gatecrashing the photo.

No zoom on the mobile, so this is the best I can do. The Gatecrasher.

I meet this gatecrasher every morning when I come down this lane, usually sat on the overhead power line. Such a thrill.

Soon we were on the road to the local wildlife park. A New Year Day Tradition which went on covid hold last year. This year we will arrive as it opens, wear masks and keep our distances. To protect others. Make sure we leave before the crowds arrive. The two of us have done this every year since Hawklad was a toddler. Just the two of us. His mum always decided to give it a miss, preferring a day at home. Maybe TV. Maybe catch up on sleep. It is an early start and a 90 minute drive. A quiet house can be very appealing. If she had realised time was so limited would she have stayed at home. Put things off repeatedly for another year.

I think I know the answer to that…..

Some choices you don’t get a second crack at them.

Time

Poor Hawklad was trying to do a test paper at home today. Three long questions and 20 short ones in 90 minutes. That’s no fun at the best of times, especially when it’s a subject that he has zero interest in. But it’s so much harder when TIME is a mystery. He just can’t visualise time. He can’t get his head round it. It’s taking years but he can now tell the time from a digital clock but it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a number. He even says it as a number rather than an actual time. He can be doing things and he has no real handle of whether he has been at it for minutes, or for hours. That’s a huge problem in exams. Clocks that tell him nothing and so little grasp on how much time might have elapsed. It’s a common issue for many. It’s often cited as one of the most common problems individuals on the autism spectrum face in their daily life’s.

As a child I struggled with this. I would go out and not return home for hours, yet to me it felt like I had only been gone for moments. It was put down to my absentmindedness. But it wasn’t. Even when I tried I couldn’t get my head round time. The only exam I failed at school was in English. I took the subject a year earlier. 3 hours, 3 questions. As I finished the first question, in my head I was on track. 2 hours left…. That’s when the head teacher called out, ‘that’s time, please put your pens down’. Then a year later I had the reverse of the problem. I blasted through every paper and every question as if time was rapidly draining away. As I finished each exam I waited for the ‘times over’ call, but it didn’t come. I think I was finishing each paper within an hour with two hours to spare. I just couldn’t get my head round time.

As the years went on I have improved a bit. Mobile technology has helped. But I still struggle with the concept of time. Its often easier for me to see things in terms of events rather than timings. Thinking ‘just under Two hours’ doesn’t really help me but rather thinking ‘length of a football match’ does. I can feel that, I can visualise that. That is something Hawklad is now going to play with to see if it helps. Rather than thinking 45 minutes to do a question, trying to answer the question during say the first half of a football match.

Problem is that while he’s wrestling with understanding time, he’s not focusing fully on what he should be. Sometimes TIME doesn’t help at all.

I must admit

Life

“Sir can you read out the unique software licence number again, our system isn’t recognising the code.”

Any call to a Help Desk is a challenge, especially when your tired. Tired and brainwashed. Softened up by hours on hold, listening to the drone of a lame b-side singles and the endless ‘your call is important to us’ mantra.

Can I ask why your licence number is so long

“Its to improve core security and improve the client interface.”

I so wanted to scream ‘Will you speak in English please’ and I have a degree in IT. Don’t hold that again me……

You do know that licence numbers are frequently between 10 and 20 digits long. Yours is about 60 characters long, Why can’t I just copy and paste this, or I forgot, your App turned that function off for Security and Customer Care reasons.

‘That’s why our system is so robust”

It’s also why I’m smashing the phone repeatedly into my laptop in frustration. Here goes again then. Let’s see if I can read out the code perfectly. Would be easier reading out War and Peace.

3ZH8AWE4A11ZZ4DF099SD80683D5F2988C0DDC9ABEE9724201A2512E36620CC6E1E7FSDSZEH1

A true test of my eyesight, my memory and my oral skills. After about 15 failed attempts where I started doubting my sanity, the penny finally dropped. The person from London can’t understand my northern accent. C in not a Z… and H is not a E

Happy days . That’s 4 hours of my day I won’t get back. Hours I could have been outside focusing on what is really important in life. When will I learn.

Satisfaction guaranteed

I was sat blankly gazing at a featureless spreadsheet on my work laptop. It was all numbers, letters, formulas, data ranges and macros. A few changes here and a few changes there. It might balance soon.

Wow

I hate work.

No hang on let’s get that right. I hate this work. I hate accountancy. I hate using spreadsheets and word. I hate putting on a work face and being all professional. I hate hiding my incompetence and acting like I have the faintest idea what I’m supposed to be doing.

I work to pay the bills (well some of them 😂😂). That’s it.

It took me years to work out I was the official Mr Grumpy Work Pants. But actually the signs where always there. Wearing bright ties and waistcoats to try to be cool. Spending much of my life stressed out. Looking on enviously at other people and their jobs. Pilots, Mountain Guides, Astronomers, Health Professionals, Artists, Chefs. Reluctantly setting off for work every day. Only funding a spring in my step on a Friday afternoon as I leave work for a few days.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We all have dreams and talents. Interests that can be made to work for you. I’ve heard parenting been described as an unpaid job. Well if it is then I love that job. Yes tiring but so rewarding.

I certainly don’t want Hawklad to get stuck in an unrewarding job. You invest too much time to waste that. I want him to live out his dreams. I don’t want him to be me. I want him to avoid the spreadsheets and get to smell the roses.

Logistics

One of those massive Yorkshire rivers. The bridge has collapsed so there are signs up saying the path is closed. Does that mean I’m not allowed to step over the river……

One of the downsides to lockdown is things like opticians and hairdressers have gone out the window. At some stage they do need to start again. Well apart from hairdressers – not much point now 😂😂

Well as the UKs COVID case numbers are rising at an alarming rate again and with those patients requiring ventilation treatment up by 41% in a week, things are opening up again. Time to try and catch up. Made more difficult with Hawklad’s anxieties and with no one to cover for me.

Tomorrow morning I have a pass out granted by Hawklad. Only granted following my second vaccination. So I booked the first dentist appointment of the day. But with cases going up is this maybe my only shot at catching up for quite a while. Can I squeeze in an opticians trip as well….

Here’s tomorrow’s logistical nightmare.

Set Hawklad off with homeschooling. 30 minute drive to the dentists (as homeschooling only goes live at 830am, I will have less than 30 minutes to make the 30 minute drive) arriving for my dental checkup at 9. Then 9.30 it’s the dental hygienist. After the 30 minute appointment I have 15 minutes to make a 5 miles drive (on a busy road) to the car park and then run for 5 minutes to arrive just in time for my Opticians appointment. Hopefully without overheating so I fail the entry temperature test. I then have 30 minutes to fail my eye test and pick out some new glasses. I then have to drive back home, stopping off to fill up for petrol and arrive back at 11.15 to help Hawklad with his Science class which he us struggling with.

What could possibly go wrong 😂😂😂😂

Twitter

Tonight I was going to prattle on about loss and time. But the all seeing WordPress app decided to intervene. After about 6 lines of text WP is saving text in what appears to be something resembling subscript format. So I’ve only got 2 more readable lines left to write in. The pressure. That’s why I was rubbish at Twitter. Let’s just say. Time is such a precious gift let’s try not to waste it. ……..

Gaze

Colour has arrived to Yorkshire. Always great to see, it’s such a lift. Sadly it won’t last long and it will be gone for another year. It’s a reminder to me that time is precious. Got to make the most of it. Grab those moments. Live and not just survive.

Yes there will be darker, colder months. Those times will be more manageable if the gaze is in the moment or looking forward, rather than focused on what has been.

It can still be a such a wonderful life.