Just to say that the last post was written by Notes From The UK. I’ve just reblogged it because it made me laugh.
If you take public transportation in Sweden, you have to wear a mask to keep from spreading Covid. Unless if it’s between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or between 6 p.m. and 7.a.m. Or unless you have a reserved seat. Or unless you were born after 2004. I believe that wins Sweden the prize for […]How to complicate a public health message
So, I was offered a job with Derbyshire Council Council way back at the end of October. After waiting for over 3 months they finally got in touch with me yesterday to tell me they are now in a position to offer me a start date. They asked me how much notice my current employers need from me. After explaining that I had already given them my notice in late December, they replied by saying they are looking at the 20th of February and would that be ok!!! Of course I said “Yesssssss”.
To be honest, their timing was kind of uncanny. Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday. If she had been alive she would have been 95. Strangely, I’ve been decorating my bedroom (I don’t like decorating) and was sorting through suitcases that were blocking the stairway that was built for the attic and came across some of my mum’s possessions. In amongst her things I found a headscarf that she always wore. I put it to my nose and could still smell her. I wished her a happy birthday and carried on sifting through her things. A little later I was painting and silently told my mum that I was going to give DCC until Friday to get in touch with me or I would give up waiting and go back to my former job. Half an hour later I took a break, went downstairs and made myself a coffee. Whilst relaxing I checked through my emails and was pleasantly surprised to find the message from DCC.
Although the last 3 months have been a mixture of relaxation, cooking, cleaning, washing, revamping the garden and decorating, I haven’t really been able to relax properly because of the tender hooks I’ve been hanging by on, waiting to hear if the job is still mine.
So now I’m in the alien world of being relieved and relaxed whilst still decorating! Life! Sure is strange!
At times, all to often, everybody’s life can be cruel, unfair and for some, life events unjustified. In one of my previous posts in December ‘Last Day, New Beginnings’ I alluded to how a small proportion of the general public regard and react to those who are visibly different from what is perceived to be ‘normal’. This is especially true for those who have been dealt a cruel twist of fate by suffering from a severe learning disability. Unfortunately, public reactions often materialise in ways that defy logic!
In the very recent past, I was fortunate to support and work with several men who were born with and in some cases develop extremely severe learning disabilities. I remember the very first day I walked into their large, adapted house. I admit I was surprised with how they acted, but not horrified or judgemental. One of the men who I would eventually support and care for, unexpectedly lunged at me and grabbed one of my wrists with both hands, trying with all his strength to pull me towards him. Luckily, I’m physically strong so his efforts came to nothing, in fact, he let go of me, smiled and walked away. My manager at the time informed me I’d have to get used to that sort of behaviour because that’s just the way it was.
During the early days, I discovered that all this gentleman wanted to do was drag me to the kettle to make him a cup of tea. The following months and years were filled with the exact same behaviour. Nothing changed. He wasn’t violent in any way, he just couldn’t communicate in the usual ways. When he was taken out of the house to go shopping, go to the bank or just go for a walk, he would walk alongside me, hold my hand and grin a mostly toothless grin. The only time he would pull away from my hand was when he noticed a piece of rubbish on the pavement or something else blowing in his path, especially if it was an empty polystyrene cup. The thing that I noticed when we were out and about was that some people would cross over the road to avoid walking past us. I found this very strange and extremely rude. I would often notice people pointing at the man who was holding my hand, or maybe they were pointing at me, and talk about us, sometimes bursting into fits of laughter!
When I escorted my gentleman to the G.P. some people would unashamedly get up from their seats and move to the other side of the waiting room. It was as if they thought whatever was wrong with him was infectious! Bloody ridiculous!
It was only a small minority, but nevertheless, it was a ridiculous attitude. I remember one episode when I escorted the same gentleman to a bank in the town centre. I had put some clean jogging bottoms on him before we set off and thought I had tied them up securely. I was wrong! I led him through the door into the bank, holding his hand when he spotted some leaflets neatly stacked up on the counter. He quickly pulled away from me, lunged for the leaflets and proceeded to throw them into the air like confetti! During the process of attempting to prevent him from enjoying himself, his joggers fell to the ground, completely exposing him (Underwear barely covering his arse) to a busy but watching, goggle eyed bank! When I bent down to pull his joggers up he took the opportunity to throw even more leaflets up into the air, laughing with glee as they floated down around my head.
I looked at the bank staff and apologised. One of them couldn’t stifle a laugh but indicated it was no problem. (It was easy for her to say!) However, two members of the public looked shocked and alarmed. An older woman, who must have been strong because she was carrying a giant dead grizzly bear across her shoulders, said “He should never be allowed in here, can’t you control him!” Whilst I was tying his joggers up I looked at her and calmly said, “I think you shouldn’t be Allowed in here, you should go and get yourself an education”. She looked flabbergasted 🤣
The gentleman who I was supporting was oblivious to everything, he merely smiled and clapped his hands, his eyes firmly on the leaflets. As luck would have it, we conveniently jumped the queue and were served at light speed!!
The woman who had complained in the bank was still muttering to her partner, with the bear silently growling, so I took the opportunity to wish her a very good day and left the bank, gently pulling my gentleman away from the tempting leaflets.
Although that incident was amusing, it was a situation that was predictable in a minority of public reaction. The point is, everyone is different, everyone is dealt a different set of life cards and most people have the ability to learn and grow as individuals. However, not everyone is lucky enough to be born without physical and mental disabilities, but everyone deserves to be treated with a modicum of respect and dignity, regardless of what they look like. So to the ignorant woman in the bank ‘Up yours’! And to those who haven’t got the sense or decency to know how to react and/or treat people less fortunate than themselves, ‘Get a life and grow up’!
Just a quick one afore I forget. I looked down onto my repaired and flourishing lawn (Which I worked on in the autumn of last year) from my back door about an hour ago. I noticed what looked like 4 large mushrooms standing tall and proud above the green blades of grass. I called to the wife, saying “Have you seen these mushrooms growing in the garden, they’re massive”!? She came to the door, peered around my shoulder and started laughing, saying “They’re not mushrooms you twat, they’re left over Yorkshire puddings that I threw out for the birds “! I looked again to make sure she was right, and she was right. I’m a mushroom head.
When I was a fledgling teen, maybe not even that, possibly 12ish, we (The family) were deliciously treated to a new neighbour. She moved into the house directly across the street from our house. She (Can’t remember her name) was very pretty, youngish (I think) wore multi coloured beads on the ends of her wild flowing, very dark hair and always seemed to wear the same bright coloured clothes. (She probably didn’t wear the same clothes but it just seemed that way to me)
She, let’s call her Amira, simply because I like that name, was very pleasant but never forthcoming (If you know what I mean) She (Amira) always took the time to say good morning every time we saw her, naturally accompanied by a beaming smile, set off with beautifully white teeth and lips that required no artificial gloss put definitely required my lips!! Admittedly, I was besotted with seeing her make fleeting appearances.
She was single, at least I think she was because I can’t remember seeing her with anybody. Mum guessed Amira was Indian, simply because of her olive skin and the tantalising tint in her voice that brought to mind foreign shores. Looking back, I can sort of understand why mum came to her racial but Innocent conclusion. All I could see was perfection.
Anyway, over the weeks and months, my mum somehow became very friendly with her (Yippppeeeee) Occasionally, mum would pop over the street for a cup of tea and a chat, which was very out of character for mum, and Amira would reciprocate mum’s visits.
I guess Amira had more money than my parents, or maybe she was just kind, because for the one and only Christmas she lived on the street, she brought a big wicker basket to our house, packed to the rafters with all sorts of festive goodies, festooned with coloured tinsel.
Anyway, mum discovered, much to my fascination, that Amira ‘Read palms’. I really had no idea what that was at the time, but mum explained it to me. You can probably imagine my fixation with Amira quadrupled. Beautiful and mysterious.
I remember arriving back home from school one day (Unusual for me because I didn’t like school so was mostly truant) Throwing my school bag on the chair I heard my mum talking to my sister in the kitchen, who is 4 years older than me and had just left school. Mum was talking about Amira, and how she had read her palm. I was listening intently, not really understanding mum and daughter dialogue but interested because Amira was mentioned quite a few times. A few days or weeks went by without much sight of my fascination. Then one afternoon, she came walking through the front door with mum. I was asked to make them a cup of tea, which I did with dribbling enthusiasm, wanting to make Amira the best cuppa she had ever tasted. I sat watching something on tv, half listening to their chitter chatter unfold when mum slipped into their conversation that Catherine (My sister) wanted to know if Amira would read her palm for her. What followed astounded and excited me. Amira answered in a matter of fact way that of course she would, but she would like to read my palm because I interested her. I looked at Amira with what must have been a bright crimson complexion, but she calmly looked at me and moved her hand onto the vacant chair next to her. When I sat down, Amira looked at my mum and said, very openly that I was special! (To be honest, judging by my life that has unfolded over the years, I have to say I am very special, lots of people have told me the same thing, but they put it in layman’s terms, such as “Twat” “Nobhead” “Pillock”) Anyway, my secret love and I sat across from each other and I believe, despite my best effort to hold it in, I allowed a little fart to escape. I wanted to disappear down the little hole that my fart had created in the chair! Amira let out a little giggle whilst mum told me off. Remarkably, despite my embarrassment, Amira kept hold of my hand, palm facing up.
Amira told me, and I remember this almost verbatim, that in a past life, I had been a holy man, a quiet Cherokee, respected and trusted. Of course, as an impressionable boy, I believed every word that escaped those beautiful lips. I hung onto her every word, listening but not listening (If you know what I mean) mesmerized by her soft tones. When she let go of my hand I didn’t want her to. Amira eventually left the street without any sort of warning. One day she was there, the next, she had simply left. It took me ages to get used to not seeing her. I remember looking through the windows of her house, expecting her to come back. But she never did.
Funny thing is, ever since then, I have been fascinated by the native American way of life. It seems so simple and stress free. I’m sure it’s not but that’s the way I see it. I even bought a Grand Cherokee a few years ago but it kept on breaking down so I sold her.
The one thing I’d love to see in my lifetime is a Native American becoming the president of a land that is rightfully theirs. Let’s face it, if Trumpy Bum did it, then it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. Is it ? Sod it, I may just go over there and run for it, I am, after all, a Cherokee in spirit!
I don’t know about you, but I’m creeping into the new year on my tippy toes, hoping it doesn’t see me, so I can go about my business without being restricted by the tier system.
Like many people, we were meant to be meeting up with a very small group of family and friends to open the door for a new year. With most of the country going into tier 4, it’ll just be me, the wife and my youngest stepson.
It will be quiet but probably nice to relax with a few drinks without leaving the house, listening and watching music videos on YouTube.
I hope everyone I follow and talk to on WordPress, as well as those who follow me on here, have as good a new year as they possibly can do.
I’ll raise a glass of single malt tonight at 00.00 and push 2020 to the recesses of my mind and hope that 2021 is not written by Stephen king.
Cheers everybody. Happy New Year.
Just a quick one. I’ve just checked my spam folder (Which I don’t normally do because I forget about it) and there were lots of comments and messages that I didn’t realise were there.
I’ve attempted to reply to them but I’m not sure if it’s worked or not.
So I apologise but it’s really not my fault, I’m not ignorant, just technologically not up to scratch.
Today is the first Christmas Eve I haven’t worked in quite a few years. It’s been a novelty to go into town and do last minute jobs that finish off Christmas preparations. It’s been nice, despite the lack of hustle and bustle of baying crowds that usually go with the holiday rush.
Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. Santa is coming!
Sunday the 20th of December marked a big change in my working life, and quite possibly, my personal life. Yesterday afternoon was my last working shift of doing a job I never really thought I was capable of doing. Three and a half years later and I’ve proved myself wrong. During my time of working with people who have severe learning disabilities, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and even more about a small proportion of the general public regarding their attitudes towards the people I have supported.
It’s been a huge learning curve for me personally. Along the way I’ve met some fantastic people and made lifelong friends, which is something I can take away with me and keep with me for the remainder of my life. Last night I supported the gentlemen by administering their medication and tucking most of them up into bed. My last words to each of them was “Sleep well, Santa will soon be here” before I closed their bedroom doors. In effect I was closing a memorable chapter in my life. I’ll miss them.
In the coming weeks, I intend to write a blog about the ‘Reality’ of life as a support/care worker, but more importantly, the life of the people who, through no fault of their own, struggle to be accepted in a world that is supposed to be about inclusivity.
The new job (When I start it) is something I have wanted to do for a number of years for the following reason. When I was at university, I met a chap (Gary) who was academically gifted beyond belief and also had the pain of a hard life imprinted in his eyes. He had lived on the streets for over 10 years in and around Nottingham as a chronic alcohol and drug user. He had been given a hand-up by a person who was employed by Nottingham Council to help those who were desperate for help, so they could get up off their knees and face the world on their own two feet. During his time living on the streets, Gary had witnessed one of his closest friends burn to death at the hands of a group of thugs underneath a bridge in Nottingham. Gary told me he was unable to help his friend because he was physically and mentally incapable due to the amount of alcohol and drugs he had consumed.
The morning after he had helplessly watched his friend die through a drug induced haze, when he eventually regained his composure after a night in the local police station, being asked questions then hopelessly trying to settle, he promised himself he would try to change the course of his life. Not long after that terrible night, Gary was eventually offered a bed in a rehabilitation centre, which he accepted. Whilst he was in the centre, a young man came to talk to Gary, offering him help to get his life on a track that could lead him away from drugs, alcohol abuse and addiction. The young man was an Enablement worker. Gary admitted to me that without the young man’s help and guidance, he would probably have died on the streets like many of his friends.
After 2 years, Gary had beaten his addiction, managed to get a flat in the city centre and found a part time job, all with the help of the enablement worker.
He had gone into adult education to try and get basic math and English qualifications and discovered he was well above the levels he was learning at. 2 years later he had qualified for a place at the university where I was studying. Oddly, he rarely turned up to lectures or seminars but in every test, presentation, essay and exam he was awarded 90% plus.
Gary’s story, specifically the help he had been given, awoke something inside of me and made me want to do that type of work, but the opportunity never arose for me, plus I didn’t really believe I could do it, until recently.
So I’m waiting to start my new job as an enablement worker for Derbyshire County Council. I know deep inside that it will be very different from what I’ve done for the past 3 and a half years, but I think I’m better prepared to take this job on and do it to the very best of my ability.
I feel that working with and supporting people with severe learning disabilities has given me an invaluable experience, something I can hopefully take forward with me in my new job.