Community Café.


The boys school does quite a few things that make it part of the wider community, and not just limited to parents and carers, although they do make up the larger part of those targeted by the activities encouraged.      The type of things, include at Christmas time, classes go out and about to care homes, and sheltered housing to entertain the residents with carols.   There are afternoons at the school where usually the elderly residents of the community are invited in to have tea and cakes, being served by the children.

I think any activity that removes the blinkers from the children is good.   By blinkers, I mean, interacting with older people, teaches them something they might not otherwise get the chance to encounter, when they live in such a fast pasted electronic era.     I think they learn a form of respect to people who aren’t family and friends.

Another thing that they do is a community café.     It is hosted by the children of P7, working in small teams with support workers from the academy.       It is a way of the children learning the relationship between produce and money as well as making contact with adults they will be encountering when they move schools in the summer.

Last week was M’s turn.      He was in a group with 3 other children, one of them being his longest known peer, so someone who really understands him.    He was so excited to be doing this, to the point we have heard nothing but what they have been doing towards preparing, and planning for a week before.

The café is held at the old library, now a youth centre, opposite the school.        I was therefore surprised that M was so excited about it, pleasantly so I add, but to be going to an environment that is alien to him, to be with adults he doesn’t know, to potentially encounter people who would be strangers to him.        It wasn’t until he started talking to me in more depth about it, that I realised his excitement was about not having to be in the classroom, somewhere he still doesn’t feel relaxed, and that he was doing something practical that he could relate to a start, middle and end of .      It’s not a negative comment about the school, but more about the education system as a whole, that sometimes the work being done doesn’t show a natural progression for a child, and therefore they can feel rather disjointed by the learning.    I know M has said on several occasions that he doesn’t understand the relevance of a piece of work they are doing, and without that, he finds relating to the work difficult.

Wednesday morning, I received a message from the Mum of M’s friend, asking me what I was baking for the café as she didn’t want to make the same thing.     I was honestly confused as M had made no mention of needing to donate cakes.    He had though told his group that I would be baking .    Amazing in all his excitement he had forgotten to mention something so important.    It was of course the day before shopping day so after a quick look what I had in the kitchen, I decided to make a peppermint slice and some cola cupcakes.      I had not made the cola cupcakes before, but a friend had given me the recipe and said how lovely they were.     I went with a peanut butter frosting as the boys don’t like peanuts and I know they would have insisted on trying them, and not leaving any to go to school.     Peppermint slice is quite a long winded process, with needing time to set the peppermint layer.     It didn’t have the time to leave it long enough, and so was trying to cover with chocolate while it was still a little soft.       I left it over night before trying to cut it, and it didn’t ooze too much, so I deemed it good enough to go.

I can honestly say, that Thursday morning was the easiest day of the academic year for getting him out of the house in the morning.    There was a real air of enthusiasm about him that I wish we saw more often, as it is magical.      He made sure his Dad and I would be going, and almost skipped out of the door with his boxes of cakes.

By the time we left the house to wander up there, it was tipping with raining, and sleet.    It was horrible!         When we arrived, it was lovely to get in the warm.    M’s face just lit up to see us.      He was told to tell us where the money was going – the chosen charities are Cancer research and The Archie foundation which does the extras at the kids hospital, like parent rooms etc.      He then asked us what we would like.     While he was making my tea, his friend served us cakes – Hubby had a peppermint slice, complaining I hadn’t let him have any at home, while I went for a fairy cake his friend said she had made.      There was a class from the school in having their snack – each class goes over at some point during the year, so it was quite busy, but we plonked ourselves on the comfy sofas.       There were a few other Mums I knew there.     One of them told me she was the classroom helper on the Tuesday when they had been preparing and baking cookies, and she wanted to take M home as he was such a help, and brilliant at washing up!      I did say she was welcome to have him, but feel she thought I was joking!     Then one of the adults came over and told me M had burned his finger but it was ok, other than he didn’t want to run it under the tap.     I said he spends so much time helping in the kitchen, he has learned cuts and burns are just park of it so rarely takes much notice.      She then told me how enthusiastic he was.      It was so lovely to hear positive feedback about him, as usually the communication with the school is negative because he struggles so much.     The teachers then appeared for their morning coffee.       The head teacher, who used to be M’s teacher sat with us, and commented how much he looked like he was enjoying himself.       I told her that his delight was genuine, and I was worried he would hit a low afterwards because of it.    She said she’d see his teacher and make sure he was given something engaging to do.      I also had a chat with his support worker who has arranged an extra visit for him to the academy to have a look around without the large crowds who will be going up en mass after Easter.     It is good to see the plans being made for his transition.

When it was time to go, M became very clingy saying he wanted me to stay.      I told him it was just an hour until lunch so I would see him them.      When he got home at lunch time he looked exhausted.   I think he had really given it everything he had, and it showed.     When time came to head back, he sobbed that he didn’t want to go, and held tight to me.     I told him he had to go, as one of the teachers had asked me for the cupcake recipe as so he needed to take it to her.       He reluctantly returned.

I am so proud of M.    It is so special to see when he does engage with something so fully.     It is a pity it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, he shows what he is capable of with the correct motivation.

I hope over the course of the year they make some good donations to their chosen charities.     I am sure all the kids work equally as hard when it is their turn, but I do wonder how many are so upset that they only get to do it once as they would love to do it every week.

Old Person Update.


This time last weekend, everything was going a little bit mad with my Mum in hospital.

Every day they were going to send her home, but her blood results kept coming back saying there was still an infection.    Monday though they decided they had had enough of her, and she could come home.

Monday was Hubby and my wedding anniversary, so we decided to go out for breakfast, knowing the rest of the day would be a little bit mad.    We therefore got the boys off to school, and headed south to the Castleton Fruit Farm which has a wonderful café.     Hubby had a full breakfast, which looked and smelled delicious, while I had hot smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.    It was really lovely to have some grown up time in such a chilled atmosphere.    It sounds horrible to say, but with Old Person being looked after in hospital, it meant we were far more relaxed, not having to worry about getting back as soon as we could.       We did however get back in plenty of time to call the hospital at midday, which was the time they had said a decision would be made if they were keeping her.    She was coming home.

I was advised to leave it until 2pm to go in, so they could sort her medications before release.

The hospital car park is being rebuilt at the moment, so parking is really at a premium, and it took lots of driving around in circles to finally find a space.

The day before Old Person had been moved wards, so I had to first locate where she was now hiding.     When I did get the correct ward, I then confused the nurse, as they had several patients with the same first name as my Old Person!     I did say if she had a nicer one, I would consider a swap, but she insisted I kept the one I had taken in on Friday night!!

Even though I was later than I had been advised to collect her, she still wasn’t ready, and had to wait to have the cannulae removed from her hand, as well as the paperwork for her medications.      It was so hot in the ward, I was feeling quite heady by the time an auxiliary arrived with a wheelchair to take her down to the exit.      It took me a while to navigate the one way system and get myself back to  the door Old Person was waiting at.

She looked so relieved when we finally pulled away from the hospital.      It can’t have been fun for her, as she wasn’t feeling unwell after the initial episode on Friday.    I think she was bored to tears in fact.

We got home and got her settled with a cuppa, just before the boys got home from school.      It took them a while to notice she was there.

The next morning, I let her sleep, as she said it was so noisy in the hospital she had not slept very much.       It was in fact almost 10:30am before she got up!      I am sure the sleep would have done her as much good as the antibiotics she was given to take.

She was soon moaning at full speed and making up for the lost time over the weekend.    It was a true sign that she was on the mend.

It was a really scary time on the Friday evening when it all kicked off, but she is no worse for her experience.

Thank you to everyone who sent their best wished to her, it was really kind.


What a weekend!


Weekends are a chance for family time.    A time to do the things that working week doesn’t allow because everyone is so busy.        It is a time to make memories for the children.

Often we will go to the cinema, or swimming, or Hubby and D go off to the footie.     It is all about doing what relaxes both body and mind.     It is more about being together, than what we are actually doing.

Then you get weekends when everything goes against plan.       Times when the memories made are not always the best ones.     Sometimes things just happen that nobody has control over, but they end up writing the script of life for the household for a few days.      This weekend has been one of those.

We had promised the boys a trip to the cinema this weekend, to see Sing.    It was to be a treat for having gone back to school this week.     They were really looking forward to it, and so was I.     This was all before it started to go amiss.

Friday evening, the boys and Hubby went up stairs to play some video games.    Old person and I sat down to watch Emmerdale.     It is a programme I can take of leave, so I wasn’t really paying it my full attention, and was instead doing the weekly food shopping online.      I spoke to Old Person, to ask her if there was anything she wanted added to the order, and when I looked at her, she was a very pale shade of grey, her whole body was shaking and she was complaining of a sore arm.     She didn’t want anyone called, she just wanted a hot water bottle.     I got this for her, and also the phone.     I called NHS24 for some advice as to what to do for her.

After pressing about 20 different buttons, I finally got to speak to a human being.     The call handler was lovely.     She took all the details of what was happening with old Person, and then put me on hold while a nurse reviewed what was wrong.     The call handler returned to ask additional questions about her breathing and her skin temperature and feel.      The nurse decided it would be best if she was assessed by a paramedic, and so called an ambulance.      I was so impressed by how quickly and efficiently the call was handled.

A short while later, only a few minutes really, two young men – yes, I’m getting to the stage of life, when every professional I come across looks so young, and they were the ambulance service first responders.      They came in and took more details about what had happened, as well as Old Persons medical history.    We were still going through this when two more young men arrived.   They were the paramedics.      With their huge bags of equipment, it looked as if they were moving in!      They liaised with the first responders, who then left.        The paramedics then did Old Persons blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate.    They then did an ECG trace of her heart.    He reviewed her list of medications to see if there was anything there to link to heart problems, but that is one thing she has never had!     After a second trace, they decided it would be best to take her to be checked at the hospital.      By this time the boys were having a good nosey about what was going on.     D asked him about the machine that he was using and he happily explained what information he was getting from it.     It was nice to see a busy professional take a moment to satisfy a child curiosity.     I said I would go with her, if Hubby stayed with the boys.       The boys had a good look around the ambulance as their Granny was put into it.

I decided to drive myself rather than go with her, because then I would have the car to get home afterwards without having to ring the house for a lift!      Some how I managed to get to the hospital before them, which meant I had parked and walked up to A & E just as they were unloading her.     They asked me to go to reception to book her in, while they handed her over.

I gave the receptionist all the details of what had happened.    I then explained that Old Person had a tendency to get confused if she wasn’t hearing properly what was said to her, and asked if I could go through to her, to help with the answering any questions.    I was told to take a seat.      I sat and waited almost an hour before I was allowed to go through.      This is the only part of the experience I would find fault with!

When I got to her, she was in a bay, attached to another ECG machine.      She said she was feeling fine, and felt like she was being a pain, wasting everyone’s time.       I told her not to be so silly as they would not have taken her in if it had not been thought necessary.      Various nurses came and did obs on her.      Her temperature was high, and this was concerning them, as her breathing was also rapid.     Her heart was showing an odd pattern but she is known to have an irregular heart beat, so with nothing to compare it to, they did not know if it was more unusual than it was known to be.     There was a lovely auxiliary who was popping in and out, and I think her happy disposition was a real tonic to see on a busy Friday evening in A&E.    Eventually, just before midnight, a doctor came to visit.      She was very nice, and took all the information again.     She decided that they needed to take bloods, to find out if there was any reason for the episode.   She took 2 syringes and 5 vials of blood.      I don’t recommend emptying your arm as a good means of loosing weight!     I told her that Old Person had been poorly for a few days earlier in the week, but had recovered from that, and had been her normal self on the Friday.      Off she went.       Old Person then had a couple of visitors.    The paramedics who had delivered her earlier in the evening were dropping off another person, and stopped to see how she was doing.     I thought this was a lovely thing for them to do.     They could have just done their paperwork and moved on, but they took a moment to ask how she was.    It made her feel special and for a 90 year old woman to be attended by handsome young men – her words, was lovely of them.         By the time the primary results from the blood tests were back, it was a different doctor who came to see her.     She said there was signs of infection, and they would get some antibiotics and fluids into her.        The lovely auxiliary also got us both a cup of tea once the doctor said it was ok!      Old Person was very tired, and getting a little irritated by this time, but I think the fact they were actually doing something showed her that she was in the right place.     A short time later the doctor reappeared and said the next results had come back, and her blood was showing signs of infection, so they would keep her in so as to get more IV antibiotics into her.     Her face dropped at the thought of being kept in, but she understood it was for the best.        I stayed with her until they knew where they were taking her.     I finally left at about 2.30am.

By the time I got home at gone 3am, Hubby had managed to get the boys sleeping, but D was in my bed, so I went to Old Persons.      I was so tired, but my head was spinning with everything that had gone on that evening, that it took me ages to get to sleep.    When I did get off, I didn’t want to wake up too easily!

In the morning, Hubby said D was in tears as soon as the ambulance pulled away – D is the boy that spends his time fighting with his Granny because she enjoys baiting him!    I spent the morning doing the chores that needed to be done, before ringing the hospital about midday – the time I was advised to call after the doctors would have had their conflab about the patients.

I spoke to the staff nurse on the ward who told me they were ready to send her home, but were waiting for her medications to be sorted.    She therefore suggested that rather than go in and wait around, she would call me back to say everything was sorted so they were releasing her.    I thought that was a very sensible plan.       I got a bag together with clothes to bring her home, as she had not even a pair of shoes when she was taken in.

The phone rang a couple of hours later, and it was the ward, to tell me that they had just got her latest results back, and her bloods were showing a different type of infection so they would have to change the antibiotics, so they would keep her in again.      I wished the nurse luck with telling Old Person this, as I am sure she wouldn’t be happy.

I repacked a bag, with toiletries and PJ’s, and D said he wanted to come with me to visit her.        We were lucky to find a parking spot quite easily – they are building a new multi-storey carpark so there is a reduced number of spaces available.      To my surprised, we managed to find the ward quite easily – the hospital is split into different colour zones, so once you’ve found your zone, you then have to find the ward number.

Being a geriatric ward, it is a closed ward, so we had to buzz for admittance.    We were shown to her room, which was huge!     There was an en-suite shower and loo, as well as loads of space in the bed area.

To say she looked fed up would be an understatement.      She had not understood what had been told to her, and believed someone had messed up and given her the wrong antibiotics.      I explained to her what the nurse had said to me, and she calmed down a little.   She then said the doctor wanted to speak to me.      It was apparent when speaking to the doctor, that Old Person must have been a little confused as she was asking me about what had happened the evening before to have taken her to that point.      When I explained about the episode, she said that finished the puzzle as they were symptoms of the body reacting to the infection.       She then went on to explain that the culture of the blood they had done showed she needed a different type of antibiotic to the one they had started her on when she was admitted.       More bloods would be taken when the new medication had got into her system.     I could understand that Old Person wanted to come home, but it made far more sense to get her onto the correct road of recovery.

D and I stayed with her for a couple of hours, during which time she moaned about the noise, the food, and being woken up too early.      It was good to see she was her normal self as far as finding fault was concerned.

I was so tired by the time we got home, that I barely made it to evening with my eyes open.

Today I waited until midday to ring again to find out if she was going or staying.     The nurse told me she was being kept again, because her bloods were still coming back elevated – I am not sure what they were elevated with but I accept the doctors know what they are doing.      I can just imagine what was going through Old Persons mind at this point.      We all decided to go and see her, to try to cheer her up.

The doctor came in to talk to me again, and so Hubby took the boys off to the hospital roof garden for a while.        She explained that the results showed the infection was still not responding, but they were hoping that it had now spiked and would be on the way back down with another blast of IV antibiotics.     She said they could release her, but it made sense to see another set of results to prove her thoughts.     Old Person was visibly upset by this, but agreed that it was better to not come home until they were sure she was well enough to.

The room was very hot, and M started complaining about a sore head, so we made our goodbyes and left.      We managed to get as far as the main hospital corridor, before M vomited across the floor.      The heat had induced a migraine it seemed.      Hubby went to find someone to tell them of the accident, and then took the boys outside, while I waited by the mess on the floor for someone to sort it out.      I seemed to be stood stopping passers by walking in the mess for ages, but in reality it was less than 5 minutes.     It was nice that a number of people asked me if I needed help while stood there – some people do still care about each other.    Eventually a domestic arrived and put a couple of wet floor signs up, before going for his cleaning materials.      M was fine when he had got some air into him, and he slept off any remnants of the migraine in the car on the way home.

This evening the phone rang about half past eight, and it was the staff nurse.    I don’t know about you, but whenever anyone starts a conversation with “there is nothing to worry about, but….”   it instantly makes me worry.      She was informing me that they were moving Old Person to a different ward, so I would know where to find her tomorrow.     She then went on that her bloods were still extremely elevated, and so they would be testing again tomorrow.         I can only imagine how horrible this is for Old Person, as hospitals are not the most fun place in the world to be, especially as she feels well in herself.        I think the fact she is in a single ward, it must be so boring having nobody to interact with all day.      I am hoping this new place they are moving her to is a multi-person ward so she has something new to look at and moan about.

I will ring again tomorrow lunchtime to see if there is any chance of her being set free tomorrow, or if she will be stuck there for another night.

I have been so tired and stressed all weekend, I have been nippy with Hubby and the boys, and I know I shouldn’t be, but I can’t care about the usual things they talk about while I am worried about my Mum.    I know Hubby understands as we had time last year when his Mum was rushed into hospital, but for the boys it is difficult to accept that plans have to be changed because I am needed elsewhere, and I am giving a little more of my time and attention to somebody else.      They love their Granny, and are missing her, but last night, they had great fun sleeping in her bed, which is an electric bendy bed.

For now, we hope that the antibiotics kick in soon, and start to show some positive results on her blood.    We will see what tomorrow brings.

Over this weekend, I have been so impressed with all the medical people we have encountered.    Their dedication is talked down so much by the government and the media – no, I am not getting political, just stating what I think.      These people do an amazing job, in horrible circumstances.   They are expected to give everything body and soul, and then still being portrayed as if that isn’t enough.       The kindness showed to my Mum by everyone that has looked after her has been amazing.   We are so lucky to still have an NHS, lets hope we continue to have one so we all can get this amazing level of care when we get old.