Yesterday, I wrote that suddenly having people on my side (Cilla, Chris, The OS) was a tremendous boost to my confidence. So much so, that the balcony Olympics were resurrected.
Throughout the year, some of the worst times were Saturday and Sunday evenings. Especially once the fake transition home plan had started. Steven was allowed to come home for a three hour visit on Saturday afternoons and then it was my job (with the support worker on duty) to take him back to the Unit. On the other home visits, he would be taken back by the two support workers that came with him, so the pain wasn't so bad. I used to dread the Saturday visits, purely because I knew that at 5 o'clock, I would have to take Steven back to the hellhole. Sometimes, Steven would kick off when we got back to the Unit. One Saturday, we got back and I went with Steven to his bedroom to dump his back off. Steven had been very tearful, saying "Don't want Dad to go back to the Uxbridge house". As we stood on the landing, Steven hit me round the face. I got upset because I knew the agony he was in to do that. The Unit just recorded it as an example of me being at risk and nor setting appropriate boundaries.
One Saturday night, we'd had another upsetting return and I was feeling so low. My mate Ian came round and we went to the pub at the top of my road. They were serving jugs of cocktails, two for the price of one. By 10 o'clock, we had got through six jugs. We went back to my flat and Ian was starving. I had been neglectful of the housework recently, and Ian kept coming across foods in my cupboards that were a long way and dangerously past their sell by date. To make good use of these items we invented the Balcony Olympics. We had a whole series of events: tossing a ski yoghurt at a 607 bus; pelting young lovers with pickled onions; how far could we get a cube of lime jelly to bounce down the High Street; any car with their stereo too loud got soaked in vegetable lasagne. The jelly one was good. For days afterwards, I kept finding little cubes of lime jelly, refusing to be crushed by the traffic. Ian won most events but he's always been a bigger tosser than me.
That night in early December, we brought the games back to life. We could be a bit bolder as it was darker and we'd be less likely to be seen. I won more events. But then again, I had had a year of practice.
Thank you Hillingdon - you improved my sporting performance no end.