Shopping

I ventured into a Supermarket today. What was I thinking about. Son wisely stayed in the car and watched Red Dwarf episodes. When I went shopping with my partner it seemed to insulate me from the madness occurring around us. Now as a single shopper I seem to absorb everything. It’s a truly bizarre experience.

First of all why do some supermarkets insist that they will only permit you to use one of the trolleys only if you first feed it a one pound coin. Could I find a one pound coin. Could I buggery. After 10 fruitless minutes ransacking the car I had to go into the supermarket to see if they would change a £10 note. “I’m sorry we are not allowed to give change”. So I bought the cheapest packet of sweets I could find. I fed the trolley it’s coin and off we went – in circles. Why is it of the 100 trolleys available I picked the one with the jammed wheel. So I tried again. This time the trolley went in a reasonably straight line but as I entered the shop the little blighter started squeaking. When I say squeaking I mean SQUEAKING. We are talking a 10000 opera singing mice squeaking through the Motorhead sound system. Too late to change as my first items are loaded.

I was going to get a melon but I watched as a chap proceeded to pick up every melon, squeeze them and then appear to smell them. Eventually he found one which he could love. Unfortunately I suddenly did not fancy a previously sniffed melon.

A little kid picking his nose ferociously within inches of the deli counter rather changed my view on lunch options.

Unbelievably I then watched as a woman started checking out every single cucumber. She was seriously squeezing each one. Some even got tapped on the counter. Strangely I crossed off Cucumber from the shopping list as I have a strict no purchase policy for all previously violated vegetables.

As I was trying to find just one tin of soup which was dairy free I heard a chap ask a Shop Assistant where the teabags could be found. The helpful advice the chap got was – well it’s not in this aisle it will be next to the coffee. When the chap asked where the coffee was he was told. It used to be in aisle 3 but they moved it. I’m sure you will find it if you keep going round the shop.

Then an old lady asked if I could pass her a tin of peaches down. I’m one 1/2 inch above average height. Why in God’s name do shops insist on having shelves where even an average height person has to go on tip toes to reach the stuff we are trying to buy. The poor woman who can’t be 5ft has got no chance shopping. Maybe the shop could hire stilts along with the trolley.

The aisle with the tomato ketchup and other sauces was cordoned off. Clearly a jar of something red had been dropped. However it must have been dropped with some force as most of the aisle resembled a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That’s going to take some cleaning.

I then went past the discounted section. Not sure what produce was discounted as what appeared to be a team bus of local holligans where at least 3 deep around the area. That is going to be stripped bare.

The pet section had a deal on cat food. Everything seemed to be buy one get one free. Yet nothing for the dogs. Isn’t that discrimination. Plus how can gerbil bedding be so bloody expensive. It would be cheaper to buy them a proper duvet with matching cover. Or maybe just buy them a tree and let the Gerbils do the rest.

You make it through the pet section then you find the way blocked at the cereal aisle. An impromptu meeting of what appeared to be the bridge club had helpfully completely filled the walkway. Oh for a Battering Ram.

Special mention to the poor mum who had successfully navigated the supermarket carefully packing her trolley with the weekly essentials. Only to find out her toddler had been having a great game of putting any item in his reach back onto the shelves – definitely not in the correct position.

Then we come to the dress sense. Ok on the sartorial scale I’m near the bottom. But come on. One chap in a fine pinstripe suit with bright yellow training shoes. The lady in what can be best described as a ballerina costume. The young kid (maybe 8) with the f**k you T-shirt. Or maybe the chap walking around in what appeared to be a string vest which was probably last washed 10 years ago. Or perhaps the big chap walking around in Tour de France Lycra which was clearly on the point of exploding under the extreme pressure it was subject to. Wow what an old fart I’m becoming. To balance things out I was looking spectacular in my luminous green running shoes set against a blue and green relaxed fit T-shirt. My exploding lycra issue was tastefully hidden under matching black and white running shorts. I think the term your trying to think of is numpty.

The freezer section lives up to its name. The freezers are working that well that the surrounding air has been chilled to somewhere close to East Antarctic Plateau temperatures. You could see the colour literally being sucked out of the shoppers trying to reach the ice lolly section. To my cost I discovered how little insulation running shorts and Lycra provide. I will never look at frozen Brussels Sprouts in the same way again.

Then it’s time to pay. When I say time I mean that in the loosest sense. A long queue at every open till. Then they start to open another till. The start to the Monaco Grand Prix has nothing on the ensuing trolley carnage. I was expecting Kirk Douglas and Chariot to make an appearance. And then when we do get to a cash till. Of the 16 available why do I always pick the one where the poor cashier has the plague. 5 minutes of coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose. Deep Joy.

That’s why I am hermit….

Murren

Switzerland does spectacularly beautiful mountain villages probably none more so than Murren. It sits at 5374ft above sea level with stunning views of some of the worlds finest mountains.

We ventured here a few times. The photos are taken from an Easter visit when an early heat wave cleared out the village snow. For some reason it’s the only place in Switzerland we came across a fully grown St Bernard. Now that was a big fella.

It is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. The village has just over 400 residents so you might expect limited facilities. It has 10 hotels with 2000 hotel beds, 11 restaurants and 2 bars. It is also home to The Inferno, the worlds longest Amateur Downhill Ski Race. Unbelievably it’s about 5 times the length of an Olympic Downhill. That must be some tight buttocks at the end of that.

It’s a car free place – that’s right no double parking here. The village cannot be reached by public road. You can only get here by mountain train or cable car.

Next Sunday lets hopefully enjoy a glorious walk down from Murren to Lauterbrunnen or maybe we will head upwards towards a bit of James Bond…

Don’t look

If I don’t look will it go away…

Today in the post we got a Car Tax Reminder. Also the final notice for the House Insurance. That adds to the pile of bills on the desk. If I don’t look at the bills will they go away…

The side panel on the car is coming loose. If I drive over 30mph it starts to knock. The car is covered in a layer of mud – it should have a beautiful complexion when it’s cleaned. The inside of the car resembles a skip. If I don’t look at the car…

Son badly needs a haircut. It’s a combination of Shaggy and Cousin It. His school clothes are a little small for him now. Its the great end of school year parent dilemma – pay for new ones or battle on with the old. If I don’t look at his hair and his school uniform…

The chimney pot has a plant growing out of the top of it. When I say plant it’s big enough to be a sapling. No idea how I will get onto the roof to deal with it. If I don’t look at the roof…

On the desk I have another report to complete for our son. 32 pages. 52 different questions. Health and Education evidence required. If I don’t look at the report…

The garden looks like a jungle. A really unkempt one. The grass is that long the dog now disappears when he goes out for his morning constitutional. At least it hides the fresh mole hills. Nettles have taken over the borders. The weeds under the trampoline are now touching the mat. Could make the next bouncing session interesting. If I don’t look at the garden…

The washing is piling up. I always wanted to climb Everest. Well at this rate I might get the opportunity. Ok I probably imagined a slightly less wiffy Everest and one with not so many sock avalanches. If I don’t look at the washing…

The house is a battleground. Most of the curtains have been shredded by the cat(s). When I say curtains I could say sofa, beds, chairs, wallpaper, carpets, cushions. Most of the wood in the house has been chewed by the dog. Given the amount of wood in the house it kinda makes a dog heaven and a house which is becoming increasingly structurally unsound. Thats before we factor in the agents of doom – the Gerbils. If I don’t look at the house…

If I don’t look will that mad dog stop looking at me…

What is it

Million’s of years of evolution, survival of the fittest and we get to this. I’m not sure how I would describe this. Hairy, messy, scruffy, bizarre, bouffant, lazy, crazy wig, fur ball explosion.

Clearly he is taking his guard dog duties seriously. Like a coiled spring primed to leap into action.

But even when he is comatosed he makes you smile. Makes you forget how crap life is some days. And another key point. I can guarantee that when he does return to our world then his eyes will open and that tail will go into hyper action. Unconditional love – maybe just for his toy crocodile but it’s still love. But given that seriously geared up tail no wonder Muttley could fly.

So you return with the physio’s words ringing in your ear

I’m not so saying never again but just don’t expect to be running anytime soon.

That’s feels like another kick in the nether regions. Yet within a few seconds a hairy bundle of smelly dogness has managed to banish those thoughts. When you look around you can find stuff that makes you smile and makes you feel alive again. Keep looking and you just might find that Hulk Buster Suit.

Thank goodness for pets….

Best buddies

Three things from this photo

  • OMG the garden needs some attention (only a little bit in view but it’s a fair representation of the rest)
  • I must take down last years Catherine Wheel Firework
  • Captain Chaos with a couple of his best buddies.

The dog has many buddies. Our fat cat (he particularly likes him when he is covered in food and he becomes a mobile dinner plate). The Frog and the Toad who he desperately tries to lick when they hop across the garden. The Pigeon who he follows round the garden. The Sheep who he likes sniffing. The Squirrel who buries his nuts in our lawn and the dog who goes round digging them up. AND TWO COWS.

The farmer has a herd of cows in the field which backs onto our garden. Something like 30 cows and he will bark at 28 of them. Especially if they come anywhere near our (sorry his) fence. So they tend to keep their distance. But two cows are different. Two are clearly special. He doesn’t bark at them, just wags his tail furiously. When the cows see the dog they immediately head towards the fence and meet the crazy mutt. Then the meeting of species gets a tad personal. Nose to nose, looking into eyes and much licking. I’m not sure who has got the worse of this arrangement. Not sure I fancy being licked by a cow but I’m not sure a crazed Captain Chaos lick attack is much fun either. This lasts for about 5 minutes then they slowly walk along the fence munching on grass. This can go on for hours – it’s the only time the dog does anything slowly. Yes our dog pretends to be a cow.

Have any of your pets had strange buddies?

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.

    Socks

    After my dogs failed attempt at love making we walked further down the path. Unusually for Yorkshire it was sunny and warm. So I donned my baseball cap. I must admit I’ve never really liked wearing a hat. Just doesn’t feel right – but needs must. As soon as the sun goes in the hat comes off. I would hate the prospect of wearing it all day every day.

    One of the most pronounced aspects of our son’s Aspergers is his sensory hypersensitivity. He just hates the feel of certain objects and materials. For example he hates the feel of wool on his skin. He hates the feel of a scarf round his neck. He even hates the feel of the wind on his legs so he has not worn a pair of shorts since he was a toddler. He calls it an awful, almost painful sensation.

    It is a common experience for many people on the spectrum. In particular the feeling can be worse when it’s centred on the hands and feet. It can materialise in different ways. Some find socks a blessing as they hate the feeling of the floor on their feet. The science talks about the brain have difficulty integrating the information from the five basic senses. Sensory Integration Disorder. Often we find the science interesting but of little practical help.

    With our son he has no sensitivity related to his hands but his feet are another matter. He has always hated the feel of socks. He calls it the ‘worst feel ever’. You can see his body shaking when he has to put a sock on. At home it’s not a problem. In the garden it’s not a problem. He is always barefoot. When we go out he will often have shoes on with no socks. Even if this means getting blisters as that sensation is nowhere near the agony of socks. It helps that in the normal run of things he has such a high pain tolerance.

    But for school he has to wear socks. We have tried ones specifically designed for autistic people but these did little to address the problem. Now we buy seamless ones which are as short as we can get away with. But they are still an unpleasant feeling for him. We have tried putting pressure on the feet (squeezing with your hands) or brushing the feet with a surgical brush prior to putting socks on (trying to desensitise the skin) – no help. Imagine trying to concentrate for 8 hours with that feeling gnawing at your soul. As soon as he returns home the socks are rapidly discarded. Son is happy and the flying socks makes the dog particularly happy as well.

    Wrong End

    I needed a break from the mountain of rubbish on my desk this morning. So it was time to take the pup for a walk. Partway round I bumped into a hiker with her dog. As we talked the two dogs played. The poor girl dog could hardly keep up with this hyper active Tasmanian Devil.

    As my dog started to smell the girl dogs bottom the hiker said.

    My girl hasn’t had the operation so she can still have puppies. But she’s never had any luck. When I say luck she doesn’t seem to let boy dogs get too close to her”

    Not sure if she was eyeing Captain Chaos up as a potential suitor. I quickly pointed out.

    “The vet talked me out of giving him the snip. Basically because he is such an unusual mix. Vet couldn’t find any recorded cases so maybe it’s just him and one brother and sister. But he is unlikely to have any luck. I’ve tried a good man to man talk but he just doesn’t want to listen.”

    She smiled “Oh Why”

    On cue he started humping the unfortunate girl dog. The wrong end. It’s always the wrong end. One day he’s going to get a sharp nip in a very delicate area.

    Break time

    Why had Captain Chaos adopted his ‘please don’t’ position. Not being threatened with a walk. Not been shouted out. No need for a bath. Bizarre.

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

    An item on the news caught my attention. Strangely it was not the ongoing brexit cockup. It wasn’t the story about some TV celebrity going out with somebody else I had never heard of. It wasn’t the recurring piece on the UK is about to have the best summer in 50 years – more chance of my football team winning something. Don’t start me on that one – 1969 for the last European trophy and 1955 for a domestic one.

    No it was the story which got the least news time. ‘ School break times are becoming a thing of the past’. If you listened hard enough you could hear a few quickly presented facts.

    • 11 to 16 year olds now get 65 minutes per week less break time than they did 25 years ago
    • Just 1% of secondary schools now have an afternoon break time
    • 82% of secondary schools now have less than 55 minutes for lunch
    • 25% of schools have lunch breaks of less than 35 minutes
    • One in eight school children have a reported mental health problem (I suspect this only scratches the surface)
    • 22000 pupils in Year 6 are classed as severely obese but apparently this has nothing to do with the reduction in break times. Even though the Chief Medical Officer is calling for at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day – unlikely to happen when you are sat at a desk

    A helpful person from the Government said it was nothing to do with them as it was up to schools to sort out the school day. Strangely he didn’t mention the strict targets his Government had placed on schools.

    When our son returned from school today I found his uneaten lunch and unopened bottle of water. Apparently he didn’t get time to have them today. So no food or drink in 8 hours – that is clearly conducive to educational excellence.

    His average school day seems to be a 10 to 15 minute morning break which is just enough time to get to the next class. A lunchtime of queuing to get into the canteen, then grabbing some food and making your way to the next lesson. Again in the afternoon a break just long enough to allow kids to get to the next lesson.

    How can this be right. I can hear the howls about ‘kids are there to learn so that they can get good jobs’. But sorry kids do need to have fun. If they are enjoying school they will learn better. School is not just about feeding our warped society, it’s about preparing kids for life. It’s ups and downs. It’s work time and its leisure time.

    Modern day schooling has become sadly dysfunctional.

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

    Food in the kitchen finally moved the dog. All is revealed. It wasn’t his ‘please don’t’ position. It was in fact the ‘all the socks from the washing basket looked too tempting so I pinched them and needed somewhere quick to hide them and lying on them is the best I can think of’ position.

    That look.

    Yes dogs stiff their own butts. Chase their own tail. Roll about in poo. They are happy playing with an old sock or even better a new pair of pants. Yes their antics don’t suggest millions of years of evolution or natural selection of the best genes.

    However…..

    When it comes to getting round their human owners – they are off the scale. Nothing on this planet comes remotely close.

    This is the face of a dog who doesn’t want to go out in the rain. Guess what. It worked again.