More Grey

More grey weather. More puddles. Still banned from using a hosepipe by the Water Company. It’s a drought you know.

School is being very like school. So far this week, out of 16 lessons only 2 provided any material for Hawklad to try at home. Actually that is just one subject, radio silence from the other teachers. It does feel like in most subjects we have transitioned into full on homeschooling. Maybe school’s function now in most subjects is just to sort out the arrangements for the final exams, the teaching is down to me. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 clearly they haven’t seen my old school reports 🤣🤣🤣Well at least we can work the homeschooling around the World Cup Matches.

There are far too many children who are struggling or who are at risk. Safeguarding was everything before Covid shuck up the schooling systems. Not sure it is now….

I can’t remember the last time someone from school asked how Hawklad was doing, how is he feeling, are there any issues. It’s well over 2 years since anyone from school has directly spoken to him. Not one teacher has heard his voice in that time, communication has been through the very occasional email. Ok they might think I’ve got things covered but don’t they have a duty of care over the well-being of one of their pupils. Are all parents trustworthy? Should they not check. Should they not at least arrange to speak to the pupil directly. Am I being naive, maybe schools are just focused on exam performance these days. Hawklad’s School is clearly ticking all the right boxes as it’s rated as Outstanding by the authorities.

It must be me….

Mini Fib

Glorious weather in drought hit Yorkshire.

The fields aren’t muddy at all…

Apparently one of my sisters has put her Christmas Tree and Outdoor Lights up today. Which prompted a household discussion on when to put our decorations up. The consensus was MOST DEFINITELY NOT NOW.

This all brought Hawklad to revisit the Great Santa Claus issue.

“Dad, a few years back, exactly when were you going to tell me”

At some stage, maybe when you reached 50.

“Really…”

Sorry, that was a joke #### I have to be so careful as Hawklad still can take everything I say literally##### I was going to give you one more Christmas before you found out. I certainly wasn’t planning on the pesky School Religious Education Teacher telling all the class to grow up and then let the cat out of the bag in the week before Christmas. My MINI FIB was blown out of the water.

“Are there any more MINI FIBS I need to know”

I don’t think so.

##### That sadly is not strictly true. Following a long family tradition our sick bowl doubles up as the baking mixing bowl. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Some things are best not shared especially as he is about to tuck into some homemade bread…..

Grey

That kinda day. Most definitely GREY.

Have I mentioned that our local area still has a hosepipe ban. That pesky scorching sun. The other day Hawklad queried why people in Yorkshire don’t emigrate to somewhere nearer the Equator. I’m not sure my answer was entirely convincing.

My oldest sister would share Hawklad’s view on Yorkshire, it’s weather and the attraction of the Equatorial Climate. Anything below 25C is too cold for her. But it does beg the question how she will cope on her Bucket List Holiday next year. Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights and Alaska. Not exactly Toasty.

Toasty was how I was trying to feel as I made a call to a local college while sitting on the back room radiator. A radiator turned on FULL. I was trying to book Hawklad in for a taster visit. School had failed to let us know that the window for booking these was now open. They hadn’t even mentioned what this college can offer. The reason apparently is that they don’t believe college is a viable option for Hawklad. Deep SIGH.

The college does appear promising as it has a well established setup to offer post school opportunities for pupils who have special educational needs. So we will see if Hawklad can attend a taster session in the New Year and see what he thinks. If the main college is too busy for him then they do have a separate smaller offsite teaching block which has been setup specifically to provide a quieter, more tailored learning environment. He could start in September.

But first we have to focus on Hawklad’s immediate wellbeing and helping with his anxieties. Then it’s the issue of the final exams in June without any real support from school. But at least we have the first opportunity door appearing in the distance. It’s a start.

Bad History

The fungi keep on coming in Yorkshire, must be the perfect weather for them.

Hawklad was muttering about school, in particular HISTORY.

“Dad why do they just focus on the bad stuff in history. Wars, murders, executions, purges, treachery, villains. We clearly spent month after month after month studying Victorian Serial Killers for a bit of light relief from the bad history stuff.”

Yes it has not exactly been a barrel of laughs.

“It’s been like this for years. Just bad history. Never the Good Stuff in history. The uplifting things. The Heroes. The groundbreaking discoveries. The breakthroughs. The great reformers. The adventures. The fun stuff. So many great things have happened in history yet we never look at them. “

It does make you think. Why months of schooling on Jack the Ripper and yet nothing on Mother Teresa or Marie Curie. Not a mention about the Moon Landings, Climbing Everest, Discovering Penicillin, the first flight, development of philosophy, art and literature, the good stuff we can be proud of in history.

History can be uplifting and inspiring. It’s doesn’t have to be always BAD…..

Location location

Just a few paces from here is one of the places we have been thinking would be a nice place to scatter some of Hawklad’s mums ashes. His mum loved to walk here. However the area is becoming increasingly wet as the years pass by. The landscape is definitely changing. We might need to rethink the plans.

There is no rush.

Time to find the perfect spots.

Bill

A great place to think….

A great place to get cold as well…..

Well I was…..

24 hours after my double shot of Flu and Covid booster vaccines. The arm which enjoyed the Pfizer needle was feeling like it had been repeatedly punched by Tyson Fury. The rest of me was just feeling cold, like I had a cold. Not sure why but every single time I have had the Flu vaccine, the next day I have without fail come down with cold symptoms and it was no different this year.

So feeling COLD and THINKING next to this awesome little lake.

“Dad I’ve come up with a Christmas list idea, how about a Scalextric Set…”

Bang goes my one great big surprise idea….. Pants…..

“You don’t need to get me any Shakespeare stuff Dad, anything to do with School English Literature is not ever making the list now. Definitely not after school sucked the life out of it.”

It’s ok, Shakespeare was not in the Gift running list. The one and only time he did make the GIFT list, it was via the wonderful Horrible Histories BILL movie.

“Dad we haven’t watched the Horrible Histories movie in ages. I learnt more from that movie than school has ever managed to teach me about Shakespeare in years. The movie was fun, school isn’t….”

He’s not wrong there….

Can you remember the last time you had fun with your schools.

“Not happened so far, but to be fair, I’ve only been at school for 11 years.”

And stood by this cold lake, we probably stumble on why education in the UK is in such a mess for so many families.

Monuments

A weekend walk on the Yorkshire Wolds.

Yorkshire does like a good old monument. Three good ones on one brief walk.

So school should be fully back in swing now but I’m left with one overriding feeling.

WHAT IS THE POINT…..

School helpfully emailed all parents with a list of topics that need revising for the upcoming Mock Exams. Unfortunately well over half the topics are new news items to Hawklad. Is it revising when you have to look at a topic for the first time. Deep sigh….

Hardly any interactions with teaching staff still, Hawklad is definitely feeling increasingly cut adrift. Unfortunately for the rare subjects that are still in touch, he kinda wishes they had joined in the collective radio silence.

One of the teachers did mark some of his submitted work. I thought it was really good work, better than I could ever manage. But what do I know, the teacher awarded him a FAIL. Apparently when a question asks for consequences of a particular event, marks will only be awarded if the pupil sticks to the limited number of consequences provided by the teacher in class, which have been approved by those in charge. It reflects just one of a number of equally valid opinions. Stick to what you are told. Parrot learn the wording and then regurgitate the words in the exam. Critical thinking, or thinking for yourself are not required. Valid consequences and detailed reasonings that differ from the very narrow school script are not accepted. I did recheck Hawklad’s answer and yes I quickly found that his arguments were backed up by a number of subject experts. Hawklad really can’t get his head round all this. It confuses him. It frustrates him. It makes him doubt himself.

What makes this worse is that this is his favourite subject. The subject he is best at. The one he enjoys the most and yet because of the academic approach, it’s now the one he is getting the lowest marks in.

Failed for thinking. Failed for having a passion in something. Kinda sums up the school at present.

It just seems like a MONUMENTal waste.

I do like a good pun, but tonight even that pun doesn’t make me smile. Yes school is back again.

Random Facts

Another busy Yorkshire motorway…

Here is a completely random fact for you. If this was like one of those fine old Roman Roads, and just kept going ‘straight as a die’. Well if you kept driving straight, in just over an hour, you would get to where Chris Rea was born. I’m not sure this would be the Road to Hell he was talking about. Add another few miles on in that direction and you get to where mum was born. She had a few Chris Rea cd’s.

Sorry, this is what happens when you play with the newly found compass and direction finder on your mobile. Especially when your stood waiting for Captain Chaos to finish off his morning constitutional. It takes a while…..

It’s also happens to be nearly 2 miles to the nearest dog poo bin. Deep joy. Spookily 2 miles in the same direction as Chris Rea.

Actually thinking about it, I could also have picked the Free and Bad Company vocalist, Paul Rodger’s birth place. That would have been ‘Alright Now’. Then again I could have gone for Captain James Cook, but I’m not sure what his Rock Music credentials are like.

It’s nice to be thinking about other things for a few days. Even random things. Schooling was really getting me down. School definitely feels like somewhere between the Road to Hell and Another Brick in the Wall, but let’s worry about that next week. Back to random facts.

This road leads you to the actor Richard Griffiths birthplace, thars the actor who played Harry Potters Stepdad. Go a few more miles down this extended road and you get to Ridley Scott’s birthplace. Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner.

Random Facts……

Sydney calling

No sign of any teaching coming from School so might as well go for a walk around Castle Howard. A quiet, beautiful walk.

Quiet, well until an international meeting.

Walking along a path and we came across a clearly confused couple looking a tad bit lost. As we approached the chap spoke, spoke in the deepest of Australian accents.

Excuse me Mate, but we are trying to find the CASTLE”

Apparently they were on a driving holiday around the UK and had seen Castle Howard on the map and thought, let’s visit one of those King Arthur kinda places….. They had been walking around the Estate for ages and hadn’t found the old stone castle yet. Sadly I had to disappoint them.

‘See that big old house, that’s the castle”

After a few choice Australian words ##@##*#ocks, they asked if

I knew of a proper castle round here…”

A few minutes later they had directions to three more castle like castles.

That was my third ever conversation with someone from Australia. All have been completely random affairs. The second chat was in Switzerland. We were walking in Interlaken when a family approached us and asked.

Do you speak English, we heard you (me) singing Yellow Submarine”

Wow was I that loud…. Having confirmed the English thing, the conversation went very south of the equator.

Do you know if there is a shop here that sells Swiss Cuckoo Clocks, the kids want to see some and we can’t find a phrase for that in our German helpful holiday phrase book..

No I suspect it’s not a common phrase. Maybe it should be, maybe the first one the phrase book should tell you. Just like the phrase book Aliens like ET or Thanos need when they visit Earth. The first phrase being a translation of ‘take me to your leader’. Currently in the UK an alien would need to use the phrase ‘take me to your useless numpty’. Anyway the bizarre Australian conversation went even further south when we confirmed that we had just been in a shop looking at a shed load of those wonderful clocks. Once again Australians left with helpful directions.

My first Australian conversation was just as odd. I had just left Warwick University to finally earn my keep. I was working at a computer installation and I had drawn the short straw – I was covering the night shift. Well after midnight, Reception put through a call from Sydney. I took the call and happily said

‘Hello Sydney’

– whoever Sydney was. At the other end of the line was an equally happy lady with an Australian accent. Opps. I apologised.

‘Sorry, I thought the call was from someone called Sydney, not actually from Sydney…’

No problems, I am from Sydney, but I am also called Sidney”

I found out that she hadn’t been named after the city but after the actor Sidney Poitier. Apparently her parents were huge fans and had hoped for a strapping Aussie Rules playing boy who would also be an actor just like their hero. Apparently a short, ginger haired girl who was in love with George Michael didn’t quite suit the Sidney Poitier name.

I’m actually looking forward to my next Australian conversation. They are always so bizarre.

Swiss Sunday

As a kid, I felt trapped in a northern costal town. A town surrounded by sea and industry. Back in those days, travel was a rarity in this hard working environment. Money was tight, dreams confined. Like many from that windy, smokey town, we felt cut off from the world. The only world we had was what we could see and touch, which wasn’t much.

But one snotty nosed kid with big Joe 90 glasses (look that one up 🤣🤣🤣) would walk into town every Saturday morning. Armed with money from Dad to buy cod off the returning fishing boats. He would spend some time waiting for the boats to land on the beaches in the Amusements. Watching other kids play the latest versions of Space Invaders or PAC-MAN. But before that he would be found in the Town’s library, sat by the indoor goldfish pond (yep the library had one). Looking at pictures in mountaineering books, of exotic places, of exhilarating adventures. A life completely different to that found in this isolated, grey place. One place really captivated him. A magical looking place called Switzerland. One mountain hooked him. It looked ominous, it looked foreboding. Reading tales of heroism and tragedy on its sheer ice filled walls. He dreamt of being there, standing next to The Eiger.

Never in his wildest dreams did that kid ever imagine that decades later that seaside town would be history. He would have visited on many occasions that magical Swiss landscape, it was even better than he ever imagined AND his son would stand under the mighty Eiger.

You just never know what paths will open up when the time is right.