Friday, 31 July 2009

Almost the weekend

Hello there ma wee blog!

Well its been a successful day today. The final prep for the hearings went well and I had time in the morning to go down to Dunbar and get my overdue haircut which is always strangely going to make me feel a wee bit better about 'life the universe and everything' anyway to quote Douglas Adams.

Getting a haircut, especially if I have left it a bit overdue, always takes me back to being a wee boy and going to the local barbers in the village where I grew up; sitting on the childs seat that was just a short plank of wood put across the arms of the barbers chair so you stuck up enough above the chair back to let the guy actually get to your napper. That almost tearful feeling of having been scalped as you stepped out of the shop with your Mum or Dad at your side and felt the wind caress your baldy heid for the first time reminding you of just how much hair you had just left behind on the floor. You actually felt lighter so much seemed to have gone, and of course, you knew your pals were going to make fun of you for "havin' a baldy" or having been "rumped right intae the wid" as they laughed ruefully and ran hands self consciously back through no doubt soon to be shorn locks themselves. You also could never resist that first tentative hand up and across the back of your head to check how sharp the remaining stubble was, feeling lucky no doubt that you actually got out of there with some hair left. No one was allowed to have their hair long it seemed. Everyone had to look like military conscripts with identical short back and sides. I doubt, looking back, that the demon barber of Drongan could actually cut hair other than in that universal, one fits all style. Certainly I remember seeing grown men of all ages with the exact same cut { and reaction on coming out of the shop }. Sometimes Dad would get his hair cut at the same time and we would look at each other as we stood outside the shop and he would smile sympathetically at me and offer his hand for the walk back home.

I got that feeling so strongly this morning that I smiled broadly to myself as I stepped out into the warm breeze { and not the forecast torrential downpour } to get on with the rest of the day.
Aye, sometimes its the simple things in life eh?

The hearings went well today too. The cases went smoothly and we worked well together as a team during the hearings. Its good to be able to terminate a supervision order and say to a child or a family that although they have been through a bad time that its clear that the worst is over and you no longer need us to support you. Its clear that you can do it on your own, working voluntarily with social work. Its a great boost to a child or families confidence not only to feel or to be told things are getting so much better but to be shown by action that legal compulsion to do certain things is not needed and they must feel that if we can step back out of it then getting social work to do the same and to take back full control is a reality. One of the big anxieties I see in families is that fear that once social work depts are involved its never going to be over.

I was also able to have a bit of a rant to social work about the information in reports - the huge amounts of abbreviations, the ICPCC, RCPCC, MAAG and ELIS and all those other things which although meant to help - and do to the likes of us who see these things on a regular basis - can actually be quite intimidating to people and to children who are already in a stressful situation and dont need the additional threat of this secret code which can only be understood by the initiated. I also hate how so much understanding can be lost at the altar of the great God 'Cut and Paste' when a hard pressed social worker clearly doesn't take the time to stop and proof read the reports before issuing them. Not helpful.....

Actually I have a huge amount of respect for social workers and the job they do in often really trying circumstances. They are fantastic folk in my opinion and I have yet to meet one who does not really care about the job they do and the folk they are trying to help. Unfortunately so often now they are the scapegoats for society and the media in particular. Damned if they do and damned if they dont. I have the utmost respect for them and I dont think I could do their job for a pension.

That doesn't mean that I am not critical of the structures they work in or some of the policies they enforce or some of the procedures used but I certainly don't feel that as a society we are really prepared to shoulder the cost of giving them the training, tools and resources to truly provide that fine mesh safety net that we expect them to have for every possible permutation of problem or consequence for the vulnerable elements of our society. Instead we seem only too willing to pillory them at the first opportunity.

Whoa Boy! Slow down man! .......... Rant over, ok Alistair?. Look at what it says at the top of the blog entry. Its "almost the weekend" not " Get on your high horse". Calm down......... Breathe deeply......... REEEELAAAX...........


So anyway........

Its almost the weekend!

And this weekend its the 1st of August.! National day of Switzerland!

So we are celebrating the Swiss part of the family with a get together, a meal, Swiss flags, Swiss tablecloth, Swiss napkins, Swiss food , Swiss wine, Schnapps, Kirsch and anything else we can find that remotely smacks of Heidi Land, of edelweiss, cowbells, alphorns, yodelling, mad obsessions about time, efficient train and bus services to impossibly remote locations, chocolate, fondue, badly timed senses of humour { they say if you tell a Swiss a joke on Tuesday they will laugh Sunday in church! } - and missing Nazi millions.....


see you later............

listening to Bob Marley, "three little birds"

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