Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Happy holidays...

Every so often we go off on manoeuvres to our little house in Brittany. In previous years these would have been an extended month long jaunt with the whole tribe, now with childer working and such like we haven't spend an extended time out there in many years. It's not that we could not have gone, the kids were quite happy for us to leave them in the house here for a month - yeah right as if.....

So anyway off to Plymouth we raced in the VW van, on to the ferry end ended a grueling 10 am till midnight traveling day. Next morning bright and early it was time to set about the task in hand. Said talks being rendering the place suitable for friends to visit in the next week or so. Significant strimming and mowing went on till we got to mid afternoon by which time temperatures were uncomfortably into the mid 30's, not mowing weather then.

Plan A had been a hard working day on the house then three days off. So anyway 3 days later.......

We had a broadly lovely time but the hard work and heat left us exhausted, the super powerful shower was getting used lots and lots of times. Often two showers a day per person.

We decided, one evening, it was time to have a moment and, later next month when G goes off on manoeuvres for a week, so we are off for a week where the two of us will do nothing. I can really see that happening too..

So on day the last there we were all loaded up, everything looking good for the early morning trip home when into the house came the Gwion. Best go and look at the van he suggested, a quick trip outside and the side door was hanging off. Just what we needed for the M5 on the way home. This was clearly a very technical re hanging job so I set about it armed with a block of wood and a a 10 lb sledge hammer!!

The trip home was uneventful but killing, 6 am start and rolled up the drive here at 8 pm. The trip leaving me wishing I really had got round to fitting that sunroof I promised myself a  good while back.  I have also become a bit of a fan of aircon, that would be a proper plus on the comfort front.

So anyway we are at home and catapulted into a new series of dramas around the mess big D is intent on making of his life. There is only so much you can do, when someone is determined not to help themselves it gets quite difficult. Because he has not returned the paperwork and forms, all his benefits have been suspended. He has no money to pay his rent but still expects to stay here and live here, it's like he expects everyone else to work so he does not have to.

The leaving care team are champing at the bit to pull his placement and drag him back to Daycastle and stick him in a hostel. He seems to think that if he pretends it's not happening then it won't.




Friday, 18 July 2014

What a day today was

Today was quite a day, donning a suit, an come on now,  how often have I been seen in a suit??

Then it was off up the coast to a university, where a Bruce was getting her degree.

Of course this was after her morning teaching, newly graduated, she has been chosen to be course moderator on a unit in the summer school. The other units have two moderators, usually PHd students, hers has one - the Bruce. It's a school aimed at showing young people in danger of not doing well at school, that they have the potential to succeed, many of them in care. You can sort of see why people in care might not see university is for them after the couple of days we have had this week and Bruce is the very person to work with them.

She turned up to teach this morning in her academic gown did the session then off this afternoon to graduate.

Being a parent is quite something, I'm pretty proud of all my children but today was something else. I was unprepared for the emotional maelstrom sitting there and watching your daughter graduate unleashes in you.

I was thrown back through all of her childhood, all the little things, the times the places that lead to this place.

I was awash with delight.

I was soo proud as her name was called out and she walked on to the stage with self assurance to graduate.

Then as your Brain does my mind cast forward to another place  a place where G walked on to the stage and she collected her degree.

Except her "parents" the ones who took her into care for her own good, do not have that hope, that expectation, that aspiration for her.

If they get to 4.30 and nothing has gone too pear shaped, that's a productive day.

So what has she benefited from being in care?  

The anger inside me went up like a rocket.

I went from being proud and happy to being totally enraged in an instant.

That was the emotion of the moment.

 G might well not chose the life course that leads to a degree, but at least we will do everything we can to make sure that's her choice.

And do feel free to stand in the way......

And finally, how many of the students who graduated today, graduated in wellington boots?

She does make me proud - sort of..



Thursday, 17 July 2014

100 years ago

In some town no one had any idea about this Archduke who did not count for much got his head blown off by a guy who got lucky - pure fluke.

A few months later the whole world was at war.

Actually it wasn't, the whole world some self important states were having a bit of a competition about how gullible their populations were. In terms of exposing themselves to being massacred, and massacred they were marching bravely into the machine guns of mechanised death. .

Today it went off in Ukraine

It's going off in Iraq

It's going off in Syria

There's genocide in Gaza with some Zionists  saying that people who oppose their illegal actions are the problem - not their illegal actions.

It's funny how for the last 100 years the causes of each major war can be located in the incomplete resolution of issues at the end of the last one. 

It's 1914 again we will be at war within the year.


Things can only get better......

There is an old song - things can only get better, sadly, just after that was an anthem we had Tony Blair leading us into Genocide...

I digress though, today things managed to get worse.

Now, G gawd bless her summed the situation up well.

"I got there it looked like a school, it smelled like a school and it was built like a school. It has classrooms with desks like a school and a whiteboard like a school. It had a cwtch like a little kids school.  That makes it a school, if I could cope with a school I would be going to one."  

Lovely summing up of the situation. She then went on to say she wanted to continue with her current educational arrangement. She said she would try to go to school but was not sure she could.

Soo back to the possibilities there has been significant vagueness over what she would be doing at this new facility.

A couple of days ago the position was, she was doing GCSE's in English Lang & Litt, she was being entered with 2 others to do GCSE Maths in November this year.

As of this moment we have been told of GCSE's she might be doing.  No guarantees.

From the best I can work out

English language is taught by someone with an impressive academic CV, who is not a teacher.

Here in Wales, unlike Goveland we have these quaint ideas, to work  as a doctor you actually have to be a registered and qualified doctor. To be a teacher you need to be a registered and qualified teacher, and this person is not.

English Literature might be taught by her current tutor, but it might not .

She might also get GCSE Science, would be a plus, taught by a qualified primary school teacher.

Who is going to be teaching maths is a great mystery, her current maths tutor has been told he is not allowed to enter his three students for the November exam.  Whether he gets to work in the unit is not clear. We were told yesterday he might be too busy.  Maybe the caretaker is at a lose end for a couple of hours a day.

To be fair, they did pick up on her interest in horses and they promised she would get her some work in a famed local stable - but actually they didn't, what they really did was say they knew about the stables.

G - good on her spotted that one too.

We do have a plan though  - it will be a suprise - and we all like suprises don't we.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Somtimes life bewilders you

Many years ago when I was younger and possibly even more foolish than I am now, I did a degree in Behavioural science that is still recognised by the BPS as a basis for further training to call yourself a psycho err I mean psychologist.

 In my first year, as of course it is a very basic thing and quite easy to relate to psychological theories around learning and reinforcement so we did a thing about phobia.

 Soo lets tell you a little story, a young person lets call her G shall we? G has developed over a little while a fairly intense social phobia around going to a mainstream school. Just the thought is enough to give her anxiety attacks. She has been getting educated and engaging with education in a number of settings including a community learning centre which is actually located in a library. Obviously this is not at all suitable so the powers that be have decided to create a special learning environment so they can offer these young people a better set of facilities, there are a few kids who are phobic in this way. This new dedicated site, is going to open in September, with me so far?

So today, the student, G and I were given an individual tour of this place. Having driven the distance G would be sat in a taxi being driven in a few months time. We pulled into a car park, not any sort of car park, this was very obviously a school car park. Because of course the building in the car park was very obviously a school built sometime in the 60's / 70's. So up the steps we went and through the front doors, well not any sort of front doors, last use this building had was as a semi secure unit for young people with serious problems around behaviour and violence. So these were a bit more than normal doors everything was wired and alarmed. The unit itself was closed after a huge scandal and the site has a terrible name by association across the whole region.

Into what was obviously the vestibule and well, it was a school vestibule plain as the nose on my face. Towards the "room", and to get to the "room" you had to go down a corridor that was very obviously a school corridor next to what was very obviously the school football field. On the way we passed the CCTV room which was linked to cameras all over the place. At last we got to the "room" not any sort of room though Rodney, oh yes it had pretty curtains on the windows but the white painted walls and desks and tables and chairs and bookshelves told you this was a school room. Alphabet on the wall, projector on the ceiling whiteboard at the front of the "room" laptops on the corner desks just in case you were not sure.

G by this stage had gone very oddly quiet, she didn't seem to say a lot even though they proudly told her they were sorting her transport for her individually and it would like her education be based on her needs she was coming in by taxi. Now hang on didn't we say something in the Ed R yesterday about her having a phobia about taxis too.

All she had to do for them was make sure she didn't do anything silly with her hair like dye it bright green or purple. I'm not sure if it was related but G asked to stop at Morrisons on the way home to buy some hair colourant. She would not go in the shop while we were in the fuel station, it was if it was too much for her. I have not looked to see what colour her hair is, probably best not to.

They haven't asked me yet, but I'm just asking you really, can anyone spot any minor issues that might emerge and offer a view on whether she is likely to get in the taxi next term. To precis their approach, they have decided that the best option for those who will not do school - is school.

There are only two options and for the betting sorts I will offer very good odds on bets, but only on one of the options, I'm not taking bets on the other. Since a lot of you will have no grasp of year one undergraduate psychology, you might wish to take a bet.

This idea came from a group of specialists and experts in the education of children outside of mainstream education, voting one way should be a bit of a cert really..

Since I have not posted in a while I will emphasise for any newbies I am not making any of this up.

R __,_._,

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lets go to Glasto

Despite it being an ongoing event for - ohhh for ever, I have never been.

That all came to an end today, today I went to Glasto.

Of course today the only Metalicca was in the form of empty beer cans all over the site.

Historically all my vaguely green mates would wander down there to talk to the trees and such like but I never went.

We pointed the T4 at the problem and headed down with the squawk box issuing instructions in French (that's what comes of letting Branwen play with it) till we landed on site.

Now,  we were there for the clear up day on the campsite. When I first drove on I thought the campsite was still live - but it wasn't. Field after field of nearly new if not brand new tents - all abandoned.

The waste was obscene  Glasto is supposed to be the fest for the connected greenish person, this was consumerism gone wild. We have collected in a few hours camping gear that really surprises.

Some of the tents it turns out were 30 pounds a go several it turns out would have cost 150 pounds, and someone just dumped them.

We have  made a community resource for round here which will give access to equipment that people might not otherwise have.

But it has all  been on the back of unbelievable waste.

The organisers were brilliant, they were pleased to see stuff not going for scrap - embarrassed also by the monster they seem to have created.

The original green festival is taken over by consumerism and hedonism.