Seasons

Same view – different season.

I never asked my partner which view she preferred. One of thousands of questions I never asked. Oh for those 17 years again…. I suspect she would not have gone for the snow version. She didn’t like being cold. To be honest she didn’t like it too hot as well. She was a Spring and Autumn person.

I would definitely opt for the snow version. I have always liked the cold. Maybe it was all those years of sitting watching the most northerly English Premier Football Team. Sat in a black and white shirt in the middle of winter. In summer I would melt. That’s a Yorkshire summer. Lord knows what I would do if I lived in Arizona or The Mediterranean or The Middle East.

Switzerland can get hot in the summer. I remember one really hot day. It was too hot for my partner. After a quick visit to the zoo she stayed in the hotel with our son while I went for a run along the lake. Never been so hot. After 40 minutes it was too much and I just jumped into the lake. Oh the sweet cool glacial waters. And I can’t swim… When I emerged from the lake a sweet old man was walking past shading the sun out with an umbrella. In almost perfect English he said

Grüezi. You must be English. Only someone from England would be mad enough to run in this.”

But I digress. This is Swiss Sunday and it’s not supposed to be about me. That’s wrecked any chance of a free Toblerone from the Swiss Tourist Board.

Switzerland is a special place. A place for special memories. A place where you can visit a valley one trip and it’s deep snow perfect for skiing. The next trip it’s scorching hot and it’s beach soccer.

Unlike the UK these days it still gets distinct seasons. Stunning colours in Spring. Heat in the Summer. Moody Autumns. Proper winters. That is how it should be. Something we need to try and preserve.

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.

    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.

    I’ve got my eye on you

    Currently we have 11 very wise sages (now 12) who want to be our new Prime Minister. Aptly my spell checker wants to change wise sages to sausages. Apart from Brexit what do they offer. No idea. All they talk about is Brexit. They play a game. Remember that guessing game. I will name that song in 10 seconds. Well I will name it in 9 seconds. I can name it in 8 seconds…. Well they are doing that with Brexit. I can get us out by December. Well I will get us out by November. Boris will get us out be October… Apart from Brexit we don’t hear much else. The chap who looks after the police for months he has been saying rising crime levels has nothing to do with resource cuts … well now if he becomes PM apparently he will give them more money because crime levels are rising. Figure that one out.

    Anyway we don’t get a say in the new Prime Minister. Why should we, we only live here and pay our taxes. Basically the 330 Conservative MPs (the ones who have demonstrated a complete lack of any idea how to get us out of this mess) get the first go. If they can’t do something resembling Julius Caesar and his last night comeuppance then we go to stage 2. The 120000 Conservative Party Members then get a vote. So bugger the other 69,804,206 good people. So while the lucky few indulge themselves the rest of us watch the country fall apart.

    My child is autistic. He wants to be like the other kids. He wants to go to school to learn. A Mainstream School is the best place for him to do that. But to do that he needs some additional support. Not asking for the world just a bit more support here and there. But the government and the council have cut the Special Needs Funding. We have been waiting 2 years to see a specialist. Our school won’t offer him a place. The council has cut his transport service. He’s been at home for months and now I’m told the only two options are a special school miles away or no schooling at all.

    Not me another parent on the radio at the weekend. Over 1 million kids in England have some form of Special Educational Need. Yet Government policy is to ignore them. Assign them to the scrap heap. See them as an easy budget savings target. To focus on our son for a few seconds

    • Dyslexia Support – none
    • Aspergers Educational Support – some additional funding secured but this has to be used to pay for some additional non teaching support for the whole school and not tailored to his needs
    • Aspergers Health Support – did secure access to counselling support but due to cut backs he is now seen as a low priority and that support has dried up
    • Bereavement support – a couple of pamphlets and still on the waiting list – that’s coming up for 3 years now

    The government principle appears to be it’s not a problem for the us, it’s not our job, it’s the parents job so just own it. So while the lucky few get to play a fun Machiavellian lets pick a leader game – Rome Burns for many. When we get a new leader – nothing will change. We might even pour some more petrol on the flames.

    I really don’t know what the answer is. I don’t see things changing for the better. For the rest of our sons school years it is going to be a constant struggle. We will have to do our best and see what happens. Fighting our case. Trying to make our voices heard. Keeping our eyes on our so called leaders.

    Maybe it’s time for the Gerbils to Assemble.

    Slinky Toy Woes

    Putting my sisters house warming present in a large tub was a great idea. 17 years of pink flowers without fail. I only wished that some of my other decisions were as astute as this one. My parenting years have seen some monumentally bad decisions. Here are some notable examples

    • The night after his mum died I thought he needed cheering up so we watched a family movie. One which to me looked quite funny. Unfortunately the one I picked started off with the mum dying within the first 10 minutes. Great selection.
    • Two days later we watched an animal cartoon and guess what – one of the parents died again. Fantastic.
    • Son wanted his hair coloured for a school play. I bought the required hair red dye. Unfortunately I never read the instructions and rather than ‘use sparingly’ I used the full tin. Took weeks to get his hair back to something like the correct colour.
    • Before his first day at school I bought the required school uniform. Unfortunately rather than picking up 3 pairs of trousers I might have picked up 3 girls school skirts.
    • Son wanted a Christmas themed jumper for a Woolies party at school. I thought I had bought a Transformers Christmas sweater. It ended up being a pink Princess one. For some reason son refused to wear it.
    • One I’ve already mentioned on the blog. Took son to see Captain Marvel. I ended up getting our son into the wrong screen showing a 3D version of Dumbo.
    • On our sons birth certificate I misspelt his middle name so had to have it changed later.
    • On our pups second night with us I let him sleep on our sons bed – as the first night had gone so well. I woke to find the duvet completely shredded.
    • I painted our sons bedroom in the green colour he had always asked for. It was a lovely job. When son looked at the finished makeover his response was

    Dad I wanted blue”

    • I might have let son watch a few minutes of DeadPool. In my defence I thought it was going to be just like Spiderman and didn’t bother checking the movie rating. I think he learned quite a few new or interesting words in those few minutes.
    • I bought him a manga movie that he wanted for his birthday. Unfortunately I messed up and he had to watch the Japanese language version.
    • At his schools end of year party I volunteered to cook the pizzas in the school kitchen. I got distracted and burnt all of them to crisp and set off the school fire alarms.
    • I bought our son a slinky toy for a Christmas present. I remember the fun I had as a kid watching the toy happily works it’s way done the stairs.

    Dad is this a slinky toy.”

    Sure is son. Hours of fun. Clever Santa.

    Dad shouldn’t Santa know that we live in a bungalow so we don’t have any stairs.”

    I’m sure we all have had these moments. So what are some of your classics?

    Wooden

    Apparently native to Yorkshire… wonder if they fancy a chat. If they don’t then I won’t get the hump.

    I have never been someone completely at ease with people. Once I get to know a group then I can come out of my shell. Occasionally a bit too out of my shell. But often I was the person talking to the plant in the corner at parties. As the years went on I found that I could find a reasonable way of communicating with people. It was hard work but it sorta worked.

    These days I have no practice. I have become socially very isolated. At work I often work on my own. The days of meeting people at the school gate have ceased. We live in a small village with no pub or shop. I might see a member of my family every few months. I don’t go to football matches now. Climbing trips have ceased. Team Sport is a thing of the past. Meet ups with my friends have completely dried up (it’s been a drought). The last night out with friends was in 2015. We occasionally go to a concert or wrestling show but because of our son’s Aspergers we tend to limit public exposure to a bare minimum.

    You get the picture.

    As a result I have completely lost my social confidence. When I do bump into people these days I am so painfully wooden. Can hardly string a sentence together. End up just being quiet and completely stressed out. Shackled with self doubt – I’m not sure I could even manage to talk to the plant in the corner now.

    I am so lucky to have a fantastic son. I am also fortunate that I have adjusted reasonably well to spending large chunks of the day so isolated. So if I get completely cut off from society then so be it – at least I won’t have to get stressed out about being so wooden. But it does bother me that so many good people have experienced something similar or far worse. Isolated and cut adrift in an increasingly crowded world – alone and in need of company. I really don’t think the scale of the problem has been fully appreciated yet. If you are in that situation my heart goes out to you and I send you my love.

    For me I have a job to do for the next few years. Give son the best childhood possible. Nothing else really matters. If and when he has left the nest then I will worry about the other stuff. Hopefully my hermit beard won’t be too long by then. I might even get round to working out how to play Fortnite properly. Hugging trees can be fun as well I hear.

    Going back to Switzerland?

    It’s Switzerland Sunday again. Maybe one day I will do a Loire Valley post – another favourite place for the two of us before we became a team of 3.

    Sadly I’ve not been to that many countries but of the ones I have visited Switzerland has a look and feel like no other. It never fails to take your breathe away. It’s a country which uses all the colours available – no need for filters or photo enhancers here.

    After our evening meal we would walk hand in hand along this promenade. Magic memories.

    Today this photograph brings mixed emotions. The happiness and gratitude for those times. But sadness. Those days are gone. That feeling is amplified as we are at my partners birthday. I often talk about going back. So many places to revisit. So many new places to explore. But it won’t be those golden times. We also have the practicalities. How to pay for it. Plus something that concerns me. Now it would be just me and our son. What if something happens to me on holiday. What does he do. These concerns at present are pushing the prospect of a return visit further down the line. And that is so sad.

    Deadly Question Time

    So she is leaving before the job is done. Tears for her own job but not for 72 people who died in London on the 14th June 2017. Says it all. Time for the next numpty.

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

    You do get asked some questions in life. Some you can answer, some you can’t and some which you can’t quite comprehend. In 2016 the world changed for us. Over 6 weeks our young son experienced two much death for someone so young. I got plunged into single parenting – a role I was completely unprepared for and at a time when I was close to breaking. Since those fateful 6 weeks we have been asked so many questions about bereavement, single parenting and the future. Here are some of the left field ones.

    “What’s it like not to have a mum” – a classmate asked that 4 days after he lost his mum

    Have you thought about hiring a full time nanny” – a Parent

    Do you think he is too young to properly grieve” – a Parent

    Have you thought about a dating agency ” – a neighbour 2 weeks after the funeral

    Luckily he is autistic so he won’t feel as much” – a Parent.

    “I’m sorry for your loss but can you start back at work tomorrow as your project needs to stay on track” – a Senior Manager one week after the funeral

    Now your a single parent what are you going to do with your new found free time” – a Dad in the school playground

    Dads don’t cook so do you get lots of takeouts” – a classmate with a Dad who spends most of his time in the pub and playing golf

    “Surely your career is the most important thing to you” – a Senior Manager after I quit to be there for our son

    “Can’t your son just go to stay with someone during the week so you can do this role. Have you got family who could look after him” – same Senior Manager

    “We are reading a book in lesson next week which has a boy who has just lost his mum. You don’t have any objections do you” a teacher

    “You must think yourself quite lucky. You have closure. When my wife left me I didn’t get closure” – a Dad in the school playground

    Have you phoned the Samaritans.” – a mum. I only asked if she had any idea why my bread wasn’t rising evenly.

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

    This time can we get a Leader how is up to the job. No numpties should be allowed to apply – that includes you Boris.