Saturday, 23 August 2014

Phone phrustrations

I have finally been dragged into this century, phone-wise. Not only do I now own a smart phone, I have it on contract (I just heard the thud as The Daughter passed out). My old phone - second hand from one of the children, as it turns out most parents' phones are - finally gave up the ghost last week. Thankfully, we had a load of old mobiles which we were going to put into the next charity bag through the letterbox, so I dug one of those out and made do with it, although the black flip phone made me look like a Star Trek extra.

Yesterday, we went into town and I got the cheapest contract I could find (no, I don't need 500 do-dahs of internet access, thank you. How many calls do I make a week? Maybe three a month... But unlimited texts would be handy so I can answer the texts of everyone else on unlimited texts, instead of having to text, 'Sorry, have only got 15p of credit left.') The shop girl was good at disguising her sympathy for this poor, friendless customer, and kindly showed me the way round the mini-computer it seemed I was buying. 

Unlike The Husband, I do read instructions, and spent several hours last night working out exactly what my new phone could do. I accidentally phoned a couple of Facebook friends in the process, but I've now got a list of contacts, and have changed the boring screen-saver to the old Calvin and Hobbes one from my old phone. 

If you find a phone with this screen-saver
and less than 20 contacts, it's mine...

The problem I have been wrestling with all morning is the ringtone. The ones on the phone are mixture of bleeps and electronic burbles which, when heard, make everyone in the vicinity look at each other and say, 'Is that me?'. For the last rather-a-lot-of-years, I have had The Cure's song 'Friday I'm in Love' as my ringtone, and have got so used to it that, even when I hear it on a cd, I still reach for my phone. The children are so familiar with it that they shout, 'Phone! Oh, it's the radio, never mind...' So I would probably never answer my phone (to all those people who never call me) if I had anything different. That being the case, I have spent over three hours trying to find a way of downloading the song onto my phone and turning it into my ringtone. Sad, I know, but I have finally done it. Son Number One would be proud. He gets more than a little frustrated when The Husband, feeling instructions are way, way beneath him, keeps asking how to do things. We get role reversal, with the child berating the adult for not even trying and giving up too easily. 

Anyway, I'm getting used to the phone, and can now join the throngs of people who sit in pubs and ignore each other. I can check the weather rather than looking out of the window, see what stupid photos people want me to share on Facebook, and talk about apps with the best of them. 

And now I must continue with my assignment. I have written half and done it in record time, with my case study showing that my friend really needs therapy before she drives herself and everyone else quite mad. Although... it is lunchtime. And the house is empty because everyone's gone to a football match. So, lunch and a couple of episodes of House first, then I'll carry on with the essay. Possibly.  

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Plymouth and playing with money

'Plymouth: graphic novel nerds, monopoly and posing in sunglasses.' 

The final bit in my little scribbly notebook, this was the wander around the... (is Plymouth a city?... Google tells me it is - thank goodness for the internet, making up for my lack of general knowledge) city that took place between the train journeys mentioned a few days ago. 

I rather like Plymouth, and it's on the shortlist for places to retire to, not that The Husband knows anything about this. The list also includes Truro (with apologies to The Daughter who will now probably make plans to move), the Lake District and Glastonbury, but depends on a decent sized lottery win, because obviously I want a large house with a farmhouse kitchen and library. Anyway, Plymouth is a good shopping centre, not that I do shopping on the scale of, say, Ms Fab. While The Daughter went and bought shares in Primark, I dragged the rest of the family into a large book shop. Son Number One and The Husband joined the ranks of bored men on a squashy sofa while Son Number Two and I browsed books. 

I am increasingly intrigued by graphic novels, which are, I suppose, just an acceptable way for adults to read comics. Everyone browsing in that section was male and looked to be under 30, so I gingerly approached the shelves, expecting to be told I was too old to be there (similar to the way I feel when I go in Topshop). The thing was, where to start? I'm not into Marvel superheroes, and everything seemed to be part of a series. So I had another wander around the shop, and found a Walking Dead monopoly. The Sons had a thing about monopolies a few years ago - we have a French game, a Star Wars version, World Cup 2006, even a surfing monopoly - but Walking Dead monopoly?? The Husband watches it on tv, but I stopped after the first series. The story was good, but I hated the sound effects, which were like someone sticking a pitchfork into a watermelon. But it did remind me that the story started life as a graphic novel, so I now have the first eight books all in one volume, which, after a day of non-stop reading and a massive headache, has made me itch to get the next one. 

While The Husband tried to find something in Fat Face to spend a gift voucher on, Son Number One complained about the prices of shirts, and spent £25 on a pair of sunglasses instead. When it was pointed out that they were the same as the pair he already had, he corrected us and said that the lenses were a bit darker. I think that now makes him the owner of six pairs of sunglasses, including ones with weird orange lenses that he wears for cricket and make him look like a strange insect. 

You can never have too many pairs of sunglasses

And that was it from my holiday notebook. 

Today, Son Number One (that's him in the photo) has just come back from meeting a friend in Doncaster, and Son Number Two should be setting up his tent at the Reading Festival. It's the first year he's been, and I am being a Worried Mother. I know he's with friends, and I know he's no idiot, but I am looking forward to seeing him again on Monday. I don't care if he smells or has lost his rucksack, just as long as doesn't miss the bus home and we have to drive 150 miles to get him. 

Meanwhile, The Husband is watching The Great British Bake Off, and I have an assignment to write. It's more of a creative writing exercise, because we have to make up a case study and say what approach we'd use to counsel this poor person. I have based mine on someone I know (don't worry, it's not you). I'm actually really enjoying this course, mainly because I'm getting good marks, that always helps. I have promised myself I will finish my essay by the time Son Number Two gets home, but that still gives me time for a little procrastinating. I saw a video of someone doing that thing where they roll a coin through their fingers and, for an unknown reason, thought 'I want to do that.' But first I had to find a half dollar, because apparently that's the best coin to use. Digging through a drawer, I found one (like you do) - a 1964 Kennedy half dollar, no less. And now comes hours of me irritating the family by constantly dropping coins. 

Oh well, anything to get out of studying. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Five are fairly well behaved in Cornwall

I am trying to make sense of the notes I scribbled in a tiny notebook whilst on holiday in Cornwall just over a week ago:

'Lizard: church on beach, cliffs, seals, rain, cows in field, death statistics.'

This relates to when we drove to the most southerly point of mainland Britain, Lizard Point. Despite having visited Cornwall several times - as a child, then when The Husband's mother lived there, and now that The Daughter's there - I had never been to Lizard Point. On the way there, we stopped at Gunwalloe cove, which is one of The Daughter's favourites (it's rather handy knowing a 'local'). 



Son Number Two and The Daughter 
at Gunwalloe Cove, trying to prove me wrong
when I said the tide was going out

Right next to this was the tiny church called The Church of the Storms, which regularly has to have stone piled behind it so it doesn't disappear into the sea. After a clamber on the rocks, we continued to The Lizard, where we took a steep path down to the little beach, from where we could make out seals bobbing about by the rocks. 


At Lizard Point

We then followed a cliff-top path, just a foot or two from huge drops into the sea. We saw some gorgeous little beaches, but there was no way to get down to them, although I'm sure the boys were itching to try. They have a thing about climbing on the rocks which I'm sure is going to cause me an early death, if not them. 



No, you can't go down there...

A sudden rain storm caused an abrupt about-turn, and we followed a footpath which led through a field and headed towards the car-park. There was plenty of evidence of cows, and as we rounded a corner, there they were. I immediately thought of the statistics that Son Number Two had read out to us recently, of deaths caused by particular animals. Okay, so most were the expected - tigers, sharks, snakes and so on - but I was sure that cows had been included in there somewhere. I do like cows, but from the other side of the fence, not when thirty of them all stop eating and stare at you (it reminded me of a time we'd been to a pub in a neighbouring village). 'Actually, they're not cows,' The Daughter told me, as we got closer. 'They're young bulls.' Oh, even better. Still, we kept going, doing our best to look inoffensive and vegetarian. We made it back to the car safely, just drenched, and steamed up the car as we sat in traffic jams back to Truro. It's amazing how many ways you can put your life on the line just going for a walk by the sea...

'Truro: sweet shop and seagull net.' 

Truro has a proper sweet shop - the sort that you try to walk past, but can't. The sort that has everyone saying, 'I've not had one of those in years.' I only went in to keep the Sons company and to have a nose around, but came out with a bagful of Reese's peanut butter cups, which I'd not had in... gosh... days. The good thing about those is that no-one, apart from The Daughter, likes them, so I don't have to share. Poor Son Number Two and his Rosy Apples, though - they didn't last long. We met up with The Daughter plus Boyfriend, who showed us to a rather nice eatery, where we sat outside because it was so warm (at the time. We later moved indoors to avoid the wind and confuse the waiter.). The outdoor seating area had a big net over it to stop the seagulls stealing your dinner. (Seagulls are, I think, the main reason my mother hasn't been to Cornwall for a long time.) Think pterodactyl and... umm, that's it really. Just don't eat chips when you're out in the open. And keep tight hold of small children. 


Herring gull. Don't make eye contact. 


'Falmouth: park and float.'

We're used to catching the park and ride into towns, but Falmouth had a park and float - you park the car and catch a ferry that takes you up the River Fal and into the town. And that was about it for Falmouth - it wasn't as nice as I'd remembered from a few years back. 

Next time:

'Plymouth: graphic novel nerds, monopoly and posing in sunglasses.' 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Truro to Plymouth and back again

Okay, so this actually happened a week ago, while we were in Cornwall. I had a need to write things, so bought a notebook and got scribbling during the train journey...

Standing waiting for a train at Plymouth station, I have an urge to push a man off the platform. Not just because he's wearing the most awful flowery shorts I've ever seen, but probably for the same reason I want to push people into the sea when they sit on the edge of a quay. (Not that I've actually done this, you understand, I just have to take a step away in case I'm tempted.) Something similar was mentioned in the staff room a while ago, but while it seems I'm the only one drawn to murder, the others went for the suicide option. One woman admitted she's afraid she's going to throw herself off bridges when she walks across them; another felt the urge to jump in front of tube trains (so next time your train's delayed, it could be because of our school secretary.). My Grandmother used to deliberately move away from the edge of bridges because 'water draws you, dear.' Son Number Two found out there's a name for this bizarre urge: high place phenomenon. Anyway, Mr Flowery Shorts tuned into my thoughts and moved away from the edge of the platform, so that was my fun spoiled. 


We've just had a day in Plymouth, mooching around the shops, and took the train because it was actually cheaper than driving and parking. Our tickets came with reserved seats, and I was a bit further down the carriage than the rest of the family on the way there. I volunteered for that as I don't tend to do conversation whilst travelling - I'd rather gaze out of the window and listen to my slightly suspect inner monologue. As I stared out of the window, I realised I could see the reflection of the woman sitting in front of me, who was facing my way. We had an embarrassing amount of eye-meets during the journey as I looked out at hill-side golf courses and fields full of cows. I had nothing to do but watch things (I'd forgotten to bring a book), while Window Woman was busy drinking coffee (two sugars), eating chocolate (half a bar, such restraint) and rubbing cuticle cream into her fingers. 



Plymouth

I'm really not very good when it comes to train travel, I suppose I don't do it enough. For a start, I always have to be on time for everything, and when I say 'on time', I mean fifteen minutes early. So I start to get nervous jitters half an hour before the train's due - when everyone else is calmly sitting there drinking coffee, I'm looking around saying, 'Do you think we should be going?' In Truro, I embarrassingly tried to feed my train ticket into the wrong machine while the rest of the family, and assorted station staff, watched me. 'Did you not see the big red cross over that machine?' asked Son Number One. Obviously not. 

Waiting for the return train, there were various announcements telling us the train would be delayed by six, then eight, then ten minutes (I didn't know Mrs Secretary was down this way), which resulted in mass confusion when it appeared within thirty seconds. 

And now we're on our way back, on an overcrowded train for which we again, thankfully, have reserved seats. We did have to fight for those seats, though. Well, the rest of the family did. I'm far too English - I'd have stood up for the hour and a half journey to avoid saying, 'Excuse me, but....' In the event, I just stood there and lamely said, 'Ummm....', but she got the message and I got my seat. I am sitting next to Son Number Two for this journey, but he is plugged into his iPod, so I am free to write and be antisocial. I am trying not to be nosy, but I do like to people-watch. There is a little girl further up the carriage - I can't see her, but she keeps loudly asking if we're nearly there yet, which is making everyone smile (apart from her parents, I imagine). 

I am very disappointed that the train is so quiet (and I am not inviting comments about my age and steam trains here). When I was a child, my Yorkshire Grandad told me that trains said 'travelling far... travelling far...' and they don't do that any more. It not nearly as exciting just hearing newspaper pages turning. And it means that people talk more quietly, so I can't listen to their conversations. There's just been an announcement that the next stop is Truro, so I will pack up in a panic in case I don't have time to get off, and end up in Penzance. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Packing for holiday: clothes or books?

We go to Cornwall on Saturday. The weather looks good for the coming week, and The Daughter says the sea is as warm as the Mediterranean, sending me a link to a local website in case I needed proof. Actually, last weekend's newspaper told us the weather was gorgeous and had photos of dolphins showing off to the tourists, so here's hoping...  

I have chosen The Holiday Book: The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. It didn't take me long to choose - I was won over by the recommendation on the front cover: 'A dreamy, post-apocalyptic love letter to things of beauty.' My favourite genre, I am running out of bleak-but-hopeful books to read, so it was good to find a new one. Actually, just now looking at the book on Amazon, I've read through the 'people-who-bought-this-also-looked-at' bit, and have managed to add another dozen books to my Amazon wish-list.


There is just one problem - I have no will-power when it comes to books, and after promising myself I would save the book for holiday, I am now on page 93. So I'll also take Flight Behaviour, by Barbara Kingsolver and The Border Trilogy, by Cormac McCarthy with me. Rather thick books, they leave me room for not much more than a pair of jeans and a camera. 

I received the certificate for the RE course through the post yesterday. I keep all my certificates in a big file which I only tend to look through when I'm desperately hunting for lost birth/marriage certificates. Half the time I can't even remember doing the courses (did I really do that course on ADHD? I don't remember a word of it). My degree certificate will be different of course. I shall frame that so the last four years of slog will be worth something. Mind you, The Husband may just see it as the big hole in our bank account, so better not. 

So... getting ready for our holiday. We have a larger car this year, and less people to take (no girlfriends of sons or other hangers on), so the journey should be more comfortable. It's a fairly long journey (six hours driving, plus approximately two hours' queuing to get into Cornwall - usually resulting in cheers as we crawl past the county sign at five miles an hour). It necessitates a couple of stops at service stations which charge the earth for a cup of coffee, so we tend to fill the car with drinks, biscuits, packets of sweets and other healthy things. It's amazing how hungry you get, watching scenery and hankering after other peoples' cars. Son Number One usually manages to get just past Mildenhall before starting on his lunch, even though he's reminded that he only had breakfast twenty minutes earlier. And there's a limit to the number of Costa Coffee signs I can drive past without complaining. Really, it's a wonder The Husband doesn't just leave us on the side of the road. At least the children are past the age of needing the toilet every half hour. And being car sick - that was a joy of a phase: washing out children's t-shirts in the hand basins of the public toilets, or carrying a half-naked child through town so I could buy clothes to replace the ones I'd had to bin. Happy days...   

And now I will go back to constantly refreshing my OU webpage, in the hopes that my assignment has been marked. My tutor is moving house in a few days, she said, so aims to get all essays returned asap. Then it's just two more assignments to go, and that course is finished. I'm looking forward to the religion and controversy one. We've been told to keep a look out for when religious issues appear in the news. That'll be 24 hours a day, then. 

Enjoy your summer - I'm off to pack some books. 


Saturday, 26 July 2014

One down...

I received an email yesterday, telling me I'd passed the RE course. (It was a pass or fail thing, but I'm still disappointed I didn't get a merit.) And now I've got an essay for the counselling course to be finished. I'm lucky that I've got a wonderful tutor for this one, who told me exactly where I lost points in my last piece of work. She is, it seems, a stickler for introductions. Not that I don't write them, she just wants 'proper' ones that say things like, 'This essay will consider...' and so on. In four years with the OU, it's the first time I've had to do that, and it feels very clunky. So I've written it (the intro, that is, had you expected more?) and am so embarrassed by it that I've come on here to recover and do some normal writing. Okay, so I've also done the hoovering and re-sorted the bookshelves - I just really, really don't feel like writing about existential therapy (or is it that I'm putting things off that cause anxiety? Maybe I should face this feeling of being hemmed in and decide where I want to go with my life? Maybe I should challenge my own assumptions about the world and how people view me? Maybe I should stop taking counselling courses.).


And I have books to read. The Bookworm (one of our former year 6 girls) bought me a present when she learnt it was my birthday next month. It was a second-hand book by Adriana Trigiani, which she said 'looked like my sort of thing'. It was - I already own it, but it's made me want to read the series it was from again, starting with Big Stone Gap. I'd forgotten how good the books are, so thank you, Bookworm, I'm very grateful. (And that reminds me, I have to buy the holiday book on Monday, when I go into town for Son Number Two's eye test.) 

Plus, the garden is looking nice in the sunshine. Well, that's not actually true. It looks awful, with weeds and a big pile of earth that's going to become part of a new lawn 'eventually', but there's a lot of wildlife, probably because of the weeds, etc. We have damsel flies chasing each other about, numerous butterflies, bumble bees, a kingfisher flitting down the stream, and frogs aplenty, much to the delight of the cats, who think these bouncy creatures are there just to amuse them. I have had to rescue a record number of frogs from the cats this year. I hadn't realised that frogs play dead when they're threatened. The first one looked all 'bleah' and floppy, so I carried it to the stream, whereupon it miraculously came to life and leapt of my hands into the water. After that heart attack, I'm now prepared.  

Sigh... It can't be put off any longer. I will drag myself over to Word and try to add to the 82 words I've already written. Actually, I've just read through them again. It looks completely wrong: how can an essay 'consider' anything? It's me that's doing the considering, but we're not allowed to write in the first person. Why didn't I take creative writing? I could have written any old rubbish for that...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Courses, goodbyes and young criminals.

I have finished my RE course.  I've not got my results back yet, but, heck, who cares? It's not going to count for anything. We only do RE for half a term a year, and very little of it has anything to do with me. The whole course thing was, I think, a 'ticking-a-box' exercise for the school. I have to admit that I've learnt an awful lot, though - mainly through clicking on links from research I was meant to be doing. For example, I have learnt I am a Pagan with Pantheist leanings (or is it the other way around?), that the worst thing about a website on Satanism is their continual use of the phrase 'very unique', and that actually, religious labelling is pretty much a waste of time as most people do things their own way, anyway. From research for my 'Is there unity in diversity?' essay, it seems there are no two people who believe in the same thing. We may choose a label that defines us the most accurately, but then we pick up extra bits or discard the practices we disagree with. Thus we end up with people saying things like, 'I am a committed Christian/Jew/insert religion here, but I support gay marriage/the Dignity in Dying campaign/the teaching of evolution in schools/another potentially controversial idea....' So that makes me a Pantheist-Pagan with a smattering of Taoism, believing in Karma, quality books and good whisky. I'll name that religion in... um... a while. 


Take a spoonful of each, mix well and 
stop arguing.

We said goodbye to most of our year 6 children last week. Every year, I promise myself that I won't get upset, but yet again I did. We've had a morning in which we welcomed (hmmm... is that the right word? I'm not sure...) our new students. Some were nervous (our reputation precedes us), and some were over-confident know-it-alls (not for long). They had to fill in a question sheet, writing about favourite subjects and best friends. It also gave us a chance to suss out who shouldn't be sitting next to each other, and who had neat writing. 'You're going to get sick of me nagging you,' I told one boy, 'so you may as well sort your handwriting out now,' and he gave a resigned sigh, rubbed out his work and started again. Good lad. I think we've got another 'moving on' morning tomorrow. I bet they're really looking forward to it. 

Earlier this week, a girl and her mother sought me out and gave me a story the girl had written for our school book blog. 'She spent such a long time on it,' said Proud Mother. 'We tried to find you yesterday, but we couldn't, and she was devastated.' (I really hate the over-use of that word. She wasn't devastated, she was probably just a bit put-out because I had seen her coming and was hiding in the stock cupboard.) Anyway, I started typing it out on the school blog this morning and thought how good the punctuation was. Naturally, that made me rather suspicious, so I pasted the first paragraph into Google. It turned out that the whole thing had been lifted from a rather sickly children's book about sisters. Plagiarism at such a young age... and aided and abetted by Proud Mother, too. Hopefully, they will log on to the school blog today (I told them it would be typed up over the weekend) and see my 'by the way' notice instead. I will hand back the child's story tomorrow and do my best not to smirk at Proud Mother. 


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Study and swearing

I am trying to get back on track by starting my RE assignment. It's been put on hold for a couple of weeks, with the permission of my very patient tutor. (She's probably just relieved she won't have to read my dire offerings for a while.) I worked for several hours and had three full pages of notes, plus a huge great list of useful websites. 'Brilliant,' I thought, 'I'm finally getting somewhere.' 'Do you want to save changes to the document?' Word kindly asked. Of course I did. And I clicked on 'Don't save' (Why??!!!!). After a frantic Google search and advice from a teenager, I was unable to retrieve my notes. I was very well behaved. I swore like mad in my head, but outwardly I just sighed and started again. 


I've used my internet history to retrieve the website addresses, but will probably never recover the brilliant insights within my notes (gives hollow laugh). At least I know roughly what I want to write about, which I will start on tomorrow as an excuse not to join in with the family yard sale. 

Other news: the Brother-in-law's operation went well and he's now back home. Complaints are about to be registered against his GP who refused to even consider that his health problems were physical, not mental. Apparently, the resulting month's delay in his treatment nearly killed him. 

The Father-in-law is extremely unlikely to recover from his stroke. He has made no improvement and the doctors are now talking about palliative care. 
The Daughter came up from Cornwall to visit him, which was a much-needed highlight for us. Son Number One is playing cricket at the moment, and has a job working a few hours a week with the local river warden, which he's really enjoying, and Son Number Two has just returned from an Eminem concert in London. The Husband is raiding the shed and occasionally appearing to ask, 'Do we want this?' before adding the rusting junk things to the yard sale pile. 

And me? I've given up studying for the day and am going to make a very strong cup of coffee. I think we have one day about mid-August when there's nothing planned, so I may book my nervous breakdown for then. 


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Update

An update from yesterday's post (and this is going to take some typing, as I've had a fair amount of wine - a huge thanks to my Dad). 

The Father-in-law has had a huge stroke - it has affected half his brain. He is paralysed on his right side and almost blind in that eye. We were allowed to visit him this afternoon, and he recognised us but was unable to talk. The doctors are saying he will not be able to lead a normal life again. 

The Brother-in-law was sent to a different hospital this morning, after having a fall and being unable to get up. The Husband pleaded with the doctors to give him a scan. (B-in L's doctor still insisting it is a mental health problem.) Result? He had a brain scan, had fluid on his brain and is now undergoing emergency surgery. 

We have never been part of the 'Sue them!' movement, but will definitely be making a complaint against that doctor, who set back B-in-L's treatment by a month, arguing with mental health teams and treating everyone with massive arrogance and condescension. (I apologise if this doesn't make sense, it was a very nice bottle of Shiraz...). 

It's been 'a funny sort of day' as they say. Oh, and the cat brought a rabbit home. A live, baby one, carrying it gently by the scruff of the neck, as if to say, 'Look what I found, wandering around in the field.' Hysterics and mad chasing followed, and the rabbit escaped unharmed. 

This is why I read a lot. 


Saturday, 28 June 2014

From 'Sesame Street' to 'Casualty'

Two more assignments are looming. One is the last module for my school RE course. Again, I chose an essay instead of lesson plans, as the class is concentrating on play practice, and RE and pirates don't really go together. Although... no, I don't think my tutor would go for that. Anyway, I had a list of questions to choose from. Loads appealed; I could have written pages on 'Is the world sacred?' but Pantheism and Paganism are not part of the RE curriculum, unfortunately, and I think I'd struggle to write much, having to stick to Judaism and Hinduism. So I chose 'Is there unity in diversity?', to which I shall write, 'There could be, if people were a bit more open-minded,' and include lots of quotes from Sesame Street

Okay, I wrote that paragraph a few hours ago, and since then, my life has been more Casualty than Sesame Street. The Husband got a call from someone who checks on his dad - he does a bit of shopping for him and takes him his morning paper. Apparently, my Father-in-law didn't answer the door, so he was worried. We tried phoning: no response, so we drove round there (he lives about 20 minutes away). He didn't answer, and the neighbour hadn't seen him that day, so we broke in. The Husband went first, and the relief when I heard him say, 'Hi Dad, it's only us,' (because you say that if you don't want to get shot by an ex-poacher) was huge. F-in-L was lying on the sofa, having had, we thought, a stroke. An ambulance was called and he was taken to a local hospital for assessment. (We're not allowed to see him yet, which is why I'm on here - I don't want you to think I'm that callous that I'd go home and blog about something instead of taking care of a family member.)

This caps a 'bit of a week', as The Husband calls it. His brother has a history of mental health problems, but has started wandering off and falling down a lot. Numerous doctor's appointments later, the GP is arguing with the mental health team, who say it is a neurological problem and that he needs a brain scan. The GP is arguing back that she knows best, and is refusing to refer him. Meanwhile, B-in-L is walking for miles, falling in rivers and losing his car. 

So now we are making endless phone calls and packing hospital bags. Sorry, boys, you'll be making your own teas tonight. I have emailed my RE tutor to say, despite what I said about getting my assignment done asap, actually, I won't be. 

I'm looking forward to getting back to work for a break.