Sneezing

A misty morning walk. Just the morning chorus of bird calls. A time to contemplate. A time to focus on what is truly important to me.

Actually there was another sound on this walk. The sound of sneezing. One of the delights of having a dog with inflamed nasal passages. We have a dog with rhinitis. Our dog has hay fever. Our dog takes the same hay fever tablets that I do. It’s a bizarre feeling taking a tablet then handing another one to the excited Mutt.

He sneezes. He sneezes lots when it’s misty. Then we passed a dog walker coming out of the mist. The other dog started barking and growling. What did Captain Chaos do in retaliation. He sneezed more. He gave the other dog a good sneezing.

That showed that dog who the alpha male is.

In between the sneezing it was also time to start to think about the delights of the upcoming School Parents Evening. The school is still using online video chats for that. Parents (and I guess sneezing dogs) can book a 4 minute video chat with a subject teacher. That’s FOUR minutes. This will be the third time I’ve done these. You do only get 4 minutes. Actually less. You have to wait for the teacher to sign in (no time added for that). The teacher then tries to quickly summarise results and progress. You get a couple of minutes to ask questions. Then the screen goes blank as the time runs out (just like in Independence Day).

So starting at 4pm I have 9 FOUR minute video chats with teachers, back to back, separated with TWO minute gaps until the next one starts. It’s madness. It’s modern schooling. It just doesn’t make sense. Especially now. Especially as many of these teachers have still yet to speak directly to Hawklad’s. Actually if I could drag Hawklad away from the Xbox, maybe we could use the 4 minutes to introduce the teacher to the pupil they are teaching. Sorry am I get cynical…. Actual the more I think about that, maybe that might be worth it.

The other plan is to list the key schooling issues we have and then raise one issue with each teacher. No time for more than that. Not ideal but it’s worth a stab. The teachers that seem to get it will get the most important issues. A couple of the teachers will get subject related questions. Maybe just maybe some of these short chats will open up new avenues. However the previous ones sadly didn’t open up any avenues but we live in hope.

Surely one day the schooling mist is going to clear.

Glove

We both love listening to the Rolling Stones. A news item came on the radio that they were playing three concerts here in the summer. Hawklad asked if the concerts would be busy and crowded. YES. He kind of resignedly shrugged his shoulders and sighed. Then the radio said that although the tickets aren’t on public sale yet, all three shows only had limited tickets left. Again Hawklad sighed and said “probably for the best, let’s go for a quiet walk”.

Always a treat going down this path. Very distracting. A cut through from the village road to one of the surrounding fields. Definitely a treat at this time of the year.

But let’s not forget that it’s Yorkshire. It might look like Spring but it’s still cold. That cold that the fences still have their gloves on…..

Rather classy gloves at that.

Night walk

One last gift from School’s half term week off. Late Sunday found a beautiful star filled sky. So we jumped into the car and 25 minutes later we were walking with head torches across the Moors. The Moors to ourselves, perfect for Hawklad. Just the sound of the howling wind and owls hunting.

The occasional tree taking on another character illuminated by torch.

We are lucky where we live with so little light pollution. But on the Moors the darkness is almost complete. Perfect place to wrap up warm and stargaze. Unbelievably the old iPhone managed to capture a few of the stars on show as the last embers of the day finally left the landscape.

Definitely a win for Hawklad. A chance to forget his anxieties for a while longer. He is much more relaxed in this isolated setting than he is during the day when people are about.

We definitely need to do more of this. But NOT this evening, it is absolutely chucking it down. That’s more like Yorkshire…..

Technology

Don’t you love technology.

NOT……

All I wanted to do was buy two £8 tickets for a walk around a local castle. With covid you now have to pre book the tickets online. All was going well until the message ‘authorisation code sent to mobile’. No message was received. Resend code and once more nothing. Ok, use confirm the payment via the online banking app. AND that failed….Then everything unravelled. Soon I was locked out of my online banking app and my bank card was frozen. Then my online home fuel oil order failed as by card was locked out. I hadn’t realised that my mobile had suddenly gone faulty …. Not accepting messages or calls but at least it still played music (good to see it got its priorities right).

My only option was to phone my bank’s dreaded customer desk. A helpful message told me that my call was important to the bank but there was a 20 minute wait as call volumes were unusually high. Two pigging hours later a voice at the end of the phone. I needed to confirm my identity. Did I know my unique online banking code – NO…. Could I confirm what £19.99 payment was made on my account last Tuesday – NO (as soon as I put the phone down, I remembered, typical)….. Could I remember my online banking password – didn’t know I had one…… Finally, the last option, they would send a security code message to my mobile – but my mobile was stuffed so it never arrived…… Now it’s wait 5 days for a letter to arrive in the post with a code to reset the online banking. Well at least my card was released from purgatory.

Well that went well. I do love the seamless possibilities offered by technology.

So 4 hours later we arrived at a local country house which thankfully still accepted on the door payments. So we did finally get a much needed walk and it was a good one. That was a blessing, no thanks to technology.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time to spend a few minutes remembering family holidays. Family holidays to Switzerland. Going back a few years now. To a trip to a stunning mountain pass high up in the Alps. An epic train ride up to 6800ft, to Kleine Scheidegg. Then a wonderful downhill walk to Lauterbrunnen. But before the walk time to stand in the footsteps of one of the worlds greatest mountains, The Eiger.

Secret

Some blue sky is always welcome here. Ok it might only last for a couple of hours before the next rain clouds roll in, but it’s still most appreciated. Especially when the days are filled with much frustration and road blocks.

A couple of hours is enough time for a mini adventure.

Been at out home for a couple of decades now. Life has happened over that time. Seen 6 cars, 5 UK Prime Ministers, 2 Pandemics and something like 460 Simpson episodes. And now we can add 1 hidden lake.

Almost from day one the local map showed up an expanse of water on one side of the village. In all those years we never found a way to get to it. Until now. Sometimes you just have to live on the edge. Be a rebel without a cause or maybe without a clue. Time to ignore some PRIVATE signs. Pay back for a tractor dropping mud outside our garden gate over all those years. Jump a few farm fences and finally get to see the Hidden Lake. It might have only lasted for a few minutes but it was worth it. It’s good to have adventures some days.

Walk free

Been that type of day. Dark, cold and brooding.

The paths and trails are empty. Another perfect day for a walk for Hawklad.

It’s nice to be school free this week. It’s nice to be able to walk without the anxieties that brings. It’s nice to hear Hawklad talking about fun stuff.

Yes it’s definitely nice to walk free this week.

Pink

Pink.

On the daily walk. On the family walk we walk past an old building with a crumbling wall. Everyday nothing to see here. It’s almost like a stepping stone onto the real interesting stuff.

But today look what appeared by the wall.

Just goes to show that you just never know what you might find if you keep looking.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to alpine heaven. Time to visit Switzerland.

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a little wander down memory lane. Back to 2015. Our last family trip to beautiful Switzerland. Last week we looked at the last long walk we did as a family of three. A walk at the Gonnergrat. But we had one more walk. A much shorter one but still memorable. This would prove to be our LAST walk with my partner.

I give to you that walk. I give to you one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.

Thank you Switzerland.