Remember 10.00pm tonight Channel 5 The Special Needs Hotel

3 Sep

It’s tonight folks. Episode 1 of The Special Needs Hotel. Eeeeek. Excitinggggg.

Don’t forget now! And Cal’s in next week’s episode.

Jo xx

Our second teevee star

28 Aug

Stop press. The documentary starring Cal begins broadcasting on Thursday 3rd September, Channel 5 at 10.00 pm. You must watch all three episodes – Cal’s one is on 10th 😀 . Here’s a link to the first trailer for you:

How exciting! I’m writing this on my phone which is never satisfactory so sorry if the link doesn’t work.

Cal’s had a strange week. On Monday he spent all day at his possible new home:

Grange Village about 40 mins from here. Sharing a flat with a friend from Foxes within a bigger house with other people with disabilities.  Opportunity to work in a market garden, pottery and wood workshop and cafe and when he’s settled, supported employment in the local town. He really likes it so we’re now waiting to see if the funding works. So that was all good.

Then on Wednesday he had an unexpected trip in an ambulance and a merry afternoon in A and E because he had a seizure. He’s never had anything like that before so it’s all a bit concerning. However, apparently disturbed sleep patterns can trigger them, and he’s certainly had that over the past four weeks what with all the time zones and things. So fingers crossed, that’s the beginning and end of it.

So, we’re now waiting for an appointment with the specialist, and having to keep a very close eye on him. He and the hospital staff were brilliant with each other. All he remembers is having a sneeze and bumping his head. For which he kept saying sorry. The best bit was the doctor explaining to Cal that he’d have to take blood. Cal nodded very carefully and when the doctor showed him the needles Cal looked at them and said “I shall say OW”. Which he did. Quietly. And persistently.

He enjoyed having his blood pressure being taken and refused point blank to go in a trolley. During his ambulance ride he texted us about his lunch. So he is unperturbed by the whole thing and is rather admiring of his bruised cheek from where he collapsed.

Anyway, mark the next three Thursday’s in your diary and let’s have a collective TKOE viewing of The Special Needs Hotel.

Yay for Foxes! And Yay for Cal! 😀😀😀😀

Jo xx

Postscript to Proud Parents 2

21 Aug

Of course, one of the constant mysteries of exams is how the knowledge acquired to pass them is applied to every day life. We’ve been out for a celebratory meal. We were discussing where and how to celebrate Rosie’s 24th birthday. (24!!). Amsterdam came up. This then followed:

S: “oh yes, I’ve never been to Holland, have I”

Short silence.

S: ”  That’s where Lapland is, isn’t it.?”


Still proud.

Jo xx

Proud parents 2

20 Aug

What a girl! She couldn’t have worked any harder, and we couldn’t be any prouder. GCSE day today, and she got 2 Bs, 6 As and an A*.

Having recovered herself from the shock of it, she declared herself most pleased to get Physics; and to have got an A in Geography including 100 on one paper. Her biggest sadness was that she was ill on one Geography paper and didn’t get an A*. She blames that on the exclusion of any question on Malawi.

So, our youngest returns to sixth form in September to take Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology A levels.

A big yay for our Sylvie! 😀😍

Jo xx

Us wanderers return

17 Aug

Well hello there. We are back – a bit jet lagged, but happy. We had a brilliant time. Here’s some edited highlights:

Dubai was achingly hot and , to our minds, very odd. A bit like a shopping based Disneyworld. Chris’s passport was declared invalid on arrival so he came close to instant deportation. This was funny, once it was resolved.

Colombo was full of Poya Day celebrations and kites. Many kites. We found the first and only German restaurant.

And then followed two weeks of rattling car journeys; stupendous train journeys into the tea plantations, with seats which you can rotate to face the direction you want to travel in; incredible scenery; beaches, jungles, waterfalls and lakes; toilet frogs, hornets big enough to cast shadows in the sun, bee attacks and monkeys in the garden.

Each day was like living in a zoo – camels walking down the hard shoulder, an elephant and her baby strolling out of a hedge, a leopard standing in the road, and birds and butterflies you think only live in books.

The soundtrack was unreal as well – not just the wildlife, but the constant roaring of tuk tuks, motorbikes, busses and horns. Despite the driving being so apparently random, we saw no accidents all the time we were there.

We also met lovely people, gentle and kind. Including a family who gave us special cakes as an apology for the incredibly large beetle which flew at Sylvie as we were eating tea, causing her to become a form of performance art for passing locals as she tried to escape from it, over me. Or perhaps they were thanking her for drawing a crowd…

Cal was a genius with touts and hawkers. He just loomed over them and brushed past, occasionally holding his hand up. He ate more rice and curry than any one person should be physically capable of.

Delhi was fascinating as well, and we saw the Taj Mahal. We had a tense evening beforehand when we read in the Hindustani Times about the terrorist threat on Independence Day to foreign tourists, big sites, railway stations and hotels. But all was fine. We’d definitely like to see more of India.

If you ever get the chance to go to Sri Lanka, go. It is truly amazing.

Now, it’s back to normal. And yes, Mags, those GCSE results are this Thursday. :)

Jo xx


29 Jul

I’ve been so busy these past few weeks. So very very busy, that I’ve barely had time to sit down, let along write the odd blog post.

The biggest news has been Cal’s graduation and sudden media stardom. He’s left Foxes with several English and Maths skills developments, a full NVQ in Housekeeping, an Outstanding Learner of the Year Award for his communications skills development and at least one possible housemate for September. He doesn’t have a house yet, but that’s being worked on. We are so very very proud of him.

He’s also been in the paper receiving his award, and the TV documentary he’s in in the autumn is cranking up their publicity too. Channel 5, A Very Special Hotel. Cal has done so well thanks to the very many people who have seen something in him and persevered to bring out those skills, ever since he was a rolling ball of screeching fury as a toddler. THANK YOU!

so now, we’re waiting to hear how searches for housing and support are getting on, somewhere near to us. And once he’s settled there, then it’s some kind of supported job search. Exciting!

He’s crashing around the house now, even though he doesn’t need to get up yet, as he’s about to do one of his favourite things – go on a plane. This is one of my least favourite things, which is why I’m crashing around the house too. Still, at the end of it, we will be in Dubai, en route for Sri Lanka. Which is a bit different from camping in France, and which I can’t quite believe we are doing.

Wifi willing, I will get some more blogging time at last. :) :)

here’s photos of our star, looking very dignified.

image image

Jo xx


25 Jun

Rosie’s been in our thoughts a lot this week. Woke up and there was Rosie’s cheery face on Facebook, connected to an article about Monkeyface and You’re Amazing.

Had a lovely day with Cal on Sunday and there were loads of birds swooping around which would have terrified her. Not one for birds, our Rosie.

Then on the way home, one of the songs we played at her funeral came on. That was sad.

Yesterday, I gave a short talk to some very kind people, about Rosie and The Knock on Effect, and all of you. And met two mums whose daughters knew Rosie.

Then tonight, Sylv brought in some drawers which belonged to Rosie. Full of necklaces, bangles, earrings and…hair slides. It was the hair slides which set me off. And the smell, of her.

Jo xx

It’s time to download

8 Jun

The TKOE elves will connect the link shortly, but meanwhile if you go to good old or even and search for Monkeyface MP3 You’re Amazing, you can download the song for only 99p. So if you can do that, and get your friends to do that, and get the friends of friends to do that, we’ll have 1,000 downloads in no time, and see The Knock on Effect in action :) And get a pretty fine song into the bargain.


Jo xx

Monkeyface: you rock! From gigs to crochet.

7 Jun

What a night. What a turnout. What music. What tea towels. What generosity. It was such a good gig last night. The sun shone; the people at the venue were lovely; the band were fab and everyone who came was so supportive. Almost £300 was raised for TKOE which is an amazing amount – we are so pleased. Which means we are around £500 into our £3k target for this year. :) :)

We’ve got a great long roll call of thank yous, so here goes:

Monkeyface themselves, present and past members – Paul Alcock, Julian Avery, Tim Atkins, Paul Hamer, Dave Ganner, Andy Clarke and Ruth Troughton;

Dave Draper of Tower Studios – Producer and Engineer;

Tim and Mandy Pellatt at CordialAV who produced and edited the video and also did the press comms;

Darren Sawyer for being the official photographer – can’t wait to see the shots;

Everyone at SevernFM who have been pushing the single, and continue to do so;

The Citizen and the Echo for promoting the gig, single and video;

The Wheatsheaf, Leckhampton for being such a good place to hold the gig;

Lucy and Jane Henderson for putting Paul in contact with us;

Mike Arnold, chief TKOE elf for designing the artwork and doing all the tricky webstuffy things, and making it look easy;

Rosie for giving us all the inspiration to carry on.

We’d especially like to thank Paul Alcock for approaching us with the idea, putting so much into this, sticking with us when we were going through tricky times and couldn’t really think about nice things, and generally being a brilliant person. This has really been a knock on effect in action, just like Rosie wanted it to be.

Next thing then is to get those singles sales going. Our new best friend in America, Barbie, is on the case for the digital distribution so we’re just waiting, waiting , waiting for this to reach the top of the iTunes queue, plus Amazon and all the others. Once it does, we’ll let you know. And then we want to see if we can get 1,000 downloads. Cos we like setting targets. Because all of you are really good at beating targets. :) Thanks to those of you who have already downloaded from the CDBaby site.

So, while we’re waiting, and  Monkeyface are having a week off to recover (it’s the rock and roll lifestyle, you see), is there anyone reading this who can crochet? I’ve got a bit of a TKOE experiment that I need a small bit of help with.

Jo xx

You coming to the Monkeyface gig tomorrow?

5 Jun

It’ll be a good night out in Cheltenham and all for a brilliant cause. So come along. Pleeeeassse. :) :)

In other news, you should be able to download from iTunes and Amazon very soon indeed. In my music distributer guise I have been liaising with a digital inspector in the US of A called Barbie – yes, this is true – and I have just had to approve the full digital release. I felt very powerful for a moment. :)

Thank you for all the comments on the song and the video. It means a lot.

Jo xx


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