Friday, November 30, 2007

St Andrews Day

This evening we are going to the panto (yes, we are!), so I'm not going to risk failing to blog on this, the last day of NoBloPoMo. Not much has happened yet to-day, but on St Andrews Day I don't think that I can do better than to link to this excellent poster.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It nearly fell apart

Just as we were about to leave the house this morning, my son announced that his foot was sore; indeed he was rolling on the floor, apparently unable to walk. After a day at home yesterday, I really wanted to get to work this morning, but if he had somehow injured his foot I would have to stay at home. Getting an appointment to-day to see the doctor at our local surgery would be difficult, to say the least. After losing it for a few moments (mainly because every course of action I could think of would be criticised by somebody), I decided to take him to Accident and Emergency at the children's hospital in Edinburgh.

As we pulled out of the town (on the outskirts of Edinburgh) where we live, he announced that his foot was feeling better. Relieved, I turned around, and was able to get him to school on time.

On this occasion, a satisfactory resolution was achieved, but it is sad that I find myself balancing the requirements of my job against the welfare of my son.

On a more positive note - when I had a minute to myself, I prayed to God for help - that prayer was answered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Statistically likely

Blogging every day in November, I shouldn't be surprised that on one of those days I'm feeling less than 100%. Pass the tissues, please ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shuttle service

Unusually, I drove to work to-day; then I came home to pick up our daughter who had to be taken to the hospital for an injection. The hospital isn't far from where I work, so it was strange to be making more or less the same journey twice in each direction. It went OK - she's a real trouper!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poachers and gamekeepers

My day job requires me to spend at least some time each week on a helpdesk, so I have some idea of how it feels to be the person whom people get angry with when things don't work. But as a customer, I am still frustrated, and, yes, angry, when I am looking for assistance, and for some reason the answer isn't particularly helpful. I try not to be angry with the person on the other end of the phone, however ...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Too much information

To tell to-day's story properly, I would have to tell you too much. So I shall be vague.

But first, thanks for the comment. I am rather conscious that it can be difficult to make and keep friends. Son and I will just have to do our best to negotiate the minefield ...

It was my wife's turn to go to church to-day (I'm sure that I've referred somewhere to the fact that on Sunday mornings one of us goes with our daughter to church while the other stays at home with our son), but when we were told last week the name of to-day's preacher I thought that it might be someone I met years ago, so I went for the second week in a row. It wasn't; it was someone else of the same name - which isn't entirely surprising, especially when there are a disproportionate number of people with this surname in the ministry of the Church of Scotland - and I believe that many of them are related. I'm sure it was for the best - I particularly enjoyed singing "Mine eyes have seen the glory", which was the closing hymn.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

An adventure

I've felt for a while that our son gets a raw deal on Saturdays. Our daughter goes to a ballet class in the morning, and a drama class at lunchtime, and the day tends to be structured around getting her to her classes. Our son generally elects to be at home when he can, and when I'm at home I'm generally trying to catch up on stuff that's on my desk. I feel that I should be spending time with my boy, but it really isn't happening.

So when one of his friends wanted to come round, I was inclined to be sympathetic. But my wife doesn't want visiting children in the house, so it seemed that it just wasn't going to happen. Then I thought of taking the two of them (our son and his friend) out for lunch at Luca's, which is what we did to-day. I think that it went reasonably well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm getting better

A diagnosis may be a long way off - indeed may never happen - but as a working hypothesis, the idea that I could be further along the spectrum towards Asperger's Syndrome than most people has helped me enormously. I can allow myself to be meticulous - I can be patient with myself - I can allow myself to worry at a problem until I've solved it - recognising that in some circumstances it can be a strength.

And not blame myself for my weaknesses ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hidden treasure

The events of to-day haven't been particularly bloggable, although I did have the privilege of talking to a Professor of Algebraic Surgery, so instead I offer you a crop of a picture I took on Sunday, of a stained glass window.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How naive!

I thought that having paid Scottish Gas for plumbing and drains cover I could ask them to come and fix a dripping tap, but no, I was wrong, and have been advised by the lady who answered the phone that I should fix it myself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two doctors for the price of one

Not actually, of course - I realise that we in this country are incredibly fortunate that we can go to see the doctor without having to think how much it will cost. But in the course of to-day, I have seen two doctors.

The first doctor was a community health practitioner; our daughter has a yearly appointment. I suspect that the person doing the job stays in post for just one year, because we have never seen the same doctor two years running. I was surprised on this occasion that the lady was not as young (shall we say) as those we are accustomed to. I have always assumed that this role tends to be filled by a junior doctor on his or her way to better things. We had a reasonably constructive time. At one point we were asked whether our daughter sees any hospital doctors, and took great pleasure in reeling off a list of the consultants she sees regularly.

This afternoon, I saw a doctor about me. I've been particularly anxious about this consultation, as I am hoping that it could be the start of finding some much needed help. As the doctor this afternoon repeatedly reminded me, I have a history of what would probably be classed as mental illness. Indeed, on one occasion I was 'admitted under section', which means, basically, that I was locked up in a psychiatric hospital whether I liked it or not. Recently, I have begun to wonder if the root cause of my problems could be something called Asperger's Syndrome, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder which, to be fair on those treating me in the seventies and eighties has, I gather, only been widely known about for the past twenty years.

The outcome of the session was that I have been referred to a psychiatrist. My GP told me to be patient, by which I guess that he was letting me know that I might have a while to wait.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I nearly forgot

To write an entry for to-day. To-morrow will be a significant day, one way or another. I'm seeing my GP (general practitioner - i.e. doctor) about something which I've been thinking a lot about over the past week or so.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A blank sheet of paper

A grey day, but not a bad one ... a rainy Sunday afternoon (only it wasn't all that rainy) ... a chance to make some progress on a doll's house which my daughter and I are putting together ...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How (not) to say 'no'

Why do supermarkets sell DVDs? It's a kind of modern minefield. You go out, the kids tagging along, to do the weekly grocery shop, and your child asks - since we're going to Tesco, can we buy 'Fantastic Four - the Rise of the Silver Surfer'? (I thought that I was a silver surfer ...) You say - no, not this time - and, lo, you have an extremely distressed child.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three cheers for Pudsey!

This evening, we have the charityfest known as Children in Need

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scraping the barrel

It's nearly bedtime, and I have nothing to write.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I really can't think of anything interesting to write about to-day. Unless you want to know how I surfed the buses to work and home again; or how I dealt with work to-day.

My wife is out seeing our children's teachers. Hopefully, the feedback will be good; although our son has recently sent me a couple of text messages to say that he doesn't like school. He's just 7 years old. I'm at home with the children; they're watching a video of Toy Story 2.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A do-it-yourself breakfast

This morning, I had breakfast in Asda Walmart. I continue to be amused at what they do if you want a sausage roll and a coffee. They ask you to pick up a roll, still wrapped in cellophane. They give you two sausages on a plate. At the checkout, you pick up two packets of butter, and an empty mug. Having paid, you take the mug to the coffee machine, and pour yourself a coffee. It's just that in other places, what you get at the checkout is a sausage roll and a coffee.

I can only guess that they have calculated the saving in making the customer do the work, and have decided that it is worth their while.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A possible diagnosis

To-day, I made a discovery - or it could be my imagination. Unfortunately, until I am a bit clearer in my own mind, I can't say very much.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confronting the darkness

To-day, of course, was Remembrance Day. Our girl is in the Girl Guides, and our boy is in the Beavers. Both were parading this day - a day which, thankfully, was bright and clear, made bitterly cold by a north wind. There was a short service to accompany the laying of wreaths at the war memorial, and then we proceeded to the parish church, which is the church that we normally go to (except that normally our son doesn't want to go, so one of us stays at home with him while the other goes with our daughter to church).

I observed the words on the lectern fall as we waited for people to file out of church. It was something like 'light in the darkness', and there was a bible reference, possibly 1 John 1:6. I feel that there is a lot of darkness surrounding us these days, so much darkness that the light struggles to survive. Perhaps I should take heart, though, from this morning's self portrait, taken as I faced the morning light. And remember, from the bible, John 1:5 (ESV):
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not enough hours in the day

I did get more sleep than I would normally have done; but to-day I have worn myself out just trying to catch up with stuff on my desk. I've felt that I'm not doing the right thing by my son, who has been at home with me for most of the day, but this stuff - bills, accounts, correspondence - has to be dealt with.

And I've just found out that our mobile phone provider has been overcharging my wife - at least that's how it looks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

No, I really am tired

And I'm going to bed; whether I get any peace remains to be seen ...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm so tired

I'm losing it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Somehow it all worked

I was at work for 9:00 this morning - everybody pulled together, and I managed to catch an earlier bus; then my colleague for whom I'd covered this morning gave me a lift home - sadly, we saw the aftermath of an accident, which had occurred on the road he would have taken if he'd been going straight home, instead of giving me a lift.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sorry to harp on

I'm desperately tired - I would go to bed now (20:10 GMT), but our daughter is still out at her club, won't be back until nearer 21:00 - and then we have to persuade those who don't want to go straight to bed that they should.

Monday, November 05, 2007

It seems never ending

Work was hard, mainly because of the after effects of yet another tiring week-end; and I've just spent some time helping my daughter with her homework - which I'm happy to do, but I just wish I wasn't so tired.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More driving

To-day, I drove to my mum's and back - a round trip of around 80 miles. My mother has just moved house - from a medium-sized house to which she and my father moved when he retired, to a smaller house, more suited to one, elderly person. So there is sadness, but I think that what my mother wanted to make to-day was a positive statement, as she and my brother and I had lunch in a local restaurant, that she is making a fresh start. The house is one of a group of sheltered houses - it's peaceful; there is a community; there is the support of a warden. And it's right next to the river, with a pleasing view out the back.

I should say that it is nearly 10 years now since my father died. For those 10 years my mother has lived in the old house, and maintained it. But she has felt over the past months that the time has come to move on; to simplify her life. So to-day has been a particularly significant day in the story of our family.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't blog when drunk

So I'm blogging now, before I drink any more.

To-day, I've driven 60 miles. I took my daughter to her ballet class; later, collected her and brought her home. This afternoon I drove my son to the next town, met my wife and daughter there, and we bought shoes for each of our children, before 'doing a shop' in the supermarket. Then I drove everyone home.

We bought a DVD for our son in the supermarket. When we got home, the DVD wouldn't play in his DVD player, so I drove back to the supermarket, and exchanged the DVD. The second DVD also didn't play in his DVD player, but it does play in the DVD player in the lounge (so I guess that the first one would have played in the lounge also - I tried to phone the supermarket to impart to them this gem of information, but the only number I could get for the supermarket was an 0845 number, which didn't seem to be taking me to the actual store, so I abandoned that attempt).

I do try to minimise our carbon footprint, but not one of the trips I made to-day was because I wanted to ...

Friday, November 02, 2007


An early, municipal celebration of Guy Fawkes' Night. Daughter was in the lantern parade; son, to get a better view, spent the duration of the display sitting on my shoulders - I spent the duration of the display wishing that I could think of a way to persuade him to come down.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Why do people feel the need to criticise? Are they just trying to underline how good they are? Of course, at times we do go wrong, and somebody who puts us right is doing us a favour, but so much criticism just seems thoughtless, at best, and cruel, at worst.