27 June 2012

Many happy returns

My son celebrates his 18th birthday this week. I’ve done the sentimental, gushing, love you blog before as you would expect from this over emotional baggage, so now it’s time for celebration by way of day to day ordinariness or how life really is with a tall, skinny, handsome and he knows it, intelligent and he knows it,  annoying, slightly lazy, pedantic, crazy…you get the drift, a fairly normal teenager.

Except of course he isn’t fairly normal. He is very Asperger’s and this brings with it blessings, a completely different way of looking at life, along with all the normal hormonal teenage angst. Life can be interesting at times!

At three he stood in the middle of a football sized grassy area in our local park in London, pulled down his trousers, mooned at the passing world, stood up and shouted at the top of his voice ’My Mom is 35 today’ .I was there was no denying that point. Nor was there denying at that age that my son had a special intelligence. The nursery nurses at his school argued over who would have the pleasure of sitting with him in the book corner to listen to him read. His temper tantrums were legendary. There was no argument as to who was dealing with them; the teacher!

When he was nearly four and I was bemoaning the fact that he had never slept through the night, well except once by accident when he was 9 months old and I woke one morning to see daylight (I never set my alarm, I never needed to) was momentarily confused and then rushed to his cot to check he was still breathing, I was warned that teenagers were far more exhausting to deal with. I dismissed this comment as from someone who had no idea about the world I inhabited but the words were indeed uttered by a woman of wisdom and experience and returned to haunt me.

They say you should never enter a teenagers personal domain, aka bedroom, known to me as the black hole for household objects enter that room and are never seen again. A couple of weeks ago I knew that I could leave it no longer. Previous excursions to the room previously known as bedroom have resulted in unpleasant discoveries, some of which I cannot detail here for fear of upsetting sensibilities, so I donned rubber gloves, old clothes and reminded myself that there was  a shower with my name engraved upon it at the end. I started by clearing the gunk from the sides and underneath the bed. Two bin bags filled with old Doritos packets, soft drinks bottles and energy drink cans later, I examined  the walls and radiator and knew that scrubbing was the only answer. Every time I kneeled down by the radiator my nose was assaulted by the most vile aroma. We’d been having aroma issues for a while and had not been able to pinpoint the exact source of  Canal No5, just that it was in the general direction of the black hole. Now it appeared that the cupboard by the radiator may hold the answer. I drew a breath, held it and opened the draw. My preventative measures were in vain for the stench was all powerful and not of this earth. I gently reached into the cupboard and drew out t shirts, handfuls of them, all enveloped in the stench of a million rotting corpses. Every single one of them had to be laundered. Eventually at the bottom I discovered the source; an old sandwich box c.2006. It was sealed. The contents were indescribable in terms of structure but in colour they were black. I suspect the insect life within may have proved fascinating for biologists the world over, leading to the classification of several new species along with an entirely new genus for fungus.

Ok so I’m a slattern, What sort of woman leaves it 6 years between cleaning out cupboards/ Well a busy one with better things to do with her time says me in my defence! The sandwich box was disposed off (sorry Walsall Refuse Collectors) and the cupboard duly scrubbed. Son walks in a few hours later and remarks that the ‘smell’ has gone. Too right it has.

No doubt there are many mothers with similar stories to tell. I hope so because it means that despite evidence to the contrary, my lovely son is just the same as any other teenager. I do hope so.

Hopefully he’ll be off to University in just over 12 months time and if so then who knows what will be discovered in the ensuing mass extermination and deep cleaning process that will be  a very necessary evil following the tearful departure. I don’t half love him though and I will miss him and I will promise him not sell up, depart and not leave a forwarding address. He’s a joy…no, really he is.

Happy 18th Birthday Son.

Oh and for the record I now have the use of several dozen utensils formerly lost, plates, mugs and glasses galore. I love my dishwasher as well as my son....

12 June 2012


A Friends Group for Park Lime Pits has recently been formed. As a getting to know you exercise, there will be a litter pick tomorrow. That's Wed 13 June 2012! Meet 6pm at the Manor Arms Car Park.

Everyone is welcome including children so please pop your wellies on and come along.

Following the litter pick there will be the first meeting of the steering group for the Friends. Again, all are very welcome.

Hope to see you there.

7 June 2012

Cycle Summit 2012: Policy, infrastructure and safety

A little while ago when we were experiencing out travails with WM Police and we embarked upon a campaign to have our voices heard and attempt shaming them into listening to us, I started following various people, groups and campaigns connected to cycling and cycling safety on Twitter. One of those groups was the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Imagine my surprise today when I discovered that I had 'won' a free place at the 1st Annual Cycling Conference; Cycle Summit 2012

I feel elated about this especially having examined the agenda. Since WM Police did start to treat us as we should have been treated right from the moment Aiden was knocked off his cycle, we've been actively involved with reshaping their policy with regard to their attendance at RTCs involving cyclists and I feel that this summit will help inform me even further. I'm just an ordinary old baggage if a little tenacious at times but if our experiences help others in even the smallest of ways then some good will have come out of what was an extremely traumatic event.

I shall blog all about it in due course and hopefully it will promote a local debate at the very least.

5 June 2012

Subjection and Equality....Bah! Humbug!

A very  elderly man has a bladder infection  and is admitted to hospital. Newsworthy? Apparently so. An elderly woman is suffering multiple organ failure, has not moved from her spot on the sofa in four days and nights and yet her GP and GP out of hours service do not think that she is ill enough to warrant hospital admission. Eventually a 999 call is made, she is admitted to hospital and is in fact so ill that within hours she is on the Intensive Therapy Unit, where despite the best efforts of the medical team she dies. Newsworthy? No. The difference between these two elderly people is that one by accident of birth and then fortuitous marriage is royal and the other is an ordinary woman (except to her family and to me as her daughter who see her as extraordinary) but is representative by experience of the vast majority of people in the UK.

I am not a royalist despite my family being so. My Grandfather painted his house red, white and blue for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, one of his last energetic acts for he died in August of that year. My Mother adored the Queen and would not be happy with the sentiments expressed here but I cannot help but think every time  I see the Queen on my TV screen that had my Mother enjoyed the same health care and attention as her beloved sovereign, then she might still be alive today. This might seem bitter but it isn’t, merely observational. My wish is that for everyone in the |UK no matter where they are born and no matter who their parents happen to be are given the same choices, the same treatment and the same opportunities in life and that the privilege of  some births is no more.  Equality for all and not just for the chosen.

The abolition of class and privilege may be what some would describe as a utopian dream and in a way it is whilst millions continue to line the streets to celebrate  their subjection by the same woman for 60 years but I’m a live and let live kind of woman and if that’s your boat then I’m not going to sink it, well not yet! What I do object to however is the absolute saturation coverage by the BBC. Late Sunday afternoon I was cooking a very  late lunch and attempting to find a talk radio station that was not covering the celebrations. It was difficult and I was disappointed to find that even the World Service, (that’s world as in global or so I thought) was knee deep in Embankment Joe Public and how wonderful, fabulous, astonishing, astounding it all was and over on Radio 4 The Archers were having a jubilee party.  It seems that there is nothing to discuss or report upon according to the BBC but the jubilee.

This morning I turned on my radio to hear a large crowd of people chanting for quite some time ‘God Save the Queen, God Save the Queen’. On and on they went. I wondered what sort of country I am living in and drew comparisons with those who lined the streets of Baghdad and chanted the name of Saddam Hussein or of Tripoli and chanted for Colonel Khadafy. You might think that there is no comparison but there is you know especially if you happen to be someone living in another part of the world and see such things on your TV screen….it all looks the same then. Oh and before anyone accuses me of being unpatriotic then I say you confuse patriotism with support for the monarchy; the two are completely different. I love my country and the fact that I am free to express the views that I have. I do not however love the monarchy, nor privilege through class.

I wish the royal family no ill will and bear them no animosity. The Queen seems like an amiable old lady and the Duke reminds me of my grumpy Dad but how relevant are they to my life? They’re not and they never will be because that nice old lady and decent but grumpy old man receive the care and attention that all old ladies and men should receive in the UK but do not because after all, we have never all been in this together and never will be.