It’s been a cracking Fungi season. A gift that keeps on giving.
The school half term holiday starts tomorrow evening. The school at home project has completely nosedived this half term. Any support provided is becoming at best very very very patchy, too many of the subjects are dropping completely off the radar. It’s all very vexing and we both quip that it feels like the postman will be bringing a letter from school saying that Hawklad has been sacked. So a week off is needed to lift his spirits, to relax. He is seriously stressed out.
School has made it clear that for pupils like Hawklad, this half term is about work and revising. The school will be checking to see that pupils have put in the hour after hour of work by setting tests as soon as school reopens again.
All work NO play.
I realise other parents might take a different view but this is so wrong to me. Everybody needs a break, especially in these times. Kids need time to relax and have fun. So many are stressed out. Stressed out with school, freaked out by the madness they see unfold all around them. No wonder that UK Child Mental Health Services are being swamped. Latest figures show that over 400000 children per month are being treated for mental health problems.
So here, yes there will be a small bit of work but hopefully bucket loads of relaxation and play. If Hawklad isn’t up to work then stuff school.
The UK School Summer holiday is 6 weeks of much needed rest and recovery. A chance to unwind for Hawklad but it brings one big problem.
Any visits have to be carefully planned and precisely timed. Exposure to those pesky, anxiety spiking crowds have to be minimised. So when he says he wants to go to a particular popular tourist area, over 130 miles drive away, it takes some working out.
Three hours drive on some narrow roads….
Crowds probably start building up just after 9am….
Need time for a decent walk, some sight seeing, a picnic…..
Maybe catch some Osprey hunting just after dawn…..
So Needs Must.
Last Saturday morning we set off for Kielder Water while it was still dark, just after 3am. Arrived just after 6am.
It worked, we had the place to ourselves. Three glorious, relaxing, refreshing hours before the first cars started to stream in. When that happened, we set off home. Hundreds of cars and caravans heading West, one rust bucket heading East. A good trip out without anxiety.
Last week I briefly popped into a supermarket. At one of the checkouts was a mother trying to cope with a boy clearly having a meltdown. Sadly some of the other shoppers were not exactly understanding. Too many were being horrible to the mum, yet they had no idea of the back story. No idea what the child was going through, what the mum was trying to deal with.
I have it easy, some parents definitely don’t. They are doing what they can. Needs must.
As a child living in what felt like a remote, cut adrift Yorkshire seaside town, life felt very restrictive. I knew a world was out there but only via a black and white TV, the town cinema and books. Money was tight in that grey misty town, few had cars, holidays were taken locally. Normally any holidays revolved round a visit to another seaside town a just a few miles up the coast. No one I knew ever got on a plane and went abroad.
How times changed in just a few years ……
But back then I so wanted to escape. To travel. I especially loved the idea of mountains. They looked unreal on the screen or in books, I had never seen a proper mountain, just small hills. I loved the idea that each mountain had its own name, it’s own personality. One mountain in particular stood out, the fearsome EIGER. I dreamt of standing below it and looking up.
Years later, holidays to Switzerland, to The Alps. Who would have thought that my son would end up standing next to that might mountain I had dreamt about when I was his age. Hawklad was capivated by the local fairy tale about 3 the great local mountains. About a Monk (The Monch), an Ogre (The Eiger) and a young girl (The Jungfrau).
Switzerland is that kinda place. A place of adventure, dreams and wonderful memories.
One lucky soul had made it to Switzerland. Apparently it was a bit of a nightmare journey – that was just trying to get out of England. One of the many benefits of Brexit is clearly enhanced chaos and delays at the Border. A border which we had so struggled to live without for decades. I must admit a thought crossed my increasingly tired mind. We are most definitely on the wrong side of that new border. Maybe one day Europe beckons.
Looking at the postcard it reminds me that adventures are still there to be had. Switzerland is ready and waiting. Yes it will be a logistical and parenting nightmare getting Hawklad there, even more so these days. But it has been far too long since our last trip. Far too long. Wow we could do with those alpine days right now. Let’s hope it’s not much longer now.
It’s just turned Sunday here in the UK and my thoughts are shifting to a country 1000 miles from here. A land of mighty mountains, stunning lakes and peaceful valleys. So many family holidays . So many memories. I might be in the UK but I wish I was in Switzerland.
Yes it’s back. Just when we thought it was shorts weather for the next six months, oh no, it’s back into THREE jumper weather.
Definitely not enough for even the most rubbish snow angel ever but just enough to send all exposed skin a funny shade of blue.
Alberts back as well…
Can’t believe that the only Albatross in the northern hemisphere has decided during this truly tropical spell to return to the Yorkshire coast. Albert definitely needs to fire his holiday adviser. Last year he stayed 30 miles away from our house, for his summer holidays. It was actually mostly very nice and almost warm. Maybe that’s why he stayed for nearly two months. Sadly this years vacation finds temperatures north of zero. He must be tempted to head somewhere warmer.
If he hangs around this time then we will try to catch up with him. Last year was an awesome meet-up.
With any luck we can visit him when the Easter School Break starts next Friday. Easter is a bit of a challenge these days. Hawklad likes to get out, likes to visit places. But he needs these place quiet or even better, EMPTY. That doesn’t often happen over the two and a bit week break. Most places tend to be mobbed. This forces us into the early strategy. Get there as soon as a place opens and then stay until it starts to fill up. It’s not a guarantee of success. Last year we had several visits to RSPB Bempton to try to catch an albatross sighting. Problem is that such an extremely rare epic bird brings people, lots of people. We had a number of trips were although we had set off from home just after 7am, when we arrived a busy car park was way too much for Hawklad. So we started setting off much earlier. 4.30am early….. The prize was for an hour or so we did get the cliffs almost to ourselves and as soon as the crowds started to arrive, we left. Back home before 9am. It might be tiring but even if you don’t get to see Albert it’s so worth it.
Isolation has drawbacks but every so often it doesn’t half deliver. We just wouldn’t be stood on a cliff as the sun comes up.
It’s just gone Sunday here in the UK and it’s the perfect time to take a walk down memory lane. Back 7 years to our last trip as a family of 3 to alpine heaven. To spectacular Switzerland.
On our trips, a bit of a rarity, a grizzly weather day. So this moody Monday we took a boat ride across Lake Thun and then sat back and let the wonders of Swiss Transport carry us to the top of a beautiful small mountain, The Neiderhorn.
Yes it was windy, yes it was cold and a bit damp but it was still awesome. Hawklad still talks about that day with so much fondness. A truly fun day which felt epic to him.
It’s just turned Sunday here. The national news has just been on the radio and it’s grim yet again. What has happened to England, I don’t recognise it anymore. The wind is howling. It’s pouring down. The dog is refusing to go outside in that. It is definitely feeling like it’s February and my mind is again wandering to another country. I wish I was in Switzerland. On holiday there – YES. Living there – DEFINITELY
How that happens, I have absolutely no idea. But it does sound good. Can you see why? I can….
It’s Sunday here in the UK and it feels like it’s time to take another virtual trip to one of the worlds most picturesque, picture perfect countries. It’s time for a bit of Switzerland. Definitely a place for big dreams. We need those big dreams more than ever.
Nearly 7 years since our last visit. That’s far too long. it wasn’t supposed to be that long. We had plans to visit in 2016, during the October school holiday. The three of us plus Hawklad’s Granny, but the world changed over just 6 weeks.
Now in 2022, Hawklad and his old muppet dad are starting to make tentative plans for a return to Switzerland. The first window of opportunity might be this October. That is dependent on a pandemic, on Hawklad’s anxieties. Let’s see what happens. But big dreams can come true. They really can.