Tag Archives: beach

The Eclipse

20 Mar

I guess lots of people will be sharing their stories, so here is ours.

The weather at 7.30 this morning looked very promising  with sunshine and blue skies; however it’s not the best time to encourage me outside when I’m frantically trying to wake myself up with a cup of tea and get two sleepy children to get ready for school. By the time I dropped them off at five to nine the temperature had plummeted and the wind and rain were beating against the car windscreen. I had warned M exactly what an eclipse could be like in case it got very dark and she was scared, but she seemed content so I didn’t say too much. With an autistic child, it’s difficult to know just how to pitch some conversations but I thought she would be OK. Some daft notion made me slip their special eclipse glasses into their school bags “just in case.”

I came home and grabbed a coffee, then noticed that the sun was trying to break through again. I took my lenses and headed outside. The weather was indeed perking up.


I managed to pry L from her bed (poor girl is still totally exhausted and unwell) but she was less than impressed with the view through the glasses, unlike me who was thrilled that the sun was now a sliver of orange. Even though it was freezing I kept going back outside to have another look.


Obviously I didn’t try and capture the sun with my rubbish phone camera but I did take a few shots as the sky went some weird colours, although it doesn’t really look like it here.

Then I had the idea to ring the school and let them know that B and M had the special glasses in case it was possible to let them share. Turns out the Head Teacher was delighted and marshalled the kids outside two at a time for a glimpse. My two got instant popularity status for enabling this, although I suspect the PE teacher will have been less than impressed to have her class so rudely interrupted! This is my two who made their way into the weekly newsletter (photo shamelessly nicked from that)


I was quite underwhelmed with how dark it didn’t get, as I remember in 1999 and some time back when I was in primary school myself, it had been a lot more impressive. But then again, both those times I didn’t have funky specs so I could stare directly at the sun. In fact, having called my mum to check my memory wasn’t defective, she was able to tell me that my primary school had sent every child home with a piece of smoked glass (can you imagine the outcry if a school did that now?) and a note detailing how to watch the eclipse.

I carried on nipping out to check the progress of the moon across the sun, and lent my specs to a couple of passers-by who were astounded how different it looked through them. By then I was more interested in the beach and how it looked in the strange light – with the noise of the waves crashing on the shore I hadn’t noticed that all the birds had stopped singing (which apparently they had) but I love this picture.


Cue two happy excited children when they burst out of school at three o’clock today and according to the head, lots of other happy children who thought the whole thing was “amazing.” I’ve just been speaking on twitter to someone who said the head at their school had insisted all the blinds were to be closed and no-one would be watching due to health and safety. They didn’t even get to watch on TV like ours did. That made me very sad; education is not just about bums on seats and book learning, it should be about grabbing opportunities and making the most of the unexpected when it falls into your lap. This is one of those days when I am fervently grateful that even with little money and relatively few facilities, this tiny village school once again has shown me that it is the right place for my children.


Silent Sunday

13 Oct

Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

8 Sep

Silent Sunday

Working it through

27 Aug

So, we’ve struggled through six days of the new term.

It’s been a long six days. Until yesterday I was serenaded, and yes that is sarcasm, by yells cries and screaming from 7.30 am until I dropped her off just before 9 when magically all would be silent as the actuality of school loomed.

However, there had been no after-school meltdowns, so I was quietly confident that the new term had started well. M hasn’t really told me anything about any of the last six days, but neither has she ranted and raved. Until today.

I had no idea what caused the upset this afternoon but one very grouchy wee girl came home, and found fault with every single thing. I swear I was even breathing the wrong way. In a rare calm moment we had a cuddle and I asked if anything had upset her at school. She said no.

OK then, what next? I had made sure she had a snack and a big drink, as I find hunger or thirst amplifies any sensory behaviour. And then I left her to it as my eldest boy was returning to school this evening and I wanted to be sure everything was ready for the taxi.

I hate saying goodbye to my boy, and it is never easy after the long summer break; today I had tears in my eyes. M came to give me a hug. “He’ll be back on Friday Mumma, that’s not long, don’t be sad”. She was patting my back as she said this, just like I have done to her and her siblings on numerous occasions. So sweet.

Then she stated that she needed to go for a walk. “On the beach please”. I decided that dinner was fine as it was in the oven so off we went. No one else wanted to come so we headed off together.

M found a piece of slate and insisted on carrying it around with her. She wrote her name in the sand with it, made up stories about it, and lovingly washed it in the sea a few times. She does get quite attached to inanimate objects, especially stones, so a slate was a variation on a theme.



Towards the rock pools we found 2 sets of new steps leading up from the beach to the caravan park; I say new but I haven’t been up that end of the beach all summer so they might have been there a while. M decided we would “have an adventure” so up we went.


Apparently we were fighting our way through lions and tigers in a jungle until we got to the top. The slate had (I think) become a weapon at this point.

We headed along the beach path for a while back towards the house until M got concerned about the amount of tall grasses tickling her legs and we headed home via the caravan park and the road.


On the way back I thanked her for comforting me when I was upset earlier by R leaving. She answered that she used to get upset but “now I keep it in here” (pointing at her chest). I asked why. “So’s I can be happy, I don’t like being sad. And you shouldn’t be sad either Mumma, R is coming back and then you’ll see him.”

And then I got it. I am almost certain that there was nothing wrong at school today. She was upset because she knew R was leaving. And she didn’t cling onto his legs and wail and scream like she has done in the past – no, she “kept it inside” BUT she was still upset enough for the upset to seep out of her before he left.  I thought it was the walk in the fresh air that had settled her but now I think it was the act of waving him off; it became an absolute and not an abstract that was too difficult to process.  And she was, I think, trying to tell me that she was processing it all, working through her emotions.

But I wasn’t listening well enough. Not at first anyway.


Silent Sunday

14 Jul

Silent Sunday

A good week

7 Jun

We’ve had lots happening this week. DD1 had the final 2 exams of her school career, and now she is a free agent and off at her first music festival.

DD2 is now in her 5th year of secondary school and came home today happy with a Swiss roll she’d made in a cookery class (It was cooking or Higher Maths so she went for the practical option – smart girl) and we pronounced her a newly discovered baker 🙂 It was delicious.

DS1 completed and passed his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, a great achievement and made even better by the fact he had an awful start to the week at school and I am still trying to sort out what on earth some staff were thinking. More of that in another post. Here is a snap of my big lad setting off for his trip:



DS2, who has been struggling with anger issues for most of this year, completed the week with a full sheet of green stars for good behaviour during the school day, which made him so proud of himself, and rightly so. It’s not always easy being stuck between 2 siblings with additional needs and he is learning how to channel his feelings in a much more appropriate manner.

And M? Well, she had a cracking week in school – despite some serious reluctance in the mornings to even eat her breakfast – and no meltdowns have broken out. She has lost her temper plenty of times, and there have been tears, and extra cuddles have been needed, but it was a happy wee girl who talked me into another beach afternoon today. And why not? The sun was shining and it was hot; tomorrow it could be raining again. So we did some of this:


and even some of this:


Wishing each and every one of you a good weekend. 

Really listening

30 May

I always like to think I listen to my children, but sometimes I know I am distracted, or busy, or just (if I’m honest) not in the mood. But I do try hard to listen, and so this afternoon when M came and snuggled up on my lap for a cuddle and told me she didn’t want to go to Beavers I was surprised (she adores Beavers) but I listened and I questioned her.

She had some “excuses” Drama made me tired. It was really good though. I had a great day. I think I’m tired. Can we go down the beach?

Today has been a wonderful day weather-wise and we had seen some village children headed down to the beach. If I hadn’t been listening to M properly I might have thought “oh well she just fancies running about the beach instead of an early tea and off in the car  to build a den in the woods” but I was paying proper attention. By that, I mean not just hearing her words but everything M was doing. She had come to me, and curled up on top of me, which is what she does when she is nearing her limit of “enough”. She also told me she was tired, twice. M doesn’t get tired, well not that we or she ever notices, and she needs melatonin nightly to switch off. I mean, I know she is only wee and her body must get tired but she was telling me something wasn’t “right”. 

So, I listened. We had a lovely cuddle and I texted the Beaver leader to tell him we weren’t coming. I did a couple of important chores and then took M and B down the beach. By the time we got there it was almost deserted, which was ideal. No other children to make socialising a necessity, and don’t get me wrong, M loves to chat with her friends, but today I don’t think she would have coped.

We paddled, we dug, we wondered about the tiny sea creatures B found in the moat he filled from the sea, and M ran back and forth from bucket to dry sand to rock to water unhampered and happy for over an hour. Over and over again she filled the bucket with powdery dry sand, then ran up and down filling it in stages with dribbles of sea water, then mixing it with her hands and moulding it, before tipping it all out and starting again. In between times she would run like a sprinter down the sand and straight into the sea, each time splashing her shorts higher than the time before. Cold water has always been a sensory tool for M. She got filthy, and soaking wet, and it was exactly what she needed. I am so glad I took the time to really listen.Image






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