World War petZ

All hell broke out today. Sat with a hot drink trying to convince the laptop that the Excel Macro I had just produced was in fact perfect and not full of errors WHEN

The two cats and dog started scampering around the house like crazed banshees. Chairs crashing into walls, photos knocked off tables, books sent flying. I found the Living Room in a state of destruction as if World War Z had broken out. Three pets clawing and scratching at the bottom of a large sideboard. Oh bugger have we got a visitor and it’s the hunt. Annoyingly the sideboard had a small gap at the bottom big enough for a hiding space but too small to squeeze my hand into. Wonderful going to have to move that 8 tonne chunk of wood. Have to try and rescue the trapped creature.

Could it be a scary House Mouse

Could it be a deadly little shrew

OR is it

one of these little plastic Dalek (Dr Who) megalomaniacs.

Yes after breaking my back, trapping my fingers and squashing my toes – the sideboard was finally moved to reveal a DALEK. Yes the little darlings had been having a fantastic time warping adventure game. The pets excitedly claimed the prize and continued the game in another room. Well that was 2 hours well spent. Unfortunately now the 8 tonnes of wood have to moved back and the pets can’t help because they are too busy saving the earth from a Dalek invasion. Deep Joy!!!!!!

Put the cat in charge

I was blog chatting (or whatever it is called these days) with a friend today and somehow politics came up. When I say politics I mean really silly politics. Our politics is grim. Very grim. One of the only fun elements is when one of our smallest parties enters the elections. The Monster Raving Looney Party. It’s almost as if Monty Python had entered politics. It was started in the 1960s by the musician called Screaming Lord Sutch.

This was the Party who had a real cat called Catmando as its joint leader for 3 years.

Some of its brilliant policy ideas have included:

  • Make the tax system more complicated so that it is harder for companies to find loopholes
  • Make it illegal to walk under ladders
  • To prevent global warming all buildings will have air conditioning units on the outside
  • All politicians should paint themselves permanently from head to toe in the colour of their party
  • All socks to be sold in packs of 3 in case you lose one
  • Introduce a 99p coin
  • To save money they would only operate our nuclear missiles at weekends
  • Build a really big wall (or hang on that’s not one of the Looney Parties policies).

The scary thing is that actually some of the ‘crazy’ policies they came up with have over years actually become rather sensible and have been adopted by the government. We have pet passports now and who was the first party to propose them. They jokingly proposed 24 hour licensing for places selling alcohol (had been very restrictive hours) and a few years later it became law. Back in the 1960s they campaigned to have the voting age reduced to 18 (now the law and how was this ever considered a mad idea).

Sadly they never quite get into government. Maybe because the looney vote is split. At the last election you had the Looney Party, plus you had a chap called Lord Buckethead, some guy dressed as a fish finger and some chap dressed as Elmo.

Some would argue that recent governments have been infiltrated by loonies.

What am I wittering on about. I don’t really know. I think the point is that when the world seems really bleak and sad. When you want to just stand outside, look at the heavens and scream. To hear your own tears raining down on this increasingly alien land. Just sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is a bit of silliness. It brought me back from the edge. Our dip into politics today certainly made our son laugh. It made him forget about his worries for a few minutes.

If the Looney Party has indeed a track record of starting sensible policies off then maybe they should come up with a policy of banishing sadness and anxiety. Maybe in a few years it becomes reality. I could vote for that.


We started a tradition after his mum passed away that every New Years Day we would drive the 90 minutes to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It’s a fun day. Perfect for our son. Maybe this kinda qualifies as a resolution.

I honestly can’t remember what my 2018 New Year Resolution was. Must have been a good one.

On our dog walk today, strangely a rather blue sky one, our son without prompting announced:

“I’ve got two resolutions this coming year. The first one is to learn to read. The second is to move from bottom set, to the second bottom set.”

It is so frustrating that someone so clearly special is just hoping to get out of the bottom set into the next bottom set. I suspect all the parents of kids in the bottom set will be saying the same thing. But it does just seems to add further fuel to the idea of pulling him from school and looking at other options. How can I afford it. How can I not afford it. It’s so difficult. So confusing.

The mad dog brings us back to the present. Why does he have to eat whatever he can find at the same time that he poops. It’s a bit of a talent. Today’s poop snack was the foulest looking leaf. Talking about foul food so we come to the Jelly Bean Challenge. Today’s question was how many Roman Emperors reigned. I realised this may not be a level playing field when our son asked

“Are we only counting Emperors and Co-Regents from the unified empire”


Before you get the West and East Empire split, often Emperors did not recognise the other Emperor”

Eh Yes Absolutely. I have given this much thought and gone for 500.

“That’s a silly answer”

Ok I will go for 1000

“Even sillier”

Ok 150

“The answer is 70 or 71”

So today I enjoyed Rotten Egg flavour Jelly Bean. This was the first one which sent me edging towards the toilet. I can’t remember this being in the Parent Job Description!!! Anyway tomorrows challenge is a zoo related one. The winner will be the first person to spot a Painted Dog.

I hope everyone has a really good 2019 and all tears are hopefully banished.

Theology and jelly beans

I often feel out of my depth as a parent. Somedays I feel really out of my depth. Today was such a day.

Dad I struggle to believe in God somedays. Does this make me a band person. I don’t want to go to hell”

I tried to find the words. I told him how pure and good he was. I bumbled on about it being normal to have these thoughts. How it didn’t matter what I think or what anybody else thinks – it’s his choice. About how it’s up to everyone to make their own mind up. How he has so many years left to think things through. But it wasn’t good. It was a mess. My partner who was a Quaker would have known what to say. How to reassure. In my current tired state I can hardly string a couple of sentences together. I was really struggling.


I don’t know how many times the pets have come to my parenting rescue.

Dad come and look at our cute girl”

This was the moment the girl cat decided that she wanted her tummy tickling. Suddenly theological questions are put to one side as the cat takes centre stage. This has bought me some much needed thinking time.


We had the big reveal. If we won the lottery which of the following activities would be our favourite and which would be our least favourite thing to do.

  • Live in the Amazon jungle for a month
  • Climb Everest
  • Go into space
  • Sail to the bottom of the sea
  • Drive around a racetrack in a F1 car.

Me: Too many spiders and snakes in the jungle for my liking – so this would be the least likely option I would choose. For me it would have to be Space or Everest. I think the chance to see our beautiful planet from space would just swing it for me.

Son: Least favourite was the F1 car. Surprisingly he didn’t opt for the jungle because he didn’t want to see the damage we are doing to it. He opted for the trip to the bottom of the ocean.

The jungle cost me so I got to play jelly bean roulette. I can report back that ‘rotten milk’ flavour is not good, not good at all.

Today’s challenge: On Christmas Eve we were watching a TV show talking about Home Alone. It started to talk about a couple of big plot mistakes in the film. But before they could tell us what they are we had a power cut. So the challenge is to watch Home Alone again and see who can be the first to spot a plot mistake. Again the loser has to play Jelly Bean roulette.

Nighttime Visitor

In bed waiting for sleep to take me off for a few hours but nothing is happening. So just listening to the wind and rain battering the window. Then…

The sound of pattering dog feet coming closer, quickly developing into sprint mode. In those circumstances all you can do is just brace for impact.

But not needed this time. Yes he launched himself onto my bed but then stopped a few inches from my face. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness a strange vision was revealed. Pup carrying one of his toys, a battered reindeer. He looked at me for a few seconds then carefully dropped the teddy next to my head. And with that the pup jumped off the head and I heard him sprint back into his bed. Few minutes later I could hear him snoring.

What was I supposed to do with Mr Reindeer. So I tucked Mr Reindeer in bed next to me and I suppose he slept well – certainly better than me.

So fast

Once again in the wonderful, wacky world of parenting you get another curveball question.

Dad I know a man can love a man or a woman or be single … are there any other options”.

I’m sure the response to that question was on page 675 of the parenting manual. I wish……

I don’t know how many times I have heard the line, “kids grow up so fast”. That is so true. What happened to the Teletubby or BananaSpilts questions. What happened to the where does Spongebob live. I could answer them.

Then you look at the pets. It only seemed yesterday when we had two lovely, friendly kittens – who just played with a ball of wool all day. Now they rip the curtains off the wall and are top of the food chain in our part of the world.

Or the dog, once so cute and shy. Spending his time snuggling up to cuddly toys. Now currently caked in mud last seen trying to dig his way to Australia.

Yes I dream of days gone by now. Happier times. Simpler times. Safer times. But as much I dream those days are just memories now. So back to today. Where is that parenting manual, where is page 675, and where is that answer to that question.

Sorry sorry sorry – I suspect this post was just a poor excuse to show some cute baby animal photos.


We have some odd pets. This time it’s the big boy cat. For some strange reason as soon as we light the candle, the boy cat has to sit next to the pumpkin. If we move the pumpkin, the cat follows. Last year he did the same. Bizarre.

Halloween can be an odd time for our son. Before the world changed he loved the whole Halloween experience. Making the scariest pumpkin possible. But after his mum died it took on a different meaning. In his eyes it became a transition date. The cross over between the time he associates with death and funerals to the period of happiness and life. Over the last two years the period running up to Halloween has brought 3 major deaths – probably 3 out of the 4 closest family members. The period after Halloween brings fireworks, Christmas and anniversary of welcoming the mad dog into the family.

Halloween has now evolved into a mix of reflection for what has gone and for a celebration of happier times. Hence the pumpkin has now moved from the scariest possible to a sort of party boy. This is no bad thing.

Maybe the cat is waiting for the party to start. Waiting for ‘Trumper’ to start the festivities. I didn’t ask my son why he called this years pumpkin, Mr Trumper. I assume it’s because of the trumpet like thing in his mouth – can’t possibly think of anything else that the pumpkin could be named after….


One of the most frustrating thing about autism is that nothing seems to be certain. You can say the same about Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD. The stock reply to questions seems to be “probably”. It feels a bit like that old beer advert “Carlsberg, probably the best lager in the world ”

  • Is Autism hereditary – probably
  • Are environmental impacts associated with Autism – probably
  • Are Autism and Dyspraxia linked – probably
  • Will the behavioural aspects of Aspergers become more pronounced as he gets older – probably
  • Is his Dyslexia linked to his Aspergers – probably
  • Is ADHD linked to Aspergers – probably
  • Will a coach or therapist help with Autism – probably
  • Is a main stream education the best option – probably
  • Could going to a special school help – probably
  • Would home education be more suited – probably
  • Will the loss of his mum have a long term impact on his Aspergers – probably
  • Will he get any specialist bereavement counselling – probably
  • Would educational psychologist be able to provide a tailored educational programme for our son – probably
  • Will an educational psychologist assess our son – probably
  • Could medication help – probably
  • Could medication make it worse – probably
  • Is Aspergers and Sleep Disorders linked – probably
  • Could the use of a reading Scanning pen help with his Dyslexia – probably
  • Could Occupational Therapy help with Dyslexia – probably
  • Could Speech Therapy help with Dyslexia – probably
  • Could the use of a reading scanning pen hinder any potential reading improvements – probably
  • Will the use of coloured lenses help with Dyslexia – probably
  • Have we now ruled out that coloured lenses will not help – probably
  • Will my son get any additional help during his secondary school life – probably
  • Are we trying every available route to try and unlock his full potential- probably

Probably, probably, probably….

Apart from the definite diagnosis everything else seems to have been on a probably basis. That’s frustrating for a parent as all you want to do is try and find the best course of action for your child. It’s more frustrating for the child as he or she tries to come to terms with life and the future.

But one thing is not probably, it’s not maybe, it’s definitely. When your child has had a bad day at school. When the parent is crying inside with the frustration of not being able to take your child’s sadness and anxiety away. When you need a lift.

The pets never let you down. They are our Ghostbusters our Captain America. Guaranteed to save the day and lift the spirits. They don’t need a proton pack or a shield. Just a few cushions will do the job. What a hero. Son and Dad happy again – probably for the rest of the day.