Monday, 28 February 2011

A grand weekend

We, that is the student and I have a grand tradition of weekends away. By ourselves time spent wandering about Brittany hunting the good time down. With lots of work on the horizon we decided to take the chance and run this weekend. Of course with kids on half term the usual running round after school buses and mad dash to the ferry could be avoided. Well no after a few bits of sort this out then need to to thating we were barely an hour early leaving here. Which made the gridlock on the motorway less than encouraging.

But anyway we left little D with his grand parents and made a fairly brisk run down over the bridge and down to Plymouth. In the ferry terminal a bit early so, we decided to go to the pub for half an hour rather than sit in the car. All made perfect sense to us. Lovely Plymouth local pub that I'm not telling anyone where it is in case the place gets invaded. Got in and there was some country number playing on the juke box and I happened to mention that I thought Ryan Davies had done it better. Now Ryan is another of those people you have never heard of as he died at 40 as he got the big break that would have made him a household name.  The effect on a woman sat nearby was  galvanic, she was from Swansea and Ryan was the music and comedy of her childhood. We could probably have still been there now, we really had to tear ourselves out of that pub.

Back to the ship and normal service was resumed. I am a bit of a tight git at times and as such rarely if ever print out our ferry tickets preferring to let the staff in the terminal print it with their ink on their paper. So the only proof I had that we were booked on the ferry was a bit 0of paper with a reference number written on it in my handwriting. Buttons weer pushed programmes accessed and nothing was working. After some time the staff just gave up and let everyone on anyway. Saying we could all get our tickets on board.

This of course came as news to the staff at the information desk. They claimed their computer was down too, in fact they could not give me my cabin number did i remember what I had booked. Just as I was going to tell them it was a Commodore class cabin someone turned up with a manifest and i was given a key to our usual sort of cabin in steerage.

This was not actually an area of the Armirique we had experienced before, a cabin close to the bow. Close enough to feel the crash as is smashed into waves trying to make up for time lost on the berth in Plymouth. Close enough to experience the pitch and yaw as it took every wave. I should mention at this stage that it is not unknown for the management to be sick on ships so a generous dose of Scottish medicine was administered to render her comatose.

Came the morning and off the ship we exploded with the house firmly in our sights. A quick check noting the place was all secure and on we went for another fabulous lunch in the Trois Marchands.

Our trip back was a different one to normal, we were going via the fabulous old walled town of St Malo. But not directly First we were visiting  friends in Dinan. Dinan is somewhere you simply have to visit if you go to that parrt of Brittany, a fantastic hill top medieval town. Tiny streets wooden buildings - brilliant.

But of course we were not here to look, the student was here to shop and into St Malo and it's shopping centres. It was very fortunate that we had stopped off at the refurbished Intermarche near our house, there was not a lot to get excited about in St Malo. Well there was actually. On the ship and into the restaurant for a fabulous 3 course meal which was nearly as good as lunch.

A far quieter night and home we came. back to her law essay and for me to try and make sense of the new white paper on social  care from the assembly. We are taking a very different path to England here in Wales and I think everyone needs to get out and vote yes on Thursday this week,

R      .


Thursday, 24 February 2011


Yesterday was Gwions birthday something the student and I feel a bit down about. Between rushing off for stat R's and university neither of us were as about as we like to be and so he didn't see as much of us as would have been nice.

Still he seems to have had a good day; made a birthday cake with his big sister and had a Chinese takeaway meal that i thought would need a fork lift truck to get into the car.

We are having an "official" birthday for him in a weeks time where he can have a load of his mates round and all of them go off to the bowling alley or something like that.

He is 12, where are the years going.....


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stat R

Every 6 months in the UK a child in the looked after system is subject to whats called a statutory review.

This is a get together where an independent social worker gets to look over the case and make sure that everything that needs to be done is being done. Good idea but in practice the reviewing officers are paid by the local authority and to describe them as properly independent requires a suspension of disbelief.

On top of that the one we currently have was allegedly removed from Intake and Assessment as a damage limitation exercise.

The student, that is the one who worked with little D was there as was D's SW and seconds after I had a full on rant about leaving care needing to begin to engage with little D in wandered one of their managers.

The highlight of the day for little D was when the RO asked him how school was going and he replied "OK". Quick as a flash I said no it was not at all OK, that D had come home with a report that when I first read it I thought he had paid someone to forge it!! I said his educational attainments of the last few months had been outstanding. He was well on course to get some quite reasonable grades at GCSE, all he needed to do was get his head down and go for it.

Then of course things went in another direction as mum laid in about him spending weekends with her at home, something the department has resisted with some force and for good reasons too.

I sat there and watched in awe as someone I remember from training courses not long after she qualified. Back then she was young  impressionable and a little bit unsure of herself. Today mum started and the reviewing officer was looking round in rabbit in the headlights mode. Quietly and with conviction she challenged what mum said, backing herself up with things from the case file. I was really impressed.

Mum was not going to have her own way so she walked out.

Meeting over and I gave his sister a lift back to West Wales, she had been seduced by the promises from mum then found when she got home the life she was offered was not the one she had been promised or the one she wanted. Leaving care (was there ever a better named team) had supported her moving to Daycastle but would not support her moving to West Wales where she feels she fits in.  So she had sorted somewhere to live for herself. Living with a friend whose mother is a social worker, so the team cannot really argue it's not suitable.

It's all a real mess though and somehow this young person must cut her own path.

The reviewing officer is going to try and sort things though, she has had a conversation with little D and thinks he should spend weekends at home. When I asked if she had established whether he said that because he wanted that or because his mum told him to say it, (there is lots of evidence of him saying what he is told not what he wants)  she was a bit lost; obviously a question that was way too hard. He has a huge loyalty to his mum and good on him for that.  This  does not always deliver what he really wants for himself or what is best for him of course.

It's a big ethical dilemma does his right to self determination over ride his need to be protected?

  Have we done our job?   Have we done all we can to equip him for his world?

He has some of the tools of judgement is it time he was  trusted to use them?



Monday, 21 February 2011

I am not very brite but....

Let me be the first to say that i am not very bright, didn't go to Oxbridge, never joined the Bullindon Club instead got a mediocre degree from a polytechnic.

That's probably why I cannot get my head round how the great Cameron said,  before the election that any of his ministers coming to him and saying front line services would be cut would be sent away to think again.

If that is so why are 30 Accident and Emergency departments in England going to close including at least one where (again) the proper consultation was simply side stepped.

He has further said he is not going to take away the public services people want, them embarks on the the biggest tearing apart of public service this country has seen in a very long time.

He is taking us back to before 1946 where you used to get what you paid for.

Introducing true localism where your wealthy gated estate can set up it's own council avoiding carrying the burden of the sink estate down the road. Leaving them to suffer because they cannot marshall the money to pay.

Big society, even bigger civil war.  Will our army stand up to us or stand with us?

Who knows.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Water we all on about....

The situation in the Arab world is turning all lively. We are being told about this wave of unrest all over the place, but hang on, when did you last see some detailed analysis of what it is all about?

The media has been pretty quick and accurate in describing what has been going on but the why has been thin.

Now we can reasonably postulate that food is a big bit of the problem. The Arab states are in an economic bind they need oil to be dear and but dear oil makes food, something that they are net importers of expensive  too.

A classic case of what the discredited Karl Marx described as the contradictions within an economic system causing itself to blow itself apart. I would emphasise that when i said Marx was discredited I was talking inside the prevailing economic hegemony and not reflecting my own views.

So we have a situation where food is getting costly and, so I learnt today, many of the oil speculators such as the family of one George W Bush are now buying up the rights to tap water reserves.

Water might be the next big problem, Could be good for us in Wales, there is so much of it tumbling out of the sky we could be a wealthy nation with a resource that has no limits...

The Scots would be fine too. 

Roll on 150 dollars  a barrel  for water, of course we would give it to our own for nothing.  

Don't think this will be coal all over again though, Rape of the fair country is won't be.

We will of course do a deal for bankers 50 quid a litre.....

And we will be magnanimous too, they can write it off against the tax they scrupulously avoid paying


Medication, dodgy stuff...

I suffer from gout something which is normally quite well controlled but every so often things happen and I am struck down.

Reading the early warning signs this morning I decided it was time I took some medications. I take an anti purine most days but if things are getting bad I take a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory which is very effective against gout but it's just as effective inside my head.

I set off to get Gwion from his little mates house in the bottom of the valley and immediately noted I had a reaction time you could measure in hours and that was assuming i could still recognise things like roads hedges fields and cars.

It strikes me that there are lots of people out there who drink and drive which is a baaad thing. But it would take 3 or 4 pints of strong beer to have the same effect on me as that little white pill I took this morning. I'm not alone, there are lots of people out there routinely popping things diazepan then jumping into cars when drinking a few beers would probably affect them less.

I am home now, well, I think I live here. These children look vaguely familiar and I am sure I know that busy looking woman from somewhere.  Hang on there's a big green fire engine over there, yes this must be my house I could not forget that I own 3 green goddesses....


Diplomas in computing.....

7.35 on a Sunday morning and the student is hard at it. Finding new and ever more profane ways of describing ECDL. I think she could swear for 10 minutes without hesistation or repetition about this computer course.

Actually, no, I don't think she could I know it for a fact as she just has.

Just sneaked a look and she is doing something about word processing - words, thats where the swearing comes in then.

The problem seems to be that she inputs the right answer and the computer tells her she is wrong. Telling her she is wrong has allways been a "high risk" activity...

I think the computer might fly in a minute, better steer her away and try and get her back on essay writing. 


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Friday nights OK for....

Well it's a top time to do your social work law essay apparently.

She is in sight of finishing and we are a week off being all silly and going away again.

Today has been a bit of a day, little D who has Beckers Muscular Dystrophy has fallen over 3 times in the last 2 days, turns out this is most likely a feature of his BMD. Boy do we need this  as he has low bone density so even quite minor falls can break bones, and I think the mood is best summed by the child protection worker who fills in at the youth club and his general terror in the fact that D had fallen over.

He would not want the information about what had happened to D landing in his desk, a serious investigation would surely follow.

So back we go to full on high risk working.

Had a student here today to add to the drama, not THE student A student doing task focused work with D. I have to make allowances, she is a student, can I expect her to hear the subtleties and nuances?

Probably not, she has to learn stuff like that. Then again, she is a student so she is here to learn.

So she was keen to have "expert" and "professional" guidance with a very clear supposition that I was neither. It was galling that I had just got off the phone to a GP who it became very clear very quickly  knew precisely bugger all about BMD but this student wanted to know what they advised as it was clearly more valid than any comments I might make.

Hmmmm so having this young person here for lots of years makes our experience worth less than her expert view formed on a couple of hours over a few months. This is not her, it's a culture inculcated by her training.

It's also fear and uncertainty, she does not really  know so she has to pretend to know.

I have to write a review of her placement, how will I deal with that one then.....

Ideas any one?


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Where is this all leading - well actually we know.

The student and I had a truly lovely day together today. We just zigged and then zagged.

It is starting to feel though that the coalition is a bit scared of what it has started.

Suddenly, punting all the state woodland into his little mates for knockdown rates (because it always is ) is off Camerons agenda.

Ian Duncan Smith is pulling back from taking benefit from people who are unemployed as a punishment for not being able to find the  jobs that are not there after  a year.

But look at the small print, housing benefit will drop from 50 percent of market rate to 30 percent. Won't happen of course because housing benefit is claimed largely by elderly and disabled people and when there are homeless old people on the town square even the tories won't be able to bullshit their way through that.

This week has been a bit of an introduction as Bethan my eldest, possibly the least organised person on the planet has moved off Job Seekers Allowance (being unemployed) to something else - not sure what.

She has joined a load of other young people in a former school in the south of the county. A facility seriously in the private sector, where she has been doing "core skills" things she did at GCSE, but of course these people get paid for delivering them not for whether the students need them. Then she moves on to  being a "trainee" that means she does a full time job for an employer for which she gets 20 pounds more than the dole but does not get the minimum wage.

Lets be fair to the Condems, they have only carried on the New Labour scheme.

Personally I think this is just the reinvention of the YTS; lets use youth and get them into the framework of being exploited.

It has been good for her though, she has come home angry and determined to challenge the system and change it.

Go girl, you are your mothers daughter...


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Let the betting commence

With property in free fall, stocks looking dodgy, those industrious people at the worlds trading houses have been forced to find something else to bet on. The one they have come up with is food and fuel. Soo pop into the petrol station and faint at the price, yes some of that is supply and demand, lots of it is tax and much of it is also your contribution to the bonuses and salaries at the big betting banks.

Something, in case it slipped your notice, we aquired in this country under the governence of one Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Thats in case some Tory tries to find a way of pinning the blame on Gordon Brown or Ed Balls.

Of course there is also food where global prices are up 27% in a year, so we get the great privilage of funding the banks with our money, the worlds poorest will pay for it with something rather more prescious, their lives.

Let the betting commence.


Monday, 14 February 2011

Oh dear amnesia....

Damn, knew I had forgotten something about today.

I have allways showered her with love on Valentines day and without exception get it wrong, she hates roses and chrysanthenums apparently. Now I can tell all variants of land rover but beyond "flower" I get a bit confused.

Thing is I had allready bought her a presant, a new pick axe handle, but sure as hell I am not handing her that now. 


Monday monday.

I have many kind friends who try not to grimace when I announce that I am embarking on a bit of DIY.

Others are perhaps less so, the builder in charge of the house next door was quite unequivocal. When i told him i intended to do the plumbing myself, he said there was no way he was working his but off putting in new walls and ceilings for me to bring them down in deluges of water.

Didn't have much faith in me then....

Thinking about it the last bit of plumbing I did wasn't as bad as that, well not quite as bad as that, there wasn't the biblical inundation he described, well, not immediately, and no ceilings actually came down. there were a few damp walls the boiler was making funny noises for a while and the carpet took a bit of shampooing,  but it needed a clean anyway...

My wiring too is legendary, after I rewired my land rover one time a kind friend who was an auto electrician, having giving the job detailed examination declared; he had not seen anything like it in his entire career (what a compliment) what's more he said, he felt that the fact that lights came on when he operated switches meant they were being powered by the force, because there was no way it could involve wires and electricity.  I think that was a compliment...

Today the subject was "replacing the switch that blew shortly after the upstairs  bath I fitted last year collapsed filling it with water". Now switch replacing is not complex. Well OK in a bath room there are more possibilities since there are actually 3 wires in the switch.

With the lights out it was a bit dark in there and  anyway soon the wires were replaced and he power went back on much to the relief of the student who was working in the dining room with the lights on as the day was rather dull.

I switched on the power and walked back to the bath room to check. Nothing worked, that was odd. Back to the dining room which was in darkness. Reset the trip switch and back to the bathroom, still didn't work. Back to the dining room, the dark dining room.

Change of plan, must be moisture in the bulb holder dismantle the fitting and allow to dry, disconnect the power feed lead. Back to the dark dining room, switch on power, lights come on. Go to bathroom to check all is well, no noises or sparks, back to the dining room, the err dark dining room...

The student was looking at me, I would not say it was a hostile look but I did not detect any great admiration for my DIY skills either....

Back to the bathroom and remove all wires. walk to dining room and let there be light.

Coffee break.

Ok so maybe in the darkness I had mixed the connections up swapped two wires back to the dining room flick switch and kerflash instant disconnect. Become aware that student is tapping a pencil on the table, tell her brightly that it is very lucky we have trip switches as it would take lots longer to replace a fuse every time.

She does not look impressed, tapping continues.

Have another go, swap other wires round. Back to the dining  room yes yes, the dark dining room. Think it must be getting cold outside as there is a definite chill in the air.

Back to the bath room swap wires round again. Re set trip   and on go the lights in the dining room. All is well, and light too.

Walk back to bathroom pull switch; lights come on. no fizzing, popping, smoke, flames or tripping out,  walk back to the dining room, the light dining room. Try not to look smug,  content  or pleased with myself, student eyeing me doubtfully and glancing at the fuse board as if expecting it to explode off the wall in a ball of flame at any second.

But no all was well and she went back to writing an essay. I knew it was about social work law but she seemed to be looking up the defence of diminished responsibility in manslaughter. Looking at a list of grounds; hovering around defences starting with the letter D. She does some very odd research sometimes.....


Sunday, 13 February 2011

I liked thatcher in 79.

Wow there's a bizzare statment from me, but after years of smoke and mirrors politics from both sides here was someone who said: "Vote for me and you will be shafted".

Thats what she stood on and she delivered.

Then the Tories went all over the shop and we got new Labour which was a tory a government that said  it was labour.

After all the trade unions which had been  enmasculated were brought into line for Blair by Thatcher.

So now we have the current situation.

This lot had no manifesto to go and do what they are doing.

We are back to old style politics, tell them anything, 3000 new midwives then don't deliver, student fees then don't deliver.

These are not Thatchers children they are Callaghans....

And he was not Tory or Liberal or new Labour, he was pure smoke and mirrors, oh hang on thats New Labour, Camerron and Clegg....


Sunday sunday....

A peaceful Sunday morning and,arrived Sernities kids for the day.

With it raining like there was a Green Goddess trained on the house - so going for a walk to escape was not an option.

Oh bliss, time to hide in the shed go and chop some more wood.

This afternoon off we all went mob handed to the cinema, to watch Yogi Bear. Not the best film I have ever seen and by a long way too. That said all the students seemed to like it, maybe I am on my own.

I think we are just not used to lots of children running round any more, gosh this house was alive, well so  I gathered from where I was hiding  upstairs anyway.
Still all is calm now and they are all home.

Yet more stuff hitting the fan in politics. A big American outfit is being paid bonus for everyone it assesses as not deserving of invalidity benefit. Their assesments are to exclude the views of GP's who might have known
there people for years it's a one day snapshot view...  I think people have let politics get out of kilter behind their back. There are people out there now arguing that benefits are wrong. That everyone should pay for insurance (to the private sector of course) and if you get old or ill that covers your financial needs. The prospect of being destitute will keep the working classes in their place and working.

How many of us could and would buy into this model.

Of course their philosophical take on this is a blend of Darwin and Durkheim survival of the fittest and organic society. They argue that society is a meritocracy and the best will rise and those at the bottom are there because they are pathologically inadequate. It might be interesting to look at the arch proponents of this and see how many of them rose from the bottom and how many rose from the top. .

Apparently, if you have money to give to the conservative party you can buy your child an internship at a merchant bank  Just as if you have lots of money you can buy them a place at Eton and they will be able to afford Oxbridge. Merotocracy and genes  at work.

Of course, we could look at something which is no rhetoric, children at 4 will show differences in intelligence tests which are quite broad regardless of the class of their parents. By ten that will have gone, the children of wealthier parents will be streaking away from their poorer peers. Merticrocracy is good but some people start with more merit than others. .....

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Shooting yourself in the foot.

Cameron seems to be madly engaged in an operation to demonstrate how quickly his big society idea can implode. But was it ever meant to work?

Did not the bank crash come at a highly useful time. All that public money soaked up in capitalism with an excuse to take an axe to the state under the guise of deficit reduction. One year in and how well have they done at reducing the deficit?

But of course it ends not there, the cornerstone of the big society was the voluntary sector that is waking up late in the day to the fact that the proposal is to simply abandon the poor and sick and disabled to their fate.

Rant over, the student is essaying now, an essay on social work law.

To divert ourselves, 

We have been axing, faced with a weather forecast that had been sort of wild we thought best get some wood in and then, in a trice the met office changed it's mind. The weather is set fairer.

It means that the last of the huge pile of wood  we stacked  in the cottage last year is processed fully and we will have an empty space to start filling when we are ready.

There is no shortage though, the garage is still packed to the ceiling and we have barely touched a quarter of whats in there.

We have about 10 tones of slab wood in stacks left to process, which means we will be stocking up on wood again soon. So that stuff might even have been drying for  3 years before we get to it.

I passed the wood yard yesterday and it looked full and he looked hopeful. e

Time I called in I think. Another 10 tons in stock would be good.

Especially as she plans to move her garden again and the plans for a greenhouse are being refined.

She needs some proper sleepers to anchor the whole structure down and make it a lot more substantial. 

The steelwork has survived the winter but the plastic covers have done less well.

So immediate garden plans are for a lot of willow to go in and create windbreaks with a relocation of the tunnel to somewhere slightly less windy.

It's also the field which features the fan soak away for the septic tank so things that grow down there tend to do well for some reason.....



Thursday, 10 February 2011

the big society welcomes you to pain

News comes in from all round the country how front line services are going to be cut as the finances dry up.

Even though the Welsh Assembly  guaranteed the funding for social care one local authority was going to make children pay to the tune of 4.7 million. Thats the reality of cuts it, of course this is a Liberal controlled council who wanted children to suffer so they could keep other things.

Next we get Cameron saying he wants to replace proper real time fire fighters with volunteers. Now I should add I would be the first to offer tohelp if there were serious floods or somethig like that but I would want proper trained fire fighters there alongside me so I didn't end up killing myself.

Cut everything especially tax for the rich.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

the drama is unending

So the student was off out the door at groan o clock meaning i could have a lie in till 7,15. No point wasting time, straight on the HMRC website and into action. Or not, it was the internets turn to act up now, connectivity became laughable with about a dozen resets before nine.

I was starting not to enjoy this, again. Eventually I got into the website and slowly worked my way through the initial maze. of mindless questions, no we were not property magnates, we were not living overseas and a whole raft of things then; are you a foster carer, tick yes, followed by; did you turn over more than 68 K last year; tick no and the form was done.

All those hours struggling and the form itself was done in 20 minutes that was allmost more annoying than everything else.

Still the day wore on, Daughter got taken for interview, that was another couple of hours, bookers got raided, sadly no short life cheap bread.

Kids were collected and everything turned into a bustle.

Still the student returned in triumph, well Citroen actually and we had a bit of a moment, we are going out tonight, the red paint has been ordered and we will be painting town tonight.


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A taxing day

I think it's fair to say that today has veered on the interesting side of interesting.

It should be enough to say that having written this post once allready it went on to blogger completly blank.

This morning I went on line to do our tax return, this should really have gone in at the end of january but serious glitches on their website meant I had to have a number sent to me by post which had duly arrived.

So today complete with the number I went to fill in the tax form.

Ahh but hang on where was the other number?

The revenue has two numbers both of which you need to log on. 

So I had the room apart and after lots of paper got moved found the other piece of paper.

So now I could log on, errr no well no there was also the password.

So there then ensued a battle with the password reset system where I would reset the password try to log in and then get told the password was errr wrong.

So of course every time you have a couple of goes and it won't take the right password the system locks and you have to go away for 3 hours as it resets.

I can say this now, mid morning I didn't, know this and well it was getting a bit lively and exciting.

So of course the obvious thing to do was to use the help line.

One has so say finding the number was not the easyiest thing.

But I found it, so i dialed the number and got to chose an option, 1 to 5, then again, and again, a fair ammount of againing agtain and i got to the end.

I needed to phone another number.

Time for coffee

I could not by now trust myself to talk to a human

So i went downstairs and came back to the room all i needed was the card with one number on it and in the time I had gone and had a coffee the card had evaporated.

So a bit of bedroom dismantling apart, not much, only about half an hour, found me the card

Back to the phone and of course, the revenue having decided that she does all the work and I sit round all day doing not a lot (quiet everyone), this means that I cannot talk to the tax about our affairs because in reality they are her affiars.

By this point i was a bit excitable so I left it till she got home.        

So we went online and without any messing about I went for the change password option,

So up on the screen came the usual things and ohh goodness me the password, assembled from the bit i got on line and she got from her mail joined together did not work.

At the point where i had just blocked the system up again she received a new email from the revenue giving her the second half of the password.

Meaning of course that the passsword we had been plumbing in was of course wrong.

Then I got an autoreply from the help desk at the revenue.

Am I now amused?

U tell me?


taxing times

Every year those of us who are self employed need to compete a tax return by the 31st of January, this I duly tried to do then found that one of the number we need to quote was missing. Lots of taking the house apart and we tried to get it online but were not allowed to had to ask for one by post which has duly arrived. 

Monday, 7 February 2011

learn to love a banker now, does that word start with b or w.....

We have been faintly unimpressed of late with the system of bankerology. We have a building project here that has been ongoing for a little while but has stalled for want of that last bag of money. Not a huge ammount but certainly well servicable by our income here.

So of course we applied to the bank for an increase in our mortgauge, historically your manager sorted that, made the decision and everyone would be happy. In this case it's a no brainer,  modest increase in a mortgage that we had been up to very recently overpaying and we would be quids in with a very sensible rental income off the bit of our house that has not been in use for a while.

One might argue that this is sensible, so we jumped through hoops, filled forms, the spotty herbert in head office fed it all into his computer and said not a good idea. Well no I don;t think idea came in at all the software said no.

I might add at this point that our mortgauges are all tracked, linked to the base rate and we are paying about 1.4 percent on them.

So away i went to the pub looking for a little bloke as I needed a fight. At this point I might point out the unwisdom of picking fights with little blokes as they have spent most of their lives with a chip on their shoulder and they are very often extreemly bad news in the scrapology department.

But anyway I am diverging now, this morning, cutting the branch out of the equation entirely I went on the banks website and applied for an unsecured personal loan.

Very odd, they felt that I could not affoard to fund an increase in the mortgage spread over 10 years at a bit over base. But somehow I could affoard to pay the same ammount back in half the time at ten times the rate of interest.

I wonder how they came to that conclusion.

But whatever, we have the money and it was in my account 20 minutes after applying for it.

So it's Game on and the builders are back in very soon.

This has been a trying time, and fostering too is sticking it's nose in.

We have had a student working with little D for the last few months and she has done a few things that are a bit silly.

So at the moment we really need to speak to his social worker who is supervising her practice in training.

Then we have D the larger who goes on the work placement he found for himself tomorrow.

This is good, less good is some stuff coming in from college, allegations are flying of a less good nature.

I am going to have to make some calls in the morning that might trigger all sorts of things.

It is sad that in this case I feel it important that I know what is going on before I tell the social worker.

What does that say about professional trust?


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Blown away by the day

Good grief has it been breezy!!

Today of course Taliesin had to get his car, something I realised as he very kindly brought me a coffee at 9 am. Not there was a motive ulterior of course.....

Then it was off and away to Ebbw Vale which was fine except I chose to take the little AX over the 806.

For those not of a car mind the AX is a very light little super mini car and the 806 is a people carrier with 7 seats and therefore a bit bigger than you average voiture.

The choice was wise, the AX used so little fuel I cannot believe the engine was running, the tank was well under half full when we left and about 15 litres later we had 200 miles under our belt.

But of course this lightness has a down side, just as a breeze plays merry hell with a leaf and does not touch the tree, the wind was overriding my steering efforts with nasty regularity.   

Now of course this was all a bit interesting for Taliesin on the way up, when I was driving, on the way back, especially on the M4 which he has very little experience of it was close to bowel moving, not for me but for him.

He is someone to be proud to know and he got through it really well, whats more he has a nice car that he likes. That said he also has a car that the stereo might  shatter glass at 100m of if he is not careful.

In my early days we thought 10w per channel was aspirational, if he turned this system  right up the charge light would come on and the engine might stall.

It does not actually have a boot, the back half of the car is so packed with sound system there is no room for anything else.

Yee gods.....

His sister is seriously impressed though.

But then again where is this all going?

His last car had a system that allowed  you to watch films rather than drive around. This is a mobile phone situation here. They used to be a way of letting you talk to someone far away, now they are a means to social networking, having the news delivered, telling you how lost you are, and selling you things you never realised you needed Are cars going down that route too?

We won't go to the car for transport rather go there to see a film or talk to our mates.

That said we have watched the rugby internationals this weekend on laptops - telly being sidelined here at the moment.

Which also in stream of consciousness reflective writing brings me to the people we went to get the car from today.

A proper working class house with real people in it.

I was struck with the hard earned ness of everything they had.

It was  a happy yet soul less house there was a huge telly and all sorts of other things but it was very bland.

They had bought really lovely stuff but not much of it.

Their kids were rushed upstairs where mum hid with them while dad did the deal to sell the car they bought on eBay a bit a go which might  have fitted their lifestyle as a young couple but did not fit their lifestyle as the parents of 3 children.

It has been a long day for me today and I forgot to reorder my medication, so forgive me if I am a bit disjointed.

I know what I mean it's explaining it that's difficult.....


Friday, 4 February 2011

Don't mention the game.....

This has not been a high spot evening.

I can say however that the game was like murder ball, only rough.

We are here being subjected to a horrendous wind, last night was draughtly today is full on wind.

I love this weather. The winds howls round the house in an elemantal way. If you go outside in this you realy feel alive. Mind you with all this stuff flying you could also quite easily end up  dead....


the big society - hey I like that idea

Lets be fair to the Cons, I buy into the idea of a big society where we all look out for each other.

But that isn't their big society - we pay tax  the chancellor doesn't.

Conservatism is built on that.

We had a village meeting this week where we looked at a proposal to build 20 extra houses in the village.

Of course to build the things a developer needed to be found and as it happened there was one in the room. This chap was full of enthusiasm but had a reservation or two about the requirement for social housing. One was blown away by the horror stories of hellish tennants bussed in from far away and my were these people horrendous. Now from his point of view I can see where he was coming from. He builds an estate of ten houses and sells 8 of them for the lovely jubbly market rate then has to sell two of them as "affordable housing" at 30% less.

The terrible people who live in affordable housing were described to us in vast detail, sat quietly at the back were  young local people who could not affoard to buy a house and were most likely to be forced out of the area.  The builder had much support, especially from a fellow who had moved from Birmingham who said he would not want people from bad areas displacing "local" people like him.

The housing problem in rural Wales has long been those from away with access to greater economic resources displacing the local people and competing them out of the housing market. Obviously these people want to perpetuate that scheme. I can't say much as I moved here myself moved to the house where my mother was born not far from the churchyard where she lies with 6 generations of our familly.....

The student, all loaded with equal opertunities anti oppresive practice with a spot of anti racism blended in was quietly fuming.

I had to throw my spanner in their works, I said that  having social housing next door does not guarantee an ASBO holder, just as the house next door selling for half a mil will not guarantee you don't get the neighbour from hell.....  

Time to go down the pub I thought, new landlords, a charming young couple trying to make a living in a small Welsh village.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

in the country....

Town living is a very different thing.

Life here is not the same.

The wind is howling outside just now - reaally rocking the building and stuff we didn't bolt down is flying. There is a compost bin dancing round and a roll of roofing felt has unravelled itself all over the front of the house.

The other thing is noting how tonight, the wind is making the place harder to heat  than it ever was when it was frozen with no wind.

But we have heat way hay!!


the computer expert.....

We are all a bit dewy eyed here today as our resident computer expert made it back with a pleased look on her face and a pass slip in her little hand. More to the point she has explained to me that i am very disorganised when it comes to emails and that i need to set up a file system so everything is tidy and I can find it.

She has also been quite relieved as in all the excitement her HTC HD7 had not been half inched by some little scroat but had fallen out of her pocket into the back of one of her friends cars when she was transfering some stuff between cars. The HD7 of course not being a weird jumble of letters but 400 pounds worth of electronic trickery that is part phone part hand held computer Sat Nav Diary and it might just make toast too from what I can work out.  So all in all the little bunny is a lot happier which will be good foor everyone as we will not all be copping for it tonight - well I hope not anyway.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Water on earth is going on.....

I said these things come in waves.....

Someone at some stage plugged in the upstairs sink and wandered off which left us with water cascading down the walls again. So for the last two days the carpet cleaner has been permananently trying to dry the carpet. But be positive - it's now really really clean!!

The problem with the boiler was ice, there must be water in it's fuel filter which had frozen and blocked everything. Once that thawed it was all Ok again. So the management is at least a bit happier.

Though of course not perfect, yesterday she was off doing her diploma in computing and tried one of the modules for a second time. I am told she failed by 2 marks. Shame really.

Apparently she composed the email, inserted the insertions, attached the attachments, used the mail list to identify recipients - perfect. But she lost a couple of marks for the simplest of mistakes, - did not hit send.....

I have been very good, I am not telling anyone.

I Have of course been a model of supportiveness as she sits there her face a mix of bemuzement bewilderment, frustration and anger. Her fingers sometimes clattering rhythmically on the keyboard, other times thudding the keys through the desk.....
Right next job, My mate brought a huge load of scallops round last night, I am off into town to get some shallots.

Oh and my computer is done, apparently the problem was partially due to me having automatic updates switched on. Because it was on i did not realise that lots of the software was way out of date......

Not so automatic updates.