From Here to Fostering

From Here to Fostering
Experiences are everything.......

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

All Good Things.........

The time has come. So that she will be all ready to welcome her foster children in the new year, Firtha has found herself a new flat. She needs to be all moved in and settled before she sits in front of 'The Panel' (whom we can only assume will include the prime minister and the chief of police in their number based on how strict the process has been so far), in March.  The comiseratory texts have already been coming through from anxious neighbours, concerned about how I will cope. "Shall I bring you tea first thing for a few days to ease you in?" and "available as counselling/crying partner at the weekend if needed?" etc. Fritha is not amused - "What about ME?! I am the one moving out and being forced to live without Toby!" (She will miss the rest of us too I am sure. Toby just happens to be going through a particularly super cute stage). 

My grateful replies are unemotional. Mainly because I am in COMPLETE DENIAL. But truly, this Saturday, she will pack up her few bits and bobs (and few they are - see blog instalment number two) and lug them up the hill. Taking the second turning off the roundabout at the top of our road, she will carry them up her new street and into her new flat. It will take approximately 2.5 minutes to get there but this is not the point. She and I will liase daily about dog walks and supper (worried she will simply live off her homemade dhal and nothing else if left to her own devices which whilst yummy, is hardly balanced) but this is not the point either.
The stark reality is that she will not be walking up the stairs to my bedroom each morning with Toby on her hip and a cup of (just the right colour) tea in her hand for me to sip while we discuss our plans for the day. She will not be yelling "Are you having a good time?!" to no one in particular, as she yanks on her oversized yellow Hunter wellies and charges out the door for the first of her many daily dog walks. (The queen's corgis themselves are jealous of Digger's life). She will not exclaim delightedly of a Tuesday morning that my antenatal class the night before "sounded like a dinner party!" in a celebratory rather than a bloody-hell-that-was-loud-and-annoying way. I won't be hanging her clothes up to dry with ours. She won't be asking me how to work the tv anymore (endearingly she still does not know - this is the risk/downside of having a social life). When installed on the sofa with my (pregnancy) malteasers, she won't be next to me pretending to hate Coronation Street whilst simultanesouly asking me a million questions about why David has been kicked out of the marital home. She won't be there all the time. Only typing this now is it starting to sink in. She is leaving. My chest is hurting.......
And where are we going to ever find someone who can even have a hope of comparing with her? Find someone we must though if we are to continue to pay the pesky mortgage, so please do get in touch if you know of anyone who would be delighted to live with Rupert and I, two small boys, a tiny baby, many, many pregnant couples coming in and out and several nocturnal mice. (Shall have to trick someone into moving in using I imagine). Either way, it will not be the same. Ever again. End of an era and all good things come to an end are offensive understatements which don't even touch the sides. Bah.

In the words of Tennyson; "Taken the stars from the night and the sun From the day! Gone, and a cloud in my heart." But then again, as advised by the very wise Dr. Seuss; “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” Quite right. I need to stop being so sad. Really I should be very grateful. Some poor people never get to live with Fritha for nearly a year. Some poor people only have one mummy instead of two as Will earnestly points out. (He himself is proud to be in the category of those who have two). And after all, Fritha is the one that has to move out and Live Without Toby! Besides, in order to ensure that the children who so badly need to be living with her are safely installed in her care, it has to be done.
The flat is gorgeous. Really, REALLY lovely. With a courtyard garden for Digger to wee in, a butlers sink, (totally Downton Abbey), and a sofa that you will dream about lovingly for years to come after first sinking into it. Perfect for all her meetings and workshops and whatnot. And a gorgeously warm home for some very lucky children. And we should jolly well think so too considering the rent she is paying. (I would type the amount but I imagine that if I did my computer would explode). Too horrifying for words but a reflection and sign of the times. Happily the earnings from her foster caring should cover it and if she has any internal organs going spare then she could raise enough to extend her weekly shop beyond the ingredients for dhal. And if not, she'll just have to come back home......

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

From Here to Fostering.....

The fostering journey has begun! We are finally on the road and moving! Fritha has had her training days and they have been brilliant (not least because it has given us a chance to repay her for all the trillions of times she has collected, fed, washed, entertained, amused, cuddled, read to and broken up fights between our children, by looking after her Digger for the day). What she has learnt is mind blowing. I was sitting on the doormat hyperventilating by the time she came home to tell me all about it, with Digger (who was doing exactly the same).
The training has been fascinating, (even when you have only experienced it vicariously). Where do you begin when training someone to look after a child, when that child will inevitably be so individual, and when he or she could have had any number of awful things happen to them? It would appear that the fostering agency take a general approach initially, and then individualise the support once a child has been placed. The first session asked the question 'What is a Foster Carer?'. Where to begin? A foster carer is someone willing to put themselves in the vulnerable position of becoming extremely emotionally attached to a child whom they know they must say goodbye to. A foster carer is asked to feel inevitable pain of loss when the child moves on, and to feel it thoroughly, whilst at the same time delighting in the child's prospective and bright future - ideally back with his or her parents. 'We want you to feel sad when a child leaves' they argue. Well of course they do and of course Fritha will! How could she parent lovingly without allowing emotional ties to form? Foster carers are required to feel pain and to deal with it, putting the child before themselves in all aspects of their lives together. Many people recoil from the idea of becoming a foster carer because of the inevitable goodbyes. Fair enough - you have to be made of stern stuff for this job. And before any of these said attachments can even be made there will be a great deal of emotional baggage to sort through and deal with, not to mention all the practical day to day demands a small child (or two - she may be given siblings), as well as a lively dog, and a flourishing career will put on her. This is not for the faint hearted - and thankfully Fritha, as you will all know by now, is anything but faint of heart!
The training also covered 'insecure attachments' - children clinging to their parents for dear life because of a deep rooted lack of trust that if they let go, they will be abandoned forever. It was explained that what would appear to be a bond of love, will often be one of fear. The foster carer must somehow transform this lack of trust into a new trust, in them. This must be done so carefully, so delicately though, and must be achieved whilst still keeping links between the child and his parent open - in case there is, and/or to increase the possibility of, a healthy reunion with them in the future. This demands a great deal from even the emotionally strongest of carers. Fritha's abundant supplies of love and patience will be tested to the limit. She must keep a child who has been taken from their parent for their own safety, in touch and communicating with that parent. She must encourage that child to trust her, whilst taking on the ambiguity of their parental relationship for him or her. She is prepared. She is ready. She will be able to do it. And do it well. It would seem that the training is designed to sort the wheat from the chaff. Many fall at the first hurdle. The wheatiest of the wheats, Fritha jumped over the first hurdle and sailed confidently over the next two, as she will do all the others, taking them in her stride and learning all the way. 
The search for the ideal foster carer is necessarily thorough, and so what you end up with at the end is someone exactly like, well, Fritha! Someone who will feel saturated with loss when waving a child goodbye but be strong enough to feel excitement for that child at the same time. Someone who will delight in the reunion of that child with their parents or the formation of another family in adoption. Someone who will feel an intense satisfaction that a child in her care was able to flourish and move on in their lives. Unlike those who shy away from the idea of foster caring because of the fear of their own heartbreak, Fritha will take enormous pleasure from having taken a child out of the darkness and into the light.    
Everything from how to wash a child in care appropriately, to dealing with tears and tantrums has been 'taught' in the training. Our friend Laura has shared her (often desperately sad) stories of working with 'looked after' children in her teaching career. Fritha's huge amounts of experience with small children, bundles of common sense and enormous layers of patience are neatly piled up and waiting, she has the heartfelt support of myself and many, many other people who love her, and bucket loads of enthusiasm. The starting block from which she will jump off is very substantial. But taking a troubled child from a place of misery, insecurity and fear and getting them to a place where they are ready to face a happier future is no easy task. No amount of excellent training can cover all that will have to be faced. The learning curve is going to be steep. There will be a great deal of learning on the job. But if anyone can do it, Fritha can. She knows how to get into a child's psyche. She knows when to face things head on and when to simply distract. She can create an atmosphere of peace in minutes, (incredible achievement in our house, but something she does regularly and with annoyingly little effort), and can turn something mundane into something sparkling with fun and excitement with just a few clever tricks.  When Fritha is an old woman it will not surprise me in the slightest if there are literally hundreds of human beings scattered around the globe whose lives are shining because of the magic she wove into their pasts. For as her motto says; 'to give is to LIVE'  xxx 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Date for your mate...

It is always exciting to be in close proximity to someone who is dating. Actively, actually, going out, on dates. Truly meeting new people, of the opposite sex, sometimes blindly (extra fun) and getting to know them. For the married observer, this dating dance between your best pal and a series of different men, becomes a personal soap opera, played out in your own home.

Fritha was very against internet dating at first. Not in a contemptous way at all, more of a completley lacking in any enthusiasm, would rather eat my own knees type of way. Her reasons ranged from the likelihood of meeting weirdos, her insistance that the price (or 'single's tax' as she calls it) was outrageous, (fair point), the time it took up, and the fact that since she was more than happy to approach men she liked the look of in the street (she truly is more than happy to do this), there was no need for a middle man. 'Fine', I said, 'you comb the streets, and I will internet date for you'. 'Fine!' she laughed, and we each went our separate ways, her to order funky little cards with her name and number printed on them to hand out to said strangers, and me to sign up for a 3 month membership on Eharmony.

I met my husband when I was 24. We were living in a time when going out to pubs, clubs and bars was a regular occurance, midweek hangovers were the norm, and Peppa Pig was someone we had never heard of.  This lifestyle strongly contributed to to the fact that I found my man in a sticky nightclub queue. In person. He had no profile, no 'about me' section, and there were no photos of him attached. I had find to find all that stuff out as we went along. Date we did, in more pubs clubs and bars, and then restaurants, and then on his sofa, then on mine, and then on ours. Our courting was relaxed and leisurely. Although I accidentally mentioned that I wanted at least four children on our first date, there was no real thought or talk of committment for a while. We had fun growing up together. Fast forward ten years and suddenly I was dating again. Admittedly for someone else, but dating is what I was doing, and believe me, it was a whole new experience.

Fritha was right. It did take time. Once the mammoth task of creating her profile and adding photos with just the right amount of sexy was complete, the day to day maintenance of 'my' profile and consistent communication with all appropriate matches could take up the best part of an evening. Firstly I would ask Frith to give a quick 'yes!' or 'no!' to the men who had responded to my online chat (and her photos). Sadly for me she said no far more than she said yes and so the challenge intensified. Once I had found someone who did not make her feel physically sick, it was then up to me to chat them up. Online. As Fritha. I would take myself into herself, and just write. It was quite easy really. Mention Digger the dog every other sentence. Say the odd 'out there' thing. Express her insanely amazing uniqueness in a way her own modesty would not allow, etc etc. Once a few banter filled messages had gone back and forth, if I felt 'we' were clicking, it got more fun. "And he's a policeman!" I would yell up the stairs in delight. "A WHAT?" would come the reply. "Absolutely not!" - rendering all my previous chat with the chap a waste of time, and plummeting me back to the drawing board. Sometimes I would find what I thought was an absolute cracker and it would make it to the stage where I had to pass over the communication steering wheel to Fritha herself . On occasion the man in question would ask why her writing style had changed so dramatically and I would have to shoot back in front of the screen and supervise. Occasionally she would go and meet some of the men. The first ever date however was so much dramatically shorter than he said he was in his profile that it understandably put her off. A whole evening perched on the Northern line only to be faced with an obviously rather daft liar, who only came up to her midriff. After that we made a new rule. Full length body shots were compulsory and from then on all dates had to come to her end of town. It was tough going. Sometimes I would find that a chap who was clearly interested in her would suddenly disappear. To where goodness only knows - it all became a guessing game and I would find myself very insulted on her behalf. It got a bit ridiculous. I would be checking my emails in bed and whining to my husband about it. "Why hasn't he replied?" strop strop. "They were getting on great, he was totally into her!" cue strange look from said husband and I would shut up. Eventually we threw in the towel. I suddenly found myself with free time to do things like washing and cooking and tidying up. And reluctantly agreed with Fritha that the internet route to love was too much hard work.

And so Fritha's future man is still out there, wandering about. Maybe wondering about her. I know we are all wondering about him. And while we wonder, Fritha's journey into motherhood is beginning. The fostering adventure has started and the ball is rolling. For a million reasons the man lucky enough to travel through life with her has to be one of life's most special. The fact that she is going to be a single parent is just one of them.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Life with Fritha

So Fritha moved in! The gloomy month of January suddenly brightened up. The (already quite noisy) house, got noiser. There was more giggling, more doors banging, more loos flusing, more cuddling, more whistles from the kettle and the unmistakable sound of a dog barking. My little family, who thrive in chaos, was thrilled to have been given a little bit more of it.

Fritha doesnt have much stuff. She is famous for if not minimalistic living, then for her skills in de-cluttering. You will often find attached to the small amount of posessions she has, a great deal of sentimental value. Her weaved baskets contain letters that people have written her over the years (in the days when we waited for the kind of communication we could touch and smell and smile at). Everything is neatly organised. The little pots lined up on her mini mantle piece contain a few cosmetics and at night, the seven rings she wears on her middle finger every day. Her shoes are stored neartly underneath the hatstand which doubles up as a wardrobe (knickers in an eco bag hanging on the left side, tights rolled into neat balls in one on the right). Books. One set of bedding; "its a lovely duvet cover Antonia my darling but I am going to use my crazy red one if thats ok?". Her yoga mat. A dog bed. Herself. And thats basically it. Moving her in took under an hour.

"So your friend is living with you?" people would ask. "So Fritha rents your spare room?" others would question. It didn't seem that complicated to me, we needed a lodger, Fritha needed a lodge. But people seemed surprised. After a few months one friend asked how it was going. "Great!" I breathed, in the excited way that you do when the enthusiasm for the thing you are talking about bubbles out of you regularly in an almost nauseating fashion. "You know that its rare, don't you" she said, "you two living together and getting on so well all the time". Golly thought I. Is it? Rare? How extraordinary. I immediately felt sorrowful for all those who have not had the opportunity to re-live their raucous flat sharing twenties in their more suburban thirties. But of course there is a difference in our situation. It is called an MBA. Rupert is doing one. MBA stands for Man Being Absent. Impossible though it might seem, (it feels like he only started it yesterday although the calendar and bank balance beg to differ), we are actually half way through his two year course now. I say 'we', because an MBA is one hell of a whole family experience. And one which I imagine some families might not be able to survive. The man works all day doing a job he does not love, and all night studying things that he does love (thank god) in the hope of securing a day job that he also loves. A means to an end if you will. This particular man's ridiculously dedicated and disciplined nature means that not only has he achieved a (few and far between) scholarship, excellent exam marks and coursework grades, but that he is loved madly by all his course mates. I have been told by a reliable source (a woman who has done an MBA herself and is now capable of explaining the ins and outs of it to other women without using any business lingo that causes a non business person, such as myself, to lose the will to live), that a network makes all the difference. No idea how it works but apparently a network is what you need and completing an MBA will get you one. For a price. Along with all the pounds, you pay with your time. I became a single parent on day one of the MBA and until Fritha moved in, I felt like one. The day she arrived she ran the kid's bath. Soon after that I found her brushing their teeth (no easy task) without bribery of any kind. Minutes later she was pouring me a glass of wine. And so we settled into a pattern. I would come home from school, collect the kids (if she hadn't already done so), and we would all walk the dog. Sometimes, after teaching four year olds all day, you don't feel like walking a dog. But this matters not in the canine mind, and so walk him we would, Fritha making up games for the boys all the way. Whether we look for fairies in the grass, count squirrels running up trees, or play zig zag tag on the cycle path, she ALWAYS transforms our reluctance into a renewed enthusiasm for fresh air, our common, and walking before tea. 

Her relationship with children is stunning to watch. Ask any of our friends. Whenever we gather, she wraps her heart and soul and body around our little ones. Maybe our chat might be losing its appeal, but we like to tell ourselves that it is because of the connection she has with kids. Like the Pied Piper, her imaginary games enthral them as much as they do her, and they cannot keep away. The children she works with in India as just as in love with her as our Western offspring. Whether she is on her hands and knees pretending to be a dinosaur, running an early morning kids only disco in the living room ("you guys go back to sleep"), or leaving butterflies all over the bedroom floor of the four year old who is learning about them at school when he sleeps so that he will find they have magically appeared, just for him, in the morning, her imagination and love know no end. Even when they are being little shites. "I HATE YOUs" and "This is really unFAIRs" are just as common in our house as in any other occupied by normal, feral children. But from Fritha there is no sighing. No yelling. No door slamming. Instead, a firm "I am looking forward to playing with you again once you've said sorry!" or similar is delivered with a smiley face. And it works! Where she learned all her tricks from I will never know but I feel quite sure that Supernanny has every reason to be very nervous.  We are raising my children together and our lives are all the richer for it. Apart from the incredible practical help (texts often read "I'm running late! Can you collect the boys?!" - "Already have, they are eating tea now, no rush") she nurtures their whole soul. They quite simply, worship her. I imagine they imagine every child has a Fritha in the same way our children imagine every child has food and shelter. 

Once home from our walk, we have our own little dance - tea, bath, bed, wine, supper, all happen in a relatively effortless fashion when Fritha is around. The dishwasher always seems to be unloaded. The clean laundry always seems to be folded. Dirty pots and pans left on the side of an evening, sit sparkling and clean on the drying rack before breakfast. Crisps, bananas, wine and other essentials are always in stock. Our rather intense relationship with Ocado may be wholly satisfying but it is not perfect - there were always things we ran out of. Until Fritha moved in. I cook, she washes up. I hoover, she mops. I put washing in, she hangs in out. I'm in the bath, she chats on the loo. She's in the shower, I chat from the sink. And the absent man? He has two wives, one of whom is almost always available for babysitting (in exchange for a little dog sitting), so that on the odd occasion he has some free time, he can take the other out for a drink. And when he is not around, the two wives have a merry time. 

Fritha has not gotten to the professional level where she is today without a lot of hard work. She would rarely choose Grey's Anatomy, Kirstie and Phil or god forbid Coronation street over a chance to get some work done, emails sent or phone calls made if needs be. The price she pays for the freedom of working from home and for herself is ambiguous working hours. However with a little persuasion, the promise of some slightly higher brow television (ideally in the form of a Channel 4 documentary), and a glass of red on the sofa, she will snuggle with me. And hence the single mother is a single mother no more. I know of none so fortunate as myself, to have a such a lovely husband as well as an extraordinary wife to live with. Or an MBA husband lucky enough to have such an appeased MBA widow behind him. For there is none as appeased as the girl who gets to live with her man AND her best friend. 

Sometimes I think Fritha is unaware of her 'effect'. She makes happy people, happier. It may be that her healthy living, fresh air/yoga induced energy levels mean she is not aware of her limbs simply doing all the things that need doing around the house. It may be that she is unconscious of all that her presence does to make our home such a sparkly place to be. It may be that she does not mean to improve the atmosphere wherever she goes.  Although I doubt it. Her mind is quick and her heart even quicker. Fritha lives to serve. It is rare that I wake up without a steaming cup of tea beside my bed (always the exact right colour). She is not yet a mother but her heart doesn't know this. For she thinks, talks and acts in the way a mother does. A mother whose first thought when she opens her eyes is for someone other than herself. A mother for whom everyone around her is someone to look after. Human beings present Fritha with a chance to live what she loves. She is not a martyr - far from it. She understands that giving to others means you give to yourself. All that comes out of her comes back tenfold in the pleasure she sees in the comforts offered by her hands. "I'm going to wash your car", she beams at 6.30am on a Sunday morning. "Why would you do that to yourself?" I ask in bleary astonishment. The pellet of dog poop that stubbornly refuses to reveal it's hiding place within our battered Ford Focus means we walk, cycle or scoot whenever possible. A blank look of incomprehension from Frith. "Because I want to!" and an hour later it sparkles inside out and both children have had the time of their lives playing pirates and goodness knows what else with their very own Mary Poppins. 

Things that I never knew we needed have appeared over the last six months. A mini greenhouse, "don't buy salad! I've grown us some", a rare and beautiful type of plant, cushions. And the dog!  Our life without Digger is almost as unthinkable as our life without Fritha. Which is why we choose not to think about that and take heart in the fact that she has promised us she will never leave unless it is to move in with a Suitable Husband Type. And so it goes without saying that we will not release her until an incredibly special man arrives and proves himself worthy. The search for him continues................

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

In the beginning...

Remember when you could smoke on trains? Remember when you could buy ten silk cut AND a whole pint of beer for a fiver? Remember when you would wear a tiny skirt underneath a long one and then pull the long one off as soon as college was out and you were free to get onto the (smoking) train and hang out with boys? Perhaps that last bit was just me, (and any other girl who has just been released from a convent into a co-ed sixth form).
Tonight I am backtracking to the heady days of the late nineties, when on my very first day at sixth form college, Fritha and I first met. I got onto the train, a little nervously as I did not know a soul, grabbed a seat in the corner of the (smoking) carriage and set about trying to look cool. Although hard to believe now, the smoking thing was really true, and honest to goodness, you couldn't SEE for all the puffing cigarettes inside that locomotive. But it wasn't long before I heard a voice calling to me through the volcano; "Hey chick, haven't seen you before! I'm Fritha, who are you?" I wafted the smoke away, and behind it found the coolest looking girl I had ever laid eyes on, smiling at me. And that was the beginning. The beginning of all the adventures. Just the start of all the train trips, road trips, and plane trips, sleepovers, fancy dress parties and video shoots (another time), house parties, pub parties and rave parties. The begining of a friendship which evolved from that train carriage, through our college days, on through our uni days and into our twenties, stretched on into our considerably more sensible thirties (although I speak for myself only here), and into our here and now, the mid thirties. I am glad I remember the moment we first met, because truth be told, nowadays I can't remember her ever not being in my life and heart.
Fast forward eighteen or so years and you'll see us, still together, arms linked, and battling the wind on a freezing cold beach in Cornwall on New Year's Day. Having just enjoyed a particularly special week's holiday in a perfect-for-us holiday home in Polzeath (organised, as usual, by hers truly) with our best pals, we were feeling blue about going home. As we mulched along the wet sand, laughing hysterically at my eldest's suggestion of getting an ice cream (whaddaya want - hypothermia?!) we chatted about her hopes for the year ahead. Having spent a year living at home after the painful end of an intense relationship, her wounds were healing, her heart was mending, and it was time to move back to London, to be back in the hub of her work. As talk of rent and mortgages progressed (thirties chat v different to smoky carriage teen chat, no?) we moved onto the exciting topic of my own dire financial situation (caused by insane cost of childcare/house/food/life). My fella and I had been advertising for a lodger for a while, but had still to hear an enthusiastic response. We had travelled from the small town of Indifferent (surely the cute pictures of the kids haven't uploaded correctly?) and had just arrived on the outskirts of the city of Offended. Enough was enough. We were officially pissed. Not one person had enquired about our ad. Not one person wanted to share our house! Our close to the Northern line/Common/curry houses of Tooting, family house! Even with two noisy/sticky children, smudgy floors, scribbled on walls AND mice thrown in to the deal. So imagine my excitement when my phone buzzed (despite shocking Cornish reception, must be a sign) and a lovely, sparkly, young, single, normal sounding lady doctor (Ooooo), asked if she could come and see the room the next day. Whoopeeee! All our troubles were over! I could move back up from Sainsbury's basics to regular, normal, non orange products! We could perhaps even get the odd Taste the Difference item on weekends! As I chattered on about this doctor goddess/new BFF to be, Fritha went quiet. "I wonder if she'll have a cool dog?" She asked. At that point, her own little canine beauty bounded on past us up the beach. "What if you wanted a lodger with a dog?" She asked. Blank stare from me. Confused (told you I was simple), I stared at her expectantly. "What if I was your lodger?!" she finally chirped, her impatience with me smothered by her own excitement over the suggestion. I'm pretty sure that the subsequent howls, screeches and yelps of joy that erupted from us both were only audible to bats in the surrounding beach caves and possibly any nearby wolves (do they have wolves in Cornwall? Must google). Hubby was absolutely delighted ('do dogs catch mice?') and she moved in the next day.

This blogging thing is a bit exciting isn't it?!

I like blogs. I like reading them. I didn't know what they were till recently because I am a bit simple but every now and then various little interesting boxes with catchy titles would pop into my line of vision during a particularly gripping facebooking session (why is it so addictive? So someone's cousin's dog chewed a shoe - why does that warrant me clicking 'read more'? Seriously?) or while googling something essential ('why was Reece Ritherspoon rude to a policeman' or similar). So I would open them up and find funny people telling funny stories, or angry people telling angry stories or spiritual people sharing ideas and I'd be gripped! There are a lot of brilliant people out there with razor sharp minds and you don't have to wait for them to find the time to write a book and for it to then sell enough so that you end up hearing about them and reading their ideas in five years time - you can read them now! If there were no work to go to I would lie down in a paddock and read myself sick. There is so much to be devoured. So many billions of brains splashing their thoughts out into the world. All ours for the taking should we be interested. Once again I find myself in awe of tinernet, and chuckling to myself over the fact that in twenty years time my kids will tilt their heads to oneside and say 'bless' (or the year 2033 equivalent phrase, perhaps 'sick' or 'sweet'?) as they look back on what will inevitably then be that dated form of communication called blogging.
Imagine my wide eyes when on holiday last week my best friend started talking about writing a blog. "A blog!" I cried encouragingly. "I like blogs! I like reading them!" Imagine my enthusiasm for the idea of one of my favourite people in the world, writing a blog about her incredibly interesting and brilliant life, peppered constantly with her own unique wisdom and utter excellentness. In case you can't imagine the enthusiasm, there was lots. We were baking ourselves by the pool and already in quite a serious state of bliss. Imagine the cogs turning around our minds then, as both of us then came upon the stumbling blocks so rudely standing in the way of her plan. Number 1: Her desire to write about her current passion - fostering children as a single woman. Confidentiality rules? We were stumped. Number 2: Her dyslexia. Fritha and words are not the best of pals. Give the girl a yoga mat, or some massage oil, or a tantruming child, or an audience of a thousand expectant people, or just a needle and thread and she is a complete and utter expert. But the written word is not her forte. Wikipedia says a lot of negative stuff about dyslexia (sometimes Google is put to good use) but I feel that it is a kind of special quirk, another weirdly cool thing about her. But nonetheless, writing a blog would be tiresome in its demands and perhaps not for her.  'Ah well' we sighed, our enthusiasm dampening and our hearts a little sulky. Glass of rose?
But we, Fritha and I, are not quitters. When an idea infiltrates itself into our minds, either individually or as a pair, we don't let it go (whether it's a good idea or a bad one). I knew her stories needed to be told. And since she is with me most of the time, a lot of her stories are mine too. And I quite fancied joining in with the blogging gang and sharing some of them. This chick is seriouisly inspiring. She constantly amazes me and so it would be just plain selfish not to share her. "I know!" I yelped while the first of the evening drinks were being poured poolside, as the sun sank heavily into a lake of orange and pink. "I'll bloody write it for you!"
Back in Blightly and having been punched in the face with real life and the necessity for alarm clocks and knowing what the time/day is and three regular meals a day and work and school and everything else that is completely erased from your brain, Men in Black style, whilst you are sunning yourself in the Algarve, I have finally found time to stick myself infront of the computer and start. And what a jolly time I have had! Next time I am blogging (get me!) I will tell you more about the wonder that is Fritha and how I became lucky enough to become her friend.