Saturday, 22 January 2022

Back to what we are used to....

As former foster carers we are quite used to dealing with the scrapings of the bottom of the pond of stupidity that turn up proudly wearing the badge fostering support worker. Sometimes though they come up with something that suprises even us. To be fair to Llamau, the mob that currently take money from the local authority to manage us, they have, after a few initial experiences decided to hide under the nearest stone. This last week though, they appointed a new support worker who decided he was going to take his job seriously. The management and I concluded, after out initial phone consultation that phrases like "out of his depth" and "not the brightest button on the shirt" were appropriate. Things went a little downhill when he sent me a series of increasingly irate texts about my failiure to turn up for a meeting about a young person who wasn't actually placed with us. Puzzled? Yes I was. Still, to recover from that, he said he is going to call a placement meeting about the many issues we are facing with L. He said, he had phoned her several times but she would not answer the phone. I thought I would be helpful, I asked if he had read the case notes, he assured me he had, was there anything in there which might explain why she would not SPEAK to him? He assured me there was not. I did have a moment and ask about the quality of their record keeping. Being kind, I asked if he could recall the lenghty converstion we had but a few days ago, he could, there is hope, thinks I, had I mentioned anything that might indicate that she would not answer the phone, he could not remember anything. I thought it best to politely terminate the call at this point, after all, shouting "she is an elective mute you fucking cretin" down the phone might cause offence. I did actually save him much trauma, I got to the phone before the management who would have had none of my legendary diplomatic skills.... L's SW who is really good is back in work this week and we will have quite a conversation. And thats before we start talking about the CAMHS trainee psychologist who has been doing "counselling" with L She is much more academically inteligent so she is even more clever at being stupid. She was tasked with producing a health passport, this is a document that someone with Mental Health issues takes with them everytime they go into hospital, to explain their special needs. I have not seen it yet, management rolled her eyes when she was reading it this morning.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Changing times.

So into the chemist and the new reality.

Screens everywhere to shield the staff and contact less preferred cash no longer king...รณ

On the top shelf behind the counter a dazzling array of hand washes, masks and gloves, at least there are some to buy now. All there right next to the Viagra, there has to be an irony in there somewhere....


Monday, 3 August 2020

Things that are mislabled

Forgive me for seeming knowledgeable, self confident perhaps even  arrogant but I sort of thought I had nailed this parenting thing and knew what it was all about.

It would seem I was mistaken.

The babies though have extended my education

Lets take your day to day stroll through the supermarket.

Misplaced in the aisle marked "cereal" you may well find Weetabix, far from being a food, this is actually, probably the strongest adhesive ever invented.

Similarly, you might  find  butter not with the putty, or the grease or the body paint   but somewhere where it's suggested you might eat it (that's also possible, but only in large lumps obviously) it  can also be fed  to the dog as an astonishingly effective canine laxative.

Flora, or margarine totally belongs in the paint section.

Tomato sauce is a hair treatment, make up  and clothes dye to  rival everything, well apart from chocolate. Actually chocolate does all of the things listed above at least as well.

Then  there are  nappies, they should really go under artists materials, serving rather too well as a palette where "artistic materials" are stored till they are needed as, adhesive, putty or paint. With the added advantage that there is no need to raid the kitchen, to get the necessary resources, these replenish themselves periodically with no need to give tadcu the slip to get to the kitchen.

This . of course brings us to the final educational point, people of my age will have studied the theory of relativity at school. Einstein the genius postulated that time is not a universal, rather it passes at different rates dependent on the position and velocity of the observer. A nanosecond is an impossible short interval, now relativity gives us the nanysecond,  this shows how time really is relative, this is that minute moment of time while tadcu blinks after getting both boys suited and booted immaculate to go out, for James to get the Flora (1 litre catering pack) out of the fridge and paint the kitchen himself the dog and the cat, hmmm, add effective animal laxative to  Flora's uses...



Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Days of peace.....

So grandparentness has turned into one day at a time lockdown survival. The boys are a delight but goodness me do they have some energy and my are they naughty.

Today was a good start, a lie in, 7 AM call.....

Out of kip and a serious mission, the lads have had 12 weeks where many shops were covid closed shoe shops included. The dynamic duo are therefore in urgent need of properly fitted footwear.

Off up the road, to the shoe shop, fully loaded with trepidation at how to manage two incredibly lively toddlers at a time of social distancing.

They were of course totally angelic, well behaved, lulling us into complacency.

So we drove home with the crew, who fell asleep as you would.   

"You go and do the food shopping, I can cope with the kids"    Says the management, and off I went into town.

What could possibly go wrong?

I wasn't away that long, but long enough.

With me  out of the way, management took up ingredients and started some serious cake making.

James, left for nano seconds decided to investigate the cooking oil. Fortunately this was not our usual gallon cater pack special, it was a mere litre pack. Having tried drinking it, and finding it wanting, he poured the rest over himself and over the floor.

This produced an impressive pool, which the management  attacked with the steam cleaner.

Meanwhile, the  boys were amusing themselves elsewhere.

At this point I arrived, noted the hissing steam cleaner and lack of children.

They had retired upstairs.

So, not long afterwards, I was upstairs.

"Right, so which one of you has been drawing all over the walls that nanny painted last week".


"I dunno" said Osian his voice and demenour a picture of innocence.

A pencil clattered to the floor just  behind him.

I was raised in South Wales, in a town where kids first phrases are things like "weren't me officer" and "I'm keeping schtum till my mouthpiece get's here".

Thats usually a 5 year old.

Osian is 2....

Goodness me - what have we let ourselves in for....




Friday, 3 April 2020

Armageddon out of here.....

We've had it!! Covid that is, now I've said that, since UK Plc has no ability to test, it's hard to be sure, but it does look like, lockdown house on the hill, Penole might have been visited by the virus.

Of course the babies, being babies have had so many sniffs sneezes and assorted snot events it'shard to say what or when they had anything.

Gwion eldest son came home from work and announced he was ill and self isolating. This was very helpful since otherwise we would not have realized that staying in his room for 23 hours of the day was unusual.

He has though taken sensible precautions, stockpiling has been him, he locked himself in with a box of 48 Cadburys Cream Eggs to sustain him.

Management has been ill, no doubt about it, she had a pretty crap flu type thing which ended with a day of  very nasty coughing and much time in bed with whisky. This last day or so, she has been tetchy, grumpy, snapping and shouting at everyone, so the conclusion has to be, she is better.

Myself, well, the big event touched me, I had what would barely register as a slight cold, no elevated temperature at all, some aches pains and a slight cough.

Of course it could all just be a slight winter cough, a normal cold that has affected us all.

We can't know as there is no testing out there.

We have, of course, gone into strict lockdown, only absolutely essential trips out to get supplies. Thankfully the brewery is only a mile away so we have not had to go far. Hmmm maybe I could walk there and count that as my daily exercise...

Monday, 13 January 2020

Serenities swansong.

Now it's been a fair old time since I wrote anything and in reality I think todays post is made out of  guilt.

It does not help though that suitable events to record have been in short supply. Serenity, my step daughter, usually a reliable source of mayhem has become seriously infected with sense and is living a normal and fairly sane life. She does however have children who seem to have picked up the torch and accepted the challenge.....

A quiet weekend afternoon, in so far as it's possible for any afternoon in a household of 2 infants to be quiet, and the phone rang:



My car won't start.


Can you come and help

What about the AA?

I'm not a member (some while back, after a previous event it had been suggested that 7.50 a month might be a wise investment but hey ho)

OK, where are you?

Carmarthen (Oh joy, 35 miles to drive)

Where in Carmarthen?

The garage (sort of narrows it down, there can't be more than 12 garages in Carmarthen, thinks I)

Anyway a little more discourse, the van packed with tools, a solo tow, trailer board and gear away I went. Away I went into the weather biblical,  wind howled, rain hammered into the windscreen, exactly not the day to be trying to start cars.  Less than an hours driving and I rolled up at the offending vehicle. Where to  start?

As the rain hammered down I got out of the cab and approached the stricken voiture. What appeared to be the problem, asked I, Serenity junior,  a master of the motor car was able to offer a comprehensive answer - it would not start. Had she misfueled the vehicle? No, she had, simply loaded the car with unleaded and then it would not start.  What had she spotted when she checked under the bonnet? I was greeted with a look of bewilderment that she might step out of the car into the howling rainstorm to do any investigating, it was wet out there. This was something I was becoming more and more aware of and needed no help from Serenity Jnr to tell.

Through the little gap of window which was open, I suggested she try and start the car now. The starter stirred sluggishly but there were no brum brum type noises.

Hmmm, sluggish stirring might indicate a battery gone a bit flat. Try the simple things first, drive Newton the Transporter into position, bonnets open connect booster leads. I noted, as I finally connected the batteries there was some healthy sparking from the leads, indicating there was a significant potential difference between the VW which would have been taking 14V with the engine running and the little Fiesta which should have been at around 12 V, but clearly wasn't. Sure enough, on being powered by the VW the little car burst into life, simple fix, or was it?

Disconnecting the jump leads, there was still a level of sparky sparky, sooooo the little Fester was getting a bit of charge, but the alternator was obviously not delivering the full 14v. What could this mean? A little noise gave a hint at an answer, a sort of a slipping squeaking suggesting the alternator drive belt might be slack. This would fit in, Serenity Jnr leaves home, it's a tempest, so lights wipers heaters and everything are on, taking a fraction more than the altenator is delivering, gets to Carmarthen 35 miles away and there's not enough to restart the engine.

A relatively simple fix too, all Serenity Jnr would need to do would be slacken the tensioner, adjust the belt, tighten the tensioner, might even be possible without getting under the car. I could foresee an issue already, Serenity Jnr had made not the slightest move out of the cab so far, so she would probably suggest I stand there in the biblical storm and do the job instead. This had limited appeal so I diplomatically suggested  that, since the car was now running, she should make for home forthwith.

I did follow her at a discreet distance, in case the thing expired again, eventually our ways parted and I headed the trusty Newton up the last ten miles through biblical deluge to Penole, with the heater running full blast to dry me out while keeping the windscreen free of the ensuing condensation.

It was now time to involve the real deal, Serenity herself. Turns out the potential for problem was well known, indeed Serenity had been urging Jr to involve the garage for some weeks, the car is up and down the M4 regularly and Serenity had urged Jr to get it serviced some time ago. She had also forcefully suggested Jr take out AA membership some considerable time since in anticipation of this sort of an event. Subsequent enquiry revealed that  this very same problem had been dealt with on two previous occasions by a phone call to Tally (my son) sadly, on this occasion his car was off the road, so of course she had  grandpa on speed dial instead. 

I think I might be busy next time...

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Life inside the dark cloud.

We came home from holiday, happy and refreshed. Everything was starting to look good, Money coming back in and, life was looking good.The van was running fine and would meet our needs for a few more years. Meanwhile, miles away events were unfolding that would change our lives forever.

Back home, and within a week our world was upside down. New Grandson  was taken mysteriously unwell in the middle of the night, his father, rushed him into hospital.

Next day a full child protection investigation. And two babies were taken into care.

Wales has a a very forward thinking new act that requires that children are only taken into care when all family options have been eliminated was ignored.

And it was game on for the former foster carers, except this time the children were our own grandchildren, I would like to think no less energy was deployed than we had as foster carers, only the stakes were higher.