When Freddie was born he had a condition called Transient Abnormal Myelopoesis, and required transfusions of blood and platelets. On at least one occasion the platelets had to be urgently brought up from Birmingham in the night. Our local hospital would have had no choice but to use a taxi firm to collect the blood, and would have had to pay the normal retail rate for the journey. This means that each trip would have cost the NHS somewhere in the region of £200 – £300.

That’s one of the reasons we were so pleased to meet the good people of Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes ( at the Staffordshire Police Open Day last Sunday.

Freddie -- biking in the blood!

Freddie — biking in the blood!

Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes are a volunteer service providing urgent and emergency transportation of blood to NHS foundations across both counties (they will also transport breast milk, human tissue, small pieces of vital surgical equipment, and other urgent medical supplies, if required), thus saving the NHS the cost of using taxis — money which would be better spent on direct patient care. They are a registered charity (Registered Charity Number 1156212).

Another reason we were delighted to meet them is that, although his transfused blood was not biked up the motorway, Freddie does have biking in his blood. Daddy worked in the motorcycle industry for nearly twenty years, and for most of that time had a motorcycle as his ‘Company Car.’

What a good seat on a bike, Freddie. You're a natural.

What a good seat on a bike, Freddie. You’re a natural.




I’ve always loved it when my children bring artwork home from school, and it’s no different with Freddie. Just as we did with his brother and sister, we can see developments in his work. It’s  happening more slowly, and a little later, but he’s moving steadily in the right direction. He has progressed from making haphazard marks and splodges on the paper to producing (with prompting) pictures that contain distinct elements of the thing it’s meant to be. The beach is one of his favourite places. What a shame we live so far from the coast.


Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because a child cannot express themselves they are not capable of taking in everything YOU say.

I got a phone call from Freddie’s teacher.

‘I’m afraid I’ve got some not-very-good-news,’ she said.

My stomach leapt into my throat. Had Daddy forgotten to pick him up for his orthotics appointment? Had the school staff noticed some alarming new symptom?

‘I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Freddie said a swear-word in class, probably at the instigation of another child.’ She proceeded to tell me what he’d said, though I could tell from her tone of voice that she was loath to repeat it.

Now, a lot of the time my life is fairly typical — I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s ever had a message like that from school. My reaction, though, was probably NOT a typical one.

‘Oh! Well, his speech must’ve been nice and clear, then…’

Funny how we’ve been struggling to pronounce ‘banana’ for years, but the first time he hears the word ‘b***er’ he can repeat it perfectly.


A shout, pitched somewhere between weary resignation and you’ve-got-to-laugh-or-you’d-cry amusement, floats up the stairwell.

‘Have you seen what Freddie’s doing down here?’

‘Since I’m up here and not down there, no, I haven’t.’

‘He’s sticking raisins in his belly button.’

It made my day. Inserting small objects into inappropriate orifices is such a ‘typical kid’ thing to do.

And putting them in your navel is way more sensible than stuffing them up your nostril or in your ear.