John’s holiday finally arrived and not before time, he has been counting down the sleeps since firework night.
For some reason it always starts to rain as soon as we begin the monumental task of transferring the contents of his bedroom into the back of the car. John leapt into the front seat long before anything was packed in order to be ready to direct operations.
“Bas” shouted John as we put the bags in the boot. “Mobiye two” he added holding his thumb and little finger in the air just incase I wasn’t sure how many ‘Two’ was.
” Mobiles are in the toy box John” I replied wiping the rain out of my eyes and shaking my head like a spaniel as the water trickled into my ears.
‘Bloody weather’ I muttered under my breath as I shoved the toy box in the boot.
“Teevee, vi-eo, tapes” squealed John, bouncing up and down in the front seat making the rain cascade off the car boot and down the back of my neck.
“Aargh,” I yelled and gave Michael Flatley a run for his money by ‘River Dancing’ around the drive as the water made its way down between my shoulder blades, turned left at my kidneys and found its way into my pants. Oh joy.
John didn’t appreciate my dancing as it was interfering with the job in hand.
“Mummy stop, now, bas” he demanded.
“Mum teevee, vi-eo, tapes, Buzz Lightyear, ABC, Camma thee, iPa, iPo, moobeam, heyicoppa, Eh tyma” incase you are wondering, that last item is an egg timer, don’t ask!
He reeled off all of the things that should be stuffed into my little Golf while playing a drum solo on the dash board. Instead of hitting the cymbals he slapped his head and shouted ‘Oi Oi Ig’ at the top of his voice. John speak for Caernarfon.
Finally after 30 soggy noisy minutes, we were ready for the off.
“Byebye ouse” said John the happiest boy in the world.
I was sitting on some plastic bags so as not to wet the seat and my sopping hair clung to my face. Suddenly from somewhere in the boot Buzz Lightyear announced that he was going ‘To infinity and beyond’. Sorry to disappoint you Buzz my old mate but we are going to Oi Oi Ig.
Things could only get better.
John’s current ‘Thing’ is to drive every where with the window down so he can hear the sound of the tyres on the road. He leans his head half out like an Alsatian. This causes other drivers to come to the conclusion that he is either drunk or about to throw up, or both. It’s quite amusing to tease them on the motorway by overtaking them very slowly, they panic and immediately put their wipers on just incase they get a windscreen full of sick. Silly I know but it does make for a bit of added fun along the way.
As we cruised towards Wales the draught from the open window dried my hair in the style of Ken Dodd. Lovely.
John kept putting his fingers into it saying “Messee” and sticking his tongue out to show his disapproval.
Cheers for that Son.
We were met in Caernarfon by blazing sunshine, the ‘ Bridge man’ and ‘The Queen of The Sea’ . Contrary to how she might sound ‘The Queen of the Sea’ is the pleasure boat which in exchange for six quid will take you up and down the Menai Straites for forty minutes.
John almost slapped himself unconscious with delight, all of his favourite things in one go.
He leapt out of the car and ran to the harbour wall where he proceeded to screech like a banshee, jumping up and down waving his arms and slapping his head and thighs in turn.
The noise was deafening, he has never made this much noise in his life and that is saying something. Small children and dogs ran for cover as this six foot yelling machine proceeded to jump and twirl as if possessed.
People quickly started to leave when they realised that John was here to stay. I walked over to him to quieten him down, as I did so I noticed some people were giving me strange looks but assumed it was their reaction to all the noise and strange activity coming from John.
It was only later when I heard a rumour that a Ken Dodd tribute act was performing in the harbour that it all became clear.
The week was spent doing all of the things that John loves. We watched the bridge swing every day, sometimes John stayed on it while it was swinging. He loves to do this and videod it with his 3 video cameras. Better to be safe than sorry!
The Bridge man used the opportunity to share with me his recent encounters, first was with a rubber glove and the second with a camera attached to the end of a very long thin tube. He explained that he was having a few problems with his prostate, but to be honest I’d already guessed as much.
He was able to describe both procedures in such incredible detail that I couldn’t look a sausage in the face for the rest of the holiday.
We spent many very hot hours stood on the little platform of the Welsh Highland Railway. The steam engine puffs in and out of the station two or three times a day, proudly pulling its beautifully painted coaches packed full of enthusiasts of all ages and nationalities.
John loves the train and over the years we have got to know all the staff, they are endlessly patient with John for which I am so grateful. He would wander into the little station shop/ticket office in between trains, plonk himself down anywhere with a flat surface, usually demolishing a neat stack of books, jigsaws and the like and watch the DVDs of steam train journeys playing on a big screen. Needless to say he came home with two dvd’s we had paid for and several pencils and rubbers which he pinched without me noticing.
Because of his natural exuberance and general happy, slappy, noisy demeanour, people getting on and off the train often stop to watch him. They don’t mean to stare, I must admit I would too. John looks so odd at times, mainly due to the amount and diversity of ‘stuff’ he always has with him.
One afternoon he was waiting for the train wearing his big headphones plugged into a radio cassette recorder through which he listens to sounds he has recorded onto a 90 minute tape. (There are usually a variety of washing machine noises, songs, snippets from the radio, bits of conversations and toilets flushing.) In addition to this he had an iPad, two mobiles and his three video cameras. The mobiles are the little round, wind up musical parts of a baby’s cot mobile and they have a plastic hook at one end. John hangs one from his bottom lip and tucks the other under his chin. The 3 video cameras are set precisely at the best angles for filming the entire train and for tripping up the passengers as they try to negotiate a path through John’s various bits and bobs. No wonder people stare, it has to be said though that it’s always in good spirits.
When the train arrived it was the usual mix of locals, tourists, the elderly, the bewildered and the eccentric. Suddenly they all surged forward, I realised that I couldn’t see John, I waved at John’s dad who was caught up in the surge and was fighting to stay on his feet. “Have you got John?” I squeaked as a large lady stood on my foot. He shook his head and craned his neck to look over the crowd. He shook it again. I bulldozed my way through in immediate panic, shouting ‘John’ at the top of my voice and elbowing everyone out of the way.
Then I heard an unmistakable voice shouting above the excited babble of the passengers “Johnelmo yes yes yes.”
John was at the end of the platform standing next to a wonderfully flamboyant gentleman who was sporting a beautiful floral hat and matching cravat. His boyfriend was equally colourful in a cornflower blue jacket and cream trousers. The best dressed passengers by far. Most are dressed in loud shorts, beanie hats or voluminous skirts, and that’s just the men!
Anyway I digress……He was trying to take a picture of his boyfriend but John was refusing to get out of the way, pointing to himself and letting them know that Johnelmo wanted his photo taken too.
They were from Germany and were so good with John. They said they loved his name ‘Johnelmo’. They thought his assortment of cameras, mobiles etc were hilarious and kept asking him to wind up the mobiles so they could hum Brahms Lullaby. We realised from all the tutting noises and clicking of false teeth that we were creating a traffic jam on the platform so sadly we had to say goodbye. They shook his hand and John licked their cheeks. They roared laughing and we all hugged.
Such a lovely encounter.
The holiday was a great success, mainly because we only lost John twice more.
We spent half an hour one morning looking around the cottage and surrounding areas. Convinced he had fallen in the stream that runs along side the garden and been swept away. I wailed and rung my hands as I paddled up and down. All very dramatic as it’s only ankle deep and John at 6ft tall and 18 stone would be easy to spot, but I didn’t think about that in my panic.
I eventually found him sitting in his shower with the door closed playing happily on his ipad and eating a loaf of bread.
The second time was when he and I went to ‘The Mast’ while his dad watched the World Cup.
The mast is a huge 1,000 ft TV/ Telecommunication mast thingymebob which is also 1,000ft up in the hills. He loves it and we often go and worship it, gossip with the sheep and if we are really unlucky Gwillam the septic shepherd shows up.
Since last year a family of Pylons have moved in and stand like huge silent giants pointing the way to the mast, should you somehow fail to spot it. Now John has loved Pylons since he was a small boy, so to have them so close to the mast was almost too exciting for words.
He pointed at them with both arms stretched out, then began spinning wildly and giggling helplessly. He was so happy it was a joy to see.
I took pictures on my phone, he took pictures on his ipad and videod them all. He then taped me singing Frosty The Snowman and Santa Baby on his radio cassette before wandering off to chat to some sheep. He was in Welsh heaven.
It’s always windy up in the hills so I sat in the car with the door open watching him telling the sheep about his holiday adventures. They seemed to enjoy his stories and I could hear them agreeing with him on several points.
My text tone went off and I took my eyes off him and the sheep for a moment. That’s all it takes.
When I looked up John was nowhere in sight and the sheep were just standing there looking away pretending they couldn’t see me. If they knew where he was they weren’t going to let on.
I shouted John’s name repeatedly but my voice carried away on the wind. I stumbled up the track but couldn’t see him, I stumbled back down to the sheep but he wasn’t there and they still wouldn’t make eye contact with me.
I checked the surrounding empty fields but he was nowhere in sight. I shouted again, nothing. I went further back up the track towards the mast risking altitude sickness and the sceptic Shepherd but there was no sign of John.
Finally I knew I had to call John’s dad and explain that somehow, somewhere in this desolate place I had mislaid our son. I started to walk back and as I did so I saw a movement, it was John having a cheeky wee behind the car.
I could hear the sheep laughing at me ‘ Mehehehehehe’