Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I was on my way out to pick up some antkiller. The bloke who was cutting the lawn at the house at the top of our drive had an English accent, we got talking. He was not the owner, but a professional lawncutter. It so happens that our lawnmower is still in MAFF quarantine for cleaning. So I asked him if he would come and cut our grass - it is currently such a wilderness that the boys can't play outside.

When I came back a couple of hours later, he had already been down to check out the garden. There he'd spotted a couple of hazards, that neither Mr C nor I had noticed: there were some bushes growing that would give my boys hives and rashes, if they were to brush up against them. He arranged with the handyman who is fitting a fence that the bushes would be cut down immediately - it was done before I returned. I was hugely grateful, and once again aware of how little I, we, know about our surroundings. The foreignness of it all hit me again. I know nothing about the foliage, nothing about the risks of the flora around us. If the boys had swelled up in sudden hives, would we have even known what had caused it?

We are so reliant on the kindness and insight of strangers right now, to protect us and our sons. I look at the whiteboard: there are now five meetings in the next few days. The headteacher. The local rep of a children's organisation offering childcare who may be able to arrange some funded hours for my middle son. The autism support woman, who does behavioural strategies. The developmental therapist. And a preliminary meeting with our new GP, to work out where the boys need to be referred. I hope they are all as switched-on and diligent and determined to safeguard us as the guy who mows the lawns.

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