Thursday, 18 November 2010


Hi all

We've had a grump week from Callum so far this week! :-(

Now I don't know whether it's because of the weather; because of us being out quite a bit; because he is still slightly suffering from a cold or because I said we should do some work this week. I think it could be a combination of them all, but, boy, has he been grumpy!

Monday I suggested that it was about time we knuckled down and did some serious home ed instead of just watching DVDs, reading books or making origami dinosaurs (well I made one as it was actually really hard and Callum gave up and went and played with his cars. I, on the other hand, wouldn't be beaten by a bit of paper)! I'd managed to download some sheets from the computer and wrote up 10 questions on a book he'd just finished. Wasn't asking a great deal, but he hrumphed and grumped like I'd asked him to climb Mount Everest unaided and be home by teatime! We didn't get pencils flying around the room at least, which is an improvement from latter years. Anyway, he finally decided to do 3 questions of the 10 and wrote down all his answers unaided and without further arguement - yay!! We then got sidetracked by mail that came in and started doing maths!!!??? It was a bank statement I think that prompted it, but can't complain as he was adding up and doing balances - oo er, economics, coo!

I gave up after that as he had no interest in anything, so I went out in the garden and cleared up my courtyard. When I got back in he announced that he'd like to get on with the Christmas cake!? OooooKaaaaay! However, it was now Phil coming home time and it wasn't worth starting until after dinner. He then decided he'd go out with the dog and dad! I was hoping that this bit of fresh air might improve his general mood, but it didn't and he was a grump again when he got home. We finally weighed out the fruit for the cake at 8pm! He loves helping out with the Christmas baking, so I do try and encourage him as much as possible. I think he just likes helping himself to the raisins, cherries and sugar to be honest, but he did well and gave everything a really good stir in the brandy! "Ah, that's Christmas!" he says as I'm pouring 3 very large spoonfuls of brandy into the fruit mix whilst trying to avoid tipping it over his head which kept diving into the bowl for a sniff. Bless!

Tuesday was Chiropractor for me in the morning and then a shopping trip straight after. Oh dear, Callum is grumpier than ever today and tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to persuade me to go to Chiropractor without him, travel home via Chatham, pick him up and travel back to Chatham for shopping! Errr, I don't think so! Anyway, with Grumpy in tow we go off to Chiro. I'm pulled about, he sits outside in waiting room. Back on bus for trip into Chatham. Pop into Game to drop off old games and get points on the reward card. Then he finds a PC game he wants, so back in the queue to buy it. Then just as we are leaving the shop he spots a huge advert (why he didn't see it earlier I don't know) for the game he's seen on TV that he wants. He's had the right hump everytime the advert comes on as it's advertised for the XBox which we haven't got. But, aha, on the big window advert it states that for a limited period it's available on other formats including the Wii, which we have got! Soooooo back into the queue we go to preorder it! I finally escape from Game after being in the queue 3 times and pretty much getting to know the staff personally!

Then off to Superdrug to buy bits for the Shoebox Appeal (moans and groans from C), cafe for lunch (cheerful), toy shop for a look round (also cheerful) and manage to get his best mate's Christmas present, then home! He decides then that it's been far too long a day and he doesn't want to go to Youth Club! Bang goes my idea of popping to Asda with my beloved partner to do a bit of shopping and nose round for Christmas bits. Callum then proceeds to hrumph and grumph on the sofa! Finally agreeing to complete the Christmas cake and get it into the oven. It's 7.30pm and it takes 4 hours. I knew it would be a late night again for me!

Wednesday was haircuts! Now, normally C is badgering me about getting his hair cut, but this time he threw himself onto the bathroom floor and sulkily announced he didn't want to go! "Okay, why don't you want to go?" "I don't want my hair cut." "Why?" "Because I want to grow it!" "Right.....I can always ask if Jess will just cut your fringe a bit and tidy it up, would that be ok?" Some reluctant pouty expressions and some umming and ahhhing. "Yeah, that would be ok!" "Great! That was easy wasn't it? Just talk to me and I'll attempt to sort it out! Now, can we go as we are now going to be late?"

We walk round to hairdressers and he's ok, quite chatty. But on approaching, he goes all sulky again. He wants me to have mine done first, so I do! He's flopping all over the sofa and the floor behind me. Then he refuses to sit in the chair. Jess, brilliantly, manages to get him in the chair and get his hair done as he wants it. She's fab is Jess. Calm, firm and always manages to make him laugh, even if he is determined not too! Anyway, hair done!

Half way back towards Aldi he decides he needs the toilet. Now this is normally fine, but we are supposed to be going to Aldi's and then getting a bus to Maidstone, grabbing something we can eat on the bus. He then says "We can't eat on the bus, that man said so." "What man?" "The one on Sunday." "Whaaat?" "The man at the bus station on Sunday. He said that as of Monday we weren't allowed to eat or drink on the bus!"

By this point I'm racking my brains trying to think of some bus driver or official that we saw on Sunday that had said anything. But no, it wasn't a bus driver, it wasn't a bus official, it was a very strange man who was wandering around the bus station talking to everyone and anyone! Obviously one of Medway's infamous crazies (not politically correct I know, so sorry). My daughter, who happened to be with us at the time, said that she's never seen him on a bus, but he goes around the bus station talking to everyone and saying all manner of random things. Unfortunately Callum has believed him! So, all the way home we go! Eat lunch there, do the toilet trip and walk back up to the High Street to catch the bus!

Lovely afternoon with a friend. Callum happily playing with his mate! Yay, bliss! Take a wander down into town before getting bus home and am (rather easily I might add) persuaded to go into Game Exchange. Callum wants an old PS2 game and thought this would probably be best place to find it! Do find it! £2. Brilliant. Unfortunately they also have a DVD section, bad move! I end up spending £19 in all, eeek! Back home I'm shattered and Callum is grumpy again as it's a bit late to start playing his 'new' game!

Today, he woke up cheerful!!!!!!!!!!!! Way hey! But then he has decided that he is going to play his game all morning! Oh well, gives me time to tidy up the house, sort out emails and get ready for trampolining. Must admit, he was even happy there too and bounced this week and bounced well.

Am hoping that this new cheerful, less grumpy Callum will last over the weekend. I'm exhausted. So much so that I had a bath, put on my pjs and then realised that I had a meeting to go to. Oh well, dinner eaten, back upstairs to get redressed and off to meeting I went. I think I need a lie down now! hehe


Saturday, 13 November 2010


Hi all

We are still alive, although no so sure on the well. For some unknown reason we haven't been brilliant for a couple of weeks. I'm sure it's just the winter bugs going round, but we are fine one minute, then feel shite, then well, then shite, then well and so on. To be honest I'm getting a bit fed up with it! We are now on daily doses of Echinacea and Vitamin C which does seem to be helping. Callum however, is going into hibernation mode and I'm not far off joining him. Oh well, might get some work done! Hehe.

Anyway. The rest of October was taken up by preparing for our Halloween party. This year's theme was Pumpkins and Skeletons. So, I thought it would be a good idea to start off in the living room as a funeral parlour and then out through the door into the dining room which was the graveyard. The parlour was dedicated to the pumpkin king and so had a brown/orange alter cloth with a twiggy/orange flower cross, pumpkin stained glass window and of course a pumpkin hollowed out as Jack from Nightmare before Christmas. We had lots of candles and a large yellow throw to tie in colours and a Jack blanket hung up to cover the DVD shelves.

The dining room was covered in black bin liners and I made card 'gravestones' for the chairs and made a card statue to cover my unit in an attempt to make a statue.

I then made a skeleton out of card and laid him on the table. The idea being that the food would represent body bits and would be placed on the skeleton in their respective places.

So: prawn and tuna in mayo (prawns used to line bowl) upturned became brains; hard boiled eggs cut in half and painted with edible food colouring became eye balls; a dish of sweetcorn with red pepper strips around the outside became lips and teeth. Placed on the skull.

Celery, carrot and cucumber strips were arm bones. Rolls cut into heart shapes = heart (obviously); hot dogs cut into strips, cooked and mixed with BBQ sauce = intestines. Guacamole = bile dip; tomato sauce = blood; hummus = cholesterol. Then cheese pastry cut into bone shapes were the legs. I also did bowls of lettuce with marmite 'snails' (puff pastry spread with marmite and rolled up) and slime stuffed beetles (dates stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts, coloured green with edible colouring).

Pudding was worms in green jelly (brown jelly worms arranged in half filled bowl of green jelly, another layer placed on top, left to set and more jelly worms strategically placed on top and poked in). Dessicated coconut coloured green and sprinkled on as grass. Plus a variety of ghoulishly iced cakes care of A Zombie Ate My Cupcake by Lily Vanilli (brains, gravestones and mummies) + a concoction of popcorn, M&Ms and melted marshmallows which tasted fine, but looked remarkably like vomit - coooooool!!! Unfortunately, the food got devoured before I got to take photos - hey ho! Must remember to be quicker next time.

Games were equally ghoulish with spider web 'dart board; musical gravestones; pass the coffin; balloon relay; scary story (blindfolded children, one spooky narrator (my daughter) and various bits and bobs to represent the dead man in the story's body bits = suitably freaked out kids); bobbing for worms (more jelly worms in squirty cream and having to be removed without using hands - very messy) and, of course, bobbing for apples! Callum loves bobbing for apples and there is always a bit of family rivallry going on between him and his 22yr old sister! She just beat him this year by 1 second. Watch out Terri, he'll beat you next time!

Callum joined in for the majority of the games this year. I think age has helped and that he has been included in the arranging and ideas. He wouldn't do the scary story though, but one game out of seven isn't bad! He also loved having the trick or treaters at the door (I give out cakes, not sweets or money) and he even wore his costume (see above). All in all a successful and fun party - well I thought so anyway, haha!

The following day we had to go up the high street and Callum took great delight in spotting all the cake cases or half eaten cakes, commenting "one of ours" at every one he saw!

Our next big event was last weekend. We had tickets for Top Gear Live with MPH Show at Earls Court on November 5th. Was a long day, but worth every penny. On booking the tickets way back in whenever I discovered that (in the small print) a carer could go free. I had to fill in an onscreen form and one of the ticket sales team rang the following day to find out more details. To be honest I wasn't holding out much hope as I assumed it would be more for the wheelchair bound rather than ASD Spectrum, but on explaining Callum's problem he stated that we were indeed entitled to a free ticket. This meant that the money I'd put aside for the show would now get me an upgrade to Gold tickets! Am soooooo glad I took that advantage.

The Top Gear show itself was brilliant. Lots of stunt driving, the boys doing silly stuff, etc, etc. At one point during the Cool Wall section Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson came up into the audience and were literally standing in front of us. I was extremely happy and Callum's face was amazing. They also made his day as they did car football which is always his favourite section in the series on TV. He said to me for ages afterwards that it didn't seem real and that he felt like he'd watched the TV prog in 3D. Took him days before it set in that he'd seen it for real.

The MPH show was brilliant too. Loads of cars on show, loads of stalls, lots of stuff to do, but not many places to sit down and it was extremely busy. This is where having the gold tickets came into its own. We were allowed access to a special area where there were tables and chairs and a separate place for drinks and eating. It meant that everytime Callum felt overwhelmed we had somewhere to take him that was quieter and he was able to calm down. Best parts of the show for Callum were the Bugatti Veyron (yep it was really there) - he took loads of photos on his DSi, the Lambogini (don't ask me which one) and the Peel P50. He actually got persuaded to have his photo taken in that one and hopefully that will be coming in the post soon.

We picked up Tshirts, free magazines, posters, pencils and other bits and bobs, so he came home a rather happy, but tired, little chappy. Would definitely go again and would definitely go for Gold (might even upgrade to Platinum).

The following day we went to a firework display and on the Sunday we had our own at home. Callum actually had sparklers this time and went outside!!! Best thing I did this year was buy proper ear defenders for kids. Edx Kids, bright red. Callum loves them. I bought them for Top Gear as the sales guy said it would be noisy and they worked. He wears them for everything now if he feels it may be too much. It has meant he has been able to join in so much more over past couple of weekends, I wish I'd bought them before although I'm not sure if he would have worn them before.

Anyway, since then, as I've already said, we've been a bit up and down healthy wise, but we are getting there. Needed the rest though - haha.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Hi all

Thought I'd do a mid week update - it's better than nothing, haha.

I should be doing other things, but my brain has not been functioning very well this week, so am going to do this instead.

What has been going on in Callum's World this week? Well, for starters he had his first guitar lesson on Monday night with a friend of mine. Callum had been given an acoustic guitar a while ago by his best mate who had upgraded and Callum has had a bit of a thrash about on it a couple of times. I asked him, at the time, if he fancied lessons, but he wasn't too keen as he didn't want anyone telling him what to do. But as time has gone on I could see he was beginning to get a bit frustrated. I told him about a friend of mine who is a lot of fun and it wouldn't be a 'serious' lesson and would he like to give it a go. He said yes, so we did!

The lesson went quite well actually and Callum did seem to pick up a couple of the chords quite quickly although he was having trouble holding the guitar properly. He is pretty good at thrashing the strings, but trying to play chords with one hand and strum with the other took a bit of getting used to. To add to the problem, Callum is left handed, but the guitar is right handed! However, he found it just as easy to hold/play with either so we stuck with right handed, but I think, as he is using the opposite side of his brain to normal, he was finding it a bit difficult to be consistant.

Peter let him have a go on the electric guitar and the pair of them thrashed out some noise together and Callum had a huge grin on his face. He now wants an electric guitar! Hmmm, thanks Peter! Anyway, he had an hour's play about and basic lesson and it's now up to him if he wants to continue. He had a good time, but is unsure of committing himself. Will leave until after Halloween I think and then ask again.

Another first this week is him (and his best mate Callum D) being left at Youth Club on their own this time. It kind of isn't first time as they have been to activity days, but this is a little different and they obviously stay in the building. They both went off quite happily, but seemed pleased when I returned to pick them up. Apparently there was a five year old girl who was lethal at table tennis - their words not mine - who had nearly whacked both of them in the eye with the pingpong ball. They laughed about it in the car all the way home, making up sillier and sillier ways of getting hurt - at least they were using their imagination.

Wednesday we were invited to a birthday party which started in McDonalds and then on to bowling. Today did not go well for Callum! I advised he had breakfast before we got there, but he chose in his ultimate wisdom not to have any. This, of course, meant he was starving by the time we got there and wanted to eat there and then. Unfortunately there was also some children he didn't know, so he went off in the corner and sat with us mums, moaning and stressing about food. I decided that, as I was hungry too, I'd go down, order myself a Big Mac meal, come back, give him my Big Mac and I'd eat my fries and then once he got his meal (Kids meal cheeseburger and chips), he could give me his cheeseburger. I know that that doesn't really make sense in the swapsy way, but he wanted two burgers in a bun and I knew that they didn't do that in a kids meal, so we swapped as I only wanted a single burger. Anyway, he got some food and all was calm for a bit.

Then we went off to bowling! He stressed about the shoes as he hates the feel of them and doesn't do laces, so off to the side we went and we managed to sort out shoes that were comfy with laces tied. Down the stairs to the alley itself and, as is normal for a kids party, chaos reigned as kids needed to be sorted into alleys, names needed to be inputted and there was a general feeling of hubbub and noise. Also the lane that Callum was put onto had a group of adults next door and I think this sent him over the edge! We had tears, we had 'I hate bowling' (which I know he doesn't), we had 'I don't want to be here, but I don't want to go home', we had more tears, we had snotty nose, dribble and general burying in mummy! Those mums that know Callum and myself well basically left him (and myself) alone, but kept a watchful eye - thank you mums! Those that don't know us kept asking if he was ok and could they get him a drink, etc, etc and although I appreciate their concern and thank them, it wasn't helping! However, eventually after much calm talk and reassurance, he was back to normal and joined in the game scoring a strike on his first attempt and coming 2nd overall. He then went on to play a 2nd game, coming 1st!

The only downside to this is that I find he goes from one extreme to the other and he became more and more hyper as the time went on. Thank you Carol for once again putting up with him leaping all over you and pretending to be a plane! And thank you again Lorraine for pretty much the same thing!

He did, overall, have a good time!

Today was bounce! He bounced today, although didn't do any serious work. He was also pretty hyper with the rest of the kids. A residue from yesterday me thinks. However, they were all a bit more active this week and on returning home I checked the moon phase to discover that it was 98% full moon, so that may have something to do with it.

Hopefully off to pictures tomorrow.

So that's it! Midweek news done. Cya

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Right!! It's Sunday, it's 11pm and it's blog time. I'm not tired, although I will be tomorrow morning when I have to get up!

This week has been a lot better than last week. Neither of us have felt quite so ill, but we have still felt like hibernating! Weather has been a bit better, so I think that helps and we have been (or at least I have) in full swing getting ready for Halloween. (See other blog for info on my obsession!).

So, what has been happening? Well, the Sunday after the party we met up with a few friends at Gore Farm where we rent an apple tree. It's an annual thing and we all troop up to the orchard, boxes in hand, get allotted our tree and pick all the apples off it. There is normally at least 3 large boxes for each family to take home, so well worth the £10 per annum it costs us. It does tend to be the adults picking the apples and the kids eating them or running off into the orchard/meadow to hang out and this year wasn't really much different. However, the farm now has lots of animals on it which it never has had before, so there was even less incentive for the kids to pick fruit! Was a good afternoon though except for one little glitch. We all wanted tea and cake afterwards, but the cafe has some strange rules about when they serve food, so weren't serving cake. Callum was not amused and decided to sulk, even refusing an icecream as compensation, but he soon got over it.

Monday we slobbed about the house, but Tuesday we were out and about. First up to the library to pick up our 2 DVDs that we'd reserved. Up and Gladiator! Up for entertainment and Callum has never got round to seeing it and wanted to and Gladiator so we can have something visual for our project. Whilst there, I returned a couple of books and asked whether they had any other Asterix books. We were led to a shelf which had loads on so Callum was in heaven. He picked one out and was overjoyed when I told him he could have more. Found out we can take out 30 books on his card. A bit too many for us to carry, but we ended up with about 10. 4 Asterix, couple of dinosaur reference books, dinosaur origami book (dinosaurs being next month's project), another version of Midsummer Night's Dream and another gladiator book which turned out to be a graffic novel which Callum seems to have taken a shine too. Then it was off to my friend's new house for the afternoon.

Wednesday was slobbing again, but at least we had Up to watch which we both loved, although it was quite sad to start with. Callum didn't quite fancy Gladiator today, but went off and found a game on the computer instead. Then it was Bang Goes the Theory on TV tonight!

Thursday was trampolining as usual, but Callum decided he didn't want to bounce again. Am getting a bit worried about him to be honest. I asked why he didn't want to bounce, but he just said he didn't fancy it. Although he wants to at his private lessons. When I queried it, he just said that he preferred his private lessons as he has more time on the trampoline. He did join in with the foam pit though and he interacted with all the kids, so not a complete loss.

Friday was theatre day! Group home ed visit to see Shakespeare for Kids version of Midsummer Night's Dream. Met Liz and her children on the train (completely by accident) which was nice. However, at Rochester station a school group got on which put Callum out a bit, but not as bad as he's been before. When we got off the station we were in front and the school group behind us. It looked like Callum was leading the way and he cheekily said that if that was true he'd continue walking back round and up the steps to the train station and see if the school would follow. He did, but they didn't - oh well. At least he thought it was funny.

The theatre was packed with school groups and Callum wasn't dealing too well with it saying he wanted to go home. Luckily we had the back two rows, so he sat between me and Carol, his favourite other parent. I'd got him some sweets and he calmed down pretty quickly. The play was excellent!!! Very very funny. All the kids enjoyed it and all the school kids were joining in with the shouting and clapping. It was wonderful to see actually. This was Shakespeare and they were loving it!! Would definitely go and see another production by them.

We came out and decided to wander around the shops for a bit with Carol and Lauren as all the kids were heading back to the station. We left them half way round and met up with Liz again and then Carol turned up on the platform just before train due in, so we all travelled back together which was really nice. Did mean that we were late for my daughter though! Ooops, my turn! hehe. Whilst she was there the postman turned up and our Horrible Histories DVD was in there, so we then had 7 episodes of that being watched - aargh! Was good fun though, although probably not what Terri was expecting - sorry Terri!

This weekend he's been on computer designing road tracks for racing cars and I've been art and crafting for Halloween. All said and done, a much better week!


Saturday, 9 October 2010



Second post in two days! I can do it, haha.

What's been going on in Callum's world today? Well, he's getting as addicted to Facebook games as me. He doesn't have his own profile, he just plays on mine. Has taken over my Cafe and he has a garage in Car Town + he'll feed my animals in Fronterville. Actually Cafe Life is quite good for him as he has to think about how many items he's got, how long it will take to cook them and how long it will take to sell them, so quite a bit of basic maths going on in there.

He's been a much more happy chappy today, so hopefully is over any bugs he had.

Went off to his best mate's brother's 5th party today.

That red streak is my son! He hates photos being taken! Glad his mate is used to it. It was the first party that Callum has actually been to by himself, without anyone staying with him. He knows Michelle very well now so I knew he'd be ok, but was a bit worried as there was a lot of small children he didn't know and Shane (the little boy whose birthday it was) was sharing the party with his mate whose birthday is around the same time. It was also in a hall that Callum had never been to and there was a magician, so all in all, it was a big event!

However, all my concerns were thrown out of the window as he had a great time. He even joined in with two games (unheard of) and watched the magician. Perhaps it's me, whenever I'm with him he's like a limpet, but when I'm not there he's off. It isn't like I make him sit with me or that I discourage him from going off, but he just seems to choose to sit by me. Strange chappy!

Anyway, he came home full of it and we treated ourselves to kebab meat and chips (highly unhealthy, but I fancied it - 1st thing I've fancied to eat all week and it's Callum's favourite). Then Strictly and Merlin. He cracks up at Strictly; loves the judges. After that it was back to the computer.

Just before he went off to bed he complained he didn't have any books to read! What? You had four by the bed last week! Apparently they are all read. And this is the boy who wouldn't read. Must admit, 2 books on oceans, London Aquarium guide and an Asterix book, so not novels yet, but who cares, he's reading. Actually he really liked Asterix and has requested some more. So off to check Library online catalogue to see if I can order some.


Friday, 8 October 2010


Hi all, I say rather sheepishly.

Just read last post which was, oooooo, nearly two weeks ago!! Hmmm, this is not going well. Said I'd post a Part 3, but I obviously didn't!! Slapped wrists for me then!

So, as I'm finding writing up a week at a time impossible, I'm going to try and do some dailies instead. Yeah right, I hear you say and you're probably correct, but, as my school reports used to say, I must try harder!! Writing weekly is a big thing and it takes me ages. I spend half the time checking on what we've done and then the other half trying to remember funny bits that Callum might have said/done and, as all of you out there know, two halves make a whole and that leaves no time for writing!!

Ooooo must watch out for them exclamation marks! Have had my knuckles severely rapped for using far too many of them by some pompous home educating mother who thought my email to the Royal Institute was too passionate and full of over punctuation! So sorry if I'm passionate luvvy, but I was furious!! And to show my anger and frustration I use exclamation marks in abundance, so there!!!!!!!!! See!!!!! Here's some more, so stick these in your knickers!!!!!!!!!

Ahhhh, feel better now, so I can proceed:
What have we been up to? Well, actually not a lot. We've both been shall I say this? We've both been feeling.....CRAP! There is no better word for it to be honest. We're not ill per se, we just feel really.....crap! I've got no energy and everything feels heavy and I've been having a sore throat off and on all week. Callum has been coughing and just wanting to loll around in his pjs. Hasn't wanted to go out anywhere, so we haven't.

Apart, that is, for Youth Club on Tuesday night! His mate Callum D went along this week too so it was much better. Oh, but I now realise that I didn't tell you about last week! Went to Youth Club last week too, but as it was his first time there and his mate couldn't go, he clung to me like a limpet. We did play table football together and he eventually played a game with another boy, but he basically stayed with me apart from the couple of occasions where he chased the helpers that he knew around the room. I must explain that it is an ASD Youth Club run by MAGIC. They also ran the activity days that he did in the Summer and that he is going to again in October! I don't think it's going to be an every week attendance, but I'd like him to go at least once a fortnight. I don't need to stay now, so it will be a chance for him to have a little independence from me. And what will I be doing whilst he's at youth club? Will I be having a lovely tete a tete with my partner? Yes, probably, but it'll be in the supermarket, haha. We'll be able to shop without a boy going "I'm bored" or "Can we go now" or "I'm not standing in this queue", etc, etc. Plus I can monitor my partner's spending a little. He does so like to add brand names and the odd can or bottle or two or three if I'm not careful and we really don't have the money for that. I've noticed a distinct lack of food in the house since he took over. Admittedly the food is of better status; Heinz, Kelloggs, Princes... you know what I mean, but let's face it, I can't really tell the difference between Heinz soup and Sainsburys soup, although some really cheap brands are pretty dire. However, I'd rather have a better variety than limited choice and I'd like to have some fresh veg and fruit from the greengrocer than the frozen or plastic wrapped stuff you get from the supermarket, so I think I need to start intervening again.

Back to this week. Actually back to last week. We were rather busy last week, hence the reason not to worried about being hermits this week. Oh that's a lot of weeks, but can't think of another word.

Monday we went bowling, which was good fun. Tuesday, as mentioned, he went to youth club. Wednesday we went to Museum of Kent Life for a Romans day (our current project), which was brilliant and Callum managed 4 out of 5 of the workshops this time. Did one more than the WWII day so very pleased with him. Thursday was trampolining as usual and Friday we went to Tunbridge Wells to see George's Marvellous Medicine.

Saturday and Sunday we had to ourselves as it was my partner's weekend on. Callum decided to play board games and started dragging them all out. I asked which one we were playing and his reply was, and I quote: "We aren't playing anything, I don't want you to play. I want to play by myself and make up my own games." Ok! That's put me in my place then. What I should have done was write this blog, but I went on Facebook instead and played Fronterville. Bad news, but I'm ashamed to say, good fun.

Oh well, let's hope I can wean myself off the dreaded FB and start writing properly again.


Saturday, 25 September 2010



Part 2 of this past week.

After Monday's rather eventful and excessive walking day, Tuesday was spent doing 'lessons' at home.

We had a good sort out of our project and had a brilliant discussion that went off on so many directions! It started off with naming oceans and discussing currents. We talked about the Southern Ocean and how, because there is little to no land mass, the waves can get really large and the currents really strong (remembered from when Ellen Macarther was on Top Gear - useful programme in a strange way). We then talked about the Gulf Stream and what would happen if the Greenland ice cap melts and how it would affect the Stream (Global Warming). Callum used our recent hot and cold water experiment as a way of explaining (rather coherently actually) and then he spotted the sheet which listed the various chemical make ups of the oceans. This led us to drag out the periodic table and start looking things up, which led on to chemistry in general and finally we dragged out the chemistry set and did some experiments on soluble and insoluble materials.

I love home educating! Whenever a conversation/lesson like that one happens I always sit back and wonder if it would have been allowed to develop like that in school - my answer is always 'probably not'!

Wednesday was up to London for a visit to the Aquarium. Train journey ran smoothly and we didn't get lost!!!

Had to walk past the London Eye which Callum stated emphatically that he would never ever go on! Way to high and way to big! As had bought our Aquarium tickets in advance we went straight in only to be encountered by a school group! Eek! Callum not good with school groups as previously mentioned. Headed straight to the lift, got in and pressed the down button before anyone else, except me, could get in! Oh well, never mind!

The Aquarium was really good and Callum had a great time even though we had to manoeuvre our way around the school kids occasionally. He had a one-to-one talk with the guy at the rock pools (unintentional I might add, but no-one else there), he got to hold a crab and stroke a starfish! Then more one-to-one when he went to feed the rays! Lovely Australian guy stood with him and showed him all the different types of ray and explained how they ate, etc. Brilliant stroke of luck! We did get a bit lost because of my incompetent map reading with an 'I told you so' from Callum when he was proved right (hmmm, smartarse moment of the day me thinks)! Went through gift shop and bought our required fridge magnet and an ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!!!! Ok, not exactly fish orientated but it was rather cute and Callum doesn't have one in his immense collection of cars!

Had lunch by the river outside! Big Ben chimed perfectly - much to Callum's amusement and weather was beautiful. Callum remarked that he wouldn't mind going on one of the cruise boats on the opposite side of the river to us. As we weren't running to any schedule, I said 'why not' as long as he didn't mind walking over the bridge and waiting in an almost definite queue!

Off we went and decided that a little round trip up to the Tower of London and back would be enough, so joined the much smaller queue for an obviously less touristy boat and I managed to get 1/3 off even though wasn't entitled to it. Lady at counter asked if I had a travel card and I said that I hadn't as I hadn't needed one. Don't know whether it was my stick or the fact that I mentioned Callum's DLA letter, but she let us have the 1/3 off anyway - lovely lady!!

Had to wait a bit for the boat and Callum did get a bit annoyed as it was supposed to leave at 3.30pm and didn't start letting us on until 3.40pm. He raced upstairs and grabbed seats at the front! Was very excited and said he'd love to go under Tower Bridge. Anyway, boat turned round and off we went. The trip was really nice AND we went under Tower Bridge which was probably the highlight of Callum's day!

Back on dry land he announced that he'd had enough but that he had to admit that there was lots and lots to see in London and that perhaps we should come back and do the tour bus next time!!! Hang on! Did I just hear you correctly Callum? You want to come BACK TO LONDON!!! This is the kid that a couple of weeks ago was freaking out about going to London for The Deep Exhibition! I think I'm finally getting through to him. Must admit, the fact that it was just me and him and no time schedule probably helped.

Decided to walk to Charing Cross as at least we may get a chance of getting a seat on the train home as we'd be one of the group first getting on. Walked up past The Old War Office (where I used to have to go to get my wages when I worked with the MOD) and on up to Trafalgar Square! Thought Callum was going to wet himself with excitement! No he wasn't excited about Nelson's Column or the huge lions, he was excited as he could see the fountains!!! Water again - he's obsessed! Thought he'd freak because of the mad traffic, but he thought it was hilarious how the cabs and buses beeped each other and started making up conversations for them - bless! Spent ages playing with the water and getting soaked by the spray and then headed for the station. Here Callum did freak!! He really can't cope with rush hour (or rush 5 hrs as it seems to start at 2pm and go on till about 7pm nowadays), but I stayed calm, gave precise instructions and made him hold my hand. We got onto the platform and the train without a fuss and got seats straight away - result!

Back home we both collapsed again after another long day - I am so going to ache by the end of this week!

Anyway, part 3 tomorrow!

Friday, 24 September 2010



We have just had an incredible week! And a very good one at that. Although I feel like I've walked for England and I now ache like hell, but that's a different story!

Back to this week, well Monday anyway (part 2 will follow).

We went out on Monday to meet up with our ASD home education group. This time it was being held at Manor Park, West Malling as I had worked out that it was easier for me to get to than Trosley. Bless them! We are trying out different venues to see which ones work for both us mums and our very special children.

Anyway, we set off at about 10.15am to catch the first of our trains (3 in all which doesn't sound very easy, but the park was supposed to be about 15min walk from the station so was actually easier than the last meeting). We get on what is supposed to be our train to link with the Maidstone train at Strood, but as we are pulling into Strood we see the Maidstone train pulling out!!!!! Had to wait 1/2hr for next one - hmmm, internet directions not good on this occasion. We get to Maidstone Barrackes and walk up to Maidstone East where Callum promptly points out that we could have got a bus to here and saved ourselves changing trains twice!!!!! Remember me mentioning 'Smartarse Syndrome' last week? Well, here we go again! I sheepishly agree as it wasn't even something I'd thought of, partly because neither myself or Callum travel well on buses, so I'd automatically looked up the train version of the journey - der!!! What made it worse was that because we had already missed a connection, the whole journey had been mucked up, so there we were stuck on another station for another 20mins!

We finally get to West Malling and I get out the map that I'd printed off. We follow the directions, checking with a guy with a rather amazing handlebar moustache that we were heading in right direction. We were! Although he did state that it was a long way! Should have listened, moustaches like that never lie!!

Off we go, following the map and end up in .......... a farmer's field! Yep, horses to the left of us and orchards to the right and Callum stuck in the middle with me!! (ooo I feel a song coming on!). Okay! What to do? Don't want to go back as it's miles (or felt like it by then), so decide to go forward as we've spotted a duel carriageway ahead. Off Callum stomps like some intrepid explorer while I hobble along with my stick behind him being watched by horses who obviously thought we were completely bonkers! We reach the dual carriageway and have no idea which way to go, but as map had said we should have gone right somewhere along the last road we were on, right is where we went. Bit scary walking along a dual carriageway with lorries thundering down by the side of you. Callum did incredibly well not to completely freak out, in fact, I think he was rather enjoying it - strange lad! We get to a roundabout, no signs for Manor Park, but I spot a guy in a suit loitering on the corner. Assuming that he'd come from over the road at the industrial estate, I ask him directions only to discover that, yep, you've guessed it, he was lost too!!! He was looking for a bus stop as he'd come down for an interview (on the wrong day it turned out, glad it wasn't just me having a der day) and he must have come out of the estate the wrong side. Anyway, we all head off together towards another roundabout that we can see ahead of us.

Turns out that he works in mental health and lives in Reading!!! Had come down for an interview (on wrong day as already mentioned) and was now heading back to the train station. We had a good old chat about Autism, home education, university (his son was just about to go off to one and he didn't even know how to make a cup of tea!). We found a bus stop, but as we were having such a good chin wag, he said he would continue to walk down with me to keep me company - bless!

Finally found Manor Park, with a bus stop opposite so my new found friend could get back to the station!!! Had only taken 45mins walk!!!!! Whole journey had taken nearly 3hrs, was supposed to have taken half that time! Met up with everyone and had a good laugh about our adventure. Callum even fell asleep for about 20mins under the picnic table! Spent a rather enjoyable afternoon with everyone and left about 3pm as I knew there was a train at 3.20pm. Decided to get bus back to West Malling and then bus from Maidstone East to home! Journey went much smoother and it took us 1hr 15mins to get all the way back! What we also discovered, while waiting for a bus at Manor Park, was that there is a bus that goes there from CHATHAM!!!!! So the journey could have been even easier! Am going to have to research it as I found that St Leonard's Tower is there and I've been wanting to visit it for ages!

Got home shattered! Both Callum and myself flopped on sofa and didn't move for about 1/2hr! Was a good day though; Weather lovely, people wonderful and sometimes it's nice to have an adventure!


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Hi all,

Been a couple of weeks now, so I hope you have all settled back in to the termtime thing, whether that is at school or otherwise!

We've been busy, then lethargic, then busy, then poorly and hopefully busy again next week!

We never made it to private trampolining. Callum just wasn't feeling up to it and, to be honest, neither was I. I think that was the start of the Autumn hibernation time and possible bugs.

We did go to the Natural History Museum though for The Deep! Had a great day and his friend Callum D enjoyed it too! I started the day feeling rather smug but was promptly brought back down to earth again! I thought I'd covered all of Callum's issues, but you can pretty much guarentee that there will always be something I've missed! There were no escalators involved in either of the tube stations - check! I'd got tickets in advance, so no queuing - check! As it was first week back at school, there were no school groups - check (Callum still freaks out if he sees a school uniform!). I'd got a packed lunch I'd knew he'd eat, so no having to make decisions re food - check! However, numpty here forgot about the main hall!! No, it wasn't the large dinosaur bones he was freaked by! It's the fact that it covers the whole building from floor to ceiling and is therefore really really high!! He can't stand high ceilings, it's like vertigo in reverse! So what did we do? Well, everytime we had to cross the main hall, he'd get to the edge, I'd point out an opposite alcove and he'd leg it as fast as he could to the appointed target while myself and the other Callum took a slower pace and caught him up! There's always something, but we normally find a solution! The joys of Asperger's!

Talking of Asperger's, another little quirk is the 'I'm a smartarse' syndrome. Take this for example; I told both of them (both have a diagnosis of Aspi, so it was double whammy day) that they could go on ahead, but not too far and not to leave the exhibition and to make sure that if they did go ahead because something had caught their eye, they were to tell me first! Fine, all was well and they did exactly as asked. However, half way round they were getting a little restless and wanted to go ahead a bit (we'd reached a bit of a bottleneck, so they needed some space). Off we went, but something caught MY eye and I stopped to take a photo! Next thing, no Callums! Eeek! Bad enough losing your own kid, but when you have someone else's too, it's a bit more eeek!! Anyway, off I go in the general direction we were heading and found them round the corner, quite happily waiting for me and using the computers to send images to their emails at home.

"Why didn't you stop and wait for me?" I ask.
"We didn't know you'd stopped!" My Callum replies
"I thought I'd lost you!" I start to say, but I get interupted by my Callum going
"You told us to tell you if we were stopping or going ahead! But you just stopped and didn't say anything, so it wasn't us that got lost, it was you!"

Hey ho! That was me told then!! And to be honest I couldn't really argue as he was right - smartarse!! And, at least they didn't go too far, although if the computers hadn't grabbed their attention, I'm not sure what would have happened.

Anyway exhibition wasn't bad, although Callum did point out that it was pretty stupid to give the kids an activity sheet when it was so dark that you couldn't read it - smartarse again! But, in his defense, perfectly true!!

Decided to get them both a sticker book from the gift shop and Callum D had some money of his own to spend. My Callum wouldn't buy anything as it was "too expensive" (said rather loudly while I looked for a hole to jump in) and then proceeded to reorganise all the rubber fish so that they all faced the same way (3 trays worth I'd like to mention!). So impressed was the shop assistant that he said it was a shame he wasn't older as he would have shown him to his supervisor and given him a job! £6.50 an hour if you're interested!

They then decided to go round the rest of the museum and were especially taken by the dinosaur section and, in particular, the robotic velociraptors and the TRex! So much so that my C wants to do a project on them. Most boys love dinosaurs from a very young age, but he's never been interested until now! I can feel a Jurassic Park film session coming on and a good old ferret around for some books + we have Dino-opoly (Monopoly with dinosaurs), so we might actually get to play it after owning it for 2yrs!!!

The rest of the time up to now has been the usual round of trampoling, seeing friends, working on workbooks and doing science experiments. One of which was a rather cool one involving hot and cold water. The cold water is heavier than the hot water, so it stays at the bottom, while the hot water 'floats' on the top! There is no paper between the jars and it is the water that is coloured, not the jars themselves. It was rather brilliant! We are currently immersing an egg in vinegar for a week to make a bouncy egg - it already feels really disgusting and we experimented with weight and found that 4 raw eggs will withstand nearly 11kg of weight before 3 of them broke. The books were so heavy that even we had trouble lifting them!

Other news is that Callum has decided to read! By himself! No pushing from me. He's reading every night before he goes to bed and yesterday I caught him reading the local free paper and moaning like an old man that of all the events that had happened locally this past weekend they had only covered one of them!!! Perhaps he'll be a journalist - haha!
Well, that's about it for now, cya!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010



We had a quieter week last week (beginning 23rd August)! We had planned on a quiet August, but so far, as you know, it hasn't happended!

I had a friend come for lunch on the Monday, so Callum spent most of the day on the computer. He's into Roblox at the moment and plays every chance he gets!

Tuesday we were on our own, so I pottered and Callum was on the computer again!

Wednesday, we went to the pictures to see Marmaduke and Terri, his sister, came with us! I've finally got round to sending off for my CEA card, which means I go for free as his carer and it turned up last week. It means that the money I would normally spend on my ticket can be used to buy the treats! I think having popcorn and a drink is all part of going to the cinema, but it works out so expensive. Having the CEA card is a great help! You have to be in receipt of disability allowance (or in this case Callum is) and you pay £5.50 per year for the card. It has a photograph of the person in receipt of the DLA on it and it entitles them to take a carer for free! Well worth the £5.50 as you virtually gain that money back after the first visit!

By the way, the film was really funny and Callum had a great time!

Thursday, he saw his best mate again! Trying to pack in as many visits as possible before his mate returns to school in September!

Friday was quiet again as I had a hospital appointment in the afternoon. Was the quickest appointment I've ever had!! 25mins!! Wow! Went shopping in the sales afterwards for 'school stuff'. Was going to treat Callum to a hot wheels track thingy, but although it was amongst the sale items it wasn't in the sale!! I wish shops wouldn't do that. As I didn't have enough money, I had to disappoint him - he was gutted and I was angry with the shop and felt upset for him. Am hoping it will still be there tomorrow as going back up the High Street then and will have the money! He has been so good over the holidays; being helpful, going to the MAGIC days by himself and he has now managed a week and a half of being dry at night, I think he deserves it!

Bank holiday weekend he spent time with dad at the allotment and taking the dog out for longer walks and we had P's brother and sister-in-law for dinner on the Monday!

Yesterday, was Broadstairs with our 'baby group'! Fantastic weather! Callum spent practically the whole day in the sea, partly exploring rock pools, partly watching the tide come in and mainly jumping waves!

Today he has Callum D here, tomorrow is private trampolining and Friday we are going to Natural History Museum for The Deep exhibition. We never did make it to the zoo, but as we can go whenever we feel like it, it isn't really a big deal!

To all of you preparing for your kids to go back to school - good luck! So glad don't have to worry about uniforms or first days anymore.

To all of you home educator people out there - good luck in whatever you're planning to be doing in your 'school year' and have fun if you are attending any 'Not Back to School' picnics!


Friday, 20 August 2010


Hello (I say rather sheepishly), is there anyone still out there? It's been ages!! Sorry!

Anyway, what have we been up to since last month (can't believe it's been that long)!

Well, as it's now August, we have tried to take time out like the schooled kids, but when you home educate you realise that kids never really take time off! Everything they do and everywhere they go, they are learning. But we are not doing projects, we haven't done any structured lessons and the only stuff we have done has been 'as and when it happens' stuff. So that's time off for us!

The last week or so of July was taking up by finishing off work for the year and gathering everything together into understandable sections - not easy when you start things, go off on tangents and then come back to stuff, but we managed it and were quite surprised by how much we'd actually done! Lots of science stuff surfaced and at least 3 major projects with lots of little ones on the side!

Callum decided he would like to show off his work to some of his friends and family, so we had about a dozen people round (he chose who he wanted, designed invites and printed them off and got them sent) for an 'open day' with Phil doing a very basic BBQ of burgers and sausages! I was rather impressed with Callum actually as he not only took charge of the invites, but he decided what work he wanted out, displayed it and set up a 'science room' in the utility room with work and some experiments. He then proceeded, on the day, to organise a rota of demonstrations of said experiments in approx 15min intervals and went over them again so later arrivals could also join in. He did it all by himself and I was very proud of him!

We also had our yearly home education beach day in July. Weather held, although was very cloudy; only raining later on in the afternoon. Quite a few families turned up and we met some new families - belated thanks to Ann for organising!!! Callum had a wonderful day and spent most of the time down in the water. It was while he was down there that I realised how much he'd grown! I was looking for him from up on the sands where we were sitting and Phil said that he was with the big boys in the water. I said I couldn't see him and then realised that he was one of the big boys!!!! Oops!! There I was looking for a little 'un! Hey ho!

So far during August we have been on a Monk's day at Rochester with Lorraine and Amy; trampolining lessons (last one of the year for the group and a couple of private ones); Ann's house for play; out with a new friend who we met through MAGIC; Callum's been on 3 Activity Days with MAGIC on his own (well, without me, but with Callum D); Trosley Park with our ASD home ed group; Capstone with Linda and Danielle to do water survey (which we never got round to doing with big sis) and to play and we've seen his best mate Callum as much as possible. All in all, our relaxing August has been a very busy, very socialable and very pleasant month!

Still to come is beach day with our, now not so, baby group. It's become an annual event! 3 mums and 4 kids down to Broadstairs. The kids have grown up together and it's like getting together with family, so really nice! We also have a zoo trip planned; more trampolining and a visit to Natural History Museum for The Deep exhibition in London and hopefully more play dates. By then it'll be September and we will need to start thinking (note I said thinking - hehe) about getting back to a routine of 'school'! Well, we will see what happens won't we?

Anyway, you are now filled in! So cya soon.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Well it's been a couple of weeks since I last told you what we've been up to and to be honest it hasn't really been much. Although, I always seem to say that and then end up writing reams of stuff, haha.

We downloaded our Dover Castle pictures this week and are now gathering quite a lot of information to go into our Castles project folder. We also made a salt dough motte and Callum built a bailey out of cocktail sticks and strips of newspaper. We've made a shield (see left) to represent him as a knight and cut out and stuck together (well I did as it was glue, which he doesn't like, and tiny, so he would have got frustrated) a square keep castle so we have two forms of castle to show people. I also managed to get a Knights and Castles activity box for £1.99, which has a poster, mask, booklet and sticker scene in it. Actually I think we've overdone the resources on castles, so won't have to buy anything about those for a while - hehe.

He had his best friend's party on the 3rd July. He had a bowling party at the local AMF bowling alley and had a fab time. It was mostly boys apart from Callum D's sisters and friend and, bearing in mind my Callum didn't know at least one person there and hadn't seen the others for ages, he got on with all of them brilliantly and he ate (including anyone's leftovers!!!!!).

We also dogsat for his uncle's dog Floyd who Callum adores and on their return they stayed for a BBQ, so Callum thoroughly enjoyed his weekend.

The week beginning the 5th was a bit slow, as I had to have an op on my leg on the Tuesday and didn't really feel like doing much. It was an outpatient’s op, but for the rest of the afternoon on Tuesday and all day Wednesday I was still full of anaesthetic, so keep dozing. Luckily my daughter, Terri, came over on the Tuesday and she and Callum had a baking day while I was in hospital and sleeping afterwards, so it was only really Wednesday where he had to occupy himself. Having the permission to be on the Wii all day instead of working or shopping or helping out though was a bit of a bonus for him, so he definitely wasn't complaining! ;-)

Thursday I was feeling a little bit more normal, whatever that is, and we went to trampolining as usual, had Amy and her mum Lorraine back afterwards for an hour or so and then off to MAGIC in the evening with Callum D. MAGIC is a special Autistic night at the local indoor play centre. It is only open to our group so the children can run, shout, play and generally have a great time without the worry of anyone thinking that they are different. It's a fab night and I managed to get some reading done and drink tea - bliss.

On the Friday we had been invited to the Kent Autistic Trust's opening of an art exhibition by local Autistic adults. It was lovely to be able to see their work and it was all outstanding and I'm not just saying this, their work was wonderful and if I'd had the money I would have bought lots as would have Callum (he already owns two original pieces of art and he loves them both). The only downside was that the exhibition was in a fairly small room and it got pretty crowded and noisy in there. We all spilled into the hall where there was food and drink and could have a chat and meet up with others. Callum managed about an hour before it got too much and we decided to leave, popping into Wilkinson's on the way home to pick up photo paper, bird food and bits of stationery that we were low on.

We had a relaxing weekend of doing nothing in particular and then have concentrated on putting the finishing touches to our project over the past couple of days. We did take some time out to do some phonic work and to recap on shapes and our delivery of lovely books turned up this morning, which included a set of Spongebob Squarepants books for Callum to read. He hates reading, but will read Hairy McClary and now Spongebob. He loves watching the cartoons and was hoping that he would read the books - he devoured 4 in total today!!! I also continued with reading Skullduggery Pleasant to him this afternoon after lunch.

Anyway, more work tomorrow, trampolining on Thursday and, hopefully, water survey at Mote Park with big sis on Friday. Oh yes, the rain! Forgot to mention the rain. It rained here yesterday all morning and guess what Callum did? He went out in it, in his pjs and a coat and spent the whole morning brushing the puddles (our patio area gets flooded as there is only one soakaway). He had a whale of a time making waves and watching the water splash about. When the rain stopped, he came in!!!! Bless him. Oh well, each to their own and it did mean I could catch up with six months (yes six months) of filing!! Eeek there was a lot of paper!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Hello everyone

I said last week that Callum had been energised by his little weekend away and had worked really well! It seems to have continued into this week too (or last week, by the time I blog this and you read it).

We have concentrated on our 'Castles' project and the 'sh' sound in literacy and this is where the extreme conflict in education really notices. One of the activities we are doing for our project is to compare different types of castle; look at different defences and discuss pros and cons, etc. This is actually Key Stage 3 work (11-14yrs old), but the literacy work is infant school. Callum is perfectly capable of doing the Key Stage 3 work and he's even produced a short Powerpoint presentation on it, picking out main points, importing pictures, researching on Google, etc and he has done it all by himself after an initial 'how to' instruction from me. He's also doing Key Stage 3 work in Science and coping really well with only a few stumbles on the scientific names (but most kids would do that at first). However, when it comes to getting this information down he is, as already mentioned, doing infant literacy so can't write things up without a great deal of help. Doing the Powerpoint was easy as he could copy and paste the bits he wanted and then had to do a slight edit to make the information fit the page. As his reading is fine and his general keyboard skills are good(ish) he's capable of doing that. But writing from scratch is impossible and he would tire mentally far too quickly and then get so stressed that nothing would get done.

I've talked about these issues on here many times, so I'm not going to go into it any further, but it's here that the true advantage of home education compared to school education shows because in home education it doesn't matter! At school he would just be finishing Key Stage 2 and he would be struggling desperately! Not because intellectually he couldn't do the work, but because he couldn't 'prove' that he could! This would lead him to have bad grades, probably be treated as if he was stupid and his self esteem would plummet. He would also be bored silly and, therefore, disruptive as they would probably keep him down at Key Stage 1 until he could write fluently!

Because we can work at the pace that suits our children, our children can be on lots of different levels in lots of different subjects and it doesn't matter if they are advanced in some and behind in others. I truly believe that at the end of the day it will all even out! What I think is more important is that Callum has fun and enjoys his education. That way he is more likely to learn, want to learn in the first place and to retain the information. Anyway, that's my little soap box bit done - hehe.

With regard to our project we visited Dover Castle this week. It was a straightforward train journey to Dover Priory (although our train was cancelled so the journey down didn't turn out as straightforward as we'd hoped, but at least Callum got to see a train of two halves become a complete one) and then we took a taxi to the castle itself. I knew it was on the top of a hill and didn't fancy my leg killing me before I'd even got through the gates. The castle was fab and I managed 3 flights of spiral stairs before giving up. Callum, on the other hand, made it all the way to the top!! We also went down into the medieval tunnels which were a bit dark, steep and creepy, but good! Actually we did a lot of walking up and down hills, stairs and over walls and I was quite impressed by myself as well as Callum - go us!!

The weather was lovely and we had a picnic lunch on the grass. This was our first encounter of the french pupils and we kept bumping into them off and on for the rest of the afternoon. It was while outside the shop that Callum made his profound observation. There was an English school group on the grass to the right of us who weren't really doing a lot and were more interested in chasing the pidgeons (they were about Callum's age, 10-11, so not little) and a French group to our left who were either playing games with their goodies that they had bought from the gift shop or waiting patiently on the grass for their turn to go in. Callum looked from one group to the other and then turned to me and said "Mum, the French children are much better behaved than the English ones aren't they? They seem really interested in what they are doing. Our lot are just being naughty!!" Wow!!! How's that for an observation and what does that tell us about our country? Hopefully, our school lot would be better behaved if in France, but something tells me that they probably wouldn't be.

Actually, talking about France, one of the highlights of Callum's day was when we were up on the look out point. As the weather was sunny and pretty clear, you could actually see France on the horizon! I pointed the hills in the distance out to Callum and asked him what he thought they were, he said he thought it was England, but a different bit (like we can see Grain from the Strand or Southend from Allhallows). When I told him it was actually France he was well impressed!! He could actually see a completely different and unconnected land mass and he thought that was pretty cool!!

After visiting the castle we walked down to the beach and we spent some time letting him watch the waves and see the ferries going in and out of the harbour. Then it was a quick walk back to the station and home. Needless to say he was pretty shattered and he collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the evening, even going to bed 1/2hr earlier as he was knackered, bless him.

We are downloading photos next week and finishing off our project.

We didn't go to the Fuse Festival in Rochester, but went to the SOS day at Hillyfields instead. Had a great afternoon, we met up with his mate Callum and his family, spoke to the SOS bus staff and the policemen; had icecream; a bounce on the bouncy castle and then a trip to the play area for a play. Weather was lovely and we had the advantage that it was a 5min walk home rather than a 20 min walk and train journey.

Well, that's it for now. See you all later!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Hi all

I know it's been another couple of weeks since posting, sorry all, but it's been busy!

Firstly, Callum has had a birthday, he's now 11 - wow!! And instead of having a party to celebrate we took his best friend off to my Callum's favourite place, Great Yarmouth Haven Site. He loves it there for several reasons, but mainly because of the wind farm out at sea which is clearly seen from the beach!

This little weekend away was a big thing for Callum as he has never had/been to a sleepover before (he's never wanted one or to go to one), so I wasn't entirely sure how things would go and the fact that we only booked a two bedroomed caravan could have proved a bit difficult if the boys hadn't got on! I did a bit of investigating when got there and found the double bed in the sofa, so if the worst came to the worst myself and Phil would have to sleep there, but then there would have been an issue with bedding. We always take our own as Callum prefers his own things.

Anyway, the weekend went fine. Callum and Callum got on fabulously and didn't argue once! They spent the whole weekend either on the beach or in the arcades with a kart hire and crazy golf as extras. They did get up ridiculously early mind you! 5.30am on Saturday, 6.30am on Sunday and my C was up 7.30am Monday with CD up around 8am. I'm surprised that they didn't completely crash, but they didn't. Actually my C did on Saturday as we wanted to watch the England match and he wasn't particularly interested so curled up with the dog on the floor and fell asleep. The other Callum kept nodding off, but was determined to stay up 'til the end of the match, but as soon as his head hit the pillow afterwards he was gone, bless him. The Monday after we signed out we spend the morning and afternoon in The Model Village which Callum had remembered from last time and wanted to go again!

On our return we spent most of the week uploading photos and making a display folder for all our holiday stuff, photos, brochures, etc. We also finished off the display folder from our holiday in Cornwall earlier this year. Callum seemed very energised after the break and worked really well.

Thursday was trampolining as normal and his sister came along to watch. Callum was on top form and worked really well, smiling and being very affectionate to our coach James! I'd invited everyone back to the house afterwards for an impromptu tea and play, doing a emergency shop online the day before to get things delivered. I even managed to get a birthday cake, which he didn't have while we were away. Callum had a great time and didn't get stressed once!

Friday, Callum D came round as my Callum wanted to play his new Wii Mario game with him. This meant I could catch up on emails and finances.

Saturday was Fuse Festival in the High Street. Fuse is an arts festival with music, fun stuff, puppets, etc. I wanted to go last year as in my youth I worked for Arts in Medway and we helped to organise stuff like this, so it was a reminder of days gone by. However, Callum doesn't like the High Street on Saturdays or Mondays as it is also market day. But I managed to persuade him to go (for an hour said I) to see what was there. Ended up being up there the whole afternoon (12.30pm - 4pm) with us coming home for a quick cuppa (we are only 5mins away) before returning. Callum loved it all, although the music group Bang On was a bit noisy for him. They use household items to make drumming music and Callum really liked it, but couldn't stand and listen for too long as it hurt his ears. He loved, however, the moving Bollards from Bureau of Silly Ideas and the completely crazy nun called Musical Ruth who was a guy dressed up as a nun riding on a mobility scooter that had been converted into a church organ (see photo). He was hilarious and completely bonkers, but Callum adored him. Am hoping to go to Rochester this weekend as they are having their turn then.

Anyway, I'm going to stop there and try and blog this week at the end of the week as there is just too much to write and my fingers hurt - hehe.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Well I was hoping for a better week this week and I got it! Yay!! Well, kind of as we did have an unpleasant event to go to near the beginning of the week.

But let's start at the beginning - Monday. Monday was bank holiday and the start of the school 1/2 term. We don't really have a holiday as such, but as it's the only time we can catch up properly with people who still go to school, it normally turns out to be a holiday, albeit a very sociable one. Monday was also the day after my birthday, so as I was still in birthday mode the morning was spent with me reading one of my two Jeremy Clarkson books that Callum had given me, Phil pottering about and Callum was happy on the Wii. The afternoon we each had our own visitors which was kind of weird, but kind of neat too. Callum had Callum and they switched between playing upstairs with the train set and playing on the Wii with the occasionally venture into the garden for a bounce on the trampoline. Phil had an old friend Tony and so they were happily drinking beer and cooking dinner. And I had my beloved daughter pop in after her weekend away and got more pressies (a cuddly owl - I love owls - and an EtchASketch - cool)!!

Tuesday was a damp day in both respects as it was raining heavily and we had a funeral to go to! Never sure about Callum and funerals as it's a pretty intense event for any child, but especially one on ASD spectrum. They don't always feel or understand empathy, so the fact that everyone is sad must seem a bit strange to them and also having to sit quietly for any length of time is always very hard. But I have to say that Callum did superbly!! I explained that there would be people very upset and that he was to be respectful of them and not be noisy or fidgety and try really hard not to have a hissy fit just because he was getting bored! And he didn't!! He sat beautifully through the service; he even sang the hymns and he spoke to those who spoke to him politely and shook their hands. There were a few people who he'd never seen before and strangers are always looked upon with a little distrust by Callum as he is not an Aspi who will speak to everyone and anyone; he is one that won't speak at all until he feels completely comfortable with them (this can take anything up to a year in some cases!). The fact that he not only spoke, but had physical contact made me very proud of him. He was happier once back at the house (his uncle's) as they have a Basset Hound called Floyd who he adores.

Wednesday we went to Riverside with my friend Lesley who has an autistic child who is a year and a half older than Callum called Louis. When they were both younger it was quite difficult when they met up as Louis is a physical boy and Callum isn't, but as they have got older they seem to be able to sort this out to a happy medium that suits them both and they get on pretty well. We had a nice walk along by the river where the boys went off exploring the beach and the rocks and any puddles they could find which culminated in a rabbit poo fight which was generally frowned on by us mums, but which the boys found highly hilarious!!! Hmmmm!! Then afterwards we went back to the play area so that we could have a cuppa and the boys an ice cream (ensuring that they'd washed their hands first of course!). All in all the afternoon was lovely and we ended it before anything got too out of control or hyper, so pretty perfect!!

Thursday was the usual trampolining class and Callum had a good lesson. He was a bit hyper this week though and rekindled his liking for Lauren by launching himself at her every 5 mins and pinning her to the ground (which puts the 'Callum isn't physical' bit out of the window, but he has known Lauren for nearly 2 years, so it actually doesn't if you think about it). I did try to tell him that boys shouldn't do that to girls and he should be treating her a bit more gentle, but Lauren informed me that it was ok and that she got worse from one of the other boys she knew!! Hmmmm, not sure what to make of that, but as long as they were both happy who was I to intervene. Just kept an eye out in case it got out of hand, bless them!!

Friday he had his Speech and Language Assessment in Chatham. He did really well considering and it proved what I already knew. Callum has trouble with combination sounds and breaking down words and needs to step right back with literacy to Infant level to gain verbal understanding of letter sounds, combination sounds and word formation before attempting writing. It's weird; I already knew this, but I feel a lot better now that I've been told that it's ok to do that and that it is exactly what Callum needs. She is sending me a letter to confirm the assessment and give me some ideas. She says that his understanding of language itself is brilliant and that he is intelligent and a quick learner, but that to successfully learn to write, he needs to go back to basics. This is partly due to his Aspergers and partly due to lack of confidence and the fear that he has instilled in himself about the subject, but that he should be able to grasp it quickly if taught in the correct way that suits him. It seemed that musical rhythm was helpful so I think I will go down that route as well as introducing a lot more craft things to help with his hand coordination and strength and have a look at poetry to help with word endings and beginnings.

This weekend he has enjoyed his dad's company a bit more as I was out for the day on Saturday and they have been to Riverside again with the dog, spent lots of time in the garden and he's been in computer phase instead of Wii.

As I said at the beginning, a much better week and no meltdowns! Fabulous!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Hello all

This past couple of weeks has been a bit odd on the home education front! It's been opposite ends of the spectrum if I'm honest!! Callum was keen last week for a start, haha! Which was a complete turn around from the week before which is where I suppose I should begin.

Weather was pretty good that week if I remember correctly and Callum (admittedly I was pretty much the same) just wasn't interested in doing anything remotely workbooky (I know that isn't a word, but it fits). With all this in mind we decided to say "let's have a social week instead" and he agreed! Now a lot of you may think that any kid would prefer a social week to a work week and I'm sure any school kid would love a week at home seeing his mates instead of being stuck in a classroom, but Callum, as we have ascertained on many occasions, is a bit different! Socialising to him can often be as stressful and as awful predicament than sitting in front of a workbook or, heaven forbid, sitting an exam! He doesn't 'enjoy' socialising unless it's on his terms and certainly not more than about once or twice a week, so the fact that he saw his best mate since nursery 3 times and had some children back after trampolining AND went to Gore Farm on the Sunday with my friend's (and his) girls was a bit of a shock!! 5 days out of 7 is a big thing!!! And he coped well and he enjoyed it and he wanted to do it, so all was good!!

I felt a bit guilty not getting anything remotely curriculumy (again I know that isn't a word) done all week, but learning to interact with others is just as important for kids such as Callum. In fact it is the only question/concern that his paediatrician has ever had about him being home educated; it was also the first question the LEA guy asked and that's before he knew about Callum's Asperger Syndrome. This leads me to wonder why all the concern with exams, SATS, school league tables, etc! If, once out of school, their only concern is social interaction, does this means that all those 'wonderful and interesting' opportunities that they get to learn in the said curriculum are a complete waste of time? I often think that they are! I sit there sometimes looking at the books and thinking 'I remember doing this, but I've never used it'! Yes, the ability to read is always useful. Of course it is! We wouldn't be able to read road signs, tell the difference between a can of beans and a can of peaches or understand the 1001 forms that we seem to have to fill in over the course of adulthood (actually I can read well and some of them still stump me). We do not have to have a love of reading to need the ability to read. The same is for writing! We need a certain standard, not so we can write the next bestseller, but so we can fill in those 1001 forms I've already mentioned. The same goes for maths, but honestly it's the ability to add up and take away that's of importance. Even multiplication and division could be argued as just a quicker way of doing the adding and subtracting. When was the last time you used a Cosine for example? Yes, if you want to make a shed, you need dimensions; if you have the desire to buy a new sofa, you need to be able to work out if it'll fit in through your front door (and we have made that mistake in the past believe me), but you don't need a degree in physics to do either, you need to be able to add up and take away! And when on earth have you ever been asked when Henry VIII ruled over England - only in an exam about history!!! My point being is that although I felt totally and utterly guilty about not doing 'schoolwork' I shouldn't have. My adult life has been spent having to interact with lots of different people from different walks of life, different ages, viewpoints, abilities, etc! So the fact that I spent a whole week getting him to interact was probably much much much more important! In fact, I should feel more guilty about this last week as we did 'schoolwork' and had an 'incident'!

Now the reason we did 'schoolwork' was because Callum wanted to, in fact he was very keen to do it! So keen in fact that one day he was filling in a worksheet at 8am by himself without my help!! He didn't do fantastically well at it, but he did it off his own back without prompting which is fantastic (it was a literacy one, hence the not being fantastic bit - literacy being his worst subject)! We don't follow a timetable as such, but we have a little list of things we'd like to achieve each day and last week we achieved and did more! Education City was a godsend and printing off the worksheets to do the following day and looking for similar pages in our various workbook collection helped to make sense of it all. We also baked cakes as I had an old friend come to visit and we rediscovered art!! He did see his best mate on Wednesday, but (as I felt really crap on Thursday) we didn't go trampolining and so he didn't see his usual crowd. But it didn't bother him! So looking back over the past couple of weeks from the sofa of ill on the Thursday afternoon I was feeling pretty smug! We'd socialised when it had suited him and it'd had been successful; we'd done schoolwork when he'd wanted to and that too had been successful. I thought 'I've cracked this Aspi thing'! However, Friday brought me straight back down to earth with a bang!

We were attending a workshop about castles at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester on Friday afternoon. I'd 'checked out' who was going to be there and there wasn't anyone who he didn't like; he'd been before, so no new situation; and most of the people going he knew/liked a lot. Plus the guy who runs the workshops is really good with our kids, so I thought we were safe and all bases had been covered! But no!!!!! Well, I say no; all bases were covered except I'd forgotten that Callum can be a bit of a git at times!! Now I don't mean that in a nasty way, I really really don't! But once Callum has 'one on him', it is incredible difficult to get him out of it! And to be honest he needs to learn how to get out of it himself! Callum had been fine about going for weeks, in fact he'd been quite keen until the day that is! Friday morning he spiralled into a mood of doom and gloom. By Friday afternoon he was the child from hell. I know I should have just not gone, but we all have to face situations sometimes that we don't want to (see previous blog) and I knew that it would be interesting and fun! Had it been London or had I known that there were people there he didn't like I wouldn't have pushed it, but I knew that that wasn't the case, so I did!!

We arrived early and met up with a couple of other families for lunch which he was fine with, then we got to the museum and again he was fine! But as soon as we went into the room he started! He refused, at first, to go in! I explained calmly that he didn't have to sit on the floor with the other children, he could sit with me, but that was good enough! I eventually ordered him in and he sat down with me, his back to the 'tutor' and proceeded to kick the leg of my chair and pinch my hand and arm! I tried to ignore it as I knew he was just after attention, but after 15mins of this I lost it - sorry, but I did!! You see I knew that there was nothing there that should have caused an 'Aspi moment'! I've been his mum for nearly 11years and home educated him for 3 of those! I know his triggers, I know what is going to set him off and I know damn well that there was absolutely nothing there. I avoid those kind of situations like the plague as it'll be me that suffers in the long term (who wouldn't avoid them?)! Sometimes Asperger/Autistic kids are just being pedantic just like neuro typical kids! They are just being naughty! And, I'm sorry, but to continue to kick my chair and pinch me for 15mins was being naughty! The workshop was interesting, it was hands-on and it was fun! If he could have come down off his high horse he would have enjoyed it! I know this because during an experiment which he refused to join in with, we went around the museum and he was fine! After the workshop, we went over to the castle and he was again fine! He was just being a kid who had worked himself into a frenzy of 'I'm not going to enjoy this and I'm going to prove I'm not by being disruptive'! If he truly had been having an Aspi moment he would not have calmed down at all, no matter where we were and what we were doing, I would have had to take him home, but that wasn't the case!

The outcome of me losing it was that I said something I never say "you are going back to school mate"! He looked at me completely aghast, stopped pinching me and turned around! It didn't mean that he joined in, but he stopped hurting me! That night I sat down and explained that I don't do this for fun, I do it because I care about him; because I never ever want to see him in a situation where he can't cope; I don't put him into those situations because I know how much they can confuse and frighten him; but I am not going to be his punchbag everytime he has a sulk! And if he can't respect me as much as I respect him then this will never work! He apologised and I think he understood and, of course, I would never really send him back to school. However, after having such a brilliant two weeks, we have ended on a bit of a sour note. I'm hoping that next week will be better and I'm sure it will be. It also just goes to show that, home educating or not, children will always be children.


Saturday, 29 May 2010


Hi all

It's been a while and I do try and keep up, but time keeps flying by so quickly and we have been having a mini war here.

I must explain to those that do not know I have the strangest shaped garden in Medway (I've looked on maps and it is pretty unique). It is L Shaped! I've been told by various sources that the house once belonged to a fireman in Victorian times and he used to keep horses in the back; hence the side alleyway which is soley for our use. I've also been told that the land which now houses the 3 houses to our left (as you face the front of our house) also belonged to the house we now own. When the owner decided to sell the land he didn't want to lose all of it, so only sold off half the length which resulted in our property having an L shaped garden. It is approx 80' long from house to rear fence, in old money, and at about 40' up it stretches across the next 3 gardens by about 55' making it a pretty reasonable size garden and the main reason we bought it. It does mean, however, that we have 9 garden neighbours instead of the normal 3!

Which brings me onto my mini war. When we first moved in, Oct 08, the rear fence which separated us from 4 of our garden neighbours in King Street was pretty poor. One had done a reasonable fence under the 'tree house', one had a ramshackle shed (it had the front, but no sides or back) so they didn't go near the back and the other two where just metal fencing, corregated rusty sheeting, paving slabs and oven grills. We intended to replace the rear fence but wasn't entirely sure if it was ours, theirs or joint responsibility and we weren't too concerned. However, one of the houses had a Staffordshire Terrier that insisted on coming into our garden every time their children went in and forgot to take it with them! It was a sweet little thing and very friendly but also rather annoying as Phil and Callum aren't keen on Staffs and I was wary as we have a black Labrador and having known people with Staffs am aware that they usually don't get on well with other dogs! We managed to scrape together enough cash by the springtime to erect a 6.5' fence all the way along the inner perimeter of the rear boundary and the problem was solved!

However, over the winter of 09/10 the family had decided that having a Staff (and losing two other Staffs who had got out and ran away) wasn't enough and they got a Mastiff! All was not too bad until they decided to throw out a mattress which they propped up against the back fence (the garden is full of rubbish). The Mastiff, only a year old I might add, heard our dog in our garden one afternoon, raced up the mattress and jumped the fence! Callum was absolutely terrified and I was a little uncertain as the Mastiff was obviously nervous (realising it was in a strange place with strange people and no way home I couldn't exactly blame it). I love dogs, am not particular scared of them (I've beaten off a huge white Boxer before that attacked my Lab when it was a puppy, while the Boxer's owner stood by sweetly calling "get off boy and come here" - like it was going to pay any attention), but I do know that dogs when nervous can be a bit, how shall we say, snappy!!

Anyway, luckily the owner came to the fence, apologised profusely and came round to get it! While here he proudly showed that the Mastiff had lost one of it's toes as it had got too close to the Staff who'd had pups!! But then went on to reassure me that it/they were perfectly lovely dog/s who wouldn't harm anyone and who were brilliant with his kids! I nodded in all the right places but firmly asked him to remove the mattress so that it couldn't happen again!! All the time thinking they it may be fine with his kids, but I wasn't entirely convinced that it/they would be fine with mine and that he wasn't really taking into account that I also had a dog who was likely to want to protect its own territory and protect my child and, as his dog was the intruder, all hell could break loose!! Obviously a very sweet guy, but a bit thick shall we say!

Well the dog didn't manage to get over again as he did remove the mattress, but, of course, now their dog knew about our dog and so every time we went into our garden it would launch itself at the fence barking like crazy! Over the past couple of months it has been left in the garden more and more (I think it's getting a bit big for them to handle to be honest and it still has at least another years growth to go) and it has been barking pretty consistently and launching itself at the fence. It got to the point that Callum wouldn't go out into his own garden because he was terrified! I'd gone out a couple of times to hang washing out and it had gone berserk barking and now growling, so I could totally appreciate why C wouldn't want to go out there. To make matters worse the children began climbing onto the fence (up the rusty old one by the way) and being nosey and when I'd asked them to get down I'd had 'language' from the boy! I must point out at this time of the story that the eldest, a girl, is approx 6/7 and the language expert boy was about 4!!! I decided to call our local Civic Warden for advice which was that I should go and speak to the parents about the kids and the dog!! Great!! I also rang the local community police office and got pretty much the same advice.

This went on for about another week until one Thursday after trampolining we had a few of the kids back to our house. The weather was lovely and they went outside to use the trampoline and have some fun. Up came the kids, bang goes the dog against the fence and the barking/growling ensued! I asked the kids to get down, but the girl said she was stuck!! She asked her brother to go get dad about 1/2doz times, but no dad appeared! Ok, time to go round! So off I hobbled, knocked on the door, explained that their daughter was stuck and asked them to try and keep the kids off the fence as it made their dog worse at launching itself at the fence and was terrifying my son! They apologised and 'dad' was sent out to get kids down. On the way back I was caught up with by a guy who said they were the neighbours from hell and proceeded to tell me horror stories about the kids, noise, etc to the point where his son had moved out of his house next door! Sorry, that isn't going to happen to me!! I thanked him for his information and told him to keep in touch. On entering the house I discovered that the dad had come outside and got the kids down, but they had promptly climbed back up again once dad had gone and had started giving Callum abuse over the fence!! Time, I thought, to ring the coppers again, however, no-one available so left a message!!!!

Since that day I've been in touch with the Council again and relayed information to the Civic Warden, got a noise nuisance diary and been keeping notes of all incidents. Then wonders of wonders I heard voices in the garden last Wednesday and it sounded like someone giving advice. It turns out that my friendly PC had been on holiday and on his return had taken it upon himself (armed with all the information I'd given him previously) to go visit the house! He advised them that the children climbing on the fence could be seen as criminal at best and welfare at worst (apparently both younger children (they have 3, I thought it was only 2) were running around completely naked both inside and outside the house. The garden was full of wood, rubbish, bits of furniture, dog faeces, broken toys and mud (no grass). He suggested that they remove the rubbish and do something about keeping the dog under control! Wow, I love him!!!

As a result, the very next day (I was out) the neighbour had called Phil from over the fence when he'd got home and asked if he could use some of our old trellising to higher our fence which Phil helped him do. Has cleared half the garden of rubbish and built another 5' fence half way down his garden so that the dog can't even reach our fence and the rest of the rubbish is contained. Phil has offered to help him clear anything he can't get rid of as that's what he does!

So far then I think the war is over! I know that some of you will probably say we should have just offered to help in the first place and maybe we should have, but Phil isn't the sort of person to confront people and so wouldn't have gone round. Plus when I have spoken re the dogs before they have dealt with the immediate problem, but have done nothing to stop it long term. I think having someone officially visit has made them realise that it isn't just us moaning and that they must take some responsibility for their own dogs and children. The only downside so far has been that I've now had their neighbours ringing me expecting me to help them with their problems. They seem to think I've set up a petition to get them evicted and that they can just come round and sign it! Unfortunately, that was not my intention unless the problems escalated and, as my own issue is only with the dog and children in the garden and that has been resolved, it isn't my place to start getting involved with issues such as night disturbances. They have been given all the information that I have and I've pointed them all in the direction of the Council, but I feel slightly aggrieved as they knew the problems I was having and had my number (I'd given it to the guy I'd met to forward on), but didn't bother ringing me until they realised that I'd got somewhere! Sorry mates, you're on your own! It's a bit like the Americans isn't it? They were asked to join the war, but refused until they got bombed themselves. I've reached a truce in my battle so far and I'm not going to reactivate any more gunfire. Fight your own war!!

So I have had a week of no fence launching, only one incident of children climbing on fence and although the dog is still barking, it isn't so often and isn't for so long! I'm still going to send in the noise diary, but will add a covering letter to say that I want no further action taken, but could they ensure it is kept on record so if the problem does rear it's ugly head again (after all the dog IS going to get bigger and stronger, so whether the secondary fence will hold it forever I do not know) the records are there!

PS: I apologise to any Americans reading this and I, by no means, hold any grudges towards you personally!! It's just a metaphore.