Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Hot Flush Fairy

Long ago and far away I can remember my lovely Ma wandering around our home in the deepest, darkest and coldest of winters wearing summer clothes. Often she was quite red in the face and she seemed to be incredibly distracted most of the time. I have become my Ma … although possibly not quite so lovely but rather more distracted.

I am being visited with boring regularity by the Hot Flush Fairy. She’s not one of the nice fairies who live at the bottom of the garden. She’s vile. She inhabits whichever room, car, bed, shopping centre or street I happen to be in and so far she’s only really bothering me as neither my husband nor my son can see her or feel any of her delightful little tricks.

About two months ago, on the advice of my doctor, I stopped taking my HRT tablets and this seemed to herald the arrival of the Hot Flush Fairy. I have been back to the doctor to plead with him to let me resume taking HRT but he has refused and he wasn’t able to provide any magic spells to banish the Hot Flush Fairy from my kingdom either. He did offer me some teeny tiny blue tablets that he said were the same as HRT but “without the oestrogen”. I take them religiously but the damned fairy is still plaguing me. She’s resistant to Dixarit and positively thumbs her nose at Black Cohosh, Red Clover, soya and Selenium. She’s going to stick with me until SHE decides to go. And meanwhile, I am living in my own personal tropical paradise. If I walk the dog, I go out wearing suitable attire for windy, wet conditions & come back carrying almost everything except a tee-shirt which, if I weren’t so “modest”, I’d divest myself of too. I want my oestrogen back. Please somebody … anybody … give me back my oestrogen.

Well – of course, no-one IS going to give my oestrogen back to me so I had better get used to behaving in the bizarre fashion that has been MY norm for the past couple of months. And whilst I’m getting used to it, my husband had better get used to it, too. I have no idea why I go upstairs, then have to come back downstairs to remember why I’d gone upstairs in the first place. I really and truly don’t forget to switch on the oven on purpose (although possibly a room with an oven switched on in it is not exactly the right place for me just now) – and, anyway, salads are healthy so he should just shut up. I find bed the most unappealing place on earth and not only when he’s actually at home – but the idea of having a duvet over me when the Hot Flush Fairy visits is an entirely abhorrent thought altogether. I don’t know WHY I insisted on purchasing a Slanket whilst the Fairy is reigning supreme except there ARE moments when I suddenly feel freezing cold and wrapping myself in a Slanket seems like a very logical thing to do when these rare moments occur – but then, of course, I have to muster the energy to sling the Slanket off when the Fairy bids me so to do.

My lovely Ma did eventually stop wandering around the house in summer clothes in deep mid-winter … I can’t remember how many deep mid-winters it took her to stop doing it but I know that she did. I wonder for how long I will be in this phase? I wish someone could give me the answer because, in rare moments of lucidity, I do actually recognise that I am going as barmy as a cartload of monkeys and I would truly like it to stop.

Excuse me now, please. I have to go and wander around the garden in my nightdress. It is raining and blowing a gale out there but if I’m quick, I might be able to leave the Hot Flush Fairy out there and dash back in feeling ever so slightly cooler.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Longest Day

What a very long day this has been and, because sleep is completely eluding me tonight, light has rolled into darkness and is almost about to become light again, it seems that 21st June truly IS the longest day & it appears to have some sort of grudge against me!

Followers on Twitter will have seen me refer to “Fanny in the Corner” ... Fanny (clearly not her real name) is the spinster daughter of my favourite, now long dead, great aunt – she is 80 years old and, when we used to live in Catatonia by the Sea, she used to visit us about three or four times a year. The visits were meant to last about a week but one week usually became two and two often became four. She’s a sweet old dear and was really no trouble at all. She lives in London and, since moving here, I’m ashamed to say that we actually see considerably less of her now that we live in London too than ever we did when we were on the South coast. Just after we moved to London, Fanny had a fall and had a stroke. She’s been in and out of hospital ever since. Her patch is North West London and we now live in Essex. Getting to North West London on a frequent basis is something that just doesn’t happen. I heard yesterday that despite living in a really excellent care home she’s had yet another fall and is, once again, back in hospital.

Twitter friends will also have seen me refer to “Doddery Dave” who is my 89 year old father and whom, rather guiltily, I left in Catatonia when we moved to London. He knew the circumstances of our move ... and, being a very good Grandpa, fully understood and approved of a change of school for his grandson. Since we moved he, too, has been in and out of hospital. He suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and leukaemia and is a very, very frail old gentleman. Getting to see him is even more problematic than traversing London to get to see Fanny.

Doddery Dave actually spent all last week with us – I’ve managed to arrange that he will move into a super sheltered flat very nearby at the end of next month and he had to come to London to sign papers and set up the date of his move. He will be sad to leave Catatonia but is happy at the prospect of once again being closer to his family. I am an only child and son is his only grandchild. He misses my son a great deal.

I took him back to Catatonia on Saturday and called him on Sunday to check that he was okay. He wasn’t at home but, as he has a “lady friend” (who would see him more frequently than he prefers if she could) and usually goes out for Sunday lunch with her, I wasn’t unduly concerned. I should have been. He hadn’t been out to lunch, he’d fallen over and had been admitted to hospital. The hospital didn’t contact me and nor did his lady friend – until today. A good part of the day has been spent in receiving calls from aforementioned lady friend who has been intent on telling me what a bad daughter I am. I needed that ... like a hole in the head!

When not receiving accusatory calls, I've spent the day on the ‘phone to two different hospitals, trying to find out how my aged relatives are. It would be a very welcome simplicity to just hop in the car & go and see them but I have a son who attends school and a husband who flits off to Europe every three minutes. Getting to see aged relatives isn’t simple at all.

I feel absolutely miserable and I truly don’t know what to do – so, instead of sleeping, I thought I’d tell you about it all.

I will aim to write about something more cheerful in my next blog.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Grown-up Live Tweeting - The Value of Journalism Conference

Last Friday, with many collies wobbling in my tummy, I did something I hadn’t done for a very long time ... I went out to work.

I was on the tube by 8.00am, dressed like a grown-up, carrying lapdog in case and was even wearing make-up.

Where did I go to? The LSE ... where I had been told to say on arrival, “I’m with the BBC” which would lead to instant access to the lecture theatres in the bowels of the earth somewhere under Holborn. It had been such a long time since I’d said “I’m with the BBC”. The words still have a nice ring to them.

I was to “live blog” at the conference on “The Value of Journalism” run by the BBC College of Journalism in conjunction with POLIS (headed up by Charlie Beckett) at the LSE. I was positioned at the very front of the Sheik Zayed Theatre and then due to an unannounced gremlin, the live blogging programme wouldn’t load correctly. I was asked by Jon Jacobs (known to his many Twitter followers as @thoroughlygood) to live tweet the event.

My usual position for tweeting is on my sofa. If I look up I can either see a wall or the television. If I look to my left, if my husband’s around, I can see a snarling face and hear the words “Twitter is a thief of time” uttered as often as I care to listen to him. Live tweeting at the conference was very, very different. If I looked up I could see the panel of journalists about whom I was tweeting – and, terrifyingly, some of them actually smiled and nodded at me. If I glanced to my right, I could see what I was tweeting on a very large screen which – if I’d have had time to think – may have caused apoplexy but I was too busy listening, paraphrasing and trying to reduce some very erudite statements and arguments into snippets of 140 characters or less.

I wobbled beforehand but didn’t really have time to wobble during. I had wished beforehand that I hadn’t managed to dye my hair an Adams’ Family shade of jet black and that I hadn’t lost my right contact lens two days prior to the conference. Naturally, everyone would notice the middle aged biddy with jet black hair squinting lopsidedly into her reading glasses as opposed to paying any attention whatsoever to the journalists on the stage. The only thing that did make my stomach churn on the actual day was seeing live tweets from some very sensible names. My heart sank when I realised that I should really be known as @hardnosedjourno on Twitter rather than @RedMummy which didn’t really seem to sound grown-up enough for the task in hand. I didn’t have time to worry about it for too long.

Prior to the event, I asked one or two trusted friends if they thought I’d be “up to it” – one suggested that the people at the conference would be able to spot a fraud a mile off and the other thought it would be quite good fun if I didn’t enjoy what was being said as, apparently, my blogs/tweets are funnier when I’m grumpy. So helpful ... both pieces of advice instilled me with huge bursts of confidence!

How much trouble could I get into if I just stated what the people on the stage were saying? These people know what they're talking about ... Jon Snow, Janine Gibson, Danny Finkelstein, Steve Hewlett, Rory Cellan-Jones inter alia ... all well-respected journalists - how could I possibly go wrong? Well, as I was tweeting under my own name, I seemed to get into a fair bit of trouble with a few of my own followers who were somewhat bombarded by many tweets with the #voj10 hash tag. I did open tweet that I was live tweeting from a conference but had little option but to wave them cheerfully on their way when they unfollowed me. Oh dear ... how will I EVER survive without them?

It was a fascinating day and a very tiring one. I can’t remember concentrating quite as hard as that – well, since the last time I concentrated as hard as that. Would I do it again? Oh yes. I’m just waiting for someone to ask me!

Husband – of course – still considers that Twitter is “a thief of time” and says I should get a “proper” job. What he means is that I should get a job that someone pays me to do. Well ... I guess, on that level, he has a point – but oh heck – it felt good to be back amongst media people again. One freebie day can’t have done too much harm, can it? The very worst thing that could happen because of it would be for him to divorce me.

Now scanning job pages in local press for work as cashier in supermarket!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Bar Mitzvah

Well, after a year of quite intensive studying involving the reading of a language with an entirely different alphabet from our own and the singing of it too, my son’s Bar Mitzvah is now IN THE PAST.

He started studying for it when we lived in Bournemouth with a very good and very religious friend of the family and he seemed to take to both the reading and the singing as a duck to water. He made rapid and excellent progress. Then we moved to London where I arranged for him to continue his studies with a local teacher who had an entirely different method of teaching from our friend in Bournemouth.

Son is an honest young man and when I asked him if he was practising he assured me that he was ... and, indeed, he had been – except he was practising in an entirely different way from the way in which he had been practising in Bournemouth.

My son is disadvantaged by having a techno-numpty for a mother ... had I have given any sensible thought to the situation, I would have got hooked up to Skype rather sooner than I have done and my son and his Bournemouth teacher could have continued studying in the way that would have been helpful to him on the day of his actual Bar Mitzvah. I didn’t.

About a month ago, we became Skyped. (Is that a valid expression? It’ll do). And that’s when son, Bournemouth friend of family and I all became aware that there were some fairly hefty gaps in what son needed to know.

I didn’t cancel the weekly lessons with the local London teacher ... it would have seemed rather churlish to do so as a great deal of effort had been made by both him and my son, but I did request that various segments be practised in rather more depth than they had been. Local London teacher’s ego appeared to kick in and he seemed to object.

Friendly Bournemouth teacher to the rescue ... son and he Skyped every evening for the past month and son once again was “up to scratch”.

And the Bar Mitzvah, which was yesterday back in Bournemouth, was WONDERFUL. Son sang clearly, tunefully and even managed to give a most confident and humorous speech afterwards to the assembled friends and family. Happy son, proud parents ... I believe son was particularly chuffed with techno-numpty mother who’d decided that the grey in her hair needed covering up a day before HIS great day, bought brown hair colour instead of mid-brown and left it on her hair for far too long whilst talking to best friend on ‘phone resulting in her husband referring to her as the mother from the Adams’ Family and son thinking it was quite cool that she looked like a Goth.

And today the mother with the Goth-like hair (who is still so proud of her son in having done so well despite having studied for one big day in two places with two different teachers with two changes of home and a change of school intervening) is attempting to get over the past year’s step back from reality and we are once again talking about Darwin as opposed to the Creation. Son’s looking forward to his party which will take place next month and I suppose the next big hurdle will be GCSEs. I’ll need even darker hair dye for those!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

BBC "Over the Rainbow" Singing Event

Several weeks ago, I applied for tickets to a BBC Over the Rainbow Singing Event ... last week, I found out that my application had been successful and I received two tickets to attend the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

My son wasn’t “overly keen” on the whole idea – his tastes tend toward Gogol Bordello and Bruce Springsteen rather than stage musicals but, as Shaftesbury Avenue is not only in the heart of London’s Theatreland but also home to his favourite shop – Forbidden Planet – he agreed to accompany me.

The events are a way of attempting to get the public singing ... because singing is such a thoroughly uplifting experience.

The “Over the Rainbow” band (yes ... the same one that backs the Dorothys was on stage, the show was introduced by Tim Steiner, three of the Dorothys made an appearance, the BBC Singers undertook the task of getting the audience to sing and Jodie Prenger (who’d won the BBC’s previous collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber and had just completed a run as Nancy in “Oliver” ... which we’d been to see last year when Omid Djalili was playing Fagin) was on stage, too.

... And we sang! It was a MARVELLOUS evening ... and even my son whose leanings are STILL towards Gogol Bordello and Bruce Springsteen declared the evening to have been terrific fun.

Singing IS good for a body. We should all do more of it! It doesn’t matter too much if one can sing or not – just do it. It makes you feel happy!

Monday, 19 April 2010

A Rant about "America's Medicated Children"

I watched BBC2’s “America’s Medicated Kids” presented by Louis Theroux on the iPlayer last night and whilst I wasn’t unsurprised at what I saw, (Why make a programme about medicated kids if there isn’t what we as “normal people” would believe to be a problem?) I was enormously saddened by the fact that the very first thing parents and doctors in the USA turn to, if they have a child whom THEY perceive as being different or difficult, is medication.

I was, as I always am when watching his programmes, incredibly impressed by Louis Theroux’s ability to handle so vast a subject so sensitively and manage to condense it into a 59 minute programme. How he manages to speak to such stupid, stupid people and keep his cool, I will never know. The more I watched these selfish people, who find rearing children just a little bit too difficult, the more I wanted to hit them.

The most salient line of the programme was, for me, the gentle reminder Louis gave to the viewer about just how much power parents have over their children. Something I am ever conscious of as a mother. I have Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse” pinned to the notice board in my office to remind me every single day not to mess around with my child’s head – because I could if I wanted to ... so can all parents – but why on earth would we?

How DARE these inadequate people place the calm-running of their own lives above what is actually best for their children. Is it the US culture that causes this? I suspect there are many parents in most countries who would take the easy option of having a drugged child to manipulate and mould to their own convenience, if they could – but we were only privy to US parents in Theroux’s programme.

I wonder what makes these people decide that a boisterous 6 year old, a pre-pubescent 11 year old boy and a girl of 15 who is patently full of hormones need MEDICATING. They need parents who will give them some time, who will listen to them and interact with them ... not pills.

Rant over. I probably need to have my blood pressure checked. It feels as if it’s sky high just now.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Thou Shalt Not Wear Crocs

The too, too long Easter holidays are over and I am learning that living within walking distance of son’s school brings with it new responsibilities and rules ... commandments that – according to son – I am breaking every day.

Son, it would be fair to say, has the road sense of a three toed sloth ... basically NO idea of left, right, roads, zebra crossings or anything at all that would aid his staying alive on the way to school or on the way back. For this reason, we decided that for this week and this week only, we would walk him to and from school – or at least walk with him until he could see the gates and that we could see him go through them (naturally, from a respectful distance).

It is absolutely verboten to kiss son on saying goodbye to him ... although this is a rule that HE forgets and lifts face up for a quick peck before zooming towards the school entrance to join his friends.

I’ve been using the short walk to meet him in the afternoon as an opportunity to take the dog out for a brief trot. It is on these occasions that I have learnt that the wearing of Crocs is a heinous crime and a cause of massive embarrassment to son who has worked out a way of walking directly in front of me so that none of his friends who happen to glance at the pavement will be able to see what I’m wearing on my feet. Of course, I trip over him and the dog and far more attention is drawn to us than would otherwise be the case.

I am also told WHAT to wear and precisely how much make up to put on my face. I am living in Essex. However much make up I may slap on, I’m never going to present any real competition to the other mothers. I can only hope to be a pale and ghostly imitation.

I give up. I asked son if he would also like me to imitate the other Mums’ accents. He decided against that one but I have been requested not to speak at all.

As of Monday he will be walking to and from school on his own. I will be able to wear my Crocs, speak how I usually do and even go out without two tubes of slap on my face. I can barely wait.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Concise Crisis of Confidence

I’ve just glanced at my blog and realise that I’ve been spasmodically scribbling for 13 months now. I wonder why I thought I could write.

So much of what I’ve written seems trite, banal – even boring. Re-reading my self-conscious words, I wonder why I keep putting myself through this.

There are certain things I know I want to say and certain things that, to misquote Donald Rumsfeld, “I know that I know” but why on earth would I have the temerity to think that anyone would want to read about any of it?

I’ve had a too long break from writing “regularly” and my confidence seems to have completely deserted me ... not that there was much of it to start off with.

My son keeps telling my husband that I’m a writer. I’ll stick with it for a while longer. I would hate to disappoint him and, anyway, I don’t really know what else I would do in its place.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Our house is a very, very, very ... err ... NICE house?

Well, after three months in the rented London Dungeon (a teeny, tiny flat that was more suited as a “pulling pad” for a single 35 year old male than it was for a family) and what has, for reasons many and varied, seemed to be the longest completion of a purchase EVER, we are – once again – installed in our own home. We are now, of course, noticing everything that’s wrong with the place. I don’t even know where to start to describe the ever-growing list of priorities that aren’t just frivolous desires but urgent imperatives.

I’ve always thought I had the ability to see past other people’s ideas of d├ęcor when I view houses. I walk around thinking “yes, a loo can go in the cupboard under the stairs” and “I can fit an en suite in there” or “let me just rip this kitchen out and start again”. Not so much “Grand Designs” as “logical enhancements”. My viewing of this house was no exception ... but what I should have been doing was asking whether there was a combi-boiler, whether there were any leaks and if the shed at the bottom of the garden was lined with asbestos. I didn’t do any of that. So desperate was I to be away from the London Dungeon and so exhausted was I from driving 50 miles each day in rush hour traffic to get my son to and from his new school, I thought – THIS house is a 3 minute walk from the school and THIS is obviously where we must be.

The house – in “estate agency speak” – is “inter-war”. It was built (or possibly propped up by the two houses either side of it, in its mid-terrace position) in 1929. It has, without doubt been “ahem” modernised ... I reckon probably sometime in the 1960s but – since then – only cosmetic changes have been made.

Coat after coat of paint has been applied to each and every inside door – without ever a thought given to planing any of the wood off prior to repainting hence, apart from the door to the only toilet – which is upstairs, NONE of the other doors in the house actually close. At least two of us can be found most mornings going cross-eyed on the landing waiting for the third to exit the toilet. And ... when one of us is lucky enough to gain access to the toilet – these are what we get to look at!

And we can look at them in the separate bathroom, too – wherein they cover the walls AND the ceiling!

I like luxury as much as the next person – but REALLY is a downstairs loo “a luxury”? Not when you’re 53 years old, you’ve had your first child at the age of 41 and you completely forgot to do your pelvic floor exercises thereafter, it isn’t ... a downstairs loo is an absolute bl**dy necessity!

The master bedroom isn’t a bad size and has elements of – if I lived in North West London – what I would call “Golders Green Gothic” about it ... but I don’t. I now live in Essex, so I believe the house’s current state of decoration could be termed “Barkingside Byzantine”.

Oh yes ... every bedroom should have its very own chandelier ...

and – naturally – covered radiators are the ultimate in good taste!

My son has opted for the smallest bedroom ... he likes “cosy”. He certainly HAS cosy. And only about a third of his treasured possessions actually fit into the cosy little room. Never mind. He has overflowed into the spare room which has melamine-clad fitted wardrobes and very useful they are, too – they’re just not quite as “attractive” as the ones in the master bedroom which have the benefit of fake antique gold “stuff” stuck all over the place.

But – that said – the master bedroom doesn’t have the benefit of an electric shower strategically placed in its corner which the spare room does have.

Of course, what would only improve both the master bedroom and the spare room would be some of these:

... very Barkingside Byzantine and scattered liberally throughout the through sitting and dining room!

I avoid looking at them too much because they make me itch to rip them off the walls.

Where do I start? And – in describing – for fear of boring you ... where do I stop?

Outside, we have a thingy that is corroded and leaks.

I don’t know what sort of a thingy it is but it looks most ominous and I think something ought to be done about it very quickly.

We also have one of these ...

... which is open to the elements at both ends and I would dearly like to pull it off the wall (and then hit the vendor and the estate agent with it ... after I’ve hit myself – of course – for having been completely STUPID).

I desperately need a job to supplement the income from our business in order to start putting into action the many, many, MANY things that need doing to this silly little house – and that’s not going to be easily achievable!

And of course, there are sadnesses ... our darling German Shepherd (who was too large and too bouncy to live in a size-challenged house that the sale of a property in Catatonia deemed was all we could afford in the outskirts of the capital) is no longer with us but having a whale of a time in 3 acres of land in Kent.

For all of the sadnesses and inconveniences, I am once again sitting on my own comfy sofa rather than the concrete couch that nearly broke my back in the London Dungeon. I have a fat Westie snuggled up to my right and an aging black cat snuggled up to my left. That HAS to be fine ... poor old moggy was used to living in the shed in our old house and is now able to spend his twilight years inside as a lapcat.

I like living in Essex! I never thought I would, but after three months of living in the environs of where the London Dungeon was situated, I find Essex friendly ... and it’s wonderful to be within walking distance of a very cosmopolitan High Street. We're quite close to BNP heartland so, I have great pleasure in thumbing my nose at Nick Griffin because I LIKE THE MIX!

I’m enjoying using my own cooking utensils again – now crammed into a too, too small kitchen, and the smell of the first home-made chicken soup bubbling on the hob ready for Friday night in three months is a plus! There are some things that are absolutely okay about my world – and, of course, the very best okay bit is the fact that I have a happy kid. His education and the way he talks about his new school make every single inconvenience pale into total insignificance.

We are HOME.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Please bear with me ... I'm getting there!

I’m very conscious of the fact that it has been a very long time since I last wrote a blog. I’ve WANTED to write a blog ... it’s not like I haven’t got anything to say – I have and that’s the problem! I have rather too much to say and - due to the ongoing, rather strange and very stressful circumstances that I’m living through at the moment - it’s probably wiser that I don’t say ANY of it!

How does the expression “a still tongue in a wise head” translate to blogging in the 21st Century? It doesn’t – easily – and as the word “wise” never really sits comfortably in the same sentence as the word “me”, the premise isn’t too relevant just now anyway! “Sensibly still fingertips at the end of madly gyrating arms belonging to a body with a very puzzled head on its shoulders” is awkward terminology and makes me sound like a human windmill but it’s probably a more accurate description of the rather dark and miserable place that I’m occupying just now.

So, for the moment, please forgive me but I’m keeping rather quiet. I shall return and I will write what I really do have to say.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Well, here we are in London ... well in the outskirts of the capital at any rate. My son’s first day at his new school was last Tuesday – rapidly followed by two days off due to the inclement weather conditions (which didn’t actually stop US from getting there but “Health & Safety issues” made it necessary to close the school for fear that children may have thrown a few snowballs at each other).

He was rather circumspect after his first day ... he’d been off school since I removed him from the Arts & Media College in Bournemouth in November 2009 and, to be honest, I think ANY school would have been anathema after that length of time. He’s been partaking of private maths tuition and his Ma’s slightly deranged take on home education since I withdrew him from the Bournemouth school. I’m not exactly sure how much he’s learnt over the past couple of months but he’s now not quite as fearful of dealing with all things numeric as he used to be, he knows all about The Goon Show and can sing “The Ying Tong Song” very well indeed.

I was VERY edgy about his reticence after his first day and you can only imagine how relieved I was when I collected him on his second day (which turned out to be last Friday) when he was grinning from ear to ear and telling me how much he’d enjoyed himself, how great the teachers were and how puzzled he was that two young ladies had asked him out. I am blessed with a son who’s neither aware of how handsome he is, nor how cool. He was very bemused indeed that anyone of the opposite sex would be interested in a “nerd” such as he thinks he is!

He had homework to do over the weekend and even set about that with gusto. I expect the novelty will wear off soon and we will settle into a less excited routine but how very good it is to have a kid who can’t wait to get to school each day.

The house is all but sold in Bournemouth – we’re due to complete by the end of this month and, not being a great one for “hanging around”, we’ve already found a house very close to his new school indeed and have had our offer accepted on it. Hopefully we should be installed therein by the end of February which will be marvellous ... the house is truly nothing special – just a three bedroomed, solid, terraced family home – but how good it will be to move out of the tiny rented flat we’ve been in since the first day of the year and once again be able to have our “own” stuff around us. It will also be very good not to have to travel 48 miles each day on 2 school runs!

My last blog "The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum" attracted a great deal of publicity thanks to that ever-delightful and kindest of Tweeters, Stephen Fry, but - inspite of hearing responses to it from the Headmaster of my son's previous school and a representative of a large teaching union on the BBC's "South Today" and on Radio Solent - I still have had not ONE word of explanation nor an apology for the mismanagement of my son's education at that school ... other than the Union representative stating during his interview that my blog had not been "helpful" to the "professionals". Oh, I am SO very sorry ... would that these "professionals" had have been "helpful" to my son!

So, we’ve had a tumultuous few months – an emotional roller coaster during which there have been many occasions when I’ve questioned the logic of the decisions I’ve made and the decisions following the “big decision” haven’t been easy at all. We’ve sadly had to have our much loved big dog re-homed as it just wasn’t feasible to bring her with to London; we’ve had to up sticks and move from a very comfortable home indeed firstly to a rented, furnished flat; we’re still coming to terms with the implications that moving may have for our business and a lot of time is spent HOPING that trade will be as good as or better for us in London than it was in Bournemouth – but the main thing is we have a son who is now enjoying going to school and is getting the sort of education that every kid deserves to have. And THAT is worth all the doubts, fears, uncertainties and soul-searching.