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.

Crop Circles

You can’t beat a good crop circle. Such intricate geometric patterns. These aliens are clearly very artistic with boundless amounts of patience. It’s kinda reassuring to know that the earth is clearly the preferred canvas of choice for alien art.

Unfortunately something is a clearly amiss with the Yorkshire Crop Circles.

Have the aliens that visit Yorkshire been indulging in too much Newcastle Nuclear Brown Ale or Black Sheep Holy Grail Ale.

Or are the Yorkshire Aliens the Galaxy’s avant-garde pioneers. No intricate geometric patterns here. Or maybe it’s the weather. You can imagine an alien more at home in fertile hospitable climes saying something like this as he is starting his Yorkshire Crop Circle in the pouring rain

Bugger this for a lark let’s get it done as quick as possible then we are out of here”

When I told this story to our son he just looked at me with that look… thought for a few seconds then said.

Dad why on earth would an alien fly all those billions of light years to do a bit of art then fly back again. You need to look for the rational explanation. Clearly we have some mighty big field mice these days”

Clearly the all too common stereotype that autistic people do not have a sense of humour is clearly true which thus means we need a much bigger cat….

What do you see

What do you see?

Well Dad I see a fox on a motorbike crashing into an alien while being chased by seahorses.”

That’s better than my Lego Ninjago Ghost Warriors playing cricket….

Lying on the ground seeing what pictures the clouds can paint. It was always a favourite of mine as a kid and it’s the same with our son. I’m pleased he still enjoys the game. It’s good to exercise the imagination every so often. The best thing it’s free. Unfortunately in Yorkshire it’s often just a plain grey sheet we can see.

In Nursery and Primary school they did provide the kids with a platform to dream and play. To let their minds fly. Secondary school is different. Suddenly it’s all change. No play, no freedom, no room to imagine. The lucky few if they can act or sing or dance or play an instrument can get into the school performing scene. For the rest it’s just facts and rules for them. 100% focused on exams at 16. Nothing else matters.

Is that really in the best interests of our kids. Or is it just about feeding the system. Justifying the Government Target Policy. I think we know the answer to this.

So back to the clouds. What do we see now. That big cloud looks like a hippo at a watering hole.

“I’m just seeing something big. Something very big. I’m seeing my dads belly. That will block the sun out for days…”

Trust

Birds are very trusting. Well they are in our garden and they were in my parents garden. Whatever you put out for them – they would just crack on eating it. I remember being told as a kid

“Don’t fall over when your feeding them because they will start on you next”

Maybe that’s why I was allowed to watch a certain Hitchcock movie soon after.

Son is the opposite. Need to confirm details like oven temperature, sell by dates, cooking times, fridge temperature, cleanliness of utensils before food is deemed safe to eat. Limited trust in food.

I remember as a kid when our family got its first ever microwave oven. It was the size of a small city. When unpacked it was time to test the beast. I was sent into the kitchen with a cup of cold water. I tried to explain what the buttons did but quickly realised my parents had legged it. The kitchen door slammed shut with Mum and Dad hid behind it. Safely behind the blast protection I was told to begin the process of warming the glass of water. Clearly to my parents this was on the same risk level as an exposed nuclear reactor core. Thinking about it if it had been that dangerous clearly I was the expendable one. Not sure Dad ever used the new cooking device. He had zero trust in the nuclear age.

All those years later and we still are talking trust.

  • School are trying to convince me that they are doing everything possible to help our son with his dyslexia.
  • The Council is trying to convince parents like me that they are providing a class leading Autism Support Service to all its children. Suppose that includes our son.
  • The Council is trying to convince me that it is a waste of time for our son to be seen by an Educational Psychologist as it won’t achieve anything meaningful which could be used to tailor his schooling.
  • The Paediatrician is trying to convince me that I should push for an Educational Psychologist to see our son as it will help tailor his schooling and come up with specific interventions to help him. It will also reduce the demand on his department.
  • The Health Service is trying to convince me that because our son is a low priority and doesn’t fall into a service which has been commissioned then he doesn’t need any specific support over the coming years.

We are expected to trust the professionals and follow their advice without questioning it. Clearly they know best. Clearly they only have the best interest of our son at heart. Finance and budgets don’t influence decisions. They will provide support and care at times to suit the kids not the professionals. What do we know – we are not trained. We are not professionals. Leave the care to the experts. A few years back I was naive and I believed this crap.

The looks you get when you do have the audacity to question or worse to say NO.

Don’t get me wrong this is not all professionals. You come across brilliant ones. But the funny thing is that they are often the ones who listen the most. The ones who push the idea that the kids and parents should take ownership of the care package.

So back to trust. Trust in the system. It is none existent. You have to question everything. Push for answers. Don’t be afraid to say NO. Ask for second opinions. AND when the inevitable brick wall hits

The ‘service is not available’, the ‘your child doesn’t meet the criteria’, the ‘forgotten about’ zone, the ‘just go along with the treatment’ train line.

Be prepared to fight. No guarantees of success but it’s worth it. The kids deserve it.

Tell me why

In my voice – Tell me why

  • My partner was taken from us when she was so young.
  • The system continually fails our son.
  • The Government can find billions to bribe other parties to keep it in power but can’t find the money to fund education support for the kids who need it.
  • I don’t sleep anymore.
  • They say the world is getting smaller yet I feel so isolated.
  • Chocolate has so many blooming calories.
  • Hair doesn’t like growing on my head yet it sprouts like an Amazonian Forest on the back of the my hands.
  • The cat continually finds a way into the wardrobe.
  • I can’t find any socks in this house.
  • They never made a Captain Scarlet movie.

In our son’s voice – Tell me why

  • My mum had to die.
  • Both my grannies had to die.
  • My hamster had to die.
  • My girl cat who was like a sister to me had to die.
  • I can’t read.
  • Some people think I am stupid just because I am autistic and dyslexic.
  • Shops have to be so busy.
  • Hazard is leaving Chelsea.
  • Do people have to kiss in films.
  • Marvel Movies are way better than DC Movies.
  • Most kids don’t like rock music.
  • Broccoli wasn’t deemed an inedible plant.
  • My Dad can’t cook.
  • In our dogs voice – Tell me why
    • I get shouted at for pinching socks.
      I get shouted at for digging holes.
      I get shouted at for eating garden tools.
      I get shouted at for eating garden furniture,
      I get shouted at for digging up plants.
      I get shouted at for burying stuff like socks.
      I get shouted at for pulling bits of the apple tree off.
      I get shouted at for escaping.
      I get shouted at for climbing in the hedge.
      I get shouted at for eating cat poo, cow poo, sheep poo.
      I get shouted at for pinching food.
      My best friend isn’t with us anymore. I know I am a dog but she was a really cool cat.

    In our boy cats voice – Tell me why

    • My sister isn’t with us anymore.

    • My best friend, the really lovely woman has gone. I miss siting on her lap.
    • I get shouted at for missing the cat litter by several feet.
    • I get really shouted at for missing the litter by so many feet I hit the wall.
    • I get shouted at for sitting in front of the TV when a movie is on.
    • I get shouted at for sneaking into the wardrobe and getting white hairs on all the black clothes.
    • I get shouted at for falling in hot plates of food.
    • I get shouted at for always tripping people up.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the laptop.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the toaster.

    In our gerbils voice – Tell me why

    • We don’t live in a toilet roll factory.

    In the Deep Dark Woods

    A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

    Our son adored the Gruffalo story. I think our son had all of Julia Donaldson books. We loved reading them to him, that’s what parenting should be about. Not the anxieties, the stress, the frustration, the heartbreak.

    Walking through this deep dark wood took us back to that golden age. Fairytales and colouring books. Toy cars and Teddy Bears. Dragons and magic. Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer and Iggle Piggle. When we were a team of 3. Golden Years.

    But time marches on…

    Son gets older. Fairytales replaced with Manga. Colouring books replaced with an iPad. Toy cars replaced with FIFA 19. Teddy Bears assigned to the shelves. Dragons upgraded to Transformers. Magic being drummed out of him by school. Thomas, Dora and Iggle now Assembled into Thor, Black Widow and Ironman. A team of three assigned to memories. The Golden Years now the Anxiety Times.

    We walk further into the deep dark wood. Let’s hope it’s magic returns and takes us to a different world. One where anxiety is vanquished, dreams flourish and life is enriching.

    The mouse found a nut and the nut was good.

    Tree or not to be

    So did we spend the day under a tree or was son sat at his school desk?

    NEITHER…..

    After much soul searching and reality checking son went out at 8am to catch the school bus. He was certainly tired. With the school worries he hardly slept at all. Again not a great way to start an enriching learning day.

    After drinking two of the darkest, meanest and strongest coffees ever conjured up I was almost ready to roll. A quick hoover and set a washing load off. This week our possessed washing machine is only washing on the delicates setting. The delicate setting and arc welded grass stains are not a great combo. Anyway its time to pile into work and immediately…. the phone rings …. school.

    Your son has had a little accident in his first lesson. We have ice packed his thumb and wrist but it’s badly swollen. Can you come and pick him up. Probably need to take him to the hospital.

    It never ends. It really never ends.

    An hour later we are sat in the hospital. Given the amount of broken bodies and unhappy souls in the waiting room it appears the Hulk has paid a visit to our local town this morning – and clearly he was in a mood to smash. Yesterday’s dream of spending the day under a tree transpired to be 4 hours in a clearly overstretched hospital.

    Now we are home with hopefully no bones broken this time but with ligament damage to his hand. Hopefully it’s just a few weeks of painkillers and ice packs. At last we have a use for that packet of frozen French Beans.

    So we start again. A painful hand. Worries of tomorrow’s potential school day already kicking in. Need to revise for an end of year test.

    Yet son secretly hoping swelling IS TOO BAD for school tomorrow. Dreamy thoughts about that tree. Bugger the revision let him watch Marvel.

    If we had only just opted to sit under the tree this morning….

    Drink it in

    Swiss Sunday is here again. Still no free Toblerone from the Swiss Tourist Board – maybe one day.

    My partner was super organised. She would book the trip so many months ahead. She would even find my passport with months to go – not sure she appreciated my just looking for the passport minutes before the taxi arrived strategy. However one of her first tasks would always be to book the hotel room. Always the same room. Why?

    Every morning opening up the the curtains and this is the view you are greeted with. Get the coffee fix and sit on the balcony and drink this in. It’s truly glorious.

    It always made me smile that because of the wonders of Switzerland’s Transport system you could finish your room coffee and hour later you can be sat at the restaurant on top of that mountain having your next drink. In the UK that trip would take days.

    Then you could spice things up and look in the other direction.

    Simply stunning.

    Dilemmas

    The world is full of dilemmas and seemingly perplexing questions.

    • Sleep on your back or front
    • Tea or Coffee
    • Is Trump a criminal or political hero
    • To help the injured bird or leave it for the hungry predator
    • Football or Soccer
    • Is Brexit a good thing or stupid
    • Sunsets or Sunrises
    • Tomato Ketchup or Mayonnaise on Fries
    • Captain America or Ironman
    • Toblerone – best chocolate ever or a chocolate designed to do damage to the top of your mouth on every painful bite
    • Are we better people when at war or at peace
    • Is Boris Johnson a political genius and loveable rogue or is he a monumental bellend
    • Batman or Superman
    • Cats or Dogs
    • Yorkshire or Lancashire
    • Marmite on toast or put the marmite in the bin

    At the moment we are wrestling with our own dilemmas. Ones only we can figure out but currently with no clear answer.

    School is clearly not working for our son and yet homeschooling will significantly increase the risk of further social isolation. Both options have advantages but many pitfalls. Yesterday it was school, today it feels like homeschooling, tomorrow no idea.

    The longer he stays in school the risk increases of him being lost in the system. Not given the chance to find his true talents and skills. Forced into a model which is not designed for him.

    We could move to a better schooling area but financially that’s not really practicable. The close support open to us is limited. In fact it seems to diminish every time we look. My family is geographically spread and not near. The potential wider support infrastructure is very limited in our area. So again do we move but we can’t afford to.

    With the help of the internet I could deliver a viable and tailored teaching programme. And yet, and yet. I would have to commit fully to providing the education and with just one variable income that would be financial madness. The bills only just get paid now.

    And one final irony. Why do the most important dilemmas occur in life when you are at your most tired. Drained. Almost beyond rational thought. But at 2.31am I do have just enough processing power available to answer one question – that in fact Boris Johnson is a monumental bellend….Let’s see if I can answer some more dilemmas now.

    Kinda Day

    Sometimes a damp walk in the forest is just perfect, just fits your mood. It’s been a kinda tired day, kinda sad grieving day, kinda lonely day, kinda frustrating day. Nothing is specifically wrong yet nothing is specifically right. Following on from yesterday’s post it would read 30th May – National Feels like one of those Days. Not sure which way it will go. Towards the light or towards the dark. We all get these days. Maybe we should rename it already- International We all get these days which kinda sucks Day.

    But we move on. Make the best of things.

    Breathe in nature. Touch the damp foliage. Talk about dreams and fantasy worlds. Make our way back home. Football in the garden. Hot Chocolate and Coffee. Popcorn. An Avengers Movie (maybe two). Eventually you make it through the day unscathed. Hopefully dream filled sleep will usher in another day. A better day. A happier day. Shall we call it the International We are all going to have a good Day. We all deserve that.