Tag Archives: Dyscalculia

Chocs Away!

19 Jul

Well, I thought that ‘Chocs Away’ was a much better title than ‘All About My Book Launch.’  If you are a newcomer to this blog (welcome pals!) then you will soon discover that my daughter has dyslexia and that it leads to many interesting ‘language moments’ … (See ‘Be Enterprising’ blog below.)

As we were chatting about the book launch in the run up to it all, I could see the cogs and wheels turning in my girl’s mind.  She is now (at the age of 9) beginning to realise that she does have a special relationship with language. A wonderful mynah bird gift and a strong tendency towards taking things very literally.

So I was rather chuffed when she said; ‘Okay, I realise now that you’re not really going to fire your books off into the air for people to catch them. Like a bride at a wedding with her flowers. ‘Cause, anyway – that would be really stupid as the building is right next to the canal,’

‘Good!’ I said. ‘We call it a launch because … like a rocket or like a ship. Or a missile – we want to put it out there. Get it started off.’

‘Chocs Away!’ shrieked the 6 year old (no idea where he got that from.)

‘Yes…..’ I replied.

‘Wow!’ she continues.  ‘So, are we going to be having a load of chocolate there too?’

I gave up trying to explain more at that stage (although it did turn out that the choccy analogy was a good one as the key protagonist in ‘Mind Games and Ministers’ is a woman who is running a chocolate social enterprise Up North.) Still, my budget didnt stretch to giving out complimentary chocolate bars – but my lovely guests did get to go hyper on some very posh coffee, on the best cakes ever to tickle the tastebuds of west Yorkshire folk (courtesy of Ma Longden) and to hear me doing a reading from my book.

Incidentally, for me – the most fun bit about having had a book published is the reading aloud to the audience thing. At kiddy bedtime, my other half often tries to prevent me from reading to them (‘They’re too old! They can read now! You get all giddy and an hour later you’ve got them looking at youtube on the film version of the book!’) But I just love to read aloud to them (unless its Michael Morpurgo which my daughter has banned because ‘even you with your weird voices mum, can’t make his stuff exciting for me. Soz.’)

So the best bit about the book launch was that I got to play at bedtime story reading AND unlike kiddy-bedtime, I got to swear throughout it!  Reading - lady behind me already asleep?

What else was special about the launch?

Give me Da Moolah! (And I'll lose it.)

Give me Da Moolah! (And I’ll lose it.)

Well… my kids attended (and behaved themselves. Although you should never let a 9 year old with dyscalculia collect money from your book sales. We still don’t know where the missing tenner is.) My parents were there and worked like trojans in order to make the place look dazzling (despite rather too many of my writer friends being arty-farty types who wouldn’t know an honest day’s work if it hit them.)  Everyone enjoyed the fact that we were in the middle of a brand new Coffee Roastery. And we were right next to the Huddersfield narrow canal (coffee and canals…two of my favourite things in life.)

Audience unimpressed with strong language. They are mostly from west Yorkshire. Nuff said.

Audience unimpressed with strong language. They are mostly from west Yorkshire. Nuff said.

And I loved the fact that I got to wear my Granny’s gold charm bracelet.  My good luck nod to Gran. Would she have been proud of me? Probably not. Shouting profanities in the middle of a gathering of very well dressed and rather well to do people? Nah. She would have accused me of being ”common’ or ‘a right Miss Kek.’

That bracelet - but a less than charming gob ...

That bracelet – but a less than charming gob …

Post-launch slump?  I’d missed the copy of the newspaper which covered the launch. Jim from the Gym had asked all of his mates to see if anyone had that edition. Thankfully someone had. That evening I happened to mention this to my other half. A look of abject horror on his face. ‘Oh God. I cleaned the windows today.’   Ten minutes later the precious extract – which I had been keeping for my children as evidence that their mother wasn’t a totally useless old slapper – was brought out from the recycling bin.

So…. we have lived in this house for nearly 7 years now. And we have only ever cleaned the windows three times (and one of those times it was my dad who did it – ‘Can’t bloody stand looking through that filth any longer.’)  And on the third attempt, my husband decided to scrub the grime off the windows. Using his wife’s face.    How very Freudian.

Anyway.  See below. This is what it looked like afterwards.   Moral of the tale? A most northern lesson. ‘Don’t Get Above Yerself Too Much, Lady…’


A scrunched up Me and the Local MP!

A scrunched up Me and the Local MP!





Be Enterprising. But don’t be Too Literal …

6 Jul

My day job involves fostering enterprise and ethical trading. Meaning that yesterday, I was all smiles when I saw a few of the locals in Addingham selling food and drink over their garden walls – to the thousands of people who have descended upon Yorkshire for the first leg of the Tour de France here.

I was gagging for a drink and had forgotten to pack my water bottle. So I nudged my 9 yr old (who is dyslexic and who also has a dab of dyscalculia – like her dear old mum) to accompany me to make a wee purchase and work out the change da dee dah.

We approached a local chappie who had set out a little table on the side of the street.

DAUGHTER: A bottle of water please. Is it fair trade water?

MAN: Dunno, actually. Can you get fair trade water?

DAUGHTER: Oh, believe me. You can get fair trade anything! So, if it isn’t … and if it’s a bad company what harms people with their water … my dad’ll have ’em for it – yeah?

MAN: Right… That’s 70 pence, my love.

DAUGHTER: (hands over correct money!) There you go.

MAN: Ta. Tell all your friends won’t you?

DAUGHTER: I will do. But it’s probably a bit pointless because it’ll be Monday- when I’m back at school. And none of them are old enough to come to Addingham on their own. And anyway – are you still going to be sitting here then? Selling water?

(Moral of the Story – Tell the world that dyslexic people tend to take things very literally …)

Stop! The water we have here in our Yorkshire taps is far nicer and cheaper than your bottled stuff!

Stop! The water we have here in our Yorkshire taps is far nicer and cheaper than your bottled stuff!




Exceptional – NOT the Strange Ones…

18 Aug

‘Exceptional’ to me doesn’t mean ticking all of the academic boxes – being a super-duper all-rounder brainy bod. Exceptional people are highly gifted personalities whose traits often include ‘asynchronous development’ (a quick explanation of this; that a child appears to be ‘wise beyond their years’ in many ways – but may be less advanced than peers emotionally, socially or academically)

DANDA is an excellent charity in the UK that speaks on behalf of such Exceptional people. It chooses to use the term ‘neuro-diverse’ in order to describe the ‘catch all’ of such a wide range of often amazingly gifted people – such as those who also have Dyspraxia, AD(H)D, and Asperger Syndrome, Autism and Dyslexia. But all too often, society is NOT geared up to deal with the different needs of such people…and this is one that I could blog on about forever!

One of the most terrific websites I have seen on this issue, belongs to the marvellous Mr Stuart Vallantine.  Stuart grew up in the street next to me, in East Manchester.  Please take a few more minutes to read about him ‘Awkward and proud since 1979’….and then go and have a wee sing along with Mr Joseph Aquilina…another talented chap…