I HAVE been in a bit of, indeed a lot of, a state today. More distracted than usual even though I have been up early and organised my contribution to the day’s shoot at a friend’s farm.

My responsibilities are usually limited to the after lunch refreshments and choccies. In fact on this particular day I am also in charge of setting up the shoot wagon for the lunch time soup and pork pies as no other wives are available. It is a welcome break though from fighting through woods or plodding over muddy fields, so it can take a long while to get things organised I find. As long as possible in fact.

My main worry today though has been for my grandson. His speech, academic and cognitive abilities are severely limited. Since his diagnosis at the age of three, 12 years ago, he has only attended schools that are designated for children on the challenging end of the autistic spectrum.

Despite this my grandson is very loving, adores Thomas the Tank Engine and is a whizz on his iPad, laptop and computer in sourcing programmes that feature Toy Story characters. My son-in-law has constructed the most magnificent rail track in a loft conversion and my daughter is absolutely devoted to his care. All this while both of them work as a GP and consultant surgeon respectively, and support my 16-year-old granddaughter on her Olympic pathway for discus and shot.

But recently, in fact, almost overnight, my grandson’s behaviour has changed. His very limited speech has ceased completely, all the Thomas trains at his house and ours are untouched, the rail track gathers dust, he will only eat if fed, has lost nearly two stone and actually sleeps through the night. There is barely any interaction at all. I looked after him last week while his Mum and Dad had a few days away and he only once spoke to me, which was reproachfully, as I was taking him out in the car and had forgotten to put his shoes on when dressing him. “Shoes, shoes” he repeated mournfully to me. I was devastated. How could I have forgotten.

So today, all obvious reasons and adolescence being ruled out, he has had a brain scan. My daughter did not want me there, but she wanted me available. Not easy in the middle of woods. But late this afternoon the results came through. Not an aneurysm, not a tumour and not a stroke. Just a mystery still and a wait for the formal report. My daughter although mystified, is relieved that nothing sinister has been spotted and is hoping that time itself may be a great healer.