Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Bet he'll be glad to get back to work. A stream of consciousness Xmas.

Xmas Eve: frantic children believing a lie that YOU (and I ) endorse so we can have a (huge) whisky and blame a fictional figure. Her sack is bigger. No, it's not. It's just a different pillowcase. How will he get in? We don't even have a fireplace. Oh, that magic key shit. No, he won't go into your room if you leave the sack downstairs. I agree, it IS creepy. I did my sack (ooer) on Ebay for a measley tenner each child. Can I drink the rest of the whisky?

Xmas Day:Yes, it's 5am. Oh well. Let's all rip open everything in a random way that makes identifying gift tags redundant. And do it quickly ,before we have to get dressed and stuff everything into the the car to travel to the relative du jour. They won! Now our holiday is just like a playgroup day! Get dressed! Quick! We're on a timetable! Again! Stuff evry single toy into the boot. Arrive. Open more toys. Frantic children being so surrounded by gifts that they end up hitting each other for the sake of familiar fun. Eating (you, not the kids. They live on Jelly Tots.) The main cook saying "I'm really not that hungry, you're not, when you've spent all day cooking" (sigh, nose down, trough). Drinking (only one of you. One of you has to drive back from the relatives du Jour). Task Arguing. "YOU put them to bed, I spent all day being SOBER". "No YOU, it was YOUR PARENTS, I NEEDED Lager". Slumping in front of diabolical TV, asking "Who got run over in Eastenders this year?" before passing out, dressed. One of you makes it to bed. Did I get a present? Oh, bless, it's jewellery far too fragile for my everyday existence, from tesco points. The gift of love.

Boxing day: The Other Lot. The ones that didn't get the kids on Xmas day. Its MORE FUN than Xmas day, even though the kids are knackered. Oh, ANOTHER EFFING DINNER. Yep, we could all do with another 3 courses. And more packaging, for our bonfire the size of the house. Can I watch my recorded Dr Who now? No? Oh. What's that you say? Daughter is weird? Well, yes. Oh, sweaty wierd. Ill weird. Initially, this means a glad token of being able to usher out the Other Lot early.By 10pm, it's clear it's the usual Xmas virus. Yes, the floor is lovely in here. Just give me a duvet and the calpol dispenser. I'll sleep on a rug in her bedroom.

Oh, still. Still every 3 hours, 3 days in. Days are spent on the sofa watching The Wizard of Oz. My God, Glindas' hands are big. Start spotting disenfranchised height challenged people not being proper Munchkins. After 8 viewings, root for a Witch Wins version. Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh Sod it. I'll run in front of her toting a jug of gin, she'd follow then, and sod Toto. Son is less enamoured. Stupid little poeple, why are they giving her a lollipop and what are those monkeys doing with wings? Can we go OUT?

Here's the rub, Husband is on holiday. He thinks, (laugh) that this is a HOLIDAY! No, you cannot sit and watch the History Channel. No, you cannot lie in. Here's an idea, why not take the not-sick kid out? And LEAVE ME ALONE?

Phew. Now I can watch the Stupid Wizard of the Stupid Arsing Oz again, with sick kid. And wine.

Oh, wait. Everyone is almost well. You''ll cook dinner? I would be happy, but I know this is just a lovely way of standing in the kitchen for 6 hours and leaving every single sodding pan dirty for the poor other sods to wash up. Can't I cook? Oh. I must sit down (read: deal with kids). I cooked the other day. But I WANT TO COOK LIKE YOU DO. Not the actual recipe. That is neither here nor there. I want to take 4 hours on a tomato sauce, with a glass in hand, without having to wipe a childs arse in the meantime.

The kids are "I want Daddy to do it". Fine. Daddy gets all the good bits. I notice it's never Daddy who gets to wipe bums. Still, the sheen is off. He's been off for days. The kids are having philosophical debates as to the nature of a minute, due to his "In a minute" responses. My minutes are minutes. Not so his. And you know, kids don't really like watching the history channel, and I don't want them seeing the holocaust episodes, really, so, if you don't mind, can you go back to work? Because, I might kill you otherwise, and you will go crazy, and I will weep, because you have no conception of how I run this. Go.

We all love Xmas.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bad mother misses Nativity.

And it was his first ever one. Bad brained mother here was just downright empty headed about it and flummoxed by the Medieval system of school security. Unable to process the arcane rituals of gate openings, I was stymied by the blockade and, being 5ft, unable to scale the walls, clutching daughter and the Phil and Teds. Here is how it begins.

I drop son off to the usual playgroup entrance. I access this through the left-hand school gate, Gate A, which is open for the 8.50 drop-off,(Otherwise closed for the 11.50 pick-up, open again at 3pm. Guarded by Cerebrus in the meantime) walk across the school grounds and say "See you at the Nativity!". I then walk into "town" (this is in speechmarks because really, 2 charity shops and a bakery do not make a town). I walk through the Town school gate,Gate B, open for the 8.50 drop-off, but closed for the 11.50 pick-up, open again at 3pm. Otherwise, guarded by Orcs and an all-seeing eye. Gate A saves me a long walk, as Gate C, near to the playgroup and open for the 11.50 pick-up and 3pm pick-up, otherwise closed and guarded by sundry demons, is a mile and half around the town away. So my walk to playgroup in the morning is 2.5 miles, on the way back it is 4 miles. The politics of the Gate are arcane and not open to reason. A friend with SPD and heavily pregnant was not allowed to spare herself the walk at the 11.50 pick up, and was forced to walk the 1.5 extra miles. The Gates cannot be opened. I walked her boy rather than see her struggle. The Gate protects the kids, it must not be breached. Mexico border controls are more lenient than this.

Anyway, I then return, after whiling away an hour in the library with daughter, to Gate C, for the 11.15 performance of Nativity, starring son as shepherd, and many varied carols that bear no relation to ones you might know. Gate C is locked. I ring friend, who is in hall. "Help! Gate C is locked! I can't fling my Phil and Teds over the fence! Can you get someone to open it?" No. Nobody will open it. I must run.

I do not run. Apart from a brief period in the early 90's, which was really all about snaring some unworthwhile bloke, when I went to the gym 3 times a week, I have never run. Never. I may jog, I may speed walk with a double buggy, but I do not run. Until now. Strapping a screaming daughter into the buggy "NOOOOOO! I want to WALKKKKKK!", I pound the pavements, swerving people on mobility buggies and cursing their wheels, run, run, until I reach Gate A, which is open, all the Orcs being inside watching the Nativity that I AM MISSING. I screech to a halt in the school reception and demand to be let into the hall. Obviously, I am bright purple, sweating, about to have a heart attack, and clutching a puce angry daughter. I look insane. The Head comes out as the scretary has evidently pressed the panic button. They let me in. As soon as daughter sees the stage and bright lights she exhibits her (thankfully present) anti-X-Factor genes and screams. We go out again. I find crumb sodden old dummy from last month in bottom of my bag, shove it in and return to see the last song being sung and son looking bored in a tea towel. All the other mums are looking at me. They all have cars. Son asks why I was late. "The Orcs were not at the gates", I tell him. And he just accepts it.

Later, I get the DVD. Sons head is obscured by Marys' voluminous headress throughout.

Friday, 17 December 2010

4 years ago, I stopped working.

Not literally. I mean, my arms and legs still go (althought my thyroid could do with some work), and I still (just about) string a sentence together. So, yes, I still work. But I don't WORK. This time, 4 years ago, I said goodbye to my form group, fellow teachers, and GCSE/AS/A2 students, saying "See you in a year!", and waddled out that door, heavily pregnant, and never went back. I've been at home, with kid(s) ever since. For a while, post son, I said I was going back. 6 months in, I tried to read a book about Napoleonic warfare, and the new syllabus, and failed. My brain hurt. I visited childminders in our neck of East London, fully intending to leave my little bundle with them and return to work. The fact that I wouldn't have left a dog with them decided me. (Amongst the gems were a woman with 6 dogs, one who said she wouldn't take me because I was ethnically wrong, and another who stood smoking on the doorstep saying she "only did it outside" in such a manner that I wondered what it was she did outside, as it could have been any number of things, including soliciting).

We moved. We moved far, and cheap. We moved far and cheap enough so that we could manage on one wage for a few years. Just as well ,as along came surpise daughter. (Yep, really. 6 months in surprise. You know when they say breastfeeding is not a contraceptive? They are right). But what was happening to me? In the (admittedly brief) interim between children, I struggled. I had been a 5.30 am riser, who went to work, worked all day, came back, planned, did some more work, then went to the pub. I was a good, committed teacher and a big socialiser. My love of subject (history and polictics) ,was such that I spent weekends campaigning, visiting musuems, and husband and I courted on the IWW battlefields, in trenches. I loved my job. I loved watching my class set up as the League of Nations, and do a better job than they did. I loved it. I loved my form group. I loved my work. And now, I didn't have it. What was I?

Well, to some of my friends, I was a big wash out, a let-down. Someone who had "wasted" their education. To others, I simply wasn't down the pub anymore, and slipped away. To one, I had "let myself down". I should be being MORE, being a job, an ambition, a dream. What could I say? Yes, I had a half finished novel, but waking up 5 times a night does for that. Yes, I loved my work, but was that all I was? And most importantly, is that all that matters? No.

I can honestly say it took over a year. Over a year to not be upset by my demotion, for, let's be frank, that is what it is. You had a bank account, it had stuff going in, now, it doesn't. You have to ask for money, or set up a joint account. You had a timetable, now you don't, your day is dictated by breastfeeding, weaning, potty training. (See previous posts for how I cope with this: effectively, I just teach a subject a week to them, it gives me a timetable and a focus). You used to have lunchbreaks and piss alone. Now you don't. Ever. (I still don' know what to do on "lady" days. I distract them with a trick.)You used to have a status, now you are "just" a mum. You used to have a purpose, now you are "just" a mum. You used to have targets, discernable results, now the only result comes when they are 18 and not a serial killer. Yet. There's time. It takes time. It took a gut wrench instinct to say "I want to be at home", as every fibre of my intellect screamed that no, I was a working woman, but all my mum fibres said "sod it". I fought it, but I settled. I have seen every first. I have cooked a gazillion refused meals. I wipe up wee. I wipe bums. I read "Peepo" 8 times in a row. But I am still a teacher. I explain sunlight, rainbows. I explain why they need to go to bed. I am lawmaker. I am a scary monster. I am the builder of sofa cushion rafts. I am the one they hate. Until they fall over. I am the bad cop mum who says "What do you say? How do you ask nicely?" when good cop dad can waltz in from work and be fun. I am the dispenser of Savlon. I am a mum. I am not a worker.

And yet. I am. I am there, the whole time. So much that they get bored of me. I am up at 6 sometimes sooner, bed early, for the night shift. I know i'll be up at least twice, for wees, lost toys, wonky duvets. It's work, but the results you want are different. It's not attainment based, it's happiness based. Can I help my son and daughter be happy? Can I make their days at home, with me, a privilige? Can I make them into nice people? Funny people? Tolerable people? When I shout, can I say "sorry"? Can I make them able to enter school, secure in the knowledge that when they come home and ask for fishfingers and mash, I really know they are asking for a hug? It seems like nothing, sometimes, this stay at home lark. But when, as I did today, you hear you son say to the searching playgroup lady, sending him out to be picked up, "My mummy is over there, she ALWAYS is", it does seem worth it, as well as a life sentence. Or am I just justifying my choice? So hard to know. I just know, I'm glad i've done it. Although I wish it had a ruddy wage and some respect. It's a life skill, a diversifiable skill, a transferable skill to be able to find the bedtime teddy when it goes missing. (In the drawer, in a tupperware box. Of course.)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Make do and Mend.

Well, I've spent the last few nights snipping and sewing stuff from the little scraps I've had lying around, and some of the pillowcases I obsessively collect for 10p from the local Sally Army ("It's only 10P!!!! I MUST have it!") I whizzed up some bunting for daughters room to brighten it up a bit (must snip that thread!), using pillowcases for some of the flags and bias tape, and some leftover quilt patches for the rest.

I snipped at the shrunken jumper to fashion it into a bag. It's not quite done, some applique to do, but it is a bag from a jumper, albeit an odd shaped one due to the armholes, but a bag nonetheless. I've mended my jeans and even saved all the little itty itty bits from my cutting mat for stuffing toys. I'm being tight, i'm mending and making do. It's partly part of my year of thrift (see previous posts about not buying any new clothes for a year: nearly there!) , and partly because I've been inspired, again, by my Nan, now passed on, whose sewing box I inherited in April but only recently picked up.

It is GORGEOUS. Not to look at, just your standard wooden box, one knob missing. Butinside there is a wealth of making-do. Alongside the box, I got a tub of crochet hooks, a tin of ribbons and ric-rac, a tin of elastic and fastenings, and a tub of needles and scissors. Nothing was ever thrown away by my nan. Every ribbon from every present was tucked away. Every sequin that came off saved. The cotton reels alone are amazing, some of them are wooden, and wound with silk thread that was made in Britain. But this little envelope I found truly amazing. A little selection of nylon and silk thread in stocking colours, wound round card, with their own matches attached to melt the threads together. Imagine. Not throwing away a stocking, but darning it and melting it, and using them till they dropped. Last night I took a leaf out of my nan's book and what I couldn't mend from my mending pile, I unwound or cut into patches for later, some old trousers are earmarked for a doorstop. God, even the words "mending pile" sound great, but kind of 1950's. Inspired by my Nan, and by how easy it was to not buy any clothes this year, I am going to do it again this coming year. A bit early for New Years Resolutions, I know, but really, one purchase of snowboots in a year was actually quite easy, once i'd gotten over the thrill of spending. And this year, I promise, will be even better. This year I will not only buy secondhand (my limit was £5.00 a week), I will REFASHION. Take a look at this lady, who did a dress a day, from charity shop jobs, every day for a year. Now if that isn't inspiring enough to get me to learn how to seam, nothing is. I WILL learn how to hem properly, I WILL use my nan's thread to sew up a storm from a size 20 charity shop dress, and I WILL, (maybe) learn to crochet).
And check out the "Mend and Make Do" thread on Netmums, where ladies are going crazy on their machines.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The power of a lullaby: and what to do when your child is choking.

Lullabies and choking are not connected, maybe, but this weekend, they were.
When son was little, I sang and sang, he was a super colic baby and did nothing but scream for 4 months. The singing was often less to do with soothing and more to do with drowning the noise out. The only was he would settle (settle, not sleep, Lord no, not for 16 months....) was by flinging him about to Frank Zappa telling him not to eat yellow snow or wailing Little Green Rosetta, which lasts for 8 very long minutes. I'm not even the Zappa fan in this house. (That said, he is a great Pixies singer now, so i'm getting my return). He would allow me put him in the bouncy chair if I sang "Let's go fly a Kite" from Mary Poppins constantly, on occaision allowing a segway to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". But daughter was different. Whether it wa second child so-soon-after status or not, she would always pop down for a nap and go to sleep beautifully (even though she still wakes up for a "chat" at 4am). I would sing her a lullaby every night feeding her to sleep. I know I wasn't meant to, but hey, both mine self weaned no problem at 15 months. (smug). Our verse of choice was "My Bonny" (click here for a wiki about the song, and see above for the chap in question, Bonnie Prince Charlie) and every night we'd go through 4 rounds of it. Even now, at 2 and a half, it retains a massive power. It literally knocks her out. I can sing it in the middle of the day and her eyes go sleepy. It it so intrinsically linked in her mind to sleep that it sends some sort of "Sleeeep" message to her cortex and off she goes. How I wish I had one of these for son. He does still sing "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" though.
How does this relate to choking? On Friday I put them both to bed at 7pm with nary a bother and absolutely no sign of any illness at all. I spent the evening sewing and quaffing a nice wine. At 11pm, we heard a barking noise from daughters room, and as husband shot upstairs, we found her choking, making that croupy noise and gasping for air. My first thought was that she'd swallowed something from her dolls house. We rushed her downstairs and I called 99, I am really not au fait as to how to cope with small 2 year olds choking, my first aid is all about teenagers. By the time they arrived it was clear she could breathe, but badly, and the medics took one look at her and slapped her back in particular places, and dislodged some almighty globule of mucus. Splat. Daughter was in receipt of one of the worlds fastest acting colds. As she returned to a normal colour, we could see that her eyes were gunky, her nose was blocked and her throat was raw. Poor wee thing. Plus, she was surrounded by medics, stressed parents who were also a little embaressed that it was just mucus and panic, and grandparents who had sped over at breakneck pace. Cue screaming and some obviously healthy lungs. Medics said goodbye, rather reluctantly, as we sent them off to Peterborough at chucking out time. I took daughter to bed. And here is where the lullaby does it's stuff. Nurofen, a nightlight and "my Bonny" and whack she was away, despite all the excitement.
And now for the choking bit.
I knew how to do a Heimlich on an older child, from my teaching training. But toddlers and babies are different. Firstly, if the child is breathing even slightly, as daughter was (ie, if they can make a noise), then do NOT slap their back . It could dislodge anything and send it further down. The correct technique for toddlers and babies is completely different to adult techniques. Here's a link to a baby example. For toddlers, or small children like my daughter (who at 2, is still in 12-18 month clothes), lay them over your knee face down rather than your arm as shown by this gent. I am off to find a Red Cross class that deals with kids first aid. So that I won't have to call out the ambulance unless it's really needed, and I'll be able to cope until they get here if they are.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

NO! When little boys get hormones.

I attended son's playgroup parents evening last week. According to them, he is learning to stand up for himself, after a shy start, and is as good as the proverbial golden child. I retreated, gobsmacked. At home, he doesn't have to stand up for himself, because he is too busy lording it over his sister. He is not in the least bit shy, and he certainly isn't good. he is Omen like in his ability to predict what will annoy most. So far this week, he has cut his sisters hair (again, so she looks like something from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), taken to smacking her on the head when he thinks I'm not looking (despite my telling him, with alittle artistic licence, that it hurts your brain, in retrospect, this is possibly encouraging him), waited till she's set up her entire doll's house and then driven his motorbike and army men through it ("what? What? they're just having a smash-up party!"), lied ("I DID NOT eat the gingerbread!" Here's a hint, wipe the gingerbread mush off of your face before you deny it), smashed his room up when sent to it, and scribbled biro over the bath. Which to be fair, was hardly noticeable alongside all the grime and rust from skanky bath toys. All of this accompanied by a point blank refusal to sit on the naughty step. (Look at him in this pic, I thought he was bad at 2, but boy, I was wrong).

He is rising 4, and I'm wondering if this sudden bout of sheer stubborn naughtiness is a hormone surge. At around aged 4, boys experience the first of many (ARRRGH) hormone surges, which increase aggressiveness, energy levels and urge to engage in boisterous play (launching himself at husband as soon as he gets in from work screaming "fight me!"), and reduce their ability to concentrate. Luckily for us mums, this first surge lasts about a year (a YEAR?) and then fades until about aged 7. Steve Biddulphs' book "Raising Boys" is very informative on this. I can glance across to son at any given point in the day and he will be engaged in transmuting his sisters carefully thought out narrative with the farm animals into a farm armageddon. Yes, a definate hormone surge. Only a few months ago he was gentle thing. Now he is a maniac. So what to do?

I'm trialling the 1,2,3 method. It's meant to work well with boys and children with autistic spectrum disorders, because the rules are simple and do not allow for much negotiation. Now son is older, I often find myself embroiled in negotiating with the boy rather than stating what he should do. As a teacher, it's a cardinal rule: you earn the right to negotiate, it's not a given. Yet here I was, involved in some high table UN debate with a 3 year old. 1,2,3 it was. Basically, it's an old teaching trick but it works, hopefully. State to the child that they get 3 warnings only and on "3" , what the consequence will be. As son will now no longer sit on the step without running off it to where I am and mooning at me (yes, really), my "3" consequence is for him to be put in his bedroom without his favourite toy motorbikes for 5 minutes, then 5 again if he hasn't calmed down and apologised. Then, you clearly get to "3". Here's an example from this morning.

Daughter is screaming, with real tears. Son has hold of the toy she had, and she haltingly (but with glee) stammers out that son hit her on the head. I know she's egging it a bit, she's gone all Bette Davis, but hey, he did hit her. Son admits it.

"Say sorry to your sister and give her the toy back"
"No! I don't want to!"
(Holding up finger, speaking calmly) "That's one. Can you please say sorry and give the toy back."
"NOOOOOOO! it's MINE! (stamping feet)"
"That's 2. Can you please say sorry and give the toy back. It is not nice to hit on heads, or snatch".
"No!" (throws toy).
"That's 3. To your room, please". March him upstairs. Remove motorbikes. Much wailing and screaming. After 5 minutes he is still lobbing stuff about. Tell him he has another 5 minutes. Go back in after that, he is forlorn on the bed.
"Why did I put you in your room?"
"Because I whacked her and now her brain might hurt". (near enough).
"So what are you going to do?"
Gives sister cuddle, has a cuddle, carries on until next outburst approximately an hour later.

By the end of the day I usually only have to get to 2, or sometimes even 1. It does seem to be working, but as with everything, consistancy is key. I know I am doing it religiously, as daughter was telling her dollshouse crew off in the same manner.

Other pointers for the angry boy parents out there.

Firstly, accept that he will get angry. Example: yesterday, I told him not to take food from the fridge without permission. He denied he was (still clutching the chicken leg). I asked him to put it back, he got angry. After the 1, 2, 3 scene, we had a chat about why he got angry. "Because I really wanted the chicken but you said no", and discussed what could be done instead of getting angry. "You could have asked me nicely for a snack, couldn't you?" and so on. Make it clear that everyone gets angry, but that there are often other options.

Praise the gentle. Really go overboard. "Oh son, the way you are stroking the chicken gently is lovely, they really like that" etc etc. Praise nice behaviour to the high heavens.

Go rough. Make an assault course of cushions, play boys games (yes, there will be killing in them), and encourage LOTS of walking, running. Get out everyday. Get messy. Be a boy for a bit. And, if there is a man on the scene, a daddy, uncle, whatever, rough play. I simply don't get the rolling around bit, but they do and they love it. It's a very important bit of male whatever. I know it hypes 'em up before bedtime, if, like me, the man arrives home just before bed, but hey, go to bed 15 minutes later.

Get your man model to model being gentle. And if your man model shouts (mine does at times) make him say SORRY. Little men will copy the big ones.

Get some man on boy time. Send them off to do tasks. Boys often learn by DOING at this age, and a morning with the man sweeping snow or hammering will work wonders. And get him to praise, praise praise while he's doing it.
Now, i'm off to do my counting again, as I can just hear a yell......

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Conservatives smash childhood dreams shocker, and a cushion.

When I was little (or young, i'm still pretty little, height wise at least), I was desperate to be a showjumper like Harvey Smith, then I went through a phase of being a librarian and forcing mum to take books out all the time while I stamped them and fined her (none of my childhood books are untouched), and finally, a teacher phase, bossing my sister around and criticising her efforts. "NO! Do this NOW! No, no, don't cry, Mum will come, here is a biscuit".) And you know, apart from the showjumping, I DID do that. I was a childrens librarian for years, and then retrained as a teacher, which I loved, for years. I did what I wanted to do. Son is obsessed with levers, gears, mechanics. My dad is an engineer, In Law dad is an engineer, there is a clear obsessional path for him. Daughter is currently limited to doing whatever pees son off most. But whatever they want to do, I will say, "You CAN do it". Because really, they're bright, they're funny, they have drive, they can. Even if he still wants to be a policeman.

Except they can't. We will never, never, never have enough money to pay for degrees for our kids. Read that again. NEVER. This country now has the most expensive education in the world. Kids that are bright, from less well off families, will never get to University. The Conservative blurb may say "It's merely a debt...." blah blah" , but people who have no money do NOT get into debt. Imagine being an 18 year old from a poor background, and being told that your debt on leaving will be 40K, 3 years work for your dad. You wouldn't countenance it. Of course, it's probably different, if , like David Cameron, you are worth 19 million and you think this makes you Middle Class. I won't even mention Clegg, nobody can hear him from the cavernous recesses of Camerons passage anyway. Cameron just excuses any noise as being "something he ate".
This is what this government wants: education for the elite, the ones who a 40K debt means nothing to. Their dads earn it in a few months. I was the first person in my family to get to University, indeed, even finish school. I managed because I had no fees, and a grant. I repaid that generosity by doing public sector work for years. The State helped me, I help the state. I believed in the State. I put something back. They more than got their moneys worth from me, from the teaching in the East End alone, believe me. ("No, pupil, I cannot come and pick you up from Budgens for shoplifting. I am not your mother. I am your teacher. Oh. Alright. She's with you. And caught shoplifting. I'm on my way.")
No more. This week we learned that the local (and only) secondary school has lost it's Building Schools for the Future money. 9 million. This was to provide for more space and facilities. The school was built in 1938 for 500 students. It now has 1,350. The money has gone. Not needed, says the government. Not needed , says local bigwig Martin Curtis, and minister for children, no less, who also said that "screaming and shouting" won't do anything. Fine. We'll all just accept it then, shall we? And the fact that you've just more or less told our kids that they're worth much less to this government than the kids of the small enclave of wealthy Free school parents. And the 1,000 homes you've just agreed will be built here, to add to our hugely overcrowded school and village with no facilities and schools that are too small. ( Strange that all the local Conservative councillors are so keen on the idea, possibly it has something to do with the huge links to the building trade many of them have. ) This government sucks big time.
The students round here already perform terribly. Fenland has the lowest tertiary education take up of ANY English area. It has the lowest parental tertiary take up. It is a rural, on the land work, area. And a safe, very safe, Tory seat. Nobody votes, apart from the landowners, and me. Everyone else is too apathetic, working on the land they don't own, or in the middle of the Fens picking leeks for minimum wage, for 14 hours, while the voting goes on. So why should the local MP Mr Steve Barclay care? He doesn't. He went to Rugby. He is a golden boy who replies to my letters with the party line and never holds a surgery in my village, knowing full well there is no bus on earth that will get me, my kids and my hatred to his actual surgery. So i've written to him. (Again. See previous posts to hear about my effort to build up enough asinine replies that I can furnish my chicken coop with them. And they can shit on him. I know it's childish.) Would he like to come and tell my son that his local schools are falling to bits, with the government sanction? Would he like to come and explain why my kids will never get to tertiary education? Would he buggery. He goes to the opening of a crisp packet, but he won't come here.

And because i've made myself really cross again, here's a picture of some stuff I sewed last night: a taggie for an upcoming baby (NOT mine, dear me NO), a pot stand, and a pink(ish) cushion for daughters room. I'm getting into the swing of the machine now. I even wound a bobbin. (clap, clap, clap) Once I get good enough, I may even attempt to sew a tiny mannikin of our MP as a pincushion.