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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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*** 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.