Sunday, 28 August 2011

A spring in your step....

Been outside rolling round on the floor changing the springs on the T4 real proper heart in mouth stuff.

A trolley jack at full extent perched on some planks,

Proper oh dear stuff, especially as the axle stands were too short.

So some time kicking the springs to get them off their base was indicated.

It ended up done so now we have a 70's look jacked up back end anti handling kit van

Not a lovely low liner


Friday, 26 August 2011

Roofless in Brittany

My local agent reports that the house is now roofless and work is going really well on fitting a new one.

In fact they might well be done in a few weeks.

This means someone needs to be looking at all the options when in comes to Brittany Ferries deals - this is a very tough life but I am up to it...


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Long pauses

Been a while quiet, so time to explain

With the little angel out of here some furious online checking and we were booked on a ferry.

With the house roofless, well it should be anyway we opted for open wallet surgery at a campsite we have done before with the children Ty Nadan Arzano.

Some calculations and I worked out that for a few dollars more we could stay in a chalet saving lugging loads of tentage, coookerage and sleeping baggage with us.

Not quite right on the last count as yet more was saved by not having cabins on either of the overnight legs on the ferry.

So with lots of time to spare we headed Portsmouthwards and stopped over to see the students mum. She has of course done one of her return from the dead tricks and, whilst she is not entering the marathon this year she seems a lot better.

Off to Portsmouth being seriously economical which had to change when we hit traffic after which the speed went up drastically.

On to the Bretagne  our luck was in and we had a really good spot on deck 3 - early off in the morning then. Next  a serious assault on the restaurant, Gwion and Paul, the now ex foster child so i can use his name here, launched a serious assault on the entrees. Paul used to be a real picky eater so it was great to see him trying everything. The D's had a real go at everything too which makes it all easier it doesn't reduce the bill but it means you don't begrudge paying. 

All this good stuff was followed by one of the worst nights of sleep ever. Sleeping on broken glass in a glass crushing plant would have been nicer than sleeping on the floor in the Bretagne. After a few hours I gave up on the idea of sleep, got coffee, well as soon as the cafeteria opened, and waited for the boat to make land.

This was a less than auspicious start and to make it even more fun I took a wrong turn which wasn't so bad as the route we took once the student took up navigation, whilst less obvious, when looking at the map was actually a good road on which we made good progress.

Arriving at the camp site we could have used the chalet being ready which of course it wasn't. The kids were dispatched to the pool and we retired to the bar. An hour or too late and just before i got all rude and annoyed, the chalet was handed over to us.

Tea was soon dealt with and everyone was in bed by 9 with a long lie in next day.

Of course I had more than a bit of catching up to do. I was reading 3 books at the same time to get my paper up to speed whilst reading portfolios for the post graduate qualification courses that i was second marking.

There was also the small matter of writing the paper which I made a huge start on by taking bottles of 1664 from the fridge and transferring them to the recycle bin....

This project took some time and by the time it finished a form of a paper was down in a form that I could re write later.

Of course, we had booked this campsite on the basis that we had no house with a roof to stay in.

A trip out to see reveled a very much roofed house and a total lack of builder. Could have stayed at the house and saved ourselves a big pile of money!!

The kids though have always loved Ty Nadan and they were notable every day by their absence.

One of the things about these places though is their intimacy, in a throw everyone in together sort of way. People who pass a few hours a day together are thrown into 24/7 contact they are also linked in an expectation that this is supposed to "enjoy" this and it's all "fun".

So.... There were the parents in pursuit of the 8 year old who had totally lost the plot. The woman in tears at about 8 AM being comforted by a random stranger, the brothers who engaged in an impressive brawl in the middle of the camp site with their younger sister playing "United Nations".

This holiday thing can be a long way from fun.

Ours though went seriously OK and we found ourselves far too soon (yea right) on our way back to the North Coast.

We lunched in a fantastic Creperie in Huelgoat and a family favourite restaurant in Roscoff.

The trip back was pretty quiet. The Armorique is a far better sleeping on the deck ship than the Bretagne.

The trip home was quiet, - they were all asleep....

Today, Branwen,  (did I mention her A level results, A* A and B?) passed her driving test. So she is set up to go to Aberystwyth. Of course that wasn;t the issue. We had to pick her up after her test dropping Mr Tick off so she could drive home might not have been her preferred introduction to driving alone.

The reason she went home alone is that the social work student took advantage of me being in university to go and do some talking.

She is no longer a social work student, she is doing social policy.

I think this Summer has taught us (again) that we are a very strong outcome focused team and that social workers are very caught up in what they do.

We do strong effective social work, we are not social workers.

We like it that way.



Saturday, 13 August 2011

Tables turned....

Auctions are usually her domain, I wonder off to the auctions catching up with trepidation with the hand waving antics of the student on buying bent.

Today it was the other way round, she went off to pay for the load of tools i had just bought for not a lot of money, coming back to find Gwion looking delighted that his dad has just bought him a quad bike.

She gave a bit of a harrumph and snatched the bidders card off me.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011


The little angel is gone.

We sat in a meeting with his psychiatrist today and he didn't even open the report I had spent hours writing.

Tell me all about being a professional then.

Suprisingly enough they had nowhere for him to go from here. 

He went back to his mums house, but she was firm, he cannot stay there.

Tonight he went off to a unit in England.

I hope it all works out for him.

We went off to see the students mum who is of course in hospital.

She is not at all well but, thank goodness better than she has been.

She is clearly losing it a bit, she has clean forgotten that she can't walk very far, soon after we got there she set off for the loo.

Whilst she was there she clean forgot she needs a zimmer frame, she walked back without it.

I told the nurse not to put on any country dancing music as she might unforget she has given that up too.

Funny old thing being a bit gaga.

For us the key issue was her hydration, she is a bit dehydrated, previously she has been  less coherent when she is short on fluids only to bounce back when she has drunk enough.

I think her centenary party is back on.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

nice things

Today at the end of the day we went to a beach.

A quiet local beach, now, we had no idea what was to follow.

Little angel was there to take up his excess energy of which of course he had loads.

I started to wonder when I saw how he treated the sea.

Had he really not been to a beach and run into the sea  before?
Imagine the magic of going into the sea for the first time, experiencing waves crashing in.

The little angel has been really hard work but watching him do that was pure pleasure.

Where he could be, not where he is. 

He might yet trash the place apart tonight.

But we have done good for him I hope.

He will be gone tomorrow, everyone is little angeled out.



Big Society

I think people should be careful what they wish for.

If you call for a "big society" when your core values are individualism and greed, you should not be surprised when you get one.

I am not condoning in any way what has gone on in London et al. But it must be said that these people who seem to be the non engaged in society are simply helping themselves to what they cannot afford in places that will not employ them.

Some German chap once said something about a class in itself becoming a class for itself.

We've been here before Brixam Toxteth  and other places, it wasn't neoliberalism that sorted that one and ultimately sending more and more of the Police we are making redundant or the army we no longer have to quell the disorder can not be shown to have worked when we look at history. A heavy hand only expands discord. We have to be clever in how this is managed - looking at our leaders - there is no hope....


Monday, 8 August 2011

It never rains but...

Oh the all action mornings...

With laddo in Daycastle for the weekend the dramas continued. The students mum has had a stroke and been rushed to hospital.

I don't have a good feeling about this. There were a series of parties planned for her hundredth too, all looks uncertain.

We were planning a trip out with the kids, a week or two in Brittany once laddo has been moved in the next week or so.  Everything goes on hold.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Even more blue things.

Today we went for even more blue.

We all got into the blue Plugeot and went off to the Bluestone place in the south of the county.

I am breaking a rule in naming somewhere but, having been the once and seen I think it's a model of sustainable tourism. I could see us taking the kids there when they were young and having a whale of a time.

Today was also whale, it was an evening in their water adventure centre which is a pool that has a huge current whirling people round and out through a channel and a big water slidey thing and a wave machine.

Now I might well have loved this had it just been me and the canoe. I reckon when the wave machine was on I could have surfed straight out of the pool and pogged a hole in the dressing room wall.

However it wasn't just me, the place was packed with people who were either clinically beyond obese or totally covered in tattoos which looked they had been done by someone who was very very drunk, except for those who were both

And that was just the children..


white van man - in blue.

I have always been a van person, from age about 20 when I bought an old ambulance to latterly with BOGOF the riot van. For me the bigger vehicle has been really useful in addition of course to cars and motorbikes and trucks and well lots of things.

Doing festivals and taking bands on tour have all been facilitated by me owning a van as well as a small removals service before such a thing became fashionable.

I've felt a bit naked with nothing non car sized on the fleet, the caravan is OK for festivals but dragging it round is a right old faff. Of course we don't have a caravan any more courtesy of the little angel.

The student floated the idea of a van small enough not to get penalised on the ferry for size, it would need fridge and cooker and bed. It would not need to be able to carry lots of people, the kids are moving on, a small drive away awning would cover all our additional needs.

We had sort of looked at camper vans a while back but gave up on the idea when we saw what sort of money they went for. Actually the student really wanted something nice for us for once rather than a riot van converted, she was fed up of make do and mend, she wanted something tidy and proper.

So when we saw the kind of money something decent went for she baulked at the price but I could feel she still wanted one.

This I took as a mission, so I sat and bided my time. Yesterday we drove half way across the country and picked up a VW T4 van, the student was initially angry, we had of course discussed this and decided not to buy.

How things can change, she has been seen and been driven in the new van. She absolutely loves it and she has been seen with road maps open looking at routes to Venice..

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Peace and quiet

It's really odd. A couple of weeks of the young man and now the house is silent.

Everyone is so chilled and relaxed. Management is having an early night.

There is wine in the fridge, iplayer is on the laptop.

Sounds a good plan to me.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Now there's a funny thing.....

So the tender for his next move closed on Monday Naturally the SW was straight on the phone to keep us in the loop. Errrrr no.

The where and when of his move is still shrouded in mystery.

The man himself has come off his medication and there has been a significant improvement in his behaviour. The medically qualified nurse thinks this is a really good idea, our fostering social worker is horrified. There could be trouble ahead.

I wrote that yesterday, his behaviour from Sunday to today has been exemplary.

A real success story for him, shame he spent this evening in the company of the local constabulary.

His mum wants him home for the weekend, I dare say that might be extended a bit.