Leaning

One of the first things you notice living in the hills is that you don’t get many poles that are straight up. There is always a bit of a lean to them. Nowt wrong with that. It feels like I’ve had a bit of a lean for years.

There is a really apt song line that Roger Waters wrote a few years back.

You lean to the left but you vote to the right.

This morning I read a work email exchange. One guy was saying that he had voted for Brexit because it seemed cool but hadn’t voted for higher food prices and more expensive import taxes. He certainly hadn’t voted for the nightmare it had become to own his time share in Spain.

Ok…..

Maybe its just me. 😳

But I guess we all do a bit of that lean to the left but vote to the right thing.

I’m not immune to that. As a kid I fell in love with football. What an exciting game it could be if I picked a great team. I then picked Newcastle United to support. If I liked football so much why did I pick that bunch of numpties.

Then there was a time when I was a fully paid up member of CND. Proud owner of the ban the bomb T-shirt. I picked what look like a really interesting University option. All went well until I found out where my option was based. The National Atomic Weapons Research Facility…… I’m not making that up. How on earth did I get through the vetting.

But it goes much wider. I wanted desperately to be a parent but not sure I would have initially voted to be a single parent. Definitely not this way.

So I guess there are times when things are out of our control. Life happens. But there are times when it is down to our decisions, our actions. If that happens you just have to own the consequences….

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.

Perspective

Proper Easter weather…..

Nothing like a Yorkshire Spring. As the say round here. This kind of weather puts hairs on your back….

It definitely puts several jumpers over your back.

But here’s the thing. It might seem cold in Yorkshire but is it really. In Nunavut it is -34 today. That’s proper cold.

Perspective is required.

It’s the same with my life. Sometimes it might seem tough. Not much support. Single parenting is hard. Tired. Isolated. Few too many lows. Loss.

But in reality it’s a GOOD life. I don’t need much support. I get some sleep. Single parenting means more quality time my son. I have wonderful friends. There have been many HIGHS. Still much to gain.

Perspective is always required.

White rabbits

A cold, wind swept day. Definitely two jumper weather.

So it’s not quite sunbathing weather here. We did sit outside for a while. That’s with winter coats on while holding hot water bottles.

While outside we talked. Well when I say talked it was more about trying to reassure Hawklad. He was worried, really worried. April 1st and he had forgotten to say ‘white rabbits’. In Britain and also I believe in North America there is a tradition that saying ‘white rabbits’ as the first words of the new month brings good luck. Pilots had a similar superstition during the last war. Saying that phrase as the first words of each day apparently helped provide protection during the daily upcoming flying endeavours.

Hawklad has been doing the ‘white rabbits’ thing for a while now. I think he picked it up from me one time. I’m a bit annoyed with myself as I try to avoid Hawklad seeing me with any superstitions . Well this month he forgot. I would never give it a second thought but Hawklad was spooked. He takes things very literally. That can be a common personality trait with people with Aspergers. So I tried to reassure him but rather unsuccessfully. I will keep working on that. But it’s so difficult for him. More things to worry about. Life is so complicated…..

Avengers

A day outside in the – wait for it – warm Yorkshire sunshine……

An afternoon of outdoor table tennis. An afternoon of losing my pride. It’s never been my sport. One of the few sports I can’t pick up.

Dad Table Tennis is a MARVELlous sport. You do know the sport should be played like a game of chess. Carefully moving your opening around the table until an opening appears. That’s the idea. Your approach Dad is basically the Avengers Strategy. HULK SMASH…”

No need to mess about with the delicate strategy. Why waste time when with one massive swing of the bat you can immediately move to the ENDGAME

But Dad you are supposed to play with VISION.

Ok I’m out now, you win the pun war. Pick up your crisp packet. If you do then you can be scaAVENGERS hero.

I never THORt of that one Dad. Best keep the envIRON MANaged. I wonder if anyone else would understand these puns other THAN US.”

*********

Lets not forget the stereotype. Asperger Kids don’t have a sense of humour and can’t have fun ……….

Gone, gone, gone

Well after many many weeks its gone. Our own lake in the farmers field has finally gone. We’ve had many of these lakes in our time here but not one this big or so long lasting. It’s provided many photo opportunities and we have grown very fond of it.

It will be back. Hopefully not during the next few months. If I does then Spring and Summer have been monumentally bad.

Until next to our unnamed lake, enjoy the rest.

Mist

I don’t know why but as soon as I saw our morning sky I immediately thought of two opposing medieval armies preparing for battle. Just waiting for the mist to lift before they crash into each other.

Our area has had so many bloody battles dating back to Viking times. Who is to say that these very fields have not witnessed that grim sight.

Today’s grim sight was restricted to this unshaven, unkempt Bloke with zero fashion sense leaning against the fence. Coffee cup in hand, exposing his partly covered hairy legs to potentially the ghosts of the past. I guess in years gone by I would have opted for the kilt look. Need to get the air onto those ‘airy knees.

Mist is an apt way of describing my current thinking this morning. After a year of lockdown (now just two weeks short of that anniversary), I still can’t see the way forward. No nearer establishing when (or if) Hawklad will feel able to return to the outside world. Is it school or permanent homeschooling. Will my job survive. When will be our next holiday or excursion. Are my dreams on hold or permanently cancelled. Will I ever get to where my heart desperately wants to go. Is that it for concerts or football for us. When will we see friends and family. Is that it for hugs. Is the world still out there. Has anyone even noticed that we aren’t part of the crowds anymore.

A pandemic year and I still can’t answer those questions.

Mind and hope mist.

That is not a great feel.

Snow Bunny

Apparently there is a world out there somewhere.

The snow is now a distant memory. The last bit to cling on was this random block of ice. The last part of the snowman. Snowman to Snow Bunny.

It’s been one of those weeks so far. A week off from school. In other years a week of trips to the Zoo and the Seaside. Maybe a wander in the Hills or Moors. Not this year. Not last year.

A week at home….

Which kinda makes it like every other week. Ok no school at home but it feels the same. Get up early and do my exercise. Make breakfast for Hawklad. Do housework. Do the wash. Change the bedding. Make food. Go out in the garden a few times. Fighting with the cable signal. Watch Disney Plus. Feel bad about not reading so squeeze in a chapter. Go to bed. Seemingly not doing much yet wondering where the days have gone.

But.

Thankfully connecting with friends. Friends are able to break the Groundhog Hog sensation for a while. That is so important these strange days.

Birdbrain

Our little part of the world has been rather cut off from civilisation. The occasion delivery person and the daily postie have been our only visitors really for months. Well that’s not strictly true. We have daily visitors. The birds.

Well when I say daily there was one exception to this. The weekend of the national Birdwatch garden survey. We sat for hours and guess what. Our daily visitors decided to give us a miss that weekend. No amount of food could tempt them. Yet as soon as they Birdwatch was over they flocked back again. Pesky characters they are.

But I will forgive them for messing my survey numbers up. They provide so much joy. Over the many months you start to recognise the individual birds. Many having really unique personalities and habits.

One really odd thing is the ‘pecking order’. Small birds first, big birds second. As soon as the food is put out the small ones arrive. The larger hooligan gang start to gather in the trees. After the small ones start to fly off the hooligans arrive. Then it’s about an hour of them squabbling. A few wiser ones just feed while the others are distracted.

That happens like clockwork everyday 363 days a year. Rain, sun and snow…. They obviously take two days off for the Bird Survey. I will grant them that especially as they like my baking. That’s got to count for something.

Options

Something rather bizarre happened today here in Yorkshire. It was sunny with lots of blue sky. Most unusual.

Just after the dinosaurs had become extinct I was as at school. A time before home computers. A time when a domestic microwave was about as expensive as a Fusion Reactor. I was leaving secondary school just as MTV was starting. Definitely a different era. So you would expect a few limitations in the schooling system. Like the options available to kids in our sink school. A poor school in a poor working class area.

I remember the school option meeting. No parents. Just the snotty kid, the careers advisor and the headteacher. It basically went like this for me.

********

What options do you want to take?

I would like to take Latin, French and I would like to learn to program using something like Pascal.

Why?

Because I want to go to university.

Kids round here don’t go to university. You get jobs in the Chemical Works, the Steel Plant. The really smart ones might get a job as a clerk in a bank in the high street.

I don’t really fancy that.

We don’t offer those subjects anyway. Your option choices are woodwork, metal work or home economics. That’s cooking to you son…

*********

That conversation always stuck with me. Clearly stuck with a the others in my year. I was the only one to make university. I managed to scramble through a system setup for the benefits of the local economy and not for the pupils. Fast forward all those thousands of years. We find ourselves in 2021. Surely a more enlightened time. When microwaves are really cheap but bizarrely a 24 pack of toilet rolls is harder to get hold of than a Fusion Reactor.

We are looking at Hawklads option choices. He has to take Mathematics, Sciences and English. But has to choose four more subjects. It’s strongly recommended that French is selected. Which is odd as school are super keen for him to ditch that subject. One option really does suit him – History. As his last teacher told him before she left – ‘you know the subject better than I do’. And he loves history. Then it’s going to be Geography. He is ok with that subject but it’s never really fully connected with him. Two options left….

Here is where the problems start. PE might have been an option but it’s an essential requirement that you represent the school or a club in a sport. So that’s out. Information Technology would have been an option but the last two years of force feeding coding has broken his will in that one. The other handful of options just do not suit him at all. No interest in them. The teaching methods don’t suit him. No connection with the teacher. Or it’s an area he really struggles with.

It really does feel like the schooling system is still not truly aimed at the pupils. Take what you are offered rather than let’s see what really works for the individual. The schools take is rather than look for alternatives let’s just let him not select 4 options. He could maybe only do 3 or 4 exams as that would potentially help him pass something. OK.

So what is he going to do. Well he’s going to randomly pick two more options for now. Go through the hoops in case he sticks with mainstream schooling. But we are going to look at proper alternatives. What subjects can we find which are outside of the school remit which really interest him. That’s how education should be. That’s how it should have always been.

L