Friday, 30 October 2015

Have you missed us?

We missed our usual Friday posting because we were getting ready for a few days away in Cambridgeshire. All four of us managed to co-ordinate taking parts of our annual leave and we had a lovely time together. We had two adjacent rooms in a slightly soulless hotel. 

It was always a slightly anxious time when the six of us went to eat our breakfast or evening meal there but Nicola and Alice behaved really well and we were proud of them. It did surprise us that so many other parents allowed their children to run around or make a lot of noise instead of expecting them to sit fairly quiet and fairly still when eating in public. We must be stricter parents than we realised.

Nicola and Alice understand the idea of taking turns and so when we did something that was more for the parents than the children, like visiting the cathedral, they would ask us , "Is it Mummy's turn now?". That made me smile every time. The two of them spent ages looking for God inside the cathedral but (just about!) accepted my explanation that he must have been hiding from them.

As always Ella and I had 1 complete day "off duty" when we went off on our own leaving the two little ones to be looked after by the two Dads. This is good for all six of us - just for different reasons!  

In the morning we met up with London based Cert in a Skirt in St Albans. She was practically abandoned by her parents when she turned 18. Her parents went off to the Gulf at almost zero notice and without making any proper financial provision for her. She saw one of our first adverts, by a “freak of chance” as she put it, and has been a friend and subscriber ever since.

Cert in a Skirt's story is one of the few that makes us feel really cross rather than sad. Her parents cold-bloodedly lied to her over a period of over 12 months including telling her a total fairy story about why the family home had been sold. They gave her just 5 weeks notice that they were leaving the country and it is hardly surprising that the parent-child relationship has never recovered.
After about an hour Pinky ( a librarian) and Natasha (a care worker) arrived to join us.  We have known Pinky for ages but hadn't seen him face-to-face for some years. When he left the Children's Home he vanished to Spain for 2 years, then came back to England and started posting to the newsletter. Then he vanished again and only fairly recently got back in touch. Natasha is his long-term girl friend and it was nice to meet her for the first time in ages. We all had a light lunch together before going our separate ways.

In our case it was a few miles south to where we had tea with Crystal. When we first heard from Crystal she was a mature student on an "Access to Higher Education" course but now she is now a graduate with a history degree. She first found Ella and I when she was doing some research for an academic project and she contacted us by phone for some information on the funding attached to Looked After Children. In those days we were far more casual about giving out our contact details, we would never do that now!

The entire holiday was a great success - we even managed to avoid the rain that the weather man kept mentioning.



Thursday, 15 October 2015

Yes my BPs HAVE done a runner

Yes they have done a runner.
Ella here. My birth parents Mr and Mrs Nut Job seem to have moved to Spain. I got a letter with Spanish stamps on it this week to prove it. It was BFs idea, of course. BM went with him because she doesn't know any better. She has been like this, weak, for the last 10 years. My BM isn't totally bad. But she cannot imagine working for a living or making a decision. I just try to defend her in my head by thinking she still loves me. 
And she isn't happy in Spain. Why doesn't that surprise me? He has found things to do, mainly building related and probably iffy. She just sits at home waiting for him to come back. She doesn't speak Spanish and doesn't want to. So her only semi-friends are other bored ex-English wives.
She wants to come home. He doesn't. No prizes for guessing who wins. I'm not expecting to see him again, probably ever. As soon as I saw the moan "Where would I live if I did come home?" I knew what was coming. She wants to live in our house. Knowing her no money status she would want it rent free. She hasn't worked since I was born, she has no skills any employer would want. She would never get a "proper job", which to her means being in charge. She would never be any good at a minimum wage job because she has too many expensive habits. I just do not see her in a small flat working in a zero hours contract job at minimum wages but that is all she can expect.
Anyway all the people they conned in the UK are still here. Still waiting for their money so her short holiday in the sun hasn't solved anything has it? BF still has a drink problem, a violence problem and a brain problem. It is now just in Spain rather than over here.
Since I have already been disinherited it is amazing that she thinks I should support  her!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Why Ella and I never say goodbye

Goodbye is a word that Ella and I no longer use. I think the last time I can definitely remember using it was on our final day at the Children's Home when we "timed out" from Care at 18. That was a day that neither of us will ever forget and some years later I wrote a poem about how Ella and I felt that Friday. It was a weird tradition at the Children's Home that anybody leaving had a formal goodbye speech and final message from the Manager during their last breakfast. Just so unpleasant for most of those involved!

Our last day 

The long restless night is over – the Home begins to stir.
To stir, to wake with long familiar sounds. Voices, water rushing through the pipes. But no rushing for us today. A Friday with no rushing? How strange.
Strange is not the proper word. Our last day here. Today we’re moving on. Moving on and moving out. The Queen is dead – long live the King.
Big Al is King now. The oldest and toughest one left now we have gone. Will people know or care that we have gone? Off to our council flats.

Not a flat as was agreed but separate flats. Well away from school and here. Separate flats how cruel. For 40 months we lived as one. No more. 

Breakfast – our final meal. Now we’re separate from the rest, apart, special. 

The cook, for years our special friend, comes to say goodbye. Sadness visits us. Sadness as we look around, faces, names, stories from our past. Vanishing. 

Our past? The Home is in our past. Bags are packed and goodbyes said. The Home is quiet but school is noisy now. We wait for our promised lift. 

So much we were promised. All packs of lies. They told us what we want to hear. 

The car. Pack our lives into the car. Then a last look around, the Home is not our home. 

A wave. A tear. A short car trip - a silent, sad car trip. Two separate flats for us. 

Two lives were one, then two again. How cruel.
We don't like the word "goodbye" because it seems so final. Almost as if you don't expect to see the person again. Permanent separation from family or other people that you have grown fond of can be a too familiar part of life to foster children and "goodbye" feels like part of that.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Visitors come to stay!

I need to explain to readers that don't know me personally who some of characters in this blog entry are otherwise things will be even more complicated to follow than normal! Didi and Magda are two of our (Eve and Ella's) closest friends. Until recently Didi was the Assistant Manager of a hotel in Gloucestershire and Magda worked in ICT a couple of miles away. Didi and Magda are "an item" and they lived together in the flat that goes with Didi's job.

Didi and Magda both have new jobs and they are currently residing in our spare room for the simple reason that both are now employed within three miles of our house. Yes the two of them have waved goodbye to Gloucestershire and have waved hello to the slightly less classy county of Worcestershire.

Didi is still an Assistant Manager of a hotel but it is a bigger and better hotel and so the job carries with it a bigger and better salary. Didi left her former post when her salary review was postponed for the third time and because she was tired of being mucked around. After she handed in her notice the Regional Manager tried to get her to stay but rightly, in our view, she told him, nicely, that once you have burned your employment bridges you should let them stay burned.

Magda arrived here a couple of days later, wondered into the city looking for work and then wondered back here two hours later with a job that started the following Monday. Now that is good going even for girl with her ICT skills! I didn't realise until I saw her passport that Magda is a British Citizen and not Norwegian as I had always thought. Her father is Norwegian but since Magda's mother was British and Magda was born in the UK she is also British. Just to complicate things Magda's parents currently do live in Norway!

Within a few days Didi and Magda found a house to rent. The current occupants are moving out at the middle of October so the two of them will be staying with us until then. It is a fair sized house, far larger than the staff flat they had lived in previously, so they will need to buy some additional furniture. On the plus side it is now much easier for them to have friends to stay.

It goes without saying that we are thrilled by the thought of seeing our best friends weekly rather than monthly so it is big smiles in our house at the moment.