Tuesday, 25 December 2007

More flu.....

Just as we thought all was OK

This flu kicked back in an the boss has expired in exhaustion.

I am just about staggering on.

This is like 2000 all over again.

That was a great celebration of milennium and I slept through it.


And a merry Xmas was in store....

So of course dawned the glorious day and soon the sound of happy brawling childer echoed round the halls. As presents were opened and the race to break them was on. This house celebrated peace on earth with gunfire and explosions.

Naturally we had bought every size of battery apart from the ones we needed.

Of course, we are in the grips of weather, the AGA which is a fantastic stove for cooking is entirely dependent on wind direction and atmospherics for it's operation so naturally these have gone all to cock.

Copious determination has persuaded the log stove to light and that is delivering well.

The AGA though has gone on strike.

Our huge side of pork has taken a mere 8 hours and is nearly done.

Vegetables though just aren't happening.

Not really sure what we are going to do.

I know, I'll go find the corkscrew....

As if I hadn't hours ago.......

Merry Xmas to you all, we should have ours in a few days time.


Friday, 21 December 2007

Siberia blast.

This morning has dawned wild and wolly.

This Artic blast clearly begun somewhere in the distant North and gained nothing in Warmth as it traveled South over the frozen Steppes, crossed icy oceans and made landfall somewhere in the distant east on it's way to deliver a chill to us here on our mountain.

This is not a wind of industriousness though, not going round anything, lazily it cuts through the hapless fire wood cutter wrapped up in a vain hope of warmth.

30 minutes is about my limit for waving the heavy fire engine axes at the fire wood, then it's in the house and de frost before another 30 minutes of heroism.

At least I have the consolation that the first load of wood will soon be delivering a welcome warm red glow against the black canvas of the log stove.

There is something of unique comfort in a log fire on a cold day.


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Back in the land of the living

It has only taken a week and at last i am back in the land of the semi living.

Way behind schedule we left the plague house intent on restocking the larder following a week of weakness.

Fire wood can wait till tomorrow when hopefully the wind might abate a bit.

Today was shopping day.

First stop Bookers the cash and carry where all the small traders on Mamon bent were stocking for the last minute.

much of the Xmas stuff already on "remainder". Bought all the kids Crimbo choccies for way under half retail.

Then bravely into Aldi before girding up our loins for and donning our armour for Tesco.

With "peace on earth" in full swing it was time to dodge the crazed old psychotic charioteers.

Side steps and dodges rule as old biddies with a dread gleam set about getting their yuletide fare.

Asking no quarter and certainly giving none either.

A few years back, in the town where I was brought up, ownership of the last turkey was sorted in the supermarket with the loser getting a trip in a big white van...

Xmas really is no fun any more.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Welcome to the plague house

Well it has all sure been happening here.

Spent most of the week with my nurses uniform on. Various kids are not well; a really awfull flu that knocks you for six for several days.

Imbetween times I have been splitting wood, more close encounters of the seasoned oak kind which are very good on the warm house front but less helpful in the shoulders and arms aching stakes.

I am sure I will be super fit at the end of all this but currently I would settle for not being in pain.

Management god bless her has succumbed, took to her bed days ago and has not been seen since. Only the odd groan to remind that she is alive, must go she is due her medication.


Sunday, 9 December 2007

On the first day of......

Funny you know,

Management and I were sitting there today discussing serious issues like whose turn it was to go and put the kettle on

Anyway with such important matters resolved it was on with the telly and the Sunday morning politics and everything else.

Today the themes were Xmas and the myriad problems it generates.

Funny though, there was the long tome about all the problems of drinking, how festive excess is terribly bad

Next came eating and how festive excess is terribly bad.

But actually lets think out of the box here.

We are told that we don't love our children if they do not have the latest PS wii Xbox, if we don't have the very latest toys already bought for them then we are failures as parents.

If we don't have the latest whatever the latest is, then we don't love our partners enough and we are failures.

In fact if we don't have thousands on the hip to blow and spend the rest of the year struggling to pay off we are a failure.

Isn't it time maybe we looked at the real problem of Xmas.....

An excessive festival of greed and consumption.


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

the green goddess in pictures.

  1. The pump works
  1. 3 branches and going for it!
Sad sight, 50 years in careful storage and now only fit for scrap

3 years in the open and it looks sad.
My four lined up

Hundreds just waiting to be cut up.



Just another woodland wednesday.

My first effort at this was posted whilst still blank. Very appropriate.

Another quiet management less Wednesday but one where she left barking the crisp instruction :

"Tidy up"

I have sort of complied but mainly spent the day marchalling our dwindling supply of firewood.

The fires are out as an economy measure but will need to go back in soon before the freezing management comes back off the top of her mountain.

The wood situation is becoming a bit critical. The holidays cannot come soon enough we need the kids at home so we can get some serious woodcutting done.

Every year in a wave of good intentions we vow to spend April and May cutting wood. Of course this year we had the house on the market and were expecting not to be here, at least that was my excuse.

The result has been a saw to fire winter so far, running very close to the wind.

Not ideal really firewood needs a bit of time on the ground before you burn it.

But the weather is well short of optimal for anything of an outdoors type.

So I suppose "tidy up" has a certain appeal.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Confessions of a would be tree thief.

Today with the onset of the yule, a festival which I try to have as little to do with as possible I might add.... Management and I went off on Xmas tree bent.

Braving the rising wind we donned warm everything armed ourselves with her ferocious looking forestry tools and set off for the common.

Well when I say "common" I should perhaps qualify that.

Many years ago this house and a number of other small holdings had rights to graze 500 acres of land held in common ownership. With the last war looming on the horizon the government in their wisdom took the common land and some of it ended up as a military base and some of it was planted with trees.

This in turn was the governments excuse not to hand the common land back when they closed the base. Rather they sold it on to one of their cronies.

We strode, despite the buffeting wind, up the long abandoned road to the long abandoned community at the head of the valley.

Prior to 1936 this had been a small group of smallholders ecking a precarious living off tiny plots of land high over the valley below.

Passing the remnants of their one room cottages we descended the hill, crossed streams and bogs before entering the forestry on Xmas tree bent.

Since we were last down here the place has been cleared. industrial tree processors ripped everything out leaving behind a waste of barren land being rapidly claimed by brambles.

There was enough wood discarded to keep us in fire wood for years, trouble was I could see no way of getting it.

Added to that the cedars edging the remaining forest were swaying in a way that it didn't need the forest manager in training to tell me was not good in the dangerous sort of way.

Retracing our steps I threw myself down to rest sheltering from the wind in shattered walls of a fallen cottage. Surrounded by the ghosts of yesterday I hid from the winds of today.

Back on the move and the wind pushed us away, on our way, till we crossed the brow of the hill and home to the comforting orange glow of the green goddess on the drive.


Monday, 3 December 2007

The cold war is over..... The green goddess is dead.

The cold war is over, well we all knew that but why am I saying that today.

As we speak in a yard in Staffordshire the end really has come for a cold war relic.

Going back as far as 1940 the UK was under serious aerial attack. Fire were everywhere and the fire services stretched. The situation was complicated since fire had traditionally been devolved to local councils each of which had their tastes and foibles, even hydrants and hoses might have different connection system between boroughs.

The solution was the formation of a National Fire Service with unified systems equipment and connections. On completion of hostilities the whole edifice was dismantled and all the equipment put into storage pending probable disposal.

Then in 1949 the iron curtain fell, the Russians had nuclear capability and back up the agenda came the notion of civil defence and a national fire service. Renamed the Auxiliary Fire Service it was reformed ready to fight the fire caused by nuclear attack.

Of course, a lot of the equipment was from the war years and had seen a lot of service. So a spec sheet was drawn up for a new Auxiliary Fire Service as part of a national Civil Defence Corps.

The backbone of the AFS would be the mobile fire column, a self contained self supporting entity that could advance from undamaged areas into devastated towns and cities extinguishing all as it went along.

The idea was that water would be pumped from rivers and lakes which might be some distance away to extinguish fires so a vast fleet of personnel carriers, hose layers, communications vehicles was ordered.

The central vehicle though was the self propelled pump, the green goddess.

Originally built on the 2 wheel drive Bedford S chassis from about 1955 these were built on the Bedford RL 4 ton 4 wheel drive truck by about a dozen coachbuilders. To appreciate how far ahead of the rest Bedford were in those days you really have to try the competition.

As an illustration trucks were limited back then to 20 mph, the green goddess fully laden easily tops 45, more than twice that.

Of course the whole idea was a joke and the H bomb made the idea of concerted fire fighting in the immediate post strike period improbable to be polite....

This being the UK of course the organisation carried on till 1968 when a cash strapped government called time on the Civil Defence and put everything into storage, in case it was ever needed.

Yet more time passed and in about 1973 the decision was made to sell the lot off.

This being Government this was a slow process and when the drought hit in 1975 they were suddenly in need of extra capacity to move water in bulk and realised they were sitting on the very kit they needed, all the old Civil Defence gear they had just decided to sell.

Came 1977 and the first national fire strike and a reversal of the original policy was on the cards.

This was only a partial reversal however. Many of 4 wheel drive Green goddesses and the bulk pumping hoses were retained and a quantity of the lighter 4 wheel drives. Everything else was to go.

It's a measure of the inertia that a full 25 years after the civil defence stood down, they were still closing stores and selling off gear!

By the mid 1990's all that remained was centralised in a store at Marchington in Staffordshire where, in an air of quiet efficiency around 1000 green goddess fire engines were held in storage together with a vast stock of spares and parts. At any time 40 vehicles were immediately available and the whole fleet had to be ready to go given 21 days notice.

You might have thought there would be not much call for a forty year old green fire engines when there were bang up to date red ones already out there, and you would be wrong.

You see the Sigmund pump fitted to the GG is one of the best ever for shifting water in bulk. When the centre of Chichester was threatened by flood water the 18 GG deployed could move 4 times the amount of water of a modern fire pump.

In fact for their original role they are still king. If your house was on fire send for a red engine, if the whole town was ablaze the green one would be far more use!

When fires threatened to engulf the moors in Yorkshire the modern fire engines had to stop 4 miles short, the GG crews simply engaged 4 wheel drive.

Then of course there was the millennium, come 2000 no one was sure what was going to happen, what would work and what would not. They knew though there were no computers to go wrong in a GG!

Finally 2002 and the fire fighters strike. There were still 1000 GG left but the military was a ghost of it's strength in 1977. Just 800 could be crewed and, despite claims to the contrary they gave a very good account of themselves.

A radical change of equipment fit was ordered and was slowly being introduced.

Then almost out of the blue on the 14 February 2005 it was announced the government would do a "market test" 40 were sent down for disposal.

In the feeding frenzy that followed over 7 thousand sterling a unit was generated. Someone in Whitehall saw pound signs and the whole bunch were dumped on the market at once.

The price plummeted and the sale stalled. Had they been sold at what the market would pay many more might have found new uses, but the heels were dug in and the money demanded.

I bought four for not a lot more than I would have paid for one of the first 40.

And now the inevitable is happening. The sad remnants, vehicles that have spent nearly 3 years in the open, are being cut up.

This summer the heart of England flooded, the very thing they needed was the green goddess fleet.

In fact 20 of their new owners volunteered to go and help, giving a pumping capacity of just under 24 million gallons of water a day. They were turned down, would not the government have looked fools. Having scraped them then needing them desperately.

So today the last of the thousand survivors of the thousands of Civil defence vehicles are being broken up and sold for scrap.

I for one feel a little bit sad.

There is a yahoo group for RL owners - seek it out.


Friday, 30 November 2007

Days of contrasts

It's funny how days contrast each other.

The last few stand alone.

Today was to be a quiet day, no chain saw means no wood cutting and so we had a quiet leisurely one in prospect.

It would of course have been a help had one of us bothered to read the letter from the little school, we would have known about the inset day for the teachers and the closed school.

That would have good to include in plans..

So this morning we fell out the door on firewood bent, not cutting but bringing into the house and stacking in the dry ready for the forecast rain.

Then it was out for the day shopping.

An 8 and 10 year old in tow did nothing to enhance the experience.

There is some clown out there who says inflation is 2-3%; they are telling porkies.

Our food bill has really climbed this year and it was starting to hurt.

So it was into the wholesaler this morning and clear the shelves of stuff that was on end of life discount.

Ten loaves of bread for 21p each all destined for the freezer, far preferable to over a pound at Tesco.

2 percent?

You having a laugh?

Bread has really jumped this year!

Catering packs of short date chicken and turkey for under ten pounds.

Enough to deliver a lot of meals for not a lot of money.

There is a kind of inverse logic to this.

When food was relatively cheap we ate a lot more processed and prepared food.

Now it is dear we cook food and the quality of the menu has gone through the ceiling.

Even burgers are far nicer if you make them than if you buy them.

Today, it was big slices of chicken breast rolled around cheese with smoked bacon on the outside.

All held together with a skewer lightly coated with olive oil (French import) and baked in the Aga.

Set off with roast potatoes (5 pounds a bag) and

Fried shallots and mushrooms completed the meal and frankly; wow, it was great.

This was, of course the managements contribution.

I have a few recipes of my own, we used to holiday working in a restaurant in Brittany and I would commend that to all.

The ability to cook is a priceless skill and an endless pleasure.

Something we would both observe though.

Go to your local supermarket tomorrow and set out to cook a meal.

Oh yes chicken ding you can do:

Five minute microwave - ding and done.

Go to your supermarket to get ingredients to cook a meal and I bet you will find the range limited and selection poor.

We are headed for factory food.

Depressing eh??

Depressing too that our Vic was again remanded.

She is remanded til just before crimbo, no chance she will be out before the yule being realistic.

How the system works, or rather does not.

Not so depressing the weather.

There are people who live for hot weather.

Tonight the gale crashes into our house dumping it's rain to batter my bedroom velux.

A rattle of rain will light my night.

Off to watch the Tudors on beeb one.


Thursday, 29 November 2007

bedsteads and broomhandles.

There are doubtless great charms to living in the country on top of a hill.

Summer sunshine dances in through the door and invites us to walk out and partake of the view which is truly breathtaking.

The house is for sale too by the way.....

Winters offer a far more savage beauty yesterday winter rain hurled itself viciously against the patio doors driven by a brutal gale.

Management, bless her had abandoned me, off to trudge mountains, fell trees and brave the wild elements.

This in turn left me in charge of housework of which I took great care to do neither too much nor too well. After all I could not have her thinking she was not indispensable.

And of course my main function, keeping the home fires burning in the log stove.

This in turn meant a frantic break from cover to fill the wood basket a feat achieved at no small cost in the getting wet and windswept stakes.

Still as I sat there basking in warmth, I spared a thought for her on top of her woody hill near Cardigan, felling mighty oaks and enjoying the breeze.

I did consider phoning her to tell her of some crisis that required her immediate attendance but thought that would just spoil her fun.

Teatime came and hot on collecting the childer, cold home came management.

I have heard of people having the blues but the mistress of all we owe money on truly was blue.

Several hours in a hot bath were indicated so several hours of hither and thither around the family were done instead.

Today is a different day' a lovely crisp midwinter sun day.

Getting the firewood was a brave T shirt wearing affair, I almost envy her the woodland.

Me? I get to demolish our old bed.

A heroic divan that has defied many trampolining children over the years Until last week when Gwion and Tiger managed what none before had done. They broke it.

Now, I am a natural recycler and, being not much over 3o years old I suggested repair, but profligate management would had none of it and a brand new bed and mattress have been delivered this very minute.

Still ours is not to reason, certainly not with the MD it isn't......

And I have put the cordless on charge ready for when I get back from town fetching her axe.


Yes full of the spirit of romance I bought my beloved a felling axe as an early Xmas present, to go with the shovel and the jigsaw I bought her on previous years.

Xmas is a long way off, but it is time to cast about for a suitably romantic yultetide token of love, I was thinking about a cement mixer......

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Mundane day in store.

It is great sometimes to have a day you know will be fairly quiet.

The weeks travails have taken their toll and the chainsaw is refusing to.

Refusing to saw that is, the continuous unfeasably hard oak cutting has blunted it to a point where chain file might be a better name, so in the interests of interest me and er are off this morning to arrange a sharpening.

Whilst I was outside yesterday waving an axe about management managed to get an update on the Vic.

She is in court again on Friday, or not, as maybe there will be no psychiatric reports that the judge ordered for him to look at.

Personally, I have a bad feeling about this. I think he will just pot her anyway.

The baby remains with his dad amid "increasing concerns" due to dad having more form than ladbrookes.

The leaving care SW had that tone of detachment which says it won't be her decision and she will make sure everyone knows it wasn't...

But of course "increasing concerns" are natural, babies can be taken into care and easily adopted and that is a number on the annual tick box report of Children's Services.

Or put another way whiping this child out and having him adopted will look good on paper.

Do his best interests figure in there any where?

You tell me......


Monday, 26 November 2007

The times they are a changing.....

Now for many years I have lived with the notion of step kids.

Foster kids are hard work but well at the end of the day you can always deliver them back to the district office and their world with them.

Step kids are a different matter they are still there in the morning.

To be fair,

With her Git, Serenity delivered hours of amusement.

Perfecto had been perfect entertainment.

But alas all has changed.

Serenity has a new boyfriend who sounds like he would not turn up at your house only because there is no beer at his.

Perfecto's girlfriend is a really nice girl.

Though I must say, since he has had a girlfriend the local sheep look a lot more relaxed.

Far be it for me to suggest.......


Caring society

We live as we all know in a caring society.

Let me introduce you to D

At age 12 his mum took up with a child sex offender, lots of people seem to have known this at the time but no one had 20 p so they could not pick up the fone.

4 years went on and this CHILD kept himself and his sister safe, he was truly heroic.

Came 16 and, very much traumatised the young person bails out from home and comes up as homeless. The caring services leave him in a B&B where he rapidly sinks into a life of drugs and petty crime which duly results in a call to explain himself to the magistrates.

This in turn means a supervised living placement with two elderly people, for the first time in years he feels safe, engages and begins to be the person he could be.

So of course soon his probation order ends, and back to B&B he goes.

One wonders when the abuse will end....


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Fun days......

So anyway having chopped up a forest of oak for firewood the management went off for her weekly rest days in the forestry.

As she arrived they announced her task for the day would be:

To fell a couple of oak trees........

She did not actually burst into tears but....

Much later she came home and was like a corpse walking.

Today she has gone again, apparently they need a few more trees chopping down....

This has left me alone to face the onslaught of social workers on statutory review bent.

Naturally, the wind has changed direction and neither log stove is particularly keen to play.

So instead of welcoming warmth they will be greeted by smoking sulkiness.

So I am fighting to keep them going whilst at the same time clearing up and of course dealing with da man who went outside this morning and was there maybe a touch too long as he now seems to need significant reassurance.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

endangered species

Now, global warming has put at risk many native species around the globe.

But now I introduce another source of danger, the new UK Children's Act.

This act will send to extinction the out of county foster carer, people just like me.

Traditionally thinking about children in care has wavered and vascilated blown hither and thither on the winds of care fashion.

Huge barracks, little barracks, adoption, fostering, all have been in and out of vogue.

The thinking for distance foster care was the concept of a new start, a clean break.

Now there is a mythology around care, Social Work with problem families improves outcome for children. There is prescious little evidence to support this.

But the great and the good have had their thought and, for the future, the practice of moving kids round the country will cease.

Everyone will be brought up in the same neighborhood as they were taken into care from.

Whether another one size fits all policy will work only time will tell.

And me? Like the dodo and the dinosaur, I will be extinct......


pain in muscles I never knew were there

There is a saying, no pain no gain.

Well there must be serious gain because am I ever in pain.....

Two days on the chain saw, with wood lugging axe waving and general slogging to keep us from being bored and I have pains in muscles I was not aware I had.

We also have loads of really good wood just before it is set to turn cold.

But goodness me my everywhere hurts.


Monday, 19 November 2007

Lovely days

So with the weather on the business side of brr, it was outside and up firing the chain saw.

Loads of waving it about later and we were left with an impressive pile of wood.

I find the chainsaw is particularly good just after a planning meeting or a particularly idiotic phone call from some well meaning agency.

But I digress, naturally you cannot burn the wood as it comes from the chainsaw, no sir it needs splitting.

This is where the Green goddess excells, about time my green goddesses made it into my blog.

They come with a serious amount of kit most of it dating from the 1950's.

This is so much better than having modern tools.

This wood is seasoned oak and splitting it is so much easier with these old tools than the modern stuff I have.

My particular favourite is a little fire fighters hand axe by Elwell, this is a wonderfully balanced little device. With this in hand and backed up with a full size fire axe and a sledge hammer we made short work of the wood.

Getting oak to light is a bit of a struggle but with both log stoves going the house is wonderfully warm.


cynicism is us........

There is a part of me that is for ever open to new experiences.

Now today another new one, a suprise, a plop on the mat (no it wasn't da man) delivered a letter from none other than the Vic.

Vic of course also being a generic medicine used to treat nasal problems and traveling under the moto Vic gets up your nose.

Yes quite.

Actually it was a charming little note, what could not fail to impress was serious progress in the writing department। I suspect someone might have been helping her with her grammer as well.

All in all I was very impressed.

Of course the cynic in me was awakened.

Apparently, Vic has had enough of her old chaotic life. Translation - she wants to run away and she wants me and er to sort her out.

Not a problem, will involve copious tuff luv but we will help her do that.

She has told the SW a few facts and it turns out the baby dad has more form than red rum. Funny that, it was about the second thing I said after they said he was looking after the baby.

The first thing I said being rather less than polite and implying he was a devoted follower of Onan.

She imparted the glad tidings that her parents and numerous relatives will be in court for her on the day. "Now that should be interesting" I thought, knowing her familly there is bound to be major theatricals possibly even a good old wild west style fracas. "That should add a year to the sentence" my brain mused.

Then when she had been freed, she would collect her baby and come down to west Wales with us.

Sounded alarm bells in the distance.....

Ahh yes, the next time she went off one, we would be left holding the baby......

I can see it now.

Now, management mused that with P moving on, as one a door closes another opens.

Or as I put it a door closes, someone comes through the wall

in a tank.....

Friday, 16 November 2007

Who needs children in need....

Every year here in the OK we get a serious outbreak of charity.

Children in need.

Now, per se, looking out for each other is not such a bad thing, in fact life would be a damn sight more sensible.

But is children in need about children or need for that matter.

I really really wonder what purpose these things serve.

Personally, I have worked with needy children for a rather long time.

I am not sure that having a beano fest once a year for which sir tel probably gets paid a fair whack is really helping me do my job.

I would go further, not a penny that I can remember has made it to me.

Then lets go a bit further, I would not really want charity money because someone is ready to give it.

I think i would rather have money because I need it to do my job.

And often I really need it to do my job and I can't have it.

That makes me wonder.

What we know about donations to charities is that those with less tend to give proportionately more.

What we know about tax is that those with lots object to paying anything. But will argue, at the same time that the tear drop benefit fraud is a blight on the sea of tax evasion.

We need to develop real and proper mind sets.

Kids need, they have.

Whats so hard about that?

Children in need is about the rich encouraging the less rich to feel good about giving money to a fund which might eventually give the money to children who need it.

How about a different approach:

From each according to their means to each according to their need.

Simple and might even work .


Thursday, 15 November 2007

But of course the day was not over......

Meeting over, well if you could grace it with the title.

We pointed the trusty Rover towards England the nick and Vic.

Now our gps gave me a puzzling arrival time which would call for all the MD's considerable mad driving skills to bring back to the time we were supposed to arrive. This was odd but the MD put the pedal to the metal and we went for it.

Thinking that was a hell of a long time to get to where we were going, a suspiscion formed. I checked the time on the GPS, oh dear, it was still set on European time. The speed crazed MD was trying to make up an hour to get there, when I could make make it up by pushing a few buttons....

Eventually we arrived and the ritual depersonalisation of the prison system began. Through locked gate into inner cordon, empty all our lives into a locker and wait for first gate to lock before second opens. Then into a crammed waiting area jammed with the crowd, on into a dismal day centre with chairs and tables that were modern once lined in regiments and bolted to the floor.

Sitting in the corner looking in her element was the Vic. She almost looked at home regimented and arranged, cared for if not about, not a care in the world.

My heart sank.

Words are a really clumsy tool but the discourse was the same old drivel the continuous harping and lack of reflection. The devoted mother who walked off and left her child with a man who had beaten the Vic. The not going back for two whole weeks, no checking no nothing.

He was nothing but a useless druggie but he was a useless druggie with her baby and all the work all the time we had devoted hadn't made her think of anyone past herself.

I remembered what I really disliked about her at 12, this wasn't the Vic who left at 16, I wanted the 16 year old, my 16 yo the girl we grew to love, back.

The terrible thing, every pore of P's mum oozes love for her son, but she could not manage to care for him. You felt nothing from Vic, none of that, she had just walked away . Serenity has had it really rough but she has never walked away from her kids.

Vic was up for a really serious charge and all she could talk about was the police being rough with her.

She had run away from life at 9 she did it again every couple of months all the way to nearly 16.

She was running away now, well, seemed like it to me.

We felt back then maybe she had turned a corner. Had we been wrong?

Were we expecting too much?


We sat silent a long time in the car on the way home.

Then in the morning I was one to her solicitor, Had he realised she was on Citalopram and that all the behaviour she had been arrested for was quite consistent with drug withdrawal?

He had the basis of a good defence, yes, we would see him in court on the 30th......

one of those days part the one.

Fostering is an odd old game, most of the time you just blunder on doing your best. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it hopelessly wrong.

P is a relative success story , he came to us about 4 years ago as a young man of 7 . He was moved miles from Daycastle precisely because his mum stuck with him. The SW didn't like mum because she had Mental Health issues and was usually dirty and always lousy.

But the years have passed he has largely caught up in school and is showing himself to be a very bright lad.

Mum always said that when she recovers she will have him back and the day is rapidly approaching.

So anyway, the big plans are rumbling on. I should add this is not the first time he has returned home each time mum has had a relapse and he ended up back in care. The last time, the matter ended in court and the judge ordered that, before he would issue a care order, she needed support at home to see if she could manage with help. We will never know really since the various services amused themselves fighting over who paid for what and in the midst of this she failed again and P came into care.

Eventually he ended up with us and has really thrived.

But here comes the abuse inside the care system, P is really well settled here, has friends in the locality, is well liked and fits in well with his new family.

Really he needs to spend more time with his mum and continue to live here keep his friends keep his school - shared care.

That looks firmly off the agenda as his mum really wants him home. we could cope with that actually.

But of course there is more. Should he go home and it all go wrong he will not return here, in fact the plan is that he never comes back again. So four years is just a line drawn in the sand he has gone - forget him.

But of course there will be help for mum won't there, there needs to be something called a service level agreement before he leaves. Silence, ahh so there are no plans to help her, but I bet they won't forget to blame is she cannot cope. He is dumped in a new area with a new school and no we don't have him going back to his mum for a week initially no apparently that will be setting her up to fail.

So mum sinks or swims and either way this 11 year old gets ripped from the community he knows and understands and gets dropped back in a poorer part of daycastle.

Go's from modest affluence to poverty, goes from a safe rural house with it's own bike course to urban car ridden streets, from holidays in Brittany to no holidays at all.

No one would call that abuse would they......


Sunday, 11 November 2007

Happy Sunday

After all the travails of the last week today started gently and well.

I was awoken from sleep, gently by the loud purring of a a da man who has now conquered 3 legged stair climbing and mastered on the bed jumping.

He had come to display affection and wake me to fuss him, something which i found very sweet.

Waking me by biting my nose was maybe not quite the best but well who cares....

Then of course, there was a further sound. Management had forgotten, or failed to switch the alarm off.

This meant it was 7 am on Sunday morning and the bloody kitten had woken me....

So, off I drifted, back to peaceful slumber, I was raised by a fearful blood curdling series of screams.

It was "murder on the west wales express", something I needed to deal with, and now.

Staggering to the landing I looked down on carnage.

My 15 yo daughter was cowering on the chair in terror .

Well OK maybe not quite.

Da man was attacking anything with feet and everything with feet was stood on chairs out of the way.

Not in any sense of malice but in that very appealing young cat way.

The Fredian in me was saying this was obviously "right number of legs envy" from the three legged cat.

Last day, Deimund the 2 yo tom was his target.

Da man da tricycle was mock fighting and deimund was coming second every time.

I am concerned for his mental health.

Look out it's da psycho kitten.....

He's lovely really.


Saturday, 10 November 2007

there's more.....

OK lets add some more.

What I just wrote did not happen today, court open on Saturdays? Don't make me laugh....


No it was Wednesday

No what happened today was the jail phoned asking if they could try and get the judges ruling overturned as Vic was really not in the right place, she needed to be moved.

Would we still take her, if so,they would try and get her bailed themselves.


Took management a hell of a long time to answer that question.....

We are off to see her next week.


Bloody hell who ever would get involved with them....


Judge Jefferies is alive and well.

Those who read my notes will know that I am a big fan of Horace Rumpole who in turn would write
about the old hanging judges who would cheerfully order muffins in their club having just sentenced a man to hang.

Now, Rumpole is some character but at the end of the day he is just a creation, big Vee of course is not.

Lets give her a better name, lets call her Vic.

Well I met Vic when she was about 12 and she was a right little madam. Life had dealt her cards from the middle and bottom of the pack and really she didn't know what it was all about poor lass.

Frankly, as 12 she was quite a bitch and not an easy person to lice at all.

But years passed and my family stuck with her. Management would give her regular doses of reality therapy her Social Worker was the best and by the time she was about 15 she really was someone to be proud of knowing.

I remember she turned 16 and said that she could not wait to be 21 so she could apply to be a foster carer like er and me, it filled me with pride, as did the thought that should anything happen to me and the boss Vic would be the very person we would want looking out for her "brothers and sisters".

Of course 16 is not a good time for children in the system and she was handed over to the "leaving care " team. Never was a name more apt.

She was at this stage lined up to do a number of GCSE's and there were several people out there cuing up to offer her a job based on the times she had previously worked for them.

Things were looking good.

But of course leaving care changed all that.

I am not going to detail the exact mess, but suffice it to say that by this July the wheels were off her cart big style, she was 19 homeless jobless and literally holding the baby for a boyfriend who regularly used her as a punch bag.

We had been sporadically in touch and then she vanished.

Fast forward a few months and it's leaving care, who have not of course spoken to her for months and they want to know if we have a clue where she is.

She had taken off leaving the baby and they wanted to know who was to look after him.

Now, maybe I was a bit harsh on the boyfriend since he seems to have stepped in and has been delivering parenting for the baby at a level where at least they are not looking to take him away anyway.

But of course let look see, young Vic has been deprived of the one thing she had to keep her stable, the baby and presumably has gone over the edge a bit.

Some weeks ago some of Daycastles finest were about their business early one morning when they happened to notice young Vic a wandering down the street.

Hard to miss really as at the time she was waving a meat clever about in a most alarming manner, threatening to do all sorts to the B/F and leaking blood all over the street from where she had been practising slashing him by cutting herself.

Despite all the agitation she rapidly put the knife down and got in the Police car for a little ride to central.

All things cleared and she was not charged but was bailed to appear at some stage in the future.

She had obviously enjoyed all of this because not that many days later she was at it again. a group of party goers came across her in the middle of town in the early hours waving a carving knife.

They were worried enough to point this out to a couple of old bill who duly went to check and indeed found our Vic slumped in a shop doorway threatening ill harm to all and sundry something the effect of which was diminished by her throwing the knife away as the officers approached and rolling herself into a wailing foetal ball.

Now, one thing lead to another and in due course she was hauled before the magistrates and her social worker summoned too. SW duly tried to raise us and quickly discovered that we were not there, out in France as it happens.

This was important stuff so we phoned leaving care who quite happily let us pay for the international call and asked if we would have her bailed to us. though of course they did not want this to happen enough to put their hands in their pockets.

Not that money would ever be a bar to her since she is one of ours now.

And this is not the first time since she left we have dropped everything and gone and done what any parent would do for their child.

But I digress, not having anywhere to give as an address young Vic was invited by her Maj to stay at her place, one of her prisons in fact.

This week she was shipped back into court and with kids in skool and management off ripping down trees I duly turned up in court to collect the body or so I thought..

Well, wrong is us, I had of course only gone there to collect so I looked like the dog's breakfast and a long way for the smart well presented person I normally am, well OK so I lie.

But anyway I found she had a solicitor and this guy seemed relaxed and pretty confident we would spring her.

The only fly in the ointment being the judge. I am not naming names but he is known as SCUD, he is known for going off in any direction.

Taking my seat in the back of court I settled to watch the great British justice system in action.

I quickly concluded that the judge was really judge Jefferey's re incarnate and was out to dispense justice to an unjust world. I don't know what he gets off on but clearly whoever was supposed to have whipped him the night before had not been trying hard enough or maybe there were no pineapples for sale in Tescos and he had to go to bed without one inserted up his bum.

A series of bizarre statements in other cases later and it was "our" turn.

Vic was brought up from her cell, looking every inch the hard girl.

Well until she saw me sitting at the back of the court and the little glance, the look of relief and dare I say hope, told a different tale.

The vulnerable little girl she always hid so well popped out for a second. The little scared 9 year old replaced the tough looking 19 year old for the briefest of seconds.

Then the act was back on and you know act it was.

Because really young Vic was just doing more of what she does.

She is the toughest kid on the block, you ask her she will tell you. Faced with a fight you had better have a big army to hold her back because if she gets her hands on you there's going to be trouble. Shame she only ever does things like this when there are people there to hold her back.....

So a Vic with a knife is about as frightening and threatening as a kid with an ice cream.

Knives for her are not weapons in a war but props in an act.

Of course I know that because I know my Vic.

But of course, "judge Jefferies" was having none of it, he was concerned about her wandering about with knives. A little tussle over the facts did nothing to change his view;

Yes she might have used the knives on no one bar herself.

Yes, the Police took her in quietly

Yes the members of the public said they were concerned for her not scared of her.

Yes I would take her 100 miles away.

No he did not want to see the psychiatric reports.

No he did not want to talk to me.

This was justice by numbers

She was going down, whats more she was coming back to crown court so they could really give her a proper decent sentence.

He looked longingly round for a birch I reckon and then not seeing one decided he could not make a start right then.

Now I am not a bleeding heart and not going to deny she was tooled up.

And i definitely believe in people carrying the can for what they have done.

But this is an incredibly vulnerable young person whose life was screwed by a system.

And the judge was going to blindly keep it going.

I nearly got to my feet then thought that me being in the cell for contempt of a contemptible court in a contemptible system was going to help not at all.

Instead I clean forgot to bow to the judge on my way out of court, as gestures go not a lot but I saw the judge note the gesture.

I left the court and came home.

Going to have to work out how to spring her.....


Sunday, 4 November 2007

What a strange week.

Now when we go away it's not supposed to be like this...

Last week I pointed the trustee IVECO South and nothing but nothing went wrong.

We made Plymouth with time to take the kids to see ratawotsit the new Pixar film.

A film that got mixed reviews from the kids.

Then on to the ferry which sailed on time and arrived on time.

On to our house in Brittany and frankly a good disaster free week was enjoyed by all.

To top it all. We arrived back admittedly after a long day yesterday and this morning, down in the rugby field the under 15's took on the arguably the best of the local teams and beat them in a grueling match.

Of course there was a social work event to intrude.

That can be another posting for tomorrow.


Sunday, 28 October 2007

A taste of things to come.......

So tomorrow we are off.

Tomorrow night it's ferry and Brittany.

The weather forecast says two degrees warmer than here by day.

Ten degrees cooler by night.

Did I mention the central heating, double glazing and insulation in our house in Brittany?

I dare say I didn't,

Mainly because there isn't any.....

Could be a cool scene.....

Oh and here,

Management has been trying to run a bath and it's well, shall we say cool.

Then we noticed the boiler is dead.

As I was fiddling with the switches I realised it was no power type dead.

With that, the tumble drier burst into life and the central heating lights flicked on..

This is a real good omen.

Could be a week of chaos and anarchy in store .


Friday, 26 October 2007

it started with a blog....

It started innocently enough with a blog.

Then management discovered Yahoo questions and she is now spending her evenings sorting out others lives.

At least of course she has her two day forestry course for respite and relaxation.

And she spent yesterday discussing trees and errrh well talking with a 17 yo foster child who is on the course with her.

He had never thought how when his mum moved a known paedophile in with them that he showed a lot of courage and strength to protect his sister.

He had not thought how he was the child and that all those adults who knew about this man owed them a duty of care and should have done something about their situation.

He spent last Xmas, at 16 in a B&B, with no presents no phone calls, no anything, he was scared he might mess up again and have to do so again this year.

They call them "looked after children", how well was he looked after??

Management is guarding what she does for a living like her own personal secret on that course.

Of course one of the young people is someone we used to do sessional work with some years ago and knows exactly what we do.

She has sworn him to silence...

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

a fun time in prospect.....

We have taken the plunge, following a bit of prevarocation we will be braving Brittany in October next week

The weather promises to be better than here and we have penned in a schedule for Monday.

Contact for kids then set off for Plymouth at about tea time.

With a fair wind we will make the ferry with time to spare and luxury of luxuries the ferry lands at 8 am (normal is 6.30).

That will be a gentle trundle down to the house in the mornign for a quiet shop in the intermarche and a laid back lunch.

Of course this is all the PLAN and the PLAN never happens to us.

Not sure I will be able to share, there is no current plan to take anything internet anything with us.

Could go quiet for a while, it could be because we are having fun, it could be calamity unfolding....


Monday, 22 October 2007

Another week another mess up

Well, up and at em!!!

Another week starts as it usually does.

Complete misunderstanding with a SW saw a mum on the phone to arrange the half term contact with her son as sanctioned by SW.

Of course with lines completely crossed SW was arranging contact for half term there (this week) and I was laying out contact for half term here (next week)

Thankfully all is now sorted and this time next Monday I should be pointing the IVECO east and heading off for a day in Daycastle followed by a trip down the M5 to catch the overnight ferry for Brittany and nearly a week out there.

Need to go the coffee reserve in the freezer is at a perilous low and we are running out of wine too!!!

Of course a week is a long time in festerland and we had a long night last night with a child who has some horrid virus.

Thus the poor lad is stuck at home today, having leaked all over his bedroom several times last night and running the kind of temperature that means we can use him to warm rooms....

Off to purchase a drum of calpol this morning I think, Calpol is a stock item but of course Serenity came to visit over the weekend and one of hers has the same bug and of course Calpol costs money.....


Saturday, 20 October 2007

A motoring epic.....

Well the great Bedford parts sags continues......

Bright and early Thursday evening off set no one son Taliesin and me for Manningtree.

The trip up was an uneventful drone up the m 4, 25 11 and onwards.

Eventually at a bracing 1 am with the mist dropping and everything starting to freeze we rolled up. This was exactly what I needed whilst still suffering full the blown bubonic plague she has just downgraded to a slight cold mainly because she has recovered.

I found a convenient nature reserve and down we put our roots for the night.

I have slept in colder conditions, not sure when, but I must have.

The dawn arrived and through the ice locked windows I was able to take in the nature reserve which seemed to be a place where people were invited to sit next to the river and admire the nettles and brambles.

Morning of course means coffee and yes I remembered the stove, yes I packed the matches, water there was too, unfortunately kettle.........

We are nothing of not ingenious and soon the frying pan full of water was boiling merrily.

Coffee consumed bacon cooked and having been given a quick wipe whilst warm, I was soon ready to go with the next batch of coffee. it didn't taste too odd either.

On to our destination and unfeasible amounts of gear went in the van and it's huge trailer.

This in turn meant a departure at 12.30, plenty of time for the trip home one would have thought.

One of course thought without of vagaries of our wonderful motorway system.

The traffic thickened about 8 k's short of the M4 and then stayed congested pretty much the whole of the 130 miles to Cardiff.


So it was I got home at 11 pm last night.

Up bright and early and the van reversed into the field with the trailer attached vanished right up to the axles.

Time to fire up the fire engine and with a green goddess on the front out came the ensemble and in I wend to a second go.

Eventually the trailer was empty and lunch ready so out we came and spent the afternoon unloading lots of pure unobtanium destined to make me rich on the evilbay.

Well, in my dreams...


Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Git the great free thinker.

Now it has come to pass that we have found out that the great Git's entrepreneurial pillaging of the bank account has netted him a cool 1800 pounds.

Serenity has made sure that much of the pain of his financial enterprise this last few years is likely to become the problem of those daft enough to have lent the two of them money, courtesy of a flurry of letters drawn up for her by the excellent Citizens Advice Bureaux she stands to get much of it written off.

But of course GIT has been to the bank and woe was him, no money was forthcoming,
this of course created the sort of minor problem that brings out the best and most resourceful in that paragon of manhood.

Much much later the GITmum came home from indulging in the indignity of labour. Unlike her sons she holds down a job.

Git mum went into the house and, the cupboard was bare, as was the living room and the front room and indeed much of the house.

Git the great, the resourceful, the professor of cunning at Oxford University had held an impromptu sale and sold all the furniture.

You could not make this stuff up could you???


Monday, 15 October 2007


OK we got it right.

It was ebola fever, in fact it was bubonic plague as well.

She has got it too so now it must be the real thing.

All we need now is for the kids to get it and our misery will be complete.....



I am suffering from ebola fever - has to be...

She said something about pulling self together and slight head cold.

She was also drawing entirely spurious links to the rather decent vin rouge that got opened last night in celebration of rugby.

Yesterdays big game of course being Fishguard under 15 against Haverfordwest. Hwest generally being thought of as the top team locally and who arrived expecting an easy victory. Suprises all round then when the Fguard team popped two tries over and converted them with only a consolation try going to H'west. 14 -5 god result!!

We have never beaten H'west before, the coaches tried to hide their jubilation. They didn't do a very good job......


Saturday, 13 October 2007

Sweet Saturday

God was I knackered.

Loads and I mean loads of stuff out of the back of the van yesterday.

Having loaded it all Thursday, driven 600 miles, out if all had to come yesterday.

Boy did I have fun....

But it's done and thats what counts.

Today, having fought off da man who has been attacking any feet bold enough to venture near his aga.

Coffee is boiling, bacon had been eaten and you tube viewed.

My old mate Meic Stevens is prominent and also Budgie a band I used to like ages ago when I had the benefits of youth....

Of course next it has to be "green goddess pumping" our Gloria the glorious strutting it's stuff in the valley.


Thursday, 11 October 2007

GPS resurected.....

OHHHH My beard and whiskers.

Did I ever live to regret my own words.

Following a fairly quiet trip up I noticed the M25 was actually blocked solid by an accident.

So pointing the hevily loaded IVECO at Wales off I set "cross country"

Well cross country was exactly like the M25 with roundabouts.

Major mega grief and complication later I picked up the motorway much further along.

It saved a whole hour on the trip but the navigate with a map while driving without being on on the wrong side of the road/ T boning the truck / crashing the car / banging the bike was soo complex it took about a day off my life.

NEVER again.....

Was I ever relieved to hear that sweet voice:

"in 1.4 km enter roundabout....."

Monday, 8 October 2007

A suprise of serenities.

Now those who of who read this as an extension of a thread going back long into history will Know I have emigrated from a fostering support web group.

The name Serenity will have triggered an excited anticipation. You see, Serenity, my beloved step daughter, devotes her life to providing me with good quality materiel to string together in words and pass in lessons of the most salutary sort on to others.

To recap, following many years of pregnancies, childer, jobs gained (by him) and lost over the trivial matter of late night porn watching extravaganzas, hard work by serenity holding it together, money earned by her and put in envelopes for the rent, only to mysteriously disappear just before his brothers went to a Xmas party, oh yes it has been one jolly festival.

Life has produced an endless supply of the sort of stuff you could not possibly make up.

But no more.

Sanity has infected Serenity, well not quite.

Since the big move to her new house things have been a bit chaotic and there was a time when Serenity did not see a bank statement for a few months.

Git of course has been struggling manfully to survive on no money, certainly he owes her a bit in maintenance for the kids . This being mainly due to an ongoing dispute with employers over whether his wages are simple largesse or rewards for his labour. "Hard work" and "GIT" not historically having lived in the same sentence too well or too often.

Whilst he comes from a family where Bingo is classed as a game of skill, GIT is nothing if not resourceful. And, when Blackadder describes the professor of cunning at oxford university, this is the very stock from which they breed.

So anyway last week there was a plop on the mat and Serenity opened a bank statement. And what a surprise was in store. The money she had assumed was going out on standing orders for the luxuries in life like electricity rent and telephones was being mysteriously diverted elsewhere, leaving her with an healthy over breeze and rather a lot of bounced standing orders.
Detailed investigations revealed that the money was mysteriously emigrating to another bank account. More detailed questioning at the bank revealed that this was in fact the Git's own account.

All the more puzzling as the GIT had but a week ago missed another "payment" since he had given all his benefit away to kind friends who had spent the last few weeks supporting him.

Naturally this was the source of considerable errr discussion.

I should of course have pointed out that one of the first things suggested to Serenity when she embarked on a GIT free life was closing their joint account. This being I felt a particularly sound piece of advice.

But of course Serenity has elevated advice ignoring to an art form and will never make a drama out of a crisis when a full blown Hollywood blockbuster with a cast of thousands is possible also.

But, we would have it no other way, after all what would I ever find to write about.


The course of GPS and autoroute and AA route planner and RAC and google....

Following last weeks Reading debacle there has been a fair amount of cogitation going on.

Now dear reader I invite you to enter sample routes into your auto route and see what it come up with.

If for example I lived in Banbury and wanted to get to Colchester, my logical brain would suggest that I cut across using A roads tending towards dual carriageways .

But no switch off brain, switch on GPS, or auto route, or RAC route finder, Google navigation, any of them and you will be guided towards the M25 as if these map programmes were made by a company that was getting paid for the number of fools it could direct into dense traffic.

I now know the essence of the congestion on the M25.

It has nothing to do with too many cars.

The volume of Lorries is not a problem.

Motorcycles? Loads of room for all of them, though if I was doing the M25 any thing like regularly my wheels would have Ducati on the side of the tank without any doubt at all.

No the modern malaise, the completely clogged up motorway system owes nothing to motorised hardware but computer software and us soft in the head types who are daft enough to use it.


Friday, 5 October 2007

Super serenity.

Now of course with yesterday morning rush hour on and me on my way out the door who should phone, in full flow, but my beloved step daughter.

Two of her children had locked themselves in their bedroom by accident and could not escape.

Step dad had too drop everything and go and sort out this situation.

Now of a Saturday morning I would.

Crew up the green goddess and away we would go.

But of course I was on my way to Manningtree.

So in desperation I suggested that if someone was trapped this was actually a job for the real fire fighters.

What happened next I can only surmise, but I suppose serenity made the call and a few minutes later a large red machine popped up in whoosh of airbrakes all blue lights and leather boots.

Out tramped a load of big butch burly fire fighters (and that was just the women....) in a matter of seconds the kids would have been free and traumatic ordeal transformed into exciting adventure.

We will never now what really went on but it made enough impression on the lady involved to get her to send me a text thanking me for the suggestion.....

So it must have been a good one.


Thursday, 4 October 2007

The demise of GPS.....

Today was have seen the last straw. The demise of GPS.

Over the last few years I have grown increasingly to depend on the GPS system of navigation.

There has been the odd glitch.

The odd trip up what were essentially green lanes having told the Damn thing I was definitely in an IVECO not a camel trophy land rover.

A memorable trip over a Welsh mountain in a rig that was about 50 foot long which mainly consisted of hairpin bends we made simply because the hedge pushed the trailer sideways as we turned them.

The occasional observation that roads, experience has told should be avoided are considered the "way to go" by the squawk box on the dash.

But today was the end.

I have been going from West Wales to Manningtree regularly in the big white thing and trusting myself to the squawk box to get there.

Early on I had decided it's A11 fixation was not good but today it excelled itself.

Got to the end of the M11 and, just before the M1 junction everyone parked up and it stayed that way.

3 1/2 hours after leaving Colchester I got to Reading services.

By then the will to live had gone.....

Lucky the IVECO is an armoured car with no opening windows though, the GPS would have been out the window.

I got home at 11 Pm having driven up the drive at 7.45 am.

Tomorrow I am going out to buy a proper real time, piece of hardware - a map.


Wednesday, 3 October 2007

In praise of big V

This blog is a continuation of something I started somewhere else; the crazed rantings of a UK foster carer which were originally in the fold of a support group but are now perhaps selectively placed before the whole world.

Many years ago we fostered a girl lets call her V, that's to you and Big V to those who are emigres from the other place.

Big V came into care when she was 9 after refusing to go home from school one day. She didn't say why she wouldn't go and it was many years before the truth came out.

A game of pass the parcel followed and finally as a last resort she was exported to us in West Wales. A jolly old time she gave us too and eventually we got her to 16, ready to do her GCSE's the leaving care team (yeah and my did it ever mean that too) got involved showed her greener grass she went off on her toes and thanks to their intervention, came out of care with nothing.

But things have changed inside that team and things are quite a bit better.

She got all the way to 20 before she got pregnant and, had the baby, took up living with a heap of shit of a man BUT

I was talking to her worker today and things have been very rough for her this last few months but even when things were lowest of the low, there was never a question of taking the baby away because he is immaculate, thriving, well fed.

And that's the good news story, at 13 she presented as a self absorbed self centered cow not to mince my words. And now she has become the person that was always inside her.

Sometimes getting out of bed is worth it.


Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Long days.

Some times it's nice to have a nothing day.

Well OK she ran out of diesel a mile from the house and had to walk home and the bank phoned.

This was surreal, my "relationship manager", now what he has to do with what goes on between me and management, though every time the cards stop working relations it has to be said definitely take a plunge...

But anyway my relationship manager tells me that he thinks the life insurance they have sold me, as in the bank, is probably too dear. So someone is going phone, take some details and go and try and get me a better deal....

This is two days after they told management she was paying too much for the credit card she had with them also and another card was cheaper.

Weird stuff they must smoke in banks these days.

But normal service was resumed when a SW phoned and told management she denied saying something that management had relayed to someone else. Management of course records meetings and was able to refer to her records contemporaneous.

Ahh the delights of assisting someones recall. Why did I feel that she was not grateful for that help....


Monday, 1 October 2007

Rites of passage

One of the things about country living is annual rites of passage and an awareness of time.

Perhaps more so than in the city, you know where the sun will set tonight if of course today is a lucky sunshine day as opposed to a sky weeping cloud day.

But on top of this you have key points in the year.

To those perhaps only used to thinking the central heating could go on half an hour earlier they can be obscure.

But as autumn as we have audacity to call fall here in those parts of Wales who do not have the braver audacity not to speak to the masses in the master tongue....

Is upon us, two of the rituals have been passed:

The firing up of the AGA, an event which is marked by an initial optimistic prime and light, followed by a three hour strip down as management bad temperdely cleans everything in the kitchen of the layer of black soot it acquired during the subsequent blow back and mis fire.

The first firing of the log stoves. Always a nice event, there is something innately comforting about a log fire and the pre firing chain sawing and axe waving combines therapy and fitness building.

Finally you have the last ritual, one perhaps unique to Penole. That is the blocking of the louvres of the extractor fan in the kitchen a task usually completed using carrier bags from Tesco.

I did that this morning whilst being treated to displays of genuine and touching affection by the kitten. He is so sweet, I thought he deserved some extra food and he is now eating happily before he returns to that AGA that you could almost say was his.

We were going to call him "Tiddles" but somehow he has ended up as "da man", not sure how that came about.

Management is doing the other Autumn pre frost rites, shorts are being packed and jumpers found along with the winter duvets. T shirts never seem to go away these years though.

A difference between the town and country too. Steve the local log man is coming up because he has been clearing his log yard and he has tons and tons of waste mulch which we have agreed he can tip on out land.

Tipping mulch is a huge help to him and having it is really valuable to us, we help each other and achieve more collectively than crude ego centric individualism can ever do .

Mind you there will be a few sore backs when we spread that lot to make the willow sedge in cold frost March


Sunday, 30 September 2007

Of rugby

So the unthinkable happened.

Fiji took on Wales and came away victorious.

But bloody hell what a game.

Fantastic play from both sides.

And I think the immediate construction of the tri cathedral Llanpopham Llaneshane and llanalfie should be an high priority.


Saturday, 29 September 2007


3 days ago I stayed up all night, I needed to save a kittens life.

2 days ago a bloody kitten kept me awake all night.

Last night the little bugger had the AGA and he was delighted.

How life can change......


eyes down and look it

Here we go the world cup clincher for wales.

Wales Fiji.

Wales have it in them to win I reckon, they also have it in them to blow it completly.

Well for what it' s worth I reckon Wales will win by less than 15 points.


Friday, 28 September 2007

da man - secret post

This is so secret da man reckons he cannot risk it going public.

He has noticed these humans have a fantastic thing they call an AGA.

Every cat should have one.

This knocks having a human off the face of the planet.

Pure heat.


Whats more.

Humans are not bright but they can be taught.

And in his humans hutch there are lots of them.

And they can be trained to do lots of amusing things.

Best of all.

When you live with the stoopids food arrives and you rush and see how much you can get.

In the the human hutch it arrives and you take your time, savour it a bit.

Wander off, come back and it's still there.

Then, the humans eat and something ever better comes along.

Da man thinks he could really get used to this......

Never mind about sleeping in the humans basket tonight this is far better.

viewed from three perspectives

Da man: Christ these humans are thick, how many times do I have to say.

R: 3 am and I am outside getting cat food.

Management: For fucks sakes.....

Thursday, 27 September 2007

da man speaks

Things been a bit hard for da man these last few weeks.

Started when da man's mum stopped really delivering enough food and whats more she seemed to be about less too.

So with them eyes working he went out to see what a man could do for himself.

Man it was a bit tuff out there when you are a little cat in a big cat world but when da going gets tuff well da man has to do what da man has to do.

Anyway he gets out into the world and he had make things for himself da man is after all a self made cat..

Now da man had always been aware of those human things, they were a bit of a pain really. Picking a man up when he was sleeping, mind you that stroking thing was THE thing, really hits the spot every time. And it's really easy to teach a human to do tricks like that, he was starting to see a cat might keep a human . sort of a big pet, so long as you train them they are OK.

And then it happened the big human came out and there was food everywhere, you can keep that milk stuff too this was the real gear. And da man realised there was a human with a food fountain and all those other stoopid cats had not grabbed that human. Da man didn't hang round waiting for the stoopids "thats one's mine " he thought.

Anytime, his human came out da man was there. Trouble was he was soo bloody quick, da man couldn't allways catch him but when you did, ohh man he knows how to treat a kitten...

"Thats the human for me".

Then when da man thought he had cracked the human hutch da man well something baaad happened an da man well it's a bit of a blur really but his human took him in one of those ratlle things to a funny room. Man that was weird shit, first of all this human tied his leg that had stopped working to him then next time he went there he had this really weird sleep and when he woke up his leg had gone completly and he was back in the human place too and da man don't know how he got there either. Now da man knows the deal OK that was a bad shit situation, he ain't going back there anytime soon.

But he did find other things too, you can teach humans to stroke you and I mean really stoke you and if you can get in their baskets, yeah makes the warmest part of the garden like sitting in the rain...

But all in all it's been a shit day.

Really shit and sleepy, still he soon taught his human to carry hi round and he got some good stroking.

That stoopid human sticking food at him on some strange steel thing these humans can be strange.

What manners, da man knows you eat off the floor.

And he told him and told him and told him and still that human didn't get it was tea time - they make the stoopids look quite bright sometimes these humans.

Still the human got it in the end.

But catch this one, get your food delivered in the human hutch and the stopids don't get a look in.

Whats more - give them that them humans they know how to eat, no more cat food for da man.

Well Ok da man can have cat food as well as human food life is looking up.

Now all da man has to do is teach that human to feed him in his hutch every day.

And, this could be kinda tricky, he needs to teach the human to feeed da man as much as he feeds all the stoopids.

I mean his man still has to feed the stoopids, they get kinda crotchety when they are hungry and da man would not want them getting into the hutch where da man keeps his human....

da boss

da boss is eating.

but he still seems in a lot of pain.

very hard to know what to do really.

have put him in his little box by the aga, seemd to like it in there and at least he is eating

not out of the woods

this morning i dropped the little lion at the vet who duly removed a leg.

now, a night spent fussing and holding him clearly paid off as he was a far brighter katten going there.

2 hours later he was back in the car and the mews seem to be getting louder and stronger.

cant use caps as I would need two hands and lines have to paused between due to demands for scratched ears. he is sitting on my arm looking outwards and not trying to hide in my armpit.

all good signs i think.

we have had a few tentative attempts at a purr and now ill see if he will drink.

not yet, but he is getting his voice back

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

the even greter lonliness of the two cat man

OK so I have got him asleep.

No, he is awake again.

No he@s dosing just about.

This is worse than babies.

He is on my hand.

and thats the only place for him.

I might have to stay up all night.

Bloody things, cats.

Why do we have them.

Why do we put ourselves in the way of pain.

All this little guy did was pick on me to love, well in the cat way whatever that is.

More than likely he loved the tin opener trick i do, and I do that one well!!!

Those cats taught me all I know.

He might be sleeping can't move 2 check.

But what I meant 2 say, I was here before 2 years ago.

The litter abandoned, 1 dead, 1 kitten howling, an even younger kitten.

But at least that one has accepted other humans.

This little one will only sit with tough macho me.

Who nearly tore his leg off.

Think I need my quilt.

Christ I need to toughen up.....

Or is the fact i haven't the reason I have such a big quilt.


the lonilness of the one handed typer

I have done something dreadful.

now, i spose in the scale of things its not that bad but try telling no one son.

one of the kindest people on the planet.

now we have at last brought the katten wave under control.

an epic day of catching last year and we had all of them done.

Well nearly all.

Lilith got through the net and this year managed to have two kittens without our knowing.

Me and T went off to get a load of bedford parts and fond mum had smuggled the kits into my van. This in turn meant that T sat with them both on his lap all the way home and raced tem back to mum when we got back.

He is a lovely boy.

All was OK we had homes sort of lined up for them both and they were nice little things until they started to move about.

One of them though became a a bit different.

Every time he heard my voice the din would start.

He would come charging to find me where ever I was.

They talk about people having pets, this little chap had a human.

He is now about 2 months old.

So anyway today his sib was ill and in the rush to bring the kitten into the house i didn't realise he was there and shut the door on his leg.

The vet is none to optimistic he's a bit young to take GA and the leg is shattered.

So he's going to try and whip it off tomorrow morning when if the anaesthetic and shock don't kill him he should be OK.

Vet dealt with the cat his nurse found me an chair before I fell over.

"Yes yes I am a big tough man I can cope."

"Sit him down before he falls over"

Of course this makes me the worst person in the world if you ask the kids.

Puss, oh no worries , he has forgiven me, no malice there.

If is not easy though.

Typing is so much easier if you have two hands and dont have a cat under your armpit.

Every time I try to move he howls, put him down and he cries , I have managed to get him to accept the MD for a few minutes .

But I know I will go upstairs and say something and the instant he hears the noise will start.

"Maaaaawwwww maw maw" or here is am over here in cat.

The noise will only stop when I am "over here too.

God I hope he lives.

The kids will hate me.

So will I

A bi of restored faith.

Now I don't know the full story.

It seems that last week on a large construction project near here a group of real heroes decided that someone there was different.

This is West Wales and the guy's name was Mohamed so it does not take an Einstein to work out what was different about him.

These guys were really clever and they came up with this wizard jape they started marching about doing Nazi salutes and even pointed a hammer at him and pretended it was a gun.

I am sure there are howls of mirth round the world and wonder at the cleverness and funnyness of this all.

But this is where the story starts to turn. I'm not sure if the management didn't take it seriously or what but.

Next thing all 260 other people on that site simply put their tools down and walked away, 26 hours later they were still gone.

260 assorted sun readers, Tory voters, unreformed old labour, liberals, nationalists Jews Christians and of course no doubt a few muslims were so offended that anyone thought it was OK to treat a muslim like that in Britain today that they refused to work with people who did.

Really restored a bit of faith in the old place.

Feel like going down and ordering 260 pints in whatever pub they may be found in oh and a soft drink for Mohamed.


Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Beliefs and core values

Nothing hinders your beliefs and core values more thoroughly that having a physical bricks and mortar as opposed to metaphysical house in which you live.

Then putting that house up for sale.

The continuous need to suspend your core values beliefs and fundamental right to make a mess and feel comfortable. Something to consider when they look at extending a Human Rights Act that must be good because otherwise the Tories would not be talking about doing away with it.

It's starting to do my head in.

We have a viewing this morning, viewings are a bit like; lets run round town without even your bundies to cover your physical embarasment.

Whats more the inastste agent has admitted before the viewing this guy has no money at the moment.

They usually wait till after the viewing before saying that.

I think I might just go back to bed.

"And here's the current owners, they must love this house otherwise they would not be humping away in that bed with such vigour"

When selling things, taking an unusual line can often help.



We live the lives that we lead.

Often because of how that life has been but always because of how we have decided to attach meaning to life.

The glass is always half full except when you looked and chose to see the empty part to the exclusion of everything else.

I am not going to send you to sleep reading about mine, unless of course you are an insomniac and I will mail you personally and send you off in about a nanosecond.

However, this last few months I have succeeded in making mine more interesting for me and probably overturning not rocking a few other boats. And I hate to have overturned those boats but I hope I can make it seem worth the swim.

But last night I went to bed and I was cold, in fact yesterday at the end of a long process; I realised that I have slept a lot of nights in the cold.

They were nights when this lovely warm quilt was there for me but I chose to leave it at the end of the bed.

The reasons were valid reasons, totally mistaken but valid to me.

That was because the patchwork quilt at the bottom of the bed sometimes felt wet, or sometimes dirty or sometimes yes sometimes that quilt, or at least some bits of it were not to be trusted and might and even and did hurt you.

Yesterday, and goodness knows why I had a moment where I felt really ready to pull on the quilt and I slept well.

Because earlier in the day I had a moment where not for the first time I felt a need no not a need an urge, to jump out of bed and leave the house and it was the thought of that quilt going to waste that made me stop.

The patchwork is woven of all those who in little bits or gigantic 48 tog duvet patches so big they don't fit the bed; love you.

And this is written to my quilt, it doesn't matter which size part you are when you have a quilt, a hole leaves you cold in a draught and sometimes a little, sometimes a howling gale.

Sometimes as there was for me you don't realise a patch was there and sometimes what maybe you thought was just a bit of blanket is a patch that has a tog of ninety eleven and could power the whole show if they were a one inch square.

I just wanted you all to know you are all important, and to thank you for keeping me warm .

It has taken me 50 years to decide this is a quirky old house and there are a fair few odd bits and bits that need work, but at the end of it I live here and I have the most amazing inspiring and humbling quilt on my bed don't think I will be leaving any time soon either.