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