Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our family and is also close to our hearts.

A country which has just the most amazing views.

Ok we haven’t managed to make it back since 2015 but each year that goes by the urge to return keeps on growing. It won’t be easy but we will find a way. Create some new wonderful, life changing memories.

It’s a breathtaking place. That just keeps on giving. If you have never been then it needs to go to the top of your wish list. You won’t regret it.

Just in time

That snow shower is coming to get us. Better get a move on with this game of outdoor table tennis.

Thankfully I lost just in time.

What happened to the days when I would let him win. Build up his confidence. Do that parent thing. It’s all change now. Now it’s just about me salvaging any shred of self respect possible. A dad who was once a sporting King who is now one of the oppressed. Beaten down. Defeated. Can’t win a thing.

Time moves on.

Time moves on in a good way.

Sign that this parenting gig might just be working.

I do hope so.

A first walk for son outside. Ok it was late at night. Yes it was only 1 minute on the deserted road. Full decontamination when we came back. But it’s a start. The first time in over a year. As his health professionals point out. Until he can go into a busy cafe. Sit down and be at ease having a drink surrounded by people. Until he gets to that stage a return to school is out of the question. Will it be just in time for the end of this school year. Will it be just in time for a return before the end of 2021. How knows but it’s not a question of just in time. It will be in HIS time.

Perspective

Proper Easter weather…..

Nothing like a Yorkshire Spring. As the say round here. This kind of weather puts hairs on your back….

It definitely puts several jumpers over your back.

But here’s the thing. It might seem cold in Yorkshire but is it really. In Nunavut it is -34 today. That’s proper cold.

Perspective is required.

It’s the same with my life. Sometimes it might seem tough. Not much support. Single parenting is hard. Tired. Isolated. Few too many lows. Loss.

But in reality it’s a GOOD life. I don’t need much support. I get some sleep. Single parenting means more quality time my son. I have wonderful friends. There have been many HIGHS. Still much to gain.

Perspective is always required.

Fame 2

It’s funny how you forget things. A couple of days back I was writing about my lame brushes with fame. Then this morning another memory flooded back into my mind.

My Dad took me on a train to see a charity cricket match. My first ever game. I think I was about 8. It was one of those matches with former cricketers, celebrities and a few local club players. It was a decent turnout of stars so a large crowd turned up.

Some quite well known former Yorkshire and England players with one huge star. One of England’s greatest ever fast bowlers and larger than life characters, Fred Truman.

At the end of the game my Dad told me that I would like to get Fred’s autograph. That was news to me….. Handily Dad had brought an autograph book and pen. Almost as if the autograph was for him…. So I was sent off to obtain the signature while Dad finished off his beer. A bit later I came back with various scribbles, one was definitely a TV celebrity – Leslie Crowther. But no Freddie.

That clearly wasn’t to Dad‘s liking and he decided to help me now. After much looking Freddie was located. He was in the players changing room. Next thing I knew Dad had pushed me through the door with clear instructions. Your not going home until you get that signature….

I was surrounded by men in various states of undress…. All appeared to be drinking. No sign of Freddie. So I asked. Freddie was in the showers. So yes I did get the great mans autograph. When he was completely naked. How could I forget that…..

Dad was happy. I never did see MY autograph book again….

Wow how times have changed……

Trying

Sunny but cold. Cold we are used to, sunny feels like a pleasant change.

Spot the photobombing bug.

How can hand stands be so difficult. I have been trying to do one in decades. As apparently I’m hundreds of years old well then that’s a lot of decades of failure. Today joined the long line of those. But what chance do I have. I can’t even balance on one leg (somedays two legs is even beyond me). I tried the old wall trick again. Slowly raise myself against a wall. Let the wall provide balance. All goes swimmingly. Well for about second. Then the gravitational pull on my excessively large bum takes over and I hit the ground. Somedays my backside feels like a villain in the Marvel movies. It is inevitable….

But I keep trying.

One day just maybe.

There is always hope.

I remember back in 2016 and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this single parenting gig. I’m going to collapse. And yes I have repeatedly fallen over. Can’t blame my inevitable rear ended for most of those….. But I’m kinda still here. Still trying. Still doing that parenting gig. You never know I might actually get it right one day. There is always hope.

Now let’s have one more go at a handstand.

Smile generator

This little beauty came from my mums house. Many years ago. She had been given it as a present. Kept it for a few months, just long enough for it to be seen by the present giver, then it was packed up and ready to be shipped off. Mum had a habit of doing that. Presents would get aired just long enough then put away never to be seen again. When she left us and we ended up clearing the house it was like an Aladdins Cave. Me and my sisters playing a game of spotting which of our presents never got used.

Anyway this little plant was shipped off early to my garden. After all those years it is now not such a little plant anymore. But it’s still going strong. A wonderful reminder of different times. A smile generator. And we always need those.

Back then

Hawklad is a cheeky one. Every time we watch something on TV that refers to a historical incident he always asks ‘you were there Dad so what was it really like….”. Last night he said it when the programme mention the American Civil War. What was it like Dad….

Every so often he catches me off guard with a different line of attack.

Dad has your musical tastes changed with age. What are your favourite 5 bands now…”

Ok that would be

Whitesnake

Pink Floyd

Shinedown

Iron maiden

Blue Oyster Cult.

Ok Dad what were your 5 favourite bands when you were young…”

I think they were

Whitesnake

Blue Oyster Cult

Iron Maiden

Black Sabbath

Scorpions

So they hadn’t changed too much.

Was that pre CD times Dad

Yes it was, not invented yet.

Not much point inventing CDs back then when you were a kid as they hadn’t discovered electricity yet. Are you sure it wasn’t Beethoven you were listening to back in the medieval times.”

Vegetate

I’ve been trying to practice yoga and tai chi for months now. I diligently watch and follow the videos. All the really glossy and professional videos. I was trying again this morning. Following the instructor through her perfect routine. Even her dog sits beside her perfectly. Never moving. In the background the gentle sound of peaceful music. Perfect.

Meanwhile in deepest Yorkshire.

A muppet is seamlessly moving from one body creak to the next groan. Losing balance and crashing into furniture. Constantly fearing my pants are going to split under the galactic pressure being exerted on them. Every time I hit the ground a mad dog instantly leaps on me and I replay the Bill Murray Ghostbusters scene – I’VE BEEN SLIMED. And no gentle sound of peaceful music here. Rather the sound of derision and laughter….

What on earth are you doing Dad”

“If this was on TV it would be banned”

“You look a right sight

Funnier than a Will Ferrell movie

Say that again Dad. Golden Rooster. More like drunken Pigeon

Are you supposed to be balancing on one leg or head butting the wall

My Dad has turned into Homer Simpson”

Please never do this when any of my friends visit”

Your just embarrassing yourself now”

Technically speaking this probably means that I still have a long way to go on my spiritual exercise journey. Or more likely …. time to get the mega pack of biscuits out and vegetate.

Somersault

Almost a summer sky and most definitely a winter wind – it’s freezing. Definitely a two jumper day…. But still nice. Would have loved to be outside more but pesky school got in the way of that plan.

After two hours of trying to figure out how to insert graphs into an online test document…

Dad I thought you had a degree in computing.”

Well kind of.

Well it’s not much use here. Admit it you spent those university years in the bar…”

And on the sports pitches. Don’t forget in bed as well.

Well that’s not helping with this is it Dad. Might as well ask the toilet seat for help.”

To be fair I focused on Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, not stupid school packages. What you sniggering at Son….

You. Muppet Dad. Are you sure it wasn’t Artificial Incompetence. Useless. Looks like you’ve just crashed the system now.”

Yes definitely crashed. Think it didn’t like me pressing all the keys at the same time in a slightly angry manner.

How on earth did they let you into a university.”

I think they were desperate. I was late for the entrance interview as well. I got lost and ended up at the wrong university, in the wrong city. When I did arrive i was 3 hours late only to find out that I had the wrong day as well. I had come a day early.

No wonder as a toddler I would talk with mum and just bash you over the head with anything I could find.”

I’ve still got the bruises.

“No Dad those are from last week where you tried to show me that you could still do a somersault on the trampoline. “

I almost did it. Just my bum got in the way.

Grim

Just let this research finding sink in (press on the link for the details)

Autistic people are four times as likely to experience depression over the course of their lives as their neurotypical peers

In the UK the approach is that parents have to fight tooth and nail for any kind of support. The fortunate ones who get some support find out all too frequently that support starts to be withdrawn around the teenage years. Adult autism support is basically non existent for the vast majority.

In our little family world Hawklad is struggling. His anxieties are on the rise. He is stressed out. Trips outside of the house and the garden are currently impossible for him. We are fortunate in that we do have access to some psychological support. Sadly from a Team who are stretched to breaking point. But we still have some support. For how long that support continues – who knows. He’s a teenager. This is the only support he gets now as all the other services have already been withdrawn.

How many other of autistic families are facing the same challenges. TOO MANY. How many autistic adults have been let down by society. TOO MANY.

This is grim.