Recently we were exceptionally decadent and added a second PS4 to our house. We did this through the accumulation of Nectar Points which we used to get a decent discount at Argos on a bundle that was already reduced. Go me!
Although it seems silly, there were a couple of good reasons behind the purchase. Firstly we had pretty much been driven from the living room where MY PS4 lives by kids incessantly playing games on it. Secondly, the high functioning child gets very valuable secondary socialisation from using it. Secondary socialisation is important for people on the spectrum; it involves chatting and interacting with people whilst doing something else. Put kids together in a situation where the sole purpose is to interact and they’ll have trouble, give them something to do that leads to interaction as a secondary benefit of whatever they’re doing, and it works much better. View Full Post
I recently got into a bit of a fight with a work colleague on Facebook over dog mess. On holiday we had what should have been a lovely day at the beach, followed by a trip to an iron age hill fort. In both instances dog owners pretty much spoiled it for all of us.
On the beach at Charmouth, as we settled down to have our picnic after a morning of fossil hunting, 7 different dogs that weren’t under control came and nosed around our food. We hadn’t even stopped for very long, ten minutes maybe. As we walked back along the beach later, we spotted several of the owners eating their own lunch. With their dogs on leads so they couldn’t snuffle around their sandwiches.
At Blackberry Camp (the iron age hill fort). I couldn’t properly take in the splendour of the place as almost every 5 paces there was a pile of dog crap. On the one occasion I did look up, I could see several bags of it that were hanging from high branches in some of the trees. With three kids to show round, this became an unnecessarily stressful trip as I didn’t want the mess trodden into my car.
I can’t understand the mentality required to go to all the trouble of bagging up a turd only to throw it a few meters up a tree. What if it hadn’t snagged on something? Did it take more than one attempt to get it to stay up? The mind boggles.
The argument I got into on Facebook involved children being just as badly controlled as dogs. Fortunately I don’t know anybody who lets their children steal from other peoples picnics or indeed simply poo in the woods. Perhaps it’s because we’re from St Albans? (I doubt that’s the reason.)
When the boy was four or five, I signed him up to karate lessons at a local school. They were after school on a Thursday and were an unmitigated disaster. We went for a month or so of Thursdays and all the boy did was cling to my leg for half an hour. He tried all the moves out at home but wouldn’t join in while we were there. At the time I thought it was a terrible waste of potential as he had such good coordination and core strength compared to every single other child there. Bless the karate school for not charging us for the lessons, they said they couldn’t in all honesty take the money from us for what we got out of it.
Fast forward 5 years and the boy is now back on the karate thing. On Sunday he had his blue belt grading, which went well, imbuing him with a bit more confidence. I suspected that he would find karate easy because it plays to his strengths; he has exceptional pattern recall abilities (he uses this to coast his way through his drumming and guitar), good core strength and very very good coordination.
All the skills he brings to karate mean I probably won’t have to get him to wash the car or paint the fence, which is a shame!
The festival of Holi is upon us! As part of ensuring our kids have a rounded world view, we tend to discuss big festivals from outside the Christian realm, and this year we decided to give Holi a look. Kingfisher, the premium Indian lager offered us the opportunity to have a closer look at Holi from the comfort of our own home.
The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. Holi is also know as the festival of colour for a very good reason. Part of the two day festival, called Rangwali Holi involves covering anyone that moves with colourful paints. This was the part of the lesson the kids were interested in:
We found out there are such things a special Holi coloured dry paints, and after covering the kids in old vests and shirts, we made sure they had an experience to remember.
Kingfisher have also teamed up with Urban Rajah to come up with a top Holi feast, which is also part of the festival. The one thing we’ve learnt looking at different cultures festivals is how important the part that food plays in it all actually is.
I’ve put Kingfisher’s picture up because my attempts didn’t look anywhere near as appetising but they tasted good!
The special inks washed out of the kids and the clothes (and the cat didn’t tread them absolutely everywhere), so there is little in the way of a physical reminder of our celebration but it is something that the kids will remember for a long time and has opened them up to another culture, which in these times of more inward focusing introspection as a nation, can only be a good thing!
The eldest has been learning the guitar for a little over a term now. The waiting list for classical guitar was enormous but the teachers at the music school were falling over themselves to teach someone electric guitar, so his wait was minimal if not quite nonexistent.
At Christmas his grandparents kindly bought him a 3/4 sized guitar as my full size (and mostly unused) one was a little too wide in the neck department for him. He started off learning how to read guitar tab and then moved on to learning a few riffs. The addition of the 3/4 sized guitar was a revelation for me, as I was able to manage the main riff from 7 Nation Army without moving any fingers myself! View Full Post
If you were to search Nozstock on my blog, you’d find some brilliant stuff. Like this or this or maybe even this picture:
Nozstock is a boutique festival, which in practical terms makes it much more family friendly- as some of the reviews out there say, it feels like you’ve been invited along to a private party, it’s properly intimate and you don’t get ripped off with the food.
Nozstock 2017, 21-23 July, is shaping up to be one of the best yet with some great acts already announced like Seasick Steve, Happy Mondays, General Levy, Ocean Wisdom, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Beans on Toast, Rodney P & Skitz, The Correspondents, Dabbla Illaman and DJ Frosty, Land of The Giants, Stiff Joints, and Chainska Brassika
But if you want an idea about what to expect, have a watch of this:
Born slap bang in the middle of the 1970’s, my first bikes were all very much hand me downs from my older cousins and nothing particularly noteworthy. It being the late 70’s, they were pretty much twice my weight and if I’m being generous made out of steel, if I’m not, cast iron recycled British Leyand Princess’s. My first new bike was an early mark II Rayleigh Grifter and it was magnificent. It had three gears, blue, green and red, operated via a gripshift that meant you could pretend you had a motorbike (with the prerequiste playing card stuck to the frame of course). It was almost impossible to lift it through the gates at either end of the New River footpath because like I said, bikes back then weighed many many tons.
While my Grifter doesn’t appear on the Halford Bikes Through the Decades infographic you can see below, it’s main nemesis the Chopper does. The Chopper was the bike that the cool kids in our class had- the ones who were reading the Dempsey & Makepeace books and pointing out the swearwords to everyone else- but it wasn’t practical enough for my dad to agree with, so I got a Grifter and my brother got the junior version, the Strika. View Full Post
Hand on heart, we get bored. Despite having a house full of toys, games, books and several TV streaming services, on occasion getting outside and doing something silly is the best antidote to being fed up with everything you have.
Today was one such day, so we decided to reshoot my favourite scene from Monty Python & The Holy Grail. Well, the most suitable scene for children anyway. I opted against doing the Grail Shaped Beacon scene. The great thing about the Holy Grail is the whole film was made for under £250,000, which even in 1975 didn’t amount to a whole hill of beans.
I hit 42 years of age on Saturday. As birthdays go, it wasn’t a great one to be honest, mostly my own fault but I felt a bit flat after Christmas, the weather was awful and we’d arranged my daughters 8th birthday party for the late afternoon.
I’m impossible to buy stuff for because the only things I really want (as oppose to need) are too expensive for presents. You know, a PSVR headset, a nice turntable and an amp, all in the £350 to £600 range, which is about (at the top end anyway) ten times more than have for presents. So I had a nice homemade SpongeBob Square Pants storage box from Fifi and a pair of techno socks* from my lovely wife.
It wasn’t the lack of gifts that made it a bit duff, rather the weather- originally I’d wanted to go out for the day (trip to the rather bleak seaside top of the list) but having Fifi’s party had put the kybosh on that. No problem, we could go out for a walk in the morning. Both the boys protested by taking their socks and trousers off when I suggested this (pants stayed on mercifully), so that didn’t happen. My first trip out for the day saw me go to the DIY store to buy a can of damp sealant. I scraped bumpers with the bloke next door on my way back which was a nightmare I could have done without. It put me a really rotten mood.
The rotten mood was alleviated by Fifi though, who provided me with an envelope containing the following:
Which was lovely and cheered me up no end. The post title comes from Fifi’s aunty, who made that comment when she saw the letter!
I should point out I’m generally miserable on my birthday, I hate being the centre of attention for simply being a year older, as though I’ve done something to warrant it other than simply not dying. I don’t like people spending money on me either. It’s never anyone else’s fault I have a rubbish day, it’s all self inflicted!
*merino wool walking socks, not some dance through back global hypercolour socks.