Size 12s Anyone?

Well, the last week has been a very interesting one. It began with a wonderful trip with Mrs Bob to Lands End as mentioned in my blog posts “The Edge of the Universe” and “Smelling the Roses”. Then on Thursday, it was back to the grindstone of work for one day.

Friday was a day off and a chance to catch up on my personal reading as opposed to my reading for review purposes. I love reading real paper comics or books. Electronic comics are ok but I love a proper graphic novel. The feel and smell of a real book is something that a kindle can never replace. I have about 500 graphic novels (mainly Batman) and I can always pick one up and start reading it again, unlike movies which I can only really watch once. I also have about four that I haven’t finished yet. So I picked up Batman Eternal vol 3 and just chilled out in front of the fire on my big bean bag – it was total bliss.

Saturday was a very busy day at work –  I don’t mind it being busy because it means that time flies and before I know it, it’s time to clock out and walk home. The downside is that it takes so much out of me both physically and emotionally, and by the time I have finished I’m very glad of the journey back home…  it’s a welcome break from conversations, eye contact, etc. It’s also a chance for me to be me and recharge my batteries.  Then, by the time I get home and sit down for my evening meal. I’m feeling able to hold some kind of conversation with Mrs Bob.

Sunday is my lie-in morning where I get to have a coffee and my favourite Sunday breakfast, (crumpets and cheese before you ask) in bed before I go to my local archery club for my weekly session. I’m not brilliant at it, but I love to shoot and find it very relaxing and therapeutic. That, as boring and humdrum as it sounds, is a week in my shoes. You may learn a little more about me by walking in them.

Stay Safe X

One of Us?


Have you ever wondered if you might be on the Autism Spectrum somewhere?

How do you go about finding out more about whether you might be before you make an appointment with your GP? Well, I was diagnosed very late in life after Mrs Bob suggested that I might be on the spectrum. I found these sites very useful in helping me to find out, before I bothered my doctor to try to get a referral to the local autism team. I might add that this took nearly two years from referral to assessment, because the assessment is around 8 hours long, split over 2 days.  5.5 one day, and 2.5 the next – mine had three clinicians for each session!

So my message is… please be patient.

The first is the Autism Quotient test Autism Quotient Test

The second is a social intelligence test Social Intelligence Test

Both of these are extremely good but you have to be totally honest on them to get an accurate reading.

FYI my score on the AQ test is 44,

Stay Safe X

Smelling the Roses

I must say that it was nice to have a few days away from everything and just relax with Mrs Bob and enjoy the fresh air, sea view, beautiful scenery, etc. The reality is that upon my return home I had a mountain of work to catch up on. I say work, but it’s really my hobby. I read, review and sometimes promote new indie comic books and Kickstarter projects for a website. This is me utilising my narrow field of focus, plus I get to read lots of new comics for free which is great.

Typical, though, that while I was away for two days, my emails had exploded with at least ten projects needing to be looked at from various publishers. This is unusual, as I might get two submissions a month normally, so this was a huge increase in work. So I did the only thing I could do… I put on the latest episodes of The Walking Dead and Arrow – both shows I like, but that Mrs Bob isn’t keen on – and started reading some of the submissions (free comics) and writing the basics of a review so that Mrs Bob could proofread it for spelling, etc. (I’m Dyslexic as well as an Aspie).

This may not sound like work or pressure to most people and I guess it’s not really. It’s just my brain and its Aspie firmware that drives me to push myself so hard and not let up. It was at this point that I really valued my time away, even though it was just a night away in a beautiful place with the woman I love and who tolerates so much. It’s the little things that you have to take the time to do and appreciate. We become so wrapped up in what’s happening around us with work, family, friends, social media, etc.  I’m aware of the irony of this – that we often forget to just stop the world for a minute, appreciate the beautiful things in our lives and smell the flowers.

Stay Safe X


Edge of the Universe

Today has been a very long and tiring day. It began at 0300hrs with our housemate, Dog, deciding to wake us up by jumping on the sleeping form of Mrs Bob, causing her to wake with a start, and jar her already sore back. This caused her to have a frank discussion with Dog about what is and is not an acceptable time to come in, and how to behave if it happened again. She is very soft on him, though, so I’m not sure he took any notice at all…. In his defence, Dog is only a kitten and as such doesn’t really understand English very well. So with that addressed, we all tried to go back to sleep as we had a long, wet journey ahead of us in the morning.

This morning we did the usual things…  i.e. feeding Dog, making drinks, breakfast etc. With all the regular jobs done, Mrs Bob and I then set about getting ready to depart from our little bit of Devon and make the trip further down south to deepest, darkest Cornwall. This involved checking the roads, as we had just experienced heavy flooding in the south west, and packing which, due to my wife’s amazing organisational skills, was really just a case of taking everything off the spare bed and putting it into the suitcase, then loading it all in my car,

With the car loaded and sat nav primed I locked up the house and Dog decided to come out and wave us off  with a little bit of complaining about the fact he couldn’t find  his toy squirrel.  He didn’t realise we wouldn’t be back til the next day, but came to watch us drive away. Then off we trotted to the end of the world… well…. England!  It was an interesting drive for two and a half hours in partially lashing rain and partially brilliant sunshine. We finally arrived at the hotel in Sennen, checked in, put our bags in the room and started our adventure.

First, a stop just a mile down the road was the (world) famous tourist trap – sorry – attraction … Lands End, the most southerly point in mainland England. After paying a small ransom to park in the very wet and empty car park, we wandered around the ghostly-quiet tourist centre, I only really wanted to see the famous signpost and get a photograph of it. Little did I know that you can’t just take a photo of it – you have to pay £18 for the privilege!  The upside was their tourist walk-through was free and had a replica signpost with no fee,  so I got my picture.

Then it was off towards Penzance where sadly I spotted no pirates but kept going towards the village of Marazion to see another of Cornwall’s tourist attractions – St Michaels Mount. We couldn’t go across to it, as it was too late, but we got some more great photographic memories for the family album. We decided on the way back that we were feeling peckish as we hadn’t eaten all day, and stopped at the local Sainsburys supermarket for a coffee and a quick bite. It may not be a Michelin star restaurant, but when you’re sat on a balcony with a beautiful sea view and the woman you love, what more can you ask for?

Back to the hotel to relax and unwind for a couple of hours before heading down to the dining room for a lovely candlelit evening meal in a very intimate dining room with Mrs Bob. We then retired upstairs with a brandy to crash out on the super kingsize bed and listen to waves crashing against the shore. Did I mention the hotel is literally on the seafront?  There is a small road between us and the beach , where there are rock pools dotted amongst the sand and the waves crash. Jealous?

Stay Safe X

Stage Fright

This week has been a very slow week in the Christian household really with nothing notable happening, although we have had lots of cuddles and visits from our strange furry housemate, Dog. He’s getting bigger (apparently) and almost starting to become like a real cat – also, he is becoming like my very own furry alarm clock which is set for between seven and eight am every day but alas there is no snooze button.

I could have spent the time writing about the stress of getting all the Christmas shopping sorted but thanks to the ever-resourceful Mrs Bob, without whom I don’t honestly know where I would be, all our shopping is already done, wrapped and delivered to Santa.

So while it’s quiet, Mrs Bob and I have decided to take a little mini holiday to the bottom of the UK. Yes, that’s right we are going to Lands End. I have never been and Mrs Bob decided that I needed to pay it a visit, so stay tuned for lots of photos etc from our road trip soon. There is a down side to this great road trip to Cornwall, as it also coincides with a new monthly poetry event. I’m actually quite glad I have an excuse to miss the first one, because as an Aspie I’m very socially awkward and extremely shy.  But as an alleged poet, I’m curious about going to it, as it’s an open mic night so I can just sit and watch, and try to understand what this poetry malarkey is all about. Maybe I could also get some ideas for future pieces.

Stay safe x



To be, Obituary

On Monday night I was having a really good conversation with someone I consider to be a very good friend – we are able to talk freely about most subjects. My friend knows all about my, shall we say, neuro-diversity and has extensive experience within the subject. Then I mentioned a very poignant and hypothetical set of questions that cover a subject that we all feel uncomfortable with discussing or facing and that’s our own mortality. I felt this was something worth sharing with you.

If you were to pass away tomorrow how would people know you had died? This raised an interesting issue with today’s society and how we communicate with people we love. In the older and sometimes simpler times it could have taken a while before all your family, friends, associates, etc, all received the news of your demise. This was due to the fact that someone would have to ring everyone to let them know you had passed away. Then there was also the advert placed in the local newspaper’s obituaries. This last one is pretry obsolete in today’s modern society, but we still do it –  maybe out of duty or respect, who knows. Now all it  takes is one person to be informed, and for that person to put up a status on social media and every man and his cat knows the news instantly. I’m sorry to sound very old fashioned, but I would prefer the news of my passing to be shared with the dignity and decorum that such news deserves.

Who would attend your funeral? This is a much simpler question to answer, compared to the previous one. I would like to think that it would be made up of a mixture of my remaining family members, my close friends and anyone else who really knew me. My remaining family would probably be Mrs Bob, my siblings, children and maybe a further generation of the Christian family (if I’m lucky). Family, I’m sure, would make the long journey – maybe out of a sense of duty more than than love. Close friends – well, if I’m honest I only have a few of these and I doubt they would travel all the way to Devon for my farewell. If I’m honest, I would be honoured for anyone to make the trip to say goodbye…

Stay Safe X

The Party Predicament


Its been a long day today even thought I’ve spent the majority of it not doing much at all,  I took a slow walk into the village this morning as it was nice (I’m making the most of it) to sort some post, banking etc and get some supplies from the local shop.  It’s times like this that I appreciate having the place to ourselves now the tourists have gone home.  Also, as I have said many times before, it’s my favourite time of the year – it’s (usually) dry, the leaves have changed to a glorious golden colour, and the nights are shorter and often spent relaxing round the fire with Mrs Bob.

When I returned home, Mrs Bob had started cooking some brunch, so there was a mixture of wondrous smells emanating from the kitchen and throughout the downstairs of the house.  This took me back to Saturdays at my grandparents house when I would walk back with my grandfather from chapel and grandma would have started cooking some lunch for us. I’m guessing that the smell of food had wafted through the cat flap as Dog (our adopted cat) decided he wanted to take a break from chasing leaves up and down the cul-de-sac and join us for a spot of brunch.

Once all of us were feeling somewhat tired (good food does that) we decided that we would retire upstairs for a lie-down, and where I could stream some television or a movie while we relaxed before we had to get ready for the long evening ahead. Mrs Bob and Dog decided that relaxing was far too stimulating and went to sleep, leaving me in charge of the remotes (with great power comes great irresponsibility) so I decided to watch a (erm….) good horror film. My favourites are based on true stories, and this was no exception, being based on the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders.

Then came the part of the day I had been dreading all week – a party….. now I can hear you NTs making comments at the screen such as “I love a party” and “What’s wrong with you.”. Well let’s start at the very beginning shall we (usually the best idea) Firstly, there is choosing an outfit for the party and I should point out that I don’t do or understand the term ‘smart-casual’. The idea of shoes and a shirt worn with jeans is very alien to me – it just doesn’t go; you can’t wear a suit as it’s too formal, which is a shame as a suit with a nice tie or bow-tie is brilliant. Men, you can’t tell me you don’t get all James Bond or Bruce Wayne while wearing a suit. So I decided to settle on a pair of jeans, one of my best nerdy belt buckles (I’m a regular Howard Wolowitz) and a new smart-looking BvS t-shirt with my best skate shoes and a hat.

Then came the next challenge: driving there (106 mile round trip) in the dark with Mrs Bob on navigation duties.  I don’t like driving in the dark, and Mrs Bob was suffering from a bad back. I should point out that the only person I knew at this party was Mrs Bob, so it was a scary thought even walking in there, and although I was aware of her friend whose party it was, I hadn’t ever spoken to her. Fortunately for me, the birthday girl has experience of ASD individuals and was aware of my aspieness, which meant she didn’t do the usual NT thing of trying to touch me. She just smiled and waved hello, saving her hugs for Mrs Bob. I really appreciated that

The other thing with parties is that I’m at a huge disadvantage compared to NTs in the same position as me. They can read a number of things including (but not limited to) facial expressions, micro expressions, vocal tones and body language whereas I can’t. Also, loud music plus lots of people talking makes it impossible for me to concentrate on things and if I should manage to talk to a stranger, I come across as shifty or rude due to my lack of eye contact and whatever I might come out with. I managed to stutter a few words out to the birthday girl and surprisingly didn’t make too much of an ass of myself.

We only stayed a very short time, as Mrs Bob was in so much pain with her back, and I got us back home in one piece so I’ll take that as a win.

Stay Safe x

The Train Wreck Hypothesis

It’s funny how things affect people like us (people of the Autism spectrum) as opposed to a neurotypical brain. I can’t speak for everyone with HFA (higher functioning autism) or Asperger’s Syndrome because, as I said before,it’s a spectrum and we are all different. To quote Dr Stephen Shore “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,”

I had a telephone conversation on Wednesday night, which brought up a very personal subject from my childhood that I’ve struggled to cope with for quite a number of years (I’m in my 40’s) and only told this person about it maybe 7 years ago. I have fortunately over the last few years, with the help, love and support of my wife and rock, Mrs Bob, and lots of months of  therapy, managed to get to a place where the past no longer haunts my present and I could really start to move forward with life. Alongside that, it’s only been the last 3 years that I have (again, thanks to Mrs Bob who first suspected it) had a diagnosis of Asperger’s. I had been passed around with various mental health diagnoses and I must admit that when I got diagnosed, my eyes leaked (like crying without the emotion) and I felt free – like everything I had struggled to understand and reason with finally made sense. I’m sorry, I digress.  The phone call left me feeling very off kilter, and I struggled all of that evening and the next day to get a handle on things.

It was only last night, when I was having a very difficult tI’ve, that it really started to hit me.  I say difficult but I was reading people and situations wrong –  I asked a friend if they wanted a drink, he said what he wanted, followed by “only joking”. I really want to explain when they said did I not get that they were joking, that in order to get a joke I have to be able to read facial expressions, body language and verbal queues (all of which I struggle with) or maybe the joke wasn’t funny.

I continued to misread other people and started stimming (self-stimulatory behaviour, in my case, rubbing fingers together rapidly), is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects, and is prevalent in people with autistic spectrum disorders.) Fortunately for me it’s just a twitching finger so not very noticeable to the public. This then lead onto what I can only describe as a meltdown. I began to feel almost like I was on auto-pilot.. I was there in my body but had no feeling – almost like watching a character in one of my video games. This then led onto a very intense feeling of anxiety and becoming very aware of my breathing. I began to stutter and it all began to snowball rapidly. This is not good when you aren’t at home. I somehow got hone but I don’t remember much.

When I got home it all spilled over – I couldn’t put things together in my head, I was still stuttering and my breathing was still a big problem. It was only when I talked with Mrs Bob and was able to work through the feelings and anxiety with her. It was all down to the phone call the previous evening and that terrible comment.  It took several hours, into the early hours of the morning, to get me back near an even keel.

You see ,a neurotypical person may shout, cry, get angry etc at the time of the upsetting event, whereas my Aspie brain for all it’s amazing skills and processing power can’t handle the emotional response as quickly. This means that up to a day later, after having a milder reaction for that time, my head goes “that stuff from the other day?  Here’s the emotional response”. But unlike an NT brain, when the response is delivered, it’s almost like a freight train hitting a smart car – leaving nothing but pieces strewn across the landscape inside my cranium. I’m still sorting through it all now, almost two days later.

So spare a thought for us on the spectrum. We may be smart, but when it comes to this emotional stuff, it’s like you trying to understand eleven dimensional string theory.

Stay Safe X

The Routine Paradigm

I’ve had four days off work this week and it’s been equally a blessing and a curse for me – yes, I have had four days to get things done, to really crack on with all those little projects around the house that I’ve been meaning to attend to, or that Mrs Bob has wanted doing. Also, I could get through some of the many movies that I’ve been meaning to watch, the pile of VHS tapes (kids, google it) has really began to grow bigger week by week. Plus there is my other project which needed some attention.  I say project, but when you take your NFF (Narrow Field of Focus) and turn it into something that means you get free stuff, free tickets and meet your nerdy heroes (and they remember you) then it’s more of a passion.

The down side to having four days off work Is that three of those days were days that I would normally be working. This means that for three days my routine has been completely messed about, which as a result has shot my body clock  to hell as well. Like most people on the autism spectrum, I need certain routines during the day, week etc. Every day has a certain routine to it and this holiday means that when I’m supposed to be working I’m sat at home and finding myself confused as to what day it is. Again, this is down to my routines not being there.

This has lead to a number of problems: confusion, stress, boredom, grumpiness, etc, and as a result I have found that I’ve had a bad headache for the past four days. I’m not sure if this is just down to being bunged up with a cold-type virus or if it’s down to the fact that I’ve been a little stressy over the lack of order in my life for the last few days.

This may sound very strange to most of you but I’m actually missing being at work (well my routine). This is something I never thought I’d hear myself say (or type)  because I never really realised how much changes to my daily routines could or would have impacted on my life. It’s only when you stop doing something that you realise you miss it.

Stay Safe X


Wine and Whine

I have had a somewhat mixed weekend. It started with a nice, very relaxing day off with Mrs Bob and I decided to take her out to one of my favourite places in the village for some breakfast; this was my way of spending some quality time with my long-suffering wife (as the wife of an Aspie she puts up with a lot) with the added bonus that I love their omelettes and they do a mean cinnamon latte. We sat, ate and chatted about the most inane and mundane things, but when you’re with the person you love, they could take the longest book in the known universe, replace every word with ‘salmon’ and read it in a dulcet monotone voice and it would still be an interesting and loving conversation.

We then carried the conversation on as we walked back through the village to our home, enjoying the changing weather as it is becoming more autumnal with every day that passes. When we got home our house guest, Dog, was waiting for us asleep on Mrs Bob’s chair. This made it a perfect time to catch up on all the shows we watch like, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Lucifer, etc and spend some nice family time together.

Later on, I was meeting my best friend, for a very long overdue catch up. I say long overdue as we last caught up about a month ago and even though we keep in touch via (not so) social media, nothing beats a good old face to face conversation.

I drove over and picked her up from her house and drove into the nearby town to find a nice bar to have a wine and a gossip about work, career, love life etc.

We found that her favourite place was closed for a private party so we decided to chose a suitable substitute and grabbed a couple of chairs at what turned out to be a reserved table – how embarrassing! We found another table, though,and had a great gossip about work, her great new businesses, our love lives – hell pretty much everything and anything except string theory.  We left just in time, it would seem, as a gentleman who was the evening’s entertainment had come in with a Spanish guitar and began to play right behind where we had been sitting.

I dropped my bestie off at hers and began the drive home. As I drove down the country lanes in the dark, I was treated to various fireworks displays from the various farmers, pubs and villages along the way home. I arrived home to be greeted by Mrs Bob and a large Chinese, candle-lit bubble bath and podcast. I then laid on the bed and caught up with some science and nature based television, cuddling up with Mrs Bob and Dog. The perfect end to a lovely day…

Stay Safe X