Sunday, 2 October 2016

How my "first life" ended - revisited

This blog entry first appeared in July 2013 - many kind people have suggested that there is a new audience "out there" who might benefit from my experiences and have asked me to start reposting my story from the beginning. So here goes!
In January 2010 my parents were both killed in a car accident. We were all in the car at the time, Mum and Dad were in the front and they died, but I was in the back and I survived almost unhurt. I guess it just wasn't my time to go?

I was in year 12 when they died, about half way through my AS year, so it was agreed that rather than going to live with my aunt (my Mum's sister), which would have meant changing schools, I should go to live with my maternal Grand Parents who lived nearby.

To say that this didn't work out well would be a gross understatement. I stood it for as long as I could but in the end I moved back into my former family home and I lived there on my own from the start of year 13 onwards.

Somehow I managed to get the grades I needed to go to the local university. I've just (July 2013) finished my second year there. During my first year I rented out my family home but for my second year I moved back in with three friends who are all on the same course as me. One of them is a very special friend!

Some readers might have read parts of my story before. I did write a blog for the ten months after Mum and Dad had to leave me but I was in a very dark place and writing the blog was just a little bit more than I could cope with at the time. I'm much happier now than I was then and I'm sure that I can make a success of this project.

I'm just over 5ft 11 inches tall but less than 9 stone. So I'm tall and slim like my Mum was. If you stick with me you will find out why these two statistics are so important!


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Why did I take such a long break from bereavement blogging?

Last night Stewart, my long-time boyfriend,  asked me how long it had been since I wrote a blog entry. I guessed it was a couple of months but when I checked I was shocked to find it was on October 30th 2015! So coming up to 6 months. Oh dear.

My problem is one shared by many bloggers. What I would like to write about people don't seem to want to read and on topics people do want to read about I sometimes feel that I have run out of things to say. 

So what has happened in my life?

CATS - Zero the cat settled in well and all four of us think we made the right decision when we decided to adopt her. Sometimes I think Zero can tell the time because three days running as I was driving down the road to my home I saw Zero walking from her old house towards her new one. It was just as if she knew that I was due back from work. Zero doesn’t choose to understand what “No” means. We didn’t want her upstairs but when we catch her on the stairs and say “No, Zero” she just stops, looks at me and then carries on anyway. Clearly Zero thinks she is the boss of the house.

Zero's decision to stop going to her former home was quite sudden and now she lives with us all the time. Her bed is in the kitchen which is a nice warm room. That seems to be important for cats as they get older. She doesn’t eat much, again rather like an old person, but she does like to have lots of stroke while we are watching the television.

BEREAVEMENT GROUP - Running the Bereavement Group at school is hard work but worthwhile. It is really sad how many children lose a parent or a sibling – of course I know first hand that it can takes years before you get over something like that so once somebody joins the group they often stay as a member for a few years. It is the boys that find it hardest. They are trained not to show emotion or to cry in public and sometimes that is exactly what they need to do! There is enormous solidarity within the group and that makes my job easier.

MY JOB - As a NQT (newly qualified teacher) I am on a reduced timetable for my first three terms and I also got quite a bit of support from my mentor but even with all this extra help I feel fairly worn out. Stewart is similarly tired out so we are like a middle-aged couple rather than just youngsters. The annual craft fair was recently held at school. Stewart and I went along although we didn’t spend very much. I’ve been told that some of the year 11, 12 and 13 boys were disappointed to find out I had a boyfriend – I supposed I should be flattered that these youngster take an “interest” in me. I thought the orchestra and drama club performed at a very high quality level so clearly some staff must have spent ages working with them.

MODELLING - The modelling course my friend and house-mate Sally and I did for the authors and illustrators of erotic literature was the most fun we have ever had on a course. The ladies were lovely, but rather eccentric, and the time spend modelling went very quickly. Doing the very tasteful and mild lesbian poses was an experience. It is a good job that we know each other so well otherwise I don’t think we would have wanted to do some of the poses. Standing over her with a blood-soaked sword was also rather strange!

FAMILY AND FRIENDS -  We have been a bit worried about not having made many new friends recently so we were pleased when fate provided us with two married couples who live nearby (they house-share) who have lots in common with us. It was all a bit spooky because one of them is a girl I had met before a couple of times but in a totally different town. I think the two wives are sisters although I might be wrong. They were both brought up in a Children's Home for a few years after major family problems.  

It is looking quite likely that Sally and her boyfriend Mark will be moving out of my home sometime over the summer. We have always agreed that they will give me 3 months notice although the legal requirement is just 1 month. We have all lived together for several years and it will be strange, and not very nice, if they do move away.

Dad's brother and Mum's sister came to see me recently. When they said they were coming I just knew that it was going to be something to do with Nan or Granddad. It turned out to be something to do with both of them. Nan has been saying for ages that she wants to divorce Granddad and she has finally done something about it and she has seen a solicitor. Once Granddad, still in prison of course, found out about it he was very, very angry and hired a solicitor of his own. He got his solicitor to write a letter blaming Nan for quite a lot of the financial, mental and physical abuse that I suffered. The letter was sent to Dad's brother and Mum's sister demanding that they help him fight the divorce settlement that Nan is demanding. The man is totally bonkers of course.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Sometimes life is so complicated! - Episode #79

It has been a difficult few weeks for me so I decided to wait until the end of the half term holiday before writing a new blog entry. 

The neighbour we were “cat sitting” for died in hospital last week. Her son lives on the Kent coast and he came round to my house a few days later to tell me the news. He didn’t want to take the cat home with him and was planning to call the RSPCA to either re-house it or to have it put to sleep. My boyfriend and I were not very keen on either of these ideas so we agreed to keep “Zero” as our cat. Zero is old and rather deaf but seems happy enough. It is going to be a bit tricky when we are all out of work as none of our doors have a cat flap. Luckily the garden shed door has a section of plank missing so Zero can go in there if the weather is cold or wet. 

On the same day as the man came round I received the letter I had been expecting from the County Commissioner about my allegation about the current ladies county cross country champion. The good news is that he agrees that my performance this season should have got me a place in the county team – the bad news is that he doesn’t have the authority to make the selectors choose me if they don’t want to. It is quite disappointing to think that the best runner doesn’t get chosen automatically and that the egos of the selectors count for more than justice! 

The third thing that happened was cross-making rather than disappointing was something I came across by accident in the public library. Nan has been appearing in amateur dramatics and the reviewer said that she gave “an energetic and vibrant” performance”.  This is the same person who was said to be too frail and too mentally confused to face justice for the abuse I suffered at her and Granddad’s hands. She must be laughing that she managed to get away with lying to the Court! 

The best thing that has happened since I last wrote was that I have taken on the responsibility for the Bereavement Group jointly run by several of the local secondary schools. Until recently it was run by a local Methodist Preacher who also teaches in one of the schools but the young people said that they didn’t want the religious aspects about God’s Will and “going to a better place” – in the end my Head Teacher thought of me and asked me if I would be interested.  

After quite a lot of thinking I agreed so I get a half day off once a fortnight to meet with youngsters who have lost a parent or a sibling. It means that somebody has to cover my year 7 and year 8 groups but as they were my least favourite lessons of the week I didn’t mind too much. 

My boyfriend and I seem to coping with our new career as teachers quite well. Much better than one of the new staff in Humanities who has handed in her resignation once she realised that teaching wasn’t for her after all. 

This weekend my best friend and I have an all-ladies life modelling class. They seem to be a group of authors and illustrators  who specialise in erotic literature and somehow we are supposed to inspire them by posing in the nude. We have some reservations about this course but it is particularly well paid!  I will let readers know how we get on.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

My first proper job - in Mum's (RIP) old school. - Episode #78

Well I have now completed my first few weeks as a proper teacher! It feels strange to be working where Mum was working when she and Dad got killed.  

It looks like Fridays are going to be my easiest days so I might try writing by diary and blog then. When you are a student teacher colleagues are quite careful about what they say in your hearing but once you are a member of their team they feel comfortable saying what they are really thinking. I have been quite surprised how many of them don’t like teaching in the 6th form (years 12 and 13) – some prefer the youngsters in years 7 to 9 (generally fewer behaviour issues and less pressure from external exams) while others relish the challenge of years 10 and 11 where pupils can be much harder to manage (especially the girls!) but where exams give a focus to what is being taught and where high quality teaching is more easily demonstrated through exam results. 

One of the reasons that I have more than my “share” of 6th form work is because more senior colleagues don’t want to it and so it is just a lucky co-incidence that it is my favourite type isn’t it!  

There is quite a strict dress code for the pupils that is strictly enforced at the start of the school year and a fairly strict dress code for the staff that isn’t enforced but should be. Some staff show too much boob, belly or bum and I don’t think it creates a good impression that senior staff just sigh and then say nothing. Of course I just keep these thoughts to myself.   

I found myself using one of Dad’s phrases yesterday. I mentioned “stirring up a hornets nest” which would have made him laugh. What happened was that the ladies county cross-country champion got a brief write-up in the magazine that goes out to the various athletics clubs. She has won 21/24 races in the 12 months which is good but what wasn’t mentioned was that all three of her losses were all to a certain Sally Ellis. I mentioned it casually in the club house at the weekend and by Wednesday the County Commissioner was involved, oh dear. 

Our elderly neighbour is still in hospital. They want to discharge her but without a “Care Package” in place they are not allowed to. So her cat is living with us and if I cannot find the cat at meal times I have to wonder along to her proper home to find her. The cat seems happy enough, providing she gets food and a bit of attention everyday she should cope until her owner returns. By chance I noticed some people moving into one of the houses in our street. This happens a lot but what made it unusual was that one of the helpers was a girl who shares the same adult mentor as me. The last time I saw here was in Kidderminster so it was rather a shock to see her so close to my home.