Friday, 31 March 2006

third cheerful post in a row

Another cheerful thing!

We've bought a range cooker on eBay.

VERY cheerful.

Our very small, very basic gas cooker has finally given up the ghost and seems to lack any settings between Impulse Power and Warp 9.9. So we've bought the magnificent and slightly frightening thing in the photo for a very reasonable price; probably due to it's quirky appearance (not our ideal choice, but IMHO there is more to function than form) and the fact that it's got both gas and electric hobs on the top. This was, in fact, one of our criteria for a range, to allow more flexibility in our cooking - and also in view of the recent gas-price hikes.

The only, slightly less cheerful, thing, is that it's in Stevenage, which is roughly a million miles away from Merseyside.

We thought we'd arranged a carrier to collect it today and deliver it tomorrow; however, due to some complex communication error between them and a sub-contractor, that now can't happen. The best they can do is next Thursday and Friday. I am hoping that this isn't going to tick the vendor off too much.

We were going to go to London for the weekend to see an installation B wanted to have a look at and generally have a couple of days off; but we've called it off due to our guilt index rising about our poverty index. Thanks to Kitchen Witch though, I am now chanting "We are not poor! We just have no money!" at regular intervals to make myself feel better.

Semi Invisible Lodger has buggered off on holiday until the tenth of April and will owe us three hundred quid by the time he gets back. I have stooped so low as to have a look in his drawers to see if he's actually done a runner. But unless he's planning on leaving behind a very large amount of stuff, including a collection of extremely dodgy DVDs (Troy and Meet the Fockers are the most discerning) I think he'll be back. I will be having a serious talk with him when he appears and if he doesn't start coughing up on a regular basis we'll give him his two weeks notice. He's not maliciously trying to do us over, he's just a bit shambolic; which we could do without at the moment, particularly on the cash-flow front.

Maybe later, some stuff about things I've been watching and reading. Or maybe not. It depends on how my accounts reconciliation fits in with my pub visiting timetable.


Thursday, 30 March 2006

cheerful apricot wine!

apricot wineAnother cheerful thing!

A recipe for Apricot Wine.
(Makes one gallon. Measurements in UK lbs. From 'Winemaking with Canned and Dried Fruit' by C J J Berry.)

1lb dried apricots
2.25lb sugar (I used Billingtons golden granulated)
2 teaspoons citric acid (or juice of two lemons)
1tblspn depectiniser
1 nutriet tablet (or quarter teaspoon of marmite)
Water to one gallon

  1. Soak the fruit in about five pints of water for about 12 hours and then bring to the boil and simmer for five to six minutes.
  2. Then strain off liquid and stir in sugar.
  3. Wait until cool and add depectiniser. You can put in demijohn at this stage but DON'T fit airlock.
  4. Wait 24 hours, add nutrient, citric acid, yeast.
  5. Top up to just under one gallon .
  6. A week or so later top up to top with cold water and add airlock.
  7. Ferment out and when wine clears, rack.
  8. Repeat racking two months later.
It does taste lovely - kind of rich and heavy. A 'dessert wine' I suppose. We made two gallons about eighteen months ago and I am drinking my way through one gallon from my 'refillable one gallon wine bag/box' now. Will probably leave the other gallon until the winter and see how it's changed.

My five gallon container will shortly be empty - I have cheated and made up a kit of five gallons of 'merlot'. So I am going to have a crack at either Sage (which comes out like a light Chardonnay) or Nettle, which I've never done before.

That is all.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

cheerful things!

Here are some cheerful things!

Because of the Cat Issue with Teresa Next Door (not, in itself a Cheerful Thing), we need to sort out fairly quickly the boundary fence between the two yards (Yards? Sounds depressingly terraced and unpleasantly stereotypically Bleak And Northern. Gardens? Would be deliberate misrepresentation. How about 'courtyards'?).

We have two-and-three-quarter cats. The three-quarters is important, because it means that she doesn't jump out of our courtyard. So, in effect, as far as Teresa is concerned, we only have two feline member of the family. But, lets be honest here; however many we had, Teresa, our neighbour, would be upset about them using her plant pots as a toilet.

I think she has a fair point.

The wall between our two courtyards is only three feet high, so of course the cats go over in to her space - particularly since she doesn't possess either a cat or dog of her own. And in addition, all the neighbourhood cats seem to use her toilet facilities as well.

I have contemplated pointing out to her that it might be like head lice, in that cats only like to go in a clean garden; but I'm not sure that that would go down too well, as she has got in quite a state about it.

So, as good neighbours, we need to do something about increasing the height of the boundary wall and cat-proofing it from our side for her. Because of moral responsibilities; general friendliness; and last but not least, about not having her rather large and (potentially) deceptively cheery milkman son come round and have a word.


(Wait for it, this is the cheerful bit!)

We are going to have to put a fence/trellis up!

And at the same time, it makes sense to put the decking in as well!

The decking is going to cover the two foot deep, one foot wide trench the builders had to dig when we moved in, as part of the retention conditions on the mortgage; this was in order to create a functional damp course and prevent the water draining off the patio in to the laundry. However, that's a story for another time.

And the really cheery bit is that, once we've done those two things, all we need to do to create a garden is get some topsoil and a few bricks to complete the raised beds that we can plant things in. Climbers, along the new fence/trellis for example.

Just let me type that again, to relish it.

A garden.


Planting things.

THAT'S the really cheerful thing.

I spent yesterday evening looking at this web site, with avarice in my eyes.

And what better way to celebrate one's third wedding anniversary next week, than buying roses?

I have thought of some more cheerful things, too, but this post is already too long, so they'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006


Tissues for snivelling in to whilst moaning? Check!
Cyber hugs? Check! (welcome even from middle aged married men)
Tea and muffins? Check!
Motivational music? Check! (Delta Dawn; Midnight Train to Georgia; Lyin' Eyes; plus wooden spoon to sing in to)
Visual migraine? UNcheck! (Yay!)
VAT return? Check! (Kind of. It's paid. I just haven't managed to work out how to do a journal entry in the accounts software)
Massive amounts of thanks to all the lovely people who left nice comments yesterday that a) made me cry and then b) cheered me up? Check! (Lots)

Plodding on a bit less ploddily (if that's not a word, it should be) today.

It frightens the kitten when I sing, though.

Monday, 27 March 2006

depths of self pity

Doing the VAT return, fed up with figures, can't find all the casual crew's receipts, no-one in the office except me, still have visual migraine, BORED BORED BORED and also, grumpy and very poorly motivated.

We have finally been paid a cheque for interest and fees under the Late Payments of Commercial Debts Act, by the company we were threatening to sue. I understand that this is almost unheard of; however, yay! as the amount will just about cover our solicitor's fees. I am immeasurably relieved that it is all over and we can move on.

Industry gossip seems to think that the company might be about to go bust again; allegedly the chap who was our contact is leaving them, along with a few others. B was working yesterday with a group of technicians who have all withdrawn their labour, largely because the jobs are so poorly managed that they leave you a shuddering stressed out wreck; but plus, of course, the financial issues. My considered opinion is that if you showed this particular company a series of pictures of arses and elbows, they would be unable to differentiate between the two different parts of the body.

I am having terrible repetitive nightmares about my mother and my sister, where I have to fight for their attention as they get on with really banal things while I am needing their support really badly. I keep waking up crying and have to remind myself that I belong here now, not in Somerset any longer and that it doesn't matter that there hasn't really a place for me there for years.

All in all, I think I could probably do with a serious kick up the arse.

Instead, I am going to go and put the kettle on.

I do have some funny posts in hand, honestly. They just don't seem to want to come out at the moment.

Saturday, 25 March 2006

feeling a bit flat, actually

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post - some really helpful insights there, I very much appreciate it. I've been really crap at returning visits to de-lurking commenters the last week or so, for which I apologise.

There seems to have been a lot going on at the moment, a large proportion of it in my head; worrying about not hearing from the adoption services; managing my Ma's slightly negative reaction to the adoption thing; worrying about money now that we are a lodger down; worrying about getting this marketing going for the business; worrying about putting on weight; er, and worrying about worrying so much.

See the general 'worrying' theme going on there? (Although it's good to know I'm not the only one. Hopefully this'll help your Technorati ranking, Rhys!)

I am trying to actively manage it all by cultivating a positive 'que sera sera' attitude, chilling out and just letting things flow over me.

It's starting to work a bit. I've been on the upswing of a crescendo migraine all week that hasn't actually tipped over in to 'excrutiating', but has left me with a fairly constant visual disturbance and needing to take pain-killers; this afternoon that's gone off a bit, which is an immense relief. Having a husband who does reiki is fantastic :).

So B has gone to work and I have a heavy afternoon of relaxing ahead of me; Poldark, By The Sword Divided and a second viewing of Battlestar Galactica, all of which I will rave about next week; along with a review of Ladies In Waiting which Mitey Mite asked for.

To paraphrase my old geography teacher, one of the best things for worry is to take some direct action; I am going to browse the various websites I am registered with for potential lodgers now. Odd how money is only important when you don't have enough of it, isn't it?

Thursday, 23 March 2006

rather serious thoughts on 'business blogs'

I'd be grateful for some opinions, here.

I've spent the last couple of days setting up a 'blog' for our business site. People have been sliding flat food at me under the door of the office and staying out of my way while I wrestle with templates and something called Greymatter; an open source blog software that seems quite powerful but which I have never used before.

It's taken me a lot of persuading to go the 'business blog' route. It doesn't fit in with what I feel a blog actually is.

To me, to be a 'proper' blog, a site must have a personal emphasis, whatever aspect that takes; personal because it's someone (or a group of people) expressing an opinion about politics; personal because it is a ramble about someone's daily life, or their children, or their travels through China. It can even be a personal blog about what they do at work. But it's the personal journal aspect of it that makes it a blog.

Personal, to me, is the key.

I actually resent what I see as the hijacking of the blog-medium by people who want to sell me stuff and who I perceive as exploiting that 'personal' aspect of blogging to try to make me feel more comfortable about their products.

However, from a business viewpoint, I can see the advantages of giving potential (and exisiting) clients the feeling that they know one's company; that there is a personal relationship there that makes them more comfortable using you.

And as a business, we have just employed a Marketing Bird to help us market ourselves. Having employed her, it seems foolish not to take her advice. And one of the observations that she made was that our website was 'rather static'. After I had got over my burst of grumpiness at her daring to criticise my baby, I took her constructive criticism on board.

One way of making it less static is to have content that is regularly updated. And one of the ways to do this is to have a 'blog' section that is updated regularly.

There are a number of issues with this, my principles aside:

  1. What can you write about regularly that isn't deadly boring?
  2. Amusing stories are going to be difficult to write without identifying clients.
  3. Amusing stories at our expense might make us looks like incompetents that people wouldn't want to employ. Not that we are incompetents that people wouldn't want to employ, but sometimes things happen on jobs that might give that impression .... you know what I mean. I hope.
  4. Phrases like the one that B (sitting here beside me in the office) has just used to describe the accomodation they've been booked in to for a job next week - "That place is the ultimate 'wank and weep' hotel", although funny, are not appropriate in a professional context.
So we have compromised.

It's not a blog. It's a Newsletter.

We are going to update it weekly.

We are going to have various 'themes' that we update it with; Employee of the month, that kind of thing.

I have shoved the first hundred words in an iframe on the front page of the website and made it click-through-able. We now need to see what Marketing Bird thinks about it.

My breath is bated, slightly passive-aggressively.

In other news:

Polish Lodger's Girlfriend's Cousin has finally left.

We are sad and so are the cats.

Although it does look like she'll be coming back after a few months, as she's applied to various local colleges.

I go now, to wrestle with iframes. If anyone has an opinion about this, I'd be really glad to hear it (not iframes, lovely though they are - but the concept of 'business blogging' in general).

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

vote for pia!

The wonderful Pia at Courting Destiny has made the 'Best Writing' shortlist for the Koufax Awards for lefty bloggers. If you have a few minutes today, pop over and visit her - and if you like her blog, you can vote for her here.

Monday, 20 March 2006

if you leave me, can i come too?

One of the hallmarks of being an adult is NOT howling like a lost dog and sitting in your husband's suitcase as he tries to pack to go away to work for a couple of nights.

So, I didn't.

Actually, that's a lie - I tried to get in to his bag, but I fell over as I was doing it and gave my elbow a nasty bump on the hall table while he stood and laughed at me.

So now I am sitting in bed with a comfortable glass of Speyside single malt and feeling abandoned.

Apart from that though, a Good Weekend. We racked* twelve gallons of various wines yesterday, some of it needing attention for so long that we were lucky it hadn't spoiled.

I am now going to read some more of my book on Ladies in Waiting since the Tudors, eat the rest of the Battenburg cake and pull the petals off daisies until Wednesday and B comes home.

* UPDATE: Sorry Ms Mac and everybody else who isn't a frenzied homebrewer; 'racking your wine' is siphoning it from one glass jar to another, leaving all the sludgy bits behind as they settle out. You do it at least twice during the process, often lots, lots more.

Saturday, 18 March 2006


I have become the kind of woman who buys her pants in Wilkinson's.

Is this all there is?

It's crept up on me so slowly that I really haven't noticed what's been happening.

I love Wilkinson's.

I love the tea-towels; the large variety of different sized plastic boxes to go under the bed; the reasonably priced mug collection; and the fact that they sell bicarbonate of soda in boxes.

I like the fact that you can go in for a bottle of shampoo and come out with a fleecy cushion, a pot of paint, a curtain rail and a geranium.

A trip to Wilkinson's is like a trip to Ikea, without the guilt.


How did this happen?

Thursday, 16 March 2006


We have just got home from an 'all you can eat' Chinese Buffet lunch with someone who has been doing quite a lot of work with us over the last year or so. He graduated from college last year and we took him on for three months during the busy period in the autumn. Since then he's been doing odd days for us here and there, very competently.

He's going off tomorrow on a six month stint as a technician on a cruise ship, starting in Sydney, Australia and travelling via New Zealand, Tahiti, San Francisco, Vancouver and Alaska. Not necessarily in that order or just the once each.

We wanted to go out for major alcohol-fuelled 'bon voyage' session before he went, but we ran out of time.

As we were getting in to the car to leave, he gave us a small parcel that he described as a 'thank you present'.

It contained a pad containing 365 time-wasting paper puzzles, a book full of cynical witticisms such as "The Buck Doesn't Even Slow Down Here" and a thank you card, in which he has written:

Thanks for everything.

Helping me get started with a career.
Being amazing employers.
Being great friends.

And letting me hit on the Pole.
We are really touched.

In a parting bout of enthusiastic bonhomie, I gave him my blog address, so [name removed to protect your identity], if you remembered it and are reading this, thank you very much for everything, you are fab. And we will be watching you on that webcam.

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

what were you doing ...

She Weevil has tagged me for a meme ... . Tag yourself in the comments so that we can come and visit you, if you want to join in.

What were you doing ten years ago?
I had just moved to Penarth on the outskirts of Cardiff and started a job as a GIS Software Engineer for BT. There were four people in our team; an Evangelical, an Atheist, a Jehovah's Witness and a Spiritualist. We had some pretty interesting conversations. I'd just started dating Crazy Tom and was commuting on a regular basis from Cardiff to Canterbury.

What were you doing one year ago?
We were just coming to the conclusion that fertility treatment was not the way forward for us. I was deciding whether to have a go at life without SSRIs and see how I felt. We were thinking about buying an office, with a flat up above it that we could rent out to support the mortgage, rather than continuing to work at home. We had just started taking in lodgers.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Pickled onions
2. Prawn toast
3. Cheese and biscuits
4. Anchovy paste
5. Breadsticks

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. Delta Dawn, Helen Reddy
2. Midnight Train to Georgia, Gladys Knight and the Pips
3. Good Year for the Roses, Elvis Costello
4. Lyin' Eyes, The Eagles
5. Pleasant Valley Sunday, The Monkees

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Like She Weevil, buy a smallholding somewhere very, very remote. Probably not as remote as her Orkneys, though.
2. Buy a really, really fast, very very small laptop and upgrade it every twelve months
3. Give some nice wodges of it away
4. Err ... I think that's probably it
5. ....

Five things you like doing:
1. Reading
2. Eating and drinking
3. Thinking
4. Giving and receiving massage / tactile therapies
5. Being in the countryside

Five things you would never wear again (have worn all these and NEVER again):
1. Boob tube
2. Ra-ra skirt
3. Stiletto heels of any description
4. PVC bustier (Ill advised 'Vicars and Tarts' party. I went as a tart.)
5. Pedal pushers

Five favourite toys:
1. Laptop
2. Blender - for the making of smoothies
3. Breadmaker
4. Geeky mobile phone, currently Nokia 6630
5. My books

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

throwing stones

Two things.

1. Because I mocked Greavsie yesterday when his kettle broke, The God Of Retribution has seen fit to break ours this morning. Either that, or Greavsie is a Warlock.

It happened while I was in the shower.

It also fused the boiler.

It was cold.

There was no tea.

However, luckily, we have a back-up, industrial size one gallon water boiler that we take on gigs.


2. We got talking about home-brew with Polish Lodger's Girlfriend's Cousin last night, whilst B was dosing me with hot toddy. I dug out some Carrot 'Whisky' and some Raspberry Wine, both of which were rather dubious the last time we sampled them, a couple of years ago. They were both surprisingly pleasant.

Motto: Don't chuck it away too soon; although it cleans the sink beautifully, it might even be drinkable if you wait a couple more years.

I'll sort some recipes out to post before too long, promise. I've got a runner bean one hanging round that I'd like to give a go.

Marketing Person is imminent, I have put my good shoes on and discovered that my suit trousers still (just) do up. Still sniffing though :/.

Monday, 13 March 2006


Is a post saying "I'm still sick, please send crumpets* and sympathy" better than no post at all?

I am definitely in the office in body but not in spirit. B and R still keep waving cash flow forecasts and marketing plans at me and waiting for me to make admiring noises. There is some pressure on, because we have a Marketing Person coming to have a chat with us tomorrow, with a view to us hiring her company to make some calls for us.

I think my strategy is going to be to put my suit on and try to stifle my sniffing with a bag over my head. Hopefully she'll be so impressed with the cut of my 'extremely professional but slightly soft and informal' trousers that she won't notice that there is no room in my head for anything but information about the best brand of 'gentle on the nose' tissues.

Excuse me. I'm going to lie down under the table with the whisky again now.

* CRUMPETS plural. Not CRUMPET singular. Definitely too under the weather for that sort of thing. And anyway, any self-respecting crumpet would run a mile at the sight of my runny nose.

Sunday, 12 March 2006


It is snowing like crazy here this morning.

It hardly ever snows on Merseyside, so it's a bit of a shock; particularly to the cats, who are all clearly desperate to go outside to use the toilet facilities, but who are abjectly terrified by the cold white stuff on the ground.

Of course, none of them will lower themselves to use the litter tray I have put down for them.

They have retired to bed in Semi-Invisible Lodger's room, which has the largest radiator in the house proportional to it's size. They are so cold that they are clearly not even put off by the faint smell of Alsations.

Not, you understand, that I am accusing Semi-Invisible Lodger of smelling of Alsations; but he apparently keeps a couple at home, so I am assuming that if one was a cat, one would know that and possibly be slightly intimidated.

I am going to put another jumper on and make some fresh tea.

Friday, 10 March 2006


I have finally succumbed to the lurgy that's going round.

Could you pass that lemsip over please? And I'll just be sitting here under this blanket on the sofa any time you fancy making a pot of tea.

[*coughs, pathetically*]

Thursday, 9 March 2006


We watched 'Secrets and Lies' by Mike Leigh last night. It's one of my favourite films, but wierdly, I hadn't remembered until we got in to it that it is all about adoption, babies and bad periods.

I still enjoyed it and found it oddly reassuring that someone with the poise of Phyllis Logan can potentially experience as excruciating a time of the month as ordinary women :).

In other news: my brain seems to have turned to jam at the moment, for which I apologise.

I have a list of things to blog about but I don't seem to be able to actually get them out of my head and down on the page. In summary however:

  • With the help of Wickfield, our solicitor*, we are still chasing payment from the company that owes us money. They have paid some, but there is still quite a bit outstanding. They seem to have the attitude that we need to toe their line otherwise they won't employ us. They don't realise that it rubs both ways - if they don't respect us, we won't work for them. We have been chasing them now since the beginning of December and they have been fobbing us off, even to the extent of the accounts department phoning US to say that payment was on it's way; presumably just so we would call off the solicitor, as payment never turned up.

    They have been harassing us over the last few days because they want B to work for them on Monday and Tuesday next week; we have said they need to get the payment sorted and agree to our terms before that can happen. So they have been calling us, in what I can only describe as a hysterical fashion, three or four times a day asking for repeat copies of paperwork etc..

    Because they are not behaving in a straightforward fashion ('sharp' someone I spoke to described it) we have been advised by Wickfield to shorten our terms of payment to fourteen days rather than thirty. In the middle of all their hysteria, the company representative turned around and said that that would be unfair to 'their other freelancers' who appear to be paid on a sixty day cycle. Various things sprang to mind at this point in my conversation with them, none of which are bloggable under obscenity laws.

    Anyway, we have concluded that they are nobbers and we're not going to speak to them again until they've paid everything that they owe us, including the late payment fees. ('Nobbers' is currently one of my favourite words and I would like to thank James for introducing me to it.)

    It appears I am actually quite upset about this, as I was only going to mention it briefly and here I am, half a dozen paragraphs later. Sorry.

  • We are still waiting for contact from the adoption services. This is expected; they said a couple of weeks, which in Local Council Speak I suspect means a couple of months. It's taken us eighteen months to get this far, so another couple of months more isn't a problem.

  • We haven't yet got a new lodger to replace Polish Lodger's Girlfriend's Cousin. We thought we did, but in the end he couldn't wait the three weeks until she left. I'm quite pleased really, he seemed a nice chap, but he undoubtedly had a complicated personal life. Semi-Invisible and Invisible Lodger are still here though and we barely see them - hence not much bloggage concerning them.
I need to go and help B and R write our new business plan now. Somehow I can't get enthused about it, but they are both quite excited, so I am going to make tea and radiate quiet enthusiasm while they write things down.

* This is, clearly, a pseudonym

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

cause and effect

Ally's Law #903: There is no such thing as a 'Brief Trip To The Pub'.

That is all.

Monday, 6 March 2006

sleet and beer

We are interviewing more casual technicians today.

The three that we've road-tested have now all gone out on 'proper' jobs and done very well - we're pleased with them.

So today, we have three more. And there are still another pair who have had an interview but who we haven't had a chance to actually take out on a work-trial yet.

Suddenly our capacity for taking on work has shot through the roof.

B and I have spent the weekend thinking about children, thinking about our lives, thinking about our capabilities, our needs, our wants.

Yesterday morning R and Dani brought R Major (age 5) and R Minor (age 3) around. We spent a couple of hours tying the house up with wool, running round screaming, drawing pictures of the planets in the yard with chalk and poking the compost heap with sticks.

It was great.

Even more, I am sure that adopting is the right thing for us.

We have decided that we are going to 'aim' to adopt a sibling group of three children. However, we are concerned that we won't be able to cope with three traumatised children (and the course last week really whacked home the likelihood that they might be traumatised); so we have decided to be guided by the adoption services' assessment of us and trust that they will inject some realism if they think that will be too much for us.

We are going to ask for three between the age of 0 - 8. Another possibility is to take two, with an 'option' to take a third if the birth mother of the original two has another child that she can't cope with.

Whatever size our family ends up being, we're going to have to change our working practices a bit; B is going to have to be away less, at least for a while. So having a crew of competent technicians who we trust to go out and represent us is very important.

I don't want to say too much more about last week's course. Partly because it was VERY intense, with a lot of information; and if I start writing it all down, it could be an entire blog in itself. And partly because some of the stuff that came up is other people's hopes and fears and it doesn't seem appropriate for me to share them here.

In brief though:

  • It was run by two lovely social workers
  • We spoke to foster carers and adopters and child psychotherapists and parent-partnership workers
  • We had an in-depth and very disturbing morning talking about the different kinds of sexual abuse children could be subjected to, and how that might effect their behaviour
  • There were five other couples on the course, who we are going to stay in touch with if we can. They were all from very varied backgrounds but were all lovely people. I think we will form a support network for each other as we go through this process
  • The next step is to start the Dreaded Form F - a six month process of analysis and profile building about every aspect of our lives, with a social worker. Ten two or three hour sessions, over the next six or so months.
  • Because of what we have started to call the medication issue they want us to have a medical at the beginning of the process rather than during it and we are fine with that
I think that's about it. I am very happy to answer questions about this if anyone has any; I think we've gone through the 'grief' thing I spoke about in my last post and we are both very, very excited about the whole thing.

If the interviews go smoothly, I might try and persuade the chaps to have a brief trip to the pub this afternoon ... one thing the adoptive parents said is, that although they couldn't be happier, we should make the most of this pre-child time :).

Sunday, 5 March 2006

what is more important?

Today, forget about your personal issues; put them to one side for a moment. Then go and read Rachel's short, punchy, truthful piece on liberty..

I am frightened about what is happening in the UK.

Did you know that the actors from The Road To Guantanamo were arrested at Luton Airport on the way back from the Berlin Film Festival under counter-terrorism legislation?

Thursday, 2 March 2006

conversations with my mother #060302

In synopsis ...

Ma: How are you? I've tried to phone you last night after the sheep died, but you weren't in.
Me: We're okay. We've been on the preparation for adoption course the last few days.
Ma: Oh, good, I thought it was about now! Tell me all about it then.
Me: Well, it was really informative. But very gruelling. Bits of it were quite traumatic. For example they did half a day on the different kind of sexual abuse that a child coming in to care might have experienced.
Ma: Oh.
Me: Yes. And they had a foster parent in to speak to us; and some adoptive parents. So it was really tiring, but we've come away feeling very positive about it.
Ma: Good. But I do wish you could have one of your own. What happens next then?
Me: Well, we wait for them to get back in touch with us. And then we have to have a medical. Normally that comes later in the procedure, but because of our circumstances, they want to do it at the beginning.
Ma: That sounds sensible.
Me: Yes. And then we go through this six month process to build up your 'Form F'.
Ma: What's that?
Me: A really in depth picture of you and your family and your support networks. One of the things they go in to quite extensively is what support you can expect from family and friends.
Ma: What sort of support?
Me: Well, practical support of course. But also emotional support. I suppose they need to know that your family are behind you. They said that often, parents are very worried about you when you start the process.
Ma: Well, yes, I suppose we are. I do wish you could have one of your own.
Me: One of the things they also said was that parents needed to go through the same grieving process that couples who cannot conceive themselves go through. Grieving for the natural grandchildren that they are not going to have.
Ma: Well ...
Me: (ploughing on regardless) In the same way that adopting couples often go through a severe grieving process for their never-to-be born children, their parents have to go through that too, and accept that it is never going to happen.
Ma: ....
Me: (ploughing, ploughing) And although perhaps with their heads, parents are saying that it's all okay and they are happy that their children are going to adopt, perhaps in their hearts, they still haven't admitted to themselves that they are never going to have natural grandchildren.
Ma: ...
Me: ...
Ma: I don't think it's any of my business whether you have your own or not. It's not up to me. It's up to you. If you adopt, they will be our grandchildren and we'll support you. All we want is for you to be happy.
Me: Yes, I know. And I really, really appreciate that. You are very supportive of me and I love you. But I sometimes feel that your head is saying one thing ... and your heart is still saying another.
Ma: I just wish I could see you with one of your own.
Me: Yes. I know. I wish that too. But that IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Adopting is our ONLY CHANCE to have a family. And we really need you to be behind us during the process, and afterwards.
Ma: We are behind you. Do I keep going on about having one of your own then?
Me: Well, a bit, sometimes.
Ma: Okay, I'll try and stop.
Me: I know you'd like it if we had one of our own.
Ma: If and when you adopt, they will be our grandchildren. I am really looking forward to it. I am excited for you. Perhaps we could come up to you for the meeting with the adoption agency, rather than them come down to us?
Me: I love you Ma.
Ma: Did I mention that that sheep had died?

More after the weekend. We are still digesting. But things are good.