Tuesday, 30 April 2013

End of times

It has been a hard few weeks.

The students mum who had all agreed informally was immortal fell out of bed a little while ago and snapped her femur.

The other one, not the one she snapped when she was 100 and survived and went home to live in her own house.

So she went down for a fairly serious procedure aged 101 - she survived the major surgery and was frail but OK.

Unlike the last time she broke her hip she did not manage to get back on her feet.

Things slowly went down from there.

Last Tuesday she had a series of really big strokes and went into a coma.

Now, any normal being would have been dead on the day - not  her.

She held out till this morning, she has gone, the force was strong in her as they might say in Star Wars.



Monday, 29 April 2013

The Big Sports day part the two

I have been a bit remiss, neglectful even in that nothing much has happened on here since the greatest leader of the free world ever died (yeah right)

I have had a whole range of issues ongoing, the students mum becoming seriously ill and now sitting at deaths door being one of them.

Recording part the two of the big sports day needs to happen and it will make it to the top of my to do list soon. It's very important to share this in an environment where the perceived wisdom is that the private sector does it better and cheaper.

Unless your measure is that those at the top get more and those at the bottom get less.

Thatcherism in it's purest form.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Death of an icon

I feel very ambivalent about where we are today

We are being encouraged to celebrate the life of Maggie Hilda Thatcher who was born in the same year as my father.

He was the son of a union organiser in West Wales who stood up for the poorest and least able.

A local landlord spoke out against universal education as it would create a shortage of people to labour in his fields

I wonder if she acquired a hatred and contempt of working people in her fathers shop.

Actually she was just an actor on a stage so we should not hate her for what she did.

She got swept up in a process.

It gave us all the social housing sold off - crisis in housing today.

Deregulation of the banks -  enough said

She inherited pretty much full employment but concealed her catastrophic mismanagement by pushing people on to sickness benefits - ohh and now we seem to have lots of people who could work claiming sickness benefit?  Hoo humm

Of course there need to be jobs there for them to apply for - oops.

She sold our socially provided utilities into the free market at a fraction of their value.

And we bought into the "easy money" culture. 
She changed socially provided homes into assets you bought way under the  market price 

And we bought into that "easy money" culture too

What she did was change us from people who looked out for each other to people who looked out for ourselves

Made us clones of them who won't pay for an NHS they won't use or a benefit scheme they will never need.

Take the whole country back a century and more.

And we are supposed to rejoice??

Carry on you lot.


Saturday, 6 April 2013

This could be the end

Festering times has been a part of my life for a while - you will have to look up entry one for yourselves dear reader.

Basically I have been a foster carer for a long time and a long time before I landed on here.

Fostering officially ends in October when the last fosling turns 18 and either we continue to support him at a vastly reduced rate, or the service supports him at the current rate or something else

So basically whatever happens - we will not be foster carers any more

I have been shortlisted for that strangest of things - a job.

The Student has a application in also.

Could be a good one.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Festering away

Little D has gone off into town today, the flat his little mates and him were taking over has gone ad now the big plan is a room in another shared house. His SW finally emerged from the woodwork today and was suitably horrified. She seems to think he will never cope, we were more concerned with the maths of it all and how he was going to afford to live there. The 60 pounds a week rent, he announced, was inclusive, it covered everything. A quick call to the letting agent confirmed his story, 60 pounds covered everything, except gas, or electricity, or food.

All looking good there then! 

We have only been asking for a proper planning meeting for two years. The Pathway Plan should have been started when he was 15. The hilarious suggestion at the moment is that we can simply not bother with an assessment of needs (case law says not) and proceed to a plan to meet the needs we have not bothered to assess. Great stuff, then the little ditty for the SW that she is off back to doing hospital SW as she does not like how things are shaping up in the Child Health team. Now, personally I don't blame her for going, but it would appear this is just a ploy to force leaving care to take on the case. This is a young persons life we are on about here not some little petty game of politics.      

The student and big D and I spent  a happy half hour being blinded by sawdust this morning as the chain saw tore a load of firewood apart. After half an hour or so I had gotten properly bored so retired to the house.

Next job, over to the Greasy Garage and fit some parts to the little Citroen AX.   

It's funny in life, one of the things you have to live with is that in 5 seconds you could be dead. On the way back I was driving a narrow twisty limited visibility country lane when, round the corner exploded a windscreen full of truck. No where to go i was pretty sure this thing was going to hit the AX which would fall apart as he ran over it. Good afternoon to the grim reaper.

How we managed to stop without a nasty head to head incident I am still trying to figure out

He then went on, when I reversed into a passing place to try and remove the back end of the car, in reality he was not properly able to see what his truck was doing. I couldn't get mad, I was too busy being gad to be alive 

The upshot was some scratches on Dave, Bethans car and a promise of lots of telegraph poles so we can build, at last our shed for all the trucks

This could even be viewed as a bit of a result!!

Less of a result is the news from the hospital, The students mum has taken a turn and not for the better. Her son was called in today and it looks like her kidneys are giving out. 101 is a damn good outing, but it looks like her systems are shutting down. I could say lots of things about her but at the end of her riotous 101 st birthday party I said - "do it again next year" and she said "yes" with a wicked gleam in her eye.

She was 96 when she went to Australia and 98 when she gave up country dancing.

Last time she spoke to Gwion she told him life wasn't fun any more.

At the end of the day, maybe   when it isn't fun it's time to go.






Monday, 1 April 2013

Working 4 the big company

I think the big sports day is far enough gone now for me to share my experiences of working for the big company that kept everyone safe on the big event

When the call went out for people to provide security on the big sports day i quite fancied the sound of that. It looked interesting and so I filled in the form and waited to see what happened. Now many years back I used to run the door on a large nightclub. Nightclub was often nightmare as in the unregulated world of private security going into a situation  I was often more scared of what the guys behind me might do than what the guys in front of me were doing.    

Thankfully all that has gone and I passed the application stages and got an interview. The interview went well and I was promised I would be put forward for a team leader post - my was that a lucky escape as i was later to find.

Weeks passed and they called me up for training, 2 days notice on a week when I had a full diary so I could not do it. Months the passed and I got the call to go for training in a town 120 miles away. This was a bit impractical so I asked about expenses only to be told they didn't pay any.

Cosmic, booked myself into a B&B in the  town  I used to live in before we moved here OK truth and honesty time I actually booked myself a room in what had been my regular watering hole before we moved down here. This was looking to be a seriously expensive week then!

So, day one in to the training venue that offered no parking and day one of the course. It was a bit of a culture shock coming to somewhere that has public transport, a train that left every 15 minutes for town.

The training venue itself was a pretty low rent sort of place with not a lot to recommend it. Social Services use some pretty crummy venues but this was pretty grim. Neither had the big company thought much about it's trainees, tea and coffee could be had if you went outside and bought it. we only got water when the instructors kicked up a fuss.

The training though, it has to be said was good. Good to the point where I thought this would be really useful to new foster carers, especially the bits about managing confrontation.

There has been some criticism in the media from some journo who got inside the training, I can only speak as I found, we had three trainers, local girl, man in black and little ninja. (Names changed to protect the guilty).

Man in black was an astonishing trainer though you got this bad gut feeling that he might have avery exotic past. Local girl was the lead trainer on physical intervention and you really would not want to mess with her.

The group were very diverse from  university students to unemployed people - the sort the government would try to portray to you as feckless. The unemployed  were the people I ended up feeling most sorry for, the big firm had plucked them off the dole cue, offered them a door supervisor qualification and said it was a pathway to work.

Thing was these people needed support, 4.50 a day rail fare was a bit of a nuisance to me, but, 4.50 was nearly 10% of  these peoples dole every week

The job centre would not help, the big company would not help, these people were really struggling.

I got through the week and actually I really loved the course - it was seriously good.

Only one tiny little fly in the ointment, little Ninja runs this course in Further Education institution just down the road from me, so rather than doing the course 120 miles away I could have done it close to home.

The next step was accreditation, issuing of licences by LOCOG, I got a summons that told me I had to present myself at Games Day HQ in Stafford with only 48 hours notice. How would the guys off the dole cue have found the money for that?

Not something the big company seemed to care about.  

This was another reality check, having driven to the capital, parked up and taken the underground across town, the student and I arrived at the screening centre. When I was there I thought the place was Al Quaida heaven. The front of the building was pretty security solid but, as I stood in a long line of people all waiting to be processed. I could see so many uncovered ways and routes in that is was simply frightening.

It was scary stuff, having waited in line for an hour I spent 5 minutes being checked and got issued with papers.

Terry Taliban could have minced us up to nothing and walked in through gaps you could drive a bus through. 

Having gone up there on a mission I was told that uniform was not there for me - even though lots of others got it.

Then again what I did not know was that there was a issuing point just up the road from me, well ok maybe not next door, but in the place I eventually went on to work in. A lot closer than the capital. It turned out lucky for me that I went all the way up the motorway....         

To be continued...