Friday, 29 April 2011

Diwrnod i'r brenin

Today has been most royal at Penole. This morning i royally waved. the chainsaw at the woodpile creating a princely pile of wood. Which got axed like an executioner followed by the royal procession wheelbarrow to the wood shed.

Then our own little regal procession to Sereinties loaded with bullion or flooring slabs, Offload that lot then off for a celebratory shop at bookers  Everything we bought was on reduction except cooking oil and that was for the car so you could say it is diesel on reduction.

On into town where Morrisons urged me to "let's celebrate the royal wedding" I thought "better idea, let's not bother".

I have seen nothing of the royal day, for all i know Al Quaida might have done something useful like slip a nuke under the altar and most of the worlds leaders have been vaporised.

One thing that did vanish is a  comment from Tina hit the wrong button and deleted it, a pity you can't do that to the royals, or the Tories.....  Must have been a subliminal wish when I hit delete not publish.


hooray hooray

So today some obscure member of a privileged family will marry a commoner and we will all, apparently, rejoice.

Last time we had a Tory government which was imposing destruction on the country and creating inequality we had the same carnival to divert the proletariat.

I wasn't into that one and I won't buy into this one.

Worst thing is though, with the builders building the Sky dish was disconnected, yesterday it went back on. The kids have bee quite happy with IPlayer and the web. Now the telly is back on and I just know we will have it the wedding inflicted on us from all channels  


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Happy holidays

So a happy weeked was has chasing the mower round the field. The students greenhouse got moved  to the bottom field to a slightly less sunny site but one where the wind will wreak less carnage.

Grow bags got bought manure got procured and lots of money got pushed into the hand of the garden centre fellow.

Today a Branwen got taken to the train station and bookers got bookered. Lots of stuff on short dates found it's way into our trolley and we came home.

The front of the house got cleared and a list of jobs for tomorrow prepared.

Tomorrow the student is a student for a day again, so we have to take charge and get things done.

We have a work list, orders have been given.

Her will will be done....


Niwl ar frynie Dyfed....

Monday, 25 April 2011

Pigsty in the national park restored by a team of stonemasons including no one son Taliesin.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Weekends and holidays

Those of you who do proper jobs probably came home from today looking forwards to spending tomorrow sat in the car on the M89 as the children amuse themselves destroying the interior of the car.

For us foster carers, "holiday" is the opposite of time off. It's a 24/7 experience of being on call. Thankfully we have done the tough work with our current 2 and they are turning into competent and resilient young men.

Of course there is also young P who is no longer fostered but has arrived today to stay for a week. He is entering his teenage years and therefore into the "grunt" stage of development.

Normally we would be heading off to the ferry but of course with our personal economy in the total doldrums we are firmly tied to the house here.  We need to get the house next door into a state where we can rent it, if nothing else.


Sometimes it takes time.

Now, I've always had reservations about letting the MD lose in a social work department. Sooner or later she would be bound to meet someone whose practice was not up to scratch.So  far things have gone OK because of course this advocacy service is not too packed with social workers and she really loves it there.

Yesterday though, she was asked to observe a review meeting for a gentleman who has worked for 30 years for the council and wanted amongst other things to go on a long train journey. The social worker involved sounds like she is everything that's bad in social work.  Controlling, dis empowering, patronising, the works.

The student god bless her was on fine form, her "facilitator" got her out of the room before she really got into her stride however. The Social Worker went off to complain to the training officer about the student. The agency she is working for want to talk about a part time post....

Monday, 18 April 2011

Tim Loughton - eeeejit.

In the grauniad today Tim Loughton bemoaned the lack of children aged over 5 going for adoption. You can see his point, not many Children coming into care after they are toddlers tend not to get adopted. What a good idea, big society, drop the kids  off with unsuspecting adopters no more expensive foster and residential care, no more social workers and therapists, just two people struggling to cope with a very damaged young person for no pay, no support, no respite, not even expenses.

By the age of 12, where he feels lots more adopting  needs to be done, the child is well established in their network of relationships no matter how inappropriate..  You cannot simply tell them all that didn't happen here are "mummy and daddy" and forget everyone you ever knew.

Adoption is less and less appropriate as the child gets older. There is also the bottom line, looking at the needs of some of the young people we have fostered, anyone who wanted to adopt them would have had to be insane, if they weren't when they applied, it would not have taken long.....

We have coped with and helped some children whose past was dragging them down, we did this because we were paid enough not to have to do other work, we were paid enough to be able to research and develop therapeutic approaches to help young people come to terms with their experiences. 

Had we been expected to do all this for nothing whilst holding down a job, something would have had to give.

I know Tim thinks this is the big society and someone should come and look after poor peoples kids for nothing so that he can pay less tax. Sorry Tim it doesn't work like that, this society has levels of inequality that are obscene the inequality is linked to the misery at the bottom of society. Unless you are prepared to share money more evenly Tim you will continue to need to pay the tax.


Studently things

With the student safely in work it was time to limp the 806 over to greasy garage after the clutch cable snapped last week. Driving a car without having a clutch is a bit tricky but being used to old style crash gearboxes once on the move it was not too bad. Used to be one of my party tricks on the bedford to change gear without touching the clutch pedal. it;s not hard when you get the hang of it.

Still this now reduces us to one working car. Course there is always the fire engine I have no objection to using that. In fact we used a fire engine to pull the front of Tallies old clio out this morning. That was after I destressed the transmission. These old trucks get very wound up if you drive them on firmnish surfaces in 4x4 Isabelle was seriously wound up. Still all sorted now.  ,

Next off a bit of mowerology; the mower has seen a bit of service these last few days and a couple of acres have been sheared so all in all things are going OK. Oh yes, one of my spies told me we are to get our annual unannounced visit from the fostering service this week Better get some power tools out and leave them lying round, with with various saws axes and Stanley knives so they have something to moan about.

She is bound to turn up any time now,  best head off and clean up.



Saturday, 16 April 2011

COP and NOSes

Now for the non insiders Codes Of Practice and National Occupational Standards. 

Hells teeth,

I cannot believe how the degree works, the student has done a raft of good work. Turns out that none of it is relevant as it does not tick the boxes So being a good social worker is about ticking boxes.

It's surreal   they are tied to their bit of paper that says you tick these boxes and produce a form at the end.

The student will have  made an impact where she is placed yet none of this counts what matters if she can find 3 bits of evidence that she did what NOS 5 32 says.

so the child died but we did everything by the book so that is OK

Oh hang on that was baby Peter wasn't it.

Doing it by the book does not keep the child alive.


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Another day another...

Today went well, at a kids in school type of way.

Though there were nice picking in Bookers on the way home.

This is April so of course I got the  firewood in.

I gave up on the Hayter mower rebuild, every time I went outside with spanners it rained, every time I came back in the house it stopped.

Mid afternoon resolve cracked and Taliesin lit the fire, good man, might have been a slight bit better if he took the dustpan off the top first. We closed all the doors to let the heat build up so nothing was seen till I wandered into the living room to check the fire......

Tallie got a trowel and scooped what was left of the dustpan off the fire. Of course, opening doors spreads smoke and I am very glad to say the fire alarms work well. They carried on working well for the best part of an hour as I opened every window in the building to let the gas go.

Of course this here rain had caused me to cancel refueling the 806. Mistake big style as it only just did the school run this afternoon, meaning i had to fuel it up in the pouring rain. How much fun was that?

But the worst was yet to come, the student came into contact with someone today who had experiences very like the mum of one of our previous foster children. What happened next was very very different to what happened for our foster child. She has cried a lot tonight, hmmm codes of practice, occupational standards, not sure about them at all....



Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Living with the student

There are times I will confess that living with the student is not easy. If things are not going well then she can be quite difficult to manage. Now I should immediately change that word, I don't actually "manage" the student, but I do hide, a lot...

Of course there are other times when she thinks she has done something rather clever and those are the very worst times of all!!!

She has come home all chuffed and pleased with herself. The day has gone well, the team leader wanted her to consider going to work for this agency when she qualifies. I can't say exactly what she did, but it seems as if she was meant to be there. She went to a meeting where all our experiences enabled her to make a big contribution.

She is, on a scale of 0-10 sitting at about 15. She is reflecting on her practice and writing it all down.

In actuality I feel a bit jealous, the place she is working is the sort of place I would love to work. But hell I don't have a diploma in computing and

My day was not too bad, got a good grip on getting the mower back together. Putting the engine in is definitely two person job. I was trying to re fit the brackets that hold the engine on from underneath where of course they tend to fall if you are not holding them from underneath as you lower 30 kilos of engine on them from above. Yes it was great fun and i will be very happy if i never have to do it again.  Well actually no, thinking about it with hindsight had I nipped in next door and grabbed the builder I could have done the job in about 2 minutes which is 158 minutes shorter than the job actually took. I ended up with sets of mole grips attached to the thread of the brackets to stop them falling, sitting the engine on top, then holding the bracket with one hand as I removed the mole grips whilst tilting the engine forwards with my head. Did i mention the front bracket is behind a big drive unit that means you have to work your hand very carefully through some small gaps to get to hold it whilst your other hand is reaching round the engine to get to the grips and the cylinder head impresses funny shapes in your forehead.

Ah yes and of course once the bracket was actually in place you needed to get nuts on the top which of course were just out of arms reach - oh how I laughed..... 

The rear bracket being far more accessible would of course be far easier, well i bet it would be if the front end was not already held in by another bracket - no way I was taking that off after struggling for hours to get it in.

So all in all, quite a day.
But lets be positive, it's nearly in.   I just have some linkages to sort and I need a drive belt that I can get in the morning.

All I need is good weather - ahhh I see a problem on the met office website.


Monday, 11 April 2011

The Social Worker in work

The Student is clattering away, her official reflective diary on her first day as a student social worker.

Things seem to have gone Ok so far. This is an observational placement, so allready she has a project of her own.

Tomorrow she is going to a team meeting. Watch this space.

Me, I have a lawn mower to rebuild and if I could get it running by the weekend that would be a big bonus.


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Mechanical Mayhem.

Things are just rumbling right out of control here. We are having a series of catastrphies. First out was the Hayter which lunched it's engine, this is pretty unheard of as 11 HP honda engines are generally as reliable as a hammer.

This is sitting outside ready to go and be repaired. The other mower is still on strike. This morning the management went with the strimmer and the recoil starter broke. So we moved on to firewood and the Makita stopped in mid chop and is now refusing to start.

So thats 2 mowers, 1 strimmer and a chain saw all gone in two weeks - I am getting scared to get out of bed.

If I end up replacing that lot we are well into 4 figures....


Relaxing weekends

Weekends are a relaxing time, time to chill out and take it easy.

Not though if you live in this house.

Yesterday I enjoyed a leisurely taking out of the lawn mower engine followed by a relaxing hour with the chainsaw and a truly sedately axing the ton of wood we had just cut

Admittedly we then had a barbie which was good and I am actually writing this from bed as she who will read no more academic books is reading something about advocacy so she can go to her placement in the morning

Little D  should have been going for a lovely day out with his mum today. She was going to be cooking a family Sunday lunch for them all.

She has though,very sadly, developed toothache, odd that, a while back she let him down as she was having her false teeth fitted.


Friday, 8 April 2011

They are all out to get us.

Today was the great day, the student set off with her last essays for this academic year in the little AX. As she proceeded up the round she went under a railway bridge to find the whole road filled with 38 ton articulated lorry. Not a parked one either, one that was doing a fair old lick. Since the AX lacks an ejector seat she had to go for plan B and over the grass verge she went at about 50.

Of course i was taking the kids to school myself and soon I had a similar experience with, presumably the same chap, in the 806, taking emergency action to avoid a crash. At least she was alone, I had a carfull of people saying things like "goodness me" and "gosh".  Ok so maybe the words were a bit stronger.

This has  set the pattern for the day. Cars driven by serious responsible looking people have come pouring round corners at speeds measured in Mach numbers. I have gone from defensive driving to death is coming round the bend at the speed of light.

What on earth is wrong with every one?

Sedate 4x4's have hurtled into view in the middle of the road leaving no room for anything. Going up a steep and twisty hill we met yet another artic coming the other way at rally car  pace.

Verges have been driven, hedges climbed, field entrances dived into.  I really cannot convey the madness that has been our local road system. I feel really lucky to be alive but, lets be positive now, at least all essays are safely gathered in...

This has posed herself with a dilemma no more psycho social approaches, ethics, values, law and procedure, professional codes, all done away with till next term. Tonight she read 100 pages of what she described as mindless drivel.. Part of me is wondering if she is missing the academic books already.

Tomorrow, she says, she is gardening.

Thats Ok with me, at least I will not be expected to drive, anything.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Clatter clatter.

It has been a quiet day.

No it has had to be a quiet day, the student is locked into her essay, 4000 words by Friday and about 1000 down.

Ok so i am biased but what hes gone in so far is very good. It's also quite dificult as I am used to being the one who knows things and now it's her.

They say knowledge is power this could turn all complex.

Still it's OK, she says "jump" I say "how high" nothing new then.....


Monday, 4 April 2011

Sunday over the rainbow

Our Sunday got off to a lively start with lots of wood chopped, barrowed and stacked. Feeling good about things I went off and fueled up the chainsaw, ready for some serious chopping.

At this moment, right on cue who should arrive but our builder who has just bought his son a mountain bike and needed to take him somewhere safe to ride it. Leaving son in charge of the bike I found the corkscrew and we settled down for a conference, tour of the rebuilt house for his wife, and general chilling out time.

No wood got cut, after an hour or so it might not have been wise anyway. There seemed to be a few corks on the table I think the student could have used the time better on essays but she made up for it today with a solid days work after we went to visit the bank this morning. Waste of time that was I reckon. The phrase not interested could have been used to describe the  mortgage guy.

Tis Monday evening now though and the student has made a good start on her essay, only 4000 words to write by Friday. 


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Saturday nights all right...

I am sitting here with a nicely chilled sur lie at the end of a typically quiet and uneventful day.

No I am not even going to suggest it was uneventful those sort of days don't happen to us. Morning started fairly simply with plenty of waving axes about. I had processed a surprising amount of wood when came there demands from the student that I attend as a mater of some urgency the utility room.

On arrival the problem was pretty obvious, there was a real danger things might float away on a worrying amount of water that had to be coming from somewhere.  

Lots of mopping and swearing had the floor dry enough for me to work out the pipes were all sound but the boiler on our old central heating unit had decided enough was enough and the water had eaten it away.

To be fair the thing has delivered sterling service, installed in 1998 and it has only gotten a bit temperamental the last couple of years. The boiler was a monster, for the need we had back then and I remember it saved us a fortune over the previous coal fired system.

Now we are back into using solid fuels, wood that is. So it's looking like we are going down a route of putting in a hot water tank. 

But of course while I was out there, she pointed out the tumble drier is not working properly as in the drier was not tumbling. Obviously a gone belt then, so being all green I decided to pull the thing to bits and change it.  As ideas go this was not the best and soon the  living room was filling with bits of dead tumble drier.

If anyone sold a car with a drive belt as hard to change as that on the average tumble drier, they would be buried in lawsuits in the first year.

Eventually I did what the manufacturer hoped I would do I said a phrase that rhymes with bucket and went off to Comet, spent some money on an ex demonstrator model with a really keen sales person. I am a bit of a sucker for sales people, I was a sales person a while back so I will often reward people for doing it properly.

What on earth we are going to do with some squidgy balls to go inside the tumble drier I don't know. It was a cracking sale pitch though, she milked us for every penny she could. Then afterwards admitted she had applied to university to be a paramedic, a profession based on caring for others not screwing them for every pound she can. She would be a brill paramedic or dare I even think social worker.

She has been turned down by 5 places to be a paramedic, I hope she finds somewhere to take her soon.

But back to the here and now. The student has been rehashing one of the computers for Bethan and it turns out that while she had to do very exotic things, well beyond me on various applications, she was not required to do basic cleaning and defrag stuff, things you need to be able to do.

So while she could make a stonking powerpoint she cannot clean a computer up.

Hells teeth this is a seriously pointless diploma.....


The weekend - time to relax.

Herumph..........  Having been kept up half the night by a smoke alarm telling us it's battery is flat, it's the glorious saturday morning feeling. The rain seems to have abated and the mist lifted which can mean but one thing, firewood and gardening.