A while ago I blogged about Johns obsessions with the S Boat and the Eye O Man Boat, also that he was going on a trip in September to the Eye O Man on that very boat.  Oh yes, he had also composed a song all about the boat, you may recall?

” Row row row your boat, gently down the Eye O Man….” and so on.

Anyway circumstances dictated that the Eye O Man trip was off….groan…. as the boat was not infact ‘THE’ boat that John thought it was. Hope you are keeping up!

Instead of the good old ‘Vomit Bucket’ aka The Isle of Man ferry, the current  vessel being used from Liverpool is the even more vomit inducing and bone shaking craft, the double hulled Sea Cat. I get sick just watching it from Meols prom with John on a Saturday afternoon! It bounces through the waves causing a massive wake as it travels at warp speed ….or maybe my nausea is induced by the delightful day trippers from Scally Land with their penchant for dangerous dogs that snarl and  poop everywhere while their equally dangerous owners snarl and litter our beautiful seaside town with food wrappers, discarded chip papers and empty beer cans….but I digress.

If  John was to go on the Sea Cat then he would be strapped into a seat and unable to explore the nooks and crannies of the ship which he loves to do. He would not be able to escape if he felt anxious or uneasy among the people around him, which would not be good for anyone. More importantly however, it would be much more difficult to throw your shoes overboard, so no fun at all then.

Originally the plan had been for John to go on the S Boat but as that only goes to Belfast and takes eight and a half hours, we decided maybe the four hour trip to the Isle of Man would be more suitable. John has spent the last three months in a fevered anticipation of the voyage. Any sudden changes to a plan can cause great anxiety to an autistic person, which is why routine and honesty is so important.

If you tell someone with autism that such and such is happening at a specific time and date, then barring acts of God, terrorism or a cock up with The isle of man Steam Packet Company’s ships, you do not let them down. There was only one thing for it…cue music to ‘Thunderbirds International Rescue’….  ( I always kinda fancied Scott….I know he was  a puppet but hey a girl can dream!)  THE ‘S BOAT’ TRIP WAS BACK ON!! all eight and a half hours of it there and eight and a half hours back.

It was booked for Tuesday September 10th departing at 10.00a.m. Arriving in Belfast at 6.30pm. John will have a four hour stop over and sail back at 10.00pm arriving back in Birkenhead at 6.30 .am. He will have his own cabin and several pairs of shoes….just in case.

To say that John was excited about this new plan would be like saying Hitler was a bit intolerant.

We have had weeks of head slapping, crotch grabbing, bouncing and yeehaaa-ing followed by “Johnelmo ‘S’ boat YESSSSSSS!” and “Johnelmo bed, jamas, seep on S boat yahoooo” then a countdown of just exactly how many sleeps it actually is until the’ Fantastic Voyage’.

On Friday when I collected John he was high as a kite and hooting at the top of his voice. “S Boat, Eye o Man, Johnelmo 12 more seeps, OK”.  He keeps saying Eye o Man because he wants to make sure that he is going to Belfast, this is his way of confirming that we know absolutely what the plan is. Easy once you get the hang of his quirks. ” No John, you are not going to the Eye O Man, you are going to Belfast on the S Boat” I said for what would be the first of several thousand times that weekend. John responded by leaping on me and licking my cheek in a very Cocker Spaniel kind of way. ” I love you too John” I said, preferring this to licking him in return.

We spent a fabulous weekend compiling lists of what he wanted to take with him which include: His video camera, his digital camera, his cassette recorder, plus a new one…I didn’t see that coming….new tapes for the cassette recorders, spare batteries for the cassette recorders, his two favourite talky toys plus a moonbeam lightshow for his cabin at night. Pause for breath…. a new 48″ plasma screen tv…er hang on a minute John IDFTS! John was quite put out when I said that was a definite no no.  Large laminated photo’s of his boyfriend, the bridges, the Eye O Man boat and Peter. That brought a lump to my throat, bless him, he wanted his Peehee to share his special day.

Bath time on Saturday evening is always great fun and very messy. To Johns delight Kelly was also around to join in the soapy madness and provoke him to soak mum even more  than usual. John decided to treat us both to a song that he had obviously been working on for some time, in honour of his forthcoming Fantastic Voyage.

Here goes….to the tune of  ‘Who ate all the pies’….don’t ask!!

“Oo eh all the ‘S’ Boat?

Oo eh  all the ‘S’ Boat?

You fa basset

You fa basset

Oo eh all the ‘S’ Boat”

Another  masterpiece I am sure you will agree!

On Sunday afternoon John’s dad called to pick him up , but before they left John wanted one final check through the list of things that he would need to take with him in what was now only “12 more seeps, mum dad yessss”.  I went through the list and I could see John mentally ticking everything off. Suddenly he started to shake his head “Terry, S boat, liss please mum” I thought maybe he was talking about the support workers who would be accompanying him so I reassured him ” Mike & Chad will be taking you John” thinking to myself that Terry must be a new member of the Nelsons Croft Team that I was yet to meet. I wrote Mike and Chad on the list. “No mum, Terry liss” insisted John who then ran off to rummage in his room while his dad & I looked at eachother and shrugged. In view of the fact that the whole round trip would be 17 hours long, across the notoriously choppy Irish Sea we hoped he remembered to pack his sea legs!

Eventually after much banging and sounds of furniture being moved John reappeared with a very crumpled laminated photo of a goat, his favourite goat called Terry. “Terry on S Boat please, yes ok” said John nodding furiously. “The photo, yes” I said to John ” Terry the goat is a definite no.” Johns face fell “Terry ‘S’ Boat pleeeease” he begged “Sorry John, but it’s not possible. No goats on the ‘S’ Boat” John thought for a moment “Pi ‘S’ Boat?” “Nope no Pigs either, sorry John but you are being daft now” Putting his face very close to mine he eyed me up and then with a quick slap of his head he announced ” Johnelmo daf” and fell about laughing. His dad and I joined in, his excitement was infectious.

I gave him a big hug, told him I loved him more than he loves the ‘S’ boat and waved him off to the yells of  “12 more seeps mum yesssssssss”

Brace yourself Belfast its now only 6 more sleeps!



  1. i had a thing for Aqua Marina in Stingray, if it helps 🙂 she was modelled on bridgitte bardot in my defence.
    another wonderful installment julie. xx

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