Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Interesting times

When you are a foster carer you sort of get used to things being a bit off the wall.

It has been three years of off the wallness with students doing studenty things and little D being a bit of an all round pain.

All that is over, Little D has gone and the last essay submitted.

I think the student though is suffering post academic stress disorder. She keeps waking up in the night with ideas for alterations to her essays, something else that should have gone in a dissertation. Sometimes she even has to look things up at about 5 in the morning.

This cannot go on, I will have to send her back to university......

Either that or take her to a ferry, that sounds a better plan. We have run out of coffee, we have run out of wine, better point the van South.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Tis over - tis done

She got everything in at last yesterday. Essays dissertation and sat a exam.

Which is a precis of days of printers and editing and proofing and writing and references AAAAHHHHH
It has been a roller coaster couple of weeks.

I have learnt so much about housing ageing and inequality and stuff - phew.

We had a lovely night last night - went to the Ancient Briton pub up the Tawe Valley from Swansea, had a fantastic meal.  

Today, the skies have been weeping and we have done pretty much nothing.

Staggered along in a kind of post game exaustion. 

Then we found that big D who wants to come to Brittany with us next week  passport has expired.

This is turning really interesting.




Saturday, 10 August 2013

Friday nights allright for.....

Actually I am not what Firday nights are all right for.

Saturdays are good days to spend underneath a Green Goddess fitting electronic ignition. The GG is parked right outside the house (not good) and currently is refusing to make brum brum noises, something which might get herself a harrumphing if i cannot sort it soon.

It's so easy to work on though, how on earth can something be so basiclly right in design terms.

G the new girl is turning into some sort of horsey monster, she loves the riding and the stable manager is superb with her. Giving her responsibility, assuming she can do, it's great in this over protective check till you can check no more world.

She was galloping while not holding the reins today, I suspect I don't want to know what that is. I suspect even more that it would bring her social worker out in hives if he knew about it.

It has been a tough few weeks though, herself has STILL not finished her university work. Everything is nearly there though.

It turns out that she has to be in university Wednesday not Tuesday as she thought, so we might even get to do a lunch at  one of our all time favourite restauraunts close to uni.

I hope so, then it's  maelstrom days getting ready to go to Brittany. I think it's a real can't wait to go situation, we need the down time, even with taking our work with us.



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Zero hours, it's a contrick

Unlike, I suspect most of you I have actually worked a Zero hours contract, you might be surprised who the employer was, it was actually a labour controlled authority and this was in the heady early days of community living. The key things here are, I was pretty good at what I did, and there were not a lot of people able to do the job I was doing.

It worked for me as I could do 8 hour shift backing into 4 hour shift somewhere else backing into a 10 hour shift with a sleepover somewhere else 60 - 80 hours a week At something around the current minimum wage,except this was 30 years ago, so it was good money.

What I was paid was set to take account of the fact that I got no sick pay or holiday pay, not a minimum wage based on  an assumption that I get both.

It really worked for me as I worked my derriere  off waiting for the call to say that something "interesting" was in the offing in a few weeks time meaning I would just refuse all offers of work in that time and away I would go.

Also, having skills that were in short supply, those project managers who were in the habit of not treating their staff well, struggled to find staff. Those who had good professional ethics were never struggling to cover shifts.

Last year, in the big sports day I was also on a Zero hours contract.  I worked a good few hours because I simply turned up, not on a roster but they were so short of staff they needed all hands at the pump.

Then their rotas kicked in, I was scheduled to work these hours in this location, except of course the location had been taken off them by the Police. So I was told, these are your hours but don't turn up. I was available to work the hours as they commissioned but they said don't go. Under any form of proper contract I would have been paid, after all I was available for the hours they wanted me to work, their mess up, theirs to pay for.

Zero hours though meant zero pay.

Annoying though as I reckon if I had turned up at the allocation office I would have got as much work as I wanted.     



Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sometimes it really is festering times...

I do sometimes get asked if i make things up I write on here, and sometimes I wonder myself.

Yesterday the student went off like a missile, a ballistic missile, I had a bit of an eventful morning out doing a few chores and finding that the car was not in fact running right. I got to spend 45 minutes in the rain refitting the little valve under the bonnet a right fiddly little job that, if I dropped one of the screws would have meant garages and call outs and things like that.

Arriving in the house the tell tale signs were all there, she had retired to our utility room with the walk about phone and her voice had that little edge in it. I picked up the gunfire, the explosions and the general someone is getting some from the student situation.

When she came off the phone, I think it was my turn, not to cop for it but to express a little unhappiness.

It turns out that as far as little D going is concerned, we are the bad guys.

The student had told him to pack his stuff and leave.

I had disobeyed a direct instruction to prevent him from getting the train.

The student had taken him to the station then refused his request for a goodbye hug.

We are a pretty heartless bunch I am sure you agree.

Now lets put some meat on the bones.

Yes the student had told him to pack his stuff. She told him that if he was hell bent on leaving it was unreasonable of him to leave his room like a tip, so he could clean that up Unreasonable also to expect her to pack his bags and possessions for him, that was his to do as part of his decision to move on.

It is indeed true that I did not stop him getting on the train. It is not true that I was told to do so. Had anyone told me such a thing I would have pointed out that preventing him leaving here either in a car or a taxi would have been a breach of article 5 of the Human Rights Act, as such I would have pointed out it was both an illegal instruction and the SW was committing a deregistration level breach of the code of practice for social care.

And yes the student had refused to hug him when he left. She said: "No I am not going to hug you, you are making the biggest mistake you will ever make, I am far too upset and worried for you to hug you"

With the train in the station she was still trying to persuade him not to do it.

Blimey though this one is going to run and run.

Lets review:

At 16 it was a legal requirement he had a full assessment of his needs - not done.Leaving Care Act

At 16 he must have a "personal adviser"  - not done Leaving Care Act.

Of course with no needs assessment, his Pathway Plan is going to be a bit of a joke. There is of course case law on that one.

Making sure all this happens is the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer, note the first word there, more case law around that. The IRO has been smack on the ball playing hell about him not having been to the dentist for 6 months, on the matter of things that are legal requirements there has been a deafening silence.

This is of course the very edited highlights, in actuality it's a situation where there is an audit trail from us dating back several years, a litany of failure to engage and put his needs first.

I wondered a while back if he really had the mental capacity to make the decision he has just made under the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act. Something which should have triggered an assessment but which didn't.

Then again it also seems to me that he has had a very inferior service due mainly to the difficulties he presents due to his cognitive impairments. He has had an inferior service because he has a learning disability ohhh now lets see Equality  Act 2010 anyone.....

Thinking about it, I must be making this up, it could not possibly be true could it..... 



A car possesed

I think I spoke too soon when I waxed too fulsome about our new C5 estate, the bonnet has been up heads have been scratched and the dashboard has lit itself up like the star ship enterprise.

The electronic brain was quizzed and apparently a little valve that exists to ensure there are no serious leaks in the diesel system thinks that there is a leak of epic proportions meaning it has periodically sounded a red alert meaning the engine management systems brings the engine to a grinding halt.

Replacing the Valve was not one of those jobs needing a degree in engineering though  it's a fiddly one which I duly succeeded in doing. Well sort of, my first go resulted in a genuine fuel leak, cue that little valve switching the engine off.

Sorted that and the car drives like a dream again, reservations in progress for the ferry and all was well with the world. A new fridge was delivered and the student went to the super market to fill it, or, rather she didn't.  Couple of miles up the road car came grinding to a halt and the dashboard was like a light show of error and warning messages.

Eventually home she limped and it was bonnet up. I could see nothing untoward, not that there is on these modern cars, it's usually the case that you have to plug in a laptop and the car itself tells you what it thinks is wrong. Sometimes it can even get it right too!!!

Soo puzzled I got in the car, the engine started, no lights or warnings - nothing. So I drove it round the block which in our case is about 5 miles, still nothing. Got the student and I drove the car about 10 miles and still the car drove like a dream.

So off we went, the full monty, off to the supermarket, drove like a dream there, drove like a dream back.

So the only obvious and logical conclusion can be, the car is possessed by demons and they don't like the student or maybe the way she drives. They do have a point mind, not that I would ever even think that not in public any way.