The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Flowers for my bro
Categories: blogging mums


My brother came over for afternoon tea today. I’m incredibly proud of him. He is an Austistic adult who lives in his own house. They call it assisted living. I call it a miracle. He plays bongo and drums and adores music. He’s a trooper to the last and deserves praise, even though he does have a penchant for the X-Factor and Corrie. He’s had an incredible life journey and growing up with him has been one of the biggest educations of my life. He’s charming, articulate, engaging and never has a bad word to say about anyone. He has a great bond with Miniminx and I’m very moved that her relationship with him is so instinctive – it’s an extraordinary thing to observe and I see it as a gift. She loves having a chat with him on the phone has created a strong bond with him, one that’s beyond many adults in fact.

So today, he arrives, the house is a mess but I know he won’t notice, but I’ve prepared his favourite foods and he’s looking forward to just hanging out with his nearest and dearest – he always gets a great audience on his monthly visits to town.

Rat-tat-tat goes the door knocker, he’s a bit late which is unusual. Well about two minutes late. We’re all assembled and gossiping, as all good girls do.
I open the door, squealing my hello and he cracks his smile and giggles as he gingerly finds his footing over the step.
‘You look well’ he says, smiling even more, I laugh because I know he can’t even see me but recognises me from my sounds.
‘So great to see you. How are you? We’ve got a full house’
‘I’m very well thanks. Hello, hello, hello!’ he smiles and laughs and cranes his neck to sense the voices in the room, a flicker of recognition passes across his face as he works through his mental checklist of people.
‘Hello, hello, how are you – hello!’ says everyone else.

Tap, tappity tap (that’s the white stick he brandishes), he’s guided through the room to a cushioned sofa but not by me, but Miniminx, who’s about two feet shorter then he is but adept at helping him navigate through the muddle. He surveys the room – more with eyes than ears – he always pretends to see, we always let on that he can, and he can, if only a teensy-tiny bit, it’s still encouraged.

Serving him a plate of tiny sandwiches, (no crust, lots and lots of cucumber and a scrape of tuna mayo) I ask him if he wants some Schleor.
‘Yes, please, that would be lovely.’
Merely a glug later he says;
‘That slurp is lovely.’ We all giggle. He snickers.

Me, my daughter, my sister, my niece and he, enjoy the warm late Autumn afternoon. We sit outside and enjoy the sunshine which is golden and enhanced by the brightened reds and limes of soon to fall leaves. The afternoon has a peculiar magic, but life always does when he’s around – he’s a lynchpin and a gregarious raconteur.

Personally, I have one main ambition for the day. I’m not going to get side tracked.

‘Ok, ok everyone – it’s time for the Winter pot’ I say as I don my gardening gloves and grab the heather and pansies I’ve bought that day. ‘Come on bro, this one’s for you, we’ve picked some stuff out and you’re going to love it!’

I grab my power drill to make drainage holes in an old Ikea waste bin. It’s quite a sight to behold, but it’s more the sound of the drill on metal for some. It’s not unpleasant but gets a bit cranky as the wireless drill loses power. Time to recharge the blasted thing. Then I finish it and start emptying in the peat. It’s time to build my Brother a Winter pot. It’s a new found tradition.

‘Can you see this?’ I ask him as I grab a pansy from the plastic nursery pot and draw it close to his face. Not too close but enough.
‘Yes, I think so.’
‘What colour do you think it is?’
‘Ermmm…ummm’ He’s squinting, trying hard but I can tell he’s grappling with the image, no matter how faint, and trying to make it work.
‘YES!! It’s blue!’ I’m amazed. He can just make out the pink heather and one other flower. I’m overjoyed his blindness is not absolute.

My Brother doesn’t want for much, he has an incredbily Zen-like existentence devoid of angst and a million miles away from the urban treadmill. He has his music and TV and he has company where he lives and sees us all regularly, talks to us all a lot. This Summer I gave him two flower pots to take home for his garden; the flashing red of Geranium and the near royal blue of Lobelia chosen purely for the brigh colours which I hoped he could enjoy, if only slightly, through impaired vision. He did, and he religiously watered them every evening. It’s the tiniest of gestures, but I know that he will smile and squint and care for his new Winter flowers, and in his own way realise that it’s my own small way of looking after him by adding another dimension to his life through colour, albeit limited.

I still have to keep reassuring him that he didn’t kill the Lobelia and they just die off. Gawd help us if the pansies don’t last the frost!

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1 Comment to “Flowers for my bro”

  1. Your brother sounds wonderful – and an inspiration. Also, he likes flowers, which is always a winner in my book.

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