365 days - day 25

Probably a short one from me tonight, it's been a busy day and it's up early tomorrow as my son is back to school (terms starts late in this part of the world).

Yesterday I asked him if he had everything he needed to go back to school and he assured me he did. I know he's got shirts, trousers, shoes, socks and underwear, because I spent a small fortune on a whole new academic wardrobe a couple of weeks ago, such is the growth spurt phenomenon of a 13 year old boy.

I've found, seen, sniffed, discarded and replaced his tie and blazer, so all he had to do was make sure his bag was ready and full of the right equipment. But this is a boy who likes to get the answer right, regardless of the facts behind it. If I ask him if he's done something, he knows that means that I want him to have done it. So he says yes, because that, to him, is the answer that will make me happy and, hopefully make me leave him alone to go back to whatever it was he was doing.

In fact, he probably has no idea what it was I asked him to do, as he will have dumped the request in favour of something more interesting, in the way that only an autistic child can. So now, when I ask him if he's done it, he's scrambling.

So I decided to check. In amongst the crumbled homework sheets and old exercise books and I found a plastic zip wallet. Not containing a report or a piece of school work, nor a book, magazine or newsletter. Nope, I found what used to be a sausage roll, estimated expiry date early July 2019. Now I've been through the soggy lunchbox days when his primary school insisted on sending every piece of uneaten piece of lunch, banana skin, wrapper and half empty drink carton home with him, so I know the importance of checking for lunchboxes. But now, since the glorious opportunity of secondary school revealed itself , he has school dinners, so there are no lunchboxes, and I thought that daily stagnant horror has passed.

But no, it turns out that, as the last day of the summer term ended at lunchtime, he felt that he was being cheated of a school dinner, so he took it upon himself to take his own. He had no idea where the lunchboxes were kept, couldn't be bothered to ask for, or make himself a sandwich, so he snuck a sausage roll into a zip wallet and headed off to school. And then promptly forgot about it

So now 6 weeks later, after one of the hottest summers for a generation, you can only imagine the unique and sensory overload that awaited me. Even the dogs, usually the first to step forward to investigate a pungent fetor, looked at me with watering eyes and took a sharp intake of breath.

I knew I needed to act quickly, to save the house from requiring fumigation, and to save the rest of the family from a new and significant threat. So I grabbed the barbecue tongs and legged it into the back garden where, I'm not ashamed to say, I lobbed it into the conifers at the end of the garden behind the shed.

To the families of any small creature that foolishly takes a chance on nibbling it, I can only apologise for your loss. To the conifers, I hold fast to my faith in your strength and fortitude to stand strong against this new threat to your eco system. And to any future owners of this house, who discover a new life form living at the end of the garden, I say "arm yourselves".

And to my son, I have shown you the lunchbox cupboard, i have explained the importance of food hygiene and timely disposal, and I have instigated a new system of daily bag checks. The bag is now hanging on a hanger, still dripping from its earlier decontamination ablution. I hope it's dry by the morning. I'm pretty sure it won't be, so I'll be furiously hairdrying at about 7.45 tomorrow. But hey, when did a new school year ever start smoothly?

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