Monthly Archives: October 2013

Feast of disappointments

Standard

Last summer me and the kids had a fabulous 7 nights at a haven caravan park.
Littlesea in Weymouth.
Actually my favourite place because my mum and step dad owned a caravan there so we had all of our holidays there.

One of our favourite things was getting up and going for breakfast at the on site restaurant the ” mash and barrel”
We also enjoyed many dinners there.

So this week when we stayed at the Orchards , another Haven caravan park we had high expectations of the restaurant and as the park was actually such a nice one I was sure the restaurant would be lovely.

We had our dinner there on the first night and all went well , the food was delicious and in big portions.

The kids had chicken or beef burgers in buns served with a plate full of big fat chips and salad, I had macaroni cheese with rustic garlic bread and we ordered some onion rings which are the best onion rings we’ve ever had.
We had told the 15 year olds friend who was on holiday with us how lovely breakfast would be so we were all really looking forward to it on our first morning.
The breakfast is served from 9 -11:30 , we arrived at ten.
We were seated and then waited a good ten minutes for our order to be taken.
The 17 year old ordered a savoury croissant , filled with melted cheese and ham , it was on the breakfast menu but the waitress looked at us like she had never heard of such a thing and then said they don’t even do them. it was on the menu !The rest of us ordered croissants , hot chocolates , apple juices and an orange juice for me.

After a wait of another ten minutes we were told there were only 3 croissants left so four of us ordered toast instead.
The hot chocolates came , barely warm the apple juices came , lovely and chilled , my orange juice came , warm !
Still no food.
We watched as everyone else came ordered and ate.
A waitress noticed we were still waiting and after 40 minutes we got our toast and ( no longer warm ) croissants
The toast was barely toasted , in fact some pieces were actually still bread.
We were completely disappointed , this breakfast cost me around £40 and was totally unsatisfactory.

We thought that perhaps we should have arrived earlier so we decided we would be first in line for breakfast the next day.

We had a take away pizza from pappa johns which is on site for dinner and looked forward to breakfast thinking surely if we were first we would eat breakfast like kings.

We did actually get to the restaurant first ( we were very eager )
We were seated and made our order.
This time two of us ordered a five item cooked breakfast and the rest of us two croissants each, what ? ,We like breakfast ! 😄 we ordered hot chocolates again and I went for an apple juice rather than a warm orange.

We sat and waited while other diners got their food.

And waited.

And waited.

And were then told that they were out of croissants , we ordered toast again and I made a point of saying that it wasn’t properly toasted the day before.
I was told the toaster was dodgy , so the toast could either be not toasted properly or burnt.
I said we would rather have it on the burnt side than not toasted atall.

The five item breakfasts came and were barely warm , the hot chocolates were once again barely warm and the toast took half an hour.

Again this set me back almost £40

We decided to make our own breakfast on the the third morning.

Although breakfast had not gone well we decided that as our first dinner had been so lovely we would try lunch.

However the only kids meal available out of quite a few was penne pasta with tomato sauce and garlic bread , there were four of us who wanted to order a variety of things from the kids menu ,
We ordered and we did enjoy our meal we had the penne pasta , baked potatoes with cheese and beans / chilli ,and ham and cheese farmhouse melts, it was disappointing that once again main items from the menu were unavailable. Especially as the food is lovely if you can get it.
I asked if they would have more things available at dinner time (I don’t know maybe I thought they would get a delivery as they were running out of everything) but no they weren’t getting anymore.

We had a big dinner from pappa johns instead.

Our stay at Littlesea last year was in peak holiday season and yet the mash and barrell was very efficient and made for great dining experiences.

Whereas at the Orchards there are obviously issues with meeting demand , and the table service is not efficient enough as we were ignored and left sitting waiting forty minutes just to get some toast with very little in the way of apology !

I would have liked to return to this particular park but I’m afraid this has put me off.

Advertisements

Roll up roll up show us your blog

Standard

I’m a little late getting the linky up this week mostly because I was stranded in Essex because of the storm and I had absolutely no phone signal while I was there.
I was halfway back to London before I had a signal.
Why ?? I was in Essex not the back of beyond.

Anyway I digress from the point ….

This linky is where you can link up your blog every week Tuesday to Thursday ….
You can find new blogs to read by having a look at others that link up and you may find some new readers and let’s be honest we all quite like new readers

Everyone is welcome to link up … Old or new blogs …. There are no rules although I think it’s nice to have a look at the blogs which also link up.

It’s always nice to share share the blog love 💗💗

So what are you waiting for roll up roll up show us your blog !!!

Our long weekend away : The Orchards , Haven

Standard

Friday was the day of our holiday.
At last.
I try to take the kids somewhere every year.
Only to caravan parks but getting away at all is nice.
This was one of the Sun newspaper £9:99 holidays but I must admit I paid £17 each to upgrade to luxury plus because I do like to be comfortable.

Our train journey there was quite uneventful and much easier than I expected.

When we arrived at Clacton because there was a McDonald’s near the station we kicked off the holiday with some lunch.
( not that we were starving , we had 3 Krispy Kreme doughnuts each on the train 😃)

We arrived at the caravan just before check in time at 3 so we had a little wait , when our caravan still wasn’t ready they quickly sorted us out with another one.

Our caravan was lovely. All clean and in working order. And very comfortable.
It was a bit of a walk from all the facilities but the fresh air and exercise was probably good for us.

The first thing we did was pop to the shop for bread , milk , cereal etc the shop was well stocked it even had fresh baked bread and rolls , obviously it was pricey £ 2:35 for 4 pints of milk !!! But it was the best of the shops out of the three haven parks I’ve stayed at.
I also noticed how friendly and cheery all the staff were.

After we had stocked up on the essentials we went for a swim.

I love swimming with the kids. It’s something we really enjoy doing together.
The pool was very nice there was a baby pool and a big pool. The changing rooms were clean and there were plenty of lockers !
We were lucky as the pool was never too busy , I guess because of the time of year we went.

We had Yahtzee with us and a deck of cards so we spent some time playing Yahtzee and card games another thing we enjoy doing but don’t do enough of.

In the evening we went to the on site restaurant ” the mash and barrel ” for our dinner.
We’ve eaten at the mash and barrel before at the Littlesea haven park so we had good expectations.
I have to say the whole restaurant experience was a let down ( this is a whole other blog post) although the food is very good and is served in very generous portions.

As we were tired from travelling we had a little go in the arcade and headed to the caravan for an early night.
We were in bed by half past 8 and we all had a really good sleep.
I slept better than I had in ages.

Saturday and Sunday were much the same , breakfast at the mash and barrel , swimming , a little go in the arcade , and after dinner we went to the club to watch the children’s shows.
They are a bit naff but O enjoys them and it’s just nice to do something we don’t do at home.

There was a nice little play park so we had a little play there and we hired karts on the Saturday and Sunday so the kids could ride around the site.

We were lucky with the weather , we managed to stay dry and the caravan wasn’t too cold at night.
We all packed a blanket each incase it was chilly , I don’t think any of them got used.

The 15 year olds friend came along with us. And I have to say she was a pleasure. O has taken a shine to her and she made me plenty of cups of tea and hot chocolate.

After the drama of not going home which you can read about here …http://wp.me/p3e49B-1L4 we travelled home today , Tuesday and again had a smooth uneventful journey home.

I certainly enjoyed a few days off from the housework and the everyday stress , the kids were mostly very good and despite Monday all going wrong we coped well with the situation !

The orchards , Haven , caravan site was a lovely place. And overall we really enjoyed staying there.

Now I need a holiday to get over our holiday.

Not going home

Standard

I was planning to write a post about our weekend away obviously and also one about the rather disappointing breakfast experiences we had but after the way our holiday has ended this post just had to come first .

We weren’t worried about the storm last night
I had checked with the caravan site and they assured me we were safe overnight and we had been watching travel updates on the news , greater anglia trains weren’t going To run until after 9 this morning but that was fine , checkout was 10 so there was going to be no drama for us , no sir !

We had a good nights sleep but woke up to some harsh winds
I had my suspicions that maybe things wouldn’t go so smoothly ,
We put the news on and it said that our train would be running after 10 so we carried on with checking out , we got the bus into clacton on sea and arrived at the station only to be told that there would be no trains this morning ,
We were told to keep checking the website for updates so we decided to head to mcdonalds and wait a while ,
It was a bit of a walk to mcdonalds so the kids were already grumbling
We had lunch but there was no change on the train website ,
It was becoming clear that we may not get home
We checked out the possibility of getting a coach back to london but there were none running today so we had a look online and found a premier inn with rooms available
Our plan was to walk to the station
Check out the train situation and if there were no trains to head to premier inn

By now the kids were very fed up
Boys of my autistic boys were stressed and agitated .

At the station we were told there were no trains running till morning
But we also found out that the premier inn was only accessible by train or car . Not by bus .

although we were pointed in the direction of a travelodge just down the road .
We headed there full of relief …………..
Lugged our cases up to the first floor to the reception
Had a few arguments on the way
But we got there too late
They had just rented out the last rooms

The receptionist recommended a hotel on the sea front …..but it meant another long walk , with our bags and cases .

When we finally got to the hotel we realised we were right by where we had begun at mcdonalds,
And there had been tears and tantrums on the way .

We managed to get two rooms , a 3 bed and a 4 bed and although we were lucky and the hotel was very nice the £110 was far more than i could really afford ,
I had no choice though .

We got settled into our rooms and the kids were in full on moan mode ,
You would have thought this was all my fault , when in fact I had been left with a huge hotel bill and another day of breakfast lunch and dinner to pay for ,
We went back to mcdonalds for the second time today for dinner and I bought some chocolate to ( hopefully) stop the moaning a little .

I was trying to look on the bright side
I’ve told the kids a million times today that it could be much worse
and I was hoping to relax and finish my book but the kids are bored and grumpy and hungry ( despite the two mcdonalds meals , chocolate and crisps )

We’ve played cards , watched tv , drunk hot chocolate till its coming out of our ears and still the kids have mostly moaned

Ive had to spend way over our holiday budget , I’ve had to ask my mum to be at mine for my shopping delivery this afternoon , and I’m sharing a room with 2 autistic boys who are both agitated tired and completely discombobulated , and quite frankly the kids have been completely ungrateful and unnecessarily difficult .

I plan to be on the first train out of here tomorrow !
And if i ever stay in a hotel again it will be without kids

Going away ….I guess I’d better start packing

Standard

It’s Tuesday night.
I’m laying in bed thinking that I really should be packed and organised by now.
We are going away on Friday.
For a long weekend.
Me and 6 kids.
5 of my own and 1 of someone else’s.
And I’m NOT READY.

It will happen , we will of course be ready but not before a mad rushed panic happens on Thursday night.

It’s always the way.

This will be our third year going to a caravan park.

Although it’s only a long weekend this time I’m looking forward to it so much.

We will be swimming ALOT.
We love the naff cheesy entertainment in the club in the evenings and I won’t be making dinner.
We are planning one meal in the restaurant and two pizza meals from pappa johns.

I also love having breakfast in the
restaurant.
Croissant and fresh orange juice for me.

It’s so lovely to get up and wander down to the restaurant , eat , and then leave the breakfast dishes for someone else to clean up.
It’s a good way to start the day.

We are bringing Yahtzee with us because we love a game of Yahtzee and a hot chocolate together before bedtime.
It’s something we don’t do enough at home.

Obviously before we get there we have a train journey to do.
With two autistic boys , with OCD and social anxiety to contend with it will be * interesting *
For an hour of the two and a half hour journey we will be underground which O hates.
And on our last trip on the underground the 15 y/o passed put halfway to our destination , on the train.
I’m hoping this journey will be less eventful.
I reckon the Krispy Kreme doughnuts that we will be picking up on our way through Waterloo * might * help to make the journey a little easier.

It’s going to be a busy weekend
But a good Busy

Not a cooking , cleaning , housework kind of busy

I guess I really should start getting ready.

now where are our suitcases ?

So we went to CAMHS again * sigh *

Standard

Today we’ve been to CAMHS again.
For the boys review appointment.
I don’t know why , after 9 years you would think I’d know better but I always go to these appointments with a little hope. I don’t know what I’m hoping for , just something. and I always come away from the appointments feeling let down.

Dr.N our psychiatrist was pleased that O is sleeping well , the melatonin is working , but he noticed without me even mentioning that O’s motor tics are getting more frequent and he has more of them.
He wants to medicate him to help control the tics but although he asked the gp to arrange an ECG in August it still hasn’t been done.
I need to chase it up this week as he can’t prescribe the medication without an ECG.
We talked about school , or the lack of it.
Dr.N said that unless the school provide O with a full time one to one learning support assistant , with good knowledge of autism , He doesn’t think O will ever cope in mainstream school.

Although he said that it’s not going to be easy to get him a place at any of our local special needs schools , because our local schools are underfunded and don’t have enough places.
We talked about the school just not understanding O and he told us that in his experience schools just don’t.
He told us that many times he has given a school extensive talks and information to help them understand only for the staff to ask ” so how can we make this child behave like everyone else ”
He said its as frustrating for him as a psychiatrist as it is for a parent that schools just don’t have enough understanding and skills to deal with autism.
We then talked about my 17 year old.
He has been given new medication because aswell as ASD OCD social anxiety and Tourette’s he is suffering with depression.

In December he will be 18. So he is being discharged from CAMHS and referred to adult mental health services.
Dr.N told us that nine times out of ten when he refers 18 year olds they are discharged and referred back to their gps, even when they are diagnosed with severe depression.
So that’s what we can expect for J.

Dr .N said that because we live in an area where council taxes are low the mental health services are never going to be adequate.

He said we will have to fight hard to get any help and support at all for J.

J wasn’t diagnosed properly until after 9 years of being under CAMHS , he’s never had any therapy of any kind , he dropped out of education when he was 14 because he was never statemented ( when he should have been ) and now he will most likely be discharged from mental health services.
To say I’m angry about this is a massive understatement.

Why should it depend on where you live ?
Why should my boys be at a disadvantage because we live in a bit of a crappy area ?

On Thursday we have a TAC meeting for O at school.
His statement should have gone to panel last week so we shall see what they have to say about helping O properly.

But right now , what I have , still , is two boys who are both being massively failed by the system.

Many small voices : guest post

Standard

Today I have a very important guest post to share with you. It’s written by the lady responsible for Many small voices.

I was asked by the lovely @8TOZERS to do a blog post about why I blog on Many Small Voices (MSV).

MSV was borne out of my own frustration of not being able to find comprehensive and detailed information on the internet regarding domestic abuse. I have recently come out of an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. During the time that I was looking for help and information, I felt that it was scattered everywhere. I was reading and looking at many different websites and blogs to find the information that I needed to help me to pluck up the courage to leave my marriage.

Abuse is a difficult subject. Many friends and family members, when you ask for help with it, shy away as it is often too difficult for them to deal with and understand. Often people don’t really realise the extent of the abuse. Which is understandable, as it is often hidden, quite deliberately, by the abuser and also by the victim out of shame and confusion. Often, as was the case with me, victims don’t feel that the abuse is ‘severe’ enough to warrant real help from the police or from domestic abuse charities and organisations.

It is common for victims of abuse to feel very alone, and they usually are. Abusers deliberately isolate victims and can also ‘speak out’ first about incidents, ensuring their version of events becomes the general consensus.

I didn’t know I was in an abusive relationship. It wasn’t, in fact, always abusive, at least not as abusive. When the subtle and small controls sneak into your life, all you feel is confusion and pain. When things got worse and became intolerable, I finally realised that what was actually happening to me was abuse and so I began a long journey which started within myself. It was a long and painful journey into the depths of my soul. I faced some painful truths about myself and about my husband, about our life and the lives of our children.

Abuse profoundly effects everyone who is around it and yet at the same time becomes ‘normalised’. It is the most bizarre of situations to be in and yet all you want is the pain to stop.

I wrote to get things ‘out of my head’ and it helped me to find clarity for myself. I wrote just for me. I never dreamt that I’d end up sharing my writing with anyone. Never mind on a blog!

I left my husband at the end of last year. It was a scary thing for me to do. But it had to happen. For then on I have felt strongly that I’d like to help others who are going through similar, help them find access to as much information as possible in one place and find the strength to leave and find a better life. To know that it is possible to, even when it feels like it isn’t.

With the help of some very kind people and wonderful new friends who encouraged me to share my writing and who I will always remember for helping me to begin this journey, Many Small Voices was born.

I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have my journey to complete. But I sincerely hope that by writing my experiences and encouraging others to do so, I could possibly help at least one person to find their way safely out of an abusive situation.

The best people to tell the story of abuse are the people who have lived it, survived it and emerged stronger and happier. To all of the contributors to MSV I give a heartfelt thanks and I hope that you know that I am in awe of your strength because I know just what it takes to leave.

We are together, creating something real and amazing and we must continue to keep speaking up about our experiences.

Many Small Voices come together to create one loud voice against domestic abuse.

Many thanks to you all.

THANKYOU for reading this guest post. You can follow
Many small voices on twitter @ManySmallVoices and the blog can be found here
http://www.manysmallvoices.com

I don’t ask for retweets or follows for my own blog but I would like to ask that you follow many small voices , retweet , share , let people going through domestic abuse know that many small voices are there and !