Waiting

Apparently a heatwave is about to hit Western Europe. I’m not sure the required paperwork and clearances have been signed off for Yorkshire yet. As a result it’s gone back to cold, cloudy and very wet. Here this is called proper weather.

Anyway let’s see if the much vaunted hot stuff arrives. Knowing our luck it could be a long wait. But we are accustomed to waiting for things.

  • Snow at Christmas … 10 years
  • My so called football team winning a domestic trophy … 64 years
  • A U.K. Van Halen Tour … 35 years
  • Last Total Solar Eclipse in Yorkshire … 92 years, next U.K. one 2090

We can add to these the following waits.

  • Bereavement counselling for son … over 2 years and counting
  • Waiting to have son’s dyslexia initially assessed by an Education Psychologist … over 3 years
  • Aspergers Review and Assessment … 2 years
  • Dedicated Aspergers Therapy … 1 year
  • Anxiety Therapy … 6 months
  • Speech Therapy … 4 years
  • Paediatrician Assessment … 1 year
  • Parent Training on Autism … Never going to happen So far 5 years

You get the picture. Nothing comes easy. As a parent. As an Autism Parent. As a Aspie Parent. You have to push for the support your kid needs. Constantly chasing up contacts. Everyday seems like a new or recurring battle. Letter after letter. Chasing up phone calls. That’s something which isn’t mentioned when you start your new life journey. You sort of assume that the professional help will be there when you need it. You quickly find out that the professional help is withheld or is delivered at times to suit the system rather than the child.

What the system doesn’t seem to appreciate is that you get such a short window of time to foster real progress. As one psychologist said

Up to about 14 years is the development sweet spot. That’s when the real, long lasting progress is usually made. That’s when you have a chance to start closing the educational gap. After that it becomes increasingly difficult. If it’s left too long then its probably just about trying to stop the educational gap widening too quickly.

The frustration that causes you. It’s hard to explain that feeling. Maybe constantly walking in treacle. Every step forward is such an effort and yet you are so far away from your destination. But the fight has to be fought. As long as our son wants me to keep pushing then I will keep pushing. That’s what parents do.

Sherlock’s Yorkshire Canon

Last night we sat down to watch a couple of episodes from the wonderful Sherlock TV series. One of which was the Hound of The Baskervilles. Or as my helpful word checker wants to autocorrect to – the Hound of the Basketballs – that would be a slam dunker of a book. It is the episode where Holmes and Aspergers are specifically referenced. When Lestrade talks about the great detectives awful people skills Watson specifically mentions Aspergers. I could see no apparent reaction from our son.

However later the following was said

I know it helps explain Sherlock’s character and his abruptness with others. And it’s kinda nice that the we get a hero with autism. But people will start to think that we are all brilliant, unfeeling and very very odd. Definitely psychotic. One day we will get a character who is just in the middle.”

He is so right. It’s called a spectrum for a reason. Labels just don’t fit. The media focus on the extreme ends but hardly ever look at the middle. But that’s the media and entertainment for you. It’s like when we crashed into the world of single parenting, single father parenting. I remember having a similar conversation

Why do so many movies and TV shows depict the single dad as a suicidal drinker obsessed with dating sites and clearly unable to cope with at least one wild child who has gone bad and needs saving.

Currently sat here with a herbal tea and listening to classical music. That’s not going to make for an interesting movie. Anyway back to Sherlock. We sat enjoying the episode when two thoughts struck me.

ONE: Sherlock was one of my partners favourite TV shows. We are watching her DVDs. She should be sat next to our son enjoying the experience. Life is not fair.

TWO: Looking round at the room. It’s a mess. She would kill me.

So this morning before the dog walk into the strangely blue skied Yorkshire countryside I had a major cleanup. Even put the Sherlock DVDs neatly back in the box. Then on the walk I almost could here her voice saying ‘stop taking so many photos’ so I only took the one this morning. Rather than snap away I looked at the view, imagined a demon hound stalking Dartmoor and I wondered what a Yorkshire themed Sherlock would sound like.

Ferret of the Baskervilles

A study in rhubarb

A scandal in Barnsley

The adventure of the missing Yorkshire Pudding

The adventures of the crooked Lancashire man

The adventures of the Yorkshire Terriers Main.

As much as I love Yorkshire thank god Sherlock was based in London.

Kapellbrücke

Not often am I speechless. But walking along a centuries old wooden structure trying to work out if I should look at the glorious Swiss mountains, or if I should look at the beautiful city architecture, or the beautiful alpine river, or the stunning historical artwork or just look at one of the worlds greatest bridges.

Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) is a glorious wooden bridge which runs over the river in Lucerne. The bridge was erected in 1365. It is the oldest surviving Truss Bridge in the world. In 1993 a devastating fire struck the bridge almost destroying it. Before the fire 147 of the original 17th century paintings were on display in the bridge. After the fire only 30 could be saved. But the bridge was restored to its former glory and reopened a year later.

Frustration today. I came across these photos which jogged so many wonderful memories. But I can’t find the photos of the bridge interior or the family enjoying the experience. Particularly poignant as only 2 of the party of 4 are still here today. Almost like the bridges artwork. But the search continues. Kapellbrücke should be on any bucket list of things you need to see before you …..

What is it

Million’s of years of evolution, survival of the fittest and we get to this. I’m not sure how I would describe this. Hairy, messy, scruffy, bizarre, bouffant, lazy, crazy wig, fur ball explosion.

Clearly he is taking his guard dog duties seriously. Like a coiled spring primed to leap into action.

But even when he is comatosed he makes you smile. Makes you forget how crap life is some days. And another key point. I can guarantee that when he does return to our world then his eyes will open and that tail will go into hyper action. Unconditional love – maybe just for his toy crocodile but it’s still love. But given that seriously geared up tail no wonder Muttley could fly.

So you return with the physio’s words ringing in your ear

I’m not so saying never again but just don’t expect to be running anytime soon.

That’s feels like another kick in the nether regions. Yet within a few seconds a hairy bundle of smelly dogness has managed to banish those thoughts. When you look around you can find stuff that makes you smile and makes you feel alive again. Keep looking and you just might find that Hulk Buster Suit.

Thank goodness for pets….

Soulless

That pesky grief monster sneaking up on innocent folks again. Should be a law about that. On sorry I forgot our Government ceased being a viable legislative body two years ago. Still we can look forward to Johnson or Hunt now. OMG. One is a self serving buffoon who dresses up outrageous racist comments as free direct speech. A man whose middle name should be dishonesty. The other is a man who forgot which country his wife was born in (supposed to be our Foreign Secretary) and who wilfully wrecked our NHS.

So no help coming from the Government any time soon then.

I was having a 50 minute walk – can’t believe how much I miss my runs. Tired but been worse. Then out from a side path a couple emerged. Holding hands and clearly so in love. Suddenly waves of grief and remorse smash me into the ground.

That was us a few years ago…

We should be still holding hands today…

Those days have gone…

Suddenly I feel very tired, very old and very broken.

It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.

An hour later I’m back at work but basically I’m going through the motions. My heart is trapped in a different year. It’s unlikely that it will be released. I feel soulless, yes that’s the word, SOULLESS. Just an empty shell. Just focus on that one job – give our son the best childhood possible. That gives me a purpose. Something to keep me going.

Terrible Poetry Contest

I’m still thinking about a new hobby. Maybe I should try poetry. As son says ‘more time spent writing poems means less time to burn things in the kitchen’. Any way I’m going to have another go at Chelsea Owens weekly terrible poetry competition.

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Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. The Topic is a repeated number. Pick a number, any number, and use it a lot throughout your poem.
    Besides children singing pop songs, I loathe when I have to sit through everyone using the same prompt word for 500 entries. So, irritate me.
  2. Keep the Length shorter than 150 words, so I don’t jump out any windows.
  3. Please Rhyme in terribly, horribly, no-good, very bad ways.
  4. If you can’t tell already, make it terrible. I want crazy people to look at you in fear and for the survivors of Lostto beg you not to repeat that same number again…
  5. Keep things PG or cleaner; there’s no need for crude numerals.

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Again I am hampered with the PG rating. Maybe I should pick a subject which doesn’t make my blood boil. Maybe it’s Gerbils next week. Well it’s a blood boiler this week. It’s the fiasco which is called the UK Government and the ongoing new PM selection process – that’s the one that doesn’t involve the general public.

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Two years for Brexit

Two years and still no exit

Two Prime Minister candidates left

Two Blokes from the right

Two Privileged Backgrounds

Two supporters of hunting with Foxhounds

Two so called men of the people

Two big personalities who loath the townspeople

Two prize A buffoons

Two politicians so easy to lampoon

Two conservatives who love the tycoon

Two elitists who exist for the silver spoon

Two visions which only bring despair and gloom

Two numpties living in a policy vacuum

Two muppets who are so out of tune

Sadly one to be PM in June.

Grounded

Getting older is great for your body. I wish I could have my body from when I was 30. Hang on it was buggered then, just dislocated my shoulder playing football. I wish I had my body from when I was 25. Hang on I had just dented my rib cage playing cricket. I wish I had my body from when I was 20. Hang on I had just cracked my skull open playing rugby. I wish I had Thor’s body from before the Endgame.

Playing contact sport is basically bad for you.

Since the world changed I have focused on our son. But that is not completely sustainable. You do need to find time for yourself. If only to help manage stress levels. My anchor has been fitness and home workouts. Thirty minutes a day as a minimum. It worked until I realised I needed to stop myself becoming completely housebound. Couldn’t afford a gym so it was running. Again it worked well. But then the buggered body caught up with me again. So until a physiotherapist can have a look at me I am banned from running and weightlifting.

So the two things which have kept me sane over the last couple of years have suddenly become unavailable. Hopefully temporarily but you never know.

So I need to find something – a new anchor. But what? Climbing but that is far too risky and we are short of mountains round here. Cycling and walking would be good options but time constraints limit their appeal. Maybe not a sport then. Shockingly it might have to be a hobby.

  • Yoga – good for stress but I have the balance of a drunk three legged mountain goat
  • Dedicate time for reading – that could work, keep moaning about not reading enough
  • Write a book – possibly a cook or baking book….
  • Astronomy – time at night is a premium plus this is Yorkshire otherwise known as Cloudsville.
  • Birdwatching – another possible option and might meet others (even if they have feathers and a beak)
  • Learn another language – the nearest classes are many miles away and learning languages other than English will probably be outlawed after Brexit
  • Photography – only available camera is on my battered many years old iPhone
  • Gardening – who am I kidding, I am a plant mass murderer
  • Gaming – certainly not stress relieving
  • Painting – even messed up a paint by numbers Mona Lisa
  • Learn to play an instrument – would find a use for that keyboard I bought our son as a present, the one he asked for which apparently was supposed to be a gaming keyboard
  • Knitting – my knitting skills are only matched by my baking skills
  • Tree Shaping – we only have two small trees
  • Extreme Ironing – far too dangerous for me

So many options to ponder over. I will find a hobby. I have to if I’m going to pull this single parenting gig off. Asked our son and he helpfully suggested

Does sleeping count as a hobby”

Exploding kettle

You know it’s going to be a long day when you wake up as a zombie. You stumble into the kitchen. You switch on the kettle. Then you get a bright flash and a deafening bang. The kettle joins the long line of broken appliances. A nice cup of cold water doesn’t quite cure zombieism as well as a dark brooding cup of coffee sludge. So we struggle on in a permanent haze.

Simple work tasks suddenly became modern day Rubik cube tortures.

Attaching a new belt to the hoover – a five minute job usually turned out to be as difficult as splitting an atom.

Trying to organise a few appointments for our son – might as well have been trying to schedule the next Guns and Roses World Tour.

Trying to activate my new Bank Card over the phone was equivalent of trying to authenticate nuclear launch codes.

A simple freeze wrap food parcel took on the same properties as Adamantium. My lunch wasn’t going to get consumed today.

Unbelievably the sun made an appearance for two hours this afternoon. Just enough time to take the dog for a reasonably dry walk and cut the the grass. Only just enough time. Sat looking at a unresponsive lawnmower for thirty minutes. The last ten of those minutes involved a carefully selected fault finding approach involving a hammer and my boot. Eventually the penny dropped and I realised that it would actually help if I inserted the 36v battery into the cordless mower. As I get older I become more like Daddy Pig from Peppa Pig. Luckily I just about finished the lawn before the weather closed in. The next rain event has now arrived. Looking at the forecast the next lawn cutting window is probably well into 2020.

So today was a bit of a write off. Strangely microwaved coffee doesn’t seem to taste so good. Boiling water on the oven just takes too long – sorry mum and dad. So tomorrow will start with another cup of cold water. Then it’s an urgent trip to the shops for a non exploding kettle.

Downsizing a bit more

Following on from this mornings Downsizing Post I had a few really nice direct messages. I had one asking if the above Chateau was mine. Can I just re-stress (certainly for tax purposes) that it isn’t mine. I have visited here twice.

I also had a couple of messages asking for the name of the Chateau. Sorry I didn’t include this in the original post.

It is Château de Chambord.

It’s a truly astonishing place, almost trapped in time. Got some great memories here so I will revisit Chambord soon. But here’s a little taster. Our bungalow has no stairs and at a push has 8 rooms. Château de Chambord has 440 rooms and 84 staircases.

Downsize

Do you think I should downsize? You didn’t know I had a decent size fish pond.

“dans mes rêves

I dread to think how much my house insurance would go up if I did live in a French chateau. I suspect my little hover mower would struggle a bit. The dog could do some serious digging here. Space and isolation would certainly not be a problem for our son.

Having a garden big enough to go for a long run would be fun. We could even be like Professor X and set up our own school here then we could tell the government to stuff off with its targets.

We were trying to do some work for our son’s end of year maths tests. Not one but two tests. It always fascinates me how his mind works. For example practicing some multiplications. I would write them down old school while he does them almost faultlessly in his head. How on earth can he do 55×23 or 78×33 in his head. That would be beyond me.

He can see numerical progression sequences so much quicker than I can. Working out ratios and percentages are easy for him. He can work out modes, medians and averages again in his head whereas I again have to write them down. This will cause him problems going forward in exams as he will need to show his workings.

Yet he just can’t process decimal points. Introduce a decimal point into the simplest of calculations and his onboard processor stops working. So for example 1897648+987985 can be done in his brain really quickly yet he is lost with 1.4+1.7. Similarly ask him to round up 14356965 to the nearest thousandth and it’s done instantly. Yet ask him to round 1.23 to one decimal place and again he is lost.

He’s got other black holes in maths. Apparently no clear rhyme or reason to these. A Clinical Psychologist referred to these as his Number Dyslexia. Another label which is not really understood. It wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in that French chateau but in our reality we will need to find a way of solving these riddles. It’s added to our to do list and we will crack on with them – at some stage. But first I need to go and clean my 1000 windows.