Sunday, 31 May 2015

Things He Says | The Say It How He Sees It (Part 2) Edition

"Mum, you look ugly when you're asleep.  Your mouth is open."

The directness that comes with autism can be a challenge.
I know that he isn't being deliberately rude, but other people don't.
He doesn't understand social mores 
and he has yet to work out he might
need to think before he gives a voice
to his thoughts. 
And, in the spirit of directness, it's exhausting 
explaining why he says some of the things he says. 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Dining Out

For the two nights we spent in an hotel this week, 
breakfast and dinner were part of our package.
Pancakes with maple syrup and
 berry compote were a rare treat.
 Dinner both evenings was delicious.
 Pork medallions with sweet potato purée,
apple tarragon and a cider cream. 
 Chicken breast with creamed cabbage and bacon, root vegetable purée,
garlic and herb roasted potatoes and roasting juices. 
The vanilla crème brulée was heavenly and a pudding too far.
Instead of eating in the restaurant in the evenings, I'd asked that we be
 accommodated in the bar area. I felt that it worked well, because although
 it was a less formal setting for The Boy Child, he reacted positively and 
maturely to the presence of other adults sitting quietly.   
The children's menu was well thought out and offered a good choice of mains;
I was delighted to have a mini-break that didn't involve a visit to the 
Golden Arches or a pizza place.
Hotel dining when travelling with under 12s?
Yes or no?

Friday, 29 May 2015

Then and Now

It had been 4 years since I was last able to have
 a chat over a cuppa with the lovely Sian.
~ May 2011 ~
We put that right on Wednesday afternoon.
 The Boy Child made himself at home.
And fell ever so slightly in love.
It won't be 4 years until the next face-to-face cuppa, I can assure you.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

In the Footsteps of Those Who Have Gone Before

This morning, as I photographed The Boy Child, I had a sense of déjà vu.
I'd seen this image before.
The same and yet not the same.
Separated by some 60 years or more.
The family historian in me is excited by the knowledge that he has walked 
directly in the footsteps of those he is descended from.
That's pretty cool.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mix Tape | 21st Century Style

When Mum left for Houston on Monday,
 she took a small fun gift with her for my sister.
 A mix tape, 21st Century style.
 A double CD case.
Two half-size A4 photos.
Journalling paper.
 Minimal amount of embellishments.
 Thirty songs on two CDs.
 What you might call an eclectic mix.
 A one-off original.
Here's the full playlist: 
Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell
For America - Red Box
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
Need You Now -  Lady Antebellum
Sovereign Light Café - Keane
Me and Tennessee  - Tim McGraw & Gwyneth Paltrow
Letter from America  - The Proclaimers
Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
Lay Down  - The Strawbs
Nights On Broadway  - Bee Gees
All The Roadrunning  - Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
Staying Alive  - Adam Garcia
Northern Lights  - Renaissance
Galveston - Glen Campbell
Islands in the Stream  - Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
Sunchyme  - Dario G
When the Night Comes  - Joe Cocker
Don't Stop Believin'  - Journey
State Lines - The Shires
Chasing Cars  - Snow Patrol
As I Lay Me Down  - Sophie B. Hawkins
This Is Us  - Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
All Summer Long  - Kid Rock
Nights On Broadway - Candi Staton
I'm Already There  - Lonestar
Human - The Killers
Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down  - Alicia Keys
I Hope You Dance  - Lee Ann Womack
"T" for Texas  - Johnny Cash

What would you put on a mix tape?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Half-Term Mini Break

The Boy Child and I are off for a two-night adventure.
We're getting on a plane.
We are not leaving the UK.
There will be walking in the steps of those who have gone before.
There will be a meeting up with one of the loveliest blog friends I know.
There will be an appreciation of a global historical event.
There will be socks.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Me on a Bank Holiday Monday

It's been a: 
getting up very early 
to see Mum off at the airport
and then hanging out for the rest of the day
with fabulous friends
kind of Monday.
And it's looking excellent for the rest of the week.

This post is adapted from Sian's Me on Monday theme,
 which you can find on the
 fabulous From High in the Sky blog.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Things He Says | The He's a Charmer Edition

"My granny is different to other grannies," he said.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"Because she's special," he replied. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Thursday, 21 May 2015


To celebrate the end of their exam week, three families joined together
and headed to the park straight after school.
And there we stayed until 5.30pm.
The dads even came to join us.
The friend-who-mothers him is an absolute poppet, as is her baby brother.
 My photo of the four friends together sadly wasn't as good as I'd hoped.
The Boy Child and the wee man look cute, though. 
As for the rest of the week, I have declared it homework free.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pairings | The Pooch

With dog ownership ...
... comes responsibility.
Because there ain't no dog poo fairy.

I'm joining in with Helena this week and looking for pairings, obvious or otherwise.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Exam Week

After a weekend of revision and two further evenings of revision,
I am ready to call a halt.  
There's too much pressure on school pupils.
Of course they ought to receive an excellent education 
that gives them knowledge and confidence in their own ability.
That should be a given.    
Thousands of kiddos in the UK have just finished their week of SATS.
And not how each individual child is doing.
Which is not how most children understand it to be.
I have mixed feelings about SATS.
Truth be told, I think they are pointless.
Why do I think that?
Because kiddos who live in Wales and Scotland do not do SATS.
Independent schools in England can opt out of them.
That's not what I call a level playing field. 
The Boy Child is coming to the end of Year 3
and this week is his first proper "Exam Week".
Maths and Science are done.
English, Geography and History are still to come.
When I picked The Boy Child up today, 
I asked him how his day had gone.
He smiled and replied, "We're half-way through the exams.
  Exam week is going really quickly!" 
I'm pleased that he is happy with how things are going, ie. quickly, 
but I am worried about the emphasis his school is placing
on a formal exam week from Year 3 upwards.

So, education and testing.  
Too much pressure?
Not enough?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Me on Monday

It's been a why doesn't she return my emails or answer the phone? kind of Monday. 
 It's been a frustrating, headache inducing, 
resisting the urge to scream kind of Monday. 
It's been a why does the process move at a glacial speed? kind of Monday. 
It's been a how come we have to adhere to deadlines
and the LA can ignore them? kind of Monday. 
It's been a the clock is ticking kind of Monday.

 This post is adapted from Sian's Me on Monday theme,
 which you can find on the
 fabulous From High in the Sky blog.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Currently Reading

The History of Love | Nicole Krauss: I've yet to start this, but I saw it mentioned on A Cup of Jo, where Jo declared it her favourite book ever.  Set in New York City, it's a story of loneliness, survival and lost love.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying | Marie Kondo: I bought this on a whim, after reading about it in The Times newspaper a while back.  Some might say that I'm a little OCD about tidiness, but that wasn't always the case.  I was as untidy a child as the next.  However, more than a decade in the military taught me the art of tidiness and more importantly, the art of decluttering.  This is an easy read, with lots of her suggestions now highlighted for easy referral.  A voice in my head tells me that this could lead to a business opportunity for me.  Plenty of cash rich, time poor people in London who are in serious need of help with decluttering ...

Elizabeth is Missing | Emma Healey: I bought this at Euston station last month, when I was on my way to collect The Boy Child from Granny's house and I'm about halfway through.  I've found that I can only manage a few pages at a time, mainly because I'm reading it at bedtime but also the subject matter is depressing and upsetting.  Maud, the main character, is showing definitive signs of Alzheimer's and given that my lovely mother-in-law suffered with that in the last few years of her life, I'm not finding it a breeze to whizz through.  Having that said, there is also a seventy year old mystery to to solved ...      

What are you reading right now? 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Saturday Doings

It's been a funny old day for us.
Next week sees The Boy Child sit his first ever set of exams.
While some subjects will see him attempting a modified exam,
 the majority of the subjects will make little or no allowance for The Boy Child's difficulties.
(How I feel about that is worth a post on its own.)   
Our Saturday has thus consisted mostly of this.
 We did, however, factor in opportunities for down time.

 I would even go as far as to say it's been a good day.
And Sunday?
More of the same.

Friday, 15 May 2015

An Open Letter to Katie Hopkins

Dear Ms. Hopkins,
I’ll be frank; you seem to like frankness.  I had no idea who you were until the National Autistic Society brought you to my attention over your unbelievable tweets last evening in regard to Channel 4’s program Born Naughty?.
As the mother of an 8-year-old boy with High Functioning Autism, I take issue with your remarks.  Autism is not a life-style choice, it is an established neurological condition.  It is not a result of bad behaviour from the child or a result of poor parenting.  There’s a difference between a tantrum – which is a power play from a child – and a meltdown, which is a loud, uncontrollable emotional outburst resulting from neurological overload.
I understand that NAS has invited you to engage with them.  I hope you do.  Failing that, please meet with me and my son for a television camera-free, first-hand experience of what living with Autism is like.
Oh, and the whole tweeting thing?  You might like to remember what David Cameron had to say on the subject a few years ago. 
Yours sincerely,

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Things He Says | The He Has A Point Edition

Me: "Tony the Plumber came today to start on the downstairs loo."
Him: "Okay ... {big pause} ... he could be on Britain's Got Talent."
Me: "Doing what, exactly?"
Him: "Drinking tea!"

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Making the most of today's glorious London weather,
I spent a happy hour or so pottering around the back garden.
I tackled weeding (in soil that was as hard as concrete), washing out and refilling the bird bath
and refilling up the squirrel-proof bird feeder.  
I was so happy to see at least one allium bulb had survived 
the winter gorging of the previously mentioned squirrels.
The tree peony that The Brainy One planted in June, 2011
 is producing buds for the first time.
And thanks to passing birds being careless with their lunch,
we have clumps of bluebells.
Do you like to garden?
Perhaps you're more content to admire from a far?
Maybe you grow things in pots? 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pen to Paper

When my sister moved to Texas last summer, 
I thought I'd have no problem in writing to her on a regular basis.
Letters plus email, Facebook and Facetime and we'd be set.
By Christmas, I was apologising for my lack of penmanship and promising to do better.
 And I have.  But there's still for improvement.
I've developed a habit of picking out a card from my stash and putting it to one side.
Then, a few days to a week later, I'll maybe add the address,
 some "air mail" themed washi tape
and put it to one side.
What? Why?
So this morning, I picked up that card, shoved it in my bag and made a plan.
As soon as I'd dropped off The Boy Child at school, 
I went to the Post Office for the correct postage,
then to the coffee shop and wrote the thing there and then.
It's still in my bag, albeit written in and sealed up.
Why?  Because I couldn't remember the house number for the address.
Doh! I'll post it on the way to pick up The Boy Child.

How and where do you write your letters?
Do you still write letters?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Me on Monday

It was a weekend of scavenging and eating.
A weekend of well done, we're in 4th place.
A weekend of the bowl is empty, can we have the recipe, please?
 We enjoyed a fun couple of hours at the school's Scavenger Hunt on Saturday,
 with The Boy Child and The Good Friend ordering parents and relatives 
around the park like seasoned generals.
On Sunday we attended in a lunch in honour of Cachirulo
 He was so in demand for cuddles that I didn't get anywhere near him.
It's to be expected when I'm competing with the two grandmothers, a grandfather and an aunt.
Not to mention his parents.
As for Monday, I'm enjoying the lovely weather ... dog walking and tidying up in the garden.
The ironing can wait.

 This post is adapted from Sian's Me on Monday theme,
 which you can find on the
 fabulous From High in the Sky blog.

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