5 Days 14 Hours xx Seconds
No my blog has not been sponsored by Jack Bauer and the 24 TV Production Team. It’s the time I’ve gone without speaking to anyone (excluding our son). I’m not sure if I should be proud or a tad worried. Maybe both.
So almost a week without a phone call, chance meeting or random conversation. Even on two long runs – didn’t bump into a single person. Its one of the prices you pay for living in a small village.
It’s an odd feeling. Have I been secretly ostracised. Has my liking for Nickelback finally caught up with me…….
I had assumed my streak would have ended today as today was the food shopping trip. However I managed to get round the aisles without uttering a word. I did smile a few times at random folk. Surely a conversation will be struck with the assistant on the cash till. But no. All the tills were full so I opted for the self service lane. No scanning problems encountered so the streak continued.
Tomorrow I have to go to the work unit but that is in a largely deserted industrial estate and I will be the only person in our building. So the streak may continue into Thursday. Hang on a minute Thursday is Valentines Day. Wow am I going to be seriously cranky by the 14th…
Anyway we have started a little wager, who will break my streak. I’ve gone for a random cold caller with my first words being “will you just bugger off”. Son is going for the postman or randomly a lost Donald Trump.
I will keep you posted…..
Attending a rock concert is always guaranteed to lift our spirits. Last night due to a bit of rubbish ticket booking from Dad we were due to see Ozzy in Newcastle and Thunder in York. An unfortunate case of OzzyFlu sorted out the clash. So off we went on a wet cold night to see Thunder and Dan Reed. We bravely faced the infamous York car parks and the massed hordes of relentless parking enforcement officers.
We both needed a lift and yet again rock delivered. It was different. Rather than crashing guitars we had an unplugged acoustic night. The wonderful Dan Reed and the epic legends, Thunder. Both brilliant. York Barbican is one of the few rock venues where they still come round offering mini ice cream tubs. Something rather decadent about sitting at a rock concert eating strawberry ice cream.
You are always learning and last night was no exception. Dan Reed played a tribute to Ronnie James Doo. He played Dio’s old classic, Holy Diver. I had always thought Holy Diver referred to a fictional decent into Hell. But Dan came up with another narrative. His take was that a Holy Diver is someone who goes on a quest around the world. The quest takes so long and takes on so many different pathways that on their return they have forgotten the original defining purpose of the quest. Sadly this seems to happen to often…….
Son just looked at me with that knowing smile.
“Well played Dad”
He is accustomed to the occasional mess up. I like to think that it’s all part of his educational journey. You can learn from the best but wow you can learn from the worst….
Our son really loves rock music. One of the few public gatherings he actually looks forward to is a rock concert. He has seen Iron Maiden, Hollywood Vampires, The Darkness and The Damned. This year is promising to to be a good one with a number of concerts already booked. Bank Manager not best pleased. The bookings is today’s educational cockup learning event.
Somehow Dad has managed to book for us to see Thunder in York and on the same night Ozzy Osbourne 150 miles away. That might cause a few logistical issues.
So what to do.
Our son has not seen either acts. His Dad has seen Oswald but never Thunder. I have really wanted to see Thunder for about 25 years. Only thing to do is let our son decide.
A decision I would have agonised over for days was dealt with in seconds by the logical Aspergers mind.
“I would like to see both bands Dad. One is a legend the other is a favourite of my Dads. Both are great live. Thunder will hopefully be going for years. However Ozzy is Ozzy. It’s unbelievable that he’s lasted this long. Probably last time we will be able to see him. Let’s see Ozzy and hope we see Thunder maybe next year.”
Decision made. I can give my tickets to my brother in law.
“But Dad since we are talking Ozzy and anything can happen with him. Can we hold onto the Thunder tickets until the last minute – just in case.”
Today started off in the usual manner. Early morning exercise session listening to rock on the radio. Things going fine apart from the usual creaking body. Put me down for the a full body transplant, I’ve used this one up.
Then things started to change.
I hate doing the plank but apparently it’s good for me. This morning it became even more a form of modern day torture. Two cats decided to sit on my arched back while a dog attempted to lick my face off. Apparently this was one of the Spanish Inquisitions favourite tortures. But I survived.
Then almost immediately the radio signal disappeared. The sound of silence. So I quickly grabbed the first cd I could find. Black Sabbath Vol 4 and tried to complete the session.
Vol 4 is a fine album and features a rarity for Sabbath, a slow reflective song. CHANGES. This song finished off my exercises for the day. Normally at the end of a routine it’s an immediate mad sprint for the warmth of the shower. But not today. I just sat on the cold floor. Lost in thoughts.
A line from Changes had shaken me.
And I can still hear her last goodbyes
I can’t. As hard as I try I can’t remember hearing my partners last goodbye to me – blank. I can vividly remember her peacefully sleeping at the hospice as if it was yesterday. I can remember talking to her gently and holding her hand but as hard as I try I can’t remember her last goodbye. I can remember driving her to the hospital with our son but the conversations are gone. Why would I remember them at the time as she was only going in for a couple of tests and would be out by the weekend. I just can’t remember that last goodbye. That haunts me. Probably will always haunt me.
At the start of summer I took our son to his first ever concert. It was something he was desperate to do but it was a bit of a leap of faith. Quite a lot of the rock concert experience involves stuff which can really unsettle him.
- The noise
- The flashing lights
- The crowd
- The unpredictable nature
That leap of faith was taken. Quickly he found a way of dealing with the crowd and the unpredictability. He would go to his seat, cover his head with his hood and concentrate fully on playing some games on my phone. He was so pleased that no one seemed to focus on this. But as soon as the lights went out the hood came down and he just soaked up the noise, the lights, the experience. He loved it.
So far he has seen the Hollywood Vampires, the Darkness, the Damned, Killswitch Engage and Iron Maiden.
The bank manager is getting really annoyed at me as next year (so far) it will be Thunder, Ozzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Status Quo and Kiss.
The Hollywood Vampires focused on celebrating the rock stars who we have died. Our son really appreciated this as it showed him that it was ok to celebrate people who we have sadly lost. One of the lost was Keith Moon. Fast forward several months and we were watching a video of the Who playing live. At the end of the concert our son mentioned that he was convinced that the drummer Keith Moon was in the team. That’s his way of saying that someone is autistic. It had never crossed my mind. When we did a google search we came across Roger Daltrey talking about Keith.
“I think he was possibly autistic maybe even with a touch of aspergers”
Again this just reinforces the importance of rock to him. He said it shows that members of the team can do something (rock) brilliantly.
I went first scanning the world around me for 30 seconds. So what could my mighty mind recall. With my scatter gun memory approach, it was over in a few seconds. I remembered some birds flying overhead, a few clouds, someone cutting the lawn, bit of a breeze, plane flying overhead, a car, a number of cows, think I saw a sheep and a dog barking (not ours). I was quite impressed with myself until my son’s turn. I knew I had lost the challenge when my son’s first words were “17 cows”. The list he came up with was something like:
- 17 cows,
- 6 sheep,
- 7 birds in flight (4 crows, 2 starlings and a bird of prey possibly a Buzzard),
- 1 bird whistling in that hedge,
- 2 more birds chirping in the other hedge,
- 3 aeroplanes, looking at the cloud trails one of the planes has four engines,
- 1 lawnmowers in the distance,
- About 15 white clouds,
- 2 Wasps or Bees buzzing behind us,
- A couple walking a white dog in the distance near the far gate, which they didn’t close. The dog is barking,
- Someone has fire on as I can smell the smoke, given the wind direction it might be the farm,
- 2 cars and probably from the sound of it a bus driving up the road,
- Next door has the television on, it’s loud
- plus ‘you tried to put me off by pumping’ – (sorry thought I’d got away with that one).
I was expecting my son to win this observation game. I remember watching a programme by TV nature presenter Chris Packham in which he was talking about his Aspergers. In the programme he demonstrated how much he sensed and detected from his surroundings. It was just beyond my comprehension. Part of me was hoping that our little game would demonstrate to our son some of the positive elements of Aspergers. What it did demonstrate was how much sensory information his brain was having to deal with. When I looked only a few minutes later so much had changed. He’s processing all this sensory information all the time. I get why he likes listening to rock music, it helps block out some of the sensory distractions. I’m not sure what his Headteacher’s would say if I recommended playing Motörhead over the school p.a. system. Anyway as we walked towards the house our son smiled and said “ah the sweet smell of a barbecue or is it the cakes you put in the oven”. What would a Sunday be without burnt to a crisp fairy cakes. Just grand.