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!!!!