The fish tank, gotes and dressing up


An old mate Jill called round unexpectedly this afternoon while I was crocheting in the back room. I’m getting not too bad at crocheting squares with wobbly sides.

We had a bit of a reminisce over a cuppa and hob nob or two. The time we first met. About 20 years ago when Rosie, and Jill’s son Tristan, started at primary school together. Jill and I randomly sat on a wooden bench by the fish tank in the foyer so absorbed in chatting we missed the talk the headteacher was giving to new parents in the school hall. We laughed (in part horror) when they filed out passed us.

Failing our first ever school-related parental task.

The headteacher explained in the talk we missed that the bench by the fish tank was where kids would wait when no one turned up to collect them at the end of the day. The cone of shame bench. Rosie was to sit there a few times over the next four or five years. After what now seem like capers in the overly complicated and convoluted world of family life when a child is labelled as disabled.

ConnorWe remembered how Tristan became a regular fixture at ours after school typically wearing his Thunderbirds outfit. Virgil. Captain Tracey… The outfits.

I’d forgotten about the outfits. LB was a sucker for dressing up. Captain Scarlett, Woody from Toy Story, a racing driver, the Early Learning Centre policeman tabard. Batman to Tom’s handed down Spiderman.

Washing up gloves, school shoes and wobbly masks. The full gear.

Jill’s younger son Will became one of Tom’s bezzy mates. He was with us on the visit to the rare breeds farm when LB let the goats out.  I still chuckle when I remember being in that tiny space with LB and those cheeky goats. I recently found his school holiday diary where he’d written:

‘I let the gotes out’.

You did matey. And I should have seen it happening.

We didn’t half laugh though. That memory is priceless.





Harry Potter and the Dumbledouble* scandal

Ok, starting with a hands up that I ain’t read any of the HP books or seen any of the films. I am surrounded by people who have and have (Richy Rich excluded).  Anyway this (for me) very topical post came about because during a big lunchtime discussion about HP yesterday, I mentioned that one of the Hometowny ‘burb characters (see Chicken bone man) was in the first HP film. Rosie had met him ten years ago when he opened their new primary school building.

This caused some considerable disbelief around the table and led to one person, in particular, lets call him Adam, questioning the veracity of the tales I tell more generally. I’ll let a section of the long facebook discussion that followed fill in the next bit of the story;

Continue reading

21st birthday bundle

A few years ago, we were all invited to Danny’s 21st party. It was being held in a  big old pub in Hometowny and the party was in full swing when Richy Rich and I arrived with all the kids. As we walked through the lobby, a strapping young guy leapt on top of Richy and wrestled him to the ground in an arm lock. Me and the kids stepped over the pair of them and made our way to the bar.

“A pint of Carlsberg, pint of London Pride, four cokes and an orange juice, please”, I asked the girl serving behind the bar.

“I think he liked me”, said Richy, tucking his shirt back into his jeans, as he joined us at the bar. We made our way to a table near the disco.

Credits: Thanks to Mary (and Danny) for a great evening.  A sneaky ‘big up’ to My life My Choice..

Chicken bone man

We live in an area with a lot of very colourful characters.  Hegel Bagel, for example, is probably the world’s greatest Hegellian scholar but hasn’t managed to work out the rules of ‘conventional’ studying, so has his academic discussions in the aisles of the Co-op, on street corners or occasionally our kitchen.  Another guy does an amazing line in make-up which looks great with his long, white hair.  There is a couple whose relationships seem to be based on regular, public, spectacular arguments, and our neighbour, Roger, who walks round to the Co-op, every day, very, very slowly, dressed in a very smart suit, to buy a pasty to eat at 10.15am. Continue reading

The sperm and the flotation tank

Right. I’m going to heavily anonymise this one (for obvious reasons).  I LOVE flotation tanks. Now a number of years ago, I went to a local flotation tank place on a Sunday afternoon and had a blissful, relaxing float.  The next day, I went to where I was working temporarily and bumped into Richy Rich who was chatting to some geezer, (Prof) Neville Bunting.  He was raving about his weekend which had included his first experience of a flotation tank. 

“Wow, what a coincidence”, I said, so excited to find someone who liked flotation tanks. “I had a float at Hometowny Float Palace yesterday afternoon”.  “No way!”, he replied, “When were you there?”  “Five o’clock…”, I said. “That’s funny, we must have been in just before you”, he continued.  Er. Back up a minute. We?  “We?” I said.  “Well yes, you know, I gave the receptionist a bit of the old charm and she let my girlfriend go in with me and…”, he said, smirking, “let’s just say, we certainly floated”.

EEEEUUGHH.  That was the last float I had.

A few months later I was pregnant and heard that Neville and his partner were having a baby too. Aaawww.  Bless.  Nine months after the float I gave birth to a lovely bonny baby. Looking out of the window of the maternity ward, I saw Neville walking across the car park with a set of balloons and a cuddly toy.

All true.

First class from Birmingham

Earlier this year I went straight from a meeting in London to an overnight work gig in Birmingham. It was all a bit surreal (involving Alan Bryman and Angry Birds impressions). The following lunchtime after an intense focus group workshoppy thing, I rushed off to catch the train back home. In the short walk from the hotel to Birmingham New Street, I thought I was in Manchester.  That really threw me when I got into the station and couldn’t find the ticket machines, and the trains/platforms had all disappeared.   Continue reading

The mystery of the couple and the baby

Another totally random happening. I’ve reconstructed it using soft toys, because again I didn’t think to take a picture at the time.  Mind you, they might have got a bit angry if I did.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I was at home with all the windows open.  I noticed a car pull up on the pavement in front of our house. A couple got out with a baby and came into our front garden.  I went to open the door thinking they were calling round for some reason.  Instead of coming to knock on the door, they sat down on the grass. “Oh”, I said. “Er, sorry, did you want something?” “Oh, no”, he replied.  “Ok, I just wondered what you were doing?” I said, totally puzzled.  “We just came off the motorway and my wife needs to feed the baby”, he replied.    Continue reading

Early days

I used to like making soft toys from kits. I was pretty rubbish at it but I like to think it was an early indication of my interest in disability. Luckily I captured them all in a photo shoot in the back garden so here’s the gang;

(From the top going clockwise); Red felt buffalo, Patchwork cat, Pixie (lurking), Knitted mauve teddy, Soft brown dog, Brown panda, Pooh (lurking), Felt owl, Cute little cow guy. I think there may be one in between Knitted Mauve teddy and Brown panda – a sort of brown soft thing – but I can’t remember it. Maybe it’s just some mud.