but since I am currently in Peterborough with Simon an update is apt!
We have had a fine time together, going to Ottawa last weekend for the long weekend. We did not see the best of Ottawa as it was so very cold, -29! We spent an interesting day at the Museum of Canadian History, previously known as the Museum of Civilisation. We arrived early and made our way slowly through the Viking exhibition which was fascinating, onto Canadian history and the First Peoples, then into the Children’s Museum to see the Thomas the Tank exhibition. I have to say that Simon’s train set rivals that which was in the exhibition! The following day we braved the cold to go to Parliament Hill, booked a tour for later in the day, and headed for the Byford Markets. There was no market that we could find, a hot chocolate to warm us up as we walked back for our tour, which was really interesting, the Parliament building is a small version, inside, of the Houses of Parliament. Our favourite part was the library, a beautiful circular building with a double layer of wooden balconies running around the outside, smelling of wood and old books. We admired the 360 degree views of Ottawa from the Peace Tower, and paid our respects to the fallen in the Memorial Chapel. Onto the park with the ice sculptures, unfortunately mostly melted away by the warm temperatures of the previous weekends! a quick peek at the Rideau Canal, the longest skating rink in the world, some 5 miles long, along which people skate to school and work throughout the winter! By now we were seriously cold, back tour hotel for a swim and room service! We couldn’t face the cold again!
We went to the Canadian War Museum the following morning before heading back to Peterborough in the afternoon. This was another fascinating museum, with a special exhibition about the role of women in the First and Second World Wars. The story of war in Canadian history was shocking, I had had no idea how violent and bloody a history Canada has. Then onto Canada’s role in the First World War, in which 60,000 men were lost and on into the Second World War, I saw Hitler’s car but I had had enough of war by then. The waste of lives and sad stories of returning soldiers was too terrible and, for me, unlike the Museum of Human Rights, there didn’t seem to be much that was positive that came out of all the horror.
Back to Peterborough, back to Arrowsmith. We had a meeting with Matt and Mrs Gunning, Simon’s academic teacher, about what the future holds for Simon and how they will work to get him ready for it. He is keen to do a course in Child Care and they both have exciting ways to work with Simon so he will be prepared for life after Arrowsmith.
On Saturday Simon meets with his tutor, Nell, and they cover a lot of ground in the two hours they have together! Simon is reading the Hatchet series and has to do regular book reports. They have also studied all sorts of things that Simon never had the opportunity to study whilst at school, so now he knows how fireworks work, what is found in the deep sea and quite a bit about space amongst other things!
He showed me his folder of all the work he has done with Nell – it was massive and very impressive! One of the questions that Nell had asked him, after reading Hatchet and talking about how the main character, Brian, had changed after his experience, was this:
If you could give advice to a new student moving to Peterborough and coming to Arrowsmith, what would you tell them?
Simon’s reply was:
Keep in contact with your family and friends, especially when you miss them.
School is murder, but it works. Your brain will hurt a lot – you should let it hurt and rest. Let it do its own thing.
Put a lot of pictures up to make you feel more at home. Explore Peterborough.
If you need help at first, get someone from home to come with you.
Not bad advice, eh?