Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Water we going to do about this then...

This morning started well. Slid to the school bus and  kids to school.

It was a scream - literally...

Next up taking masses of pipe outside and connecting everything together so we now have water.

Well no we "had" water.

The pipeline to the top of the mountain must be frozen somewhere and  so our pump was just pressurising inside the house.

This was a bit sub optimal; opening a tap did not so much produce water as nearly fire the taps off the sink!!!

But  anyway this was progress, both washing machine and dishwasher succesfully run before filling our reserve tanks and dismantling everything for the night having first drained the pipe of water.

I hope the winter is not going to carry on like this, standing out there in an icy blast disconnecting joints was really tedious.

That said, it was a good excuse to take the green goddess for a little trip today. Not on the roads just round the fields a couple of times to free the clutch and make sure it all works.

The next job is fitting  electronic ignition.

I seem also to have devised a new method of getting down the ice hill. Lets remind ourselves, conventional wisdom says driving on ice is pick a high gear and be as smooth as a smooth thing on steering and brakes. Which is wrong, the advice should be: DON'T!!!!!

On going down hills, the advice is stick it in a low gear and walk it down hill. at tickover - feet off everything. Applying this has produced a ski experience with zero steering effect.

Today I changed what I did. I went for neutral then using cadence braking to really keep the speed down - walking pace.  It seemed a lot better and more effective to me, having all four wheels trying to stop the car seems to work better.

I am not recommending you try it mind, just observing that my underwear was less under  threat I thought.    

But now it's not driving time. It's free evening time, the log fire is generating heat, the living room is 25 C the student is essay writing. All is well with the world. That can't last....

Monday, 29 November 2010

Dazed and confused and all before breakfast.

Every so often here at Penole we have an all action day and today has been one.

You would have had to have the news disconected and maybe be locked in the house to have failed to notice the last few days have been a tad chilly.

Serious cold has been the experience here and that has exploded in two dimensions. The first has been transport, the  little road up the mountain to our drive has become virtually a uniform sheet of ice.

Driving up ice is one thing but driving down it takes excitement to a whole new level. Normally this sort of thing would be dealt with with a bit of Green Goddess 4x4. Ice though is very different to snow, when driving down ice it's the standard drill; low gear and feet off everything. Of course if it's really icy or  steep or both what can happen is you lose tyre traction and the vehicle just scates off in a random direction. In a car that's "interesting" in 5 tons of Green Goddess thats a bit more "excitement" than I would like.

Taking the kids to school both management (AX) and I (806) had a skiing moment or two where the car in second idling begins to accelerate away out of control as it skates over the icy surface. You can of course accelerate till the wheels are back at the right speed then try and decelerate again. You could also chuck an anchor out the back

 ABS, on paper offer a whole host of new levels of control, excepting if the  tyres are gripping at nothing  the ABS  is less use than the cigarette lighter to a non smoker..

Now, if you are thinking this might be all have been a  bit interesting then you would be right.

I went out this morning to drop the kids for school then out to the builders merchants to get bits to re do the pipes (enough of frozen pipes we will get to that soon ). Then out again to get the one bit that the builders merchants would not have then out to get the kids then out to meet the college bus then home.

On one of those trips we rounded the corner on the way home to find another car - half way up the hedge.

Stopping, (wow, how did we do that!!) we summoned Taliesin who arrived shortly after with his V8 Discovery and a tow rope.  The state of traction being well illustrated as Tallie stood up from hitching the rope and slid away gently down the hill. luckily towards the other vehicle.   We soon had the nice lady  recovered and on her way, being a nice lady she pressed a note into Taliesins hand.

He is not daft and very soon Taliesin seemed to be spending most of his time looking out of the window spotting  cars leaving the main road, then shortly after disapearing up the drive with his tow rope.

I'm not sure quite how many cars he towed out but he did mention one that got away, well sort of. Someone got stuck and Tallie missed it so someone else got there first with a Defender that they promptly got stuck too. They got a special two for the price of one deal when he attached the Disco to the Defender then pulled the pair of them out in one.

He has not been forthcoming with the profit of the day but he does seem to be in a good mood.

Of course we now move on to the second of the days vexed issues - water.

We are on a private water supply and I really am kicking myself, I saw this coming and did not put 50 gallons of water into jacks for just this emergency.

So this morning we woke to a zero water situation.

We spent much of this morning clearing various pipes of ice. Spotted the frost shattered one way valve on the well head where at some stage the insulation had been blown away. That was two of our trips out.

Then  fell back to emergency planning; we have a reserve pipe that can be used to bridge the gap from the house to the pump head.  Using the pipe bypasses everything from pump to tap, a cunning piece of emergency planning by me. This is stored outside ready for use, (anyone spotted the flaw) can be left connected all day then brought inside for the night so it does not freeze.

We had reckoned without there being any water left in the pipes which of course there was. It took us a while to work that out and by then it was getting late so we just pumped lots of water into jerry cans for toilet flushing and dish washing then called it a day.

By then it was time for more trips down the cresta run to the main road.

And of course Branwen suddenly remembered  that she was baby sitting and needed to be at her sisters 15 miles away  by 6 PM.

Having taken a very circuitous route, we got back by twenty to seven  tonight

"Time we had some breakfast" I said, "good idea" she said.  

I don't think the student is uni minded tomorrow, what with the ski run and all.

I am going to switch the alarm off before I forget.




Sunday, 28 November 2010

some weekend

This really has been a weekend

Gosh how can I fill in the  details

I will try tomorrow after I take my daughter to meet the bus for the conference up country that she needs to meet at 7 am.

Mornings are great - I don't do them but...


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snow joke

We are snowed in again. Not in the same sense as February but enough to make getting out interesting.

I must go and sort out a couple of green goddesses in case it gets deep.

No one son got up, had breakfast and then drove off in his discovery - not seen since.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Phew - a full on week.

There has been just so much going on this week it's been hard to keep up with myself let alone blog.

The arrival of L the new placement has been very much an on off thing all week.

But preparation meant persuading Branwen to give up her bedroom to move back in with Bethan.

We had not realised how "at home" Branwen had made herself in there until we had to move her back out.

Took half a day to move her and even then not all her books have been moved and her photos are still on the walls and her drawings still on the ceiling.

Yesterday I went to a conference (after the student had been in uni the day before and came home despondent having failed a module in ECDL.

As I said I went off to a conference, taking the car as I might need to bring L home. Parking a car in Daycastle is worse than a nightmare and I ended up over a mile from the venue. that made me fashinably late and so I am told meant I did not have to suffer the first few speakers.

The day happened against a child protection back drop with phone calls every so often and updates as the day drew on.

There were some serious issues for me though. I am getting really uncomfortable, to put it mildly with the personalisation agenda. Personalisation is good if it is a choice that you are given, but if personalisation is enforced that's not choice at all.   

Telling people it's a choice then telling them they have to have it is having a laugh at the service users expense.

Proper neoliberalism individualising the support then when they cut it it is not a population that are affected but individuals.

So those individuals who are assertive will get and those who are compliant will not.

We have a choice, all of us, social workers, carers and users.

There is no third way.

There are two choices:

Stand up or lie down.

Which side are you on?



Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The circle turns

A while ago, as in a damn long time, we were told that "out of county" placements were to be no more.

We were heading for extinction off to join the dinosaur....

Of course in the back of my mind I always doubted, I remembered a few times where this has happened before.

Confidentiality prevents me saying exactly what has gone down. But there is a young person with complex needs who is in danger in daycastle and suddenly they have remembered where we live.

Overnight from being a bloody nuisance we have gone to being  highly valued.

That said meeting this young persons need is either us or somewhere where the weekly bill has 4 figures.

They do that sort of "value" so well,

That said all things equal, as of tomorrow, our familly income goes up 50%, it's like being a banker except that what we do adds value to society.

Monday, 22 November 2010

days of variable quality and content.

Today  started on and odd start, the student has presented her pices to turnetin, the anti copying thing that stops students plagiarising others work  It's just a bit over sensitive picking up "of the" as something somenone has ever said before is a bit extreme.

Her mark overall though at 19% is pretty good especially when you realise that every time a book is referenced this idiot software notes that someone has done it before.

Today has been an interesting day though, turned up at bookers, having dropped Branwen in  college and there was lots on special offer.

Loads of carrot soup made today, ready for the freezer.

Then in got more tricky, Phil the builder turned up with loads of scallops so we have spent the night slightly arguing how you cook then.

I was taught in a Breton Paysienne kitchen where you threw in loads of butter loads of garlic loads of onions and pints of last nights left over cheap white.

How I wish I had listened more closely.
Then again we were cooking for 250.

The thing I can't remember is the searing of the meat first.

But it has been  a great night.

We made short date carrot into carrot soup and short date other stuff as well.

There is loads of proper rich sauce Coquilles  waiting to go in the freezer.

Yum yum.




Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wild winter

Winter is a cold time.

Yesterday was an outside sort of day with a lot of chainsawing and axing going on. I was out there in a Tshirt waving my vintage Elwell axe about.

The afternoon was a disappointment we went to the cinema to see the new hairy grotter film. I was expecting a lot and didn't get it. The books themselves, I am not a big fan of, perhaps I am being controversial but I find her writing style a bit turgid, some of the films have been pretty good. I could not get into this one.

Now it is Sunday morning and really I should get up.

The student has completed one task she has an essay to finish.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

me me me

OK so maybe this is going to get to be a bit heavy and philosophical but...

Have we not all been dragged into the Cameron Clegg agenda where all we are worried about is ourselves.

It works for them as multi milionaires do anything that turns a pound regardless of the misery they leave behind types.

But what does it deliver for you and me?

Cooperation is real self interest, gaining what we want as individuals, but  collectively, makes us stronger than anyone in the world.

In the previous world everyone in Britain got their heads down in 1940 and did something tremendous in terms of stopping a political view that was a contagion.

Now we have a new contagion, except we don't, Maggie started it, those like Major who followed her failed to keep the torch burning then her arch acolyte Toby Blair came to power.

Brown tried to place a brake on things and failed. His innablility to pull the banks in was really his downfall.

The way he handled the crash will go down in history as his real epitaph he did wake up and he did the right thing at the time.

He was a good chancellor who should never have been appointed to PM.

Foolishly he ran the election on debates rather than sun reader sound bites.

Now the contagion has reared it's head again after the election of  the  liars.

I am sort of optimistic that people really are going to be out on the street challenging the lie.

If  the cut to death Police ever realised which side they were on - we could be in for a ball.

A class in itself becomes a class for itself as someone once said.


Social Work in a Risk Society

If you are some sort of academic or have some interest in Social Work can I suggest the above book by Stephen Webb.

I'm not suggesting you read it I am suggesting you avoid it like a coach load of conservatives. It has bent my brane in ways I had not experienced since being an undergraduate.

I would suggest that he needed to look at Althuser a bit more in his analysis which whilst acknowledging the self centered individualism of neoliberalism is in danger of replacing it with another which is based on ethics, itself another form of hegemony.


Friday, 19 November 2010


I am having a bit of an outbreak of optimism.

I have to be fair I was a bit in despair of this country.

As a foster carer I am used to carers being in the mire, being supported, winning, then wandering off because all they were concerned about was them. Individualism was entrenched into the psyche.

Now, this government has been in power for a little while. Anarchist students spread revolt in London - only they didn't this was a new generation learning to kick the system.

We have a slowly blooming activism.

A class in itself become a class for itself....


Thursday, 18 November 2010

A long day

Running round the place today but not in the Xantia which is not making I want to run noises.

The student is really pissed of with the dead car and no ammount of telling her what really happened seemd to be working.

But we went off to Bookers ( a wholesaler) today and we did some pretty strong deals on stuff that is on a short date, so we can stick stuff in the freezer for the future.
But we are probably back into fostering proper.

We have a young man coming here on respite who looks, on paper, like a one  man crime wave.

This is where we went into fostering years ago.

And, you know what, the young people were usually great.

The service was the problem.

Having said that I had a long time on the phone today with some brain donor who had been charged with reading the risk assesment to me but could not commit to sending me a copy.

Or tell me a thing about the young person because all he had to go by was the risk assessment  #

That really helped me

Then a conversation with a very experienced social worker.

Oh did I say we had a long chat with the CAMHS nurse because we trust her judgement.

And we spoke to the current carer who is very new to the system.

I think we can deliver for this young man.

Then again been there and bought the  T shirt....





Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Today the student headed uni wards in the 806 leaving me to chose between Mr Tick and her Xantia.

One lot off on the bus and back I came to take the other mob to college.

All was going well, of course there have been biblical innundations here over night and we rounded the bend to find a road under water. No worries, not too deep, errr wrong.

I still cannot explain how the xantia with it's air inlet just below the bonnet managed to suck up a load of water but it did.

Towing it home was frankly terrifying as Citroens loose everything when the engine stops. No power steering I could live with but being towed home with only the handbrake to slow you down is a new type of fear altogether....

Currently the bonnet is open the injectors are out and I am slowly ejecting all the water.

Naturally it has just started to rain again and yes I am working in the open. My I am so enjoying this little job and this day.

This afternoon we get to hear the carnage that is the assembly budget so no doubt I will be even more cheerfull tonight.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hoooray for good news...

What an exciting piece of news, an extremely wealthy young man is getting married we are all over the moon, well the moon came into my thoughts somewhere. 

Back in 69 Wales was coming close to being up in arms and his old man was invested - that kept the proles busy with street parties.

Back in 70 something people were getting mightily fed up with the state of the country and his old man decided to marry Barbie. Well some young woman a bit short on brains but who was far more acceptable than the woman he was in love with.

Of course we now know that turned into a pr disaster well no actually the country simply lost it's mind.

Now we have another chinless wonder getting marries in a time of economic gloom and following a right wing coup. So, we had better gear ourselves up for lots of parties and waving of the union jack to celebrate privilage.


Triumphant student!!

She came home all full of herself she scored 86 percent I think and I get the impression that is good.

And the government have rolled out the individualisation programme and it's compulsary. So this scheme to increase flexibility and choice will be yours whether you want it or not.

Then we understand the body that oversees training for those who work with children is to go.

So when  Childrens services go the same way there will be no way of knowing if the person you employ is any good either....

We love these service developments don't we....

More Diplomas in Computing

I think the penny is begining to drop. The student headed off today looking all confident and pleased with herself.

She is off to do a diagnostic then put herself down for the module test for something or other.

This is one thing she cannot look at me to do for her.

My computer skills being close to zero   she though seems to be learning fast she was on about tool bars and all sorts. I thought a tool bar was a pub that sold spanners but apparently it isn't. 

Anyway she has made her happy way to university leaving me to see that the builders do not die of frostbite.

Personally i think I am turning into a cat: the further from the  fire I go the less happy I become.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Keep this secret...

In my living room it is now so hot that I cannot stand it.

This is official

The student had us outside waving the chainsaw with it's new chain around today and I got to use my big splitting axe as what we cut today is what we are burning tonight. Though a lot of it went on the woodpile too.

We are so much more ready for winter this year. That said, we are having frosts already and both fires are going but 2 fires makes for uncomfortably warm.

I  have paid the price though.

Not sure why but the gout has come back to visit - my how I love that


The politics of politics....

We all of us need to get to grips with Condem life.

Their bank tax, so it now seems will actually be worth over a billion more than they forecast to the exchequer, great news you would think. We are going to clear even more of the defecit, errrr no.  The tax will be cut so the money  can be given to the bankers in bonus.

Vodaphone owe the revenue 6 billion in tax, so the OAP's can get have their winter fuel allowance restored,  errr no, they have been told no to worry it can be written off.

Today was Vodaphone action day, everyone on Vodaphone to mass defect in protest. Did you hear about that in the news? I wonder why not....

Now, as it happens, we have been paid a few hundred too much in families tax credit, so, no worries they will write it off or are they after every penny?

This is the reality of their "big society"

Poor pain rich gain.....



Back to the grindstone

A surprising weekend with litttle of note to report. The Pont Aven, which is simply huge took the seas in it's stride and we had an amusing time unenlivened with things like mechanical catastrophe and mayhem.

Other things did intrude in a very negative way but as these things do they often goad you into doing things you should have done a long time since and this morning I asked a couple of trades unions if they would be prepared to represent foster carers.

This is long overdue, time after time I have seen foster carers used and abused then dumped by their agencies now it's time to get a union and unionsise.

If you are reading this you might know that Slough is planning to halve foster carers pay, you probable don't know that Wiltshire too has a plan to take nearly 200 pounds a week per child off many of it's foster carers.

The problem is that the employers will not consider themselves as such. they wish to have their cake and to eat it as it were.

I feel we are in for a rough time with the condems and it's time for working people everywhere to get together and say where their bottom line is.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

An eventfull day of eventfullness.....

So off I headed to uni today taking the sprightly little  AX. for a run.

Now I suppose one of us should have thought before booking a 11 AM meeting on rememberence day. Parking was a total no no and I spent 20 minutes driving round before finding a slot in a pay and display car park discovereing that I had no change and being late had a "stuff this" moment and legged it.

We considered starting the meeting with 2 minutes silence but I suggested 2 minutes profanity with awards for lack of hesitation or repetition..

Our meeting went relatively OK with as much time spent dicussing the cuts and riots as university business.

Then it was over and time for home  back to the car park and the warden had obviously been round as I had a lovely note inviting me to contribute 50 quid to the council. Bliss!

Back on the motorway and the weather had changed,  the wind was really blowing. The AX is a remarkably frugal little car, delivering really impressive miles to the gallon, it does this by being as light as a leaf. Of course one thing about leaves is that when the wind blows they fly.

Each gust would shove the AX sideways anything up to a metre. If you think this might have been alarming you would of course be quite right.

That was on the motorway once I was on A roads it was lots more than alarming.

On the final twisty  B road stretch, hitting a bend then suddenly lurching across the road / towards the hedge really was no fun at all. Especially as the road was surrounded by trees which were bending this way and that in a really worrying way. All it would have taken was for one of those to snap and I would not be here writing this now.

Still, it is all done and  I am home typing this in the living room infront of the log fire I just turned down as it is 25 C in here.

Tomorrow though, is another day, we are off on manoeuvres again and   should be on the 10 pm tomorrow night. If the thing sails that is, the weather in  the channel looks less than good....

I might have an amusing little tale to tell on Sunday when we get back.

A life on the ocean waves


Is better than going to sea



Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A new dawn.

Today we saw something very interesting.

52000 citizens took to the streets and said: we are not playing your game and we do not find it acceptable.

Some of them went on to stage a bit of a party, smashed up a building and indulged in a bit of a riot.

Sadly some Police officers got hurt, about 7 and so far nothing serious.

Something that really really struck me though was the level of policing, having done the odd demo myself, I was a bit bemused to watch it all live.

Really there should have been a hell of a lot more Police round the front of the building and did they really not have vans and vans of blue uniform thugs round the back.

I am prompted to wonder if, with lots of them thinking their redundancy notices are in the post, the police decided to let the thing ride.

The other option being that the government let it all run out of control so as to change the focus from the poverty they intend to impose on the country to the people who are (unreasonably of course)  against them.

Of course the populace might not take such a view.

Sadly, I doubt that; we have become sheep.


The student in triumph.

The student, as part of her course has been writing a reflective blog. This has been a thinking about the stuff she has been reading sort of exercise and one that I thought  she was doing pretty well.

It has pushed me too, a lot of stuff like Foucault Marx and Marcuse I done a lot of before. Gramsci was a whole new territory for me and the debates have raged on late into the night, the writing done early in the morning, as ideas bashed into each other in her sleep. Personally, I have better things to dream about than Marcuse but each to their own.

Today, she had the feedback on how she had done, it could have been better, not sure how but there must surely be something that could have been better - damned if I could think what though.

As the final feather in her cap the lecturer used a point directly lifted from her blog in the seminar today.

Thinking about it, the lecturer didn't reference where she got it from, isn't that plagiarism...

I think she might let her off though.

Her head is not quite twice it's natural size but not far off.


A severe outbreak of weather

Today we have calm and the temperature in the house is on the comfortable side of warm.

Yesterday in contrast the wind was howling round the house and seeping in through every crack and poor joint on every door and window.

Trying to keep the fire under control was a constant battle and one that I didn't do too well at.

Today the wind has fallen and the deluge promised by the Met Office has yet to arrive.

The student went off at silly o clock again and I am left to do the housework (well OK some of it) and prepare tea.

Tomorrow it will be my turn at University, only a few hours, at a meeting. .


Monday, 8 November 2010

beyond the call

It is 6.37 and  I am awake. 

In fact worse than that I have been awake for 10 minutes.

The student has an important day with a pass or  fail at it's end.

She is heading off on university bent and to help her I set my alarm for 6.30.

That is beyond the call of duty if you ask me.


I am a bit bemused by the ads that seem to proliferate around my blog.

Talk about fostering and a sea of fostering agencies are there suggesting you work for them.

Mention chain saws and everyone and their brother will sell you a chain, for more incidentally than I paid for a chain today in my local hardware store.

Nissan car videos?

Don't ask me, no idea what thats all about. 

But Zooska is the one that really worries, what's all this dating thing all about?

Of course, if this is going to bloat my adwere account I am all for it. Quite a few years of blogging has yet to trawl me 50 quid in royalties though.

That's a lot of late night thinking for not much return.

Then again do I do it for the  money?

Obviously not.

I can't hear the rain....

The morning has arrived, clear and open and sunny.

Firewood has been fetched but it's mild enough not to need to light it just yet.

The student has lots of printing to do so hopefully the new printer inks will be here soon.

I am off to play hunt the new chainsaw chain.

Being extremely profligate, we are supposed to be off to Brittany this weekend coming to check the house.

A brief look at the weather forecast makes me doubt that, funny we were due to go almost exactly a year ago and the same thing happened, huge storms stopped sailings. 

We shall see.....

Oh dear

Taliesin's driving cannot be described as shy.

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

I can hear the rain....

The weather has turned all weathery, the wind is driving rain into the velux in my bedroom .

Big drops arrive in waves and break on the glass, it's very elemental and nice.

The fire has pushed the living room to 26 C I doubt if it will stay in overnight.

The student has done lots of work and awareded herself a couple of hours of telly on the computer.

Since the building work started the aerial has been down and there has been no telly at all. Except that which comes down the phone line. Lets remind ourselves this is rural west wales and connection to the exchange falls short of good as the wire is old and multi connectioned. On top of that we are a few miles away in the first place.

With a few glitches around rugby matches we have not really had any grief at all.

The kids could manage fine without the telly at all.

Of course they are finishing off now and soon we will have the aerial back up again.

I will be sad about that.

The rain hammers against my window, it could be a long night.


The benefits of a knackered chain.

We have not long changed the chain on the chain saw but we have also cut unprecedented ammounts of wod this year.

Yesterday, several attempts to render the chains sharp did not seem to work. I am forced to conclude it's firewooded out.

This is all very sad as the student had another day of chainsaw waving pencilled in for today with it of course being quite nice at the moment.

So the dead chain saw we can forget about that for now.

Anyway, if we hang on for a little while we will have Some of Ian Duncan Smith's unemployed up here to saw it up for us for nothing. 

You have to cut them some slack, they are all milionaires, public school boys, you cannot expect them to understand how society works, or dosn't.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Making the unaccaptable look good.

Our public school PM has appointed himself a full time photographer to struggle with the fairly daunting task of making this cold hearted ex public school boy and presumably some of his tax dodging mates look good.

To fund this we will lose public servants and services.

It's OK so we are told by the high court for a disabled lady to spend the night sitting in her own urine but the PM needs his own dedicated photographer. 

I think it would help our big society a lot if politicians pay was means tested too. Of course the politicians from working class backgrounds who are dependant on their salaries should still get them. But rich public schoolboy hobby politicoes should bring their own cheque books....

This is after all the big society and we must all make cuts, cuts in benefits and cuts in tax evasion.....


Mornings are for lie ins, I wish

It is nice to think of Saturday mornings as lazy times for lying in bed with coffee brought by grateful loving childer.

The truth might be a small distance away from that. Something woke me at 2 am and I did not realise the time till I looked at the BBC website and Facebook. Management managed to slumber on till 8 am and woke then thinking it was at least 10 in the morning.

Both of us spent the night struggling with 3 cats each of whoom thought the bed was theirs especially Deimund who is usually found under the Duvet trying to tunnel his way between myself and the student.

Taliesin got up and, noticing the stove was not actually melting has been feeding it firewood so, having closed our bedroom door to exclude the cats; (who went downstairs hearing breakfast dishes and thinking: "food") is slowly basting us alive.  

We were promised terrible storms today so far it's flat calm and the management thinks we might be able to cut wood after all.

Oh Joy....


Thursday, 4 November 2010

In the midst of life we are in child protection....

What is it about services?

One minute you are in  procedure and you HAVE to do that because it's regulation etc.

Then they are in procedure and they seem to be lost.

You quote what they are required to do by law and they look bewildered.

I have an email on hold as it is such pure vitriol that I think tomorrow might be needed with a few hours to calm down  before I can send.

The proposal was to have a meeting about keeping a young person safe.

From which he is to be excluded (I can scrape together grounds for that)

From which his parents might be  be excluded (no possible problem with that)

And we are currently to be excluded, who have been his carers for over half his life and been asking for this for over 2 years.

Present will be a chair who has never met him at all.

His social worker of about 5 months and met him twice.

And our fostering social worker who has seen neither us or him for over a year.

I am not sure if this would be construed best practice.


The student loses it.

This morning one of my university mornings I was bustling along getting myself semi human looking - no mean task.

The student moved by my plight decided she needed to help and she decided I needed a hair cut. She got the trimmers out  cleaned the blades and started on my head.

Trouble was she didn't put one of the little height thingies on she started shaving my head!

So if came to pass I have a big bald stripe up my head.

I would like to report that she who did the deed was horrified and mortified, but alas I must tell the truth.

When she was able to see again from the tears that were pouring down her cheeks and stand again and breathe, she finished doing my head and off I went to be all responsible intellectual and clever with a big bald stripe up the side of my head. 

I got through the day without anyone actually calling me slap head but I think there were a few odd looks.

Of course when they got home the children were models of sympathy. Branwen was the first to notice and managed hysteria for a whole 4 minutes, people were worrying that she was going funny colours.

Really makes a man feel loved it does.....


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mechanical mayhem.

Things  seem to run in cycles here, everything goes well then, without even a hint of warning smelly brown stuff says hello to the fan and it all kicks off.

First of all the 806 died, clever money now says the water pump seized solid triggering a series of cataclysmic events. So huge amounts of Greasy Garage time were taken up replacing the engine with one from a 306 which has different everything so all the ancillaries had to be changed before it could be fitted.

Not to mention the aircon which had to be drained and cannot be left for too long without  sixty pounds worth of coolant  because the pump will burn itself out. Might not be on the same engine trashing system as the water pump but I am not sure...

Then we had random suspension Xantia which beguiled us into thinking it was OK before recording a fail big style on the way back from Brittany.

That has gone on the ramps at Greasy Garage the height sensing valves have come off and been cleaned, the old mucky hydraulic fluid has been drained and replaced. 2 of the spheres, citroen equivalent to springs have been binned. To put the tin hat on it, it now appears that the drive belt for all the anciliaries is shredded and that and the idler wheel that did the shreading needs to go too.

This is all feeling awfully dear, oh and the little AX is treating it's auxiliary drive belt like a bit of elastic and that has to be changed too!!  I will do that in house, but have to observe that it is a job that is really easy to do if the car is up on a ramp. Outside, on the floor, in the pouring rain, adds a few complications.

Think I will be reduced to walking soon, though I bet one of my wellies will have a blow out if I try that.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


In the summer cats can often be encouraged to enjoy the wild life in the countryside. A cats principle need, after unbelievable amounts of food is somewhere warm to sleep and there are plenty of sunny spots in summer.

Of course come the wintery months and your average cat will have worked out that it is about 15 degree warmer inside the house than outside and the battle commences.

If you told me that Adam the oldest car here at about 10 had his own personal door I would be inclined to believe you.  He gets into the house without anyone noticing and with feline cunning then has a number of places where he can discretely vanish.

Da man of course has a hutch where he keeps his humans so as their owner he has total right of access in there. He will get quite upity if the humans don't get that. For him it's also very important to let thm know that all food is his, this is a matter which he is quite prepared to settle with a scrap.

If should also be noted at this point that if humans are stupid enough to put food in black plastic bags they only have themselves to blame when he has to rip  them apart to eat it.

Da man also has "his" chair next to the fire and god help anyone else who sits in it. Unless he is so hot that he needs to sit somewhere else.  

Deimund though has taken this in the house thing to another level, locked out, he simply hammers his paws on the window till someone opens it.

Once inside though Deimund knows he likes mushrooms and peppers,  you can often find those in the compost bun and there is only one way to know if there are any in the bottom of the bin......


Tne downside to builders.

As part of the grand design and build project we are creating a separate dwelling next door with the aim of renting out and getting a bit of money.

Of course to be a next door it cannot have one, a connecting door that it is. So today the builder removed the connecting door and started to brick up the hole. Note the word started. We currently have a large hole in the wall through which the wind is roaring.

I am going to have to change to stoker mode and get this fire roaring hot

It's bloody cold in the house just now.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Day of domestic enginering

Tomorrow  I get to be an domestic engineer,  long hard day of slog.

Especially as we are now guaranteed that the "unannounced" visit will be Wednesday. The young people in this house are now getting seriously fed up that we cannot do anything good as the place has to be casualty sterile for when the social worker turns up.

Today was a interesting one, getting to tea time and realising we had no wood in the house and wood of course is in the woodpile which is outside where of course the wind is winding and the rain is raining.

I was bloody soaked coming back in with the wood. So was she who went off to sell wine to her little mate.

Stuff this for a game of skittles.



The truth is out there

The truth is out there front line services will be protected under the spending review.

So well protected are they in England that the budget for children looked after will be halved over the next for years.

Lets look at that, much of what is done is statutory. That is it's required by law, so how can that be done without running an illegal service?

Reminds me of the Climbie case where the head of service said the poor performance of child protection in Harringey was unrelated to his decision to take money out of child protection and use it in education instead.

Lets be logical, if someone told  you to halve your expenditure could you do it?

Would someone really have to suffer to achieve that

There are no efficiency savings that will cover that, the only thing that will is taking less children into care and caring less well for the ones in care now.

Maore baby P's are inevitable 

Someone in the Torygraph was briefing against the care system last week, I can see why now.


Posting and reflecting

The student has a lot on her plate today with her poster which god bless her she worked out how to change this size from A4 to A2 all on her own.

She is insisting she is behind with everything and it's all daunting, in fact she is doing very well and I think ahead of herself.

I am charged with keeping the fire going but not too  well.as it's formidable heat rendered our bedroom nigh on unlivable in last night.

Currently, the little angel is writing away on her reflective blog. Something I have just found out I have been doing for years, strange what you learn isn't it.