Beauty in the sky masked evil intentions. Twenty seconds later a successful bombing run covered my car bonnet. Not so beautiful. The one hand giveth; the other hand taketh away.

Basically I have knackered my body up. Medical advice was to rest the right side for a couple of months. No running. If you play football in the garden – don’t use your right foot to kick. That’s a bit of a problem. During my sporting career the left leg has been a bit of a spectator. It is used for standing on and just getting in the way. Nothing else. So since a toddler I have been completely right footed.

So this garden football season was approached with trepidation. The first attempts confirmed the fears. Absolutely useless. Even the frequent cow audience clearly most unimpressed with my attempted kicks.

But a couple of months later and….

With one hand giveth.

The left leg is like a magicians wand. Better than the right foot ever was. Complete ball control, pinpoint passes, power, curling shots into the top corner of our small net. It just shows that with practice what you can achieve.

But with the other hand taketh.

Now the right side is a little less painful I’ve started using it again and just maybe I could be a natural two footed footballer. Guess what. The right foot is now completely useless. Can’t use it. All my hard work has basically switched me from being completely right footed to completely left footed.

Maybe my brain can only cope with one usable leg.

Son struggles to tie shoe laces. He also can’t use a knife and fork at the same time. He just can’t coordinate two limbs simultaneously. It’s a bit like riding a bike. Son can peddle but not at the same time as steering or braking. If he turns a corner he can’t peddle. He did manage to learn to swim but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s either using his legs or using his arms – not both at the same time.

He has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia which often goes hand in hand with Autism. The bottom line is coordination does not come naturally. We have been doing some exercises to work on this. Jumping on a trampoline and catching at the same time has been our single most fun exercise. We have seen some improvements for example he has developed good catching skills. But things like shoe laces are probably going to be life long issues. We realise this. The main reason we do coordination exercises is to help with his Dyslexia, other improvements are bonuses.

Maybe you just have to accept and work with how your body is setup uniquely for you. Make the best of it. We all can’t be brilliantly coordinated like birds. To fly, aim and poo at the same time. That’s beyond me.


You try and show off your Messi like ball skills (in my dreams)… Then something gets in the way. The dog loves football. He’s very keen however he still is struggling to pick up even the most rudimentary basic game rules.

“Dad now its the end of the season it’s time to check our team predictions.” Each of us tries to guess where each team will finish in the English Premier League. That’s 20 teams.

Ok I’ll go and find the lists we wrote down.

No need Dad I can remember where we put each team”. That’s two lists we did back in August. When I later checked – he remembered both lists perfectly. I can’t even remember our telephone number..

Guess who lost….

Dad you said Fulham would finish 7th. They got relegated.”

“You said Huddersfield would be mid table and they all got 16pts coming last”

“Funniest one is you said Newcastle (my club) would finish bottom. They somehow got to to 13th”.

He didn’t even have to check the final league table. This was memorised perfectly as well.

As you came second I need to decide your forfeit. You have to listen to YouTube Alvin and The Chipmunks song videos for three hours solid.”

Deep joy. Still could be worse. Could have been U2….

Are you awake?

I vaguely noticed a face over the bed.

Hi Son.

Did you know that Arsenal has a goal difference of 23 and Man Utd have a goal difference of 13

And with that he returned to his bedroom. I almost expect these late night visits now. The other night it was:

Dad did you know that the Emperor Penguin can dive to a depth of 530m and stay underwater for 15 minutes”

I know it’s late but I love these little visits. It’s such a nice feeling that he wants to share these facts with me. Plus its a nice bit of brain candy. It prepares my rather limited central processor for the upcoming Mental challenges. I have learned that at some stage soon after being fed the little bit of brain candy that an in-depth discussion will be started around that subject.

So a few days ago the Penguin fact foreshadowed a discussion about the most amazing animal feats. So the question is – what will be today’s football discussion?

AND equally as important is the fact that while our Son is thinking about these facts, he is not worrying about other stuff. I’d much rather hear early morning football team goal differences than nightmares about ghost Vikings…..


Somedays get off to a good start, some don’t….

Once the day starts off on a funny note it tends to continue in a similar vein.

I forgot to put our ‘busting at the seems’ bin out for collection. How much more can I squeeze in before it explodes. Next delivery is in 2 weeks.

We had a parcel due. The postman always comes in the afternoon. So it was safe to take the dog for a walk in the morning. Wrong. Postman came early and now we have to go into the city to pick up the parcel.

Son’s football hit the only rosebush in the garden and burst on a thorn.

I started baking some cakes but found out that I had run out of flour. So off to the shop we went and stocked up. Attempt 2 went well for another 20 seconds as I added the flour to the bowl then….

No eggs.

So off we went again to the shop again to buy eggs.

Attempt 3 went well until I remembered that I had run out of vanilla essence. Bugger the shop.

Attempt 4 was vanilla-less. Replaced with several overripe bananas.

Unbelievably it worked out ok. It actually looked ok. The pets were definitely interested. So to protect it I put the cake in the grill part of the oven. Bad idea. For lunch I did some some fish fingers – under the grill. Unfortunately I forgot the cake at the back of the grill. Perfectly cooked fish fingers and extremely well burnt cake.

My digital radio which I’ve had for 18 years died.

My calculator which I’ve had since university died.

A shelf in our son’s bedroom decided to fall off the wall.

The slide door on the psychotic IKEA wardrobe wedged itself shut and is refusing to open. Given its from IKEA it is now refusing to grant access to any of my clothes and is secure as Fort Knox.

So what happened at the start of the day to cause this.

Remember we live in a bungalow. So we are never too far away from the front door. I woke up and went to open the curtains. As I opened the front door blind a rather unfortunate villager was delivering a note about an Easter event. As the blinds opened the poor lady was exposed to the site of me in just a pair of boxer shorts. She is going to need years of counselling.

The day finished on a poignant note. Before the world changed we bought a miniature apple tree. Today it has blossom for the first time. My partner would have been so excited.


I wrote this just before the world turned again on Saturday. Trying to help get him back to this mindset again. Thankyou for all your support, it really has helped. I know some people will say it was just a pet, but given what went before it….. it really has hit him hard. Feels like he has regressed back to the days when his mum died.


“Dad I’m going to tell you the winners of the main football leagues since 2009.”

I grabbed my iPad to check the dates and help with the blanks, shouldn’t have bothered

Ours is easy it’s 2018 Man City, 2017 Chelsea, 2016 Leicester, 2015 Chelsea, 2014 Man City, 2013 Man Utd, 2012 Man City, 2011 Man Utd, 2010 Chelsea and 2009 was Man Utd.

Scotland is easy it’s Rangers for the first three years then Celtic since 2012.

In France it’s easy as it’s PSG except in 2009 when it was Bordeaux, 2010 Marseille, 2011 Lille, 2012 was a team starting with M but I can’t say it and 2017 Monaco.

For La Liga it’s Barcelona in 09,10,11,13,15,16,18. Real in 12,17 and Athletico in 2014.

In Italy Juventus have won it since 2012, 09 and 10 was Inter, 2011 was AC Milan.

In Germany 2009 it was Wolfsburg, 11 and 12 was Dortmund, boringly Bayern have won the rest.”

A slightly stunned Dad was list for words. He didn’t like football this time last year. Struggling for something to say all I could manage was – who won the Dutch league in 2010?

“Trying to trick me, that was Twente.”

Ok who won the Turkish league this year?


How can anyone remember all these facts. It is beyond me. It’s also beyond me why our society is so quick to write off so much talent in our autistic stars.

“Dad when did your team last win the league?”

Not that many years ago son….

“Dad you will find it was 1927.”


Putting this off for a while

Before the world changed we had quite good balance in our relationship. We both managed to maintain reasonable careers while making sure we always had one of us there for our son. Our trips out as a family curtailed when the Aspergers started to kick in more. However we realised it was important that we had time outs to recharge the batteries. My recharge times largely centred on climbing and going to see my football team.

The world has changed now.

Climbing has gone. Replaced by the very occasional trip with our son to do a bit of walking on some remote hill top.

Trips to see my Football team has kinda stayed in place. They feel like a connection with a much different world. Maybe three or four times a year our son will go to visit my sister for a few hours to allow a trip to see my team. Occasionally I can get a spare ticket so I can take our son to a match. More often than not my ticket is taking up by a friend.

Unfortunately a decision needs to be made. Something I have been putting off for a while. Football really doesn’t fit in with our new life. It’s very expensive. My son struggles with different environments – that even includes my lovely sisters place. My son will go to the stadium but the crowds don’t sit easily with him. It’s becoming very difficult to justify. It doesn’t help that my team is now owned by a really unsavoury and deeply unpleasant characterbut that’s by the by.

It’s difficult. I have been going for 32 years. It’s the only time I get to meet some of my friends these days.

But now it’s time to close a particular chapter in my life. Things change, life moves on, you adapt. So after one final match then it’s goodbye Newcastle United….


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…..


Sunday seems such a long time ago. I just love the quayside area of Newcastle. Yes it’s built up. Some of the architecture is 18th century housing modern wine bars, restaurants, fast food joints and pubs. But it just seems to work and dovetail together.

But the highlight for me are the bridges over the River Tyne. All so different and just stunning.

Too often people look towards the famous Tyne Bridge and forget to look in the other direction.

Son was really brave and made it into the football stadium. He enjoyed the full Mr Men display from his dad. He even got animated with the pompous and bumbling referee (without prompting). For anyone who follows English Football – Mike Dean is infamous. Yes it ended up with my team losing again but that misses the point. It was one of those days where our son ventured into a world which is not his and rather enjoyed it.

Mr Men

This is the best the weather has managed since the strange yellow disk appeared yesterday morning. A brief thinning of the clouds then the darkness descends and it just rains and rains and rain. This is not good for the soul. Another thing which is not good for the soul is football.

I have taken a punt and bought two tickets for my teams next match on Sunday. It’s a bit of a lottery taking our son to a game. He would really enjoy it if it was just the two of us in the crowd. Unfortunately it will be 52000 in the crowd. We turn up at the stadium and see how he feels. If he shakes his head we scrap the football and head towards the river so he can do some Pokemon Go hunting. However sometimes he’s ok to give it a go and when he gets inside the stadium he enjoys the atmosphere. Never been able to pinpoint why we get the different reactions. So fingers crossed for Sunday.

Apart from the atmosphere he loves watching the Mr Men show. That’s not referring to my alleged football team but my reaction to the game. Our son says it’s about getting the popcorn in and then watching his dad go through the characters in the Mr Men show.

Entering Stadium – Dad is going to watch the game MR HAPPY

Trying to find the seats – Dad always gets lost MR FORGETFUL

Start of the match – Dad very nervous MR JELLY

Few minutes into the game – team started ok MR CHEERFUL

Game starting to go downhill – team starting to struggle MR WORRY

Team now losing – team playing badly MR GRUMBLE

Team now getting hammered – Dad getting annoyed MR GRUMPY

Team clearly going to lose again – Dad getting VERY annoyed MR RUDE

Team lost – left stadium Dad needs to eat lots of food to cheer up MR GREEDY