Today I achieved something, that might not mean a lot to many people and for the world of me I cannot relate to Autism, but for the first time in my life after a year of learning I felt able to enter the deep end of a swimming pool and to swim 25 metres to to the end of the pool and then to swim back again toward the deep end completing the second length of 25 metres.
Now a year ago at the same time as I began my swimming lessons I embarked upon my doctorate and this weekend will be addressing an international conference and giving a way better performance than the token autie, Mr Stephen Shore I am sure. (at least I acknowledge that it is performance and I will entertain as much as I enlighten I hope)
However that is less of an achievement to me than my achievement in the swimming pool today.
All that I have done of course is to have achieved the basic standard that any 11 year old is expected to achieve and forty years late at that.
Well if anyone who attended Finham Junior school is reading this, A couple of years ago I met a former schoolmate who remembered me as the boy who never learned to swim.
How anyone learned to swim is actaully beyond me. For years parents raised money for what seemed to be a magnificent project to build a school pool. However by the time they achieved their aims the pool was nothing more than an open tank between the playground and car park.
We boys did not even have the privilege of a changing room, because the architects only built one, and that was reserved for the girls, we had to change in a corridor, and every week march barefoot in whatever weather across the tarmac playground to this open tank.
If that was not bad enough I was put off swimming for life by a teacher whose reaction to my reluctance to duck my head under the water was to hold it under.
Never mind that no-one ever appreciated the other difficulties I had with swimming namely a dyspraxic lack of co-ordination.
Well in my next school at least we had the luxury of going to the simply huge "olympic pool" in town, but by that time the damage had been done, and increasingly nobody bothered with the slow learner so I was sidelined, and gave up swimming as soon as I was able to.
What a loss that was as it is now something I really enjoy.