Terrible Poetry Contest

Need to lower the blood pressure so it’s time to go bizarre.

The wonderful Chelsea Owens hosts a weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. This is my entry for this week. Remember it is supposed to be terrible – not that I could ever write proper poetry.

My poem is dedicated to the wonderful and incredibly gifted people we have vying to become our next Prime Minister. This week terrible poems have to be kept clean. Drat.. the fun I was going to have with Hunt and Hancock…

A better rhyme for Boris involved deporting him to Wisconsin – but I wouldn’t do that to those very fine people.

*********************

The ten amazing PM candidates

Needed since the dreadful May abdicates

Boris Johnson

Looking out for number one

Jeremy Hunt

No more than an embarrassing publicity stunt

Michael Gove

Slowly disappearing in all the cocaine lies you wove

Dominic Raab

Wouldn’t trust you with a kebab

Sajid Javid

You make our police so livid

Matt Hancock

Talks utter poppycock

Mark Harper

Completely incompetent usurper

Esther McVey

Only wants you to obey

Rory Stewart

The leadership qualities of a Raspberry Tart

Andrea Leadsom

Will only bring national doom

That is Britain Today

A country in complete disarray

I’ve got my eye on you

Currently we have 11 very wise sages (now 12) who want to be our new Prime Minister. Aptly my spell checker wants to change wise sages to sausages. Apart from Brexit what do they offer. No idea. All they talk about is Brexit. They play a game. Remember that guessing game. I will name that song in 10 seconds. Well I will name it in 9 seconds. I can name it in 8 seconds…. Well they are doing that with Brexit. I can get us out by December. Well I will get us out by November. Boris will get us out be October… Apart from Brexit we don’t hear much else. The chap who looks after the police for months he has been saying rising crime levels has nothing to do with resource cuts … well now if he becomes PM apparently he will give them more money because crime levels are rising. Figure that one out.

Anyway we don’t get a say in the new Prime Minister. Why should we, we only live here and pay our taxes. Basically the 330 Conservative MPs (the ones who have demonstrated a complete lack of any idea how to get us out of this mess) get the first go. If they can’t do something resembling Julius Caesar and his last night comeuppance then we go to stage 2. The 120000 Conservative Party Members then get a vote. So bugger the other 69,804,206 good people. So while the lucky few indulge themselves the rest of us watch the country fall apart.

My child is autistic. He wants to be like the other kids. He wants to go to school to learn. A Mainstream School is the best place for him to do that. But to do that he needs some additional support. Not asking for the world just a bit more support here and there. But the government and the council have cut the Special Needs Funding. We have been waiting 2 years to see a specialist. Our school won’t offer him a place. The council has cut his transport service. He’s been at home for months and now I’m told the only two options are a special school miles away or no schooling at all.

Not me another parent on the radio at the weekend. Over 1 million kids in England have some form of Special Educational Need. Yet Government policy is to ignore them. Assign them to the scrap heap. See them as an easy budget savings target. To focus on our son for a few seconds

  • Dyslexia Support – none
  • Aspergers Educational Support – some additional funding secured but this has to be used to pay for some additional non teaching support for the whole school and not tailored to his needs
  • Aspergers Health Support – did secure access to counselling support but due to cut backs he is now seen as a low priority and that support has dried up
  • Bereavement support – a couple of pamphlets and still on the waiting list – that’s coming up for 3 years now

The government principle appears to be it’s not a problem for the us, it’s not our job, it’s the parents job so just own it. So while the lucky few get to play a fun Machiavellian lets pick a leader game – Rome Burns for many. When we get a new leader – nothing will change. We might even pour some more petrol on the flames.

I really don’t know what the answer is. I don’t see things changing for the better. For the rest of our sons school years it is going to be a constant struggle. We will have to do our best and see what happens. Fighting our case. Trying to make our voices heard. Keeping our eyes on our so called leaders.

Maybe it’s time for the Gerbils to Assemble.

2016 seems a long time ago

Poor Theresa.

Wormed your way into the top job. Your eyes focused solely on your legacy. To be one of the greats assured on the back of your often self stated immense leadership skills. Being a bully is not the same as being a leader. Then it suddenly started to fall apart. The cloak of competency rapidly lost. 2016 seems such a long time ago. Cock up after cock up. Lost count of the times you bring the same failed plan back and guess what – it fails again. Now holed up in your plush panic room. Your so called colleagues circling like vultures. A 10 on the door and a nice policeman to let your cat in and out. You look out of your steamed up windows as the country falls apart and implodes but all you see is your legacy. Clinging desperately for a few more days in the hope that the failed plan suddenly works because the pixies have arrived to sprinkle some magic powder onto it. All you ever wanted was that legacy unfortunately the legacy you are leaving is one nobody would want.

***************

“Dad its an important anniversary today. It’s 4 years since we set off on our last holiday with mum.”

Yes in 2015 on Thursday in the second last week of May we did. As I’m writing this we would have been heading towards Strasbourg by train. We had no idea what would happen in 2016. How the world would change for ever. 2016 seems such a long time ago. I really have to find a way to start taking him on holidays again.

I came across some of my partners diaries the other day. She was meticulous in keeping records. Unlike me – I can’t even keep my hair these days. But this conversation with our son sparked a search for some other milestones.

Feb 2014 – last time son was hit in the head from a flying bin lid (during a stormy day) at school.

April 1997 – met my partner at work

April 1999 – finally picked up the courage to ask my partner out

Sept 2012 – first and last trip to a Michelin Restaurant. Wonderful food but not much of it. Ten minutes after leaving restaurant we bought a fish and chips.

Dec 1999 – first trip away as a couple

June 2005 – happily walked up Mount Snowden. I might have forgotten to book the mountain train down and it was fully booked. Very frosty walk down with an icy stare drilling into my head.

Jun 2002 – moved into our first house together

June 2012 – started process of getting an Autism assessment.

Sep 2002 – last trip to IKEA but clearly bought enough stuff to furnish a city, still finding unopened boxes. Plus we came back with two huge man eating items which we unfortunately still have.

Sept 2015 – Aspergers diagnosis confirmed

Dec 1907 – last time my team Newcastle United won a match (made that one up but it does feel like it somedays)

Dec 2001 – Partner travelled on last solo trip to India. Left clear instructions that I had to book us in to a New Years Eve meal and dance. She returned New Years Eve expecting to be picked up at the airport and taken to a high class event. Don’t think a Blues Brothers Tribute night was quite what she had planned for.

April 2017 – Started Blogging

Break time

Why had Captain Chaos adopted his ‘please don’t’ position. Not being threatened with a walk. Not been shouted out. No need for a bath. Bizarre.

*************************

An item on the news caught my attention. Strangely it was not the ongoing brexit cockup. It wasn’t the story about some TV celebrity going out with somebody else I had never heard of. It wasn’t the recurring piece on the UK is about to have the best summer in 50 years – more chance of my football team winning something. Don’t start me on that one – 1969 for the last European trophy and 1955 for a domestic one.

No it was the story which got the least news time. ‘ School break times are becoming a thing of the past’. If you listened hard enough you could hear a few quickly presented facts.

  • 11 to 16 year olds now get 65 minutes per week less break time than they did 25 years ago
  • Just 1% of secondary schools now have an afternoon break time
  • 82% of secondary schools now have less than 55 minutes for lunch
  • 25% of schools have lunch breaks of less than 35 minutes
  • One in eight school children have a reported mental health problem (I suspect this only scratches the surface)
  • 22000 pupils in Year 6 are classed as severely obese but apparently this has nothing to do with the reduction in break times. Even though the Chief Medical Officer is calling for at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day – unlikely to happen when you are sat at a desk

A helpful person from the Government said it was nothing to do with them as it was up to schools to sort out the school day. Strangely he didn’t mention the strict targets his Government had placed on schools.

When our son returned from school today I found his uneaten lunch and unopened bottle of water. Apparently he didn’t get time to have them today. So no food or drink in 8 hours – that is clearly conducive to educational excellence.

His average school day seems to be a 10 to 15 minute morning break which is just enough time to get to the next class. A lunchtime of queuing to get into the canteen, then grabbing some food and making your way to the next lesson. Again in the afternoon a break just long enough to allow kids to get to the next lesson.

How can this be right. I can hear the howls about ‘kids are there to learn so that they can get good jobs’. But sorry kids do need to have fun. If they are enjoying school they will learn better. School is not just about feeding our warped society, it’s about preparing kids for life. It’s ups and downs. It’s work time and its leisure time.

Modern day schooling has become sadly dysfunctional.

*************************

Food in the kitchen finally moved the dog. All is revealed. It wasn’t his ‘please don’t’ position. It was in fact the ‘all the socks from the washing basket looked too tempting so I pinched them and needed somewhere quick to hide them and lying on them is the best I can think of’ position.

Our own party

When it comes to elections I let our son decide my vote. It’s not really my world anymore. It’s his generations world. He decides.

So we have Local and European elections coming up. For ages we don’t hear from the politicians then suddenly our letterbox fills with promotional leaflets. I have kept them to one side for our son to look at.

I hand him what is left of one leaflet – not much at all really. Very badly chewed. But we think it’s an independent candidate.

Clearly the dog doesn’t like that candidate. So he’s not getting our vote”

Next is an independent candidate still in one piece. I went through what he stood for.

Apart from he was born in Yorkshire that makes no sense what’s so ever. No idea what that meant so no vote here”

Next up was a very Right Wing Candidate.

He looks an awful person”

We went through his leaflet.

He is an awful person, no vote”

We’ve not had anything from the Labour Party Candidates.

Well if they can’t be bothered to tell us what they are going to do THEN we can’t be bothered to vote for them. Shame because I would like to vote for them. That teams Leader (Corbyn) sometimes says the best things but sometimes is a bit stupid”

Then we had the Liberal Democrat Candidate.

“She looks a really nice person. She’s a mum and she wants to improve the environment and help the schools. She is honest saying we need to pay more taxes to pay for it. She has one of our votes”

Then it’s the two Conservative Candidates.

These photos clearly make them look like they are going hunting for Pheasants. They keep saying that they are going to improve services and yet they say they are going to slash taxes. Do they think we are stupid. No votes”

That’s a good job because I ain’t voting for a party containing the odious May, Gove, Johnson, Hunt, Raab, Rees-Moog.….

Then we have a candidate who is just in favour of Brexit.

All she talks about is that she wants to leave Europe as soon as possible but doesn’t say anything about what happens after that. No vote”

“Are the Greens competing”

Don’t know, not seen anything from them.

Shame we can’t get Greta to be our leader”

She would certainly get my vote.

Maybe the Greens and the Reds (Labour) should merge to form the Browns. That sounds like a great party”.

So we have only one candidate selected. These elections we get more than one vote.

“Right we need to setup our own party. With a bit of touching up you can be the face of the party (said with a very big giggle)”

What shall we stand for. These days people will vote for anything silly”

How about being a single issue party. Let’s keep it really simple. Let’s pinch something from Spongebob. How about our issue being – free Krabby patties for all.

That’s a winner. When you are elected you can work with that nice Liberal candidate and you can start changing the world”

So tomorrow we start saving the planet, today I need to find a heap of makeup and start the touching up process……

The weather

I bumped into a parent from our son’s last school this morning. A conversation started about the weather (forgive us it’s a British thing), Brexit (forgive us it’s a British madness) and son’s old school. Nothing remarkable. Then the dreaded question from the parent.

“It’s been a couple of years now. You must be over the worst now. Now the clouds are parting do you think it’s time to move on. Find someone else. Your still relatively young…”

Couldn’t believe it. What a thing to say. Relatively young. Cheeky bugger I am still only 24!!!!! I think it was 1875 when I was 24….

That conversation reminded me why staying in the house is often so appealing and cheaper – ended up sponsoring his son.ł

A year ago the main part of that question would have thrown me completely. I suspect I would have gone to Jelly. Now it just yields a deep sigh.

Every persons grief is different (forgive me I keep saying this a lot). With me the clouds do part some days but they often quickly move back in, blocking out the view.Like the weather I get fine days, average days and crappy days. The comment about you must be over the worst because it’s been a couple of years is clearly an unfounded assumption as every persons grief is different (forgive me I’ve said it again). Find Someone Else ….. makes it sound like I’m house hunting.

The photo is taken near Interlaken in Switzerland (forgive me it’s another favourite country plug – still waiting for my chocolate from the Swiss Tourist Board……). It’s quite a good representation of my grief journey. Yes the clouds keep sweeping in often covering the mountain peak. But somedays the mountain is cloudless. Same mountain vastly different mood. So unpredictable. That’s the weather for you (The Brits and the weather AGAIN ).

Spelling….

Some roads are straight and easy to navigate. Other roads are not….

A few years ago the U.K. Government changed the way children were taught and tested. To ensure that ‘children are better equipped for jobs a greater emphasis should be placed on spelling, grammar and punctuation’. As a result marks are now specifically set aside for these factor in exams. Labelled SPaG marking. It was argued that the previous inclusive educational approach was wrong.

The Government approach is to focus on a limited number of correctly spelt words. Let’s produce kids who can spell one word perfectly rather than have kids who can use an extended comprehension.

Where does this leave kids with dyslexia.?

Teaching Groups, Charities, Dyslexia Associations, Parenting Associations and Health Bodies objected. But what do they know….

Dyslexic Kids can apply for extra time in exams. They can apply for a scribe. They can apply to use a reading pen. They can apply to use a keyboard rather than pen. BUT.

They have to demonstrate a level of independence to gain access to the spelling, the grammar or the punctuation marks. If they can’t then the marks are not available to them.

Looking at our son’s case it probably means that when he takes his final exams if he opts for reasonable levels of assistance (as required under Equality Legislation) he will at best be able to access only 33% of the total SPaG marks available.

In my eyes this is wrong. But this is modern U.K. education policy.

Sadly it doesn’t stop there.

The Government decided to change the course content for Computing. Computing underpins everything now. The range of potential computing skills are endless. So many of our kids have passions and untapped skills here. The opportunities are boundless. Let kids tap into this. NO. The Government decided that the course should now focus on coding and structured programming.

Not often can I talk about a subject with anything other than guesswork, but computing I can get to amateur level. This is way beyond the dogmatic ideological buffoonery that underpins Government thinking. Why in God’s name have they picked the most uninspiring and regimented area to focus on. The approach seems to be let’s push out kids who can code rather than develop kids who can utilise the potential computers offer. Yes let kids have a basic grasp of coding then allow those who want to take it further the option to do so. I remember training in 3 programming languages – all becoming obsolete within 5 years.

AND yet again the Government – The Government which is on our side – have penalised kids with dyslexia. Coding and programming is built around specific commands and symbol patterns. Dyslexics struggle with this. So our son is stuck in a weekly computing lesson which focuses on programming. He flounders as he can’t spell the commands. His confidence gets battered. His struggles with spelling are cruelly exposed. His love for computing is fading. The school knows this but cannot change because it’s the set teaching method. Madness.

Sadly I could go on about other subjects and more Government interference. But the point has been made.

Education is so vital that it should not be left in the hands of our self absorbed and incompetent politicians. How about the politicians just focusing on screwing up Brexit and leaving education to the teachers, the parents, the area experts, the kids. In today’s language that probably gets me labelled as a dangerous socialist. A Traitor. Frankly I don’t care. What I care about is the kids going through our educational system. Clearly that’s something our leaders clearly can’t comprehend.

The new Brexit team

It’s been a very good year for Daffodils. Flowers lift the heart. So while I set off my Stone Age Laptop to undertake a work task I headed into the garden to plant flower seeds. I have a horticultural tradition now. In September I visit the local garden shop and see what out of date seeds they are selling off cheap. One hour later 8 random and very cheap flower seed packs have been planted.

I returned inside to find the Laptop still apparently busy doing stuff so let’s put the TV on for a few moments. Just in time for the weather forecast.

“During the weekend the warm settled weather will be replaced with an extremely cold frontal pattern. Snow cannot be ruled out. Severe frosts are likely. Gardeners should take note of this Arctic Blast. Maybe delay planting for a couple of weeks”

You couldn’t tell me this an hour ago. Marvellous.

Then the news comes on. Brexit is still a monumental pile of pants – Deep Joy. Everyday I sound more and more like Stadler and Waldorf from the Muppets (sorry).

Anyway is it just me or does our Prime Minister look increasingly like Skeletor from the Master of the Universe cartoon. Sorry Skeletor you were never this self obsessed or so grossly incompetent.

We had a little game the other night. Come up with a list of cartoon characters who would do a better job of Brexit than the current shower of ineptitude – I cleaned this up as I did use two naughty words initially….

So our Cartoon Brexit Replacement Team is:

  • Prime Minister May becomes PM Lisa Simpson
  • Chancellor Hammond becomes Mr Krabby (Spongebob)
  • U.K. Europe Negotiator Robbins becomes Selma (The Simpson’s)
  • Foreign Secretary Hunt becomes Inspector Gadget
  • Brexit Secretary Barclay becomes Patrick (Spongebob)
  • Person responsible for negotiating trade deals – Liam Fox becomes Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls)
  • Minister for screwing up the Environment Michael Gove becomes Sid (Ice Age)
  • Brexit Buffoon Boris Johnson becomes Elmer Fudd
  • Brexit Twit Rees-Mogg becomes Yosemite Sam
  • Minister in charge of screwing things up Chris ‘Calamity’ Grayling becomes Goofy

I’m sure you would agree our cartoon team is significantly better equipped for the job. Now having sorted out Brexit it’s time to try and remember where I planted those seeds.

Trees

What a stunning tree.

We took Captain Chaos for a walk this morning. Still trying to process yesterday’s school review meeting. Maybe it’s because I am tired but I just can’t get my head fully round it’s implications. It’s times like this when being a single parent sucks… No one to talk things through with. No voice of reason. So the ideas and words just keep swirling around.

I turned up carrying my 300 pages of notes (sorry Trees…). When I opened the paper pile a must do House DIY list dropped out. Sadly nothing can be ticked off the list from the last meeting. Where does all the time go.

The meeting lasted two hours. So many discussions. So many disagreements. So much frustration.

I suspect the best way to summarise is to see a never ending circle.

I ask for something. School confirm it’s not happened. Health Service says the need is real and should be met. School says they don’t have the resources to do this. School asks the Council for funds. Council says it’s not an education issue, it’s a health issue. Health Service says they don’t have the money and it’s an education issue. And on and on. If we give money to health to provide additional support then that has to come from the school and they then can’t even meet his minimum care standards. So Son has real unmet needs – everyone agrees on that but no one is prepared to provide the funds. Everybody at the meeting clearly cared about our son. Let’s be honest Health and Education have been hammered by our current Government. You can only cut things so far before things start falling apart.

Let’s quote our Prime Minister again

“I’m on your side….”

Just sod off. You are not on OUR SIDE. You are just looking after yourself. You don’t give a damm about kids like our son. Get back to looking at your, your husband and your friends off shore investments….

So the bottom line is Health are going to write to the Council and request additional funding. Council are going to write to the Health Managers and ask for additional funds. While our PM sits in Chequers and tries to find more desperate ways of staying in power. Go on May why don’t you bribe the DUP with billions of pounds of public funds again – while lecturing the rest of us that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. Madness.

More positively school are going to try some minor adjustments to see if that helps our son. They are also going to formally request exceptional one-off funding to pay for an in-depth dyslexia assessment. The funding probably won’t come but at least school now recognise the impact dyslexia is having on our son’s educational performance.

So hopefully at the next meeting we will have seen some progress and at the very least confirming that

  • Son has started getting some more tailored support,
  • I have started doing some of the DIY projects which are badly needed,
  • I will have gone paperless so more beautiful trees will be saved AND
  • our incompetent and distinctly unpleasant PM is consigned to historical ignominy…..

Alexa decides

Alexa selected Green Day. Don’t want to be an American Idiot. Tremendous – that doesn’t link with any of the threads I was thinking about. So let’s stick to the plan and see where this takes us down a political road.

Our PM stood in front of the nation this week and said nothing was her fault. But one line really stood out.

“I am on your side….”

Respectfully can I tell you PM May to sod off.

Where you on my side when:

– you actively started copying the current US Presidents approach to running a government

– you put your own self preservation above the need to properly consider a Brexit which helps and protects our country

– when you stood back and watched utility/transport companies flout the market and excessively raise prices

– when you ignored local and environmental objections, forcing fracking on our communities

– when you savagely cut school, health and policing budgets

– when you traded with rogue nations

– when you actively promoted feelings of little Britain. Sending out advert buses demonising good people who had decided to come to Britain to live and work

– when you turned your back on the Grenell Tower survivors and all those families still living in potentially unsafe buildings

– when you sat back and watched changes to the education system which so badly impacted kids with Dyslexia and Autism

– when your decisions continue to destroy our beloved NHS

– when the only voices you listen to are your own deluded tones plus a handful of your own far right MPs and 10 DUP MPs

– when you pay lip service to the mental health crisis facing this country

– when you tell the kids to stop protesting about the environment.

So NO you are not on our side, just your own.

Our gerbils are ready to roll. They will happily form a government which will truly be for the people and rodents. The price – just a few toilet rolls…