Swiss Sunday

Grindelwald….and not that Harry Potter wizard version.

That’s some train station. Waiting for a train was never a bind here at Grindelwald.

I have a real soft spot for this wonderful alpine village. First time I came to Switzerland. Arrived late on a Saturday night. The first morning in alpine paradise, a time before Hawklad, we headed out by train to this very place. Arrived at this station. As it snowed, we caught a cable car and headed into the clouds. Wandered around a world that I had never experienced before. Feeling like you could reach out and almost touch The Eiger Summit. Grindelwald was the door that opened this amazing land to me.

When I find the photos from that epic first trip I will share more but here are photos from a few years later. 2013. Is it really 9 years.

That’s a golf course with a view…

Wow Hawklad was a lot smaller.

I can’t wait for that next bit of Grindelwald.

Settled

The weather is unusually settled here. The garden water tubs are nearly empty. What is going on, this is Yorkshire….

Not much of the much advertised heatwave so far. It finally arrived on Saturday and went Saturday. It was a bizarre day. Started warmish. Then just after midday the wind dropped and the temperature rocketed up. The garden thermometer hit 30C. Don’t laugh but that’s as far as the thermometer will go. Guess where that piece of technology was made. It didn’t have to travel too far… Yorkshire clearly doesn’t go past 30C.

But then just 4 hours later. We were outside enjoying an ice lolly and suddenly the wind picked up and changed direction . Within minutes we had to go inside for warmer clothes. It was Yorkshire cool again. A 4 hour heatwave…….

If only other things were settled.

Work is a nightmare as we are losing staff through COVID quicker than ever. Apparently it’s over……

Village life is in uproar as there are tentative plans to build houses on one side of the small village. How many. Well for a village of about 100 odd buildings, the idea is to add another new 130 homes ….. I can sense the pitchforks getting sharpened……

Car. The thirsty car now costs over £100 to fill up with diesel. The home fuel oil tank costs nearly £1000 to fill up now. Living is getting crazily expensive……

School mostly has disappeared. The work provided has in many subjects just completely dried up. Have they run out of things to teach Hawklad. Talk about feeling cut adrift…..

Yes definitely could do with some of that settled stuff.

May

Glorious May weather here this week…..

Yes wet but still great for exploring our little part of the world. Even the mad one can always find things that stop him in his tracks….

School have agreed to book in a formal review meeting for Hawklad. He is supposed to get one every year but a pandemic rather messes up the normal. A lot has changed since the last one. COVID became a word. Hawklad taught himself to read. So let’s see what options school can give Hawklad for the final academic year. We need to see options for what happens if he returns to school in September. If he returns part time in September. If his return is further delayed. If he can’t go back at all. It’s one last push to get more support for him. An NHS Consultant has agreed to attend as well, definitely one last push on School. We are not entirely hopeful…..

The Government made a big promise about funding extra help to pupils to catch up following Covid, sadly it’s more hot air, bluster and fibs. Hundreds of millions can be found for a Royal Yacht but not for the children. There is another source of funding but school decided not to apply as they thought that there was little additional support that could be successfully offered to Hawklad. Rather frustratingly Pupil, Parent and Medical Professionals were not consulted……

NO, not entirely hopeful but let’s see what one last push can achieve.

Reading

Mostly a day to stay inside and dry but always keeping an eye out for those brief gifts.

In the end, no video conference call this week with school. School staffing unavailability led to a late cancellation. Apparently school will organise another teacher – parent day in a months time.

Ok move on, it’s the weekend.

As a kid I remember one thing really clearly from childhood weekends. Virtually every Saturday morning I would walk to the town’s library. The northern coastal town looked old and tired yet the library was a bit of an oasis. On the outside it looked like any other slate grey concrete block. But on the inside it looked brand new. Clean, bright. It even had a little indoor goldfish pond in the middle of the children’s section. I would select a book and sit beside the pond. For a couple of hours it was an escape from the claustrophobic reality. A working town cut off from the world by the sea on one side and polluting industry on all other sides. Hardly anyone went on holidays. It seemed like most adults would venture as far as the local chemical and steel plants to work, then it was back to the town to live. It did feel so claustrophobic. The only two escapes. The freshness of the beach and books in the library.

Fast forward far too many decades and it was like life repeating itself. Now miles from that old existence and a pandemic hit. Suddenly a picturesque village on a hill became isolated. Month after month of enforced isolation and it felt claustrophobic again. In the modern life there was thankfully a few more escape routes. One of which was again a library. This time quite a bit smaller and an awful lot redder than the old town library.

The village library

The converted old telephone box is the village community library. So a bit like when I was a child, excitedly checking out books to read, let’s see what books are in the library today. Sadly no goldfish to share the books with this time, it’s probably going to be with cows in the farmers field.

Spot anything you like ? Pleasingly the books I’ve donated on a few occasions are not there. Hopefully someone in the village is reading them as I write this.

I can’t begin to tell you just how great it felt during the lockdown to be able to walk a few yards to a little red library. To pick a book and have an adventure. Just like that little boy from that northern town, having an adventure in a library.

Thunder

A couple of hours later and this quiet lane would have been a raging, torrential river. Huge thunderstorms. Too dark even for the iPhone to take a photo.

It’s been that kinda day.

Power cuts. No mobile phone signal. Even the satellite tv had no signal. Frustratingly for Hawklad, the school online system was still working. Work to produce revision notes on a topic that Hawklad had no idea that the rest of the class had covered a few months back. Oh the joys of the school at home project. The schooling system here is just not designed to be flexible for individual needs and circumstances.

Then another discovery. A moment of insight into a subject in which absolutely none of Hawklad’s submitted work (week after week since September) has ever been marked. Conveniently difficult to locate on the system, we accidentally discovered answer sheets. Apparently the pupils had to mark and correct their own work . That would explain things then. It will be one of those things where the teacher has explained that to the class but the message hasn’t made it over the internet to Hawklad.

One day we might get this right.

But then a more pressing thought. Why has the herd of cows that was sheltering next to our garden fence, seeking protection from electrical storm, suddenly decided to leg it to safety, seemingly as far away from our house as possible. What do they know. Maybe it’s time to hide under the table. But apparently not.

“Dad what do you expect when you have started singing Schools Out at the top of your voice. A voice that is scarier than my sock draw. Faced with that, no wonder the cows decided to risk lightening strikes to escape that awful fate.”

Definitely been one of those days…..

Proper weather

It’s been far too dry for Yorkshire. Coming back from the dog walk it was clear that was all about to change. The question would be, do we get back home in time.

No.

Proper weather.

I’m not sure that crazy old tree house would offer much protection these days. Must admit I can’t remember seeing anyone up there since I moved into the village. That’s two decades ago. WOW, two decades. Where did that time go. Anyway just a few pigeons and occasionally the farmer’s cockerel are the only life that makes it up there. The cockerel and hens are clearly very talented.

The farm birds now have branched out into money laundering, honey and eye products.

I could talk about school at home but I would only moan about a day spent revising executions and serial killers. So let’s focus on the farm birds. That’s an egg-cellent choice. Plus if I do moan anymore I run the risk of getting us egg-pelled..

Sledging the exam

A beautiful spring day here in the Tropics. Temperatures below freezing for most of the day. Definitely feels like April. 😂😂😂😂

The bonkers weather continues. According to the forecast, in seven day’s time we might be basking in temperatures about 24C higher than todays tropical highs. Will the weather make its mind up.

Unbelievably this morning we were sledging. Wasn’t really enough snow but sometimes you just have to give it a go. The sledge took a bit of setting off but with effort it eventually got going. Two different approaches producing the same amount of decent speed. Hawklad with his aerodynamic streamlined body and his Dad with his very very very large backside (which produces a shed load of momentum when it’s in motion). I must admit I left much deeper tracks than Hawklad (that must be just down to some strange climatic conditions….).

Guess who managed to put a large crack into the bottom of the poor old sledge……

Now here’s the thing. At the exact time that my backside was stress testing the base of the sledge, Hawklad was supposed to be sitting a mock exam. Does it really matter if Hawklad started the exam two hours late. His Invigilator (a person with a sledge breaking backside) was more than ok with the delay. When he finally started the exam he had a pen in one hand and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in the other. Doing an exam with a smile on his face. That’s surely how you do an exam.

It’s back

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.

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.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday here in Yorkshire so surely it must be time for a trip down memory lane. Back to 2013. To a family holiday to Alpine Heaven, to Switzerland.

So often on our trips to this wonderful country the sun would shine but occasionally, even here, the weather can turn.

But guess what, Switzerland is still special.

A bit of bad weather doesn’t stop the locals eating out.

But the sun always returns, hopefully we can return in the near future.