Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time for smiles again

Thankfully the communications with Louise's school seem to have done the trick

The girls in question have backed off and whilst I don't think they will ever be bosom buddies at least they're leaving her alone to get on with settling into the school and making a good circle of friends

I don't know what the school said to them, I'm only grateful that things have improved dramatically

Long may it continue for my smiley little one here in the new school uniform - thank you to everyone for your massive support - most appreciated

Nick is bumbling along quietly - some days I think he's tiring of the implications of the diabetes as he seems to kick back about some of the rules and limitations - other days I think that maybe he's just being a normal teenager - they seem to kick back about something most of the time. He will be 14 on Friday - where did that little boy disappear to?

Sarah is studying hard and playing hard - nothing new there then

The other week she had the opportunity with the rest of her County squad mates to participate in a training session with two of the current England Ladies squad

She's the one with the huge grin in the centre of the picture - the ladies in red on the outside are England player Kim Oliver (right) and the England captain Catherine Spencer (left). Nigel will get to watch these two ladies in action as he's going to Twickenham on Saturday for the England v New Zealand match and the Ladies play directly after the Men's game. The way the guys are playing at the moment perhaps the girls can show them the way to go!

This is two days later after she had the honour of captaining the Somerset U18 squad against Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire - the attractive mud packs at either side of her face are a result of playing #8 and pushing her head between the muddy shorted derrieres of the two second row players in the scrum - the mud was very sandy and boy was her face sore once she cleaned up - the next best thing to dermabrasion I reckon!

Muddy but ecstatic as ever!!!

I've managed some stitching this last few days

Secret Santa gifts completed - a couple of sneak previews:

These are of the SSCS one organised by Elf Donna in Australia (but where will this one travel to I wonder?)

These are of the BQL 'made' one which will go a little nearer to home possibly - I haven't quite decided what to send for my other 'bought' gift yet

And finally I've made good progress on the Soft and Gentle quilt for Nigel's cousin

I've realised the arthritis pain in my hands has been irritated by drinking fresh orange juice so I've cut it out and noticed quite an improvement - missing the OJ though - nothing else gives your taste buds quite the same wake-up call in a morning I'm afraid!

A close up of the next round of hourglass blocks

And a 'done so far' view waiting for more flowers in each corner to complete this round - it measures 56" square so far

Think I might do sawtooth stars for the next round - if I can stomach the thought of all those flying geese components - we'll see..................

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Baptism of Fire

It saddened me greatly to read Tanya's posting the other day about bullying.
The whole concept that people of any age can be so slyly cruel to another is sickening.
The post came at a particularly poignant and pertinent time for me because this week has shown the worst and best of human nature.
The worst has come out in a girl who went to primary school with Louise two years ago and often made her life less than happy probably we think because of jealousy.
This girl, when she found out that Lou was transferring to her secondary school this week, organised the worst kind of welcoming committee for her.
Through the internet and word of mouth she convinced her friends, a group of undesirables at the school, that Louise had been trying to steal one of their boyfriends (all of them aged 12/13 - I ask you?)
She then sat back and slyly watched her carefully orchestrated scenario unfold at a distance with Louise as the unwitting victim
By the end of her first day Louise had endured them all levelling nasty accusations in stage whispers in two of her lessons and finally they tackled her off the premises when she was waiting for me to collect her at the end of the day
Her second day carried on in the same vein culminating with a session in the changing rooms for a PE lesson where Louise finally broke down in tears and rushed out of the room to get help
We should be thankful that all this was only verbal not physical abuse but nevertheless totally unnerving and very upsetting
At the end of the first day I had sent an email to her form teacher to make her aware of the situation - many years ago Sarah suffered at the hands of some of her peers just before she transferred to secondary school - not wanting to exascerbate the situation we adopted a 'suck it and see' tactic which turned out to be the wrong one and as a result I have always since stepped in at the first sign of trouble to endeavour to get things nipped in the bud
Fortunately, because of my job, I have access to the County Global email address list and could pen this missive promptly - other parents don't have that sort of access and would have had to resort to ringing the school and waiting call backs which would have further delayed the onset of any solution
Coincidentally Louise went to her teacher for help just after she had opened my email and the school sprang into action to sort out the situation
As you can imaging Louise had been even more nervous about going into school on the second day and I was like a cat on hot bricks all day
At 2.30pm I received a call from the school - they wanted me to go into school at the end of the day to talk to her Head of Year
To give credit to the school they were mortified that this had happened and massively apologetic
Mrs Matthews had sat patiently with Louise going through all the Year 8 pupils' photographs on the school management system so she could identify the girls, all of whom she'd only met the day before and of whose names she had no idea
We came to the conclusion that Louise had been a victim of cyber-bullying and the school would do all in their power to sort it out
Yesterday I had another call from Mrs Matthew's PA reassuring me that they knew which girls were involved include the back-room conductor of the band and they would be dealt with.
She also told me that she was amazed at how mature our 12 year old blonde baby had been in dealing with the situation by both keeping her composure under fire and also having the courage to contact a virtually unknown adult in a new environment to ask for help. They have identified a place of safety for her to go to if she ever feels exposed and she added that Louise was a real credit to her parents in being able to handle the situation in such a composed manner so I guess you could say the best of human nature has manifested itself in her
At least now the school are aware of the situation and dealing with it, and should it continue, sanctions will be set for these girls to hopefully avoid any recurrence
On the better side of human nature two girls in her class that she has befriended have been massively supportive and done their best to help her settle in
Of course the most ridiculous thing about the whole situation, if anything can make you raise a smile about such things, is that because these girls had jumped in with both feet immediately on Louise's arrival they couldn't even try to shift any of the blame for bad feeling onto her
Cleverer girls would have bided their time and then started trouble a few weeks later being careful to blame Louise for any animosity - nasty and not bright - not a good combination
Instead they were hoisted with their own petard
Things can only get better (please)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Keeping my head above water - just!

My life is generally busy

I run around after three kids, work part-time in an ever-changing job, keep a (not very tidy) house, look out for my elderly parents, try to squeeze in some time with my husband and occasionally manage to pull a little me time for stitching out of the hat like the proverbial magician's rabbit

I don't think I am alone with this number of conflicting demands on my time

I'm sure that many, many of you also only just manage to keep various balls in the air too

However at the moment life seems ever more complex and I have to say I'm struggling to keep my head above water

Our younger two children followed their big sister to our nearest senior school. It is a small school which is viewed in the eyes of most of the local residents to be the least desirable school in the town to attend

However we liked everything about it when we first moved here and all three of our children have each chosen it when their turn came and we've never regretted our decisions...
until now.....

Lately there have been changes afoot

The local council in conjunction with the local Church of England diocese have campaigned and been authorised to close our lovely school along with its nearest neighbour (a school we have never liked or considered sending our children to) in order to establish a brand new Academy on the site of this other school

In view of the alternatives (our school would have had to close anyway because of a falling roll) we have given these plans our full blown backing - I even appeared on local television and attended a County Council meeting speaking in support of it

it was announced that the existing Headteacher of the other school was to be appointed as Principal of the newly formed Academy

We have serious misgivings about this appointment and the knock on effects, we feel the appointing bodies have missed the opportunity to bring in a new dynamic leader for a state of the art new school and we suspect that there has been some sort of behind the scenes wheeling and dealing to get the other school on board - hidden agendas at every turn
So to cut a long story short after many family discussions and a great deal of heartsearching we came to our decision

Nick has opted to stay with his supportive group of friends and work his way through the transition period for the new Academy for his all important two GCSE exam years - with his newly diagnosed diabetes to cope with he needs less, not more, disruption and we support his decision

But Louise is to move school, in the middle of her second senior school year, to a different school again which is across town adjacent to the 6th Form College her elder sister attends

This will mean three kids at three different establishments and all the complex taxi driving that entails for me but it is manageable - just!

Today is Louise's first day at the new school

She is an outwardly confident, clever, happy kid who has been looking forward to this day since she made the decision

But sitting in the new school's reception area waiting to be collected by someone from her tutor group this morning her courage wavered - tears were perilously close to the brink - tissues were offered by the kindly receptionist and she just managed to hold it together until one of her peers came for her

Similar tears streamed down my face, held in until I was out of sight driving home

I just hope she comes out at 3.05pm with a smile and a desire to return tomorrow - I'm not sure quite how I can magic things better if she doesn't

Isn't it awful when powers beyond your control pull the rug from beneath your feet - I just hate that feeling of powerlessness