Sunday walk

It’s Sunday so another perfect day for a walk. A much needed chance for Hawklad to relax. Feel part of the world, a world that still can be sampled without too much human contact. We didn’t see another walker today.

Six miles, six glorious miles in the Yorkshire mud. Proper mud.

But it was definitely worth the slog.

And what would Sundays be without another one of those Farm signs.

Sunday

Sunday, the perfect day for an afternoon walk. Heading down one of those mighty Yorkshire motorways to a beautiful hidden lake.

Ideal for Hawklad, quiet and feeling remote. Plenty of nature and wildlife, no crowds.

On a walk like this you can see the difference in Hawklad. Relaxed, funny, talkative, at ease with the world. Add people, add crowds, add school and the change in him is marked. On edge, worried, pensive, quiet, reserved.

We need more of these Sunday walks.

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.

Go with the flow

A walk in the deep, dark wood. No encounter with The Gruffalo on this walk, maybe next time.

Another Yorkshire Gem, Dalby Forest on the edge of the Moors.

A short school at home week. Just 2 days. Should be eight lessons, one lesson dropped for Covid testing. Three lessons, no idea whether they happened or not. One lesson with a few brief notes provided. One quite detailed lesson and one exam to be sat at home.

Sometimes you have to go with the flow. Schools are struggling. Teachers off. Support staff off. Pupils off. Old, unventilated classrooms. Covid in school. Additional pandemic workload. These are challenging times. I will politely chase up homeschooling issues but with understanding.

So when the lessons don’t happen, we go with the flow. Lost schooling time creates more time for the school of life. That school is fun. It has few boundaries. Definitely no exams. Only expectation, having fun. A trip to the Deep Dark Wood is definitely fun……

Moors

The North Yorkshire Moors late on a cold January evening. This is truly an amazing planet with so much staggering beauty to be experienced and enjoyed. It’s really there, we just need to remember to lift our gaze upwards.

Back in 2016 that was an alien concept. Gazing upwards. Why when all I could see was never ending emptiness with no sign of light. Robbed of dreams and a way forward. Refusing to move from a door which had abruptly slammed shut and as long as I waited, would never open again. I felt like screaming but what was the point, who would hear, I’m not even sure I would have heard or even cared.

But now in 2022, as I watch the setting sun cast a golden light over the moors, my gaze is lifted once more.

Yes life might still be tough somedays but it’s good to dream again. Different dreams, bigger dreams. It feels wonderful to want to experience the world and what it has offer again.

Adventures

Now you that is spectacular. The cliffs at Bempton. Another Yorkshire Gem.

This world has so much to offer.

We travelled here yesterday. A visit to one of the countries best bird viewing sites. That good that the Northern Hemispheres only Albatross chooses here for a summer vacation. No albatross yesterday but we did see many sea birds and a rare chance to see a Short Eared Owl hunt over the fields. That’s some bird.

Hawklad is pushing the boundaries but under his terms. Avoiding crowds, avoiding people. The fact that he can’t face an over crowded classroom doesn’t mean that he can’t venture out. So what next…..

He has set himself some realistic goals for this year. Twelve ‘avoiding people’ targets. I’m signed up to them, so let’s see how many we can tick off during 2022 for him.

1. Visit the New Forest

2. Visit Sherwood Forest

3. Switzerland

4. Climb Yorkshire’s two highest mountains (they are small ones….)

5. Visit the Lake District and walk up one of England’s bigger mountains

6. Visit a new wildlife park

7. Go to see an Osprey hunt

8. Go for a torchlight walk on the Moors and get to see the stars with zero light pollution

9. Go to Scotland to see a Golden Eagle fly

10. Visit Stonehenge

11. Visit a new castle

12. Go for his longest ever walk

We also have a new golden rule. When we venture out, if a car park is ever half full or busier – then no questions asked, we don’t park. We continue on, find somewhere less busy or we head home.

Hopefully 2022 will show that you can avoid people and still have adventures.

New Years Day.

2022….

Well the most has gone. That might even be the smallest patch of blue sky.

Can you spot the bird of prey gatecrashing the photo.

No zoom on the mobile, so this is the best I can do. The Gatecrasher.

I meet this gatecrasher every morning when I come down this lane, usually sat on the overhead power line. Such a thrill.

Soon we were on the road to the local wildlife park. A New Year Day Tradition which went on covid hold last year. This year we will arrive as it opens, wear masks and keep our distances. To protect others. Make sure we leave before the crowds arrive. The two of us have done this every year since Hawklad was a toddler. Just the two of us. His mum always decided to give it a miss, preferring a day at home. Maybe TV. Maybe catch up on sleep. It is an early start and a 90 minute drive. A quiet house can be very appealing. If she had realised time was so limited would she have stayed at home. Put things off repeatedly for another year.

I think I know the answer to that…..

Some choices you don’t get a second crack at them.

Gladiator

Definitely feels like the we are about to walk into the opening scenes of the movie, Gladiator. Maybe once I had a passing resemblance to Maximus 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. Very passing….. Thankfully no barbarian hoards this time although our squirrels can get a bit frisky.

As we walked I asked Hawklad about the imminent recommencement of the school at home project. Is there anything I could do to make it run better for him.

Nothing he could think of apart from me upping my IQ into double figures.

Ok, is there anything I can get in or buy that would help him. Text books, supplies, tech, tutor support. He thought carefully for a while, finally concluding

Yes there is. As he would still be largely cut off from others, then …..

WE NEED MORE BOARD GAMES

I never saw that one coming. But actually that is a top idea. He needs to have fun. So it’s time for a board game search of the house and then let’s see what Amazon has to offer. He will get more from them than he will ever get from another text book.

Recharge

Another day, another one of those days……

Absolutely no sign of the sun. Unremittingly damp, cold and bleak. Our poor outdoor solar festive lights have now officially gone on strike. Switch them on and there is just about enough power generated to muster a dim flicker and then nothing.

I can’t begin to tell you just how wet and muddy I got on today’s walk. but it was still good to be outside. There is always things to see.

That is a seriously impressive Hay Snake.

Yesterday I talked about the fantastic reading progress Hawklad has made. Reading history textbooks is a real statement. But things are never straightforward. He still really struggles with writing. Getting his ideas out on paper. Here his dyslexia still dominates. His handwriting just won’t develop. His typing is laboured and inaccurate. His ideas don’t reach the paper.

He feels so much frustration when he can’t make much progress in this area. And he does feel real frustration. He can now read. He has an amazing mind and can visualise things that are way beyond me. Ask him something like to list all the British Monarchs in order, and it’s a breeze for him. Ask him who where the defendants at Nuremberg and he can name them, including the verdicts. Ask him to work out a complex sum in his head and he can do it effortlessly. Yet ask him to add to simple decimals together and he is lost. Ask him to tell the time and as hard as he tries, he just can’t. Ask him to list the alphabet and he just can’t get the order right after D.

It’s tough seeing your son get so down on himself. I feel his frustration intensely. As a parent you feel like you have run out of ideas. It’s impossible to not get down on yourself as well. But that’s not helping anyone. When tomorrow comes and Hawklad is again trying his heart out, and he will. He hasn’t given up. He won’t give up. I’m the one who needs to get going again. So that’s why those walks in nature are so important. Even in bad weather and unlike those solar lights, I do recharge. So we can try again tomorrow.

Winter Solstice

I’m sat finalising this weeks food order. Another Christmas, another one where its just the two of us. With the pandemic Hawklad has forgotten what it feels like to meet up with extended the extended family. To meet up with friends. I really have to try and make memories for him. He only gets one childhood. Fun is required. Fine food is required (that might be a problem). Christmas movies on tap. Currently he’s enjoying Die Hard. Ok it’s no Wonderful Life but it is fun.

The winter solstice. Almost sunbathing weather.

At least the horse has a coat, a much needed coat. It’s days like this that I wish we have a roaring log fire. I don’t care how warm radiators are, they just aren’t the same. Maybe it’s time for my sisters strategy. Put an old TV in the front of the blocked fireplace and play roaring fire videos on repeat all day. It does make a difference.

This weather is playing havoc with our outside solar powered Christmas lights. The daily sun count is currently enough for about 3 minutes running time. Basically blink and you miss them.

What was I thinking, solar power and Yorkshire.

I think my solar power banks must running a tad low as well.

Any sun would be nice and I mean any sun. Looking at the forecast there is zero predicted over the next 7 days. It’s not looking good for those lights, hopefully Santa doesn’t need them as landing lights. He might need to call for John McClane.