Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A double tragedy

For a week now I've been meaning to write something about the tragic deaths of Heather Wardle and her disabled son James Hughes. But to be honest I wasn't sure what to write. We can't be certain exactly what happened and in fact we may never know.

Reading about James, hearing of the tributes from his birth father and former headmaster, I was reminded of a less able version of son 2 (who is 14 but functions largely at the level of a 4-5 year old). The whole story seemed too close to home for someone who is already having to start thinking about what might happen to their extremely vulnerable child when he leaves school.

But others have written movingly on the case and their own personal experiences of parenting a disabled child. Between them they have said everything I wanted to and more. Please, please read Claire Bates, Nuala Gardner and Christopher Stevens.

Three notable things:

1. I enjoyed a trip into London for my tutorial on Saturday and even managed to avoid the temptations of Waterstones...

2. Son 2 has, for the last two days, decided that his day should begin at 5am. So mine does too.

3. Son 1 came home with a nasty cold this weekend. Just what we all need!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Meme part 2

The lovely and talented Sarah Salway has tagged me for a meme. I've actually already done this one here but hey, it is the sort that can have many answers, so here goes again:

Link to the person that tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. I have a rare genetic condition that means that I need a lot of dental work and my toenails are weird.

2. I am an enthusiast, I throw myself wholeheartedly into new projects and hobbies.

3. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant even though I was by no means guaranteed a pass in my 'O' Level Maths exam at school.

4. On holiday I like to head for galleries, museums and shops...

5. Although I grew up in a rural area, I am a city girl at heart.

6. At university I studied German, French, Italian and Dutch to varying levels. Luckily the Russian Literature course was in translation.

I think most people have already done this one, so I'm not going to tag anyone, if you'd like a(nother) go, feel free.

Three notable things:

1. At the bus stop last Saturday, a man asked me if I spoke French. When I replied 'un peu', he handed me a Jehovah's Witness Watchtower magazine in French...

2. My mark for the OU assignment I did during the height of the crises was very acceptable, even if not quite as good as my first one. I just feel proud to have completed it.

3. Son 2's school was unaffected by the teacher's strike today, thank goodness.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A new term starts...

School was back today, so I am trying to have a quiet day as I feel quite stressed. This always happens at the end of a school holiday, after being on full alert for a couple of weeks I find I just need a day to chill, and I try to make allowance for that in my plans.

Son 1 came home for much of the weekend. It was lovely to have him back, though I think in the end he was glad to be able to escape from the noise and chaos of home and go back to to see the new friends he is making in the hospital.

I've got some reading to catch up on for my OU course and any idea of writing has to be pushed to one side until that is done, as there is another assignment looming. I am enjoying the course, but there is a lot of information to take in and understand. If it all seems too much, I just have to remind myself that I am doing this because I want to, rather than because I have to, and that therefore I could stop at any time. That thought usually boosts me to carry on regardless, because I am not easily beaten!

Three notable things:

1. A rather strange lady was checking through our wheelie bins yesterday, supposedly in search of her mother's handbag which had been stolen by a con man.

2. I only managed to read son 2's school report for last term this morning...it was excellent.

3. My father seems to be making good progress.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brain dead

I can't think of anything to write about this week. I'm not sure if that is due to some medication I'm on, or whether it is the school holiday effect or just blogger's block.

I've been trying to read, but can't concentrate. Son 2 is testing my patience to its limits at times.

What's new?

Three notable things:

1. I picked up a review copy of Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill, shortlisted this week for the Orange Prize, for just £1.99 in a charity shop yesterday.

2. The sun is shining today, highlighting the new green leaves on our apple tree.

3. We have been considering some home improvements and Hubby has given me the go-ahead to get some quotes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A sombre day

Hubby has gone to the family funeral today, picking up Son 1 on the way and taking him too. It will be a long day, with a lot of driving, but it has to be done.

I have managed to fritter away most of my spare time while Son 2 is at playscheme today, even though I had intended to do some reading and studying. Instead I have been replying to emails, updating bookersatz and paying for eBay purchases of DVDs for Son 2 who is able to destroy a disc almost as easily as a tape...

Three notable things:

1. My boys have grown up watching Mark Speight on TV. What a tragedy.

2. I had both my babies here. I guess I was one of the lucky ones...

3. The London Book Fair is on this week. I would so love to be able to visit it one day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Getting back on track

Things are calming down a little.

Son 1 finally seems settled in his new hospital, though it was a rocky road at the start. My father has had his angioplasty and is back home. The family funeral is next Monday but I won't be going, as I have Son 2 to care for and it will still be school holidays.

So back to the writing, in thought if not in action quite yet. Remember I told you that I found another OU course I am interested in? Well it is this one.

I am interested in it for two reasons. Partly because I have many years of working in a support role in the voluntary sector, although with no formal training. I don't, however, have ambitions to be a counsellor myself, though I believe (and know from personal experience) that the work they do is very valuable.

But I would like to be able to one day combine my voluntary experience with my writing, to explore the use of creative writing as a means of expression for the everyone, including the vulnerable. A couple of friends have just taken an introductory counselling course at a local college and one intends to go on to a counselling degree. I had already decided that I would be interested in doing the short course once I had finished at the OU, but this course would serve the same purpose and give me hopefully enough points to complete a degree.

Afterwards I might even apply for this...

Three notable things:

1. I finally got Son 2's replacement Blue Badge yesterday (we were late applying for the renewal). The Council is becoming increasingly strict due to the widespread misuse of the scheme and no longer sends them out by post...

2. I have done no studying at all this week due to the school holiday and everything else going on.

3. The central locking on my car is playing up. Again. But last time it inexplicably put itself right, so I'll just wait and see. I need the car all next week anyway.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Another update

It's all happening here.

Step-father-in-law passed away last Thursday and Mother-in-law is very confused. Her future is still be sorted but Brother-in-law is with her this week.

My own father is still in hospital, but will hopefully have a procedure today and then perhaps go home tomorrow.

Son 1 is to be moved to a new hospital this afternoon due to funding issues. It is another private clinic, but the one where our local NHS Trust has a contract and where he would have originally been placed had there been a free bed. He was not at all happy about the decision and initially threatened to discharge himself, but has now agreed to go, so hopefully the transfer will take place shortly. It is a shame as he had settled really well where he was, but at the same time it was not unexpected. Just another source of stress for his poor long suffering parents as the phone calls have been flying around today!

Three notable things:

1. There was an interesting blog tour visit by author Orna Ross to Caroline's blog yesterday. If you didn't make it, the questions and answers (in the comments box here) are well worth reading.

2. I had a light bulb moment on Saturday when I found the perfect new short course to finish my OU degree, which I hope to take alongside the Advanced Creative Writing in the autumn. It would fit in so well with my future hopes and plans for my writing. But more about that another time...

3. I've finally managed to update bookersatz today, after a rather hectic few days...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

An update

Son 1 is enjoying his hospital stay! Of course being a private clinic the facilities are somewhat superior to the NHS. Today he phoned home to ask us to bring in swim gear and shorts for the gym...

Mother-in-law has been assessed and hopefully some home care will be put in place shortly. It is highly unlikely her husband will return home.

Father is still in hospital having tests for probable blocked arteries. Best case prognosis is medication, worst case bypass operation.

Three notable things:

1. I've completed my assignment and emailed it to my tutor today, as well as reporting our difficult circumstances. It's probably a load of rubbish, but hey ho!

2. It was World Autism Day yesterday. This sort of passed me by, but thanks to Casdok today I found this list of famous people and fictional characters suspected of being on the spectrum. It's interesting because the Google search which most often brings people to my blog is for 'celebrities and autism'...

3. Last day of school for son 2 tomorrow before a two week break for the 'Easter' holiday. I still can't my head around how weird it has all been this year with Easter so early.