Saturday, 18 December 2010

The nieces aren't coming...

... For various reasons, including one being a bit ill and the snow where they are, my parents have cancelled the plans.  Boooooring.

Monday, 13 December 2010


Somehow over the weekend, Big Boy persuaded me to invite the 10 and 12 year old nieces to London for next week.  They were last here a few months ago and they really do need a bit of fine polishing to make them more interesting and bearable to be around.  But they do need the break, and also they were supposed to be going to see their other grandmother around xmas time but she did a very silly thing... She pushed my parents too far in suggesting that the girls' father (who's only supposed to have supervised access) would have to pick them up from Wales on his own and take them on a two hour train ride to there.   One of the nieces simply refused.  It was not an option anyway.  I'd have bloody made sure he didn't get to do it if no one else had made the right decision.

So anyway, she's a bloody cow my views on her are confirmed as she clearly doesn't take seriously the girls' or my parents wishes on the issue.  I think anyway the girls could do with a break, and we like to be here for them (even if I'm going to need to bite my tongue when they annoy me endlessly while they're here).

In the meantime, I'm trying to think what to do with them while they're here.  I'd like some sort of activity afternoons to take them too - eg where they can paint pottery in one of those cafe things, or do something similar that I don't know about.  I've taken them to the Natural History Museum, the zoo, the Aquarium, to see Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Kew Gardens, the Tower of London... etc.  So now I'm going to have to think more about this.

It should be fun - for them ;)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

To those of you who don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook (!)

I should mention that apart from the usual whingy stuff I put up here, yesterday I had some very good news.  I have been given a part-time lecturing post for one term, starting in January, at *precisely* the place I want to be working and on a topic that is *precisely* my area of expertise.  Lucky, lucky, lucky.

And also I get to be taking 2 weeks off over Christmas before I get started, in which time I am going to make more of exploring my city like a tourist.  I've lived here years and I swear there are newbies who know more about the city than I do.  (But do they know the really good bits?)

Anyway, it's all good, really.  The angst just comes and goes, but the fact that I don't post here very often and it's my little outlet does go to show that I don't have much to complain about.

I quit my Lib Dem membership recently, by the way.  Over the child detention issue (although the tuition fees issue is shameful, too).

Yes. Life's good.  And this weekend I get to see my lovely little nieces (and the bigger ones!) - all apart from Favourite Niece Number 3 who I get to see again in a week or two.  Gosh, she's lovely.  

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The curse of insecurity

I'd like to think that one day I'll be secure. That I won't take every little suggestion of rejection from another person as something that eats at me and which I spend too long thinking about.  I'd like to be "mature" and be able to say with confidence that *I am the best I can do*... but then I say silly things .. give someone a bad impression of me, I feel - including people I've known for years and who are probably well past the "impression stage" and who probably like me but from whom the slightest knock-back can be galling.

I wasn't always insecure, but I was always shy.  I was brought up with a mixture of cock-suredness and arrogance, which did me no favours.  The insecurity hit when I was about 16... That threshold age.  And it's stayed with me ever since.

I know that on the surface I appear over-confident and still often quite arrogant.  And I know that I put myself across as someone with a very thick shell.  And I know that each of these things makes it inevitable that people will treat me in a certain way.  That they'll think they don't have to be terribly nice to me .. And anyway, perhaps I could try harder with them because inside they - the people I surround myself with - might be exactly the same way.

But the point is that insecurity sucks the strength out of me to do this.  So it just goes round and round in circles - the feeling that few people even like me very much.  And anyway, why should they?  I'm a self-pitying, inward-looking, selfish individual.  Who wants to change but who doesn't have the strength.

You might be wondering what's inspired this latest outburst?  Fuck it, it's too pathetic to tell.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Mean aunt

I've had to read the riot act to my niece.  Really lay it on thick.

My parents - her legal guardians - know that I'm her nominal "role model" so of course I have a role to play in helping them to correct her bad behaviour.  When I saw them last weekend, my mum had tears welling in her eyes as she told me how awful her week had been.  My niece started secondary school last September and she's had upwards of 17 detentions since then.  But in the last week or two she's had one almost every day.  She's not doing her homework and she also screams and shouts at my mum when she's told to do it.  My mum's been crying a lot throughout the week as from her perspective my niece is "just like her mother" - lazy and horrible when confronted - and she can't face going through all that again.  My mum tends to label children a bit ...  Anyway, on Sunday I took my niece aside and began to lay it on really thick.  Obviously it's going to take more than one go at this (yeah, like that's even my first given that she's been getting detentions all year) so last night I followed things up.  Apparently she's done less screaming and shouting, but she's also had detention every day this week.  Including today because she told me last night she hadn't done her art homework (this was 8pm. She was very insistent it was too late. Not that I accepted that...).

I don't really get it.  I was never like this.  My (favourite) sister was never like this.  Other sister (not niece's mother) was never like this- even though she was never very good at school she got on with it.

So I did what I had to do.  "I'm really disappointed in you".  She went quiet.  So quiet that after a few seconds I had to ask if she was there.  I hit a nerve, I'm sure, but whether it will achieve anything... well.

I've asked her if anything's wrong... reminded her that she can tell me and that I'm here for her.  She says there's nothing ("maybe it's just because I'm almost a teenager now").  Maybe it's possible the child's just lazy.  She's also got a piss-poor concentration span (she can't read books, she says, but only magazines, because she can't concentrate on them).  But she can try, can't she?

I'm following up in two days.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Betrayed by my own pocket

The Lib Dem guy keeps calling my mobile phone trying to get me to pay £20 to attend the local party "boo-fay with one glass one wine".  On Friday night, he called three times.  I ignored him.  My pocket, however, didn't.  My pocket answered the damn phone on the second of his calls and I had to hang up when I realised we were connected.  

In the meantime, Sarah Teather has ignorantly said that the government "has to be careful not to rush into" ending child immigration detention precisely because it is about dealing with the "safety and wellbeing" of often vulnerable children:

These are the same children who Nick Clegg was talking about in December when he referred to detention as "state sponsored cruelty":

Remind us, Clegg.  Who runs the State now?  Who's sponsoring the cruelty to children?

No... I'm not spending £20 on attending a local party "boo-fay", thanks very much.  If child detention continues in another few months then I'm canceling my membership anyway.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Deal of a lifetime

So the Lib Dem guy who's been trying to get in touch with me finally left a message.  He's invited me to a post-lib dem conference social in our local area.  I thought it sounded reasonably okay... possibly tempting if I wasn't feeling quite so disenfranchised, but then he said what it would cost.  "£20 for a buffet (pronounced boo-fay) and a glass of wine".  And he didn't say it was a gourmet buffet either or whether it would be particularly nice wine, so I can only imagine it would end up being sausage rolls, crisps and (strictly one glass of) Blue Nun.

I'm not returning his call.  Not until children are let out of immigration detention.  If indeed they ever are.  And not if they just deport them all instead, like the proposed reception centre for unaccompanied minors in Kabul suggests they'll do.  Gee, thanks a lot Lib Dems.  You're really getting the hang of what's really involved in politics.  I'll talk again when the party does something good for all it's bullshit rhetoric.  The irony is I'd really like to be an MP one day.  Do I really have to compromise my ethics to do so?