New game

We are always on the look out for new games. Son likes to spend time outside talking and having fun. Fun normally entails making up stories and playing silly mind games. Yesterday we started a new one.

Ok Dad I’m going to tell you a name or thing and you have to tell me the first words or first image that pops into your head”…

So here are some of the responses we mustered.

Donald Trump

  • Dad – Orange Turnip playing golf
  • Son – Orange hot air balloon

Summer

  • Dad – Cold
  • Son – Wet

Boris Johnson

  • Dad – Emperor Nero
  • Son – Clueless

McDonald’s

  • Dad – Burgers
  • Son – Rubbish buns

Cricket

  • Dad – Stick of Rhubard
  • Son – Boring

Frodo

  • Dad – Frodo getting to Mount Doom and realising he left the ring back in the Shire
  • Son – unwilling hero

Football

  • Dad – Newcastle United
  • Son – Chelsea

Sherlock Holmes

  • Dad – Reichenback
  • Son – Aspergers

ScoobyDoo

  • Dad – Jinkies
  • Son – Dad liking Thelma in the movie

King Richard III

  • Dad – White Rose
  • Son – Misunderstood

Wrestling

  • Dad – Hulk Hogan
  • Son – Edge

Dinosaurs

  • Dad – Dinosaur Train
  • Son – Jurassic Park

Brexit

  • Dad – Waking off a cliff edge
  • Son – My generation going to take us back into Europe

Muppets

  • Dad – Kermit
  • Son – Dad

The Avengers

  • Dad – Captain America
  • Son – Ironman

Childhood Hero

  • Dad – Captain Scarlett
  • Son – Batman

America

  • Dad – Grand Canyon
  • Son – Yellowstone

Pandemic

  • Dad – Masks
  • Son – Hand washing

School

  • Dad – Detention
  • Son – Homework

Bill & Ted

  • Dad – Medieval Dickweed (sorry first thing that popped in)
  • Son – Party on dudes

Mars

  • Dad – Chocolate bar
  • Son – Fourth Planet

Scotland

  • Dad – Deep Fried Mars Bar
  • Son – Macbeth

Braveheart

  • Dad – Freedom
  • Son – Mel Gibson’s accent

Avatar

  • Dad – Boring
  • Son – Why?

Star Wars

  • Dad – Obi-wan
  • Son – Darth Vader

Dad

  • Dad – erm Muppet
  • Son – definitely Muppet

Son

  • Dad – Tomato Ketchup
  • Son – Bigger than you….

Whitby

It feels like it’s been an eternity since we last took in some seaside air. I think it’s just under two years. TWO YEARS…. That must be my longest ever inland run. Especially not great when you are a seaside child, born on the North Yorkshire coast. One day with patience.

This is Whitby. Here’s a few random facts about this beautiful little town.

  • Captain James Cook lived here and his famous ship the Endeavour was built here.
  • Whitby has some of the best Fish and Chips on the planet.
  • The black semi-precious stone Whitby Jet.
  • Bram Stoker developed the idea of his Dracula book here. The opening chapters are set here. Also the idea of Dracula taking on the form of a huge black dog is based on local legends.

When I was a kid we would come here on a day trip by train. While my parents went about doing parenting things, I would be sent up the 199 steps to The Abbey which is in the background of the second photo. My job was to hunt for Dracula’s grave. I never did find it but maybe next time.

I’m not sure that time wasting parenting excuse would have any chance of success with our son. More chance of him convincing me to go. These days we come to Whitby for the chips, the ice cream, the beautiful beach and a bit of dinosaur fossil hunting. This part of the country has been named Jurassic Coast for the number of discoveries it yields. This is one of ours.

So let’s hope it’s not long before the fossil hunting is back underway.

Not my berries

Wild strawberries get everywhere. Now they have found a way into the large tub which contains the old blueberry bush. This raises one of the great life mysteries. Wild strawberries are cropping up all over the garden. Even on the stone drive. Yet I find it impossible to grow them when and where I want them to. Nothing ever happens with my strawberry seeds. Most frustrating….

So officially no work until September at the earliest now. I guess it gives me more time to tend my strawberries. But we are SO fortunate compared to many others. We have beautiful memories. We have a nice (if slightly chaotic) garden with a lovely view. We are relatively secluded. Son can feel safe here. We can scrape by and pay the bills. We can still have fun and enjoy life. Yes another 3 months of this self contained world can at times seem a claustrophobic thought. But that thought is there only if I let it exist. In reality I’m losing a few brief encounters, some knee jarring runs and an occasional trip out. Counter to that – Son is gaining a feeling of security. For that security I can more than cope with a few inconveniences. Everyday we still have the ability to create memories and live out our dreams. Maybe not my frequent night dreams featuring talking cows and dinosaurs. But you know what I mean.

So let’s be thankful for what we have. Let’s use what we have. Let’s remember to live.

Let’s take the time to watch the wild berries grow…

The other thing about the wild strawberries is that they don’t last long. The are stripped bare by our frequent garden visitors. That’s fine with me. I guess they were the ones who brought the seeds here in the first place. So they grew them, so why not let them enjoy the rewards. And the answer to the great life mystery. I should leave the gardening to the experts. The wildlife. Having said that – they don’t seem very willing to cut the lawn.

Pot of gold

As a kid I remember my parents telling me about the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The catch was that you had to run real fast as the Leprechauns would only wait long enough to down one Guinness. I didn’t fancy my chances today. Looks like the rainbow is at least three farm fields away. That includes the field with the giant, bad tempered bull and a large stream with the missing bridge (didn’t survive the last flood). Maybe next time.

Yes I know the Apple Tree needs a good trim. In my defence the last time I tried the tree fought back. I lost and ended up in the Accident Unit with an eye ball cut. Since then our only set of ladders has fallen apart. Replacement ones have to get in line with the other essential purchases. It’s going to be a long wait. With the pesky virus likely to significantly curtail my zero based hours contract, things are going to get tighter for a few months. A pot of gold in the garden would be nice. Knowing our luck it will end up on top of the Apple Tree and we won’t be able to reach it. Who needs money anyway. No guarantee that it buys you happiness. Look at the poor Leprechauns. An eternity just protecting a pot of gold. As good as a pint of Guinness is – surely there is more to life than that.

It was such a disappointment when I found out the science of rainbows. That’s another childhood belief which turns out to be a fairy tale. A large list of shattered dreams.

  • Rainbow Pot of Gold,
  • Easter Bunny,
  • Father Christmas,
  • Fairy rings,
  • Dragons,
  • Lightning was an angry dragon,
  • Tooth fairy,
  • Magic,
  • Man in the moon.

As I grew older more and more childhood beliefs went bust. The magic and awe in life slowly ebbing away. But to quote the XFILES – I Want to Believe. So I grimly hold onto the few which are still left. Ignoring the clear science because I Want to Believe. So in my eyes the Loch Ness Monster is still a possibility. Maybe a dino living in a deep loch cavern. My head wants to myth bust yet the heart still dreams of a Scottish Dragon.

The loss of magic and awe is a bummer. It’s a bummer for our son as well. I remember that dreaded Santa chat with the floods of tears. My tears as well. I remember the sadness of life unpicking childhood beliefs. I can see the same pain in our son. With his Aspergers traits he latches strongly onto these myths. They bring much needed warmth and magic to this cold, unforgiving alien world. I’ve told him that it’s always his choice what he believes or doesn’t believe in. Christmas now is not seen in terms of the magic of Santa but in the magic of Christmas. Some will say it’s bad parenting not to immediately disprove these fables. My take is life can be unremittingly grim, a little bit of hope, a sprinkle of magic can lift the heart. It’s good to dream. It’s lifts the heart and feeds the imagination. And just maybe brings a pot of gold.

Onomatopoeia

That jolly yellow thing in the sky is still here. Any longer and it might qualify for the Yorkshire Cricket Team. I understand it’s called The Sun. A simple name yet so confusing for kids like our Son. Is it a Sun or is it a Son.

So on to this weeks spelling test. Ok campers your simple words this week are

Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Simile, Metaphor, Slang, Rhetorically, Personification, Emotive, Language, Imagery, Verb, Adjective, Adverb.

See I predicted it was only a matter of time before the poor kids had to try and spell complex dinosaur names. The Onomatopoeia was always my favourite flying dinosaur…..

I think school probably thinks that the spellings are getting too easy so they have now added a twist. Previously the teacher would say the actual word to be spelt and the kids tried to write it down. This week the teacher won’t say the word. Instead she will read out a definition and the kids have to decide which word it describes – then spell it. Easy with Onomatopoeia as it will be the only dinosaur….. if only.

So the kids will have to work out which of the above words fits with what the teacher definitions are and then try to spell it. From definitions like these

This is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes

This is when something is said to be something else

A describing word. Sometimes there are three together to make it more effective

A word describing how something is done

This is the repetition of letter sound at the start of a word

What chance has a dyslexic kid got when he struggles to spell and as a result has never really understood the technicalities of the English Language. But what do I know. A simple parent compared to the might and intellectual magnificence of the current government education regime. As our PM’s Dad publicly stated when he stood in for his Son in an interview.

Spelling “Pinocchio? That requires a degree of literacy, which I think the great British public doesn’t necessarily have.”

Its hard being a PM so he only handpicks a few interviews these days. Better to send his Dad. But the message is clear. The great unwashed didn’t go to Eton and Oxford. They are basically illiterate. They need to be force fed things like spelling.

I am one of the great unwashed. An illiterate who went to a poor sinkhole Comprehensive School and only to the clearly unworthy Warwick University. Maybe we are illiterate for a reason. The dreadful state of our crumbling education system. An education system that lets down so many kids. Which discriminates against those who don’t fit the mould. Money allows you to buy a better education. The money which the PMs Dad easily forked out to send his Son to Eton. But in the real world the majority struggle on. Dealing with an education system which has been systematically screwed by those with a view of the world so like that of PM and his Dad.

I might not be able to spell Pinocchio but at least I know my pterodactyls from my Onomatopoeias.

It’s such a hard life

Time for some random words.

Subservient Tudor Expect Discipline Chaperone Accused Suspicious Breadwinner Complicated Stereotypical Shakespeare Elizabethan

A few beauties from this weeks school spelling test. Is this really a level playing field for kids with dyslexia. I remember joking that in a few months he will have to learn the spellings of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs like Micropachycephalosaurus. Well the way these spellings are going I’m not ruling it out now.

A bit of a test day today for me. Trying to work from home completing jobs usual done at the work base. Reassuringly it went well. So well that I managed to complete about an hour ahead of schedule. With an empty work list I managed to go for a run. A chilly and very windy run. It was also quite a ‘hurty’ one. I was convinced that my knee and foot were playing up. At the end the real reason became apparent. Thankfully not my body. The shoe soles had worn completely through. Might as well have just run in my socks. Captain Chaos was in raptures. Two old trainers and a pair of running socks to chew and bury. After a frantic hour of digging and re-digging the poor chap was tired out. He needed a few quiet moments with his teddy.

It’s such a hard life….

Maybe I don’t need to replace my running shoes. If and when homeschooling kicks off my opportunities to go out running will be severely curtailed. May need to think about looking out for a second hand treadmill. When Son caught me looking at eBay he added to the shopping list. So on top of a treadmill apparently we need a second hand cinema sized TV, a slush puppy machine and a chef. Maybe we could find a chef who specialises in funny coloured iced drinks. With that thought swirling in my head it was time to take The Cap for his walk. Luckily I do have an old pair of trainers which still have some tread. But strangely I couldn’t find them in the shoe rack. Oh hang on. Worryingly I found the sole-less running shoes next to the dog basket. So exactly which shoes did he bury then. Bugger. Yes in a hole in the garden are my one usable pair of trainers.

It’s such a hard life….

How many H’s

It’s been raining. It’s been windy. It’s been awful.

It’s been one of those famous Yorkshire weather days. The type of day you think it’s wise to deploy the life rafts then you realise anything not bolted down is being propelled to continental Europe on the jet stream. Absolutely chucking it down. The rain is almost horizontal as the wind is whistling in. The thermometer is saying it’s not that cold but any skin exposed to the elements is turned blue within seconds. My Dad would call it a two jumper and waterproof socks day. The type of day he would have got the ark out and filled it with the important stuff – his prize Rhubard.

As a child I could never spell Rhubard. In Yorkshire that normally is punishable with excommunication. It’s much worse. I’m probably the only Yorkshire citizen who does not like Rhubard. Good job nobody reads this as saying that is equivalent to witchcraft here.

Who thought it was a good idea to put the H in that Yorkshire delicacy. If it’s bad for me try explaining that to someone with dyslexia.

Dad I’ve got this weeks spellings which I’ve got to learn for Fridays test. Are you sure there are no negatives for getting less than 10 out of 15.

“No the Head of Year has stopped those negatives. Why are they difficult.”

Dad your asking someone who is dyslexic…

“Sorry. Are they ridiculously hard this time”

About as hard as explaining why light bends round massive objects.

********

I thought I understood Spacetime Curvature and General Relativity until son picked my reasoning apart the other day. So those spellings must be super hard. Having now seen them they are beyond General Relativity difficulty. Actually they are on a difficulty level as trying to get a Tax Returns from a certain Donald Trump.

Anecdote

Memorable

Audience

Alliteration

Persuade

Rhetorical

Who put the H in rhetorical. Looking at our sons confused look clearly he doesn’t understand the sneaky H as well. Apparently the spellings will get increasingly harder over the coming months. Can’t wait for June. At this rate son will be trying to spell words like

Apatosaurus

Diplodocus

Xiongguanlong

Epidexipteryx

Allaeochelys

Carcharodontosaurus

Huehuecanauhtlus

Who put the 3 H’s in that Dinosaur.

Kielder Water

The last post left the unscripted day trip deep in Kielder Forest.

Right Dad it’s time to have a closer look at one of Northern Europe’s largest man made Lakes. Rutland is larger but Kielder holds more water. Don’t worry I’m not expecting you to go swimming. The water will be too cold.

That’s a good job as a I can’t swim and I don’t fancy a bout of frostbite. I later checked those facts. Apparently Kielder holds 44 billion gallons of water. That’s an awful lot of trips to the toilet. It tends to be full at all times. It has a number of natural springs feeding it plus let’s not forget the weather.

With the autumnal like wind whipping across the lake and the breaking waves – it did feel like a seaside walk.

I’m guessing it is just under York Minster deep. That’s about 235ft. I’m going to say about 70 metres as Boris Johnson will hate that. He hates everything from Europe or that is what he wants people to think. Some people will fall for that.

Ok can’t miss a bit of of annoying our Buffoon of a Leader – so Kielder holds 200 billion litres.

Wouldn’t it be great if Kielder had its very own Loch Ness Monster. Ok it’s a manmade lake built in 1982. But the monster could have migrated here. What do you think Dad.

How about a Megalodon.

No legs or wings so it’s not migrating in a hurry. I’m seeing either a Spinosaurus or a very large otter.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the monster otter concept as suddenly a large military plane swept low over us and across the lake. My ancient mobile didn’t do it justice.

Dad what time is it. Have we got time for one more place. We are on a roll now.

It’s 3pm let’s see what we can find. So back at the car. Is it Left or Right.

East.

Final part of the road trip takes us back in time.

Whitby

I must admit even routine trips out seem like big adventures these days. Occasionally it’s good to return to the outside world. Makes me feel kinda grown up.

We had an afternoon trip to Whitby for a medical appointment. It was cold, wet, windy and misty. But as ever stunningly beautiful. It’s one of those places that when the sun shines it is just the most picturesque place. But in a wild storm it is truly a perfect place for Dracula to land and wreck havoc.

Son always calls Whitby Abbey, Dracula’s Castle.

If the weather had been kinder we would have ventured onto the beach and search beneath the cliffs. It’s a fantastic place to find fossils. It’s just wonderful to see him searching. Methodically digging and searching through stones. Then suddenly a bit of arm flapping and he is deep into a dream world of dinosaurs.

Once we leave Jurassic times a walk round the small port and Son is lost again in dream world. This time dreams drift 250 years ago to Captain James Cook. Whitby was his home port and his famous ship The Endeavour was built here.

At the medical appointment the consultant handed our son a sheet of paper which had his future appointment dates listed. Instantly son announced

I won’t sign anything before the terms are checked out by my lawyer”

Kids learn so quickly these days.

Literally

Children on the autistic spectrum can often take words literally. Now most of this can be put down to the confusing nature of language. Why do we make it so difficult. Often English doesn’t even seem like my second language. It did take me three attempts to pass my English exam.

It is something we noticed with our son at an early age. I can clearly remember one time when naughty dad had eaten all the smarties. When our son quizzed the suspect I remember saying

“Must have been the dinosaur in the kitchen”

Five minutes later our son is ransacking the kitchen in a desperate dinosaur hunt.

Another time I remember saying “and Pigs might Fly”. A few weeks later at nursery our son began telling the other kids that pigs could fly. And given a lot of the kids realised how much he knew about animals – they all started believing it to. So if you ever hear someone like Coyote Peterson or Chris Packham talking about flying pigs on their nature shows – then you probably know who to blame. Sorry

We had to become more careful in what we said. We tried to make sure if a joke was told or any colloquial language used that we immediately pointed what had been done and why. Explaining that words can have different meanings. We also tried to stress the importance of not only hearing the words but also trying to listen for how things have been said. We worked on his body language recognition skills. One game which helped was watching the TV with the volume turned off and trying to guess which people were happy or sad or angry or being serious.

To this day he still quite often takes words literally. It’s a worry going forward into senior school. But he is learning. He now frequently asks “is that real” or “is that true” to try and confirm meaning and last week….. He was using my iPad in another room. He kept shouting that it wasn’t working properly. Me being a lazy sod I was trying to shout instructions back rather than going to look at it. After several minutes he shouted that it was still not working. Without thinking I replied “just flush it down the toilet”. Few seconds later the toilet flushed. I have never ran so fast. Fortunately I found a laughing son saying “got you there dad”. Happy Days….