It's a kind of magic...
One of the great things about summer are the long days. Long days that meant that when we met Elliot and his dad, Nik, a little after 5am at Temple Meads station it was already light and a sunrise in keeping with the magic that was about to unfold was playing across the skies.
Temple Meads was the first stop on a journey that would end later that evening at Palais 12 in Brussels seeing Queen later that night but first we had to get there; Temple Meads to Paddington to St Pancras to Brussels. A suitable adventure for Elliot, a ten year old with autism who loves Queen. We arrived at Brussels Midi a little after midday and the first thing to do was find a waffle to shake of all those travel hours, hours filled with crosswords, sudoku and plenty of excitement.
Suitably fed we headed to the Zoom hotel where there is an old police motorcycle in the foyer much to Elliot's delight. Elliot was sharing a room with dad and more joy as there was a safe in the room which pleased Elliot no end as he has a thing for safes. And stationary, which hotels have an abundance of. Not long after arriving at the hotel the heavens opened to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning which felt entirely appropriate for a Queen adventure and fortunately not very, very frightening. Once the storm had passed we went out to find a cafe and the Elliot was able to use the wonders of modern technology to speak with his mum, Lisa, to tell her how the adventure was going so far and show her the fish tank that sat on the counter.
With plenty of time on our hands we wandered and took time to find something to eat before heading to the metro and the show. To be able to take Elliot it a show was great and also to see his face light up at the sights and sounds of a new city and country was a joy. Except none of us could fathom out what on earth we were doing wrong at the ticket machine to buy our metro tickets as attempt after attempt left us collectively staring at it, baffled and absolutely sure we'd followed the instructions. A kindly ticket man fixed our tickets for us and away we went.
An easy journey and a short walk found us at Palais 12 which is a great venue and we were very well looked after as we needed the accessible section as Elliot, like many with autism, can find crowds difficult. There was also enough time to find the merch stand and get the necessary goodies for a young boy on a Queen adventure.
The house lights came down and the show started. Sitting next to Elliot was to watch a boy visibly melt and ease into himself and let go of the daily difficulties that are presented by living with autism. Earlier he'd said no was he going to sing along, clap or dance. Well, this held for a while but only because he was so transfixed, so enchanted, eyes so wide that there was little else to do except drink the spectacle in. Then he flirted with singin, clapping and found he liked it and by the end couldn't stop, all the while sat on dad's knee where they danced together, laughed, sang and loved together. Watching father and son was watching love and joy dance together in their purest form, a heady dance with Queen the soundtrack. When the show ended there was one more thing to do which was to pick up the set list that had been kindly promised to Elliot by Queen's lighting guy. Getting our metro tickets on the way back proved easier and it wasn't long before a very tired and happy Elliot was back in his room with plans to meet at breakfast.
We had plenty of time before our train back to do the important things which were for Elliot to get gifts for his sisters, mum, and his most significant and supportive teachers Miss Brock and Mr Thompson. Elliot had been saving his pocket money since he found out he was going so there was plenty in his kitty to get chocolates for everyone, carefully working out who would like which flavours, and a Tintin book in French for himself. This taken care of there was time to have a farewell to Brussels waffle before starting our trip home and the closer we got to home the tireder Elliot became and the more he missed his mum. We left Elliot and Nik with one more stop to go on the journey. One more stop to go until Elliot got to see mum and to tell her all about his adventure seeing Queen.
And we've been told that as tired as Elliot was when he got home, it took him quite a while to find his way to bed because an adventure like that needs a lot of talking about.