Monday 19 April 2010

The Volcano and what it means to me

I am fed up of hearing 'news' stories of this bloody volcano and peoples stories of survival, how they are stranded in hotels, on holidays and without medication.

Ok here goes.

If you are reading this and you are one of these's no ones fault.

It's an act of no you can't claim off your are being re-booked free of charge and they will get you home.

If you've run out of're not in space....a local Doctor or Hospital will sort you have insurance and if you live in the UK and are in Europe you should have your E111 card with you. (If you don't have your E111 or have taken out insurance, then it's your own fault.)

My step son should've flown back to army barracks on Sunday evening and yes the weekend was frought tryiong to get information on the phone/internet...then I thought about it and rang his barracks up so they knew he was trying to get home...was told to tell him to enjoy the extended break and keep in touch with ETA.

At this point I relaxed re-booked his flight for Wednesday, hubby has taken him to Manchester this morning as he has work and they will stay up there till there is a flight available.

However, this morning his Sargent rang as he is now AWOL because he hasn't followed the emergency procedure and rang the Serg himself...although it is noted I rang the barracks, as he is 20 and an adult it is his responsibility not mine....which I did say at the time..but no one listened to me.

Have just been informed that due to the number of service men and women away from barracks the army will be providing transport to return them to their bases....I suggested he could return to a local base and his Sarg said if you've had enough of him then just do that and I'll issue the rollicking next time I see him.

Saturday 17 April 2010

Step sons take on the Election

My step son, is 20 and is in the British Army based in Germany. He is in the REME. He constantly moans about the lack of equipment and how when he requests stuff he has to wait for it.

The polling cards arrived today. Three. One for me, hubby and eldest who turns 18 on the 1st May. Hubby immediately got defensive and asked where his sons card was. I explained I had deregistered him at this address so he could vote whilst in Germany so not to waste his vote.
He said he wasn't effing voting as it was a joke and that was that.

Well here came my mistake. I asked him how he thought changes could be made unless he took part.

His response was 'all I care about is the army and that's that'
I asked him where he thought the money comes from to fund the army and who sends these young kids to their death without the right equipment.

His response was 'I didn't vote for this bunch of tossers'
I 'tried' to explain to him that he had the chance to do something about it.

His response was 'What the f*** would you know about it, get off my case. It's my life and I'll do what I want with it'

Fair comment, however, who does he call when he needs a flight home? Who bloody pays for it?
Who sorted out his stolen car? and the insurance? and the police? and drove for 3 hours to do it?
Who sorts out his bank account? Mobile phone? Helped him get rid of his debts?

Me, that's who.

Support from hubby 'you know what he's like why do you get involved?'

Hmmmm yeah thank you. Some help hubby was he just walked off. So yes another night ruined, same old same old and guess what? It's not my fault the bloody volcano erupted and he can't fly home tonight. I've rebooked his flight for him on Sunday as it was the earliest one available so only another 48 hours. I feel some retail therapy coming on.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Midsomers Murders - move you fools

Watching Midsomers Murders on the TV and following the twitter stream. It seems to be the general opinion of the viewers the best thing to do is to move.

I once lived in a village for 5 years and during that time the following events occurred:

A hot air balloon crashed in the park.
A mans body was found, coroner ruled it as an open verdict.
There was a supermarket blackmail attempt on Gateway supermarket, which involved glass in jars of baby food and ended in a mass armed siege and his suicide. (shot himself) The blackmailer ran the pub.
A land slide, rendering several homes unsafe to live in.
A suspicious 'gas explosion' killing the occupant of the house.
A convicted child abuser moved into the village and was hounded out.
Armed drugs raids (numerous) in more than one house.
Endless, numerous affairs with neighbours resulting in many public show downs.
A murder.
There was an armed siege on my house 6 months after I sold it, the new owner had raided a post office.

This was a small village with a local shop, Doctors surgery, Primary school and chip shop, with a weekly visit from the mobile library.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Politics - My take on it all - It's really not fair

I've been out of work in the past when I've had children or we've moved but have only ever claimed benefits on two occasions and both times was due to an injury at work.

In 1995 I was assaulted by an adult with learning difficulties, due to poor staffing levels suffering injury to my neck and 2006 again due to poor staffing levels, this time I was bitten by a student with autism.

The first time I was out of work for 6 months and in the end the company let me go as I was not fit for work. I went to tribunal was re-instated then handed in my notice and claimed disability benefit. After a further 3 months, I was told I was no longer entitled to benefits and had to return to work. I managed to get on a training scheme and did a NVQ level 3 in child care. I decided, with help from Unison to sue my employers for negligence. By the time my case was heard in 2001, I was awarded £8,000 for loss of earning and £7,000 for the actual injury....good you in summing up I was informed that the payout would have been in tens of thousands of pounds if I'd sat on my arse and done nothing for 5 years, but I had been retrained and started a new career.

In 2006 whilst working with students with autism I was badly bitten on my right arm, the skin was broken and I had a secondary infection. This came 3 months after the air ambulance had to maneuver me down a spiral staircase on a back board after falling over a piece of equipment in the same work place.....I handed my notice in and left...guess what couldn't make a claim for unemployment benefit and as the accident had worsened my neck I made a claim for incapacity benefit....despite receiving regular treatment from Dudley hospital and being on medication...guess what? after 3 months they decided I was fit for work. At this point I had decided further my education and I took out a student loan to do my teacher training.

Two years after completing my teacher trainer I decided that I really didn't enjoy teaching so I applied to work in Child protection. I also started a degree in Psychology and Criminology with The OU which is costing me £800 per unit, there are 6 units in total.

So imagine now my frustration at having to pay for my youngest sons education, additional costs in further education for both my step son and eldest plus £20 week in travel costs as their chosen courses were not available near home.

Well now it is time for the General election and finding it difficult to understand why we put up with Labour for so long.

I don't have kids under 5, my children have nearly finished their free education, I've already fought the education system twice now to get my children into their 1st choice school, have never qualified for tax credits as we are not low waged, both Peter and I have private pensions, mine taken out when I was 18 and a AVC.

The only trouble with this is where are they getting the money from so what are the hidden 'things' my family will lose out on?

You'll be pleased to know this blog is now at an end. What about the other parties and their policies? Well, I believe this is another two horse race and it has taken me so long to locate the two links above on the internet and wound me up so much I may blog something which I later regret.

Last Birthday Party

Today my youngest is 11, he's the one on the right. He wanted to go 10 pin bowling and invite his whole year group. I investigated the costs and with food for 20 and 1 game of bowls it came to approximately £200.
I wasn't prepared to pay that much, in the past hashe had a few friends round to play, have lunch then go home or I've hired the church hall made the sarnies and jelly and stressed myself out.

Having all boys they haven't been interested in parties, sleep overs or discos, since they went to high school. We were in San Fransisco for step sons 18th and eldests 18th, on 1st May, will be spent at Birmingham City for the last game of the season and a meal in China Town on the way home.

But this year I realised this was going to be MY last birthday party. Youngest is off to high school in September, wants a mobile phone for Christmas and keeps asking when will he be old enough to not have to come food shopping etc and stay at home.

I planned todays treat after consulting hubby, he wasn't too pleased with the cost, but when I explained it was for me more than youngest he agreed. He's already threatened to leave me if I mention having a baby

At 9am today, my friend and I took 5 children by train to Birmingham, solved crimes at The CSI Experience, ate in Macdonalds, came home to play football, xbox and cut the cake before going home at 5pm. There were no presents, as when son was asked by his friends parents what he wanted he was given money. We bought him a Mamod steam engine and a digital microscope and his big brother bought him Now 75 and he spent some of his money on Triops and a microphone for his disco set along with some CSI tape and now every room in the house is now sealed off.

There were no party bags to take home, but they all won a CSI t shirt today and had a happy meal toy plus a piece of cake.

The parents were grateful for getting rid of their child for a day and impressed with the stuff they bought back with them. All the parents offered to contribute to the cost, but I politely declined, although I did accept the chocolate, the flowers and the wine I was given...great and it wasn't even my birthday.

I totted the cost up today and surprised myself, plus hubby, when he rang to see how the day went.

With a rail pass, the train cost £18.75, the CSI experience was 2 for 1 (I tweeted we were going and they sent me a link to a voucher) total cost £29.25, Macdonald's came to £16.70 plus I raided the cupboards before we left for choc, crisps and pop. Group photo £7 + CD.

However, I'm tired now so have ordered in a Pizza for tea £15.99, eldest just reminded me to add cost of the cake £6.95 and I will print out 4 photos approximate cost £1 and son can write his thank you notes on the back. So todays party cost me a grand total of £95.64 and we all had a fantastic day.

Both kids and adults had a fun packed day, for half the price of the bowling which would've only lasted 2 hours, some lovely gifts (for me) and plenty of money for Alex.

This may be MY last kids birthday party, till the grandkids come along, and I have had a lovely day, no fights or squabbles and more importantly I had a huge hug from my son and a very big thank you which reduced me to a sniveling wreck, followed by 'Mummy can you let go now you're hurting me and I'm 11 now'..still calls me Mummy.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Does wrapping kids in cotton wool help them or us?

I have 5 kids (3 boys my own and 2 step children) who I have raised collectively since October 1999 aged 17-28.

There have been many 'bullying' incidents where my kids have been either the instigators or the receivers. Which I have been involved with sorting out. Traipsing to schools and knocking on parents doors of which I'll tell you about another time. I thought for now I'd concentrate on the incidents that have involved trips to the hospital and/or GP.

The fractured skull - didn't take the portable high chair to mums - result one child aged 2, one breakfast stool, one concrete floor, several trips to hospital.

The stickle brick incident - 2am dash to hospital as middle son then aged 2, swallowed a piece, a barium meal showed a void in his stomach and there it remains to this day. After 19 years it has caused no problems so surgery has not been an issue. Doctors words of advice...he'll know when he passes it..maybe or never.

The iron incident - phone rings - I leave lounge for 2 mins - result one child, youngest also aged 2, many trips to hospital and Doctors for daily then weekly changes of dressings for 2 months for ironed skin on left hand.

The cement mixer - one child, aged 10, fell off cement mixer, slicing skin on upper right arm - trip to hospital, then antibiotics and months of dressing changes because he picked it and got an infection.

The Broken Nose - one child, middle son aged 12, got into a fight over a pop bottle, phone call from ambulance crew - 5 hours in casualty on a Friday night and two follow up operations with the plastic surgeon.

The Black eye - one child, eldest aged 17, got into a fight over a girl - phone call from Police. One night in hosptial several further visits to drain off excess fluid. Offending child prosecuted.

Heelies and a golf cart. Child then aged 11, tripped over nothing and broke his arm, brought home by friend's father. I could tell straight away his wrist was broken and he'd need surgery. Then the following year he was hanging onto the back of a golf cart, driven by a child the same age, he let go and smacked his face on the ground, resulting in a black eye and some rather impressive swelling and a night in A&E.

And finally, the Rugby and cricket experiences. One child, aged 14 and 16, three separate incidents. Phone call from the rugby coach 'It's OK, son is fine, St Johns are with him, we're waiting for an ambulance'
The second occasion phone call from school 'It's OK, son is fine, the ambulance crew are with him, they are waiting for the air ambulance'
On both occasions every thing was fine with him apart from a few bruises, headache and stiff neck.
The cricket incident involved a ball bouncing under his helmet, hitting him in the neck, causing his lung to collapse

Lessons learnt.
1. Take everything you need for young kids with you
2. Make sure you are always contactable when away from your kids
3. Make sure you have a tank of fuel, a book, change of clothes ready for an
overnight/late hosptial stay
4. A good friend to look after your other kids.
5. Panic is good.
6. Don't let your kids play Rugby
7. Don't leave 2 year old unsupervised or unattended cement mixers
8. Teach your kids to run away and fast from trouble
9. Expect a visit from social workers and/or police at some time in your life
10. Crying is good, very good, especially when anyone from #9 turns up

Tell me something I don't know, or get off my twitter

Twitter is an interactive website. Tell me something funny and I'll retweet, tell me something of interest and I'll retweet, tell me something that raises my kudos, I'll retweet, but tell me the same old stuff that you are telling everyone else on the news, on the radio, in the newspapers and on bill boards and I'll ignore.
Stop using comedians like Rory Bremmner to promote the way the news channel is going to vote. Stop using work experience kids to design more unnecessary graphics.

If I want the information I will go and look for it. We are continually being warned by everyone, don't buy off the doorstep, check for the 14/21 day cooling off period. How to stop junk mail,(which all goes straight to recycling in my house) how to stop unsolicited telephone calls, (they go unanswered) then lo and behold the political parties go and so all the things they advice us not to do.

And if you dare ask me to join your group on Facebook, what do I get for doing it? I already know which way I'm going to vote. I'm not American so therefore I'm not voting for the individual so save your time and your money promoting yourself.

Stop focusing on Motorway Man or Worcester Woman, tell me what you're going to do for me and nothing else. But I won't be asking you the questions through any form of digital media because you won't reply. I'll come and find you at a Q&A session in my local constituency.

Friday 2 April 2010

Opportunities missed

I really think that people who use Twitter as a self publicity post are missing out an awful lot.
If you're a celebrity, footballer etc or in a high profile job why not just come on Twitter and be yourself.
I could be a celebrity, for those of you have met me you'll know I'm not, but what would be the point of me being here if all I had was hundreds and thousands of followers, all thinking they know me without any interaction back.
Yes, I Tweet about my job, but if you read my timeline you'll see there are many other things I get up to in my life and I'm sure celebrities are exactly the same.
I have kids that wind we up and get in trouble at school. A husband that works away from home and winds me up when he is here (I love him dearly of course.)
I have worked out many a frustration on Twitter, helped others and been helped in difficult situations. Been sent ((*hugs*)) when I'm feeling low and had some of the best laughs of my life on here. Just ask @iaingilmour, @procphil, @batonabike, @beachhut81, @pennynash for example.
If I was a celebrity and I let you all know, I wouldn't be able to be me for fear of my ups and downs being released to the media.
So come on celebs get on Twitter and just be you. You'll meet some lovely people on here, make friends, tweet up and hopefully make us all laugh and cry in the process.
And if you're really lucky you too will meet a @mediocre_mum to share your most special tweets with.