Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Another parentless but happy Christmas

Since Alice and Nicola arrived to bless our lives Christmas has been more special than it used to be. In the pre-children era, that, BTW, seems like a lifetime ago, Christmas meant meeting up with other parentless friends rather than any type of family celebration.

Of course for many of our best friends Christmas still seems quite bleak. When you haven't got much spare money or any birth family Christmas can feel rather pointless. It becomes quite easy to slip into the role of an outsider looking with ill-concealed envy at other people having fun. For some the safe familiarity of a small council flat can replace looking for human interaction and for others working extra shifts can seem preferable to a chicken leg eaten on your own.

Which is why Ella and I always make the effort to have an Open House for our friends.

Our 2014 Christmas "Open House" was the best ever. As always our husbands Chris and Mark played a crucial, but unglamorous, role. Chris drove the hired minibus to collect our guests from assorted pick-up points in the morning but even more importantly then drove the same people back to their pick-up points late on Christmas evening. Mark had an identical role but used his car for those who couldn't conveniently access the minibus option. They are both total stars! 

This year we used the minibus to pick up people from three different places. Ludlow Park and Ride was a mistake and the town centre would have been more sensible. 

I think that 2014 was the first time ever that all the folk who said they would be coming actually turned up. What made it even better was that everybody also remembered to bring the food they said they would so there was no duplication and no gaps either! Well done everybody. 

Obviously the most important news that we found out during the gossip sessions was that Magda appears to be back in the UK! Grace T saw her from a distance of not more than 10 yards when both of them were waiting at traffic lights - Magda on foot, Grace T in her car. 

Curiously this didn't come as a total surprise to Didi but the two of them are taking things very slowly and carefully which is why her return had been kept a secret! 

Visitors (20) were – 

AC/DC, now a full time model. 

Alice N, she works full time at the Childrens’ Home where many of us lived at different times. She would like to pass the responsibility for the photo archive on to somebody else. Any offers? 

Angel, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, now a "almost full time" care worker.

Angie D, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, still a minimum wage slave in retail sector.

Belle S, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, working part time in a convenience store.

Carly, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, works in a garden centre.

Didi, live in Gloucester, she is a deputy manager in a hotel.  

Fergie Sings The Blues, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, working for an undertaker.  

Grace T works in patient therapy in a hospital. She is "as sure as she can be" that she saw Magda in Gloucester in December!! 

Helena P works in a stables.

Mad Lad, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, a self employer builder.

Peter From Upstairs, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, works in a hardware shop.

Queen of the World, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, a mature student.

Red Rose, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, works in bar/restaurant.  

Simple Not Simon works in an "upmarket pub".

Tiger Not Tim, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, currently unemployed.

Tom H, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, works in a garden centre.

Tom T, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, works in a petrol station.

Twinkle, lives in Childrens’ Home Ville, currently unemployed.

Zulu, lives near Montgomery, works for an optical supplies company. 


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Light a candle for 2 Motherless girls

At this time of year we always think about Nicola – no, not Ella’s baby Nicola but our friend Nicola from the Children's Home who died so young.

To Ella and I Nicola represents all that was and is wrong with the system. Nicola died after she got infected with MRSA - in hospital. That's right she went in for minor surgery and came out in a coffin. When Nicola realised she was dying she got in touch with her final set of foster parents and they dropped everything visiting her every day from then until she died. Nicola wasn’t stupid – not by any means – and if she had been given just a bit more encouragement to stay on at school or had had a special friend to share her daily life with who knows what might have happened.

It seems such a waste to die at 21, especially when you didn’t have many happy times in your life. It could so easily have been Ella or I buried in the cemetery if things had worked out just a bit differently. We visit her grave quite often and I know some of our friends do the same.

We never met Wendy N but she sounds to have been quite a girl. She died in an accident a month after we started publishing our newsletter. Her closest friend is still a subscriber (waving at Wendys Pal). We happen to know that Wendy was cremated but there wasn’t any money for a proper memorial and I think that 2015 is when her friends should try to put that right.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Romulus and Remus - rest in peace

It is probably a good thing that Ella and I were both at work today. If anybody tells you that the death of a family pet isn't a big issue then they are flat out lying - or horribly insensitive. Even our husbands, normally the sensible ones, are feeling sad.

Nicola and Alice (both 2) have noticed that Romulus and Remus are missing. Ella told the girls that the cats had gone to live with an animal doctor and they seemed to accept this in a rather matter-of-fact way. I think they are too young to understand the concept of death so there wasn't any point even trying to explain the idea to them.

At the moment the cats' bed is still where it has always been. Perhaps at the weekend we will be brave enough to move it down into the cellar because I don't think we want to throw it away just yet.

In life Romulus and Remus were never more than a few feet apart and in a strange way burying them so their limbs were intertwined made perfect sense. Now they are at the Rainbow Bridge they will have been restored to full health so the other cats and dogs better watch out!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Two sad things happened this week

Regular readers will know the story of our two refuge cats Romulus and Remus. They did everything together and it was somehow fitting that fate had brought them into our lives. So it is with great sadness I have to tell your all that Romulus died of old-age last Thursday and that Remus was put to sleep by the vet this morning.

Romulus had been fading for a while now but wasn't unhappy or in pain so while that was true we didn't think anything needed to be done. Romulus went to bed at the normal time on Wednesday but died during the night. Poor old Remus then stopped eating and drinking and was so distressed that after talking to the vet it was agreed that the kind and merciful thing to do would be to have Remus put to sleep.

The two of them have been buried in our back garden, side by side in death as they were in life. They will be greatly missed.

Ella and I have received a number of homophobic emails this week that could only have come from readers of the Facebook group Motherless Daughters. I had previously complained about the actions of one Sandy Armstrong Angstadt and her small clique of supporters.

Although "the thread" has now been deleted I'm going to have to share the sadness I feel about the venom that some members of the group displayed towards other members. The guidelines for posting are perfectly clear - no personal attacks - but some very, very nasty personal attacks were posted and were allowed to remain on view for 12 hours or more.

Can the administrators confirm that those involved will not be allowed the opportunity to re-offend? The one place I never expected to find the playground bully and her fellow travellers allowed free reign was a bereavement support group.

My current view of Facebook represents so small a change to my previously published view that it would seem emptily repetitious to repeat most of it here. What I would say is that Facebook allows some extremely unpleasant people to bully others and it makes me sick to my stomach to read some of the posts the bullies put into the public domain.