My Sunday Photo

When your kids are little, and you come across an ice cream van parked outside your school that you don’t want to patronise, you can just say no. Or tell them you have no money, or no time, or the van has run out of ice cream or…something …

But when your kids are a bit older, and you live really close to the school, and one of your children is old enough to run home and let herself into the house to find her purse, then run back to you and her little brother with the said money and offer to pay for ice creams out of her own money, you have a problem.

Or maybe you don’t. Choose your battles, remember?

At least DS didn’t complain about the difference in the size and build quality of their ice creams; he knows not to look a gift horse ( sister?) in the mouth.

Icecream Friday

Sunday photo

My Sunday Post

We are lucky enough to have a local farmer’s market close by.

It runs every second Sunday and we often go for lunch as it has a good selection of food stalls.

It also has a petting zoo, and the kids sometimes use their pocket money to go and hold/stroke chickens, rabbits, piglets, lambs etc.

Last week it had something we’ve never seen before. For £1, kids ( and their parents) could take a goat for a walk! Of course walking goats is different from walking dogs, as DD found out. The secret is to have something green and juicy in your hand to encourage the goat to follow you…

Laura goat

Even then, they didn’t get far. Goats can be very stubborn, as can DD, and I think she may have met her match.

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

Last week DD3 and I visited a very special animal sanctuary and got to meet a couple of her favourite animals.

I will write about this later, as it was a great day out and deserves a post of its own.

But while we were there we visited a small stand manned by Teaching Talons, an animal encounters company, who were lovely and patient with  everyone as we waited our turn to visit the main attraction.

One of the girls convinced DD to hold an owl, something she’s never dared do before. I took loads of photos but this is the closest I got to getting them both looking at the camera!

This is a young African Barn Owl. Isn’t she beautiful?

Holding an African Barn Owl

Sunday photo


Annoying Words

‘Whatever’ is not the most annoying word in our house.

Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty annoying; especially when used by a teen or tween who is determined to have the last word and thinks they know it all.

It is used as a last resort word though, mainly when things have not gone their way but they want it to look like they have the situation totally under control.

So let me tell you, if your child is using ‘Whatever’, you have won and they know it. You don’t have to have the last word.

Another really annoying word in our house is my eldest’s sudden adoption of ‘Yikes’.

I know this doesn’t sound that annoying but she manages just the right mix of rudeness and condescension when she uses it. I don’t much like the word; she knows it annoys me and I’ve asked her not to use it. but you have to pick your battles when they are 14.

Most of the time I ignore it, but DD2 HATES the word and is often reduced to tears by her older sister’s use of it. DD1 is totally aware of this, of course…

But the most annoying word used in our house is..are you ready for this, it’s a four letter one…’Wait’.

‘Can you turn the TV off?’-‘Wait’
‘Can you get off the computer?- ‘Wait’.
‘It’s time to get ready for school”- ‘Wait’.
‘Time for bed!’-‘Wait’.

My children seem incapable of hurrying when asked, but just casually put one hand up and drawl ‘wait’ while they finish what they are doing. And this is after 10 and 5 minute warnings of the need to cease and desist. The seem to think that time stops when they do!

What’s the most annoying word in your house?


My Sunday Photo

Mouse in the house
This was the scene in our kitchen on Wednesday night.

Our cats are always bringing in small furry things and dropping them as soon as they get in the house. The said furry thing then makes a beeline ( or should that be mouseline?) for the nearest large appliance and this results in very frustrated felines.

On Thursday night, it was obvious the Furry Thing had relocated to the living room. We had cats in cupboards, up the chimney, behind the TV- they were definitely on the prowl.

When we went to bed, we shut them in the lounge and let them get on with it…

This was the sight that met our eyes on Friday morning. The scene of the crime has not been altered in any way.

Mouse on the piano

Do you think our cats are trying to tell us something?

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

Last Sunday I took my 14 yo eldest into London to meet a friend she had met online.

I know it sounds like something out of a cautionary tale, but I was going to be right there with her, making sure her friend was actually a young girl, and not some internet weirdo. And as DD pointed out, I have plenty of friends I met online myself.

So, come Sunday, there we were , on the train into town. DD had arranged the meeting place, Hamleys, and knew what her friend looked like. Her friend was going to be with her mother too.

So we got to Hamleys, and there was no friend to be seen. DD realised she didn’t have a phone number for her friend (duh!), and while she tweeted her, we wandered around Hamleys and accidentally spent £50 on stuff we didn’t need.

Finally DD’s friend replied, they were supposed to have met in Harrods! Just in case you don’t know this, Hamleys is not right next door to Harrods.

So we got in a cab and trundled across London to a store I’d normally not ever step foot in.

DD’s friend was very sweet and her mother was nice too, and we sat in the cafe in Harrods and had a coffee while the girls blethered on about YouTubers.  This was mine, it cost over £5.

I don’t know if everyone gets this sort of message with their cappuccino in Harrods, but it’s awfully familiar, don’t you think?!

Hi Darling coffee

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

One of the best, and worst, things about having a dog ( or two) is the walks.

Dogs like ours get you out of the house every single day.  Even when you don’t feel like facing the world, even when it’s persisting down and even when you are just so tired that you are not sure you are safe to drive the car to their favourite park. Ours still need to get out for at least an hour and at least 30 minutes of that needs to be off lead.

I know some dogs do not get walked every day, and seem to survive but I believe that a lot of unwanted behaviour in dogs is the result of them being under exercised. Ours get very grumpy if I leave it too late to walk them, I hate to think what they would be like if 24 hours went by without a walk.

Lots of people like walking their dogs because of the social aspect, but mostly I prefer to walk alone and listen to an audio book. But sometimes I go to our local park where there are always lots of people and dogs to hang around with. Our dogs know who has treats and who doesn’t.

Begging dogs

This arm belongs to our dog walker who we often meet in this park and here she has assembled a very well behaved pack, all sitting and waiting for their biscuit. Can you see the Bassett begging? It’s his party trick and it’s hard resist those eyes.

I’m ashamed to say that the big black and white dog standing on his hind legs to get to the treat first is one of ours. It didn’t work, he was told to sit back down, but it does make a good photo.

As does the next shot of the Bassett still begging but with his front leg up, telling our dog to keep his feet on the floor and behave himself.

begging dog

My Sunday Photo

Did You Watch ‘The A Word’ ?

Last night, like thousands of other people in the UK, I tuned in to watch the BBC’s new Drama ‘The A Word’. Actually, if I’m honest, I watched half of it last night. I fell asleep halfway through it and watched the rest this morning.

The falling asleep is no indication of the quality of the programme by the way, I’m just tired and not very well at the moment.

Before I watched the first episode I didn’t know much about it, just that one of the main characters is a young boy with autism. The A Word is the story of a family who have been working around their young child’s differences for so long that they find it difficult to admit that he might have a significant problem. When Joe’s parents are forced to entertain the possibility that there might be something ‘wrong’ with their son, their reaction, and those of their friends and family, make for an emotional drama that will feel familiar to many of us who have first had experience of neurodiversity.

Joe’s story is very different from that of the autists in our family but I recognised some of the emotions, behaviours and situations.

The boy who plays Joe is a very good actor; he’s not autistic himself but he is very convincing in his role. One thing to remember though is that if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person, They are all so different. Not many people would pick out my daughters as autistic but one has a diagnosis, one is in the process of getting one. In fact I have had many people express surprise if I mention it. ‘Are you sure?’ is an often asked question. There are less girls with autism than there are boys, and they are harder to spot, but they are out there.

Joe is shown as a musical genius, listening to music through headphones at all times and having an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and lyrics. Not every autistic person has a special skill. Some children with autism are savants and have these ‘special talents’ but many others don’t. Some have below average abilities, some are average, and some are above average.  Special skills make for good TV in this case and do allow the use of an excellent soundtrack for the series.

I  also thought the process of diagnosis was portrayed unrealistically as most families I know have had to wait for months, or even years, for a diagnosis. We were turned down for assessment twice for DD2 before we had to get CAHMS involved. From there we were granted a referral and then a diagnosis. And for us, it wasn’t actually a shock  at that point, it was more a relief that we could get some help.

Of course, what help is available depends on where you live..

It’s going to be a good series, I think and well worth a look even if you don’t think you know anyone with autism. Because actually, you might one day, and more importantly you might learn something. And with knowledge comes tolerance.

Did you watch The A word? What did you think? Did it remind you of your experiences?

The A word shows on BBC1 on Tuesdays at 9pm or is available on iPlayer.

The A word