Cat Stew

Sometimes wonderful views take your breath away. This was taken on our last holiday. While my partner and son slept I would sneak out for an early morning run. The run would take me along a path which ran along the edge of Lake Thun. It was just stunning.

Sometimes it’s other things that take your breath away.

Last night I had made a stew. I left my steaming plate of food on the kitchen table while I delivered our son his stew and 2 tons of tomato ketchup. Crash. On my return to the kitchen I had an out of body experience. We have a very accident prone boy cat. Yes you have guessed it. He was lying in my stew. Waiter there appears to be a cat in my food. He was covered in gravy and vegetables completely oblivious to the world. He seemed most puzzled when I pushed him onto the floor. He was even more puzzled and slightly terrified as the dog decided to feast on the four legged plate. My option b meal, a cuppa soup was far less appetising.

I’m still finding bits of stew strewn around the house.

Usually the dog won’t have anything to do with the boy cat. His bestie is the girl cat. However today it’s a different story. Now he’s discovered the boy cats talent as a mobile dinner plate. He is hopefully following him around trying to be friends. Let’s hope the boy cat has learnt his lesson as tonight it’s a curry.

Like a Swiss Train

Dad if the bus was like a Swiss Train then I might be happier about getting it everyday”

My son if it was like a Swiss Train and served the same chocolate I would live on the bus. To someone who has been brought up on the infamous UK train network the concept of clean, comfortable and sometimes opulent carriages is rather alien. That’s before we even think about precision punctuality and a nice food service.

I remember waiting for a train in Switzerland one morning when the station announcer informed us that an avalanche had blocked the track (the announcement was in 4 different languages). In the U.K. that would mean the track would be shut for about 9 months. Or if our Prime Minister is sorting it out maybe never. A few minutes later the station master started speaking to all the people waiting on the platform. In perfect English he informed me that the specialist team was on site and he genuinely seemed horrified that the train would be late. After a couple of minutes it was announced that the avalanche had been cleared and they were deeply sorry that the train would be 10 minutes late. Ten Minutes……

Son survived today’s bus trip but it wasn’t a bundle of laughs. Although he did appreciate Dads attempt at a slushy drink when he came home. The dog enjoyed chasing the ice around the kitchen when someone forgot to put a lid on the blender. Silly dad.

When budgets are tight it is difficult for councils to run a school bus service. We actually should be thankful that we have one. But the school bus run is often so difficult for many kids, especially those spectrum kids. I’m not sure I like that phrase for some reason, may not use that again.

So many factors contribute to the difficult school journey:

  • Different drivers everyday. Our son would really appreciate just one familiar face and it spooks him when a new driver appears,
  • Frequently dirty bus interiors. Let’s be polite and say they tend to be not that clean. Again to someone who hates touching potentially dirty surfaces this is not conducive to a relaxing trip,
  • Poor behaviour. I think the term bear pit comes to mind. To someone who finds social settings challenging this type of behaviour is really distressing,
  • Different sized buses used daily. Because of his Aspergers he likes routine. Not knowing what type of bus will turn up can and does disorientate him. It is a big issue if the bus randomly changes from minibus, to medium size bus, to large super coach,
  • Because the bus size changes and the large number of kids using the bus, seating position is random. On an ideal day he can have a window seat by himself just behind the driver. However when smaller buses turn up, seating is restricted so he is often forced to sit next to someone who he probably does not know. This is an absolute nightmare for an Aspergers kid.
  • The buses have such a tight timetable. On arriving at school the kids only have a few minutes to get to the first class. If you are late you get an automatic negative. After the final lesson the kids only have 10 minutes to get on the bus before it leaves. Added to this it is a big school site and also due to its age it’s a bit of a maze. That’s a lot to cope with especially for someone who can go into meltdown when he needs to rush and who struggles with the concept of time. He also takes a lot longer to pack his bags and put things like coats on. It’s a recipe for anxiety and stress.

I haven’t got an answer. I have contacted the school and council. Our Health Service has repeatedly raised similar concerns in connection with many of its patients. Nothing changes. My last offer was that I would be more than happy to volunteer to work with the authorities in designing the next tender process for school services. I suspect I know the two word answer to that, something like **** off. In an ideal world we could get the Swiss Public Transport experts to run the school bus. That would be problem solved and wow the chocolate…..

Wheelbarrow Train of Pain….

Parenting is a great but frustrating gig. You think you have cracked it and then it bites you on the bottom. As annoyed as I was this morning it is now out of my system. So many kind words eased the pain….I can’t thank you guys enough.

Anxiety and frustration builds. It makes you tired and makes you do strange things. I always look at it like a house. Everything is fine and then something goes wrong. A pipe bursts. The house starts to fill with water. The pressure builds. The first thing you need to do is release the water pressure. Find a window or door to open. Once the pressure is released then you can fix the pipe. Everyone has to find their own window to open. It will be different for each person.

In my case I did have a rather foolish window. When the frustration built I would go outside and literally find a wall to punch. Not good. Going back to my house analogy. I am no Captain America or Hulk. As hard as I punch the wall I’m not going to break through and release the water.

But a few months ago I found a new window to open. This one seems to work and is also scalable. When the frustration builds I go outside to our wheelbarrow. Fill it with all the stones, bricks and sandbags I can find. Then I push it round the garden. It’s hard work on the grass and slight slope. For minor frustrations I do one circuit of the garden. The greater the frustration the more circuits I do. Todays was a 10 circuit frustration. I call it my Wheelbarrow Train of Pain. It does relieve my frustrations and is quite good fitness training. The dog frequently adds his own dynamic to the circuit.

Our son just laughs at the Wheelbarrow Train of Pain. He is trying to convince me to modify it. His idea is rather than increase the number of circuits I should do just one circuit but reduce the amount of clothes I wear according to the frustration level. As a result a defcon 4 frustration would see a very cold and naked man pushing his wheelbarrow. Thats not a pleasant thought. Not at all.

Bad parenting

First taste of winter. Hardly alpine skiing conditions but at least it feels like winter. In some parts of Austria they have had 10 feet of snow falling over just 15 days. England grinds to a halt when we get 6 inches…..

Our son had been clinging onto the hope of a Monday school closure. I always suspected he would be disappointed. The school has many faults but it does seem immune to the weather. It never seems to close.

It feels so cold in my heart today.

You get mornings when you are tired and then you get mornings when you are TIRED. Today I just can’t get going. Lack of sleep eventually gets to everyone. It did this morning and I hate it.

As the school bus trundled down the road.

“Dad I don’t want to get on the bus, will you drive me”.

I realise how daunting that trip is to our son and my usual answer would be – don’t worry, no harm done let’s get in the car.

Not today……..

Today I told him to get onto the bus. As soon as he was on the bus my mind had cleared. What was I thinking of. What a prat…

Am I just looking for excuses. Probably it’s just down to awful parenting. Part of me is hoping I can blame fatigue. The other part of my brain is looking to give myself a good kicking. Will certainly try to make it up to the little fella tonight. Must raise my game, son deserves better than this…..

Tell a Story

Thank you to Pensivity101 so much for the tell a story nomination. The picture below has been kindly provided to base a story on.

This took me completely out of my comfort zone. Apologies in advance if it’s not very good – not done this sort of thing before. But it was fun.

The cold icy breath. So cold so harsh. No remorse. No forgiveness. False love.

Imprisoned. Shackled in this world. No release. No hope. Isolation.

Am I trapped within the ring or shackled by wearing it. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters any more. Trapped in a faceless world. A world of grey. A world of nothingness. Constant pressure crushing my body. Restricting my breath. Silencing my screams. That cold breath. Professing love but feeding on my soul.

That is my life, my torture, entombed by that RING.

*******************

Well that went somewhere I wasn’t planning. My idea was to make it funny, sort of went a bit off track. SORRY.

I now have to nominate 3 bloggers with the invitation to write a story or poem from my choice of picture, then pass on the invite to another three and their choice and so on and so forth.

Nominations please only do this if you really want to do this. Completely no obligation.

Jean Lee

Cosmic Observation

Emerging from the dark night

The picture

A Star Weekend

I was corresponding with a really good friend this morning. Corresponding that’s a good word and I can’t remember ever using it before. Anyway during the corresponding (that’s twice now) a long forgotten memory popped into my head.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..

In a time before my partner,before our Son, before Aspergers…

A friend had seen an advert for a reasonably local Star Wars Convention. It was decided that a small an exclusively stupid group would partake in the trip. A plan was formed involving fancy dress, a pre Convention drinking event and attendance at the aforementioned convention. What could go wrong…..

So a few weeks later I was sat on a train next to Darth Vader. In the seats opposite we had Hans Solo and Yoda. I myself being Obi-wan. Oh the looks we got.

The pre Convention drinking event was indeed just a little bit drunken. Strangely the Star Wars characters found much competition with a myriad of Stag and Hen night ragalia. A particular mention has to go to Darth Vader who could not get to grips with a revolving dance floor.

The morning after found a hotel room with sore heads and a few costume issues. Darth Vader and Hans Solo still almost intact. Unfortunately Yoda had forgotten to bring his green makeup with him and looked rather ungreen after the nights festivities. Unfortunately his pillow was now distinctly green. Meanwhile Obi was a sorry sight. I had lost my light sabre and false beard. When I say lost I mean that they had been confiscated by the nightclub bouncers as offensive weapons. Plus my Jedi cape was last seen on the revolving dance floor. Bizarrely I was twice asked why my Captain Kirk costume was so rubbish.

So while the others had a late breakfast I set off in search of a new Obi costume and some Yoda face paint. Unfortunately Northern cities don’t tend to have a Star Wars Costumes R Us. After two hours no luck. However as it was October I could find plenty of Halloween stuff. So I eventually returned with a Dracula costume. My thinking was as Christopher Lee had played both Count Dooku and Count Dracula, I could go as a vampire Count Dooku. Unfortunately the only face paint I could find was red. So Yoda went to the dark side and became an odd looking Sith Lord.

So we headed off to the Star Wars Convention in good heart. Just outside the event the others headed for a public toilet so I entered the hall first. Most odd many posters of the Starship Enterprise – I cant remember seeing Han Solo flying that. Then it dawned on me. This wasn’t a Star Wars Convention it was a Star Trek Convention. Thinking quickly I told the ticket person that I may have a passing resemblance to a vampire but in fact I was a replica of a Klingon Bird of Prey. A few minutes later Darth Vader strode magnificently into the hall. He was soon surrounded by a group of rather none too pleased Spocks and Kirks. AWKWARD.

Balls

Our son has just recently found the delights of football. It started with the rapid development of an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things football. The other night we did a quiz on World Cup finals. The question was can you name the venue, finalist and winner of each of the World Cup finals since 1930. I got about 50% correct. Unbelievably our son got 100%. Added to that he managed to name most of the top goal scorers, losing semi finalists and England’s performance.

I just can’t comprehend that level of memory recall. His brain encyclopaedia is not just in the form of a football edition. He has a mini library of encyclopaedias stored.

  • British Kings and Queens edition: He can name the key details and order of reign of each British Monarch since King Harold (1066),
  • Roman Emperors edition: Recently he managed to name 30 Emperors, the approximate reign date, key conquests and which had been murdered,
  • Egyptian Pharaohs edition: Again he can name a frightening number of Pharaohs and key notoriety’s,
  • Birds of Prey’s and Animals edition: Astonishing detailed knowledge of many living creatures. At his last school the teacher would ask our Son to help with the facts for lessons involving animals,
  • Dinosaurs edition: Can visually identify a large range of dinosaurs. Can list things like which time period a dinosaur existed in, size and things like hunting/feeding style.
  • Pokémon edition: Can identity virtually all the Pokemon, which region they exist in, battle styles and evolution family.

I can just about remember my car registration number….

Anyway back to football.

Unusually his interest in football has progressed to actually wanting to play the game. It would be oh so much easier for him if football was a game you could play by yourself. His dream is to become a football goalkeeper. He has started practicing in the garden. Unfortunately he is really self conscious and is always double checking to make sure nobody is watching him. As a result he prefers to practice when it is dark. We don’t have any floodlights and the garden is really dark. This makes the practice very difficult.

But a solution has been found. A football the lights up – it runs on batteries. It was really cheap but it is fantastic. It feels like a normal ball but just glows. Now we can practice all night long. It’s one of the best things we have ever bought. Just can’t remember where I bought it from…..

Sunshine Blogger Award – Revenge of the Dalek

I was always a bit scared on Daleks. Thankfully it wasn’t just me. I remember going to a football match and the man behind me had an out of body experience. This chap was well over 6ft, heavily tattooed, built like a Terminator and clearly not adverse to the occasional punch up. He was talking to his friend about the new series of Dr Who. When his friend mentioned the return of the Daleks and their new powers – the poor chap let out a terrified squeal

bloody hell they can fly”.

They might have been scary and evil universal overlords however they had a weakness. They couldn’t manage steps… But now they have evolved and can hover.

As well as the evolution had gone they had just suffered a heavy beating from our two cats and a dog. It was no contest. The Daleks had become a defeated race. Or had they. During the night I needed a drink of water. So I quietly and barefootedly made my way in the dark to the kitchen. Then I screamed in pain. A very loud scream. Standing on a little toy Dalek is pain off the scale. Anybody who has stood on a lego piece will know that pain. So I wrote off the Daleks way too soon.

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Thank you to Rachel Hill for the Sunshine Blogger Award and your really kind words. If you like great travel writing then please check out Rachel’s site.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Rachel’s Qustions

How do you decide which blogs to follow?

Maybe just a post that catches my eye, makes me smile, cry or think.

Do you follow people who have different backgrounds, cultures and politics to you?

I hope so.

Can someone have different politics to you but still be a good person in your eyes?

Yes. Politics is different today. Symbolised by hatred, aggression, lack of tolerance. But it doesn’t have to be like that. One picture for me demonstrates this. It’s from a few years back and features the three main British Party Leaders. Different views but with respect for each other.

Do you connect with other bloggers on a personal level?

Yes. Been so lucky to connect with some wonderful bloggers who are now good friends.

Do you read all the blogs you follow?

Somedays yes, somedays no. But if I don’t I try to save the posts for later. Sleepless nights are great for going through the saved posts.

What is your opinion on blogging every day?

It’s whatever people want or are able to do. I do it everyday now as it is such a great stress busting release for me.

Do you like getting a post from the same blogger each day, or do you find you can’t keep up?

Some bloggers I wish they blogged every hour. Occasionally it can be frustrating when you get a Blogger release about one a minute for three hours.

Do you sometimes think what’s the point (in blogging)?

No.

And do you sometimes soar with happiness when posting a good blog post, reading a good blog, or making a connection in the comments sections and think, ‘Yes, this is everything!’?

I get really nervous when I blog. I look at a lot of bloggers and they are so professional, so gifted and so imaginative. Often think what the hell am I doing this for, it’s just not good enough. But each day you read so many brilliant posts from so many gifted talents. Just makes you realise what a great world we live in.

Therefore is blogging a metaphor for life in general?

Yes

When was the last time you felt really happy?

Before the world changed. It’s a different kind of happiness now.

Nominations

Open this up to anyone who has never been nominated before, you do deserve it. I also open this up to anyone with a Dalek phobia…

150 miles apart

Son just looked at me with that knowing smile.

Well played Dad”

He is accustomed to the occasional mess up. I like to think that it’s all part of his educational journey. You can learn from the best but wow you can learn from the worst….

Our son really loves rock music. One of the few public gatherings he actually looks forward to is a rock concert. He has seen Iron Maiden, Hollywood Vampires, The Darkness and The Damned. This year is promising to to be a good one with a number of concerts already booked. Bank Manager not best pleased. The bookings is today’s educational cockup learning event.

Somehow Dad has managed to book for us to see Thunder in York and on the same night Ozzy Osbourne 150 miles away. That might cause a few logistical issues.

So what to do.

Our son has not seen either acts. His Dad has seen Oswald but never Thunder. I have really wanted to see Thunder for about 25 years. Only thing to do is let our son decide.

A decision I would have agonised over for days was dealt with in seconds by the logical Aspergers mind.

I would like to see both bands Dad. One is a legend the other is a favourite of my Dads. Both are great live. Thunder will hopefully be going for years. However Ozzy is Ozzy. It’s unbelievable that he’s lasted this long. Probably last time we will be able to see him. Let’s see Ozzy and hope we see Thunder maybe next year.”

Decision made. I can give my tickets to my brother in law.

“But Dad since we are talking Ozzy and anything can happen with him. Can we hold onto the Thunder tickets until the last minute – just in case.”

Cryogenics v Books

I was reading a little bit of a Carl Sagan’s Book to our son. Our son asked me to reread a couple of quotes.

We are like butterflies who flutter for day and think it is forever”

“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors”

We then had a long chat about life, death and living forever. Cryogenics came up.

It got me thinking maybe books are a better bet than cryogenics. If you are talented enough to become a book author then your words can live forever. Books are so much cheaper. Books are not as frigidly cold and far more illuminating. I think Carl would vote for books.

Thank you for reading this

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