The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy holiday's

Well, we made it down here with remarkably few problems. Having been warned about the horrendous roadworks on the main road, we took the alternatiove route & encountered almost ne problems at all. LMD even slept some of the way!

Yesterday was mostly taking up with packing, driving, unpacking, exploring & dealing with very tired & overexceited children:-) Although we did manage to have an enormous meal at the local pub.

Today we had a quiet morning - although one that started at 5am!!! Thanks LMD! Then this afternoon we came here

(picture coming soon - hopefully - blogger's playimng silly buggers again! I tried to update to beta, but it decided it wouldn't let me!)

Watergate bay. It's only 1/2 a mile from our cottage, and the kids had a fantastic time playing in the stream, digging the sand & eating shells:-) Plus, of course, the big hotel has a wifi network. Yippee:-)

That's all for now, more tomorrow.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We're all going on a Crazie holiday...

No more blog surfing for a week or so:-)

We have found a nearby wifi hotspot, and organised some free time on it, so hopefully I'll keep up with the blogging,but i doubt I'll get loads of surfing time to visit you:-(

If anything exciting happens, leave me a comment & I'll check it out!

off on the long drive through the roadworks now!

Friday, October 27, 2006

emotions are a strange thing....

I've mentioned that I had a brother who died five years ago. This week has been one that has seemed to remind me of him regularly.

Partly because the debate over faith schools has blown up again in the media, and it was the last thing we discussed before he died. i was waiting for him to explain the party-line on why they were being increased, because i didn't, and still don't understand how a labour Gov't has promoted state faith schools! it made me feel angry that I never got to have that (and so many other) discussions with him.

Earlier in the week I took a phone call at work. the woman on the other end asked to make an appointment, and then broke down in tears telling me that she had just found out her son had died. She used exactly the same words that my mother used when she phoned me that Thursday evening to tell me she had just found out my brother had died. I don't think i can explain the emotions that suddenly welled up at that - sadness, compassion, and something more.

Then I heard through the grapevine that his biological mother died a few weeks ago. She died alone, in a mental hospital, thanking some unknown woman for being a good mother to her son. She married when my brother was still quite young, and had three more children, and she lived with them & her husband all the way through his childhood - he visited her every year until he was 18 & refused to continue. So why do I feel in some way guilty?

It would have been his 30th birthday in January. I still think about him most days. Which is wierd, as I rarely "thought" about him when he was alive.


We spent the day at the two big medieval markets. After the horrendous trip a couple of years ago, when we went on the Saturday, with the kids, a pram, and a long shopping list, this year we arranged to go on a weekday, without any children, and with only a few things to buy, and it was infinitely better!

We only really needed some green & red wool for Mstr A's new clothes next year (he needs clothes in the colours of his household as he will be a page), although we have been keeping an eye out for a couple of things all year. CQ came with us - it was her first medieval market & she needed basic equipment such as clothes, a spoon etc. We promised to steer her towards the better traders - ones that offered authentic goods, at reasonable prices. There are plenty who sell modern things in "medieval style", which are no good for living history re-enactment, and even more who think they can get away with charging the earth for substandard goods because they've got a captive market!

CQ soon found a nice spoon, and an undersdress and top dress. We bought our wool, and carried on wandering around.


We soon spottted a butter churn & quirn stone on a stall we often buy from. We've been looking for either for over a year now, and this trader had promised he was getting some in, so naturally, we had to buy both! As he had a georgous wooden chest on display too, we thought we'd go for all three & get a deal on the price. Which we did, but it was still a lot to pay out! Aggie has promised to compartmentalise the chest so we can safely carry our pottery around next year - it does tend to get broken without a custom made box! So it is an investment really. Honest!

We also saw a nice knife for Mstr A, who is getting big enough to need one now. I was loathe to spend £30 on a real, hand made, authentic sharp for him, but when I spotted a "good enough" reproduction for a fiver, I thought it was too good to miss. Aggie will have to make a sheath for it, then it will be an Xmas present. On our way out, we spotted a couple of eating spikes for us too - again, at a good price, and something that we've been wanting for a while, but the money was mounting up. Aggie alos saw some nice lamps for outside the tent. He's been looking for these for ages, but nothing was authentic! But we did manage to pass these up:-) Maybe next year!

Still, we managed to avoid buying any big shiny things - most of the group was up there, and many were wandering around with new swords or amour - which are excruciatingly expensive (they have to be well-made, strong enough to withsatnd real battles, and comply to modern health & safety standards), so all in all, it was a good day.

Plus Nanny A finally exchanged contracts on her house today, so she will definitely be moving next week! Hurrah!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Too tired to blog

It's been a busy couple of days. i started at the Weston office yesterday. There are officially three conveyancers based there, plus another part time one. They are supported by one legal sec, one trainee legal sec & one typist. That's got to be tough at the best of times! The legal sec is leaving today. I am expected to take her place, so i have had to try to learn absolutey everything about conveyancing, the conveyancers, the office procedures, the computer system, and the current clients in two days! All the while of course, I have to actually do the secretarial work as it comes in, as they are behind!

I've done my best - which is all I can do. and certainly all I intend to do! For £12k a year, they can hardly expect any more imho. I am sure we will be able to stumble through when I get back from my hols:-) The day's are long, and both menatlly & physically hard (there is an awful lot of running up and own stairs to other offices). It's a long time since I've had to put in a full days work every day. Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever have;-)

I still don't have a job to come back to though! No agreement has been reached yet, they haven't officially offered me the job, and I have no contract! Of course, I know they are pretty screwed if I don't accept now, but.......

Oh well, I'm going to forget about it all for a while, as I'm off now. Tomorrow we ae going off to a medieval market to look at pretty medieval things with CQ. She might get to buy some, but we don't actually have any money! Which is a shame, because there are a few things we need/want. Then on Saturday it's off to Cornwall for the crazie annual holiday. Hurrah!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

There's something wrong

I have nothing to say.

I thought of plenty of blogworthy things during the day, but none of them seem that interesting now.

I'm sure it will be a short term abberation.

I'm off to try & catch up on some sleep, & hopefully stop sneezing and STILL coughing instead.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why I am not wholly ashamed that I voted Tony & the labour government in

We sorted out our tax credits today. I finally told the DSS (or whatever it's called nowadays) that i had a job and therefore could not continue to claim carer's allowance for looking after Aggie. It seems a bit unfair really, since we got it on the basis that I help him with his topical traetmnts every night & morning - and I still do that despite the fact that I work now, but the rule is you can not be a carer if you work full time, so I wave goodbye to my£180 per month. I thought I'd have to pay them back this months money, which they've already paid, but apparently it wont stop until I actually get paid (rather than start working as I expected) so there may even be some extra on it's way!!

Yippee 1

Aggie spent some hours on the phone trying to sort out the child tax credit thing. You really need a degree in advanced mathmatics plus a full accountancy qualification to understand these, but basically they said that we're going to get TONS of our child care costs back again. Like, 75%!!! which means I can actually afford to take the job, whatever the negotiations end up at:-) Of course we do tick ALL the boxes: It's a full time job, for barely past minimum wage. I'm returning to work, and Aggie is disabled. We could only be better if we split up *grin* Unlike last time we claimed them, when we both worked full time, but I was just staying in the job & he as still "normal" - then we only got about 20% back!

Yippee 2

So nearly 10 years of Tony haven't all been bad. They did introduce the whole childcare tax credit system (although they took away married tax credit!). They did improve the education system - even if they are fucking it up again now. they did definitely improve the NHS - even if they are fucking it up again now. They did make the country safer - even thought they've now fucked it up way beyond how it was! They did streamline the legal system making my course much easier - even though they tend to legislate on stuff they have no business looking at!

Of course, I didn't vote for them last time, so I get to be totally unembarressed!

The problem is, how much more can they fuck up before they go - and who do we put in their place? No good candidates in either people or parties atm:-(

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why don't babies get sore thoats?

It's a three hour drive from my house in Weston to my sisters house near Brighton. At least! LMD screamed the WHOLE WAY HOME!!!

Not little whinging cries, or even desolate sobs, but real, "i'm in agony, help me now" screams!

Apart from that, and the atrocious weather, it was a good weekend. We arrived in good time on saturday morning, nosed around the new house a bit, then took the kids down to a local(ish) park where they played on the adventure playground for ages! Mstr A met a little girl who obviously went there a lot, and showed him the scariest things to do on everything - and he did them! It was a long walk there & back, plus the playing & climbing so the kids were pretty tired out so they watched a bit of TV then played nicely all together. They all ate the shepherds pie sister made for them without fuss or (much) mess, then the girls had a bath together and they all went off to bed with only minimal fuss. LMD wouldn't settle with the others & went down on Sister's bd, but she transfered over after 30 mins, and it was all peaceful & quiet by 8pm.

Which gave us plenty of time to drink wine, eat choccy biscuits & chat. I think it's probably to first proper chat I've had with sister for years! Lots of current stuff, but lots of childhood stuff cleared up too, which was nice.

Today wasn't so great. It absolutely threw it down all day. We went to Brighton aquarium / sea life centre - the oldest aquarium in the world you know! Which was great, but it was a bus ride & long walk so we got wet! Sister H took us out to lunch afterwards, and Mstr A demonstrated his "I can not sit at a table unless the food is actually in front of me (and not always then)" ability, which annoyed one of the waitresses, which caused me to have a go at her & the establishment! Only a little bit though, since I had been telling Mstr A to sit at the table! Which then annoyed me:-)

We headed back after that, but LMD had gone beyond tired & into stroppy little screaming thing by then, being on her third napless day! She didn't stop being that revolting screaming brat all afternoon - even though I did get her to sleep for an hour! During which time LMB dropped a glass full of milk all over the floor & sofa, braeking the glass & splashing milk pretty much everywhere! I decided to cut my losses (& save sisters new house from total annhilation) and took them all home:-)

Generally though, it was good - the kids all recognise sister again (not her partner though - he dissapppeared the moment we parked the car - he always does. It's good for the chatting & gossiping, but wierd!)

No I have to sort everything out & get ready for work tomorrow. Mstr A is at the sports centre for the next few days, which will be interesting to see. He has attended once before and enjoyed it, so hopefully it will go well. I can't get long enough hours to fit round work though, so i'm going in late & leaving early. I hope they don't mind too much - I haven't had a chance to tell them yet!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bored, bored, bored.....

Work is boring if you don't work there! I had very little to do taday. I finished up some stuff from yesterday (which was only outstanding because I spent half of yesterday gossiping), then tidied up a bit, then wandered around, checked my blog, tried to work out how to do various things on our iffy computer system, ambled around a bit more, took some phone calls, made some decisions i am not qualified or authorised to make, gossiped, drank coffee, shuffled papers, wandered around a gossiped a bit more!

This is mostly because solicitors are a bit thin on the ground, so no new work has been passed on to us since yesterday morning! It's not that there was nothing to do, but nothing i was able/authorised to do! i did try to get a bit more computer access, but it won't turn up till Monday! Office manager colleague is off this week, so couldn't show me how to do any of the general office procedures that always need doing, so i was bored, bored, bored.

time passes slowly when you've got nothing to do. I'd rather be busy!

Aggie had a pointless work medical today. Pointless because the Dr didn't actually bother to ask him anything or examine him in any way. I doubt she'll bother to get reports from Aggie's consultants. she just saw a 36 year old white man & decided he' s just fine! How can she possibly know how all his ickiness affects him at work if she doesn't ask? Or listen when he tries to tell her? What's the point of sending him to that type of medical? Grrrr!

Mstr A apparently wore his ghost costume for the whole party & had a great time. But he is a bit upset that he's so rubbish at physical activity. "I'm the slowest in the whole school" he wailed:-( I've tried to suggest he needs to practise to get better, but he is not keen to try, and certainly not to keep trying. Of course, were he allowe to cycle to school, that would give him a great boost! but as it is I think I'm going to have to start looking around for different sports activities for him to try. the problam is, at 6, he's too young for many things. Anyone got any good ideas? Nothing involving teamwork, or ball skills.

We're off to Brighton tomorrow morning at silly o'clock, to visit my sister for the weekend. Aggie is staying home to play bows and arrows with his little friends:-) It should be a quiet weekend hopefully:-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A breakthrough

Mstr A has a halloween party at after school club tomorrow. When the leader told us about it, she said they would have special food, play games and fancy dress. I quickly said "Mstr A won't dress up. he never does. Hwe might wear a hat perhaps". she nodded understandingly, this is not unusual in Asbie/ASD kids.

Mstr A piped up with;

"can I be a ghost* please mum?"

Shocked amazement quickly covered up by asking him if he understood he would be dressing up as a ghost, in a costume, all night?

Yep, he wants to dress up as a ghost**.

So tonight I've quickly run up a ghost costume out of the ubiquitous white sheet. My creativity is not particularly good, but I managed that much - i even made a seperate hood, so he can keep his costume on without having his head covered all night.

Now we just have to see how it goes.

*I blame the backyardigans - he loves the ghost episode:-)

**It could be because he can be a ghostly Mstr A. That's how he dresses up for re-enactment. he is still him, just a medieval him. I guess this is the same, he is still him, just a ghost him.


I finally got to have a meeting with the practise manager today. He came over this afternoon, and offered me a job as a legal secretary until Christmas, then a trainee legal executive from then on.

I said I knew that they were offering me that! And we moved on to the real issue - the pay.

They offered me 60% of what I'm on now as a "locum". I had already stated I wanted 80% of my current pay at the last interview.

He tried sweet talking me & saying how everyone had given me good reports, and that they really want me, and maybe they could edge it up to 65% from January.

I said that I had tons of transferable skills, was willing to take on additional duties, responsibilities and hours, and they would easily get their monies worth out of me, but needed an absolute minimum of 75% if I wanted to have any hope of covering childcare costs. i'm willing to work for no financial gain, but not for a financial loss!

He asked would I take another three weeks as a temp in the Somerset branch, then the 60% until Christmas if he could get permission to push it up to 70% from january.

i agreed to recheck the sums and let hi know. he went back to head office to negotiate with the partners.

So, we're not a lot further along than before. I have a job on Monday, but may be leaving at the end of the year! And i really do need to stay in the somerset branch for the next few weeks to push the money up - but there is the transport issue to work out!

on the plus side, all the people I've worked with and for have said very nice things about me. Apparently the partner who works with us two 1/2 days a week was really pushing for me to be taken on at decent pay - and I don't think I've eeven done that much work for her! of course, the solicitor I do most of my work for is dead keen to keep me, but he doesn't have much clout in the company:-( But it's nice to feel that I'm good at my job again:-)

I'm off to try and do the sums again and see if they come up any different this time round. We'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Aren't freecyclers wonderful? I've been offered a bike which I'm going to pick up tomorrow after work. It doesn't have a saddle, but it might have a child seat if we can find it, which will be an absolute God-send! LMD doesn't do well at walking at "mummy's got to get to work" pace all the way to nursery:-)

i've also been offered a trailer which is amazing because they are NOT cheap, and sell quite well on the second hand market. It's further away, so I'm hoping to pick it up on the way down to Cornwall on saturday week.

Anyone who has got stuff they don't really want anymore, get on to freecycle now & help your fellow man! i feel so good about humanity right now, despite the fact my stuff has just been nicked! It's such a relief knowing that (assuming I actually have a job next week) I'll be able to get from work to pick up Mstr A on time - it would've been positively impossible by foot.

I'm also feeling relieved about my course. i finally got around to actually looking up what the course entails, and exactly what the exams are on & about - and what I'm expected to know! it's not as bad as I was imagining:-) I don't have to do any of the theory of law paer this year - which is the one that requires all the statute & case memorising. i just have a couple of "practise" papers, which are basically, this is the case, what would you do, how & why? Out of the four subjects covered, one is conveyancing, which I should be pretty damn good at by then another is criminal which has ecome really quite simplified since i last did it, so I'm finding comparitively easy (so far). I have asked to spend some time in other depts at work, so hopefully that will help too.

However, no relief on the job front. i still don't know if I've got a job on Monday morning! It's no way to run a business! I'm reasonably sure it'll be OK - they must be getting more desperate by the day as the most experienced conveyancing legal sec has just handed in her notice - but equally, I've asked for more money than is normal for my qualifications (although I think my experience in outside industry easily covers that). I emailed the partner today. I'm going to have to phone him & pin him down if i don't get an answer by tomorrow.

I managed my first completion today. Hurrah - everything went OK, people moved in (and out), money went to the right places. Clever me. It's huffy clients completion tomorrow. eeek! An d another clients too. And colleague has take the week off now, as the secretary I was covering is back. However, she just audio-types. Nothing else. No form filling for her:-) so the completions are mine to sort out. It's kind of nice to have the responsibility, but pretty scary too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thieving Gits!

Some evil bastard nicked Aggies bike a few days ago. We're not sure exactly when as it was put away in the back garden, and he doesn't use it that often, but I definitely saw it there a few days ago.!

so yesterday morning he phoned the police & reported it stolen, ready to put in an insurancce claim. This morning the evil little buggers came back while he was out & nicked my bike & the trailer! He was only out for half an hour so they must've been watching & waiting! as I really need the bike to get Mstr A to school, and more imprtantly to out of school care next week (which is too far & too busy for him to do himself), we're a bit screwed!

When Aggie phoned the police back this morning they said "oh yes, it's quite common for them to come back up to six times". Well why not mention that the first time then, rather than waiting for more stuff to go missing! Or, even better, send a copper round to keep an eye on the area!

There was a bit of an argument with the insurance company cos we couldn't find the original reciept for my bike, but they have now agreed to cough up new bikes & a trailer (and helmets, and a lock etc) for us. But I've no idea how long it will take, and I'm a bit concerned about Monday. I think Aggie will be on very short days (if he's back at work!).

still, at least I get a new bike:-) The old one was pretty old! I've posted a wanted ad on freecycle to see me through the interim - hopefully someone should oblige.

In other news, I had my interview today. It was with the legal exec who has been asked to be my mentor, which is fair enough. except that a) she hasn't done any conveyancing, or even been a practising legal exec for over two years, since she went on maternity leave, then when she came back, she's been setting up the new computer system. b) she's part time and I'm full time. c)she wasn't authorised to actually make any decisions, so when I stated my minimum price, and wish to do some work outside of conveyancing, she couldn't give me an answer. So i still don't know if I've got a job on Monday!

although, solicitor at the office i'm at now did suggest that if I could persuade them to let me stay there, he would make a me a fee-earner within 6 months:-) (what he means is, can i stay and do all is work for him please, cos I'm happy to do so). I can't see them going for it though! Still, it was nice of him to say he appreciated the work i've been doing.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Maybe not

I did just write a long post about the fun and games we had with huffy client today, but then I re-read it and thought, maybe not a great idea. I doubt that anyone much reads this blog, but then again......

Suffice to say that it was a difficult day in some ways. Poor colleague bore the brunt of it - she's not a happy bunny at all atm.

still, it was a good day for me - i got caught up on nearly all my work from both solicitors and have a nice clear desk ready for tomorrow:-)

i'll be glad when tomorrow is done though and I (hopefully) know that I have a permenant job, how much it's paying and what I'll be doing. It's massively understaffed at head office, so I'm going to be working like a trooper, but I'm quite looking forward to it.

Aggie is off work again this week. remember that little lump he had removed a few weeks ago? the wound got massively infected (he's like that) and despite a course of antibiotics, he's now got a big hole jn his leg & a fever. I don't think he's too happy - it's a busy time for him at the moment, but what can you do?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Money, money, money

Have I mentioned that we are seriously skint? We are, to put it politely, well & truly up the proverbial creek without a paddle financially at the moment! Of course it doesn't help that I have to pay all the childcare up front, but get paid in arrears -at some point - I hope!

We have got a couple of plans in the pipeline that will hopefully solve the long term problem - but that's long term! And we have managed to save ourselves from complete bailiff/court action in the immediate term, but the short term or "right now", and medium term are still looking pretty iffy:-(

So it was with a little trepidation we went shopping today. Unfortunately, there were things that we really needed. You can put off certain stuff for so long, but eventually, you need to spend money, and freecycle hasn't come up with everything yet! It's the kids that are the real problem! Today, our shopping list included shoes for LMB, boots for Mstr A, a coat for Mstr A and some sheets for our bed.

i was a bit annoyed that LMB was already complaining that her shoes hurt as we'd only spent £100 on shoes a few weeks ago, but she was definitely complaining, so off we trotted to get her checked. Now, we always find the money to buy the kids clarks shoes because as they advertise, they have trained fitters, always measure length & width & never sell you shoes you don't need or are not good for your kids foot health. So when we sat LMB down & said we thought she'd grown out of her shoes, it was perfectly normal for the assistant to check them first. It wasn't perfectly normal for her to then start pulling them around, ask LMB to run, check again & ask us where we got them. "Clarks @ cribbs" I replied. She made a face, and did a few more checks before announcing that LMB was quite right, they definitely don't fit - they are too big! Her toes hurt because her feet are sliding around inside of them.

So we re-measure her, and find a lovely pair of boots that will do her beautifully through the winter. She is much more stable in them and happily puts them on. I am resigned to paying another £30, and writing a letter to Clarks head office in the hope that one day I'll get a voucher or two in recompsense, when low and behold, the assistant asks if we'd like her to deduct the cost of her old, ill-fitting shoes? Duh! would we? Apparently Clarks have a policy that refunds bad fitting. cool! LMB's boots only cost £2!!

sadly the other stuff wasn't as lucky. I found Mstr A a coat in the sale, but he refused to wear green wellies and they didn't have any others in his size. add in a couple of sheets, a belt & a new rucksack for Mstr A (he didn't see a problem taking his old Bob the Builder one to school, but I don't think it's the best idea at his age), and we're £50 down. Oh well.

student loans have been phoning me as well. Apparently they didreceiveieve my referrment papers. Again. This will be the third time they havereceivedeved defferment papers from me! i'm sure the post isn't really that bad. It's amazing how they never tell you until after they have charged you for being in arrears! I'm particularly pissed off this year as I don't think I'll be able to get another set of deferement papers, as they needed to be signed to by the DSS, which was hard enough to make them do when I was claiming carers allowance. Now I'm not any more, I can't imagine how I will get them to say I was! Grrrrr!

Of course, i am still seething on discovering that at this time in our lives Not only is Aggie paying to play Eve every month (which i have grudgingly accepted) , but that he went and spent real money to buy himself some game money a couple of weeks ago! Yes, you read that right. He plays a COMPUTER GAME, pretending to fly spaceships, and he spent three days real life food money buying himself some f***ing fantasy bombs!

Talk about priorities!

Still, on the plus side, now I'm working he has remembered how to help round the house again. And he has to cook as I get home too late most days:-) although I did make a nice roast dinner today: Chicken, roast new potatoes, veg, stuffing & gravy (no yorkshire's - we used up all the eggs at breakfast time - Sunday's are gooooood!), followed by a yummy apple pie. Not as good as my homemade ones, but I never have the time now:-( And, while down in town, I banked the payments from the last couple of courses so we'll have money to go on holiday with:-)

New blogfriends

I'm looking for some new blogfriends. I still visit all my blogroll regularly, but posts seem to be tailing off for a number of them & I'm finding myself with spare blog-hopping time (while Aggie plays eve) and no-one to hop to!

Unfortunately, I don't really have enough time any more to surf through the billions of random blogs out there finding ones hat I like & can comment on, so I'm looking for recommendations.

I'm quite picky though:-) I like blogs that cover more than one subject; mommyblogs are ok as long as they sometimes discuss more than what little babe has eaten today! I like blogs that allow reasoned debate, political/religious blogs are fine if they actually want to hear what I have to say & not launch into personal abuse or denial of my right to think that. Brits tend to get preference, cos I know where they are coming from - although foriegners make up most of my current blogroll! The ability to comment is essential - I am not interested in blogs that I can not put my personal opinion on - if I want to just yell at a computer screen I can do that at work, or on the mainsteam news pages! I also don't see the point of memelink blogs - the ones that only ever post meme-rings like Monday Memories, Wordless Wednesday, Thursday 13 ect. I don't have anything against meme's which are quite interesting as part of an overall picture, but the blogs that only do those with big blogrolls are dull & just there to linkwhore.

So, having said all that, if anyone knows of any great blogs that you think i should go check out, leave me a link & I'll come have a looksee. if I like it, I'll comment, If I find it interesting enough to want to come back, you'll get added to my blogroll (ooooh!).


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Teaching, trees & tantrums

Ah, I love the weekend. No lie-in today unfortunately as I and LMD were still up at 7am (and Mstr A & LMB only seconds behind us), although in a way it was a lie-in as usually Aggie gets up at 6am and wakes me up, so at least I actually got to sleep through till 7:-)

However, it was still a lazy morning as I didn't have to rush around getting the kids ready for school. they were all fed, washed & breakfasted by the time I left for work at 8.30, but it is so much less stressful just taking myself out, rather than the three of them!

The course went well. Slow, because they were nearly all new to first aid, but not to their sport, so had many questions. there were also a few different sports & professions represented, so i needed to cover a wider syllabus, but that was OK - it's fun to do some different stuff occasionally. I only found out that one of the candidates day job was as neo-natal nurse at the big maternity unit in bristol halfway through. it's always a bit scary when I have medical professionals on my courses, although they have always been very complimentary. I know in my mind that first aid is a different thing to "medicine", and my knowledge of my subject is very good, but it still feels that Dr's, nurses & paramedics know more. even when they obviously don't:-) anyway, they all passed, wrote nice evaluation sheets & paid me:-)

I got home just as the kids finished their lunch and we went almost straight off to Goblin Coombe, as we'd promised Mstr A he could go back, and LMB wanted to see the "helicopter trees" (sycmores). we had a lovely couple of hours strolling through the woods. i got to pick & eat blackberries & a not very nice apple - the kids wouldn't try them tho! What's that all about? I used to love stuffing my face on wild berries as a child! Mstr a remembered a fair few of the trees and plnts from last time we went (back in the spring), and was reminded of a few more. LMB started learning some too. We also taught them how to find creepy crawleys under rocks and branches, and to always put them back where they came from (& not pick plants etc). Mstr a learned how to do leaf rubbings, LMB brought a conker or three home, LMD ate some mud - a good time was had all round:-)

By the time we made it home, it was getting late, so Aggie kindly offered to go out & pick up some chinese for supper. mmmmmmm. Mstr A even tried a rib for the first time! LMB sulked and didn't eat anything. I have no idea why she was sulking. It's her new thing. She will suddenly make a stroppy face, say "egh!" to every question we ask & refuse to do anything! It's very, very annoying! I'm treating them like tantrums & ignoring them (or sending to her room till she can behave, depending on situation). i know she's not starving, and missing a meal really won't do her any harm at all, but i find it really, really difficult to stick to my guns when it means she misses a meal. i guess it's my roots showing. If I missed a meal as a child I went hungry until the next day's main meal. Whereas I don't give LMB an alternative meal if she doesn't eat the one I put in front of her, she has three meals and two snacks a day, and also has fruit, yoghurts etc available at any time. But i still feel terrible.

Oh well, she's fast asleep in bed now, so i guess it wasn't that bad;-)

Tomorrow is a real day off. hopefully we can get lots of house things done, sort out half term and start teaching Mstr A his new volume control techniques!

Friday, October 13, 2006

A long day

It's been a long day. Actually it's been a long week. The work is definitely getting harder - which is not a problem because i would go outta my mind audio typing letters non-stop, but because no-one really knows how to do things, everything takes tons of research, loads of times & a lot of concentration. All packed into very tight deadlines. It doesn't help that our computer systems have been put together ad-hoc and aren't really compatible with each other, the programs or the network, which kinda slows down some of the ways of working.

Fortunately there were no completions today - it wasn't until I woke up this morning and turned the radio on that I realised why. Today is Friday the 13th! However, it does mean there are double completions to have ready for next week (including huffy client!), and the other legal sec is off - leaving me on my own!

However, the lack of completons has meant that all the solicitors have been catching up on the more complicated cases, and I had tapes coming in from three seperate solicitors all with long complicated requests on them!

Of course the day is made longer by the kids! I still have to do all the morning routine - get them up, fed, dressed, ready for school, check homework, pack bags & get all three of them out of the house by 8.15am. LMD still screams when I leave her at school:-( Even though I know she's fine when I leave, it's hard to do. Mstr A has really been missing taking himself to school, so now i let him scoot there while I drive alongside until he's over all the roads. But it does add a little bit more stress, and a little less time! I hardly ever make it to work on time, and as I am naturally a very punctual person, I then feel guilty & try to catch up the 15 mins by working through my lunch break. then when I finally do finish, it's straight back to school to collect Mstr a from after-school club. i make it home about 5.45pm and immediately start cooking supper, talking to the kids about their daya and catching up on the housework & laundry. Tonight I get the added bonus of sorting out all my paperwork for tomorrow's course.

Oh yes, I'm still tutoring courses most weekends. They were already booked, and I really, really need the money. I haven't been paid yet, and I have spent an awful lot on childcare & stuff! This is the last one this year, and I'm not booking any more in now - athough i will still do updates when requested - it pays for my trips to london to see my family:-)

I'm looking forward to having a day off on Sunday. Except that really I ought to do a whole load of stuff!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday 13 - What I've seen

Thirteen Things I saw on the way to work
It was a beautiful bright crisp morning on the Somerset Levels today as I wended my way to work, so i thought I'd share with you some of the things I saw on the way...
(apologies if the formatting is mucked up - I cant et it to work! There is one picture per number, so follow it through!)

1. Plenty of these:

Somerset is motly below sea level, so each road & field is lined by a drainage ditch. Today they were reflecting a beautiful blue sky & sparkling in the winter sun, just showing a few ripples to prove they were running fast and clear. Some of our ground is so often flooded tht the roads float & rise & fall as required.

2. And standing in the sun, on a stump of wood, watching the fast flowing water I was stunned to see one of these:

Grey heron's are pretty rare, and this one was standing in the most perfect light - I wish I'd stopped & taken a photo, except I didn't have a camera & the car would've frightened it away.

3. Just the one of these:

Windmills are not that common - espcially these old fashioned ones. Britain, and certainly Somerset is more suited to waterwheels:-) But the levels ARE flat, so there is plenty of wind! This one sits right beside the road on my way to work, and makes me smile each day.>

4. Hundreds of these:

Most of the land I pass through is used for diary farming. Back when I first came here, you could buy fresh milk from each farm, but now it's illegal to sell unpasturised milk, it all comes from the supermarket - often from 100's miles away. The taste of fresh milk is NOTHING like the cold stuff you get from the shops. i think it's a great loss:-(

5. And a fair few of these:

A good few years ago the farmers discovered that it was both easier and more profitable to flog their land to rich idiots from the city than to farm it. Most of the houses in Somerset are second homes:-( However, rich idiots from the city often discovered that the patch of land they'd paid £millions for in the hope of building their dream house was actually a patch of peat bog, in the green belt, with no utilities or even access! Most of them went back to work in the city so they could afford to buy their daughter a pony, which is gleefully & expensively looked after by the wily farmers.

6. I also knocked a whole bunch of these off a tree:

Conker season is pretty much over now, but when a big 8 seat Delica tries to squeeze past a tractor on a little country lane, enough drop off the tree at the side of the road to make a loud noise on the roof:-)

7. I always like the fact that I see these on my travels:

All of the non-main roads in Somerset have kept their old road signs. They had to apply for special permission. OK, they're not as easy to see as the big green things, but they are so much prettier, and less intrusive. And tbh, if you don't know where you're going and you see these, you're on the wrong road. get back onto the main road and stop pissing me off by driving at 20mph in a 60 limit!

8. Plus of course, a never ending supply of these:

Autumn is well and truely here now, with the leaves truning on all the trees as i drive along, showing every hue & shade. There was a particularly stunning plant in a number of gardens that had turned a stunning crimson. beautiful!

9. Of course, Somerset wouldn't be Somerset without these dotted all over the place:

One of the great things about the UK is the fact that you can tell where you are within just a few miles by the type of stone the building use. These grey brick built farmhouses are typically Somerset

10. A sign nailed up outside a farm, offering "100% natural Meat, eggs, Veg"

I'm terribly confused as to what an "unnatural" egg would be:


11. a very fat one of these:

Standing right next to another sign offering ducks eggs for sale.

12. I may have mentioned this already but the one of these i saw certanly made me wake up and take notice:

13. Finally, one of these:

Just as I was almost at work, i saw a kestrel hovering above me, then watched as it swooped down for the hapless rodent. Fantastic!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Moving forward

Life certainly seems to be moving forward apace here.

Despite buggering off early yesterday and therefore missing the phonecall from the practise manager I was invited to a formal interview with the partner next tuesday. except it won't be with the partner apparently, but with his wife, who is a Legal exec. But close enough:-) The partner did agree that, assuming I actually do get the job, he would pay my membership fees to ILEX, and according to the practise manager both my solicitor & colleague have said I'm OK. I'd kind of forgotten they'd be giving reports on my work - I should have been trying harder to woo them I suppose, but perhaps just getting on with the work & being me is the best bet - I'm not much good at pretending to be someone else:-)

Of course, i buggered off early today too, because the latest Dr's app't I could get for LMD was 3.20pm (well, the latest one with my Dr, and I don't see why I should even bother seeing any others after their track record). She was absolutely fine over night & this morning - showing a good few spots, but no pox's at all. But the nursery wouldn't accept my word for it that it wasn't chicken pox, so I needed to see the Dr to be told she had a "bit of a rash, nothing to worry about". Still, at least she'll be able to go back on friday no problems.

Works getting a bit manic now, as the cover solicitor works in a very different way to previous partner. The partner used to deal with the whole case from start to finish, just getting the secretaries to type up & send out the letters. Cover solicitor just personally deals with the main legal conveyancing, expecting the secreties to do all the leg work, form filling & registrations (as well as type letters etc). I don't actually see a problem with that except I'm a bit slow cos I have to learn how to do each thing, and other seceratary a) misses the old partner & the way things were, and b) hasn't done the "Top & Tailing" for so long she's mostly forgotton too, so it's a bit like the blind leading the blind there. With three completions early next week, we're working flat out to get everything done, while still not falling behind on the up & coming files! Still, I'm getting more & more certain that they are going to expect me to tale on my own caseload fairly soon after I start at weston office, so the learning curve is good for me.

I'm certainly feeling much happier now I'm back at work. I am just not cut out to be a SAHM.

college is getting more complicated now too. tonight we moved onto criminal law. i do have to take an exam in this, so there's more pressure straight away. I'd forgotton how many cases we are expected to learn - about 100, with name, date, brief facts, outcome, reasons, & court and presiding judge. I've gone off the idea a bit now;-) Criminal Law has changed SO much in the last 15 years too! i knew that the labour gov't had been consolidating all of our criminal law in theory, but seeing the changes on paper was a bit of a shock:-) it is simpler no - but still complicated enough:-)

Apparently my sister has dropped me in the proverbial by mentioning to my mum that i have a blog. I don't think I've said anything toooooo incriminating have I? Not recently anyway!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

bad timing

I got a call at work today, just as I was starting to make my lunch. It was the nursery asking that I come and collect LMD as they think she has chicken pox.

I know that it's best she gets this out of the way nice and early in her childhood, but this week isn't the best timing in the world! My solicitor had only made it into the office half an hour earlier, and I hadn't even started his work (still being half-way through another solicitors - it gets boring when there's nothing to do), and I was hoping to hear from the partner today to arrange to meet him & hopefully actually get offered the job officially. I could be out of work again in another 10 days as it is!

They won't let her in the nursery from the moment the first spot appears till the last one is completely scabbed over - usually about two weeks. Aggie is dead busy at work as it's auditing season, and he's pretty swamped - especially as his arthritus is playing up atm & making it difficult to type:-( Nanny A is already doing tons of childcare for me!

So I packed up & came back & picked her up. There was one spot on her cheek - and I'm not at all sure that it's a pox at all. Oh well, we'll see in the morning. She's not in nursery for the next two days anyway, so I'll go back to work tomorrow & try to catch up & hope it doesn't affect my prospects too much. They did know I had kids, but I would have preferred to have been in post more than a week before I had to rub it in their faces!

Monday, October 09, 2006

"I disagree"

It was Mstr A's open evening tonight. The school is trying a new format, and instead of having 30 x 10 min meetings with individual parents, where the teachers say the same things 30 times, and answer the same questions 30 times, The teacher gave a 30 min presentation, invited general questions, and offered us the chance to briefly discuss individual concerns at the end.

It worked quite well, and I'm sure it was a better use of the teachers time. I've certainly got a better idea of how the day works than I get from asking Mstr A at the end of each day:-) They are definitely a lot more pro-active in trying different ways of learning than the old school, and I'm confident that Mstr A is learning more, and behaving better. Phew!

I did nab the headmaster at the end of the session and discuss the "send you kids to school in a taxi" letter. I explained why I thought it was wrong to send children to school in a taxi. he "disagreed".

he disagreed that taxi drivers were not "all very good at taking care" of children. He disagreed that Taxi's were not the safest vehicles to travel in. He disagreed that Child Protection procedures do not advise putting single children in cars alone with single adults. He disagreed that parents would see the newsletter as a reason to stop taking their kids to school themselves and start sending them in taxi's. he disagreed that it was encouraging children & parents to drive to school rather than walk/cycle. he disagreed that it would encourage more cars in and around the school.

He did agree to pass my details on to other parents living locally to see if we can work together to sort out a walking bus/share the travelling etc.

It's a start.

I disagree that there is any reason for Mstr A not to cycle himself to school each day. But obviously i am wrong! Despite national radio congratulating a 7 year old boy for cycling himself to and from school today!

I also briefly chatted to Mstr A's class teacher. I've got some new research & techniques for tackling Mstr A's volume control (from my Ed Psych sister), which he agreed to help me implement. Mstr A is (mostly) doing his work now, which is fantastic, but he still often decides not to, which is problematic - especially as Year 2 is a SATS year. He has not made any particular friends:-( But the school are still pushing the Ed Psych service to keep the case open, which is good.

A bit of a mixed bag really. At least he & I both agreed that regular meetings will be beneficial, and I said we'd organise oe for soon after the 1/2 term hols.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I signed my contract today. Yippee, I'm actually going to be paid for all this running around I'm doing:-) And sadly I can no longer sell all the client files off to the highest bidder:-)

I only had it because I asked though. I think the firm would have happily ignored the whole concept of a contract if I hadn't insisted. I mean, just because they are solicitors, and even have an employment law specialty partner, obviously doesn't mean they have to apply the law to their own employees!

I haven't had an induction. I haven't had a health & safety briefing. I haven't had a tour. I haven't had a risk assessment on myself, my workstation, or my job. I haven't had an employees handbook. I haven't had any emergency action plan training. I haven't been taught to use the chemicals & PPE available. I haven't had a job description. I haven't been told the 1st aid procedures. I have not been asked for any references:-) that's just off the top of my head, I' sure there are some more.

I have advised a colleague on their rights regarding flexible working patterns due to childcare commitments. I have advised a colleague on health & safety issues regarding broken chairs left under her desk. I have informed them that I am a carer - they didn't request any further information, nor did they offer any information to me (not that I need it). I have mentioned that I have previously taken employers to tribunal for not complying with the law. I have been trying very very hard to be good, & quiet & meek & the bottom of the pile. In another two weeks when I get my proper job and my proper contract I will no longer bother trying:-)

Do you think they know what they have let themselves in for?

Me neither:-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I finally made it to college tonight - the term started three weeks ago, and I was starting to get a bit panicy about catching up on all the work!

I arrived bit early & went to see my tutor, to say hi, I'm joining in tonight & can I have any notes and stuff. Despite the fact that I had phoned the college twice and emailed once, he hadn't recieved any messages about why I hadn't turned up & had removed me from the register! But fortunately he was happy enough to put me back on:-) Although it means there was no ILEX membership form for me (I MUST be a member by the end of Oct apparently to enrol on this years exam's), or a manual, or anything like that!

then he pointed out that all the stuff I had missed was on the process of law, which a) I had covered last year (and 15 years ago), and b) because I got three distinctions on my course last year, I am exempt from doing this whole module. I actually don't need to turn up until after Xmas:-)


Although since we're starting criminl law next week, which I didn't do last year, I don't get how come I'm exempt from that one, but who am I to argue?

I will keep going this term - it will be good revision, get me into the swing of things, and let me meet some of the other students, but I'm relieved to know that three weeks off won't effect my exams in any way whatsoever!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Mstr A brought home a school newsletter last night. These are sent out periodically to all parents/carers with children at the school, and contain information of forthcoming events, dates, and issues at the school. The second paragraph of this newsletter reads:

"If ever you are unable to get your child to/from school due to family illness....please consider using a local taxi firm to transport your child........all the drivers are very good with unaccompanied children"

I was absolutely appalled, horrified and disgusted to read that. The headteacher of a primary school (aged up to 11 years old), is basically stating that ALL children should be accompanied at all times, and that he would be delighted for 600 taxi's to arrive at the school gates every morning and afternoon!

So I wrote a letter:-)

You can read the whole text here, but it basically outlines all the reasons why taking taxi's to school is wrong:
  • Children are constantly being told to be more active
  • Government & local authorities & schools all run active campaigns to get parents to stop driving their kids to school & start walking.
  • Cars cause pollution, especially cold & idling cars
  • Pollution is bad for the environment - and schools teach ecological living!
  • pollution causes asthma - a massive problem in today's kids
  • The police did a spot check on local taxi's last week & 1/3 were defective or unroadworthy
  • Children do not have to use child seats in taxi's
  • An enormous % of child road deaths happen outside of schools, usually school run cars killing pedestrians
  • Taxi drivers are not CRB checked, and ther are a large number of bogus firm operating. 10 women are raped in "taxi's" each week. Yet the school is happy to assure us ALL the drivers are very good with unaccompanied children!
  • Taxi's cost money - discriminating against the poorer families, and leading to bullying
  • The DfES & HSE state that children need to be taught to be "risk aware" not "risk adverse" and they only do that by experiencing risk!
  • Repeat my immoral, unethical, unsafe, unprofessional & expesive argument from the post below about parental choice

But I haven't sent it yet. I think I should. Aggie thinks I shouldn't rock the boat.

I was intending to CC it to the "old" school, and some local media.

What do you think. Should I send it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Working 9-5

It's My First day! I wailed as stroppy client flounced off 10 seconds after I inform her that her package isn't ready for her, and perhaps she could collect it tomorrow.

Well, actually, I didn't. But I did think it;-) Stroppy client apparently needed said package by the end of the day, so I'm not sure where flouncing out in a huff got her. I did offer that if she took a seat for 5 minutes I would immediately get it sorted, but that was just not good enough. Like I care. It's my first day of a three week job. Up yours missus!

Mostly the day was incredibly boring really. At least stroppy client livened the day up a bit:-) I spent most of the day audio-typing. something I've never done before, but once I discovered the foot pedal (rather than reaching across the desk to the machine 10 times a minute) I got on fine with it. My two-finger typing speed is 50wpm, so it's not bad, even if it looks rubbish! When i did a lot of typing it went up to nearly 60wpm, which is why I never learned to touch type - even Pitmans agreed it was a waste of time for me.

the problem with audio typing is that you can't talk while doing it. typing is pretty boring - we need to gossip to make it interesting:-) Still, there was only one other person in the office most of the day (the solicitor turned up half way through the day & secreted himself in his office, so doesn't count anyay).

Then, at about 4pm, I finished all the backlog (117 case notes) of audio typing from the previous solicitor (who retired on Friday), and was given a tape from cover solicitor. OH MY GOD! was it a different kettle of fish or what? Old solicitor (joined straight from qualifying & stayed in same compny & same office for th next 45 years!) prefaced each speech with th name of the case, dictated slowly and carefully, and said whn he was at the end of a segment. new solicitor mumbled, shuffled papers at the same time as talking, didn't name the case (I'm psychic, didn't you know!), and din't dictate, just said things like "letter for cheque for £56.oo", which meant I spent the final hour finding the case file, reading through it, working out where the case was, why the money was requested, and working out how to word the letter. It wasn't written by the time I finished!

I think secretarial work i not really for me:-) But it will be dead useful for the three weeks. It's a quiet office (the other secretary moaned about the workload, but I didn't see it!), and I'll have a chance to get to grips with the procedures and company ethos before being thrown into the very busy Weston office doing real law!

Oh, and I would just like to say - I haven't worked 9-5 for 10 years, and I haven't worked on Friday for 91/2! How am I going to get everything done? *gulp* still, I did manage to stop off on the way home & sort out Mstr A's after school club, so that's one less thing to worry about.

And finally, I have to say thanks and well done to Nanny A, who turned up at 8am this morning, traipsed around with all the kids, sorting out all the various school runs, feeding them all day, and keeping them occupied until i made it home at nearly 6pm. She get half the day off tomorrow as the girls try out all day-care and Mstr A starts after-school club:-)