Monday, 24 August 2015

On the launch pad - ready for take off!

I suppose the most significant thing that has happened in the last few weeks is that Granddad has been moved to a different prison. I don’t know all the fine details or the reasoning behind it – and Nan isn’t saying – but it sounds like he has been sent to an open prison as an experiment and as a “concession to his age”.  

I am amazed that I am still receiving my monthly compensation payment from him. I had felt certain that he would try to wriggle his way out of paying me what had been agreed but so far every payment has been on time.  

After quite a long quiet spell the strange builder from the house at the bottom of my garden has now circulated draft plans for a revised building development to all his nearest neighbours. There is nothing on the plans to say that he doesn’t own the land he wants to build on and nothing to say that the houses he wants to demolish don’t belong to him. He sent his wife round to deliver the letters because he knew that I wouldn’t have opened the door to him!  

I had my strangest ever modelling session last weekend. It was for a group that like to draw science fiction and fantasy people. So I had a number of strange poses to do including wearing a set of wings like a fairy would have!  There were 3 models, Sally and me and a new girl called Davida. This was her first “paid for” session and she was rather nervous before the start but she coped quite well. She lives somewhere over on the west coast of Wales so she had a fairly long trip to the venue.  

We haven’t had any proper summer this year have we? We have had lots of cloudy and quite cold days but not much rain and some of the little streams on the cross-country running courses have no water in them at all which is very unusual. We got back yesterday from a short trip (Monday to Thursday) to Cambridge to see some friends. Houses are very expensive where they live and although they both have quite good jobs they have to live in a small flat on a rather noisy road. They work in industry so they don’t get the long holidays that teachers enjoy.  

The new school term starts on the 1st September and the children will come back on the 3rd of September. Although I am now a qualified teacher I get offered some extra support for my first year – this is called your NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) year. I don’t have to teach quite so many lessons and I have an experienced teacher who acts as my mentor. I’m sure that Mum and Dad would be pleased that I have gone into the same job that they both had.  

We seem to have acquired a cat. We offered to look after her for a few days while her elderly owner (and Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator) was in hospital. The first day I went round to the house twice just to feed the cat but then she decided to follow me home. I think cats would love anybody who feeds them. Even a cat is quite a tie so I hope our neighbour comes back home soon.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Another year has gone - life after death

August 2015 - A year ago I was in that strange waiting stage where something I had been wanting to do for years (my PGCE) was on the horizon. Now the PGCE has been, gone and passed and I am ready for the next stage of my life. 

August 2014 - I went across town to clean Mum and Dad's grave this morning (Sunday). It is supposed to be summer at the moment but it was really cold and also thinking about raining. Most unusually there were other cars in the car park and at least four other groups of people either tending or just looking at graves. I wonder if this was because this is a Bank Holiday weekend? 

August 2015 - With every year that passes I visit Mum and Dad's grave less often. It is just the way it is, nobody could cope with the full-on mourning that happens in the early days for years at a time. The wounds heal and you learn how to cope.

August 2014 - What surprised me the most was that there was somebody tidying the grave next to my Mum and Dad's. In all the many times I have visited the cemetery over the last 4+ years I have never seen anybody doing this to my "next door neighbour's" grave. The old man - perhaps late 70s - introduced himself as Edward. The deceased was his wife but since he moved away to be nearer to his children he doesn't visit her very often. He has decided that he is too old to drive so he came by train, visited the grave on Saturday then stayed at a local guest house before making a second visit to the cemetery on the Sunday. He looked sad and very tired and as it is quite a walk to the station I did my good deed for the day and offered him a lift in my car. He seemed very grateful so I was glad I had thought to do this.

August 2015 - Although I haven't seen Edward again he left me a note under a stone on Mum and Dad's grave. This was in mid June. He says he is still well enough to travel on the train but he phones for a taxi when it is time to go back to the railway station from the cemetery. I suggested this to him in 2014 so I'm glad he remembered.

August 2014 - I didn't get much of a look at the other visitors but I did notice a lady in her 20s in the newest section of the cemetery. From the back it looked like the shape of a child's grave so that was upsetting.

One mixed emotion event that happened this week was the effective “closure of the file” on Granddad by the Crown Prosecution Service. I’m happy that the legal side is finished but I did rely on them for free advice and support.

August 2015 -  There has been no further contact with the CPS in the last 12 months so that part of my life is over. Good!

August 2014 - I now owe my solicitor a fantastic sum – which I haven’t got – so I am going to have sell some of the shares that Mum and Dad left me. I don’t really understand why I as the victim should end up out of pocket and I will have to double check if the solicitor was joking when she said I could claim the money back off Nan and Granddad. 

August 2015 - I took legal action for compensation and they settled out of court so financially I am better off than I had expected to be.

August 2014 - Since Mum and Dad died so many people seem to have assumed that I already knew things that no normal teenager would ever need to know. It has been quite annoying and frustrating when legal and financial people imply that I’m stupid not knowing things that they regard as really obvious or really simple.

August 2015 - This is getting better. Now I have graduated, finished my PGCE and got a fulltime teaching post I feel like a proper grown-up and the emotional and experiential gap between me and other people of the same age seems to have shrunk.