Posted in Review

Casanova – northern ballet 

As you know my first time at the theatre was a few weeks back when I went to see the Wedding Singer at new theatre Cardiff 

I was very lucky to be invited back to see the world premier of Casanova  a ballet by Kenneth Tindall.* 

I’m not going to lie I didn’t have an idea of what to expect. None at all. I was told Casanova was a player years ago. So I went last night with all the knowledge of some guy having many girlfriends. That was it. Google  told me he was an Italian adventurer and author, liked the women and gambling. 

I think maybe not knowing anything about what I’m  going to see could be for the better as I’m never left disappointed. 

Again, ballets I just think of people in spandex dancing around. I was wrong ! 

When the open scene started I took from it they were in a Catholic Church going back to 17th century. I think Casanova was maybe an alter boy and was going into the priesthood. Somebody has a red book that hands it over to Casanova. 

That person was then in a fight, the intensity of the music told me this, ( I must have listened after all in my music lessons at school!) I must admit it was the most elegant fight I’ve seen. At this point the dancer reminded me of Assassins creed the game this takes me to France or maybe even the Vatican. So the book was a wanted book! The sisters suduce Casanova but get caught and Casanova is sent on his way with only a violin and his book. 

He goes on to earn a place at a masquerade ball, for some king maybe and he meets Balletti a cellist and they leave together. But they are attacked, again the music plays a critical role in explaining its a ‘bad’ scene along side the outfits, as this again reminds me of the thieves in Assasins creed! Casanova gets left for dead as Balletti manages to escape and he gets taken back to I’m guessing the kings place where the king treats his wounds and try’s to suduce Casanova but suffered what seems to be a heart attack. When he’s better he makes Casanova his right hand man. 
They are back in mass, and he receives a note, then the guy who gave him the book is being tortured. Then Casanova is being seduced again whilst the priest from the beginning is watching. We then see Casanova try to escape. 

When the curtain went up I’m glad to admit I wasn’t the only one who seemed confused, obviously I’m making my own story up so don’t even know if it’s the correct story! I did see lots of people come back with the program. 

The second act really confused me! 

There were  two women one has to dress as a man and one is being abused so leaves even leaving her baby. 

We see Casanova back but dressed not so elegantly as he was so I took that to mean he escaped. Where he is now I don’t know. He seems to get his right hand man status back as he’s now throwing auditions for party. This is where we meet Balletti again, when everyone’s left he picks up his book and writes. He has a stash of papers and is taking them somewhere he meets The lady who left her baby behind he takes her home and they end up in a relationship where she gets pregnant . Telling her to wait for him,  he leaves with his stack of papers, but the husband comes finds her and takes her with him. Casanova comes home to find her gone. He then goes to a group of mates, I didn’t get that part but I don’t think what he was doing was good as she returns and leaves him. 

The end with his papers falling all around I’m not sure if that’s his writing, like his life story, or the pages of the book! 

Reading through the program I was right in bits, it was set in Venice, he wasn’t a king, it was senator Bragadin. The mass was for him getting better after his stroke not a heart attack! The second scene is based in Paris. He’s taking his writing to the printers, he try’s to escape into a world of sensuality, his past haunts him so he throws himself into the abyss.

The music helped a lot in defining fighting to sexual scenes, as the dancing didn’t really come across as mean! When they were being thrown up or dragged across the floor they just looked so small and featherless. I was very impressed with the way they could move, the way they could get their bodies to intertwine so effortlessly, well it looked effortlessy! The use of props things so simple as a chair weren’t just brought on and placed they were also danced on! 

I think reading the acts afterwards made everyone make more sense. The performance kept me transfixed, as if I couldn’t miss anything! 

Would I go to another ballet? I’m not sure! Maybe one that I know the story so it would be easier to understand and know what’s going on, not having to worry if I was reading the wrong story.  I’m glad I took my friend we made sense of it together, we still don’t know what the red forbidden book was, first up I said the bible, but being a church maybe my mates idea of the kama sutra was a better explanation?! I must admit I enjoyed myself, it was different, and at least I can say I’ve seen it. Next up has to be a play! 

* I was kindly given my tickets for a review, all views are my own. 

Posted in progress

Summer term and new words! 

Twelve weeks, that’s all we have left of the school term. One more weeks holiday and countdown to the end of term starts. 

Z has come on so much these last few weeks, last week during the school holidays for the first week we had ‘school’, ‘teacher’ and ‘bus’ spelt many times, with the word ‘gool’ and ‘bus’ clear. I think it was the teachers he was missing more than the actual building. 

Yesterday first day back and he couldn’t wait to get in, his teacher said he gave her a big grin and said hello and no, like they’ve been practicing.  He smiled all the way home from school as if it was a yes, I’m back! We had two of the five names of the teachers with big smiles and all shy when I’d say the teachers name. 

There’s been so much progress from Christmas never mind September. I was worried when he went in September, who was his teacher,  how would he be but I didn’t need to worry. They’ve been fab. 

When you see him smile at them, and interact with them you know it’s not just something they do when you are there, it’s obviously the way they are all day, they have a bond that not all children are lucky enough to experience with their teachers like Z is. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s not many children there, or just the teachers have that way that other teachers don’t? I can’t say they have more time than others because they don’t, you see how challenging some children are when you are there. They have some patience! 

Looking back to this time two years ago when I was toying with mainstream I’m so glad that one person said no! Don’t do it. I’m glad I said he would go to SEN school there is no way mainstream would have coped with him, not the other way round. He don’t fit in to the whole let’s learn a letter a time they wouldn’t know what to do with him! He would have gotten lost. My nan actually said to me this week I’m glad you didn’t put him in mainstream, he’s come on so much being down there!

We have many new words. These are since the last time.

  1. Bird
  2. Sheep
  3. Pig
  4. Duck
  5. Horse
  6. Dog
  7. Cat
  8. Donkey
  9. Micky mouse and mouse
  10. Timmy time 
  11. Open 
  12. Cake
  13. Bounce
  14. Jump 
  15. X two/ three teachers name 
  16. Bus
  17. Carrot 
  18. M ( cousins name!)
  19. Cherry 
  20. One – 10 
  21. Snake 
  22. Broccoli 
  23. Lemons 
  24. Night night
  25. Splish splash
  26. P ( grampa name!)

There’s most probably lots more that I can’t even think of, so all in all I’d say we’re up to around 100 words which considering he didn’t really have any this time last year is amazing. 

Posted in Adventures, Days out.

Cwm Parc Darran 

Sunday afternoons used to be adventure times with J and E, then the winter came and with it one of the four of us sick! We’ve gotten one or two in but not many.

Today we decided it was adventure time. K and J also joined us along with B and B. We headed to Cwm Parc Darran. Something that is just over the mountain and we didn’t know it exaisted. 

The first thing both B and myself said when we entered the park was it was safe, it had grass floor and a gate. Autism friendly park! All four kids loved it, it wasn’t huge but big enough for them to play. 

We stayed her quite a long time, then headed for a walk to the lake. It was a big lake, lots of ducks, and some little ducklings! Z loves ducks, he’ll say duck and quack quack, luckily he’s strapped in his buggy or he’d be trying to swim with them! 

We passed another park, more like an obstacle course, I didn’t leave Z go to play here as it’s quite close to the water and those ducks! Wasn’t taking any chances. 

We walked and found the waterfall, where as E and J could splash in their boots, Z who’s wellies were in the car couldn’t understand that concept so off he went! That’s why I always carry spare clothes, next time I need to remember socks…! 

He loved it, he really didn’t want to come out of the water as was quite happily splashing around. Next time it’ll be his wellies and all in one! 

On the walk back, we didn’t go exploring just headed back to the car, next time we’ll have to walk different paths as there were loads. 

Thought £3 to park the car all day was reasonable they had a little cafe coffee £1 so can’t whinge at that! It was also a place for caravans and tents, maybe next time we could take the tent and the pooch! 

Posted in Adventures, Days out.

Caerphilly Mountain Ranch. 

We’ve heard a lot of people say about this place so these week we went for a look.

£6 entry is quite reasonable as it’s huge, lots to see and lots to do. Z having his blue badge meant we both paid £3 each. 

Z loved the park, its full of sand! Of course sensory heaven for him. There’s a little obstacle course that he tried really hard to get across, he’s never held on to anything before and as much as I say he’s quite good with his balance high up I think he would struggle, but the things you have to do to get to the wobbly bridge! 

We went to explore the park, passing the goats and the troll guarding the bridge. We made our way to an Indian village with toupees, he enjoyed running in and out of those, the girls went off to look for fairies but this was lost on the boys. B from Z’s class joined us, was nice to see them both playing in the sand! 

The fairy part had lots of little fairy doors on the trees, and fairies dotted about the place, a tree house with a swing. Really this was wasted on us, I’m sure if the boys could talk they would be saying something along the lines of how’s that fairy going to fit through those doors! 

We left the girls hunting the fairies and headed down roly poly hill, thank goodness I didn’t have to push Z back up! 

Again lots more sand, a tree house, a climbing tree, I loved this. An old tree has fallen over the roots were boarded up and the kids could climb it, and know what it was packed. Something so simple just nature and the kids were loving it. 

We explored the three huts, climbed on a dragon fly, played in small houses and span some toadstools. Oh and we played in more sand! 

We left the girls at this part they went on in search of the gruffalo, with both boys not really that interested we headed to get some food before another play in the park. We found the mouse though! Ok it’s the start of the gruffalo trail! 

After Burger and chips was more time to play at the park, after some duck spotting!

We didn’t explore all of the park, there’s fires with marshmallows, more things to climb and explore and hills to roll down. It’s less than twenty minutes away so we’d go back again. I think next time my niece is down it’s a place she would enjoy going fairy hunting and looking at the animals. They have goats, guinea Pigs, rabbits, ducks and horses, there maybe more we didn’t see. 

Posted in Adventures, Days out.

Puxton Park 

We headed here with J,D and E. Was a great family day out. Not too far over the bridge, and was quite easy to find. We could have popped to Weston afterwards but we choose to go for tea instead, then hoped that they would fall asleep in the car, nope not one of them did! 

As Z has a blue badge, we only paid G’s entry price and £3 for Z.  So in terms for us it was a cheap day. The prices wernt unreasonable think adults and children are around £10.

Both Z and E loved the bouncing pillow, what I loved was it was manned, so they had a certain amount of time, all children were called off and the next lot in. This was the same for all the attractions. Other than the trampolines that were dotted around the park.

The parks were great fun, lots of sand to ground Z’s sensory needs! He would have happily stayed there all day, we did manage to get him to walk around to see the park. It was flat so he sat in his buggy, meaning it’s all wheelchair and buggy friendly. 

There were falcon shows going on, those birds are fast! We didn’t go on the train, but there was also a little train there. We liked the falcon area, seeing the owls, as E loves owls! 

There was the barn of animals, these guys were kinda my fave they just look so cuddly! Alpacas.

Of course Z liked the goats and chickens! Some big chickens that he called duck, I won’t put him straight as I’m sure duck is easier to say than chicken and we’ll take the word duck! 

We even managed to take them on the little paddle boats. I was a little nervous with Z’s love of water, but he was calm! I should have steered the boat being heavier than G, did think we were going to topple it, or I was going to topple it, but nope we were ok, phew! Diet time for next time! We didn’t manage to get on the other boats as they were quite busy, next time we’ll do those first! 

There was a big soft play area inside, but it was a little too loud for Z, so we couldn’t actually manage to stay there any length of time, I’m sure if it was quieter he would have loved it! So when E played there we had a look around the farm shop! 

We really enjoyed our day out here and would happily go back, think it’ll be on our list of things to do during the six weeks holidays! 

Posted in family

Easter  Weekend. 

I’m so late to this blogging game lately! 

Tomorrow is the last day of the Easter holidays. We’ve had a busy week, we’ve gone to puxton park, Margarm park, Barry sidings and Caerphilly mountain ranch. 

Easter weekend my sister her partner and my niece were down, we headed to Barry. We had a lovely day out, was nice to spend the day with my niece too as living so far away we don’t get to see her often. 

We walked on up to the beach huts, had a look at the climbing wall and Z wanted to go in the sea. Of course I had left his wellies in the car, husband being boring saying he won’t need them. Rookie mistake matey! He always needs wellies!!

We ate some chips overlooking the sea, bought a furry ball and had a go at the amusements and went on the little rides. I think Z had fun! 

On Sunday we went to my parents for dinner, where Z tried to give M a big hug. He has said M’s name a few times but everytime I try to record him he won’t say it! 

He took notice of her, she followed him about, he shared his letters and numbers but wouldn’t give up his iPad. She shared her toys and was even giving him some wet wipes! 

I have to get up and visit in the summer holidays when we have a little more time to get used to the change of routine, enough to get used to it coming home too. 

Posted in Adventures, Days out.

Barry Sidings 

We were looking for somewhere different and quiet. Ponty park is alway very busy and Z runs! So when I seen this place we decided to try it. Pooch could come too and was buggy friendly. No car park charges which was great so was a great start! 

We walked the path down to the houses and back, over looking the river. Many little  mini water falls coming from the mountains into the river that Z wanted to play in and the pooch was to scared to get his paws wet!

We stopped at the park, the pooch wasn’t allowed that far so he stayed with hubby whilst I went to the park. I was slightly nervous as there’s a duck pond, it does have a little bit of a fence around it! Z was ok. He stopped to have alook, did attempt the water but was easily led to the buggy! 

Z enjoyed the park, slides, swings, climbing frames, and space to run around

He had to have a little look in the cafe, and what was great was the fact that it was a dog friendly cafe! 

There was a little bike track as we came in for children, and there’s a bike part up in the woods. We didn’t walk that far this time, maybe next time! 

Posted in Adventures

Margarm park and Aberavon Beach.

On Tuesday we headed to Margam park. Went with J and E, S and S and S’s mate. 

Z fell asleep going there, well he had just had his hair cut and a shower, so he was  traumatised he wound himself up so much that’s why he slept.

It took him a little while to come around, I used his buggy, Margarm park is quite big to be chasing him or continually trying to pick him up from the drop and flop position!!

He loved the castle in the play area. He ran around he was up and down the steps, and it was nice to be able to stand at the entrance and not chase him about! 

This time he was big enough to go and play on the wooden play equipment, and he really enjoyed himself. He ran around and actually eventually walked over the rope bridge. The first time he went on his knees, then half and half, then he could walk across it! So proud of him! 

We stopped and had our photo at the #EPIC sign, whilst we were waiting our turn Z kept saying E P I C, he loved it, he ran around it and climbed the letters luckily the queue had gone by this point and the staff we fab, they even got the pictures! 

We walked around the animals were he kept saying baaa for the sheep, and laughing! Quack for the ducks and I started eeeor, for the donkey, which apparently is very funny! 

Wanted to change his bum at this point, and the disabled toilet was out of order, know why, ‘coz some idiots tried putting nappies down the toilet, why would someone even do that? So it was a change in the buggy. The older he’s getting im not going to be able to do it for much longer, as it was it was very quiet so only I was about, how we’ll be managing before long I don’t know. I’ll be carrying a big blanket with me to hide him! 

We made music leaving! He jumped on some logs, and was quite happy to go back in the buggy to go to the car! 

That’s when J decided to go on to Aberavon beach. So we followed over, they played in the park for a little while until Z wanted to go play on the beach! 

Before heading to the sea we buried him, he loved it! 

Not as much as he loves the sea though! Couldn’t get him out of there, I was soaking, even wellies done nothing for me and I was tipping the sea water out before getting in the car! Was so chuffed with him he actually took seaweed off me, walked around with it before dropping it in favour of the sea! 

We had a good day, was nice to get out with J and E again too. As our adventures have been few and far between lately! 

Posted in Adventures, Bank holiday, Days out.

Easter holidays week one.

I’ve not posted anything new in what feels like ages! 

This week has been the start of the Easter holidays, we’ve gotten through week one, just about! 

I can’t say this week we’ve actually achieved much or been anywhere, we’ve gone on Brecon mountain railway and think that’s been it! 

On Tuesday I went to see Beauty and the beast at the cinema with my nan, I really enjoyed it! Then met with some school mates on Wednesday evening, which was much overdue! That was after a successful photo shoot with Z. 

Thursday and Friday have just gone about in a blur! I seem to be full of a cold today think that’s just the effects of waking so much this week. Z is missing school, he keeps spelling school along with teacher and bus, then leading me to the door saying car. He’s not been going to sleep till 10 or so crying at 11.30 or 12.30, again at 2.30 and up around 6.30-7. Today I even went to bed for an hours nap and I’m counting down the time for Z to fall asleep! 

Last Saturday we got him a trampoline which he loves, he’s spending all his free time bouncing. He opens the door, heads to the garden ipad in hand and bounce, bounce, bounce! Actually impressed with the height he’s getting too! Not bad considering a few months ago he couldn’t even jump!!

This weekend being Easter my sister and her partner have brought my neice down. Z was good with her today he tried hugging her, but she’s still tiny! Maybe it’s because Z looks so big next to her! 

Think tomorrow we’re going to head out for a little adventure, then diner at mams Sunday! 

Next week I think I could well have two adventures planned, if everything goes to plan! Husband is off work and the weather looks good! 

Posted in Parents, school

Importance of school friends! 

Special school, less children in a class less parents to meet. With most children on school transport the chats at the school gate don’t happen. We don’t get to meet other parents, which arguably we need to to maybe more than mainstream schools for our own sanity, that we are not alone in our daily struggles. 

I’ve been lucky, I’ve had a great group of girls from play group, they’ve stuck by me, accepted Z for who he is, but they are growing up and leaving Z behind. No they don’t leave him behind on purpose but with him not talking and showing no Intrest in playing with them they understandably get bored and move on. 

Z started school with a little girl, was good as I went on the early bird course with her Mam and dad. We could have a quick chat whilst they went in. Luckily both were kept together and others joined them. Was really nice to read in his review today that they’ve become good friends. It shows that he can achieve things. 

A few months in, one or two parents stared a little Facebook chat group where six of the seven parents are in. We’ve gotten to know one another and has been good for catching up if one hasn’t been in. 

The school started a parents workshop group which has given lots of us the chance to meet other parents, learn loads, realise we are not alone, that there others worse off, but most importantly let us make friends in the real world. This has given lots of laughs over food most recently! After group today we headed for food, for a few this don’t happen, it can’t happen, so it’s nice to sit, eat and laugh.

With lots of us now knowing each other it can help for school holidays. Attempting to plan to take them places, with each of us understanding the sensory needs most of the children have it helps try to find some where to go. I also think it helps that the children see each other outside of school, realistically they’ll never have play dates, go to someone’s house for tea, or a sleep over. Come on these children don’t have parties! 

Here’s to trying to find places and activities suitable for children with complex sensory needs and lots of sun! We have a few months left to sort it out!