The start of a new home school week followed a weekend of emergency work calls and activity; hardly the recipe for a clear mind of a Monday. Nevertheless, this is the new normal. The only hotdesking is the spilt coffee over all the domestic paperwork, children’s schoolbooks, and the steaming laptop.
Charging into what is now week four of home school brought with it a new perspective for Cerberus. He has been relegated to having extra online classes in the form of additional support teaching. I questioned the wisdom of this very hard in advance but the small unit of his classmates, similarly drowning in lockdown, proved an intimate and light touch affair.
Refreshingly it was all about reaching out to the sad-faced chiddlers and checking on their personal life and general happiness levels. I could do with a teacher like that myself these days.
I patted him on the head as I would a dog for not swearing in his first new class, and picked up the pieces from the weekend emergencies. Thereafter followed a two hour walk to what we call The Big Forest in the driving snow and bone-chilling wind.
I admit I adore the outdoors; even to the point of having been an amateur hillwalker in a past life. Now the thought of dragging a five year old for an extended perambulation makes me cry on the inside; only beaten in the dismal stakes by undertaking a marathon home schooling session inside.
So march across fields and through woods we did. Medusa refused to cooperate and thus remained by the glowing fireplace with Mrs M, Cerberus and I throwing ourselves into the icy blast. The Big Forest I haven’t been to for several weeks, and regretted it immediately. Much of the snow had melted to form deep muddy swampland. Mud and swamp as anyone with a small child will know, is as tempting to them as Turkish Delight was to Edmund. He sold out his siblings in order to get some more, and despite my repeated warnings, Cerberus discarded instructions to get some more.
As almost always on long walks in slop, the balances tips only when furthest when home. In earlier days I often prepared some sort of goody-bag, including emergency clothing and feeding supplies. This never happens now.
If lucky I bring a bar of chocolate and a pack of cigarettes. This time I didn’t even bring that. As a result Cerberus waded to thigh level in gloop when we were approximately two miles from our abode in open country, with no alternative but to creep miserably home in heavy snow.
For around the last mile he wailed, gnashed his teeth, and moaned “mummy, mummy, mummy” as repetitively as that broken battery powered toy which can only be switched off by smashing it to pieces with a hammer. I also forgot to bring that.
Finally spotting Micawber Towers, I twigged the living room window had been slid open. Mrs M leaned out. She had heard us approaching the village. As had all fellow villagers. We passed two on the walk through, both of whom nodded, then burbled “home schooling eh..?!”. Yup. Home schooling. Eh.