Barnard Castle.  For many years of my life, the name was synonymous with some of the top British swimmers of the 80s but never took up more than a fleeting thought.  Last year whilst on holiday, we found ourselves passing through it several times and upon seeing the name on the road sign on the first occasion,  I became quite excited as I “knew” it as swimming memories came flooding back in the same way that a piece of music can trigger long forgotten times.  Barnard Castle itself turned out to be quite picturesque; a small market town nestled in the shadow of an imposingRead More →

My last blog piece was just as the schools were shut prematurely before the Easter holidays. That feels like ages ago now and the situation no longer feels strange; this is now normal, there are routines and adjustments and we have all just got on with it.  It has been interesting to see how each child has dealt with the changes – the eldest has always struggled with school and friendships so the lock down was a dream come true for him. His desire to work has not increased however and he needs a lot of support but it gets done with good marks andRead More →

As the severity of the situation began to sink in just over a week ago and the rumours about school closures began to intensify, the numbers attending steadily decreased.  By the final day of school, attendance wasn’t far off 50% and it showed – complete rows of dinner tables not set up, lots of space in the playground and less outside noise at break time which was probably the strangest thing to get used to. The children adapted readily as they do; news headlines heard but not fully understood made for some interesting retelling at the beginning of the piece but gave way to acceptanceRead More →

Myself and the youngest were to go off to London for a few days and had been researching things to do when we were down.  One of the trips was to be either the Dungeons or the Tower of London with its tombs, the latter being my preferred choice as I thought it might be more meaningful.  The bairn preferred the theatre and location of the Dungeons however and neither of us were for giving in. Parental responsibility took over and I decided that it would be the Tower and so went to the website to book tickets.  I got no further than the firstRead More →