Bonfire night 2001 (written fifteen years ago when I was just jotting down ideas- would they ever become a book?
……… I wonder why do I continue to put all these thoughts down on paper,are they going anywhere? In my mind I am slowly unwinding the life around me, my little orbit; a slightly different perspective. Life with an autistic son may have many similarities to other disabilities or conditions. One tiring aspect is the repetitive behavior & conversations.
Back in 2001 with Josh aged 12 -a typical chat went like this;
Josh… it is August tomorrow
me…… no it will be October
J….Oh October. Then is will be time for Halloween?
me….. Very good
J…. Tomorrow is bonfire
Me…. no tomorrow is Oct. 1st. Bonfire night is Nov.5th.
J….What time is the fireworks?
Me…. When it gets dark.
J….. Is that next week?
Me….. No it is Nov. 5th
J……. But tomorrow is Halloween
Me… no, it is Halloween in 4 weeks, then its bonfire night.
J… Then it is Xmas eve
Me… In Dec. But look it is only just been your birthday, let’s not wish away time
J…… Can we go to the fireworks when it’s dark?
Me….. yes but not for a month
J…. When it’s dark
And on it goes.
The weeks flew by, & here it is November 5th. We waited for darkness to fall, don warm coats, wellys, hats, & gloves then drove to the cattle market arriving at the bonfire 6.10 p.m., just as the rain stopped. So many cars already here we have to walk through the mud a good way to the fire, which was very impressive, but not entertaining enough to keep the boys amused for 50 minutes till the fireworks start.
Along with the bonfire & fireworks, there is a small funfair, & over the past years the children have enjoyed little rides. Recently Josh had been asking to go on bigger rides. The kind that makes your stomach lurch. I may have enjoyed them when I was younger, but am such a kill joy now seeing no enjoyment in being thrown around like a sack of potatoes & made to feel sick. In fact, I’d rather pay £5, & stay with my feet firmly on the ground. It has nothing to do with my illness, because Julian feels exactly the same, so must be something to do with our age! But Josh says, he is a big boy now, & he likes the exciting rides!
Julian takes them over to the fair; returning 15 minutes later with prizes they had won….. 2 goldfish swimming around in plastic bags!
Meanwhile I was perching on the stick I purchased from a specialist disability shop for £27, but it was so painful to sit on, after a few minutes I opt to stand. I don’t know who designed it, but they have never tried sitting on it for more than 30 seconds; it has no padding in the seat, made from nasty hard plastic, which after a while causes discomfort to anyone’s spine.
The bonfire was raging away, burning all those wooden pallets, pieces of old timber. My eyes had been playing up a bit that week, which keeps giving me intermittent double vision & can make me feel quite disorientated. Standing on a cold night, watching flashing fireworks, was going to be quite an ordeal.
The crowd started to become restless, as the fireworks were very late. Children asking their parents over & over, ‘when will it start’ & a baby, next to us, started crying sending Josh into panic. So we moved away into a quieter place- which was pretty impossible with throngs of people.
At long long last the fireworks started & seemed far superior than previous years. We ‘ohhhhhed’ & ‘ahhhhhhhed’, in unison, at the marvels of exploding rockets, – reds, green, silver golds, that sometimes appear more like a laser show with 3D effects, than plain fireworks.
Once the display finished we rush back to the car, trying to get out of the carpark before the traffic jam, but with me in tow, moving quickly never easy; also taking into account juggling the swirling goldfish in the bags of water. I take short cuts over the grass, going in a straight line, rather than following the others around the paths. Once safely in the warm car we stop for a take away. The rest of the journey was a juggling trick keeping the fish afloat with my hands, & the curry from falling over with my feet.
The gold fish seemed a little confused with their new home, a long thin Roses sweet container, that 5 previously had held my spaghetti. But they were still alive & seemed glad to have met each other. Josh thought they were the bees’ knees. All in all, it went OK. I am glad to put my feet up, relax with a glass of wine.
The next day, I could hardly move my left leg! I was paying the consequences for standing up too long. The fish have survived the night, but by the afternoon we all felt they must be hungry by now! The only snack they had was 2 scotch porridge oats at 9 p.m. the previous night & that didn’t go down to well.
So we all piled in the car, having spent ages looking for our house keys, which eventually we find stuck in the lock of the front door! They had been there all night, an invitation to be burgled & murdered whilst we slept. Luckily we lived to tell the tale. Anyhow, we troop off to the garden centre, to buy some fish food & then get talked into purchasing a new tank, to replace the Roses jar, which can’t have much aeration in the depth of it. Total price, for winning two fish £3 & £12.50 food & tank! Let’s see how long they survive, before we either over feed them, or forget to feed them altogether.