Last-minute homework

It’s the week before the Great Return and last-minute homework projects are being discovered…

back to school sign


It’s that time in the holidays when people discover they have a homework project to do. Only son revealed on Wednesday a Japanese project. I have asked if any more projects will surface – peak project time is usually 9.30pm on the day before they go back – and he swears that there is nothing else. We’ll see.

I was feeling slightly worried that he was spending a lot of time on the computer – it’s only of my perpetual worries and all attempts to get him interested in a non-screen activity have failed miserably – until he showed me what he had spent his time doing the other day. He had created a computer game which included what looked a bit like a blue black hole, if such a thing exists, lots of circles inside circles, all of different shades and all pulsating. He explained what he had had to bring the hole to life. It seemed to involve very detailed mathematical and creative skills. I was very impressed.

All attempts at getting him to read have failed, however. The other day he chose to come on a walk instead of reading three pages of his book. I feel like all my ploys to make him read are making him detest books so I may need to back off and consider other, perhaps more subtle tactics.

The same goes for nature documentaries. I tried to get him into Chris Packham’s Earth. How can he not be interested in the history of the Earth? My partner and I were enthralled by tales of the mass extinction that happened 252 million years ago. Only son was indifferent. The conclusion was that the Earth will survive and renew, but at what cost. I’m reading a book on Biocentrism at the moment. The basic thrust is that the universe is all part of our consciousness and therefore time and space don’t really exist. I’m not sure I’ve fully grasped it yet – it’s based on quantum physics – but it makes me feel closer, somehow, to daughter one who was always saying that time doesn’t really exist. I feel I’m talking to her when I read it.

The criminal justice process relating to her death has been much on my mind of late with the whole debate over whether criminals should be brought to court to hear their sentence. On Wednesday came the announcement that the Government may be doing something about it. I will wait to read the small print as it’s complicated terrain. I only hope victims and their families get to be heard. There is so much in the justice system that makes things worse for them.

On first reading it seems like the changes are mainly about extra sentences for those who fail to come to court in cases where the maximum sentence is life. In our case – death by dangerous driving – the maximum sentence was 14 years. This has since changed. On the news people say that failure to appear in court is only happening in a few high-profile cases. Do we know that? I would think it may be more widespread than people think. That’s certainly what I was told by a crime correspondent way back in 2020. The high-profile cases get the headlines, but it’s important to make sure that justice works for everyone.

Some have pointed out that the impact statement is meant to be for the judge and not the defendant. That’s true, but you can choose to just submit it in writing to the judge or read it out in court. I chose to read it out because I wanted the defendant to hear it and to know who daughter one was and what he had done. For me knowing the enormity of what was lost was part of his sentence. We carry that loss for ever.

The other day I was trying to get only son  to get off the computer. Wrongly, I brought up the fact that daughter one would have had words to say [I can so hear her voice saying “I don’t want my son to be a nerd”]. His computer is surrounded by photos of her. “She wouldn’t care,” he said. Oh, but she would. She would care greatly. She adored everything about only son. At university she hung on every text message I sent to let her know what he was doing. On one occasion I said he was playing guitar in assembly. Even though she was probably half asleep, the reply came instantly – ‘I want to come’. The sense of loss is everywhere, every minute of every day and sometimes it drowns you.

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