I write this alongside Joe. Joe has informed me that we must do some ‘evening work’. For the benefit of evening work novices, this involves me sitting and writing whilst Joe plays on his tablet next to me and pretends to be leading a meeting. I wish all meetings involved liberal typing into a tablet interspersed with the odd cartoon.
The day begun early for us. I was sat alongside Joe at 6.00. Joe had his tablet whilst I had my ipad. We both had a cup of tea. It was a great chance for me to watch some uninterrupted test match cricket. However as the England lower order nervously rebuilt the innings , the tension was somewhat obliterated by constant ‘Ben and Holly’ episodes played at ear piercing volume.
Fast forward eleven hours and Joe has been to a local care farm. Joe loves going to Little Gate Farm (www.littlegatecarefarm.co.uk) which is set up to support children and adults with learning difficulties. Like a lot of children with learning difficulties it can be pretty much impossible to tease out of him what he actually did that day. I imagine his ‘I washed a tiger’ was slightly wide of the mark.
Whatever Joe did there he certainly worked hard as he came home ready to eat anything that was remotely edible. This led to him enquiring about dinner at 3.30. We went to a local supermarket to get some bits where I was reminded about the way some some people view those with learning difficulties.
Upon arrival Joe was desperate to go to the car wash. For those of you who don’t know Joe, going to the car wash is akin to Christmas day. He loves it. However as we were in a rush my dirty car had to remain unwashed. Joe’s reaction was as expected. I believe you could describe it as a mix between devastation and frustration. As we entered the supermarket I was pushing a trolley whilst carrying a ten year old boy in my arms who was sobbing.
I received a look of disgust from an elderly lady and a tut for good measure whilst she looked at Joe and then me and then back to Joe. The look she gave me was as if I had spat on her shoe and stamped it in for good measure. I mustered my diplomatic smile as I made eye contact with her and went on my way.
Joe cheered up quickly afterwards and was soon back to his normal self (trying to sneak chocolates into the trolley when I wasn’t looking).
All thoughts of the car wash are a distant memory now that Joe settles into a hard session of ‘evening work’.