Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday we took son 2 to a birthday party. That in itself is a rarity. Son 2 has always hated parties, they are too noisy for him and he can't cope with the change of routine. So since the age of 5 we have just had a low key birthday with cake and candles at home, knowing that his wonderful school have also held a celebration there for his peer group. This is important as son 2 doesn't go to a local school and his classmates come from a wide geographical area.

Anyway, the party yesterday was a swimming party, at a pool son 2 had not visited before. The guests were a mixture of children with a variety of special needs and some young non-disabled siblings. We were really unsure how son 2 would cope, so Hubby and I both went along, Hubby to go in the water with him and me to be on standby watching. But I wasn't needed. Son 2 behaved well, and despite obvious anxiety (he hates the echo of swimming pools) he was persuaded into the water. Although he is a nonswimmer he enjoyed floating around in the shallow end, as he usually does. He even came out of the water immediately when asked, this has not always been the case in the past!

In the party room he sat nicely at the table and ate pizza, albeit with his MP3 player in his ears to block out the sound of chatter. When he had finished eating he announced, in his own nonverbal way, that it was time to go home. But by then the party was winding up anyway and we were able to head for home, feeling proud of our son's success in coping with a new situation. In an environment where he was accepted for exactly what he is, he produced behaviour which would not have been too out of place at a mainstream party.

While we are on the subject of bithdays, Casdok's son has just celebrated his 21st. Please take the time to read her beautiful post reflecting on his coming of age.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tightening the belts...

So the new era of financial abstinence has begun (though you might not believe that after I had been to town yesterday!)

Knowing that this employment situation was about to occur, a few weeks ago I purchased a (discounted) copy of India Knight's The Thrift Book. Now I like India's journalism, often finding myself agreeing with her, and I enjoyed The Thrift Book as expected. But as I read all too often I found myself thinking hey, I already do that. We've always swapped children's clothes with friends, I've been a keen crafter for years and I am far too familiar with eBay, to give just a few examples. Let's face it, India Knight and I move in different circles and most of my friends and I have been thrifty by her standards for years. So not too many savings to be made there.

I'm looking at ways of reducing the food bill. Since I became ill in the summer I have been unable to drive, so started using the Tesco home delivery service. I find it successful because it eliminates most impulse buying, but of course you have to pay for the convenience (though this week's delivery charge was refunded because they were late due to a van breakdown.) Now Hubby will be home we will probably go to the store together and it will be interesting to see if the weekly food cost rises or falls as a result!

I've booked an appointment with a benefits advisor next week, as our situation is complicated by the fact that we have a disabled child and of course my own capacity to work is currently in question. Hubby will be busy with the winding up of the company for the next few weeks, even though his work will be unpaid. As a director it is his responsibility to provide the receiver with all necessary information.

Then we will sit down and look at all our options. I have a lot of voluntary sector experience in an unpaid capacity, but of course that sector is even more cash-strapped than most and job opportunities locally are now rare. I am also investigating how much it would cost me to retrain to get back into some form of accountancy, albeit at a lower level than when I left the profession eighteen years ago. But I do wonder if it is worth the investment, if I won't be able to get a job at the end due to my health, and of course I would much rather be doing something home-based and writing related...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The times they are a-changing

Sorry, I've been a bad and absent blogger again. I will try to do better in future.

I'm sitting here watching the BBC news about the collapse, exactly twelve months ago, of the American bank Lehman Brothers. A collapse which pushed the world into financial meltdown. Over the last few days I've been reading that governments over the world are starting to say that the corner has been turned, that their countries are heading out of recession. It has even been suggested that Gordon Brown will say the same about the UK this week. Whether Britain is heading in the right direction or not, it comes too late for many people who, through no fault of their own, have lost their livelihood.

On Friday Hubby and his business partner will shut up their company for good, forced out of business by events out of their control. They operate in a construction industry heavily hit by the bursting of the property bubble and the work has disappeared to the extent that the company is no longer solvent enough to trade legally. As I was also employed for a few hours a week we will lose all our household income and, given our ages and my health issues, future employment prospects do not look rosy.

Now this may be a great opportunity to do something we will enjoy more and for me to get more help in my role as a carer, but it will also be a huge challenge. I need to start making some proper money from my writing rather than giving it away, for publishing credits and experience, as I have up to now. But I'm not sure how to go about this, how to get my foot on the ladder.

Ideas on a postcard please.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September comes...

The new month begins and school is back tomorrow. It's been a strange holiday as I've not been able to do much due to my MS relapse, which thankfully seems now to have almost resolved. Inspired by his brother, son 2 decided to listen to his mp3 player for the first time ever, which has been a godsend. It's not an iPod but a cheap kids' player I got on eBay, a tiny capacity but seemingly sturdy, which is very important.

I've spent the last two days working. Due to my bad back I should only sit at my desk for short periods of time and by the end of yesterday I was in a lot pain. I've no idea whether the back pain which affects my mobility is part of the MS, but I've decided I must get back to doing yoga regularly, as that used to help a lot.

When I had a gym membership I used to do hatha yoga classes twice a week, with a lovely teacher whose gentle approach was suitable for all. I had to give up my gym membership when I became unable to get there due to family illness and sadly now I can't afford to rejoin. In the past I've bought yoga dvds but found it difficult to practice when it is necessary to look at the screen and so I lazily let my yoga slip. A bad mistake, I fear.

But now I think I've found the answer, yoga mp3s from Yoga2hear, which are also available via Audible. The narrator, Sue Fuller sounds very like my old teacher and the beginner classes I've sampled so far seem to use a similar gentle approach. I'm going to get a few more over the coming months and then I should have enough for a varied home yoga practice. I hope my back appreciates it.