Beyond belief …


Sometimes, things happen that are quite honestly “Beyond Belief.” Our youngest son sometimes proves that. R… is 28 and Autistic. We are gradually phasing him in to full time residential. At present he goes on Monday morning and returns 11 days later for a weekend visit. He gives us the impression that he really enjoys  his life there.

ppeHe has a regular care-team, his own flat and his own motorbility car. During the ‘lock-down’ he went on the 23rd March and did not return until 10th July. Then again he went on the 19th October and was not allowed home, under the rules until 11th December.

All this, he seemed to take in his stride. In fact, we were more stressed and traumatised than he seemed to be. His care team kept us well informed  and rang everyday to let us know what he had been up to and with a weekly FaceTime we just about got through it.

White-one.jpgNow the interesting thing is that his daily life there is different to here. He does things there that we could never even dream he would do. When he is here, his daily routine is to sit in his room, with his laptop and TV. He will come downstairs for his lunch, then goes back to his room and that is it. Occasionally he will come back downstairs and use my laptop for a while.

Whilst in his flat, and this is the thing that amazes us, he takes on household jobs. We have photos of him mopping his kitchen floor, cooking his dinner (usually beans or sausage rolls) loading the washing machine and various other tasks around the place.

He was able to come here for Christmas, although there were times when it looked impossible, but his care-manager and all the teams put enough precautions in place for it to happen, so on Christmas Eve he came home. He would have had to come here anyway as he has a hospital appointment on Tuesday at which his legal guardian (horrible phrase) has to be present.

Now, on Christmas morning, we witnessed first hand something Lichfield Cathedralthat completely amazed us both. In fact, I still cannot get my head around it. My wife and me were downstairs getting things ready, as you do when I that he hadn’t had his morning drink of milk. I took his cup upstairs.

There was some typical Christmas church music playing and I assumed that my wife had not turned the radio off. How wrong I was. Normally, he would have one of the children’s channels on his TV , and he would also have a children’s YouTube video playing on his laptop.

CanterburyNot today. The TV was turned down and he had on his laptop a video of a Christmas church service. This played for an hour and a half before he started another similar video. I later found out that the first one was the Christmas Eve service from Lichfield Cathedral from 2000 and the second one was the previous nights service from Canterbury Cathedral.

By lunchtime he was back to watching old episodes of The Telly Tubbies as if nothing had happened. He did used to go to the local church to see the Christmas service when he was a school, but how he made the decision to watch that kind of video at that particular times, amazed us both

Everyone is doing one …


Well, it seems like it! One of my neighbours is doing one, and an old colleague has just finished his first! So I’m considering doing my own. The only issue I have is what would it be about? I mean they all seem to have a theme. By the way, I’m talking about “Podcasts.”

How difficult can it be? All I need is a microphone and a computer, in fact, I’m creating this post on a laptop that has a built-in microphone. Then there is my smartphone which can capture audio. I have a YouTube account that I can upload the Podcast to, so what is to stop me from broadcasting to the world? Well as I mentioned before “… what would it be about?“. What possible expertise or knowledge, do I have that people may find interesting to hear about.

Then, there is another option to consider. What about a Vlog? Possibly (definitely) a step too far.

Something to think about … maybe.

Difficult day tomorrow …


The youngest goes back to his residential place tomorrow. He has been home for the weekend which he does every fortnight. He knows he is going and we think (you never can tell) that he is looking forward to it. He sits at his computer desk with his legs crossed and waits for his transport to arrive. Then it’s a quick flick through a couple of YouTube videos and he comes downstairs to go.

He has a diary/calendar that shows when he goes away and the day he returns, as one of his Autism traits is that he needs to know what is happening. If he knows, then he seems to accept things better. It’s basically an Excel spreadsheet with different coloured cells for different events.

Tomorrow is different. Tomorrow he goes, and because of the restrictions, he will not be coming home until mid-December. This is different from the last time, during lock-down. Last time we didn’t know it would happen and there was no other option. This time, we do know and we could have had the option of him staying here with us. It may sound harsh, but he is better off in an environment that we know he enjoys, with staff that enjoy looking after him. When he is home, all he wants to do is be in his room. He will not go out unless it is on his planner, so it becomes very frustrating all round. He had to go for his flu-jab yesterday, and it took us nearly an hour to get him to go. Thankfully, the nurses at the surgery know him and were aware that he might be a little late. But they got there on time and all was well. The staff at the surgery are quite amazed that he just lets them do the injection, although he is like me (another story), he has to watch the needle going in so it doesn’t make him jump.

He does not know that he will not be coming home in ‘11 sleeps‘ as his staff will explain on Tuesday. He accepted it then, and it was felt that he may not want to go back if we told him. Very difficult decision.

Can’t believe it worked …


This might get a little bit ‘techy’ so look away now, if you’re uninterested.

The youngest son has two laptop computers. He has an old Windows 7 machine that he keeps in his bedroom. He uses it to watch YouTube videos, and that’s about all. His other machine is a Windows 10 laptop thatNontworking lappy he takes when he is on respite and sleeping away. Some months ago, we got a message that the laptop he took away had a problem. When he got home I found that the machine was stuck in a ‘Repairing Windows’ loop. The IT people at his respite could do nothing with it and neither could I. So for the past six months it has sat at the back of the sofa doing nothing.

Fast forward to the beginning of November and an interesting article on a news-feed that I subscribe to. The article related to updating Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, for free. The so called ‘offer’ from Microsoft(MS) to upgrade to Windows 10 expired some time last year, but the article explained that it was still available, and it gave instructions on how to get it. After reading the article a few times, I began to think that I may be able to do something with the trashed laptop. At worst it would still be trashed and at best it could  be a working laptop.

I downloaded the files and yesterday I bit the bullet and began the process. I was expecting the task to take 4 or 5 hours, but in the end it took just over 3 hours. It actually worked!! Of course, there were a few issues that made the process difficult. working againNot least, the laptop battery expiring when I was trying to login with my current MS account. By 21:50 the machine was up and running with the latest Windows 10 operating system. As you may imagine, I was beside myself with joy. I could not believe that it had worked. I rebooted the machine again and it was still working. I installed a couple of bits of software that I knew was needed and rebooted aging. Still working !

So I go to bed thinking that I’m a genius.

This morning, with bated breath I switched the said laptop on … still working !! I still can’t believe it worked, but work it did, and I’m one happy, ecstatic, cocky bunny and think I can do anything  !!

The prodigal returns


Well, the eldest returned home on Saturday. Me and Mrs H, have been bringing bits and pieces back from his flat since early last week. Saturday was the ‘move’ day. It took three trips to shift everything home and by the end of the day, I was completely shattered !!!! However, it is quite amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can get in the back of a 2005 Ford Ka !!! With the back seats dropped, it turns into a small van, but I did struggle when we come to put in a ‘put-me-up-bed’. I just have to locate the coach screws for his TV wall bracket and he will be sorted.

Mrs K decided that It would be good for him (and me) to go to the pub on Saturday night, so that made the day even longer ! We met up with one of his drama friends, so it was quite a good evening. I can see though, that he will be wanting to go out on more evenings, which as he has no income yet, could prove a bit expensive. I’m only used to going out on Tuesday and Fridays. Still it must be strange coming home after 2 years of living more or less as you please.

Youngest has been a bit up and down since the school holidays started. He frets about things and this leads to him being a bit aggressive at times. At the moment he is fretting about the summer play scheme at school. He will enjoy it, he always does, it is just that he will say he does not want to go, and this will become a theme with him. His latest thing, is having his laptop and TV/video running all night. Problems this morning, when his laptop crashed with an ‘out of memory’ error. It would appear that he had 4 or 5 YouTube videos running on automatic reply, whilst recording the sound with sound recorder. Six hours later I turned the sound recorder off !!

Work is going quite well for the time being. The latest initiative is set to go live next week, so there is plenty to keep me occupied. I’m trying to make some of the reports more accessible to others, which on the one hand keeps me working, but on the other hand somewhat negates the need for me at times. It is a difficult balancing act.

…and so to work (bleaugh !!)


   All in all, the holiday went very well. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were the best days for the sun. This must have been the first time, Mrs H needed to buy some sun-tan lotion !! We avoided the usual tourist traps, such as the Tower  Blackpool Towerand the Pleasure Beach, and tended to spend more time out of the centre of Blackpool. And there wasThe Big One no way, we were going to pay an entrance fee just to walk round the Pleasure Beach. I don’t do the big  ‘scary’ rides since I got my diagnosis (not that I did many before), and The Big One was never something I really fancied !!

   We did Lytham and St Annes twice, which was good. Only real problem was R*** and the charity shops. He was looking for an kids old video, from the early nineties, and charity shops are where he usually find them. No luck this A Tram !!time, so it was a bit stressful at times. We also walked the promenade from the south shore to the north shore a couple of times.  Tuesday to Friday wasn’t too bad, but Saturday was very busy and crowded. But they did bring out the heritage trams on Saturday,which was good to see.

   One thing that worked well. I had downloaded a number of kids videos, from YouTube, and installed them on his iPOD Touch. He loved them !!! That enabled us to sit and have a drink at some of the pubs. He was quite content, to watch his iPOD while we relaxed a little. A stroke of genius, even though I say it myself.

   So it was back to work today. Lots to do, but quite a satisfying day. There had been a couple of problems last week, but between them, it had all got sorted. Made for a better atmosphere, not having the guilt thing. Thanks to K***n and D**n.

Another week done …


   Sunday was a long day. Youngest had decided that he wanted some Eastender vids downloading from YouTube. Don’t ask me why Eastenders, as we have no idea where that came from!! So most of the day was spent doing that. A total of 99, eight minute videos to download. It is one of his things. I download them, convert them to wmv format, and he puts them in his own movies !!! It is quite a talent really.

   Out again last night. This time for a family meal. K***’s Mum and dad always take their offspring (and partners and grandkids) out for a birthday meal. This year it was a bit later than normal. We seem to be on a theme for the past few years, of Italian Pizza restaurants. It is not my favourite food style, as (to me) it all tastes the same. However, I shared a pasta dish that had some beautiful wild mushrooms in. Mrs H, chose a Calzone pizza (to share), that seems to contain a good 8oz of asparagus !!! Not nice, if you do not like asparagus.

   You will note, that I have (again) changed my theme. I though this new theme would liven my blog up a little, and I’m quite pleased with it. I like the way I can add my Twitter and Facebook links. I’ve also added a few more pictures. I did try using Flickr to show off the photos, but it was not what I wanted.

   Work went quite well. A lot to do today, but I had very few interruptions. My PC, at work, is still causing me problems. I can work okay, using the laptop, and I’m toying with the idea of dumping the the desktop, and just using the laptop. I will have to think that one through.

Reason for not posting on Monday


I first noticed that the internet seemed to be quite slow, at around 8pm. Sites were taking a long time to load, pages were not being refreshed that type of thing. At about 8:45, after youngest could not load YouTube, I spotted that the connection light on my Sky router was showing the ‘no connection’ solid amber. I fired up the broadband set page, and started to plough through the trouble shooter. Actually, plough is not a good description. There were three options, to try, in order:

  1. turn off router for 10 minutes – nothing
  2. press reset – nothing again (by this time I’m thinking the router has gone)
  3. ring ‘Technical Support’

Well Mrs H rang, and as usual with these things was left holding for 25 minutes. After that time, we were told, that there had been a ‘country wide outage’ of the service we use. The usual guff, about ‘engineers working hard to fix the problem’, but that it should be up and running again, by the morning.

Youngest was very calm about this, which was very surprising, but it was a bit annoying. Strange, and maybe a little sad, how I have come to rely on it. Anyway, as I was shutting down, at around 11:50, I noticed the connection light was now showing ‘connection green’. Brought the youngest down and let him have YouTube for half an hour, and he went to bed happyish.