Tuesday, 26 August 2008

summer fun....

Well, I have been very busy of late. Too busy to blog, but not too busy to have a good old nosey around the 'blogosphere' or whatever 18 year old spotty googly tycoon calls it...lots of fab stuff out there, really inspirational..!

Anyhoo, apart from trench foot and the remnants of a fake tan, I have very little to show for this summer...I didn't go away or take any time off. I am bloody knackered. I spent the summer working on the estate delivering 'summer activities' to a largely disinterested group of people. Apart from 2 notable exceptions (worthy of a posting all to themselves) the families just didn't engage..I've come to the conclusion that there was just too much on offer and this meant that decisions had to be made and these families cannot cope with this - they are used to someone else making the decision for them, so remain passive and inactive....plus the weather didn't help.

One particular day is worth reporting. We took a group of 12 kids to a local prison as part of a crime diversion programme. Facinating. They had broken a seatbelt before we had even left the estate. One (almost tootless) 15 yearold spent the entire journey chomping through tube after tube of chewits. The noise level in the bus was almost unbearable and broke several EU directives on decibel limits I'm sure. Their behaviour was atrocious. Once inside the prison, they became even more excitable. All saw the trip an opportunity to show how tough and unafraid they were...until we met the prisioners who were our 'hosts' for the day.

All were male, middle aged and very sad. Two were lifers, one was just 25 and all had kids on the outside. The were nice blokes, literate, articulate, someone you would not think was involved in criminality in any way if you met them in the street. They went to great lengths to tell their stories to these kids. They explained that there was no such thing as petty crime - crime was crime. They told of their daily feeling of loss and loneliness and how prison had affected their families. They were ashamed and were remourseful. They were inspirational and I wish I could take every youngster who carries a knife or runs drugs or commits criminal damage to see just what happens to kids who get caught up in crime.

Did the visit have an impact on the kids from the estate? Three older boys were very affected and visibly moved. You could see the penny dropping right there in that room. The rest of the kids? I couldn't really say - except that we had to stop the mini bus three times on the way back to deal with their behaviour including throwing out the broken seatbelt thorough the window at 50 miles and hour. Some kids just don't get it.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Strange day. Drinking wine and eating crisps as I write this and consider my day. Radio 4 on, Bob Crow burbling on about oli company profits...

So, my day. Started off well with lovely boyfriend, buttery toast and lots of TLC...decided to work from home as I'd left the bike at his. Drank lots of vino last night so was feeling a bit fragile. Not having the kids with me leaves me slightly adrift and a bit of a social gadfly hence the increased booze intake. Spent the morning sorting out a referral to the local anti social behaviour group for a young boy who is terrorising the estate I'm working on. He is 12. I've know him 2 years and he just gets angrier and angrier. He is a big lad. He smokes. He rides a pimped up BMX. He walks as if he has a sawn off shotgun down the leg of his trousers. He is a charmer and at primary school, loved to dance and play rugby. He managed 4 months in secondary school before he was permenantly excluded. He has been arrested for criminal danage and GBH in the last 2 weeks alone. I decided last week that enough was enough. Zero tolerance time. This boy is out of control. His parents are not doing their job. He is almost as big as me and definitely stronger. He is potential nightmare, hence the referral...ASBO on the horizion I think....

Had a hillarious conversation with the arresting officer, a 50 something female PC with wry sense of humour. She is due to police the Notting Hill carnival on Monday and being a lady of a certain age (her words) would wear a Tena pad, to allow for lack of toilet facilities...too much information, but nice to think a small part of my council tax goes on incontinence pads for coppers...

The evening was spent with ex-hub and kids in a noodle bar. Very strange. Ex hub suggested I join them and even paid the bill. He was charming. The kids loved it. My 15 year old has accepted the divorce, but self harmed for a period and had counselling...my 9 year old has never accepted the divorce and simply refuses to accept the we are no longer man and wife despite the fact that we've both moved on and have new partners. What do we do? I'm all for letting sleeping dogs lie - neither me or his father will be scooting up the aisle any time soon unless those pigs finally sprout wings....or Ireland wins gold at the Olympics.

Enough of my ramblings. Another glass of vino and Police, Camera, Action on freeview.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

As you know, I go to the pub with my lovely boyfriend every Wednesday night for a late drink...we usually rendezvous around half tenish and have time of a couple of beers, talk rubbish ...and we observe our fellow drinkers...

We are what I suppose you could call 'regulars' ...having spent most Wednesday nights there for the last 4 years. There are several other regulars too. John, 84, gay, but in denial. Drinks 5 pints of directors in about 90 minutes and staggers out to get the last bus home. Is almost blind, a bit deaf and quite barmy. He hails from Cork, but has lived in the UK for nearly 60 years. Ex merchant navy and was a psychiatric nurse till he retired. He believes in a wizard conspiracy and is convinced that the masons are everywhere. Not a man to get into a conversation with if you are in any way stressed, tired or prone to funny handshakes. He follows the Simon Cowell school of trouser wearing.

Paul in another gay irish man, a generation younger and very different. He had his teeth veneered so that his partners could appreciate it a bit more as he gave them head - a comment he made to my very hetero boyfriend almost resulting in him loosing said veneers...too much information. Paul is a poperty developer with an entire workforce of young east european men. All very heterosexual, but all looking like the guys from The Village People. Shaven heads, masses of facial hair, chest wigs, checked shirts. Strange how the different cultures display their masculinity. Paul comes in at 10.48, orders, I kid you not, 4 double vodkas and redbull, once large bottle of Polish beer and a pint of lager. He drinks the lot and is out the door for another pub by 11.30. How he is not dead I really don't know.

A recent blow-in is a middle aged bloke we call the rhodesian ridgeback for some unfathomable reason. He spends the eveing talking to himself, very discreetly mind, at the bar. Nobody interferes or says a thing. He is allowed to be himself without condemnation or scorn. We are deadly curious about him, but avoid eye contact in case he engages us in conversation. We fear being trapped in a situation we would be too polite to get out of - remember we only have 30 minutes... We let him get on with it.

However, and this is where the pub get interesting...there are a vast number of people who drink there just once and never come back. Odd bods, mad builders, tinker types, very pissed middle aged women and welsh rugby supporters. I long to ask them what their story is and why here, why now, where next?

I love going to this pub. A pub like this is a great leveller. As long as you don't get too pissed or too loud and treat the staff, fellow drinkers and the bar with respect, anything goes. And for £4.09 for a pint and a glass of vino and 30minutes people watching, good value all round.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

I've cheered up somewhat following my rather gloomy posting below....amazing what a bath, clearing a pile of ironing and some icecream and tinned peaches does for the psyche! Am off to the pub soon so will feel even more cheered up by 11pm...although the pub has no late licence we go there as it is the cheapest boozer in town...god bless you Mr Wetherspoon...£4.09 for a glass of merlot and a pint of abbots...bliss! Thank you Scrappy Sue and Emerging Writer....good advice...

It has made me think though, about the best way to deal with bouts of gloominess...being active seems to work, particulary doing something pretty mindless, but tricky if you know what I mean, like ironing. Plus, hearing about the plance crash in Madrid has very neatly put my low mood into sharp perspective....hmmm.
Have not been blogging of late as I've been feeling quite depressed. 'Down in the dumps' my mother would call it. She'd tell me to buck up, count my blessings and have another cup of tea. Pretty good advice generally, but this bout of the dumps has been a bit more of a challenge to get through. Not sure what triggered it off really, possibly something to do with overworking, trying to juggle (non-existant) childcare and having no money. Actually having minus money as I'm overdrawn and morgaged up to my middle aged neck.
How did I get here? When I started this blog I thought having to report on my quest for fun would make me seek out that fun. Well, that hasn't happened. My children are a joy, my ex hub managable and I'm in a relationship. So what's there to feel down about? I suppose that getting to 43 without any major trauma, apart from a divoce, is something to celebrate. Is it about feeling that my best years are behind me? Or that I'll be a morgage slave till I'm knocking 70? Or that I have finally realised that the life my mother lived - didn't work, stayed at home, looked after her family, wasn't such a bad life after all? I earn a reasonable 40k per annum, doing a job I like, with people I like. I think I'm just a bit lonely - all of my current friends are work friends and I've lost touch with lots of my old friends.
I have come to the conclusion that I've been very careless with my friendships. Mostly to do with self confidence and the belief that I'm not a particulary interesting person so why bother keeping in touch with anyone...bonkers, but true. I look at my daughter as she forms her important, life long friendships and I envy her - why didn't I recognise the value of friendship so long ago? Why did I allow my lack of confidence and low self esteem sabotage these friendships? I have always put the men in my life before my friends and this has not served me well. Not surprised they got fed up with me and moved on to other more reciprocal friendships.
Every day I tell my children how beautiful they are and how much they are loved so they will never fell that lack of value or importance that I felt as a young kid. My mother would be horrified if she read this - as far as she, and many from her generation who lived through the war, as long as your children were fed, clean and obedient all was well within the family. No room or need for any fancy stuff like telling your kids they are wonderful..
The impact we as parents have on our children has such a huge impact on the adults they might become - hence the need to tell these future adults how valued they are.

A gloomy post I know, but one that I feel I have to write...however having re-read it, I know that my mother did her best and anyway, we all need to take responsbility for our actions - so I'm telling myself to get a grip, grow up and after that cup of tea, get back on track for my quest - MORE FUN PLEASE!