On our second day, we fight back the weather by finding an indoors activity that is such that we'd rather do that than be on the beach anyway. We go and paint pots at Blue Island Ceramics. We're shown into a studio with two big tables and shelves all around, covered in white pieces of pottery. We're told to choose one each. Emma, step-sister in law, picks a milk jug and her daughter, Lottie, a box shaped like a cup cake, then Charlotte chooses a plate, Max a mug, and Bill and I decide we can do a bowl between the two of us, so we can also help (keep an eye on) Max. There was a dog outside, but Granny Gaby, step-mother-in law, mindful of Max's little quirks, has had it put inside straight away so Max is fine. No all we have to worry about is making sure Max doesn't break anything. He doesn't normally, but that's how we tend to react when he's in a new environment which is a bit close.
On the table there are numbered pots of colours. There's a tile that shows how each colour will look once it's cooked. And there's illustrations on the walls. Zana, the owner, shows us what to do. We clean our things first with a wet sponge, then we apply a first coat of paint with a brush, and a second with the sponge. We need to pick, design, get started.
Charlotte decides she's going to do an apple tree. Emma has to find something that will do for a watchmaker. Lotti wants sparkly colours. Max choose a bright blue and paints his mug all over. Then Bill suggests he draws animals. I pick a dark blue for the inside, and light brown for the outside.
A little later, Emma finds inspiration, Charlotte and Lotti chatter, but still find time to produce some pretty sophisticated designs, Max paints a penguin red, and I put lighter over darker, despite what Zana advised. We're all happy. Then Max has had enough, so Bill takes him out until they are nearly drowned by the rain and come back. Then Bill takes over the bowl and I help Max put the finishing touches to his mug. By the time we're finished, we've all had fun.
I don't think either of us expected Max to enjoy himself that much, or to fit in to such an extent. We both felt he might and deserved to try. I'm glad we took him and I don't think he stood out that much or caused anyone to worry unduly. He's definitely growing up and finding easier to fit in with the neurotypical world.
So a big thank you to Colin, Gaye, Emma, and Zana, who between them made this possible!
Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.