Friday, 30 April 2010

An easy day - well of course....

Thursdays are of course our easy days

Pay lands in the bank with a splat and off we gambol to blow it all on luxuries at the place where every little helps or so they would have us believe.

Yesterday was going to be a quiet easy uneventful day.....

Or so we thought, the morning started with a phone call that had me straight back on the phone looking for a social work manager to report a child protection issue. Having spent a couple of hours on that it was off to clear the local woodyard of 10 tons of slabwood using his big trailer.

2 trips down there in the morning looking for him, he had been called away so we had now wasted a bit of the day.

Off we went to pay the long overdue garage bill and half way up the drive a tyre was flat.

Back and pump that up before we went over there. If there was a problem the garage was the place but everything with the tyre seemed Ok so home we came.

Time to get down to the wood yard again and sure enough there he was so it was race home and get the Discovery.

Hitch up his trailer and 2 tons of wood dropped on the yard - back to the wood yard for another 2.

Now, our house is up a tiny little lane. Not much used by traffic, but, if say a discovery with 2 tons of timber on a trailer was to break down on it, the result would be a blockage.

So when the disco broke down.......

Management was of course coming the other way on school run bent and several more cars than normally use our little road in a day appeared as if from nowhere. Naturally some were coming up the road from behind the trailer and some coming down the hill behind the management.

Now, you might think that pushing a Discovery (which now had a flat battery too)with a big tipping trailer full of wood back into a gateway so people can get past would be a bit of a struggle and you would be right.

But we did it eventually. Then of course the bus, the one bus that comes past the house a week, came up the lane.

What we really did not need to complete the ensemble was the Old Bill, the next car along was white and decorated with carnival lights.....

This was really turning into one of my days.

But salvation was at hand, along came one of the neighbours with his Land rover.

It was a matter of a few minutes and we had the discovery back at the house parked smack in the middle of our parking area like a giant roundabout exactly where you do not want one.

The trailer had to be unloaded right where it was so things were a bit crowded in there, a good time for Phil to arrive in his van to measure up the windows, errrr maybe not.

But of course he did not arrive alone, no sir, right behind him came a guy in a big van to deliver another load of scaffolding. I know, I know, I am just a soft old romantic, I have just bought her more scaffolding. We just threw that on the floor before the huge truck tried to turn round in what was now a seriously confined space but of course that van had to be rear wheel drive and unable to find traction in the damp that prevails everywhere round here at the moment.

My, this was fun I thought to myself noting the flat tyre on the Xantia.

The woodmans trailer is a tipper powered by it's own battery so we set to and unloaded that, dropping the load right in the middle of the car park as the battery on the discovery charged up so we could try and move that later.

Using the digger I managed to get the wood sort of clear of the trailer. Which allowed us to unhitch that and note: it was very heavy and the jockey wheel was flat.

A dictionery full of swearing and 5 of us heaving was enough to pull the trailer round so I could squeeze the 806 past and shunt backwards and forwards enough get the trailer out.

Back to the woodyard and another two tons of wood on the trailer.

Back to the house and move the discovery so I could get the digger in to move the firewood that was on the floor to somewhere slightly less in the way.

Move the canoes on their trailer round the other side of the Green Goddess so that I could use that space for wood.

Then pull the 806 in to drop another 2 tons of wood in the woodpile before retiring for the night.

This morning it was pump up the tyre on the Xantia so management could take Branwen for the bus then off to school with the trailer on the 806 so I could collect even more wood on the way home, dash home, drop it off, back for the last 2 tons, drop off, return the trailer, race home.

Wave management off to the auction in the 806, pump up the tyre on the xantia, off to the garage (turns out the tyre that was about 1 month old had a chunk of wood through the sidewall and therefore a write off) before catching up with the management before she got completely carried away and bought everything the auctioneer had on offer..

She was surprisingly restrained and the back of the 806 wasn't that full coming home. There are time I am glad I sold the IVECO.

In the midst of all the excitement yesterday we didn't actually get round to shopping so tonight the kids dine regally on whatever it is we can cobble together from the deepest recesses of the freezer and tomorrow morning bright and early we set off for the weekly shop. We should really go tonight but neither of us seems keen.

I do like it when things are relaxing, easy and going to plan.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Oh goodness me, look out it's a human.

I am not a natural for modern politics.

I think I prefer having an argument based in ideas than a preening match where the outcome is decided by who has the brightest feathers.

Oddly, I had a lot of time for Thatcher in the late 70's. She was honest, if she got into power, she said, she would shaft the poor and reward the rich. People voted for it thinking they were voting "for change" and they got all that they deserved.

I'm not a Tory, I am an old fashioned socialist, in the non political party sense, I have been a Welsh Nationalist all my life.

I have seen Gordon Brown in action a couple of times now.

Cameron to me is that combination of presentation over substance that really galled me about the Blair years. That sort of second hand car sales person blarney that leaves you feeling insulted.

Clegg is a really interesting person. Kennedy is the best they have had recently. Maybe that's why he was hounded out of politics.

Today Gordon had a real bad hair moment with the lady who wanted someone to rail at and he was the target.

He didn't try and spin his way out, but just like you and me he didn't handle the situation too well either.

He tried to handle it with straight talking not spin and for what ever reason, probably timescales he didn't get his points over.

Yes Gordon was right - he said "that was a disaster" - that was you or me talking. Not someone saying "I should have convinced her to buy the Sierra with the dodgy MOT instead"

He then said "she was a bigot" quite right, she was not there for a discussion, her spleen was full, he could have said he would double her pension next week and she would not have liked the colour of the pension book.

What he did not do was try and spin his way out of it, that was a bit clever, Blair his way through that and she might have hit him with some convenient inanimate object, like a Sun journalist.....

No he was a bit like you and me.

And on May 6th he will be penalized for being genuine.

And we might well pay the price for choosing the posh boy too....


The potting shed.....

There is a sort of old order.

A generation where Dad / grandad was out the garden pottering in his shed.

The old man would be hiding pretending to be busy.

This familly now has the oposite, management is outside in her bedford hoops shed.

She has tomatoes and cucambers and all sorts growing in there, pure recycling.

The frame work is Bedford truck, the sides are scaffold protection sheet. The base is re used polythene wrapping for big bales, the whole ensemble is held down with big baulks of firewood timber.

In the field management has salad beds. That is the old concrete water tank we pulled out last year that is in three sections. each of these sections is full of earth and now full of plants all safe from snails.

But of course snails are not the only predators.

Management reckoned without Deimund. That's not a type of snail it's a tomcat who loves salad.

Some of the lettuce has been pulled out and eaten. Incriminating cat prints are in evidence and the man himself is often seen over there.

When confronted, as usual, he affects total feline "wern't me gov" innocence, with an over lay that implies he is just as puzzled as we are where the salad all went.

Paw marks?

"I was framed your honour...."


Sunday, 25 April 2010

All weekended out....

I have had enough of this. Everywhere hurts and I feel less energetic than a brick.

I am taking to my bed - ill.

Not much got done today, well except building a polytunnel from the hoops on a Bedford truck and special type of tarpaulin developed for use on scaffolding.

This took 6 of us to move the steelwork and 3 of us to attach the sheeting.

But a polytunnel of any sort starts at 100 pounds and something equivalent to what we built and capable of surviving the wind here would cost 5 times that.

So using half a sheet of tarp that cost me 45 pounds to make one is a bit of a result.

Management is over the moon and demanded a trip to the garden centre to celebrate.

Which is where I noticed the fuel cooler is hanging off the underneath of the car.

A job that can wait till the morning.

I am going to bed.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Sedate Saturday....

I am deeply aware that my Friday post didn't get here till Saturday - enough in itself to indicate a day given over to day late and tired ism.

Having been despatched bright and early into town to get supplies for the garden like rope and bolts, I bumped into Phil on the way home.

He was at a loose end and so we thought it might be an idea to quickly scaffold the back of the house.

So a days plans got completely rewritten, again, and loads of scaffolding got hauled and put together and hammered and things like that.

I should, I suppose rejoice in progress.

Management however has emerged re invigorated and full of new ideas.

These include a serious review of our plans for the refurbished house.

This was to have been a reconfigure of the upstairs to make 3 bedrooms and a bathroom where there had formerly been 2 bedrooms and a bathroom.

The plan now seems to be that the walls we took down are going back up pretty much where they were. Creating a 2 bedroom house - just like it was before.

Though the ceilings are all now all coming down and many of the internal walls are being hacked back to nothing as well.

I think I might be starting remember why I hate building work.

So tonight I went off to revisit my past.

Someone asked me to run the door on a concert.

I used to do door work at rock gigs and such like things.

A charity bash for Save the Children that turned out was a bit of a promotional wash out.

But I was a boy scout and did my good deed for the day.

Now I am a tad tired but can't sleep.

Unlike management who can....

It's raining too.

She cannot garden in the rain so she might want to work indoors tomorrow or of course today as it is now.

Oh No Please....


Just another manic Friday.....

It has been a fairly quiet and peaceful week, then today happened.

First off an urgent need to sort out watering the garden.

Now, our water system was still in it's emergency frost frozen pipes configuration so connections needed to be changed pipes moved round and connections re made.

This job had been started a few days back but paused when I tried to saw my thumb off.

This created a welcome pause filled with a meeting about child protection training for social work students. The recent baby P case has caused yet another panic about how social workers are trained.

Years ago social work was a diploma and you elected specialisms so if you were going into child work you did a module on child protection.

The new degree level qualification in social work is a degree in itself so it's set at a higher level but it's generic.

So, by the time students specialize they are at post graduate level.

Making this clearer for the non specialist.

Previously, people did a degree in say drama then added a bit of social work as a diploma.

Now they do a degree in social work, which is a solid foundation on which to build.

That is good.

But of course the social worker in the baby P case had done no Child and Family work before getting her job.

Something which might have meant she didn't really know what she was about.

Now of course if you were clever and indulging in some joined up thinking you might think this person needs training.

But I dare say there were no tick boxes for that....

So back to the drawing board everyone was sent.

Now we are looking at a generic degree but at what level does working with children slot into the degree.

Which causes me to wonder why single out children working in particular. Really should anyone graduate from a social work without a passing knowledge of learning disability, mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse as well?

It all smacks of political knee jerk driven by the daily mail and not of joined up thinking.

Whilst focus can be on individual practice and practices the big questions over funding and provision are not being asked.

It would help of course if someone came over all brave and centrally produced a specification for what should be taught, something the national council have successfully avoided doing.

There seems to be a notion that every social worker should complete a placement in children and family services which will in turn put a huge pressure on both degrees and services.

Very often it is assumed there are simple solutions when even the question can be damn complex....

But that was me being all academic earlier in the week.
We blitzed the back of the house, this is the thing, winter stops you working. spring Springs and you are thrown into catch up.

A whole area out the back had been cleared and that was going before I got home from the school run.

Lots of stuff has been moved and properly stored.

Then on to clear some space to move the caravan from the front of the house.

The boat has been laboriously drained. It's a small semi Rib thing and it turns out a lot of water had gotten inside one of the tubes. Ah yes, how do you get water out of the inside of a boat is not too complex, Rocket science it ain't, getting water out of the tubes of a rib is a branch of black magic requiring lots of effort and swearing.

Then of course I had to deal with taxing Tallies discovery which turned into a tour of the local post offices, our usual post office being closed for refit. The next one was staffed by people who have done a PHd in rude.

Then back to the house and.....

Move a caravan to the place we had laboriously cleared round the back leaving room for the dead land rover that had to be towed round the back and the boat we had manhandled out of the way and drained of water.

So, I could go up the field and tow the dead Green Goddess to the place the caravan used to be so we could get at it to change the fuel pump.

Finally, there was re making the connections on the water pipe which had started to leak.

Then retire in pain....


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Getting life back on track.

There is something lovely about spring, the freshness the new life everywhere. Lambs dancing in the field.

Back to the house and back on track the track involved being on our old mini digger needed to raise soil for the managerial gardening project.

This of course is less than straight forwards as the adjuster on that side of the digger had seized solid.

Using a 10 ton jack I was able to sort that out, oh yes ten tons is really using brute force and errr brute force.

So anyway with the track retracted, Branwen and I struggled for hours to get the track back on. Feeling pleased with ourselves I set to pressurizing the adjuster which didn't seem to move much. That prooved to be the case as, about 20 foot later the track was off again.

How Branwen and I laughed.....

With the Track right off I set too freeing off the adjuster, cleaned everything, bathed in oil and soon all was well with the world.

The track obstinately refused to go back on but eventually it was Branwen and dad one track nil....

The adjuster adjusted and the digger is back in service.

Such are the festivities I indulge on my birthday weekend.....

But the peace continues, no aircraft in the sky, except the odd private one, there seeem a few more of those about than normal....


Friday, 16 April 2010

More peace - in pieces.....

So today was going to be quiet.

The management for reasons too complex to discuss here was off on a train journey.

All I had to do was tidy up a bit, find the papers for the IVECO, meet the man coming from London to collect it, count the money, wave him on his way. Then go to the opticians.

A quiet day.


So it was just a matter of getting the V5 sorted and ready, this proved a bit errrrr.....


The paperwork had been out a few weeks back so I knew exactly where to look for it.

My laptop case.





Cursing, I cast around for where it was. Now, I am nothing if not meticulous: paperwork belongs in tidy conical heaps, management is nothing if not systematic: gathering it all up and randomly ramming it into cupboards drawers and boxes.

Not just paperwork mind, yesterday I discovered I have 4 pairs of sandals.

Well no, maybe not quite. I have 4 pairs of sandals. In the shoe box I have: 3 x 1/2 pairs and one pair in the very bottom and furthest reach of the shoe box behind all the 1/2 pairs of wellingtons.

Round here, out of sight is definitely out of mind. It's why some of our cupboards should have hazard notices. Opening the door might unleash a violent volcano explosion of socks and sleeping bags overwhelming everything in it's path.

Soon I had consumed hours taking the house apart and not found the right paper. But I seemed to have about 5 years worth of car insurance policies and numerous log books for cars we don't own any more.

Then of course the phone rang and the man who was buying the van reported he had missed the train, yes, THE train that comes to town every day. I would need to drive another 30 or so miles to collect him.

Ohhhhh how I laughed.

At least this gained me another hour to spend throwing paper in the air.

Oh did I mention needing to get fuel for the digger and the mower and the chainsaw?


So by lunchtime I was thoroughly "smiling and serene" I checked my laptop case one last time and, what was tucked into one of the pockets?

No, I cannot bring myself to say.

And by now I had missed the opticians.....

Ah well, at least I am in funds.

I think maybe the management and I need to to book another weekend away.....

Still it could be worse, I could be trying to get to America by air.

And I have an amazing amount of paper to burn in the morning, after I scaffold the back of the house.

And Taliesin has just announced that the digger has thrown a track again.


Thursday, 15 April 2010

A day of peace.....

A day of peace, well not really.

The day started OK with me and the electrician making sense of the bewildering mess of wires that is the wiring next door.

Take a house, install wiring in the early 60's add extensions periodically, change use a couple of times and what you are left is a mess of wires that seem to have junctions at random, go in directions not related to their eventual destination, an electrical magical mystery tour in fact.

But we managed to sort it in the end and do away with rather a lot of dubious looking wiring, several fuse boxes and a plethora of junction boxes.

More to the point I can now safely remove a lot of wire from under the floors knowing I am not about to blow myself up.

But most of all today has been a day of peace.

Living here on top of our mountain is quite idyllic and lovely.

Traffic there is none, not on the roads, we are half a mile up a track from a tiny lane that joins two minor villages used by a couple of cars a day and a twice weekly bus.

We are also slap next to a motorway, not the one that crosses the country, one that crosses the world. Most of the air traffic that goes from the UK to Eire passes overhead and all the traffic from Europe to America crosses high over our heads. Not to mention periodic whoooosh and gone bedlam intrusions by the low flying RAF.

So life here is a permanent low level jet engine noise, morning to night, varying by season. Sometimes there are so many planes up there you wonder how they manage without traffic lights and roundabouts!!

But not today, today a mountain in Iceland has gone pop lots of dust is high in the sky and the great aerial motorway has signs saying it's closed.

Apparently this dust would clog up the engines and cause things to fall out of the sky, that does not sound too good to me. A 747 landing in our field would spoil my whole day.

Even Biggles, of the RAF seems to be having a day off. It's uncanny, the sky is clear of aircraft and the silence is total.

A day of peace.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

oh dear oh me.....

Now it came to pass that we staggered around a lot in a world of pain yesterday.

Happy though that the work was done, then of course the God daughter turned up to show off her new fiancee.

Well actually I think he's a first fiancee. He, it turns out is a recycling technician, bin man I think we used to call them.

But anyway that's of no consequence.

A certain amount of merriment followed punctuated at regular intervals by a test of the corkscrew.

This might not have been wise or clever as I needed to be up bright an early for a meeting at which I needed to appear wise and clever.

Goodness knows how I got there and thank goodness there was no one operating power tools in the area with the general malaise which had mysteriously gripped me.

There was no jack hammer in the room but it felt like one was going full pelt in my head.

Early night methinks.....


Monday, 12 April 2010

stuff this I am "not available"......

Well, if I thought Saturday was tough it was just a warm up for yesterday.

The sledge hammer is damn near worn out, being positive, the job is nigh on finished, just an old hot water tank to remove, something I am approaching with a deal more caution after cutting out some defunct old wiring yesterday was rewarded by a shower of sparks and a blown up set of side cutters...

Something Taliesin thought very very amusing in the way that something dangerous and scary happening to someone else very often is.

Lots of old lath work got burnt and much good wood was salvaged. The house was like a dust chamber and by teatime every single piece of glass everywhere was open. The digger needs dragging in to push the ash and mess into the hole I dug but that is for another day.

Bed time arrived and I could hardly walk my muscles were declining to function. Something which elicited no sympathy at all from my lovely children.

Today is a bright springtime lucky day, Taliesin has an interview, meaning he has to be in college today.

This is like the slave driver breaking his whip, this morning I am staying in bed.

I planned to sleep late too but someone had not told the cat.....


Sunday, 11 April 2010

If a dog is your best friend what is a cat?

There is a lot to be said for a restful Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, whilst he has great depth of knowledge in thigs like where we hide the mushrooms, no one has taught Deimund the cat to know what day of the week it is.

I am sure he thought he was doing me a great service by waking me at 8 am. He must have thought so as the greeting seemed particularly warm and affectionate.

Da man was the next to call. Presumably, with Bethan away, he has been feeling a bit left out.

Not so Seren who has adopted Taliesin as her own and who is currently perched right on the window sill sunbathing and looking out to see what is happening outside.

Outside? Yes outside feels good, outside is a good place for cats on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The weather is not allways your friend.

It came to pass that, yesterday I had a meeting.

This was a perfect excuse for management to go and see her mum, take 2 kids to stay with relatives and a nice little time envelope to get it all in.

Ah yes best laid plans.

Now of course this being a "meeting" I left the sensible walking boots in the house and put on my interview, party and funeral shoes.

So when I got myself dropped off close to the meeting, it was a bit sad, a disappointment to discover I had got my geography a bit wrong.

2 miles wrong in fact, still it was a nice walk and I walked it.

Then of course the wheels said bye bye to the cart. Management got caught up the chaos on the motorway where a fatal crash brought the whole thing to a standstill.

This in turn produced monster delays and chaos, meanwhile my meeting finished and I walked 2 miles back to where she had dropped me off. A conversation with Branwen revealed that management had successfully got lost after dropping me and so I walked another 2 miles to somewhere management knew.

Then it became clear that there was chaos on the roads and since I had nothing better to do, I went to the pub. Well no, I didn't fancy the first one, so I pushed on to the next one that which was closed as was the one up the road from it.

I pushed on, then decided I might as well just walk towards the motorway, not realizing that the management was really seriously delayed. I had covered a further 5 miles by the time she got to me, now lets see thats 2 + 2 +.....

Well lets just say lots and in what was rapidly feeling more like a device of torture than footwear.

It would have been nice if my dear beloved and loving children had been concerned and sympathetic when they got to me rather than being close to bladder incontinent with mirth.

So anyway we came home by which time my dear son had phoned to indicate his readiness to be collected and come home. Bethan, God bless her might not be a first choice as a PA, She had indeed noted he needed collecting but left out the minor question of where he was. West Wales is quite a large place to go playing find the son but anyway off we went.

With my legs now beginning to feel like they had been splinted and filled with burning coal we managed to find no one son after an irate phone call from Branwen who seemed to think that the fact that the O2 mobile system is pretty grim in West Wales was down to me personally.

So anyway it was home and bed.

Then of course today dawned, a lovely day, an ideal day, a day you could really have used Taliesin being in work as it gets the little slave driver out of the way.

Morning was given over to taking Branwen to stay with some of her mates the afternoon to demolition.

This weather does not give you any excuses not to work.

Having moved a piano, no, I'm not joking now. We set to taking some walls down. Of course we needed tools to do this and we all know that the most versatile toolbox in the world is large 4 wheel drive and green. Soon sledge hammers were deployed wreaking bars in use shovels shoveling and of course we could not possibly manage to do anything without a hearth kit could we...

But by tea time we had quite a big section of old lath and plaster wall reduced to dust and my, does it ever generate dust.

This of course has left me just a little tired, OK then, a lot tired, but of course tomorrow will be a day of rest, or not; more to demolish and shovel up and barrow away and burn.

I wonder if I will feel as good as this tomorrow, or if I will feel even worse......


Monday, 5 April 2010

On the dificulties of life with an anorak....

There is nothing wrong with having a hobby, indeed hobbies are to be commended. Just sometimes...

Well, it has got so that I avoid driving some bits of road.

You can be driving along minding your own when a sort of popping fizzing noise starts in the passenger seat. This will be your hint that management has spotted someone in the midst of mechanical hedgeing or some piece of hedgerow that has just been mown. Hedging is one of those old country skills and there is a apparently a right way of doing it and you can also hitch a gigantic machine to that back of a tractor and rip the lot apart.

So some bits of road we drive along with her looking and signaling warm approval at some piece of hedge that has been done properly, or you get dangerous rumblings and volcanic snorts when there has obviouly been a tractor along recently and the road will often be a mess of small bits of branch destroyed in the mechanical leviathon's trail.

Then, you drive a bit further and someone will be rebuilding a stone wall. This will be a chance to hear some rumbles of disapproval from a diferent direction as Taliesin spots some stonemason's handiwork and explains exactly where they went wrong and why the whole thing should be reduced to rubble and he should be engaged to do a proper job, since, like his mother he is the only one in the whole wide world who can do anything right.

Now, this is all very well but I'm not at all sure it's healthy, it's not like they had an interest in anything important, like say a green goddess fire engine.

Things are potentially moving in the right direction though. yesterday was given over to some "sortology" in the old abandoned bit of the house with a lot of Bedford stuff dealt with and more steps achieved on the path to being ready to start some building work inside.

As part of this Tallie and I started erecting scaffolding, her birthday scaffolding, she did not quite come all over misty eyed but at least the didn't look annoyed or angry.

She is however a bit fed up today as the wind has come up and it's blowing a bit of a hoolie.

Never mind, there is an event on in the village, I might spark up one of the green goddesses and go down there for a laugh. After all who could fail to be fascinated by a Green Goddess......


Saturday, 3 April 2010

There's more

The management had a read of what I wrote yesterday and reminded me.

When our family had fostered for ten years, ten years of children most of whoom came from the top end teenies who present the greatest challenges, we got an invite.

This very posh and expensive card arrived inviting us to a posh and expensive thank you dinner with the lord mayor at their official residence.

This was quite flattering but we replied: thanks but no thanks, if there's any money spare, better to spend it on looked after children or better still on our own children who are, after all the unsung heroes of fostering.

Sharing their lives, their toys and their parents with others.

Of course, we are foster carers so they listened to our views, then ignored them and had the freebie beano anyway A night out for the mayor, councillors, managers and presumably some foster carers.

In due course a box arrived with a very expensive looking plaque thanking management for being a foster carer and hoping she would continue to foster for years to come.

No mention of our family, no mention of me, apparently fostering was and is something she does on her own.

I queried this and got told it was "an error" no apology followed, neither was there any hint that something might be done to put things right.

This was about the time that P went home and a letter arrived in the post from his mum, thanking us, all of us, for everything we had done for her son and thanking us for helping her through her mental illness.

Guess which one we kept and which one went in the bin.

It shows really, some things are expensive but ultimately worthless, other things things cost nothing but are priceless.


Friday, 2 April 2010


Sometimes things go a little bit right.

Some years back we fostered a young man who had been in and out of care all of his life because of his mums frail mental health.

She is a fantastic mum, something we never tired of telling her and, flicking back through the archives oh here will reveal plenty of evidence.

How she trecked across Wales on trains on her own, the day after ECT. How she was shaking, literally dribbling but she put her son first and somehow got here.

The little things and big things, the good times and hard times, through it all she put her son first.

For ourselves I think one of the outstanding moments of our career was when we turned up at a meeting where it had been decided beforehand that P was going for adoption. Getting looked after children adopted was a "target" at the time. I looked across the room at her and just knew. If that happened, it might be under a train, it could be off a bridge, but the result would be the same.

We really could not sit back and so, we didn't do much we just helped her work out what she needed to do and who she needed to talk to.

This set in train a pivotal series of events, we weren't major league players but we did play our small part, and putting the block on that adoption was one of the best things we have ever helped do. One of the best bits of social work we ever achieved.

But enough about us she is a truly selfless lady that makes the dark times with other children and other parents seem worth it.

I could actually name him now, he isn't in care any more, he is back with his mother. Well, no actually, at the moment he has come back to his "other home" and he'd downstairs somewhere on the Wii.

That's something some social workers find hard to grasp. Many come into work do a very good job (sometimes) then go home.

So they think we should take a child in, have them as part of the familly for 3 or 4 years then wave them goodbye and thats that.

It does not really work like that for foster carers.

(That's not denying that there are not children whose departure is a cause for relief or even celebration)

But anyway I digress, the little angel (not) is back with us for a few days this week and will be returning again soon.

Mum, being a good mum is fine with this and recognises the key part we have played in his life and is happy.

Happy to the point where she spent money buying an easter egg for every child in the household. She dosn't have a lot, they survive on benefits, so that was a lot of money for her to find. Some guy made an comment once how a mite from a Widow can represent more than a pile of money from a rich business man.

It's the same with her.

It's also true that an Easter egg from her is valued here far more than the extravagant plaque we got given for sticking with the agency for 10 years.

Then again, it's not really the "agency" we stick with.

An Easter egg every so often is really nice though....