Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hello Grolly

We got home from church this morning, and the Little Princess asked "if you possible, could it we have a tray for out lunch with some things to choose on it?" Correctly interpreting this as a desire for sandwicches and nibbles and a bit of a picj your own rather than "I put it on your plate, now just eat it", and deciding it sounded far easier nicer than fiddling around and actually cooking something, I agreed. So, happily pottering around in the kitchen (apparently cheese tastes much nicer when cut into small squares, bread is tastier with the crusts cut off before they are even seen, and peppers are never going to be eaten but look pretty all neatly sliced), I heard a little rustle at the cat flap. Wondering which of our feline friends had decided to pay a visit, I looked down as a familiar, if somewhat faint meep sounded. And a very small, very thin, very scruffy Grolly staggered around the corner, looking outraged at the lack of food on tap. Having remedied this as quickly as possible (it is, after all, a mere 27 days since we saw her last - how very dare I pack the bowls away so soon?), she hoovered up a few cat biscuits and fell onto my lap for a cuddle.And has followed me around the house for the rest of the day. I walk to the kitchen, she takes another dab of food or a dainty lap of water. I sit down, she half jumps, half crawls up onto the chair beside me. I sit for too long, she stands in the doorway and calls me to accompany her back to the food bowl. I go to do something with one of the girls, she leaps up to assist. Or to ensure she's still the centre of attention, anyway.
She's exhausted. Skin and bones and weighs less than at least one of the birds she's dropped at my feet in the past. She doesn't know it yet, but she'll be taking a trip to the vets tomorrow morning for a thorough going over. But, to my untrained eye, she looks like a cat who has had access to water but not a lot of food for the past few weeks, and who now needs lots of small meals and lots of rest.

It's good to have her back. I'm now researching GPS cat collars, nut at the moment I think they'd weigh more than she does.

Friday, 23 September 2011


You know, we're pretty lucky here. Or blessed, if you prefer, although I myself dislike the implication that people not born here are therefore somehow less blessed. But hey, either way, no matter what you think of the fairly swingeing cuts in support for some of the country's most vulnerable families, we're actually still pretty lucky here.

Life might not be full of luxury, and for a lot of people basic necessities are a struggle. The safety net has bigger holes than it's had for many years, and for some, the struggle to straddle the gaps are getting harder and harder.

But it doesn't compare.

This is Alina*
No one knows exactly how old she is, but the experts think she is probably between 2 and 3 years old. She was found, a few months ago, abandoned in some bushes.

Alina has Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE). Long words, but essentially, she has brain damage which is likely to have happened at or around birth. My Mog also has HIE. Mog's birth parents couldn't cope with the challenge of caring for Mog day in, day out. They were lucky, and so was she. They were able to leave her in hospital, our National Health Service and Social Services provided for Mog, and now she and I have each other. I'm definitely very lucky - I get paid actual real money to parent Mog, and how awesome is that?

But, without access to social services, without access to anything like the amount of free healthcare we have the luxury to complain about, Alina's parents managed to keep her alive for two years. What then caused them to abandon her? Why in the bushes? Where were these bushes? Did they know she would be found? Did they watch as she was rescued, and hope that now she would have a chance at a better future? Do they now have any way of knowing where she is and what has happened to her, or did the burden of knowing that they simply could not meet her needs break them completely?

Aline, unlike Mog, was born in India. I guess she is lucky too - she was found in these bushes, and taken into a government orphanage, where she was cared for, was able to receive medication for her seizures (common with HIE). And now she is in the care of Sarah, and her life is going to go on getting better and better.

This picture is deceptive. Alina cannot sit unsupported, she is very weak, very tiny, and seriously malnourished. She urgently needs more medical help than the government orphanage have been able to give her. She needs food, clothes, physiotherapy, vaccinations. And she needs an Ayah (nanny) to love her, to cuddle her, to rock her and comfort her and teach her that she is in a good and safe environment.

We pay our taxes, and a proportion of that money (not enough according to some, too much according to others) goes towards meeting all Mog's needs. I know how much some of her needs costs, others I have no idea - I'm just thankful that they are provided for us. Sarah does not have that financial help. She estimates that meeting Alina's basic needs (care, food, nappies, clothing, medicine) will cost a little under £100 a month.

£100 to keep a child alive and show them they are loved. It's not much really, is it? Sarah is now looking for sponsors for Alina, and for the 22 other new children the government orphanage have just asked her to take responsibility for. Can you help? If not with the whole sum, then by sponsoring a portion of Alina's costs? A takeaway, a bottle of wine or even one less cup of Costa a week - most of us wouldn't notice the difference to us. But it might make all the difference to Alina, and I know it would make a huge difference to Sara.

You can find Sarah's blog here . A word of warning; since I started writing this post, Sarah has posted details of her very newest child, and some people may find the photos disturbing. Emma is very seriously unwell and in desperate need of prayers and medical help. And you know what? Emma has Spina Bifida - as does my Little Princess. But whereas my Little Princess was lucky enough to be born over here, and receive neurosurgery on her first day of life, little Emma was not so lucky. Let's just pray it's not too late for her, and that she too knows the love which is surrounding her now she has been found.

However badly off you may be at the moment, it doesn't begin to compare. Sarah said she couldn't take these newest children without raising the funds for the initial costs of taking them. Those funds came in within days - now she needs our help in making things work for the next weeks, months, years. If you visit her website (and for those who would rather not see pictures of such a desperately ill baby there's a link here which will take you directly to a page with all her newest children apart from Emma on it) then you can donate via paypal. Alternatively, email Sarah at and she will sort things out for you. Be aware she is arranging care for the 22 newest members of her extended family, sorting out urgent medical care for Emma and other acutely poorly children, juggling the needs of the other children already around, oh and pregnant with twins, so please be patient if you don't receive an immediate response!


*Not her real name. But she is a real child, and this is her real story, as far as we know it.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dear Callers

Please note.

I have not been missold PPI. I have, in fact, never taken out PPI.

I have not had an accident in the last three years which was not my fault. Well, unless you count being run over by my daughter in her wheelchair, but as I supplied her with the weapon of mass destruction chair in the first place, I suspect I am probably to blame. All my accidents have been well and truly my own fault, and I have no interest in pursuing a compensation claim against myself. Although, I do think I probably owe myself a decent curry.

There is no problem with the windows on my computer. I have a Mac.

I would not, purely for research purposes, be interested in answering a few questions about why I do not wish to take you up on your marvellous, never to be repeated, offer of double glazing at a substantial discount.

I do not want loft insulation. I don't care if it is free; I have a ground floor flat and no loft.

I have no idea who I will be voting for in the next election.

I cancelled my pet insurance because my pet is dead. No, you can't sell me more pet insurance.

I'm very happy with my phone/television/broadband service. Well, mostly. I will not be changing to you.

And no, I don't wish to switch electricity or gas supplies either.

Dear supply company. I would have appreciated a phone call last week to let me know you are having difficulties getting hold of the Hunter 12s. Waiting until we only have one left is Not Helpful.

Dear Care Agency,
I need to know whether or not I will have care on Monday morning before Monday lunch time. I would appreciate having all our hours filled - perhaps instead of sending staff on endless shadowing visits, you could put them in at times when we have no care? I understand they need to learn the job, but why send them solo one day, and doubled up the next. And yes, you can put our carers in 10 minutes earlier in the morning, but your staff are still not going to get to Witney from here at rush hour in the time you have allocated to them.

Dear hospital, please explain why you appear to have discharged my daughter from your clinics?

So, to summarise,
Dear uninvited callers, telesales, opinion pollers and scammers, please go away. Dear people who should actually be calling, please do.
That is all.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fun in the Park

To the anonymous commenter who asked if I knew what a happy child with CP looks like, I give you one haapy child with CP, playing with her sister.

And to those who ask why a tiger, I refer you to Matt - he left a lasting impression.

The flower is inexplicable. But beautiful.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Summer Summary

I've not been here very much this summer. One or two thousand things going on, small children falling into the habit of regarding the computer as their property during the day, a Kindle with unlimited reading material, and general lack of headspace has all led to minimal blogging.

I could write the missing twenty posts, some half written in my head, others with three photos lined up neatly in a row, and backdate them to fill the gaps. Or, I could post the edited version here and take up where I left up, now that the girls are finally back in school.

It's been a long summer.

Surgery for the Little Princess at the start of term six, meaning absolutely minimal school for her from May until this week. Illness for Mog at the same time, passing virtually unnoticed due to the competence of the team of friends and professionals who cared for her as I watched over tLP. Only once she was better did we all take stock and realise this was an illness, not a new normal.

I have a new routine I'm just about getting to grips with; late night meds for one child added to the early morning meds for the other mean sleep is less than it could be, especially since tLP does still wake at the moment needing either more pain relief (thankfully reducing) or just turning and unplaiting (drainage bag plus overnight feed plus legs with no feeling in them produce some interesting tangles).

So, some highlights.
tLP demonstrating the usefulness of her wheelchair when gardening - down low to weed, up high to prune, and whizz whizz across the newly mown grass (cutting nice divots out of it) to pass plants to the gardener.
Mog choosing our Christmas Dinner cuddling Turkeys at Peachcroft Farm on a trip with the Brownies.
tLP inventing a new version of skittles in the outdoor playground upstairs at the Children's Hospital. No need to stoop to pick up the ball, and minions will restack your skittles for you.

Mog's Birthday trip to France, only thirteen months late. Cut short due to problems with the Tunnel, so only time for Carrefour and lunch. Grannie made the most of it though!*

Camping, high tech style.
First at Guide Camp.With another trip to another farm.

And then New Wine.

The Migraine Toilet we found whilst taking Great-Grannie shopping in Witney. My eyes, my eyes!
And possibly the emptiest hospital disabled parking ever. Photographic taken as proof - just an ordinary Wednesday, not late, not early, just empty. Note to self: schedule as many future appointments as possible in the school holidays. Two Princesses, enjoying our apples. One up high
and one to catch. And a few more of us standing by with plastic bag and open arms.

A trip to Tring, to visit friends who don't live there
and to eat blackberries
and watch Chuggington.

And then back to school for the Little Princess one day, Mog the next. Or so I thought. An early night before the start of school interrupted (oh, so interrupted) by a very very unexpected foster placement. A quiet Mog-and Me day interrupted by entertaining said fosling then waving goodbye to our shortest placement ever. And then the news that Mog's classroom was not ready (building work), so best if she stayed away on Wednesday.

Then on Wednesday the news that there was no nurse, best if Mog could stay away on Thursday too. And finally on Thursday an agreement that we could go back to last term's agreement, namely that Mog could go to school but that I would stay very local to be on call for emergencies.

So today, a few days later and a whole lot tireder than expected, Mog finally went back to school.

It's not the best photo (phone pic of a computer printout of a blurry photo), but I think it's safe to say she was pleased to be back.

And I, I had an empty house. So many plans, mostly involving a lot of not having to go out anywhere, make conversation, or do anything at all. A long bath. Bliss. Unfortunately followed by a whole lot of life getting busy (no, nothing exciting), and a fairly unrelaxing day which ended with one very very overtired little girl learning the sad lesson that behaviours picked up in school aren't any more acceptable at home than I imagine they are at school. And if they are acceptable in school, that we still Don't Do That Here, Dear.

All cuddles at bedtime though. And tomorrow is Saturday, which means pancakes for breakfast and quite possibly pyjamas all day long. When school sent homework asking what our family traditions were, I wonder if that is the sort of thing they really meant?

So the summer is over, we all survived it. We had two good weeks away, both girls have started school fitter than they were at the end of last term, tLP has managed four full days at school - more than she's had since May, and there is just the faint possibility that my house might actually have a floor and clear surfaces one day in the not too distant future.

I say we all survived it. We didn't. Gotcha was run over mid July. Grolly has been missing for ten days now; I don't hold out much hope for seeing her again. Our little feline squatter (who lived around the corner but spent most nights on our piano) has not been seen for a similar amount of time. Goway, after an absence of several months, has now decided the house is his again, and has taken to popping in at midnight for food and a greeting, although he won't let me touch him.

And that's us, really. Conversations about the next round of surgery begin towards the end of the month, I think Mog may have outgrown her chair and need it tweaking, tLP's home manual chair has fallen apart so I need to sort out a replacement, and all the thousand and one things I'd shelved until the start of term are now starting to fall off the shelves (and how how the top of my head wishes that were merely metaphorical).

So, how have your summers been?

*OK so there's a chance she didn't drink it all.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Famine relief

The World Food Programme will receive a donation sufficient for one child's meal, for every one who fills out this quiz. It isn't much; I'm sure they could do more with a direct donation, but if you have two minutes whilst you're eating your own breakfast, then why not?



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