Battle Lines

There comes a time when you have to stand up for what is right. Good v Evil. Big v Small. Wear your war paint with pride. Avengers Assemble. Form the Battle Lines.

12.30GMT the House Derby takes place.

Hawklads team versus my so called team.

Chelsea versus Newcastle

Giants versus underdogs

A team which has won 11 major trophies in the last 10 years. And a team which has won nowt since 1969.

A team trying to win the Premier League and another happy to survive another year.

A team assembled from world class stars playing total football and a team which will run about like headless chickens and will basically just try to kick anything that moves.

Hawklad quietly confident. His Dad secretly just hoping we can keep it down to less than a 5-0 thumping.

Subsequent posts might see just a tad chastened….

Missed goal

I admired this beautiful plant. Admired it as I was sat on the bench. I was actually sat on the bench to inspect my injuries. A rather too enthusiastic attempt to score a garden goal ended up with my head first in the hedge. A few cuts and scrapes but the flower took my mind off the pain. Can’t believe after all the damage, I didn’t score the goal. This was all done to the backdrop of Hawklad laughing his socks off.

Dad do you want help getting out of the hedge. Are you ok?”

Hawklad concern is better when your not wetting yourself with laughter.

It was like an albatross with too much in its belly trying to get into the air. Little legs struggling to pick up enough speed to take off. And failing spectacularly. That was too funny Dad”.

Hawklad that was a cracking goal

You missed Dad. It was all for nothing.”

Oh man. I thought I had hit the target.

You certainly hit the hedge, unfortunately the ball was less accurate. Actually it was very similar to your head. It ended up buried in the hedge. Shall I help you out Dad.

No I’m doing that by myself now.

Dad you’ve left a big hole in the hedge. Maybe it’s your new art. Body dents in the natural world.”

I could tour the world hurling myself head first into different world landmarks.

It’s a big hole you have left. Looks like a hippo has crashed through.”

Hawklad are you saying I’m as big as a hippo……

“Of course not Dad. That would be unfair on Hippos.”

Now you mention it, that is a big indent. Did I really make that.

Yep. Being a responsible parent weren’t you Dad. It’s a good job I moved out of the way as you would have hit me.”

Responsible parenting goes out of the window when your son is taller than his Dad. Look at the bruises on my shins from your kicks. All the world great footballers have to endure the dastardly attempts to stop their artistry.

“I’m only defending myself from a charging hippo. Funny I’m not seeing Messi or Neymar playing in my garden. It’s more like Gloria from Madagascar. ”

Absolutely no appreciation from my so called son.

That’s right Gloria. Now go and fetch the ball from the hedge….”

I will after Gloria sits down and inspects her injuries. Oh… Look at that flower.

And it rains

And still it rains.

And rains.

And rains.

And rains…

It’s refusing to stop. At least I won’t need to water the tomatoes until say 2023. There is a joke here about it always rains on a bank holiday weekend. Guess what this weekend is….

Dad sometimes having social and virus phobias is a good thing. Little chance of me asking to go to the beach or a fun park today. It saves you getting drenched.”

That’s true Hawklad. Always something to be thankful for.

Apart from supporting your football team. Wow that’s grim.”

We all can’t support teams that win anything. Newcastle United’s job is to give all the other teams a good laugh. At least we have a good shirt. Can’t go wrong with black and white stripes.

The shirt never changes Dad. It’s boring. You look like a walking barcode.”

It does change. Sometimes it’s black and white stripes. Then sometimes it’s white and black stripes.

You do pick your teams. What happened when you started supporting that German Team”

They got relegated.

Then you followed that Swiss Team, what happened.”

Erm they got relegated.

Bit of a pattern developing here Dad. Oh do you remember you owe me a forfeit for losing the last challenge.”

How could I forget.

Wasn’t it to sit outside in the pouring rain with no shirt on”.

I believe it was to sit outside when it was warm.

Dad WHAT was it.”

To sit outside in the pouring rain with no shirt on.

Now would be an ideal time. But as I am kind I will grant you something. You can wear your barcode footy shirt.”

I’d rather not. Given how rubbish my team is, that shirt will just disintegrate in the rain.

**********

So yes I sat outside in the pouring rain. With a cup of tea and yes my football shirt. The tea was warming, my shirt didn’t fall to bits and I thought about some happy things. Yes definitely always something to be thankful for.

Names

This little thing lives in our roof. Currently he or she is unnamed….

I’ve had a few names over the years and not just the obvious one.

  • A really good friend labelled me Superdad,
  • Bagpuss – goalkeeping related,
  • TJHooker – golf related,
  • Goochie – bad early 20s moustache related,
  • Dr Banner – I had a habit of the red mist setting in when playing rugby and also when trying to unwrap one of those cd cellophane wrappings,
  • Harry Potters Dad – apparently I looked like him,
  • Veggie – diet related,
  • Hippy – diet related,
  • Gareth – no idea why,
  • Viking – I was the only Northerner in a cricket team based in the South of England,
  • Pidge – mum called everyone Pidge so she didn’t need to remember names,
  • Geordie – because of the so called football team I support,
  • Columbus – due to my appalling navigation skills when climbing,
  • And a few others which are unrepeatable……

And let’s not forget BereavedsingleDad. Here’s the funny thing about that one. It was a mistake. When I suddenly decided to set up a blog those three years back I hadn’t thought about silly details like a blog name. I filled out a box which I thought was for a user name – just something I used when logging in. It was the first thing that came into my mind when I was trying to think of something which didn’t include my real name. Rather taken by surprise when suddenly it was displayed as the blog name. Never got round to changing it. Maybe one day.

So I guess it’s time to name the bird. Now what shall it be….

Wembley

The Yorkshire version of Wembley Stadium. Can you spot the pet trying to once again sneak into the photo.

Even comes with a discerning crowd.

If Aspergers Parenting was a football game, well today feels like we have had a key player sent off….

I always naively assumed that if and when son got an official diagnosis then a support package would be out in place to help with his life chances. How silly of me. I didn’t count on year after year, having to fight the system. Trying to prize just the hints of support from a system which has been hammered into the ground by a Government which only looks after itself and it’s friends. To summarise

  • A school system repeatedly fails kids who do not fit into the factory production line which is the UK school system. Two options, either fight for a place in one of the few special schools or accept your child being bracketed as ‘low attainment’ and consigned to the bottom set. The school will then forget about the child and then pat itself on the back if the child gets just one certificate.
  • Letter after letter, call after call trying to find a clinician who is prepared to look at your child’s case.
  • Passed from specialist to specialist who don’t have the time or resources to add your child onto their case load.
  • Service after service cut by a Government which believes that only the rich should be able to buy access to essential healthcare. A Government that sees Mental Health as no more than an excuse to avoid work. Let’s not forget they described a child taking time off from school after a bereavement as an extended holiday.
  • When you do finally get access to a service you then join the growing waiting list. Finally when your child is seen it’s virtually always by someone new, with no understanding of the back story.
  • Finally your child starts to get older and the few services he has had access to are withdrawn as he is now above the age threshold. You see the Government likes to think that after 13, services are pointless and far too expensive. Adults have to sort themselves out.

We have had three brilliant exceptions to this.

  • A Clinical Psychologist who worked with out son consistently for three years. She even delayed her retirement to ensure son’s diagnosis was officially approved.
  • An Occupational Therapy service that worked with him every few months to help with things like coordination. A service which was cut when he reached 13.
  • A wonderful Nurse Counsellor who worked with our son for 3 years helping with his anxieties and joining the fight for additional help.

We entered June 2020 with just the Nurse Counsellor left from his entire care package. And now the player is sent off.

The Nurse phoned today to let us know that she had been reassigned. She is great and some other kids are really going to really benefit from her time. We are eternally grateful for everything she has done. She is going to desperately try to find another clinician to take over from her. I know she will really try. We may get a replacement. The Nurse was the only clinician he really has connected with. Those connections are rare for him. Making a new connection is going to be tough and most certainly not guaranteed. As the Nurse said it feels like we have lost the progress made over the last few years.

Today feels like one of those tough parenting days. As a friend wrote recently we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start again. We most certainly do. But it feels like it’s a much depleted team taking on the struggle. Forgive me I’ve not used a Lord of the Rings metaphor for a while. It feels like the heavens have opened. The hordes are massed outside the walls and I’m stood alone on the Battlements of Helms Deep. Just me protecting our son now. Doesn’t feel like Gandalf is riding over the horizon in the morning. I’m going to have to just find a way of doing this myself.

I’m off now to kick the ball into the net a few times. Maybe with a bit more force than usual. Then the fight starts again.

Conversations

Sorry this is a couple of days late. The new WordPress editor took a dislike to this post and it’s taken two days to fix it.

Well a bit of blue sky and no rain is a start. Even the wind has eased. Feels almost like Autumn now.

Two conversations have rather defined this autumnal feeling day. The first one with the dentist.

I finally managed to speak to my Dentist about my chipped back tooth. In a nutshell this is what the Dentist said.

  • The practice partly reopens tomorrow.
  • They have a huge backlog and waiting list.
  • They are allowed to start looking at emergency cases but won’t be able to do much with them. Basically just temporarily patch them up. No drilling or aerosol inducing treatments allowed.
  • They will get back to me when they can have a look at it. But the repair will be some time. Dependent on getting the go ahead from the Government.
  • The Government is a shambles. Just making things worse.

So basically just got to grin and bear it. Will add temporary dental fixes to my increasing list of almost skills. It’s quite bizarre that the UK’s Health Minister is spending more time and energy on getting Horse Racing going than be is on helping out the NHS and Dental services. It’s amazing what being funded by the Horse Racing Industry does for a persons priorities.

The second conversation involved a muppet but not our Health Minister thankfully.

Dad remember when we worked out that you are 25% human and 75% muppet.”

75% is probably understating the muppetry.

Well Dad I’ve been trying to work out which muppet DNA runs through you.”

Well when I used to go and watch Newcastle United play footy. When I say ‘play’ I should say ‘get beat’ at footy. Me and my friend would just sit and slag off our own team. We were definitely the two old muppets in the audience. Waldorf and Statler.

Ok but now you don’t go anymore then they don’t count. I am seeing three muppets in your DNA. First one is Beaker. That expression and the hair sticking up is just so you..”

“The second muppet I see in you has to be Fozzie Bear and those terrible jokes of yours..”

“The final muppet in my Dad is definitely Animal. You seem to approach everything. Things like cooking, gardening, hairdressing with the same care and attention that Animal approaches life..”

I can’t argue with this assessment, although I am a little disappointed not to have a little bit of Miss Piggy in me. Now do I trust Animal with this emergency dental kit…

*****Photos from Wikipedia******

Standards

Just as many of the daffodils start to die back a few late developers are just coming into bloom. I noticed these two early this morning as I came outside to clear my head after a dream.

I had one of those really bizarre dreams. The kind which you have no idea where the brain dragged that one from. I was trying to drive a lorry pulling a massive prefabricated building. For some reason the building still had all the cups and plates wracked up in the little kitchen. So I was instructed to drive carefully and for every broken item I would have money deducted from my wage. I somehow managed to get my load stuck in a muddy friend surrounded by Emus and talking sheep. I was attacked by the big birds so I had to take shelter on top of the prefab building.

What on earth was that one about…..

Anyone who has seen me drive will realise I am the last person you would trust to drive that load. The odd dream did remind me of a very old University incident. Our team had just won a 5 aside footy tournament and we went off to celebrate. We certainly did celebrate. None of the team can remember much past 8pm but I had clearly decided some time in the early hours that it was a sensible idea to fall asleep on top of one of the university’s prefab lecture rooms. For some reason I had brought a large road sign with me for company. When I finally came to my senses I realised that it was morning and a lecture was in progress just a few feet below me. I could here the lecture rather clearly. Embarrassingly it was a lecture I should have been in. I listened for a while but then my pressing need for the toilet took precedent. Unfortunately the only safe route down was on the window side of the lecture room. A few hours later I was talking with a girl who was in that very lecture. She said that during the lecture the students in her section could hear a rather ghostly snoring noise coming from above them. Then she heard the snoring ghost clearly swear which prompted the lecturer to warn the class about bad behaviour. Then it all went quiet until the sound of movement and scraping could be clearly heard from the roof. Whatever was above her was moving towards the windows. A large road sign then appeared to the thrown to the ground. Then seconds later a rather deshelved character swung his legs over the roof edge. Another loud expletive and the legs disappeared again. The sound or more footsteps on the roof. Then a sports bag wizzed passed the window, followed closely by clearly disheveled person hurtling towards the ground at a surprising uncontrolled rate. An audible groan was then followed by another load expletive. I was then seen hurrying in the general direction of the toilets, carrying what appeared to be a large metal sign….

How on earth did I get an honours degree. Just shows you the decline in UK education standards. Thankfully standards are not being lowered in the daffodil world.

Please note I have not touched a drop of alcohol since 2016…..

Time

TIME is a funny thing. Walked past here on Friday and hardly any of the white flowers had emerged. 72 hours later after a yucky cold, dark and damp weekend – any hey presto it’s a sea of white.

I remember someone very clever saying that TIME operates at different rates for different people. Thinking about it – that clever person might have been Dr Who. When I was a kid I loved Dr Who. I so wanted to be a Timelord. As a prize for winning a football tournament school arranged a trip to the last day of a Dr Who exhibition. I was super excited. On the way our bus broke down. It took them hours to fix it. Finally we arrived at the exhibition only to find it had closed 5 minutes earlier. How on earth can you miss an exhibition about a time travellerjust doesn’t seem right.

TIME definitely operates at different rates for some of our son’s school teachers. Quite a few of the online classes require the student to read an article or a section of a text book. The amount of reading has definitely increased over the last few school days. The number of follow up tasks has also increased. Strangely the TIME allowed has stayed the same. Exactly where does this approach leave the dyslexic student. I know teachers are super busy but maybe one of them might have asked son how he is coping with reading the course material. They seem much quicker to spot his spelling mistakes. Much better use of TIME.

TIME is also hard to define. School have now rolled out a national learning app primarily aimed at those students who struggle with English comprehension and grammar. Interestingly an app with a rating of 1 out 5 from users (lucky to get 1 by all accounts). Son has been set a weekly app study time of 50 minutes. The teacher will be checking that each student has achieved the weekly minimum study time. Punishments for underachieving. What they don’t mention is that the app uses a lot of videos and narratives. Unfortunately these do not count against the learning time but need to be completed before you can get to the student work areas. When it crashes (and it crashes more times than me on a diet) all learning time is lost and you need to start at the beginning of the section again. So far son has been on the app for just under 3 hours. He’s watched endless boring videos and robotic narratives. He’s still to learn anything new. AND he’s only clocked 20 minutes actual study time.

Dad what is the point of this. I’m bored out of my mind. As you would say, it’s a pile of pants. It’s a complete waste of my time, your time, the teachers time and a waste of bandwidth.”

I fed this back to school with a few of my own rather barbed comments. The school’s response was well we have sent a teacher to be trained in its use, that’s valuable school TIME so we need to keep using it.

Clearly I was wasting my TIME arguing.

Gnomeless

Maybe it’s my dear parents influence but I’ve always liked a garden gnome. But for years we had a problem. My partner hated them. Which is unusual as she was the kindest soul going. Never a bad word about anyone. All except gnomes. She had serious issues with them. When I suggested the garden would benefit from at least one of these sweet little chaps the response was razor sharp

If I find one in the garden then it’s getting smashed with a hammer….

Even when I suggested that a gnome would significantly raise the IQ in the garden when I was gardening alone, the response was similarly brutal

The garden gnome will get it then your next…..

What I will now tell you will probably get a really pissed off spirit coming my way. I might have ignored my partner just a tad. A few gnomes did get sneaked into the garden. To ensure their life expectancy was measured in days rather than seconds they needed to go into deep cover. Very deep cover. The compost heap, under bushes, hid behind plant pots. Unbelievably a few survived the inevitable apocalypse.

One such hardy soul is still with us. Now he is enjoying life in the open. He has long forgotten the long years buried under the hedge. He’s a gnome from my favourite footy team. He’s over 20 years old and is still to see his team win anything. What was I thinking of when as a toddler when I picked Newcastle United as my team. I could have picked a team which won things. No I picked the team which is in a permanent state of chaos, a never ending winless soap story. No wonder the poor gnome looks so washed out. I went through a stage of telling the gnome the teams results. Unfortunately as that usually entailed breaking the bad news of another defeat I changed to just letting him know of good team news. As a result I haven’t spoken to the gnome in years…….

Bee

Slightly unnerving BEEing (being) eyeballed by this woolly friend. Couldn’t work out if it was admiring my silky garden football skills or was waiting for a Rich Tea biscuit. I lived in footballing worship hope until a biscuit was handed over and the woolly one then walked off.

Not always but occasionally life balances itself out. This morning I finished my last bit of paid work before the company basically shuts down for a couple of months (maybe longer). So no money coming in. As I closed the work laptop the phone rang. It was the garage, they still can’t get the parts needed for my cars poorly braking system. They will keep trying but the repair work won’t happen much before May. That’s a bit of a result. Won’t BEE (be) using the car much at all and that’s one hefty bill kicked into the long grass.

Talking about long grass. Last year someone gave me a wild bee hotel. The poor souls are struggling here so I thought I would do my bit. A quiet corner in the garden has been allowed to go wild. To be factually correct that should have been described as – I have let a part of the badly overgrown garden to go even wilder than the rest of the mess…

Anyway in the wild corner I have carefully located the bee hotel. Still no little takers after many months. I remember my Dad telling me that the first bee you see in spring is probably looking for a new home. He was a stubborn Yorkshireman so I never dared to question his apicultural knowledge. So our first bee of the season arrived.

A bee clearly fixated on trying to squeeze under the back door and get into our house. I tried showing the bee the currently vacant and palatial hotel. As hard as I pointed at the hotel’s front door, the bee just ignored me. Even a little honey failed to entice the bee. UnBEElievable (Unbelievable)

My question to you. What is the bee phrase for ‘Sorry pal your not coming in here. This thing I’m pointing at is your free of charge new house. I will even feed you each day.”