Monday, October 27, 2008


It took me about an hour to get everyone ready and out of the house, but we finally did it. How we all get to work and school on time every day, I don't know. It'll be even worse when we have another, smaller, fussier creature to pander to.

Both of them spotted a mushroom each. Isobel found some Common Inkcaps;

But I'm not sure what Taylor's ones were, they were a bit ambiguous. Any experts out there?;

October Sun

We have no Ryan here this week, he's gone to Wales with his Mum for the week. He didn't seem too confident that they would get on, she's been a bit stroppy with him on the phone. It's the first time he's gone anywhere with her in two years, but normally the first visit goes fine, it's the second one where she treats him like crap. We'll see.

It is a beautiful day today, so I'm going to get the chldren dressed and go out and take some pictures, before it decides to rain again. I love the light at this time of year, when we actually get any.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lazy Monday

I'm being very lazy today after a busy Sunday, so thought I'd best do a blog post.

I realised yesterday that we have exactly 3 months until Isobel starts school full time. We had a phone call the other day to tell us that the class that started in September had 8 spaces, so they'd been looking for the most mature pupils in the nursery to go into that class and Isobel had been chosen. So her and one of her best friends are going into that established class instead of the completely new class in January. At first I was pleased that they thought she was that grown up and advanced, then I realised that she was always going to be the youngest in this class, and at a bit of a disadvantage. Is she always going to be that child that is behind? The one that can't yet read, or write, because she is 6 months younger. Oh well, I guess the teachers know what they are doing.

My first assignment is due this Thursday coming, and I'd been really struggling to find the time to do it, so I stayed up until gone midnight on Saturday and finished the bleedin' thing. It was only a small one, 600ish words, but I was quite excited about sending it off to my tutor for marking. She's emailed me saying she's received it, so I can't change it now!

Both Taylor and Ryan's football teams are doing well, but I'm particularly pleased for Taylor. Ryan's team have always been good, but last season Taylor's team were RUBBISH. They lost every game. They always took it with a smile on their little faces and kept on going though. This year, they've won every game. They won 11-1 yesterday. Taylor is the goalkeeper(he played half goalkeeper, half defence last year), and he is so good, bless him. We get the other teams managers and the referees coming up to us in the car park congratulating him after the games, it's so nice for him to get a bit of recognition. Here are the previous two match reports on the team website;

Sunday 12th October 2008 - Shoebury Youth (2) Vs Beech United (4) Best performance of the season. Beat the top team. Players never stopped running, 100% effort from both teams. Great game to watch-T.Lane was outstanding in goal today and deserved his man of the match trophy.

Sunday 5th October 2008 - Beech United (5) Vs Eversley Boys (3)
Today's game Beech United played Eversley Boys. Very tense match in terrible conditions. Brilliant performance and effort from all the players. Won 5-3 today. Goal scorers as follows g.wilson 2 goals, 1 goal, c.adams 1 goal, d.terry 1 goal. T.Lane made a great save from the penalty spot to keep us 4-3 up!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


This will be a have been warned.

I mentioned a few weeks ago about my Centre having a few problems with the Council, who basically pay my wages but we don't have much to do with them. First they wanted to stop the trips because of insurance, then it was staff using council time, then it was a cash handling issue. Now, we are looking at being in a position where we can't handle cash at all, for trips, classes, tea bar - nothing at all, which is 80% of our job. They are obviously trying to make staff cuts, but aren't being honest about it. Why can't they just tell us? This has been rumbling on since April with no resolution, and now the press are involved. I, as a staff member, can't really fight this, it's the Committee's job, and bearing in mind that the Committee members are all 60-70+, they aren't up to much.
I've come in to work today to a letter sent to our Committee Chairman, basically detailing our cash handling, then at the bottom in small print it says:
The committees would like to recruit one service provider able to deliver a cash handling service to all three centres. However, bids to one or two of the centres will also be considered.
We would be pleased to receive details of your proposed methodology and charges by close of business on Friday 14th November 2008.

This letter has also been sent to a range of voluntary groups and the Community Volunteer Service, Basildon District Volunteer Carers, and Age Concern, so that they too can put in a bid to run our centre.

The Committee and my boss have had this letter for a week, and completely ignored this bit at the bottom, which is basically the whole point of the letter. The Council think that as old people they are too stupid to put in a bid, and at the moment they are right, it is a huge undertaking! I spent an hour convincing the Chairman to at least try and put in a bid, then my boss comes in and gets in a strop. He hates anyone having any ideas that aren't his, and he has been so rude to us girls today because we've been trying to explain it to both him and the Chairman. My boss is adamant that the Council won't go ahead with's there in black and white; on the 14th November tender for the cash handling closes, and if you aren't in it, you can't win it. He has his head buried in the sand. It makes me so mad! I offered to help the Chairman write a bid, and gave him a few ideas, but now I just feel like throwing in the towel, after the way my boss spoke to me. He can't bear to not be in control, which would be fine if he wasn't so bloody useless! I do all his work and he takes all the credit, I do his personal reviews, his risk assessments, his minutes for his managers meetings...he's happy for me to put the effort so he can be lazy, just as long as he doesn't look like a fool and can take the praise. Grrrrrr....

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cutting costs

Although we are managing to survive with this looming financial crisis, this month was the first time we've noticed it being a bit of a squeeze. Pete got paid last Tuesday, and he earns a good wage - way above average, and the whole lot is gone on bills. I'm going to have to borrow £200 from somewhere(probably my wonderful boss), just to make it through to my payday on the 18th. All we did was pay things like council tax, electric bills, fill up the car, buy some's getting ridiculous.

I've subconsciously cut down our shopping over the last few weeks, so now we are buying hardly any meat, and I've stopped buying fruit and have been picking it outside as much as possible(our wild apples near the school are delicious!). I'm not sure how else I can save money. I won't compromise on organic milk and free range eggs, I'd rather go without(in fact, we have stopped buying eggs so much and are making a dozen last a month now), and I try to make bread whenever I get the time - which is not very often.

I might have to start buying value brand washing powder and cleaning stuff, which is absolute crap, I may as well not bother to clean at all. Anyone found any bargains, or stuff that actually works? If I use anything other that Bold 2in1 then the many stains don't come out of the kids uniforms, and if I don't use Domestos bleach then my toilets end up looking like something from a horror movie. I am already tightfisted with this kind of stuff, I only buy Zoflora to do all the other cleaning jobs. It's only about 70p and you can use it for just about anything(floors, surfaces, toilets, animal cages). I also refuse to buy fabric softener, we just have to put up with crunchy clothes! I'm not sure what else to do.

We were supposed to be moving around Christmas time, mainly to get the extra room, but also to get Ryan nearer to his school and get us into a nicer area. Now we are not so sure it's wise. We are very lucky to be in a secure position here with a small mortgage, and both our jobs are safe(well, if my centre gets closed I'll get transferred so technically will keep my wage), but I'm not sure I feel comfortable going out there in the big wide world and renting a home off someone who might not be so secure. I'd hate to move and get settled, with a newborn baby, then find out our landlord has declared bankruptcy, or been forced to raise our rent or sell the property. I think we might be more sensible building the extra rooms here and waiting it out. In two years when Ryan has finished school, we can go wherever we like.

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I have a new obsession, otherwise known as a way to waste time. Making stuffed felt animals and monsters. This is my first one;

Franz the Rabbit:

Isobel is nagging me to do her a cat now, but as my degree coursework arrived yesterday, I'm going to have to back away from the bag of felt and start my work instead.