Family On The Hill

Posted on
family on the hill

The announcer makes a small acknowledgement to the hundreds of people in attendance at the fireworks display to highlight our presence “hello to the cheapskates on the hill”

Fair comment?

We have a great local fireworks display. I think it sells out every year, the mulled wine is brewing, with beer on tap for the adults, sweet shops for the kids and lots of fantastic bright flashing toys you come to expect at these events. The fireworks are amazing and the bonfire is enormous, what is there not to enjoy?

Looking at it another way, it is a sensory bonanza! Unfortunately, sensory overload for Bojangles. That’s right, due to Bojangles having quite profound autism (for some reason I am trying to avoid the word severe, as it is often in the eyes of the beholder and labels don’t always help, but he does face severe challenges coping with everyday life and requires 24hr care), such an event is almost impossible for our family to attend and certainly to enjoy.

We don’t wish his siblings to avoid such occasions, as they are enjoyable and we want them to be able to participate and enjoy, so one of us takes them to a similar event the week before.

Now, in slight contradiction, it has to be said Bojangles loves fireworks. It appears, almost in the way, Vicki (mum) might enjoy a horror film. Whereby, it’s difficult to watch and scary, but strangely fascinating and enjoyable at the same time. There is pleasure and a mild horror at the same time. Bojangles bounces and flaps his arms in rapid motion and shouts unintelligible noises, with volume set at MAX. We know there is pleasurable excitement there and so we try our very best to find a solution.

However, all the other ingredients mentioned above are simply too much for him to process. So yes, we are the family on the hill and we would love to join you, but unfortunately can’t.

We all have our story and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge at times. Taking time to consider someone else’s view takes time and effort, but ultimately, might lead to a greater reward, understanding!

Also, it has to be said, if people can’t afford it, should we really be passing judgment so casually? The parents have found a solution within their means to please their children. If you don’t like it look the other way.

There isn’t an area designated for people in our situation (we wish there were), so, announcer, see you next year. Sadly, for you, we are not easily deterred! We fight these mini battles everyday. Parents. Autism. Life!

Thanks for reading.


Co-Founder at Treezy

You can keep up to date with all our blog posts here:

NEXT UP: Local Recommendations For Places To Visit In Kent

Pumpkin Humble Pie

Posted on
pumpkin humble pie

So what could be better than a bit of pumpkin picking with the family. Well, it turns out, quite a lot!

Venturing out to public places with our son with autism (I will affectionately call him Bojangles from the song Mr. Bojangles, as he loves all things musical) and his siblings can always be a challenge. Sometimes you win and sometimes you just want to run and hide.

Our recent visit to a cold, damp field turned out to be a run and hide day (almost). Bojangles was already a little anxious before we left and so we didn’t know what to expect. There were quite a few people there, which probably created a bit of tension in Bojangles and both parents.

Bojangles vocal stimming tends to match the volume of his siblings, in the sense that if the baby or toddler start crying or falling out, he will find a way to match it and then raise it tenfold.

It transpired Bojangles found the whole experience overwhelming and the decibels went through the roof.

Vicki (Mum) decided to go for a walk with Bojangles to calm him down and leave me with the remaining children. The only problem was the route taken, past two big groups. Bojangles proceeded to momentarily screech upon passing the first group and then repeat the noise past the second. This unfortunately, made the whole group jump in shock and left a child near to tears. Mum apologised and swiftly moved on!

It was at this point we decided the best course of action would be to leave, tails between our legs…promptly! So we rustled up the gang and headed off to pay. The intermittent shrieks continued at the makeshift checkout (money box and counter style).

It felt like one big disaster. We shot each other a glance that said ‘maybe we should have stayed at home’. Instead, it turned out fine! The day was rescued by the two absolutely wonderful people at the counter. They immediately got a grasp of the situation, told us not to worry and that there was no need to apologise! Those few nice words made the world ok again, it really made the difference and I saw a little tear in the corner of Mum’s eye. A big ‘thank you’ to the lovely people at Broomfields Farm, Meopham. ( It really made the difference to our day.

Mum took Bojangles to the car for a few minutes to calm down and to shed a tear in private. I was left with money and children, so we enjoyed pumpkin soup, sausage rolls and chocolate cake. They were all delicious. After a while, Mum and Bojangles came into the seating area in the field to share some food and we all went home happy and relieved. We didn’t stay long, as we weren’t brave enough. But hey, we left happy.

The message of the day…

Expect the unexpected.

Know your escape routes.

Consider calling ahead to check it is suitable.

Never underestimate people and the power of kindness.

Never take four kids pumpkin picking, as you end up with six pumpkins (go figure).

Maybe just send dad next time!

At the end of the day, no one was hurt in the making of this story and the siblings were happy and completely oblivious, as only siblings to a brother with autism can be.

Thanks for reading.


Co-Founder of Treezy.