Monday, 30 May 2011

chicken-keeping courses

I decided a while back that I would start offering courses for people who want to learn about chickens - based on the Omlet model of a few hours in an afternoon.

The Omlet model seemed to be an hour and a half or two hours for fifteen quid or so. Some of them are advertised by people who have only been keeping birds for a year or so themselves; and it is VERY focused around Omlet kit, which, IMO, whilst lovely-looking and bespoke designed, is waaaay past a lot of people's budget.

Given that I have a teaching qualification and have been poultry-obsessed since my early teens, I thought that I could give it a go and miss out the Omlet-focussed bit. So I sat down and put together a lesson plan for a three hour course, involving handling birds, looking at our various different kinds of purpose-built and/or cobbled together housing and finishing with a chat over tea-and-cake, and I whacked it on my website at £30 a head; and on the Omlet website too. And forgot all about it.

This morning I got an email from someone who is interested in coming, along with her teenage daughter. I have arranged for them to come on Friday afternoon and I am now having slight first-night nerves. It's nothing that I haven't been doing informally with anyone who has come to buy birds from me - without the tea and cake, usually, admittedly - but it's a different thing to have an informal chat with a customer than it is with someone who is paying for the privilege.

And what sort of cake should I make?

Friday, 6 May 2011


For some time now, we have been wondering whether Nenna is 'okay'. She has been slow to walk and slow to talk. Her balance is not good and she doesn't put her hands out to save herself when she falls. We are in the Paediatric referral system and she was thoroughly checked by a Paediatrician in January after our Health Visitor expressed concerns.

The assessment concluded that her physical development was on the bottom centile, but still just 'normal'. She was referred for Speech and Language therapy and a follow-up appointment was made for September, at which point if she is lagging any further behind, they will start doing blood tests for things like Muscular Dystrophy. There is no history of this is the family, so that's a long shot and therefore quite reassuring.

In addition, ENT examined her and tested her hearing again and concluded that she has glue ear, which goes to some way to explaining her speech difficulties and perhaps also her balance. She has a follow-up in June and if there is no change then apparently grommets are an option, to drain the inner ear of gloop.

So far so sort-of-okay.

However, after a couple of falls over Easter which caused a serious cut and a nose-bleed-and-black-eye , I took her to the GP on Tuesday. Our GP is a very down to earth Mid-European who doesn't beat around the bush or suffer emotional bullshit gladly. She is re-referring us back to Paediatrics for an earlier follow-up and for Occupation Therapy to help Nenna's walking and balance. She says that her opinion is that there is probably some (minor) brain damage somewhere that is affecting her motor skills and that OT and Speech Therapy will help map new pathways in the brain. The GP says that she doesn't think that any blood-tests etc will be necessary; it depends on how the next Paeds appointment goes I guess.

My baby has brain damage.


It's MINOR brain damage. And is probably fine.

Some of you reading this will have already read my brief update on facebook on Tuesday when I got back from the GP. Since then, B and I have gone through a whole range of feeling. Panic. Fear. Disbelief and belief. Pain and numbness. Sadness. Reaction, over-reaction, under-reaction.

My beautiful, happy, smiling daughter is still the person that she was last week. She will still be the person she was going to be. Over the last week or two, I have begun a conscious practice of gratitude every day. Literally counting my blessings. She is always on my list of things to be thankful for and she is, very much, one of my blessings.