Moors

The North Yorkshire Moors late on a cold January evening. This is truly an amazing planet with so much staggering beauty to be experienced and enjoyed. It’s really there, we just need to remember to lift our gaze upwards.

Back in 2016 that was an alien concept. Gazing upwards. Why when all I could see was never ending emptiness with no sign of light. Robbed of dreams and a way forward. Refusing to move from a door which had abruptly slammed shut and as long as I waited, would never open again. I felt like screaming but what was the point, who would hear, I’m not even sure I would have heard or even cared.

But now in 2022, as I watch the setting sun cast a golden light over the moors, my gaze is lifted once more.

Yes life might still be tough somedays but it’s good to dream again. Different dreams, bigger dreams. It feels wonderful to want to experience the world and what it has offer again.

Adventures

Now you that is spectacular. The cliffs at Bempton. Another Yorkshire Gem.

This world has so much to offer.

We travelled here yesterday. A visit to one of the countries best bird viewing sites. That good that the Northern Hemispheres only Albatross chooses here for a summer vacation. No albatross yesterday but we did see many sea birds and a rare chance to see a Short Eared Owl hunt over the fields. That’s some bird.

Hawklad is pushing the boundaries but under his terms. Avoiding crowds, avoiding people. The fact that he can’t face an over crowded classroom doesn’t mean that he can’t venture out. So what next…..

He has set himself some realistic goals for this year. Twelve ‘avoiding people’ targets. I’m signed up to them, so let’s see how many we can tick off during 2022 for him.

1. Visit the New Forest

2. Visit Sherwood Forest

3. Switzerland

4. Climb Yorkshire’s two highest mountains (they are small ones….)

5. Visit the Lake District and walk up one of England’s bigger mountains

6. Visit a new wildlife park

7. Go to see an Osprey hunt

8. Go for a torchlight walk on the Moors and get to see the stars with zero light pollution

9. Go to Scotland to see a Golden Eagle fly

10. Visit Stonehenge

11. Visit a new castle

12. Go for his longest ever walk

We also have a new golden rule. When we venture out, if a car park is ever half full or busier – then no questions asked, we don’t park. We continue on, find somewhere less busy or we head home.

Hopefully 2022 will show that you can avoid people and still have adventures.

Club

A misty scene from a couple of days back. No morning walk today, otherwise engaged. Stood in a queue patiently waiting my booster covid shot. After two doses of AstraZeneca it was time to join the Moderna club. So stood in the queue about 50 deep. Three queues for three different group of needle waving awesome nurses. Everyone with masks on, carefully keeping 2 metres apart. Hundreds of people stopping their daily routine to get vaccinated. All this happening before 9am.

In the queue I stood pondering life. Does the young woman in front of me realise that she is still apparently wearing her pyjamas. I wonder what the chap in front of her has is his folder marked IMPORTANT. how life has changed since the start of 2020. Does the chap opposite me know that as he plays his game on his mobile he keeps making Mick Jagger facial pouts.

I wonder what people are thinking of me.

I pondered other things. How many of those stood patiently are struggling. How many secretly would love someone to strike up a conversation. Be social. This is a very changed world. A very more isolated and fractured society. As I watched those around me carefully maintain a sufficient personal gap, my mind wandered back just a couple of years. Remember birthday parties. Everyone tightly huddled round a cake with candles. A child or adult, probably with a streaming cold, desperately trying to blow out the candles. After failed 3 or 4 attempts, more people joining in, probably with a myriad of ailments, blowing until the candles were out. Then the much breathed on cake is quickly handed round, people sharing not enough cutlery, from person to person the cake is passed for immediate consumption. How alien does that concept sound now. Will we ever truly get back to those days. How long will we all be stuck in this endless cycle of variants and vaccinations.

Then remarkably quickly I’m back home. Back to the quiet, back to the isolation. Back to single parenting, cut off from much of this bonkers new world. It felt odd being amongst so many other people. Almost uncomfortable. Definitely not feeling like a normal experience. The world has changed. Have I changed?

Don’t matter

Looks like someone has been trying to draw clouds with a pink crayon. Very nice 😊

If only everything else was very nice.

Two contrasting messages from Hawklad’s school today.

We hope all pupils enjoy the well earned Christmas break which starts on Friday.

This contrasts nicely with messages from 5 subject teachers (so far)

Remember to revise for your important subject exams over the holiday. Exams happen immediately after your time off….

I’m sorry but I can’t ever remember enjoying myself while I was revising. I guess it fits in with the Government message that children must work harder and play less. But over the last few years children are increasingly seen as second class citizens in this country. Last night the CLOWNS in charge of the country announced an emergency campaign to give all adults a THIRD booster covid shot within weeks. NO MENTION OF CHILDREN. Currently only something like 50% of secondary school age pupils have received just one vaccine shot. Younger children aren’t eligible for even one shot. Most schools here have still not received any air quality monitoring devices or any air filters that were promised months back. Promised so that schools would be safe. Masks are required in all public places, all except the school classroom…. The government person in charge of schools went on the television to talk about covid – he never mentioned schools or children ONCE. Not once….. The Governments only education strategy currently is to KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN AT ALL COSTS, surely it has to be KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE AT ALL COSTS.

Sadly children just don’t matter to those in charge.

Black Coffee

Today like the last few mornings has been wet and bleak. So let’s visit slightly brighter days. When do I ever look back….

So one week left of this school term. That’s another term of school at home. I think that’s something like 69 weeks worth of homeschooling. I quickly ran out of fingers and toes so don’t hold me to that. 69 weeks. Wow. Does that qualify as a teacher now…..

Sadly no.

Does that qualify me as someone who had the faintest idea what he was doing during most of those 69 weeks……

Sadly no.

Does that qualify me as a parent who is deeply regretting giving caffeine up just a few weeks before those 69 weeks started……

Most definitely.

If someone had mentioned that the days of school runs, trail runs, shopping runs, running around at the office, would suddenly stop. If someone would have whispered that suddenly my physical contact with the outside world would go on hold. On hold not just for days or months. But years. YEARS NOW. I can guarantee that black coffee consumption would never have ceased, if anything it would have gone through the roof.

So 69 weeks of caffeine free homeschooling. Who saw that coming. I didn’t. If week 70 is anything like week 69 then I will be hitting the espresso BIG TIME…….

Hemmed in

The first signs of the next storm heading our way. Cold, wet, bleak and punishingly windy. Not a day to be outside. Problem is when I’m stuck inside, that feeling of being hemmed in just gets ramped up even more. Never suffered from claustrophobia but I have done since the world changed back in 2016.

Over those 5 years I’ve learnt that the best strategy is DISTRACTION. Focus on homeschooling. Housework, more housework, even washing the windows. Wow washing the windows. Kinda worked. But they don’t work as well as some four legged distractions.

I have a new movie franchise.

It’s the action movie this time of year has been waiting for since Die Hard. Fearsome beasts meet the festive holidays.

I give you the trailers to JURASSIC CHRISTMAS…

Apex Predator
Carnage
Fatcatasauros

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday night here in the UK. The heating is full on and the weather is beating against the windows. We are lucky to be live in a lovely part of the country. Rolling hills and countryside. But no mountains. I have always been drawn to the high ground. Right from childhood when I would look longingly at mountaineering book photos in the town library. A few years later I started climbing and a life long link was cemented.

I so wish I could open the curtains in the morning and gaze upon snow covered mountains.

Imaging throwing up the curtains each day and seeing this view….

That’s what I call a hotel room with a view. A Swiss view. It’s hard to find a view from this amazing country that is not dominated by glorious mountains. One day I hope to return. I need my mountain fix. I need to be back in Switzerland. One day soon I hope. Those mountains call.

Storm Damage

Some parts of the country took a real pounding during the storm over the weekend. Thousands are still without power. Our area only caught a glancing blow, but there was some damage…

Damage limitation…..

As of today The UK Government has announced that pupils in Secondary schools should wear masks in all communal areas, which is in addition to masks being compulsory on school buses. All this as a temporary response to prevent a new covid variant spreading in schools. But thankfully the Government has done a deal with the virus, so the virus has agreed to not spread during lessons. The Government has deemed that MASKS are not required in Classrooms……

Let’s hope any damage is very limited…..

We either need masks or we don’t need masks. Kinda in the middle ain’t going to help anyone.

Swiss Sunday

It’s a stormy here in the UK. Sat inside listening to the weather batter our little bungalow on top of a northern hill. But my thoughts are elsewhere. To dreams of walking again in Switzerland. One of the most beautiful countries in the world. Home to many family holidays and memories. A return is more than overdue. How that happens is still a work in progress. A world gripped with a pandemic. Now just a family of 2. No more extended family get together. Ashes to be brought along and scattered. Heightened anxieties and phobias. Aspergers. A long trip, with many variables to be managed now as a single parent.

But it can still happen. The frenzy of an airport might be beyond Hawklad. Train is an option, less frenzied but still hemmed in. Driving, it’s a long way for one driver. Maybe 13 hours. But I can do that plus it offers Hawklad a controlled space to travel in. Yes car is favourite at present

Google Maps Makes 13 hours seem very doable…..

Yes we can do this. Sometimes dreams don’t come easily. But look at these memories. Definitely worth the effort.

Let’s go walking

Let’s go walking

An early finish to the school day. A big advantage of the school at home project. Usually if a teacher forgets to issue work then we chase it up. Not this day. If the teacher forgets (and they did) let’s not remind them. Let’s see if they notice (and they didn’t).

An early finish means time for a long walk. I so wish Hawklad could use the time to meet up with friends. But as he is stuck with his gnarly Muppet Dad then the next best thing is a walk. Hawklad’s idea.

A walk from our house which we had never fully done before. 15km and we never saw another soul. Perfect for Hawklad.

Definitely beats school and school never missed him.