The phone

A couple of miles from our village a large TV event has been taking place. Something like 20000 people have been attending. But we haven’t seen a soul. The dog walk felt like we had the land to ourselves. Isolation.

This summer is probably going to be my most isolated ever (so far). Outside our gang I would be amazed if I have spoken more than 30 words to the outside world. Probably had more conversations with the plants (weeds) in our garden. It really is starting to show. Even something as simple as buying a couple of entry tickets leaves me a gibbering wreck.

Not had a single conversation with anyone in the village in months, Suspect the village are celebrating that. Even the postman has gone into stealth mode. Absolutely no sign of the neighbours.

A few years back I remember a clinician telling us that we should probably get used to the idea of becoming isolated. Get used to your own company. She had seen a lot of parents in our position get cut off from friends and the outside world. That seemed fine as I had my soul partner with me. Didn’t realise how applicable own company would become.

This afternoon I checked if our phone was still working. It’s not rung once during the entire school holidays. In fact my mobile has only had two brief work calls. As the months go on my isolation from the world gathers pace. I’m not sure if that scares me or delights me. It’s got to the stage that I’m not sure if anyone would notice if I replaced the phone with a large bust of Boris Johnson. Probably not.

I would hope that the Boris bust would become a favourite cock a leg spot for the dog. Suppose I would need to move it outside. Wonder if Boris would tell the migrating birds to bugger off back to their own country. Sorry should really give Boris his full name

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Ironically Boris wasn’t born in this country. Given his position on immigration maybe he should send himself back to America. Anyway I bet his phone rings more times than mine. A man who currently wants the UK to be isolated Internationally probably doesn’t understand what isolation really means.

Maybe I should offer my services. I could be the Governments expert on isolation. I did think about being the Government expert on talking gibberish but they have already got that position well and truly covered.

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.

Boris starts with a B

At the start of the year our son agreed to try and visit at least 12 new places this year. Today was going to be one of those trips. A visit to a beach and weather worn castle. We were all set. Picnic packed. We made it to the car.

Dad I am really not happy about this. I can feel my stomach churning. Can I go on the toilet.

An hour later we called off the expedition. That’s the thing about Autism. You can’t make definite plans and stick to them. You need to be flexible. Bend with the wind. Sometimes you do turn up at an event or arrive at a destination. But you never relax. Never feel completely at ease. You see the other parents happily enjoying a drink or a chat seemingly oblivious to their children. That’s not our life. You feel apart from the others. Constantly circling the area looking for the first sign of problems. Always on edge waiting for something to happen. Car keys at the ready for that early escape.

Somedays you don’t even get out of the house or car.

After it happens son can be a bit down. Thinks he’s let me down. Trust me it’s his Dad who feels like he has let his son down.

So again we need cheering up. We need a distraction.

So we have a new game all thanks to our glorious new leader Barking Boris. This ones quick to play. Let’s see who many B words we can put in front of Boris.

Britain’s Boris

Brilliant Boris

Brainy Boris

Brexit Boris

Or

Bonkers Boris

Bluffer Boris

Buffoon Boris

Bulbasaur Boris

Bigoted Boris

Babblative Boris

Bogus Boris

Bafflegab Boris

Beetlejuice Boris

Bauble-bearer Boris

Bum Boris

Buck Boris

Bankroll Boris

Bankrupt Boris

Barbie Boris

Blockhead Boris

Bellend Boris

Birdbrain Boris

Barney Boris

Bozo Boris

Bulls****er Boris

Silly Billy Boris

Beetroot Head Boris

Blackadder Boris

Blundering Boris

Bampot Boris

Bumblehead Boris

Bananas in Pyjamas Boris

Yes it worked. A couple of hours later we were playing football in the garden. When I say playing football it’s more retrieving the ball from next doors garden. Not quite a beach or castle. But it’s fun. It’s an Aspergers life. It’s our life.

Promise it will be a Boris Free zone for a while after this.

Horror Show

So our glorious leader Bonkers Boris has held his first cabinet. And it is truly glorious

  • Leadership provided by Bluffer Boris a man sacked multiple times for lying.
  • The person in charge of domestic security was sacked for fibbing about holding clandestine arms deals meetings with a foreign leader. Clearly we all accidentally bump into world leaders on holiday and the subject strays away from the beach talk to weapon deals.
  • The chap in charge of our kids education was sacked (with calls for him to face criminal prosecution) for leaking official secrets.
  • Several of the team would love to bring back hanging and fox hunting.
  • The Foreign Secretary apparently thinks feminists are obnoxious bigots.
  • A transport secretary who has his own private jet.
  • A rich member who thought a dying benefit claimant who was sanctioned for being 4 minutes late for an appointment – should learn the art of timekeeping.
  • Another who has recently been found in to be in contempt of Parliament. Something which seems to be a badge of honour.
  • The person in charge of housing loves the idea of a bedroom tax.
  • A Security Minister who spectacularly cocked up his own Parties Conference security leading to a significant personal data breach for a number of high profile targets.
  • A multi millionaire who claimed expenses of 49p for some milk yet struggled to correctly declare £400000 of outside earnings.
  • Another rich member who thinks people using food banks are not poor.
  • And this obnoxious thing

But we have hope.

In a far off realm a group of brave heroes hold their first shadow cabinet meeting. Ready to come to our countries need in its darkest hour. Modern day King Arthur and his Knights.

Ok one of the heroes clearly keeps falling asleep. But it’s hard work being this good. And not a top hat in sight. I suspect it would be shredded within seconds.

Maybe you have similar heroes who are poised to save your country. I think we all could do with special ones who are beyond reproach and who we can truly believe in. We certainly need a smile at the very least.

Terrible Poetry Contest

I’m still thinking about a new hobby. Maybe I should try poetry. As son says ‘more time spent writing poems means less time to burn things in the kitchen’. Any way I’m going to have another go at Chelsea Owens weekly terrible poetry competition.

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

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. The Topic is a repeated number. Pick a number, any number, and use it a lot throughout your poem.
    Besides children singing pop songs, I loathe when I have to sit through everyone using the same prompt word for 500 entries. So, irritate me.
  2. Keep the Length shorter than 150 words, so I don’t jump out any windows.
  3. Please Rhyme in terribly, horribly, no-good, very bad ways.
  4. If you can’t tell already, make it terrible. I want crazy people to look at you in fear and for the survivors of Lostto beg you not to repeat that same number again…
  5. Keep things PG or cleaner; there’s no need for crude numerals.

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

Again I am hampered with the PG rating. Maybe I should pick a subject which doesn’t make my blood boil. Maybe it’s Gerbils next week. Well it’s a blood boiler this week. It’s the fiasco which is called the UK Government and the ongoing new PM selection process – that’s the one that doesn’t involve the general public.

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

Two years for Brexit

Two years and still no exit

Two Prime Minister candidates left

Two Blokes from the right

Two Privileged Backgrounds

Two supporters of hunting with Foxhounds

Two so called men of the people

Two big personalities who loath the townspeople

Two prize A buffoons

Two politicians so easy to lampoon

Two conservatives who love the tycoon

Two elitists who exist for the silver spoon

Two visions which only bring despair and gloom

Two numpties living in a policy vacuum

Two muppets who are so out of tune

Sadly one to be PM in June.

Terrible Poetry Contest

Need to lower the blood pressure so it’s time to go bizarre.

The wonderful Chelsea Owens hosts a weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. This is my entry for this week. Remember it is supposed to be terrible – not that I could ever write proper poetry.

My poem is dedicated to the wonderful and incredibly gifted people we have vying to become our next Prime Minister. This week terrible poems have to be kept clean. Drat.. the fun I was going to have with Hunt and Hancock…

A better rhyme for Boris involved deporting him to Wisconsin – but I wouldn’t do that to those very fine people.

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

The ten amazing PM candidates

Needed since the dreadful May abdicates

Boris Johnson

Looking out for number one

Jeremy Hunt

No more than an embarrassing publicity stunt

Michael Gove

Slowly disappearing in all the cocaine lies you wove

Dominic Raab

Wouldn’t trust you with a kebab

Sajid Javid

You make our police so livid

Matt Hancock

Talks utter poppycock

Mark Harper

Completely incompetent usurper

Esther McVey

Only wants you to obey

Rory Stewart

The leadership qualities of a Raspberry Tart

Andrea Leadsom

Will only bring national doom

That is Britain Today

A country in complete disarray

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.

2016 seems a long time ago

Poor Theresa.

Wormed your way into the top job. Your eyes focused solely on your legacy. To be one of the greats assured on the back of your often self stated immense leadership skills. Being a bully is not the same as being a leader. Then it suddenly started to fall apart. The cloak of competency rapidly lost. 2016 seems such a long time ago. Cock up after cock up. Lost count of the times you bring the same failed plan back and guess what – it fails again. Now holed up in your plush panic room. Your so called colleagues circling like vultures. A 10 on the door and a nice policeman to let your cat in and out. You look out of your steamed up windows as the country falls apart and implodes but all you see is your legacy. Clinging desperately for a few more days in the hope that the failed plan suddenly works because the pixies have arrived to sprinkle some magic powder onto it. All you ever wanted was that legacy unfortunately the legacy you are leaving is one nobody would want.

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

“Dad its an important anniversary today. It’s 4 years since we set off on our last holiday with mum.”

Yes in 2015 on Thursday in the second last week of May we did. As I’m writing this we would have been heading towards Strasbourg by train. We had no idea what would happen in 2016. How the world would change for ever. 2016 seems such a long time ago. I really have to find a way to start taking him on holidays again.

I came across some of my partners diaries the other day. She was meticulous in keeping records. Unlike me – I can’t even keep my hair these days. But this conversation with our son sparked a search for some other milestones.

Feb 2014 – last time son was hit in the head from a flying bin lid (during a stormy day) at school.

April 1997 – met my partner at work

April 1999 – finally picked up the courage to ask my partner out

Sept 2012 – first and last trip to a Michelin Restaurant. Wonderful food but not much of it. Ten minutes after leaving restaurant we bought a fish and chips.

Dec 1999 – first trip away as a couple

June 2005 – happily walked up Mount Snowden. I might have forgotten to book the mountain train down and it was fully booked. Very frosty walk down with an icy stare drilling into my head.

Jun 2002 – moved into our first house together

June 2012 – started process of getting an Autism assessment.

Sep 2002 – last trip to IKEA but clearly bought enough stuff to furnish a city, still finding unopened boxes. Plus we came back with two huge man eating items which we unfortunately still have.

Sept 2015 – Aspergers diagnosis confirmed

Dec 1907 – last time my team Newcastle United won a match (made that one up but it does feel like it somedays)

Dec 2001 – Partner travelled on last solo trip to India. Left clear instructions that I had to book us in to a New Years Eve meal and dance. She returned New Years Eve expecting to be picked up at the airport and taken to a high class event. Don’t think a Blues Brothers Tribute night was quite what she had planned for.

April 2017 – Started Blogging

Our own party

When it comes to elections I let our son decide my vote. It’s not really my world anymore. It’s his generations world. He decides.

So we have Local and European elections coming up. For ages we don’t hear from the politicians then suddenly our letterbox fills with promotional leaflets. I have kept them to one side for our son to look at.

I hand him what is left of one leaflet – not much at all really. Very badly chewed. But we think it’s an independent candidate.

Clearly the dog doesn’t like that candidate. So he’s not getting our vote”

Next is an independent candidate still in one piece. I went through what he stood for.

Apart from he was born in Yorkshire that makes no sense what’s so ever. No idea what that meant so no vote here”

Next up was a very Right Wing Candidate.

He looks an awful person”

We went through his leaflet.

He is an awful person, no vote”

We’ve not had anything from the Labour Party Candidates.

Well if they can’t be bothered to tell us what they are going to do THEN we can’t be bothered to vote for them. Shame because I would like to vote for them. That teams Leader (Corbyn) sometimes says the best things but sometimes is a bit stupid”

Then we had the Liberal Democrat Candidate.

“She looks a really nice person. She’s a mum and she wants to improve the environment and help the schools. She is honest saying we need to pay more taxes to pay for it. She has one of our votes”

Then it’s the two Conservative Candidates.

These photos clearly make them look like they are going hunting for Pheasants. They keep saying that they are going to improve services and yet they say they are going to slash taxes. Do they think we are stupid. No votes”

That’s a good job because I ain’t voting for a party containing the odious May, Gove, Johnson, Hunt, Raab, Rees-Moog.….

Then we have a candidate who is just in favour of Brexit.

All she talks about is that she wants to leave Europe as soon as possible but doesn’t say anything about what happens after that. No vote”

“Are the Greens competing”

Don’t know, not seen anything from them.

Shame we can’t get Greta to be our leader”

She would certainly get my vote.

Maybe the Greens and the Reds (Labour) should merge to form the Browns. That sounds like a great party”.

So we have only one candidate selected. These elections we get more than one vote.

“Right we need to setup our own party. With a bit of touching up you can be the face of the party (said with a very big giggle)”

What shall we stand for. These days people will vote for anything silly”

How about being a single issue party. Let’s keep it really simple. Let’s pinch something from Spongebob. How about our issue being – free Krabby patties for all.

That’s a winner. When you are elected you can work with that nice Liberal candidate and you can start changing the world”

So tomorrow we start saving the planet, today I need to find a heap of makeup and start the touching up process……

Spelling….

Some roads are straight and easy to navigate. Other roads are not….

A few years ago the U.K. Government changed the way children were taught and tested. To ensure that ‘children are better equipped for jobs a greater emphasis should be placed on spelling, grammar and punctuation’. As a result marks are now specifically set aside for these factor in exams. Labelled SPaG marking. It was argued that the previous inclusive educational approach was wrong.

The Government approach is to focus on a limited number of correctly spelt words. Let’s produce kids who can spell one word perfectly rather than have kids who can use an extended comprehension.

Where does this leave kids with dyslexia.?

Teaching Groups, Charities, Dyslexia Associations, Parenting Associations and Health Bodies objected. But what do they know….

Dyslexic Kids can apply for extra time in exams. They can apply for a scribe. They can apply to use a reading pen. They can apply to use a keyboard rather than pen. BUT.

They have to demonstrate a level of independence to gain access to the spelling, the grammar or the punctuation marks. If they can’t then the marks are not available to them.

Looking at our son’s case it probably means that when he takes his final exams if he opts for reasonable levels of assistance (as required under Equality Legislation) he will at best be able to access only 33% of the total SPaG marks available.

In my eyes this is wrong. But this is modern U.K. education policy.

Sadly it doesn’t stop there.

The Government decided to change the course content for Computing. Computing underpins everything now. The range of potential computing skills are endless. So many of our kids have passions and untapped skills here. The opportunities are boundless. Let kids tap into this. NO. The Government decided that the course should now focus on coding and structured programming.

Not often can I talk about a subject with anything other than guesswork, but computing I can get to amateur level. This is way beyond the dogmatic ideological buffoonery that underpins Government thinking. Why in God’s name have they picked the most uninspiring and regimented area to focus on. The approach seems to be let’s push out kids who can code rather than develop kids who can utilise the potential computers offer. Yes let kids have a basic grasp of coding then allow those who want to take it further the option to do so. I remember training in 3 programming languages – all becoming obsolete within 5 years.

AND yet again the Government – The Government which is on our side – have penalised kids with dyslexia. Coding and programming is built around specific commands and symbol patterns. Dyslexics struggle with this. So our son is stuck in a weekly computing lesson which focuses on programming. He flounders as he can’t spell the commands. His confidence gets battered. His struggles with spelling are cruelly exposed. His love for computing is fading. The school knows this but cannot change because it’s the set teaching method. Madness.

Sadly I could go on about other subjects and more Government interference. But the point has been made.

Education is so vital that it should not be left in the hands of our self absorbed and incompetent politicians. How about the politicians just focusing on screwing up Brexit and leaving education to the teachers, the parents, the area experts, the kids. In today’s language that probably gets me labelled as a dangerous socialist. A Traitor. Frankly I don’t care. What I care about is the kids going through our educational system. Clearly that’s something our leaders clearly can’t comprehend.