Sunday, 26 December 2010

And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day....................

......................Well - not quite, but thanks to my friend Lynne, i sat and listened to the words of the Fairy Tale of New York. I'd never really listened before - it was always a song that came on tv and the radio this time of year and that was it.

I've always liked Christmas. Even more now that i have kids and that Peter's birthday is 5 days after the "day". For a number of years after Matthew and i got married, we divided our time between our parent's homes - on Christmas and boxing days.
But as the kids got older, Matthew's mum died and we moved house, Christmas Day was spent at our house. It was nice to 1)have the space to invite the family over and 2) have enough money to ensure the festivities went well. We usually chipped in with food and drink and as long as i'd made my trifle, the kids and my dad were usually happy.
But it wasn't till recemtly that i realised how much stress i put myself under - the house had to be pefect - my mother would not accept anything less. The food ditto.
Brother and sister were the same, not taking into account i had 3 children and a hubbie and all that comes with that. I loved my Dad being over and to be honest, he'd have been happy with bowl of soup and a cup of tea. But demands were made from others. Throw in Peter's birthday and them wanting to be entertained, i'm surprised i didn't flip

Thankfully, i have a loving hubie and 3 great kids who didn't see fit to either chuck me and the others out , or leave in total disgust at certain attitudes.
Was a close call at times tho!!

Time goes on and since my parents died, i find that there are people i want to be locked in the same house as over the festive season, turkey, tinsel, crap telly, dodgy pressies and all!! Funnily enough, dodgy pressies seem to be a thing of the past over recent years!! (coincides with the lack of brothers and sisters coming to dinner!!)

THere are also some folk that i should not be in the same universe as. In fact, there should be at least a minimum of at least 3 universes between us to ensure nothing bad happens and i don't get locked in a jail!!!

All bets are off when you try to think of who i mean!!!
I'd still love my dad to be here. Louise said this morning that she misses me doing my trifle, but she doesn't miss me being grumpy mum for the whole holidays.

So that brings us back to the Shane and Kirsty song.
Before Peter was diagnosed, like any other parent, i had dreams of what he might do. You know, footie, go to college or Uni, whatever. I remember those dreams being royally jumped up and down on and smashed to bits by several doctors. I didn't let myself dream about anything else "just in case" something happened to smash them to pieces - again.

But the years came and went and it was time to maybe have some dreams - not the same ones - but ones that would mean more to us. Could we really afford that move to a bigger house (we did, and it's now ours, lock stock and garden gates!!)
Could we really afford that PC - we could if we saved or money. (and here we are 10 years later on to 2nd pc and have 2 laptops!!)
MMmm-what about a holiday??? Disney in Paris was mentioned. Maybe, if we saved.
Well again, several years later, we have ben to Disney at least 6 times, been to the US, Spain, London, Skye and a few places in between.

Like the song says ........................ I can see a better time when maybe dreams come true.

Yes, some of the dreams we had went outta the window. But you know what - i can't remember what those dreams were now, so they can't have been too important.
I didn't think we'd get near Peter's 21st birthday, never mind be going off to Disney in Paris to celebrate.
Hey - foul - i never got anything like that for MY birthday!!!

But then, i did get Barcelona for my 25th wedding anniversary, so i suppose i shouldn't grumble. (but i will - till i win the lottery and i can go on a massive shopping spree in New York and Matthew and the boys can carry the bags for me and Louise!!!)

It's ok for dreams to change - i'd be more worried if they didn't. I just want my family to be happy and healthy. And have a job that will pay the bills. Anything extra is a bonus.

Some people wonder why i've ditched some folk from my life - my choice, my rules and i have to live with it. But all i can say is that i'm happy and those who know and care about me understand why certain people have been chucked outta the boat. As for the others, well they don't matter. it's taken me a long time to get to this stage, but i'm happy. The Kafflick guilt that is rife in  these parts has been bashed down and asked not to surface too often - had enough of that in my life!!

So here i am at almost the end of another year. I have bags to finish packing and things to make sure we have. But the dreams that are important are still here.

Thanks to the people who have helped me along the way - Lynne and Linda, you're a couple of them.

Here's to a New Year and maybe some new dreams!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Tis the season........................

......................To be something or other, but i just can't seem to figure out quite what yet!!

THe snow and ice over the pastr few weeks have mucked up college and school for Peter and Paul and to be honest, i've not really gone far from the house. A dislike of ice and a buggered knee too often have seen to that. (but then - why have children and not send them to the shops!!)

Last weekend i too kPeter to his art class in town. Honest to goodness, You'd have thought the whole city was closing down never to reopen!! It got a bit much for me and was in tears - Peter mind you wasn't too sure how to react. Mum doesn't usually just burst into tears!!!
Managed to get to the class and met one of the other mums anad by then i did cry. So a cuppa was suggested. What is it about a cup of tea that seems to help soothe the savage beast. It's even recommended by Dr Who!!! (yes - and if it's good enough for Mr T, it's good for me!!!)

Dorothy and i put the world to rights and even managed to tackle the M+S food hall for a few things for her!!!

Peter brought home his 1st canvas - i was really touched. He'd done some christmas dedorations, lights and reindeers. Quite good, so i'll need to go and get some stuff so i can hang it.

Our week kind of got back to normal - no more snow, just that ice. We put our tree up on tuesday, so we lok a bit festive now. But by last night, i was ready to run off - notjong major, just a week before Christmas, people trying to get things sported, pressies to wrap[, study to get done - severe lack there of by my son over the last few days.
Dire threats and warnings, much stropping done by both Paul and Matthew and Peter wanting to find Sabrina and chitty chitty on his new laptop,
What am i thinking - this is a NORMAL day chez us. I'd be worried if they didn't strop and argue.

See what i mean - not quite sure where i'm meant to be at. \I think i need to hibernate.

A week till christmas day.
7 days till we go to Disney. I'm not even thinking about flights being cancelled - they can't do that to my boy!!

I suppose io should really let Peter back on the laptop - i mean - it is his. I just get access visits

Monday, 6 December 2010

The best laid plans....................

.............Usually go out the window when i make them!!!

My plans for today were to wait in for a delivery and get the christmas presents wrapped. Paul had gone off to school,  Peter had been picked up for college and Louise and Matthew were going to a funeral.

So once everybody was out, i wrecked the bedroom looking for the pressies, wrapping paper and tags. Got them downstairs and got the ironing board up!!
No - i DON'T iron the pressies - it's just the easiest way to get them done if i have somewhere to lean on!!!!

Made a start and then there was a knock @ the door - Peter was back!
Crikey - how do i explain this to him, mmmmm - mum is helping santa????
The travel buddy said he'd got a text from his boss to say that college was closed, so they headed back home.
I persuaded Peter he really did want to watch a DVD, while i went off to check that college was  indeed shut. Turned out that they were telling all the supported students not to come in today cos of the snow.

I managed to get some pressies done and then Louise appeared - looking like a yeti!!! She said that traffic was crawling if lucky and stopped if not - it seems that no one was going anywhere!
Still trying to do these presents and a call from Peter's worker that was due to pick him up tonight - she's just about snowed in @ her house!!
No buses doubtful about trains - no one is getting anywhere FAST!!!

Back to those pressies - until a frantic call from Paul. He said that if i wanted him to head home, i was to phone school and say it was ok for him to come home due to the weather. Ok - but it took me half an hour and several attempts to get thru to school!!!

Arrgghh - these presents may be wrapped in time for next christmas!!!

Eventually Paul got home i'd just about done all the pressies, but 2 seem to have gone walkabout!! Paul's portable DVD player, which i did see upstairs, but had vanished and the gift card for Peter with Euros for the holidays.

Strange - this kinda thing frequently happens chez johnston. Things go walkies and then turn up in strange places!!!

matthew got home - another yeti case and i am refusing to go over the door for the next oh - 6 months!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow, Graduation Balls and mobile new fangled technology

Snow - where's it all come from??? Seemsas if we've seen nothing bust the stuff since last week and i'm beginning to grow fur in an attempt to keep warm!!
We were hoping for a few more folk @ Louise's party on saturday, but said white stuff kinda put paid to that. But it was nice seeing the people who did manage and we chatted and caught up.
Sunday Lou was menat to be working, but after checking weather and the availability of sleighs and reindeers, it was cancelled, Which meant it gave her time to plan Monday's travels to the north.
Mmmm - 1st plan ws to travel by car - that was put on hold.
SO bus tickets were booked - one of the other mums had a promo voucher, so they got a £5 return ticket. Texts, phone calls, e-mails flying around to see if they could find out what roads were open, would the bus even get out of the bus station, never mind Glasgow!!!
 Monday morning, Lou headed off to meet the girls, wrapped up like Nanook of the North's cousin with food and drink in her backpack.  While she was travelling into town, she heard that the bus had been cancelled, so they headed to the train station. £50 for a return Scotrail wanted!! And no certainty that they would get to Aberdeen never mind get home. So the decsion was taken to phone the hospital and say they couldn't make it. After all - they DID have the Ball to get to!!

So Louise goes off to find something for her hair and then comes home.

Tuesday was spent getting nail, hair and make up dome - tweaked, curled and coloured to within an inch of her life!!! Quite how the curly hair stayed curly, i know not, but it did. In between all of this, Paul arived home - school ws closing and parents evening cancelled, so that was one less thing to worry about. I didn't need to rush thru all the appointments with the teachers then have to run home to help Louise get into her dress.

The dress - it was lovely - cocktail length, deep purple and shoes and bag thanks to one Mr John Lewis who has a small store in Glasgow!! The wrap wsa put on and she headed for the taxi. Now - not as simple as that - she put her boots on, got in the taxi, boots kicked off to paul and shoes put on!
As the meerkat would say - SIMPLES!!!

So off she went, had a great time, took loads of photos, drank, ate and ended up in what she thinks may have been a gay night club!!! She ended up with a guy who had been in her class in 1st year, hus boyfriend and another girl. Guys were great, girl was depressing and all Lou wanted to do was have fun!!!

She did. And sat at the top of the stairs and told me what fun she had - at 4.45 am!!!!!!
Have seen some of the photos and looks as if a good time was had by all!!!

In between all this, Paul decided to buy a new phone. It's quite a nifty and i like it.
No, fo me, a mobile is just something to phone and text with. The one i had was, i am told, a brick. AN old fashioned does nothing B R I C K!!!
So i decided to buy myself the same phone as Paul -theory being that if i got stuck, i could ask Paul for help.
The look on my beloved youngest son's face said it all - how dare i get a phone like his. I'm a fogey who has only just mastered texting - i'm old and i shouldn't be able to partake of such beautiful things !!!
Nae chance - i wanted a phone that could sing and dance and i wanted it, now , please, if that was alright with him!!

I did point out that i'd have only nicked his if i hadn't got my own way!!

So i'm now almost 21st century with the phone and even asked Paul a question that he couldn't awnser!!!!

Such joy! this technology may even catch on you know!!
ANd i can take photos!! THere will be no escape from the photo monster AKA mum!!! Watch for the slideshow of funny ones on You Tube!!!

Ah well - should go and feed the masses while i gaze out on the white expanse that is now my garden!!!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Graduation Day

At last - the big day arrived - Louise's Graduation.
Tickets and cameras in the handbag, make sure we had all the bits of paper to pick up the robes and get the photos done and off we went.

Our 1st port of call was to pick up the gowns. This year, the had new gowns and hood for the University. The BN nurses had gold hoods trimmed with blue - very nifty!!!
So off we headed to the Concert Hall - Louise had to register and we wanted to try and get a ticket for Paul. It was weird walking through town and seeing all these other proud families. Mind you, biggest cheesiest grin prob came from us - we could have lit up the Christmas lights on the grins alone!!!!

Got some photos taken, got the extra ticket and Louise got me to pin her badge on her robes. It's got a C on it and Glasgow Caledonian University Nursing written on it.

We had good seats in the hall - Matthew saw Louise in the crowd.
The ceremony itself is really nice - all the academic staff process in and on to the stage. The University Chancellor is there - he "caps" the students when their name is called. (as Louise said -all that work to get hit  o'er the heid wi a hat by a guy in funny robes!!! What joy!!) But i'm not too sure that Lord McDonald would have seen it that way!! Poor man - all those folk he had to say COngratulations to!!

Ceremony over, we went to the drinls reception. Met Louise's Personal Tutor, who was nice. Photos, photos, photos - but for once i didn't get moaned at!! Louise was enjoying herself too much!!!! Then we went off to get the official photos done. A woman a bit further along the queue looked @ Louise and i - i just assumed it was another parent - well, she was, but Louise suddenly realised that it was her Home Economics teacher from 2nd year @ school - all of 8 years ago!!! These St Ambrose folk fair get about!!

Photos done, we could start to relax a bit. We decided to head to Kimble's for tea and cake. Well, we were starving and the table for dinner wasn't booked till later!! And it was a tea and cake kinda day!! Peter decided that he wanted to take Lou to the Disney shop to let the staff see her. Theythought this was great and put a congratulations Louise banner up on the screen. Yes, her face did go red as they announced it, and yes - i did get a photo!!
Louise was a bit worried about walking down Buchanan Street with said robes on. She thought folk would just stare!! (mmmm - we live in a city where some folk think it's ok to go to the shops in jammies!!!! So academic robes are NOT going to get a 2nd glance!!!!)
Saying that, most folk didn't bat an eyelid. Kids looked @ Lou just wondering WHAT she was wearing! I wanted to tell them that if they worked hard @ school, they too would earn the right to wander about looking like a hobbit!
One older man nudged his wife and i heard him say " oh look - there that young girl has just graduated!!" - he had a grin almost as big as mine!! That was nice.

Eventually we went for dinner. Louise said it wasgetting cold and she needed food. There were mutterings from Paul about looking like a hobbit and how the precious one needed fed. Just wait till it's his turn and he has the outfit on!!!!

It was a lovely day and i am very, very proud of Louise. She's worked hard and deserved all the praise she got.
Tomorrow - the party. Friends coming to help us celebrate, some nice food (Iceland and ASDA have been raided for goodies) and maybe a drink or 2!!
And next week brings a job interview and the Graduation Ball.
Watch this space for the goings on................................

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Counting the sleeps!!

It's 40 sleeps till christmas! (so Louise tells me and she got it from Paul and if HE says it, it must be true!!!)

So that means it's 42 sleeps till we go on holiday to Disney and 45 sleeps till Peter's 21st birthday!!

Bet you never thought all those years ago i'd be saying those words!
Mind you, it seems like a lifetime since he was born...............

Ok, ok, i'm not going to go all gooy eyed on you - too tired and cold, but i suppose it's a good time to - well - sit back and smell the coffee.
THis year has had some BIG events - Matthew and i married 25 years. And some wondered why we should bother - it wasn't going to last and we should just save ourselves the effort. I'm sure there were one or 2 folk a bit close who had these thoughts as well. But those who know me, know that i'm stubborn and like a dog with a bone - never give up!!!

Louise qualified and graduates next week - look out for her name in the Herald - he he he - and they are offering her interviews for jobs!! Someone, somewhere is determined she WILL, well not get to the Ball, but get a job in a ward ful of children and never grow up!!

And Peter is 21. Long hard slog at times, but good friends are worth their weight maybe not in gold, but certainly in tea bags and a great sense of humour and enough kicks up my bahookie when i needed it!!

life may not be totaly settled, but about as settled as i can hope for at the moment. Support workers going well. It was just a bit strange to be calling the shots last week and asking for extra time when i was away with Peter.
But i will get used to it!!

People are starting to come home now and demands for food will be forthcoming. Ah well - i'd only complain if they didn't eat!!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

We came, we saw and we didn't get thrown in the Tower!!

Well, yesterday was the big day - off to London and Mr Speaker's house.
And what a nice house it is!!! Mind you - i wouldn't want to be the one to tidy up and dust - too many rooms and high ceilings!

I fell out of bed about 5.30, into the shower and then the day was brought to the masses courtesy of Clarins and No 7!! What you have to do to look good!!
Meanwhile Paul is stoating about in his jammies, cool as anything wondering just what i was up to!!!

Set off for the airport and our flight. Never been on an Easyjet flight. It wasn't too bad - no rammies or fights for seats and luckily, no screaming bratty weans to anny me. (but that is a total other blog. I cam cope with kids who are tired or hungry, but kids who just scream for the sake of screaming to let us know they are there...............)

Journey to London from Gatwick was ok, then, as i got to the ticket office to buy the tube tickets, my phone bleeped. It was a text from Peter's support worker to say she was running late. Well, not much i could do - i was 500 miles away. I quickly thrust the phone into Paul's hands, told him to phone his Dad and tell him what was going on and i bought the tickets.
We hoped Matthew got the message of what had happened before the signal went on the phone.

We texted Norbert to let him know we were on our way and then squashed on to the train and headed to Westminster.

Norbert pointed us in the direction of Portcullis House - unfortunatly, we walked right by, dismissing the modern exterior and ended up outside the Ministry of Defense!!!! I doubt they would have let me in there!!!
Went back, through the modern doors and security, photos taken and they let us in !!! No one had alerted them to these mad Scots!!

Eventually we were taken along to the Speakers House. As you go through the building, you go from Ultra Modern, right back in time to what you expect the place to look like - paintings of various people and crests above doors .............Wow - and still they let us continue on our way!!

And on to the rooms where we were having the reception. Drink in hand (soft drink - honest - i wanted to remember everything!!) There had been a  notice at the front that no photography was allowed. But me being me (and a proud mum!!) put my camera in my pocket and hoped i could at least get one sneaky photo to prove we had been there - and made Paul promise to bake me a cake with a file in it if i got dragged off to the Tower!!!!

We chatted to some people, met one or two we already knew........... It was nice meeting Cherry again and Norbert kept telling me to behave myself - he was watching my every move!!
Now, ALL my friends know that if they do this, i will try my best to do something really silly. SO i did - i sneaked that photo!! The Speaker made a speech, Ed Balls did his bit and then our music recital started. Lord Knight - a Labour Peer - his daughter Ruth was singing. And she was great - i'm not a fan of eechy screechy opera music, but her voice was so beautiful to listen to. And she enjoyed what she was doing, so i'm sure that helped.

Paul chatted to Ed Balls, then we had a break, had some food and back to more music.

I got chatting to Lord Knight - i told him if i ever saw his daughter's name on the Karaoke list down the pub, i'd not put mine down - she'd only laugh at me if i tried to sing!! He said she has auditions for Gildhall and the Academy of Music. If she doesn't get a place, she's been robbed!!!

ANyway - back to WHY we were there- to launch the school stuff on the website. It was nice to meet the 2 people who took part in the CD Roms that were done for English Schools. They have both done well and are happy. So it was nice for Paul to see that his stammer wouldn't hold him back.

Mind you - he wouldn't let it!!!

By this time i really DID want some more photos. I tagged along when the photos for the BSA were being done i the hope that i could get a couple. It was amazing going through the corridors and doors to the offices. On the way back, i even managed to see into the chamber from behind Mr Speakers chair!!! It was only a glance, but i saw it!! Was tempted to ask if we could go in, but camera brazenly in hand at this point i thought better of it!!!

And any way - by this point, i think Paul would have carted me off to the Tower!!!

In one of the rooms, there were paintings of Previous Speakers - We had to have a good look at the one of Micheal Martin - how often can you say that a Man from your city has been in the Office of the Speaker??? It just shows that it doesn't really matter where you come from - if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can, at least  TRY.

Much as i would have liked to take said painting home with me, i think it would have been noticed - and i'm not quite sure it would have fitted into the overhead locker on the plane!!!!

All too quickly our day was over and we were heading back to the tube. It was an interesting day and the experience was worth the early rise in the morning.
Back at Gatwick, over a slice of chocolate fudge cake (Paul) and an apricot croissent (for me ) we talked over events of the day, not quite believing that in the space of a few hours we'd met a Lord (didn't tug our forelocks this time - but he may expect it next!!) a couple of MPs, seen parts of a building that we are used to seeing on the TV, passing it if we ever go to London............

But you never think that you might actually be IN the place and see parts that you never knew existed.

Mind you, we did have something of a dilemma as we hit the departure longe at Gatwick. Should be buy a bottle of Champagne for Louise's Graduation party?? We had a look at prices - man - i needed smelling salts to recover from the shock of the price. Even duty free, it seemed a lot. And of course, it would have to be pink Champagne - nothing else would cut it!!

So we had a clear choice - Champers or chocolate. Now - those who know me well will know that this is a hard one for me - alcohol or chocolate. Which to choose................

Mmmmmmmm - what should i do?????

THe twinpack Moet & Chandon looked nice, but could i really justify £45. I do love my daughter, but would the credit card really survive this onslaught. So i plumped for the chocolate. Small consolation that part of our Asda delivery tomorrow is wine for said party!!!

But Lord Knight - if you care to raid some stuffy Peer's wine cellar for me, i will share the spoils with you - 3pm on the 27th - you and Ruth are more than welcome to join us - you'll have a good time, get fed, meet us again - hear Paul play clarinet if you want!! Just ask Norbert for our address! Ok - he can come as well - if he must!!!

And you'll meet the rest of this crazy family!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Life is a roller coaster so lets just scream!

............ Well, the way the past week has been i feel like screaming.
We've got from being low - Matthew's job and the hassles he's been having. Not going into detail - for the obvious reasons that those who know will understand and the rest of you will just have to wonder.

TO the high point of Louise's best friend Charlene, who had a baby girl last sunday morning. Oh, what a girl she is - she's made sure that by having a Halloween birthday that EVERY party for many years to come will be a dressing up one! And that's just Charlene!!! Quite what baby will make of it all, i'm not too sure!
Louise has met baby and we have seen photos. I want to give her a hug, but that can wait - give them time.
But she is soooooooo cute - if she was chocolate i would eat her!!! The cutest little chin and nose and well - everything else!!!

Peter thinks baby is lovely and has told us when they visit, she can play with his Cinderella toy. Now, from Peter, this is an honour that no one else has ever had, so it's high praise!!!!

Yesterday was like highs and lows one after the other.

The 1st low was the hassle Paul frquently gets from the music department @ school. Normaly, i'm wary of naming names, but this time they surpassed themselves. Even after being told last year that we needed more than a day or 2 notice for things and being assured that this would happen, they went and did it AGAIN.
They asked Paul to take part in Young Musician of the Year.
He knew it ws upcoming, just not when the actual DAY was.
So wednesday afternoon, he came in fizzing - YM was to be held the following evening, in Airdrie.
Trouble was, Paul had Strathclyde Uni Band, Louise was working and Matthew, Peter and I had been invited along to a do with Enable. So even if he was madly keen to go, he couldn't - it was too late to cancel anything.

(meanwhile, i'm wondering how SCHOOL would feel if Paul just didn't rock up for class one morning cos he got another offer or couldn't be bothered!!)

WHich takes us on to a high point of the day.

Our night with Enable, the staff and people they support (not using "service users" or "clients", so if someone can think of a better word, please let me know!!) .............. Well, it was GREAT!

The staff we have met from Enable so far have been great. Things have been planned round US as a family, giving Peter the support he needs and making us feel relaxed and confident with those who support him.
Ok, it early days yet, but things are going well. Peter's 3 workers know we're crazt, they LOVE Peter, are totally different from each other, but compliment each other.
And Ashleigh and Caroline went out to find folk that they  thought Peter would like and enjoy being with.

But it's not just US they do that for - all the stories we heard last night about what the staff do with families and others who access the services they use - i just wanted to jump up and down and ask if i could take them along to Paul's school to show the staff what life is like for us!!

Mind you - last night - quite how Donna wore those BRIGHT RED high heels and didn't let grip of the smile on her face, i don't know - i was in agony just watching and my knees complained!! I know - old age on my part!!!

And the MC guy - his jokes were so rubbish that we laughed outta sympathy. I'm sure they just keep him in the office out of the way of the traffic lest he gets knocked down!!!!

But the best parts were watching Peter and the others just enjoy themselves!!!

Louise often says that they are frequently reminded about "professional boundries" and how you "don't get too involved". THen she laughs @ whoever has just said it and tells them to come live her personal life, where we have had to fight for things and had hassles.
Yes, you wasnt professional people, but you also want people who care. Not just about the person they are looking after, but also the extended family (or in some cases where there is no extended family, the support staff ARE the persons family)

Some high up managers don't understand that quite often you have to give a little of yourself to help the family or person open up. Louise often calls the 1st 10 minutes of a shift the "weekly woes" time, where the family will tell you whats been going on, sometimes good, often hassly and bothersome and sometimes it's just another adult who isn't family (cos we know - much as family are good, they (well extended) don't always "get" what goes on)

Oh - been there done that and the guilty will remain nameless - for now!!
But if you know me well, you know the who guilty ones in my family are!!

Just as well they'll never read my blog - well as far as i know!!!

And no - nobody in Enable has paid me to write so well about them - come on guys - takes more than one free Southern Comfort to get nice words out of me (try a free 1.5 litre bottle and you may get a thank you!! Oh - and Ashleigh - i will share, but just don't let on to management!!!)

As you can see - the highs have had more space than the lows - which is good.

But at least knowing about how roller coaster my day can get, may help some of you understand WHY i scream so much!!!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

We're going to London to visit the Queen!!

Well, not quite visit the Queen, but a Lunchtime Reception & Recital @ the Speaker's House!!

Paul and i have been invited to this reception because he did some filming for the BSA a few years ago. He was very confident doing it - unlike me who was a gibbering wreck and can't even look @ the stuff i did to this day!!
But then - that's my boy - Like his brother and sister, surprises me all the time!!

So we fly down on the morning, get into London and to the Speakers House.
There are a few things i'm concerned about - Like - will they actually let me in??? Or will the Seargent at Arms tell me in no uncertain terms that i'm trouble and not getting in???

Should i ask John Bercow if his bidey in wil let me have a few inches from her legs so that i don't look midget like beside my children!!!

Will Ed Balls cope with someone like me who could take on ancient warrior queens and attila the hun and eat them for breakfast?!?!?

What will David Cameron say if i tell him i'm a feartie to walk down Oxford Street in case i get mugged???
Well - i have done Oxford street and the only mugging that ws done was to my credit card by Louise!!!!

Oh the joys!
Paul has told me he is not standing bail money for me - most likey he will be in the cell next to mine!!!

Seriously tho - i'm looking forward to the afternoon - it will be an experience!
And i promise to behave.
Well - a bit!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Stammering Awareness Day

Today is stammering awareness day.
Now - I know for most of you, this means nothing, but when you live with someone who stammers, it becomes important that others are aware of how they treat the person who stammers.

To be honest, i came as a bit of a shock to me that Paul had a stammer - Peter's issues i could deal with because they'd been there since birth, but to suddenly (or maybe not!) have to deal with a child who was stammering - i wasn't quite sure what to do.

Eventually, we requested a referral to speech therapy, since it was obvious that things were not going to get better on their own. I asked the ST @ Peter's school for advice on how long I should wait before we did the referral and how i should deal with it.

Time went by and still no date for an appointment. So, i got the number for the ST's @ Yorkhill. Liz must have wondered what kinda madwoman i was, but thankfully she DID listen, made sure Paul was on the right list for an assesement and eventually we saw someone.
By this time Paul was primary 6 and i was well aware of time marching on and a move to secondary @ the end of P7.

Now - i won't go into boring details, but the next few years involved therapy, being part of an honours student's project, going to BSA family days, being involved in filming for the BSA, having strategies in place and just generally getting on with ,well, life.

The filming was great (but i still cannot look @ myself!!) and it was great for Paul to be involved with this - at last - HE (and others) could tell teachers and other kids just what it was like for HIM. He wasn't stupid (if anything he's one smart cookie!) and he could do things a lot of other kids his age couldn't.

Working out the Harry Potter Theme tune without the music in front of him for one! (and i just thought this was "normal" for a 10 year old!!)

One thing we found brill was the communication passport - it meant that Paul could let his teachers and support staff know about his stammer and how they could help. Some teachers thought it was great, others a bit iffy, but no one ignored it! We made sure!!

Paul amazed his teachers by volunteering to speak at assembly and getting involved in school life - i think they were expecting a shy retiring wall flower!!

One thing my son does NOT do is shy and retiring!!!

Paul was discharged from ST and we were told if we needed them again, to get in touch. We had to do this as Paul moved up the school - about 4th year he was finding things hard again, but the ST gave him strategies to help again  and we dealt with it.

So now  - well we have a young man who has a good set of standard grades and Highers behind him. He's doing 6th year and planning to go to University to study music. One of the things that i think has kept him sane is the fact that he is GOOD at music. He has played 3 times in the Royal Concert Hall, taken part in workshops and a concert with the Band of the Royal Marines and had a great week of work experience in the local SEN school working a couple of days with the music teacher.

Yes, we have idiots - mainly adults who think it is ok to finish his sentences for him. He did take a teacher to task recently who wasn't too happy when he did. But my thinking was Act you age not your shoe size! She's known Paul for years - maybe time to revisit the passport and the "give me time to speak" rather than just think he's being cheeky.

If someone you know stammers, take time to listen to them - you'll often find that they have something good to tell you! (think Churchill and Issac Newton!!). As if there is anything you can do to help support them - but puleeezzzeee - don't patronise them. Sometimes it's just something simple that will help.

And thanks to Liz, Eilidh and Morag who all at times have been on this journey with us and have helped Paul and dealt with the maddie who is is mother. I'm sure the years of therapy they will need to help them overcome the trauma will help.

And me - i have a great son and to use the words of Chris Rea ............"who needs to dream when you know you can fly?"

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Children - i do love them, but i couldn't eat a whole one!!

As i say - couldn't eat a whole one!!!
We've had minor skirmishes about DVDs today and which ones Louise and Peter should watch.
Now, be mindful of the fact that it would be easier to deal with Attila the Hun , Ghengis Khan and Bodecia on a bad day than to let them choose a dvd they both want to watch!!!
No Thomas (I'm not watching 4 ours of that sh^te says Louise)
No Friends (that's rubbish says Peter)
No Scoobie Doo says Louise.

Well Scoobie don't i feel like shouting!!!

So out came Beauty and the Beast, the video went on and strange noises were heard. The video of B and the B had just died!! Thank goodness it comes out on DVD in a couple of weeks, else i'd be up a creek without a canoe never mind a paddle!!!
So on my HMV to do list is that DVD plus Sabrina the teenage witch,
The joys - see what i mean - i'm almost forced to eat them!!!

So the agreed on the Little Mermaid.

Mind you, Peter has just asked if he can watch Muppet Christmas Carol.
Now - i do like the film, but in october - with more than 2 months to CHristmas???
You can take things to a point of fetish quite easily!!!

More phone calls - had to phone the team leader today - she has identified another couple of workers for Peter which is good. So we'll meet up.

And a phone call about flights for me + Peter. To London.
Mmmm - can't say too much just now - the fights have been booked, but our official invitation hasn't been sent out yet.
Got you wondering???
I'm just wondering if i'll actually get into this venue and not get left at the door heckling with Paul denying any knowledge of who i am.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Our 1st lot of respite

The good thing about the self directed support is that we can arrange respite to suit us and Peter.
Don't get me wrong, the respite unit was great and Peter loved going there, but quite often you just have to go along with what everybody else wants to do, even if you don't really fancy it.
Now various things were mentioned (Blackpool and caravans!) Both great holidays, BUT i was sure we could come up with something a little more imaginative than that.
The seed was sown and my mind went into well - not quite overdrive, but was rising to a challenge. I knew i wanted to havae some family based sort of respite  -Peter away with a family who would look after him, but something maybe for us - even if it was only a few days.

I e-mailed my friend Linda who lives on Skye. Ran past the idea of us coming to visit, nothing was planned on paper at that point, but would the idea of us being there, meeting up with the girls, enjoying ourselves - it sounded good.

Now, life being life, and without going into loads of details, things kinda changed. I checked to make sure that things were ok for us to come up, but we would book into a B+B and meet up during the day.
Now - outcomes - the bane of our lives, always outcomes. Why can't "have a good time" be a suitable outcome?? No - doesn't work out like that!!!!
So our outcomes were that Peter would make and maintain friendships (with Linda's girls, be hadling money and choosing food (buying lunch for him and Yasmin) and Mum would get  abreak, knowing that Peter was safe. (am not allowed to mention that bottle of SOuthern Comfort we drank over 3 nights!!!)

So B+B booked, tickets booked for bus, goodies bought, off we went.
The journey takes about 7 hours - stopping in Fort William for a while on the way. As you head out of Glasgow and along the A82, the views are well - lovely. But even further up, past Fort William - they were stunning. I used to listen to the weather folk say "lingering mists in the Glens" and think "aye right!", but believe me - it lingers!!!

Eventually crossed the Skye Bridge, texted to say we were on our way and by 5.15 we slithered, slipped and slided into Portree Square - the town did not know what was going to hit it!!
Linda and Yasmin met us - linda said there was a slight change to our B+B, but that the woman had booked us in elsewhere and recomeneded Donna highly, so that was great.
Got to the house, unpacked and gathered together the goodies we had brought, plus some photos that we'd brought up and headed to Linda's place for dinner (which was great). We met Candace (lind'a middle daughter) and Lachie, her dad. I do have vague memories of seeing her dad about before i got married (linda and i stayed near each other)
Lachie, well - he was in his element - someone who loved Still Game, Last of the Summer Wine, Fawlty Towers - anything mad cap Peter was his man!!
We chatted, ate, had a medicinal scoop or 3 - Peter was in and out telling us what wsa going on and chuckling away. It was brilliant!

Tuesday, we went to Dunvegan Castle - we comment on Prince Charlie's waistcoat - he must have been a pip squeek and anyway - BHS Wedding Collection do a much nicer take on men's attire!! Could have got a job for my big cousin making PC's waistcoats for him and they'd have been nicer!!!
The castle and grounds are great and it would most likely take a few visits to do it justice. Yasmin and Peter beside the cannons - well, just lets say that Linda and i made sure they weren't pointing to us, lest our children got the idea to do us in!!!
Lunch, back to Portree to pick up goodies at the Co op, to the house, where Lachie and Peter set to discussing what they would watch. Linda and i chatted, looked at photos, Yasmin and Candace were in and out looking at the photos, having a laugh with us. It was nice.
At one point, Lachie came thru to the kitchen to get his tablets (after being told THREE times by linda to come and get them!!) He had a little sherry which he enjoyed and then said that he wsa "Going back thru to see his friend".

Oh man - that brought  a tear to my eye!! Here was a man in his late 80's and a 20 year old and they had hit it off! They were having a great time.

Thursday - well, a bit more DVD watching for the boys, Lunch in Portree and some shopping (no ££ shops, no M+S - it was lovely), Went to the harbour, Linda pointed out Donnie Munro (of runrig fame) - his house and then back for a tea of goodies.

Linda and i knew that Peter and the girls would get on well. What we hadn't faactored in was how well Peter and her Dad would get on. It was nice to see the 2 of them together and watching and chatting - Lachie just took Peter as he came.

Linda and i managed to catch up on loads of stuff - stuff that while letters and e mails are great, only really chatting and a cup of tea (or a glass of something) can do it justice.
So - the outcomes were fullfilled, we will be back and we both had a great break. We will be back.

Try stopping us - it's already been earmarked for the support plan next year!!

I enjoyed the break because often if Peter is sway, i take the time to tidy, sort out things and i don't take time out for ME. I find myself on a monday lunchtime feeling more relaxed and refreshed than i have for a long time. Good food, company and fresh air!!

I now have to organise the other lots of resapite, but typically, the person i'm trying to get, we keep missing each other when we phone. I also need to organise the adxenture holiday for Peter and Paul. Paul looking forward to that - they are of an age now that they prob would go off together. Paul thinks a week of doing canoeing and stuff sounds great!!

When i get the Skye Photos sorted, i'll post some - well if my technophobe mind and my pitying, laughing youngest son let me!!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Peter's support

We are involved with great support group called Unique.
Some of the members have become good friends, who help support us - you all know who you are and your names will come out in time!!
They along with some friends who have known me for years and put up with me are great!

But a time came in Peter's life where Peter did need more support thet as a family we couldn't always give him. He needed to be able to work on independance and not be with US all the time.
So started our journey.

We politely pointed out that Peter needed the support and could we please have some.
No came the reply from the council - and don't you forget it.
Next came the letters to the  councillors.
One of them has been great - has backed us in our quest and has been a source of support and help since. At 1st he wondered why we needed the support, but once he got to know us, he understood. Well - a full scale interogation of what you know about thomas the tank and disney films and your holidays does tend to wear you down.

Eventually, Self directed support was suggested.
Mmmm - we thought. We'd spent months being told that the council had NO money and with cut back, well, they'd have even less. DIdn't we know that the recession was hitting???

But i was persuaded to at least try. Luckily, the person dealing with SDS we had known for a few years and she took us through the application. What was the worst they could do? Give us the budget they already held for Peter's respite and let us decide what to do.

So off she went, armedwith our forms and pled a case. Now, quite what she said i'm not sure and neither do i really care! It was honest and legal (so she says and i believe her!!! ).
She phoned me to tell me that we had been allocated a budget well in excess of what the respite cost, Now we had to get on with the planning.

All this took about 2 years - from the time Peter left school and the child and family services and moved into adult services. I was a bit worried that i'd fall flat on my face with the planning, but at our 1st meeting, we came up with a few good ideas ranging from how Peter could be supported to get to college to how we could organize respite for him.
No Blackpool (as was suggested!) or Caravan (another suggestion we've heard!!) But when you've been as far afield as London and California, with Braemar thrown in, heck, Blackpool, a caravan.....................It is just NOT going to cut it with my boy!!

SO - we now have support to college. Nikki, Ryan and Kelly are just beginning to realize what we are like. The support started on the 4th of october, then we hit the mid term holiday, which hapily wsa our 1st lot of new respite. (will post more later!!)
We've had a couple of glitches, but nothing major so far.
i should be wary of those words - SO FAR!!
They may well (i hope not!) haunt me!!!

My 1st blog

well, here goes - my 1st blog.
I'm Julie and i have a pretty crazy life at times. i travel with several names.................. Julie, Jules and mum are 3 of the polite ones!!
Married to Matthew for many years and have 3 children - Louise, Peter and Paul. Peter has several and complex learning difficulties, which has kinda made our life crazy at times, but Louise and Paul do add in their fair share. Of course matthew and i are not crazed - we are the sane ones in this family!!
Says she twitching her head and hoping no one notices!!

We are involved in a really great support group called Unique - we've met many people through the group and some of them have even remained friends. You shall remain nameless till needed (Sue, Lynne, Liz, Maz...........................)

To protect the guilty, no names will be changed and all offers of decent alchohol will be accepted!

So are you ready for the journey??????????????

Glad someone is, cos i sure as heck ain't!!!