Monday, 29 June 2009

A lovely day today.....

Today has been a good day.

Of sorts, me and management off on procurement duties.

No proper hard work but productive.

Back home and the management had herself another half kilo of gooseberries.

So childer home and off we went to the beach.

this was an outing for the local disabled club.

one of us had to collect taliesin from work before the beach

that meant two cars.

the xantia and 806.

cunningly I landed the xantia leaving her the 806.

Of course 806 has an unusual feature in that you can turn the drivers seat round to point backwards, if you know how....

How incidentally is page 75 of the drivers book.

I mention that because she seemed to find that turning the seat round could be called complex, and that leaving the car like that was not a charitable act.

I left her the book, all she had to do was read it.

And anyway we didn't abandon her; Branwen and I watched it all unfold from behind the phone box up the road.

How she didn't hear Branwens demonic cackling I don't know, I would have rushed back to help but I needed the phone box for support and tears make it so hard to drive.....

Dunno why but relations have been quite cool tonight - cool is good in this weather....


Sunday, 28 June 2009

There's more......

could not leave the blog for today without saying one thing more, well not and live anyway......

Management has been steadily reaping the harvest of our labours, goose berries from the plot planted a couple of years back. Strawberries today, for the first time.

The weather promises a rough week, could be bad for the beans, so she tells me.


The wind blows high......

It' not till you check that you realise just exactly how all the lights, the stand by computer, X box the kids left on, all adds up.

we were pretty shocked at how much we manage to get through and how much simple changes to practice can shave off that.

But we face a dilemma, do we spend a lot and get a wind generator that meets our generation needs, or, do we spend a fortune, gamble on electricity getting dearer and set up a small power station, becoming a net exporter of electricity.

decisions decisions....

Today has been a spanner waving orgy of oil and engines. At the end of which we have a digger that runs this could have saved a deal of pain in the garden, at least it is done now.

Then the mistress of all we owe money on decided to tidy up the tool box.

Sort all the miscelaneous tools acquired over the last few auction sales and put together some lots for the next one, next week. Management allready has a big shopping list.....

Oh dear.



Thursday, 25 June 2009

sunshine day.....

It has been a lovely sunshine day.

The industrial agricultural machine mowing nature's multicoloured wild verges as she drove us to the lovely restaurant by the sea.

She smiled sweetly as she ordered her all time favourite rack of lamb and I had Fish pie to go with a rather nice pint of real ale.

She had enjoyed taking me for lunch she said as I punched in the pin number of my credit card to pay.

Of course on the way home we drove past the garden centre, that would not do would it? How could we drive past the garden centre. I sighed, reaching for the plastic.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

what was that.......

So that was yesterday.....

Today Tallie was working on the planet zarg, well a long way away anyway meaning I had to be out of bed at 30 minutes before silly o clock

It was treeday and off she drove.

Me, I got to go to bookers and auto electricians and take phone calls and faff about and get annoyingly little done in a whole day.

But again, positive is us, a looked after childs sw phoned and it was really positive and child focused.

It all beats the sickening grind of gardening.

Tomorrow has great things in store; a few weeks ago a sw came to call, this is not the sort of sw I talked about yesterday, this is the real deal dreadful...

The last times this person came here it got all, how shall I put it; complicated.

So in the interest of peace, I bet the management that she could not go through a whole meeting without challenging this person's practice. The forfeit; a lunch at one of the best local eateries.

Lunch tomorrow is something I anticipate....


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A blur of time....

SSaturdays are weekend days so of course they are the busy times in our week. This one a day for the dead: 17 yo and laid to rest after a ceremony of his friends and relatives in the church stretched beyond breaking.

Not mine to go to but Bethan
went, it's hard to be 17 and face mortality, hard to for the parent trying to help the grieving child. I think, but who really knows, we are close to our daughter, that does not make it easy.

The little to
wn was packed with children in mourning a raging sea of raw emotion .

That said I might have had the easier option, management had her grandkids round.

4 young children plus our o
wn, dinner for 11 and a screaming stampeding house hold.

Oh my!!!!!!

Sunday mornings are easy and leisurely times, management lies in bed, is taken regular coffees, watches i player chills and relaxes. The house bathes in ease and relaxation, everyone goes about their easy business.

Then she gets out of bed.

life becomes a blur of screaming strimmers, busstling barrows and mulching mowers.

This sunday major manoeuvres resulted in a deal of cut wood, moved vehicles, starter off the fergie for reconditioning, the digger partially rewired a day finished in exhaustion.

A fitting start to the week - contrast to Monday. One luxury we have come to take for granted is waving the children off to school on a Monday - no more.

GCSE's mean Branwen is home but not this monday.

A day together in store then?

No, univerity interfeered and I blasted off into work.

I get very fired up about university, landed myself some more work on the group looking at child care training for social workers. Then found all the various documents I will need to read, groaned and thought time to get my head down.

Home and a house full of children - again.

The bereavement team in school today, not convinced that helped.

Then another day, raced off this morning - more university time.

Meeting the students, can I reserve some of these to work with our children and more to the point for the fostering team please?

but just to keep things live Gwion's sports day, lots of things that should have got done in the big city went out the window. Out of Uni like my trousers were on fire and back to HQ in the Plugeot. Good blast seemed to do it good and cleared out a lot of rubbish.

Then home and more child hours.

Yes this is not rivetting reading and tomorro
w more of the mundane, after Tallie goes to work by 7 AM...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lovely weather for.....

Management's browsing of weather sites caused her to declare today as the first day of 10 days fine weather.

Dutifully I switched from jeans to shorts dumped my army surplus 50 p a pair socks and launched myself at the world in summery attire.

It as not quite the sort of weather that would have Noah reaching for the hammer and nails but it would be fair to call it not dry.

A trip through the rain to Bookers and Tesco could easily be decribed as cool.

To compete the cool effect, only one thing for it, on went the shades.....

But of course Rain and
wind are not ours alone and the news featured delays to filming.

I looked very closely but there
were no signs of Perfecto being swept out to sea, his tent did not fly past the camera, the fire service did not seem to be in attendance at the campsite.

He might be doing OK or he might be on his
way to the phone.....


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Surrounded by love....

The nature of our life pretty much dictates we have more than one car.

This in turn becomes a his and hers situation, not rigid you understand, more often grounded in which is running best at any moment in history.

The Xantia is an estate that I tracked off eBay and bought for a reasonable sum relative to it's age and condition. It runs rather well, almost indecently quickly in fact, holds the road adequately and is remarkably frugal. On that basis it is of course her car.

The 806 is an MPV also tracked off eBay and bought for a very small sum relative to it's age because of the engine fault previouly alluded to. Since buying it it has never run right and so there can be no alternative, it's mine.

Till today.

today of course the 806 is working and, (completly unrelated, to the Citroen's broken glass or the biblical innundation outside) my beloved decided to tell me how much i mean to her, how she thinks of me in her every waking hour and dreams of me when she sleeps. It was a touching display of love.

Moments later she was off up the drive in her 806. Leaving my Citroen behind as the rain lashed down.

It is great to be so loved.....

She is not the only one to whom rain might be significant.

Seldom mentioned here is Perfecto the step son.

He enjoys slumming it in our cottage, well, it didn't used to be a slum and he didn't used to live there either.

But anyway, I digress, as I said yesterday, he has gone off to be a film star, well an extra anyway in this film being made about 15 miles from here.

Even his mother does not dote on him enough to get up at 5 am every day for ten days and drive him to fame and glory, so he has been dispatched to camp.

Now, the chances of Perfecto camping unsupervised for nearly a fortnight without some calamity are close to nil, so here I sit waiting for the phone.

will his tent collapse?

Catch fire?

Could there be a flood?

will the wind carry off all his possessions?

The dice is rolling.......


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Spring has sprung........

I live in a lovely place.

A drive up the drive this time of year and the world feels like it is fresh and new each day.

A sleepy early morning mist flows up the valleys leaving the mountains floating like islands in the sea fog morning.

Key word is early.

Silly o clock Tallie to work.

Back for the second grumbling wave.

Then the final tranche.

Finally off to the scrap yard and collect bits.

Back to Greasy Garage and......

Oh bloody hell.

incredible as it might seem, wrong pump!

Door also, not right.

Managements legendary good humour gave out at this point.

Or was it?

Detailed examination revealed the pump might be close enough.

Only one means to find out.

Fit it and see.

Door on second look might fit.

Home we came.

Gardens were gardened, washing washed, wood cut.

The back of the shed cleared, not with strimmer but scythe.

Seconds passed and the school runs due to be done again.

Of course in the midst of this our resident Tom Geere needed to go to fame and glory.

Ten days on set for him so off he went to camp - with no tent....

That was sorted and he was dropped off.

Back for the Plugeot.

This is a vehicle that has been seriously clogged and for time too.

Soo leaving greasy garage at speed looked good from the front.

Followers might have aid something about smoking like an old Tyne tramp steamer but this might be an acceptable trade off for the ability to get caught on a speed camera..

Going home got silly quick.

Of course an engine with a turbocharger needs a thing called a waste gate to prevent it blowing itself apart and this one had jammed shut.

The Xantia was being left for dead, though the cloud of fumes left the driver happy not to be close.

Luckily the gate opened on the way home.

Saved the engine and calmed me a bit....

Need to do some miles maybe.


Monday, 15 June 2009

The joys of motoring.

Ahhh the infernal combustion engine and it's demon spawn the motor car.

Now, the plugeot saga has rolled on over the weeks but lets recap.

bought the car for not a lot because it had an engine management fault.

approached the fault sideways - removed all electronic management and replaced it with old style mechanical diesel pump.

cutting a long story short the problem is on going. current thinking is that the replacement pump fitted is itself defective so of course I got another which turned out to be the wrong one.

So I got another two and drove over to greasy garage this morning.

Naturally these were just as wrong.

So of course off we headed to the scrap yard.

Lets fill in some detail and say that the management and I had gone to the greasy garage to drop off the plugeot, t shirts the order of the day.

The decision to try another scrap yard should have been linked to a decision to take the plugeot not the citroen.

The Xantia lacking drivers side glass is a bracing place, a heater that works would be a nice addition .

So of course off we went a mere 50 mile round trip.

It might be a bit breezy, unless it rained.

Fortunately, it didn't rain: no, we copped for an inundation of biblical proportions.

This might not be an issue if the breeze helped.

It didn't.

It threw liquid across the front of the car and it positively poured in through the drivers window.

It was not that bad.

On the passengers side not a huge amount got to me.

Things were less dry for the driver of course...

wet t shirt competition got a mention once or twice.

But then we arrived and someone had to get out of the car.

Out is OK in sunshine, in rain it is less fun.

Add a lot more out, wandering round looking for a car that has the right bits, you could end up seriously soaked.

Luckily, the right car turned out to be a Xantia, one having a lovely drivers door, one full of glass.

should have asked them to pull the heater too.

then again how much excitement can one have.

More fun all stored up for tomorrow....


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Days of sunshine.....

Today has seen a lot done, in a tractor freeing off and garden mowing kind of way.

There is the back drop of daughter in distress, poor old Beth really loved poor AJ, still only limited news of underlying issues.

It is sad when a life ends, make that a life that had barely really started and it becomes more so. Expand it further to be a young man with everything to live for who felt unable to continue, for whatever reason and it becomes hard to fathom at 53 never mind 17.

Bethan vanished to church this morning, I hope she found what she was looking for.

I cannot say it ever spoke to me .


Friday, 12 June 2009


There are times when you think you are enjoying yourself and there are times when you know you are not.

The green goddess got right into the gate at the motor show and stopped. Exactly blocking everything in and out.

Another of course behind me blocking the road and all that was on it.

marhalls were of course delighted and clapped and cheered - ok maybe not...

Having moved the truck on the starter, far enough for the second to squeeze through the tiny gap, too small for most car drivers, then unpack a rope and tow the Gloria clear.

The fault was a petrol vapour lock and a tiny tug pushed it through, the truck fired up.

Took both into the car park with it's car sized gaps and car sized turning area.

Cue more marhall mayhem and we were through and clear to turn round.

Actually I am not sure about this motor show thing.

Spend ages prepping the motor then a brief drive and......



sit round all day.

i confess there are things I find more interesting.

this brings me nicely on to the new show a first for round here.

A military show and we got an invite.

The show in town and of course bang next to the errrrrrrr


the river!!!

Lots more my style.

This has been a bustling week though.

Big D on work experience starting bright and early at 07.30

Tallie to his job at 08.00

But of course biggies to the bus 6 miles away at that instant too.

All in all a long set of days.

but no

the childer are doing GCSE at the same time

so a couple of runs into school to add to that.

Social services, yes they had their thing too

But here it unloops.

Really positive conversations and a manager taking everything on board, situation around little D handled by best practice. ok let's observe, I told her everything i had learnt about the familly dynamic and she listened, then, next day phoned the other sw, called me back and told me they had said I as telling the truth.

Bewildering times though people talking about the child's best interest.

I rely far too heavily on the contact with univerity to keep me focussed on best practice and the posibility of doing it. This as a lovely change.

Then a 100 mile drive to the meeting about young P going home and that was child focussed too, and not just about him but about our kids too.

Then a uni day.

interviewing students an uplifting day.

The calibre of potential students is very encouraging too.

So life looked beildeingly positive.

Till yesterday, became aware something was not right when bethan called from school.

Turns out one of her best friends hung himself, a lad of 17, the story is not out yet but it's all very traumatic.


Saturday, 6 June 2009

Times change

Years pass in the blinking of an eye.

In a different age young men threw themselves at the machine guns of fascism and died in their thousands. Now surrounded by the piously self important the old return and remember.

Everyone should go to Normandy it's a very humbling experience.

This week Taliesin the young baby twin who just about covered my hand the day he was born, got himself a days trial with a local builder. His mother didn't know this involved doing the chimney on a local house about 50 foot up. I am not taking his mother to see where he works, I don't think she would cope.

Trial has turned to job and he came home yesterday in funds. Full circle, from baby to adult in about 5 minutes, so it seems.

Last night, the management and I went for a meal to sort of celebrate, actually the week has been long and full, next week promises more of the same. The table next occupied by a celebrity chef who went to school with me, coincidence or what.

Tomorrow, first motor show of the season. I should get out of bed really

Thursday, 4 June 2009

knives out......

So the knives are out for the politicos.

The little angels have been trying it on over their expenses.

Shock horror....

No let's be clear fraud is fraud and those who commit it should be cursed by bell and bible, thrown into jail well OK open prison for months and months, unless of course it's desperation driven benefit fraud in which case they should be dragged into some public place and boiled to glue.

The thing is though, these MP's have done nothing most respectable self employed people have not employed accountants to do for them: maximise their income.

Just like the bankers did, ahh but hang on a bit.

Dodgy deals by MP's have cost this country, in real terms not a lot.

The antics of the bankers have brought the place to it's knees.

They have cost the country billions, they have cost thousands their jobs, they smoke and mirrored lots of people into thinking their houses had telephone number value, fooled them into borrowing lots of money and now they have legged it taking their bonus with them.

Leaving the overstretched and unemployed to pay for their foolish scams.

The MP's have not really done much harm but they must pay.

The bankers rocked the world on it's axis yet they are above the law.

Of course the front runner in this pursuit is the Daily Torygraph.

Owned by whom??


Now Gordon Brown who everyone seemed to agree handled the crisis with skill has become a lame duck and needs to go.

Or maybe of course international capital needs a pliable nerd so they can be insulated from the effects of their stupidity....


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

professional standards.....

So anyway off I went in the wind tunnel to Berkshire.

The vehicular aspects of day went really well.

But of course there was plenty going on back at the ranch.....

Yesterday was young P's birthday making him the centre of attention.

Something that little D has found very difficult to cope with.

But anyway young D's social worker phoned yesterday to discuss increasing the duration of contact. He sounded guarded, turns out of course that a manager had been speaking to D's mum and had already agreed this, so this was involving us in the decision making process by phoning us after the event and telling us about it.

Crucially though the manager had agreed to contact this Saturday, not a problem if they fancied a bit of driving on a Saturday, but no, manager had agreed that we would drive the man in question.

This is exactly the reason we have standards guidelines and code of practice.

It's hardly mum's fault well not entirely true, she would probably have browbeaten manager into agreeing contact this weekend having announced to her son that he was going home for the whole weekend, she probably compromised on a days contact for an extra couple of hours.

So when she phoned to tell management how management was going to be meeting her on Saturday you can hardly blame her for getting angry when management said no she wasn't.

There are few excuses for being rude and abusive mind, but you can sort of see where mum was coming from.

It didn't help that D had taken his phone to school and broken their phone rules and had it confiscated, she had a bit of a rail about that too. Trying to explain to mum that he knew the rules, chose to break them and had to learn to live with the consequences was probably a bit difficult for her to grasp riding as she was a tidal wave of rage.

The man himself had been repeatedly told by mum that he was spending the night at mum's over the weekend, and by us that it wasn't happening as far as we knew. He does not cope with other kid getting attention so you can hardly blame him for getting very angry when he got told that he was not going to mums on Saturday because we had already arranged a birthday trip out for young P on that day.

No this whole sorry mess came about because someone senior did not follow best practice or even minimum standards of politeness.

Mum can expect to be blamed for her behaviour, young D will doubtless be held to account for messing up young P's birthday. There will be a drive to cast us as the bad guys for not being available on Saturday, though the heat will be less than it could have been. To take D we would have to cancel a party for a looked after child, whereas canceling a party for one of our own would be obligatory.

There is of course one person who will walk away with no stain on their character. The alleged professional whose actions precipitated it all.


Monday, 1 June 2009

Some days you are the fly somedays the windscreen..

There are days every so often where you really think that getting out of bed was a serious mistake.....

This morning dawned bright and warm - too warm for gardening which of course set things off on a suitable bent.

Away went the children back to school and management and I faced the miserable prospect of a morning alone together for the first time in a while.

Whistling a happy tune management drove up the drive in the Xantia taking young Gwion to school, all was well with the world.

For a while....

At the bottom of the valley a good place for a day to enter a low point, she met a parent coming the other way. A distressed parent. Turns out there was a training day for the teachers, one that none of us had remembered and said parent was on her way to work with kids in tow.

Only one thing for it, back home came the management not having dropped off one child but picked up another two.....

The scene was nicely set then and a little later I left the house to collect two of the biggies from their GCSE's. Now, management had opened the window this morning to cope with the tropical blast, not a huge problem except the glass had slipped out of the winder and jammed meaning a bit of unjamming was required.

A small ammount of persuasion and nothing was happening so I got a pipe wrench to grip the glass and pull it clear - bad move.

As soon as I gripped the glass and started to pull it shattered into 40 squillion pieces and fell into the bottom of the door.

This was exactly what I needed with a 200 mile trip to a funeral scheduled for the morning.

But of course there was more, tomorrow is also one of the looked after kids birthday so having collected the bigger kids we had to track into bigtown to get his present.

This bit went well and flushed with success we decided to sneak off for lunch on the way home.

A pub we used to stop at has recently re started doing food, so we decided to go and investigate.

Obviously they don't do food Monday lunchtimes, in fact they don't seem to do anything Monday lunchtimes.

Undaunted we decided to make for another pub that has long been on our "must try" list.

Obviously they don't do food monday lunchtimes, in fact they don't seem to do anything Monday lunchtimes...

Daunted and off food I suggested we go home but we could pop into the village pub for a swift half en route.

Obviously they don't......

So home we went and a veritable taxi fest ensued as management went to meet the school bus and I went all the way into school to collect no one daughter from her AS exam which finished late.

Brakes? Now did I mention brakes? The brakes on the xantia were making nasty noises so we had booked that in for a set of linings at the greasy garage as a matter of emergency due to funeral in the morning.

So having dropped the car off back home we came for tea.

Things going at least average.

Parts were late being delivered and then, when they arrived it turned out they were the wrong ones anyway.

So that was the car scheduled to be off up the M4 in the morning minus wheels on the lift.

Dropping everything I raced back into bigtown in the still misbehaving plugeot and just made the motor factors before they went home.

Right parts collected it was back to the greasy garage and leave the bits with the management to fit asap.

Home and a twiddle of the thumbs waiting for the call to collect the voiture.

The job was taking longer than expected, only one thing for it, make coffee.

Sure enought the moment the kettle boiled the phone rung as the grease announced the job was done and the car needed collecting.

So here I am ready to head up the M4 tomorrow in my windowless estate.

Regardless of what the forecast says I know whats coming - tomorrow there will be rain.....