Did you see the game ?


That’s the question that should be on everybody’s lips tomorrow. However, I think the question will be “What did you think of the game?” There is this belief that every English person will be either glued to their TV sets, or in the pub, or at an outdoor venue. If you say something like “I’m not really bothered about football, then you are somewhat ostracised and made to feel odd. Many millions of people will watch the football today and so they should if they so want. It will on the TV here, but like the last two England games, I won’t be really taking much notice.

The thing is, I only tend to like the sports that I can do and have played. So things like cricket and squash, even though I was never very good are up there on my ‘favorite’ list. Darts and snooker were ‘sports’ I was okay at, together with cross-country running. The problem was (and still is sometimes) my height. At 5′ 4″ (1.62 metres) I was never going to good at the type of sports, I was expected to play at school, and so never developed a liking for.

But I hope England does well, and I sincerely hope that this is not another ‘super-spreader’ event.

<><><><><><><>

An interesting day . . .


Everything was happening yesterday. My granddaughter, S***** had her 2nd birthday and came around for lunch with her parents and other grandma. And the youngest R***, came home for the weekend. He usually comes home every other weekend, but the dental work he had done upset that routine.

He got home around 11:30 and as usual he took himself off to his room to use his laptop. I went up about 10 minutes later with a drink of water for him and everything seemed fine, although I did notice that his TV was showing no signal. He was listening to a music CD through his DVD player and didn’t seem to be bothered. I went up to tell him his lunch was ready and saw that although the satellite box was on, there was still no signal. So while he was having his lunch I re-booted the box. Nothing changed. I then did a reset and still nothing. by this time he had finished his lunch and was back in his room, asking me to “Fix Sky!”

I spent a while looking through manual, and Googling the problem but nothing seemed to work. We told him that we would have to ring the ‘engineer’ to get it fixed fully believing that he may need a new box.

Meanwhile the lunch party was in full swing downstairs. Everyone was having a good time but because one of his autistic ‘quirks’ (for want of a better word) R*** didn’t join in. He is not very good with a lot of people. I was up and down most of the time, trying various other Google solutions, with no effect.

I was about 15:00 when something clicked. When he played a CD before, through his DVD player, the track listing came up on the screen, but this time there was still no signal. I then thought, that the HDMI cable to his TV had come loose, but it couldn’t as it was a fixed cable. That’s when it hit me. I picked up the TV remote and clicked on the ‘Source’ button, which by it’s very name is the place where you decided where your TV feed is coming from. The screen lit up and showed that the source was set at the TV’s default which was Freeview. Now as this box is not connected to an external ariel, Freeview is not available. I scrolled through the option, then knowing that I was looking for the HDMI-2 feed. Once selected the screen started to show all the programmes it should show. Everyone was happy.

<><><><><><>

Back downstairs and the lunch party was nearly over and little S***** was starting to open her presents, of which there were many. to say she is only 2 years old, she certainly knew what to do, and soon the room was filled with torn wrapping paper and scattered presents. She is fascinated with books and with a TV character called “Hey Dougie” so most of the presents seemed to on those lines. Her other grandma left around about 16:00 and her daddy told us that K***’s father was going to pop over with a present, which was a nice surprise all around.

Initially, the idea was that the ‘Birthday Party’ would have been today, but she had been poorly with a throat infection which meant cancellation. However, given the effectiveness of the antibiotics the doctor prescribed I think the party could have gone ahead as planned. But never mind, I think it all went well.

Still in the cave …


When you look at all the improvements and achievements over the years, you would be forgiven for thinking that we have progressed as a civilisation. But have we? I was watching Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, well more to the point Mrs was watching, I was enduring. One of the presenters (the loud male one – if you’ve watched, you’ll know who I mean) was interviewing another presenter who is currently appearing on the TV show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. He was commenting on her dancing when he came out with the phrase “You’re hot baby!” I sat and cringed, I mean this just shows how close to the cave some people still are.

<><><><><>

So, it’s back! Only it’s not in the jungle this time, it has been transported to a castle in Wales. That’s going to a lot for the tourist industry in this pandemic. The only good thing about “I’m A Celebrity That Everybody Has Forgotten/Didn’t Know/Didn’t Care About, Get me Out Of Here” is that it gives me the opportunity to watch some old classic movies. On Tuesday night, Mrs Me was watching that rubbish, whilst I watched “Brief Encounter” on my laptop. Who was the winner ?? Tonight, I have on my menu either “The African Queen” or maybe “Rebecca” with a possibility of the “The 39 Steps“. Decisions, decisions!

It finally hit …


I refer to the so named “Beast From The East” weather event. Up to last night, the bad weather was more like a “Wimp From The P1020182West” as it had not been as we ha been advised by the TV weather gurus. But from about 22:30 it started to snow a little heavier than before. This morning we awoke to this. Must be about 10cm or 4” in old money. We’ve had some heavy bursts and some lighter ones, but it hasn’t really stopped. R*** has not gone to his day services today. S**** had told K*** that the motorway was quite bad, so we decided it would be better if he stayed at home. He is not good when it comes to traffic holdups and can get quite aggressive if there is any kind of delay. Its one of the main reasons he get transported in a mini-bus. He knows he has to have his seatbelt fastened and from the middle seat of the bus, he is not able to reach either the escort or the driver.

K*** has an appointment at the eye clinic today, and with the problems she has been having, decided that should keep the appointment. I would have tried to cancel it. It’s not a good driving day.

‘Twas the night before etc etc…


Motifs download - December 10_colourWell, we have got as far as we can. Veg is prepared, table is set and the presents are scattered under the TV. ‘Under the TV’ I hear you question? We have a small fibre-optic tree, which is not really big enough to put the presents under. In the past we have done the real tree, in fact one year we even had a tree that we planted in the garden. But it died! So for the past 10 years or so, we have had the ‘small fibre-optic’ tree. I think though, it is time we sent this one to the great re-cycle plant. I have had to replace the bulb and the whole thing leans to one side. So I think it has passed it’s ‘Display Until’ date by a couple of years.

images

I’m not, and I think I may have mentioned this (probably every year) a huge fan of Christmas. I hate what it has become. When I was a child, Christmas was an  amazing time of the year. It was about Christmas Carols, families, pantomime. We never, ever were asked ‘What do you want for Christmas?” XMAS PUDWe got what we were given and were happy about that. We had, what had become a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, sprouts (ugh) sage and onion stuffing and what seemed like, gallons of gravy. If you could manage it, Christmas pudding followed and in our house we always had custard, not brandy sauce, we were just kids after all. Afterwards, we would watch the Queen, then settle down to watch a variety show.

Now what do we get? It’s called ‘Christmas Lunch’ and although the Turkey is still there, we now see things like Kaletts on the menu. The stuffing has changed to ‘Chestnut and Chive’. Christmas pudding now comes in many flavours, even as an ice-cream. In some places, it is not even served and we get some kind of overpriced chocolate mousse that bears no resemblance to Christmas, apart from the picture of a red candle on the packaging.

I don’t want to get started on television, but … why do we need to see programs that are on everyday? I mean the ‘soaps’ of course? Do we really need to see ‘bumper’ editions of EastEnders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale? Really! Is it also necessary to have ‘Christmas Specials’ of reality shows? I mean come on, Strictly Come Dancing has only just finished and we are treated to the Christmas Special.

images

Music. Now there is another cause for a rant. We were at my sister-in-laws for a family get together on Thursday. When we arrived, the TV was on and tuned to one of the many music channels. It was playing the ‘MTV Top 40 Christmas songs”. This in itself is not such a bad thing. It had reached number 5, and they were of course songs from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, which everybody knows and supposedly loves. This of course finished after they had played the number 1, Band-Aid’s “Do they know It’s Christmas?” A very popular and catchy song at the time and still is relevant today. We were then treated to a few adverts before the next program … ‘MTV Top 20 All Time Christmas Hits.’ I will allow you only one guess what was at number 1.

Tonight, we watched the Christmas Carol service from Kings College, Oxford … do I need to say anymore?

images

So now, all I have to say is a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all who read this.

Labels … and other things


To be more precise … clothing labels. Wash-care labels, sizing labels and any other label that is on the inside of the clothes. Why do they always seem to have sharp edges and corners? It maybe the type of clothes I buy, cost , make, whatever, but I always have to remove the label before I wear them. If I don’t, then they scratch and boy does that scratch irritate. I think this the reason my youngest son R***, who is Autistic, cuts out the label from every item of clothing he has. The difference between us is where I cut out the label with a few (not so mild) expletives and hurl them in the general direction of the waste bin, he carefully stores each one in a mug on his computer desk. Last count he had over two hundred. We dare not throw them out.

===========

Now, talking about R***, his room at home has, and I may have mentioned this previously, a laptop, a TV (now new) a Sky box, a DVD player, a CD/Cassette player, and until yesterday morning a faulty VHS video player. It’s been faulty for about six to eight months, maybe more and had an old VHS tape stuck inside. He tend to want to use it when the Sky connection fails. But it does not work. We had in the other bedroom a further five players that had been given to us when his previous player broke back in November 2014. A friend heard about his breaking and kindly let us have all the ones she had. There were no guarantees with them, but one of them did actually work. The issue with that was no handset. Without the handset, there was no tracking and without tracking, the tapes were unwatchable.

The failure of his TV and his weeks respite gave us a great opportunity to remove the VHS player and hope that he either did not realise it or did not care about it. They are now stored, for the foreseeable future in the garage. As with the labels, we dare not throw them out!

Not letting it bother me …


I’m trying to not let it bother me, but t does slightly. I’ve been trying to contact a colleague. Nothing serious, but I don’t want to lose touch with the few real friends I had at work. I have known and worked with D*** for 6 maybe 7 years, and we always got on really well. Now there may well be a simple explanation, but he has not replied to any of my emails, and the text to his work phone went unanswered too. I have initially put it down to him having a new phone number and the possibility that the email I have been using is being blocked by the works server, for whatever reason.

===========

It’s been an interesting week though. S**** and A**** have been doing behind the scene work for this years village pantomime. K*** invited them both round for dinner on Wednesday and Thursday, to save them have to drive to and from their home. She picked S**** up from work and they did a few jobs that he needed to sort out. They arrived back here at around 4ish, and S**** had brought A****’s dog! Now, I may have mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge fan of pets, and neither is R***, so I was a bit surprised when he walked in. The dog in question, is a miniature dachshund. No more than a foot long, but quite hyperactive and giddy. S**** was a bit concerned about leaving the dog for the whole evening. I was more concerned about what R*** would do. In the end, he was fine. Very tentative when the animal was around, and he did not like when it startled him, but he coped.

===========

I have spoken before above how R*** sleeps with his television on all night. We think it’s a comfort thing, but nobody knows for sure. So at 8pm on Friday evening it came as a bit of a shock when his TV started to go to ‘standby’ and would not say on. I tried all sorts of ‘fixes’, none of which worked (they never do) before Googling the issue. The replies I found indicated that it was more than likely to be something called ‘ the volt caps are overheating’ whatever that meant. Basically it meant it was broken. It could possibly be repaired, but the chances were that the repair wouldn’t last long and that the cost of the repair, if we could find someone to do it, would be as much as the cost of a new one.

We had a bit of a melt-down, whilst we tried to explain that we would get him a new one in the morning. He could not understand. For a couple of hours, all we got was ‘dad to fix it’ and ‘television on’. His medication eventually calmed and settled him, but it was a tense night. K***’s biggest worry was that she would not be able to get a new one on the Saturday morning. My worry was that it would not fit in the room as although K*** had the details, she was toying with the idea of getting a bigger one.

This particular story ends in success though. New TV purchased (right size too), fitted on the wall (same fitting as before), installed and up and running within 30 minutes.

Then we had to get him used to the ‘dog’ visiting again. This time from 1pm until late. Again he coped very well, but I can’t help wondering what he would have been like if we had not got him a new TV …

==========

IMG_0020It is just to see what they look like, but I have put up my knitted Christmas decorations.

I’ll explain what I have done here. On the right we have 5 small Christmas stockings. Each one has ‘candy cane’ in it. On the left we have three white bells, each one has one of those tiny dog collar tinkle bells as the clapper. So they actually make a noise. It’s taken a coupe of weeks, on and off, to get them finished, and I have to admit, they do look quite good. Feeling quite proud.

~~~~~===~~~~~

*** Now this I find interesting. Since starting this post, I tried to send an email to my old work email address using the email address I had been using before. I got no acknowledgement or anything. I then tried sending to the same address from a different email alias that I use. This time I got delivery failure message, which basically means that my work email account has been deactivated. So why didn’t I get the same message with the first email? Does give slightly more evidence that that particular email address is being blocked.

Do they really understand …


Autism, along with its related spectrum disorders, has become a bit of a ‘buzzword’ at the moment. We have had World Autism Day, British television programmes such as the drama ‘The A Word’ and the documentary ‘Employable Me’ seek to show the some of the issues surrounding ASD. Even the Lord Mayors Charity, here in Leeds is supporting Specialist Autism Services this year.

Now whilst all this ‘awareness’ is to be praised and very welcome, it can lead to some misconceptions. For example, in The A Word, the child with Autism has an obsession with music and is nearly always seen wearing a pair of headphones. My son R*** like music and does wear headphones. However, these headphones are noise cancelling headphones which wears when external noises become too much for him. I was asked by a colleague, how he was doing these days and I showed them a recent photograph of him at his day services. His was digging in the service allotment, and wearing his headphones as he does. The person I was show the pictures to said that he “looked liked the boy off the TV” and “what does he listen to?” It was very difficulty to get across why he wears them.

So, pleased that I am, that this awareness is now being pushed forward, I think there is still a long way to go before many people can begin to understand ASD.

Still tired …


   Youngest was back from respite yesterday, and he seemed to be in great mood. All set for  an early(ish) night, when he started to be ill. For no apparent reason, Mrs H told me that he looked like he was choking on something. Then he was sick !!!! A bit of a mess. After cleaning him up, he settled down in his own room. Of course, neither me or Mrs H slept well. We both seemed to have that ‘one eye and one ear open’ kind of sleep. However, there were no further incidents during the night. He did wake up at around half two, but as usual, he put his TV on (very quietly), and went back to sleep. Seemed fine this morning, and for the most part, he has been great.

   So today was gardening day. Just outside the living room window, we had a patch of what was loosely called a lawn. In all honesty, it was a patch of moss and weeds, with a few blades of grass thrown in. I/we managed to get it down to bare, almost weed free soil, over the past couple of weeks. I had collected all the leaves, last autumn, and bagged them up. Mrs H then spent a good few days last week, digging in these leaves, which were now starting to rot down. A couple or three bags of cheap compost on top, and we have the makings of a half decent bed of shrubs. Just got to keep it that way now.

   I also managed to give my car a vacuum out too. Now there’s a challenge !! I am of the opinion, that our Dyson, is the only one that does not utilise it’s famous ‘cyclonic suction’ to its best. Well, it does not do cars well at all !

   So what with the gardening, the car valeting, and the other jobs I got done today, it has been a long day.

Expected


   The backlash came as expected. He seems to keep things in his mind, pondering or worrying over them, until the bubble bursts. In this case, he woke up at 01:00am on Wednesday morning!! Now usually, he puts his TV on, with the sound turned right down, and goes back to sleep. This time, did did not go straight back to sleep, and was up and down until about 04:30 am, when he did seem to drift off. However he was back awake at around 08:30 am. Both Mrs H and me were complete wrecks. To cap it all, the eldest was coming across for a drama meeting (did I mention he was directing the local group play this year?), which results in a trip to the pub at 09:30pm. It was gone midnight, when we finally left, so not much sleep last night either.

   This evening, we had another bad do with him. All stemmed from him wanting to download a video from the internet. He had found a Japanese site, similar to YouTube, and wanted me to download from there. It could not be done, not with any of the download tools I have. Not a good night.

Three days off


   Work went well. Glad I’m off for a few days though. I think I need a bit of a break. It seems to have been a long time since I was last off. We are going out for lunch tomorrow with Mrs H’s mum and dad, and aunt and uncle. It’s her aunt’s 70th birthday next week. It is hard to imagine that she is 70, but what is really hard to get my head round, is that she is only 16 years older than me !!! That scares me a bit.

   Sounds like the youngest has had another good day. Mrs H only gave him one dose of his medication, and that was around lunchtime. He has gone on respite for a few days. Back on Friday.

   I’m feeling a little giddy at the moment. I was on Twitter earlier, and the classical singer Katherine Jenkins was tweeting like mad. On the off chance, I mentioned that I had enjoyed her recent TV interview. To my utmost surprise, the lovely lady tweeted back and said thank you. I was completely made up !!!! It will take a while to get me down off this cloud.

Another weekend over


   We had a trip to the Designer Outlet at York today. I did not buy much, but have got me Christmas cards sorted. Mrs H got some shoes and a few other things. While we were there, we say Harry Gratian from Look North. He does not look any different from when he is on the TV.

  We had lunch at The White Horse (I think it is called that) on the road to Selby. Mrs H had her usual Chilli Pancake, and I had a Roast Beef sandwich. All very exciting, I know.

   And that’s about it really. S**** said he managed to get up for work okay. He’s been on car park duty today, which could have been interesting.

A busy day


   As I expected, it turned out to be quite a busy day. I got most of the work done, but there are still a few bits left over. I cannot seem to get any enthusiasm for the renewals. I’ve done about 75% of the work, but ………

   I started the new book. It’s a biog of Eleanor Of Aquitaine. I may have mentioned this book before. The only thing I don’t like about biographies, are endnotes. I can put up with footnotes (except when they point to an endnote) and time lines. However I get annoyed when I have to wade through 9 or 10 pages at the back of a book, only to find that the endnote refers you to an obscure book that is only available in some library somewhere. fortunately, this book does not seem to have either type of note. Mind you I have only read the preface and prologue, but the outlook is good.

   Talking of Outlook, I’m beginning to get my head round it a little. I got the tutorial that I wanted, but I’ve not really had time to read through it yet. I also got a couple for Outlook 2003, for when we change over at work. That is all supposed to start next month. It would appear, that it is going to happen, building by building. Ah …… fun will be had by all !!! I did manage to get G*** on the ‘Super User’ list, so the City team (who had been forgotten !) will have some support.

   The youngest has been worse than usual today. He was fine when he went to sleep last night, but from what Mrs H says, he’s not been good most of the day. It did not help, when we had a power outage, and his computer and TV went off. Then it took a good 10 minutes before my PC was up and running, and to cap it all, no-one knew my password. Mrs H had to call me at work, and of course I was not at my desk, so that did not help. Still she knows it now. He seem to have calmed down now (thank God for Calpol). I tried using some lavender oil on a pad. Just stroked his forehead and the soles of his feet with it. Don’t know if it helped. We will see what tomorrow brings.

…… continued


   Today went as well as it should have. No problems with the handhelds over the weekend, which is a good thing. I thought we may had an issue with one of them,  but it seems to have either corrected itself, or more likely it was an user error. Everyone seemed to be in a happier mood than usual. It is not good really, when a managers staff enjoy his holiday more than he does !!!!!

   R*** was back from his respite today, and he is still very much the same as he went. Still the random attacks without any apparent reason. One minute anger, the next laughing.

  Managed to get some music and some ringtones on my phone today. It is not the same as the old phone, as it is a completely different operating system. So the way I managed the files before bears no resemblance to the way I do now. The Nokia PCSuite will not connect via bluetooth, which is odd, so I have to use the USB cable, or connect through the Blue Soleil bluetooth manager. Only another two days to go, before I am able to utilise the full package. What’s the betting, I don’t use it to it’s full potential. I think I may use the calendar option though … we shall see.

   The new TV is performing well. We found out how to get the radio on through the Freeview, and how to use it a picture frame. I am going to put some pictures on a memory stick, and see if we can get a slide show.

   Still no Skype call from S****. He knows his mum wants to say hello, but he seems to be avoiding the issue. He was on MSN yesterday, but seemed to go offline when I went online. All it takes is for him to sign in for a while, and she would be happy. Well for a while anyway. I wonder if he has got a job yet. I texted him, but no reply as yet. With me still not used to this phone, I don’t know if he got the message.

   Right, I think that is enough for one day.

TV update


   A quick update on the new TV. We are going to get the new Sky box. Apparently it is a Sky + box. We have also been told, that we can put the old Sky + box in R***’s room. He will then get all the benefits of Sky + also. Not that he’ll use it, but it would be good to save some of his favourite programs that come on when he goes to school.

   It also looks like we will go for an upgrade to High Defination (HD). Mrs H thinks that for what it costs a month/year, it’s not too much to worry about. I’ll have to get the thatre sounds sorted though.

Busy day…..


   Well we got the new TV today. Looks quite good and the picture is great. We have had to move the screen around a little so it does not block out any more light, but it is quite watchable in its current position. We have been trying to get S****s surround sound to work. It has been partly successful. We can get the theatre sound with the DVD, and with the analogue TV channels ie the Freeview, but we have not had any luck with Sky system. I think it may be something to do with the way the SCART cables are plugged in. May have to have juggle them round a bit.

   New mobile seems quite good. It has been a bit of a struggle to connect via bluetooth. The PC suite is not the most intuitive, but I can always connect by the USB cable. There is a lot to learn though. I still have to work out how I can get my old ringtones onto the new phone. I also need to know how to get access to the applications that appear to be on the thing.

Successful, but expensive day …


   A day out in Harrogate today. We bought a new TV !!! We have gone for a Sony Bravia, 40” LCD model. It’s not going to go on the wall though. To be honest, I don’t really like wall mounted screens. S****s always look out of place, and the one at work is similar. No we are going to see what it looks like on the current stand. We get an option to ‘upgrade’ our Sky box to a Sky HD box, but unless it’s a Sky+ box, it will not be worth it, and we don’t want to be paying another £10.00 a month for HD. Going to pick it up tomorrow as we were not prepared to fork out £25.00 for delivery !!

   I upgraded my phone too. Mrs H convinced me to go into the ‘3 Store’ to have a look. Fifteen minutes later, I came out with a new Nokia E71, a new 18 month (+ 2 month) contract, and a free Pay As You Go (PAYG) sim card. As from Wednesday, I will have 200 minutes calls, unlimited 3 to 3 calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet access. All this for £20.00 a month. It is the phone and contract I have been looking at for a while.

   I also ordered some new RAM for the PC. Play.com finally had the 1gb module I needed. It had gone up in price, by £1.00, but it is still a good price. Looks like it will be delivered next week. It has been an expensive day !!!!!

   Eldest had his ‘house/flat warming’ party last night. Sounds like it went quite well. We have not spoken to him, but I texted him at lunchtime. He said it was around 6am when the party broke up. I don’t know if anyone stopped  after that, of if they went home then. Mrs H was hoping that he came on line tonight. She wanted to try and talk on Skype, but he went offline around 8:30pm, and has not been back on.

   Have changed my blog theme again. I will see how this one goes. I am going to try and indent each paragraph, just by a couple of characters. See if it scans better.

   All done for tonight.

Nearly over…..


Only one more day, and my holiday break will be over. In some ways it doesn’t seem like a week, and in others it seems longer. I’ve not done much today …… come to think of it, I’ve not done that much all week.

Youngest has been fine for most of the day. Awoke in a bad mood, but I think that was a left-over from last night. He’s been quite reasonable this evening, and at the moment (10:30pm) he is laid in bed watching TV.

Downloaded a new IM client today to try. It is called ‘Digsby’. I have it set up, but I’m not too sure. The Twitter updates did not seem to come through as quick as they should. I did not get as far as setting up the facebook plugin though. This needs further investigation, and I think a good look though the help pages.

Eldest rang today. Mrs H was pleased, although she thought I had asked him to ring. As if. I don’t think he realises how much she misses him. I really do think, a couple of phone calls a week will keep her happy. He is supposed to be going out on Wednesday night, to a gig in York. I’ll, hopefully take him back to his flat on Thursday morning. He needs to be back for 8am, ready for the broadband coming. I hope that all goes well, and they get it set up properly. I wonder if he will come here on Tuesday for the quiz. If his friends go too, then it will be quite a good night again.

I think that is is for today. Three posts …… not bad going.