8 April 2011

The Last Couple Of Weeks Have Been A Bit Pants!

Hello dear friends.

I'm going to side step my usual pretty pictures and creative musings and tell you a little bit about the last couple of weeks if that's okay.  It's really for my own benefit I guess.

I am very proud of the fact that D and I have managed to send our two blondies to private school up until now.  Like a lot of the parents who choose to do the same, we have never found it terribly easy but have always considered it money extremely well spent.  We are lucky to have two naturally (read as 'genetically on my side' ha ha!) bright children who have positively flourished at school.

You may remember me posting about one of my proudest mummy moments?  It was last year's Speech Day when Blondie Son collected a scholarship for academic excellence and Blondie Daughter an award for outstanding academic achievement?

There comes a point however when one has to admit defeat and that can be very, very hard.  For some time now, more than every last penny has been going on household bills and school fees.  We have, quite simply, had nothing left.

Last half term, Blondie Daughter went to spend the day at her best friend's (a gorgeous and unassuming little girl) house.  (Picture a sprawling country house with acres of land.)  Blondie daughter had the most wonderful time swimming in their pool, grooming and riding their ponies and going out for a meal.

On the way home, best friend's father asked my daughter if she'd had a nice day and whether she wished she could stay with them or was she glad to be going home (yes, peculiar question I know).  My daughter apparently replied "Home, because it's cosy".

Fast forward to today, in an hour I shall be collecting my two children for the very last time from their current school.  We have secured them places at good local state schools and they start after Easter.  My gorgeous husband has had a huge financial weight lifted and his relief is visible.

We have talked until we are hoarse and have had a lot of tears about leaving friends but I have never been so proud of my two wonderful children who have accepted our decision with such understanding.

We still have a term's fees to pay which, despite these austere times, have risen by 5% but that's another story.

So, as you can imagine, that has been preoccupying to say the least.


Our next door neighbours have a very pretty cat.  Everybody locally knows this cat.  She has slept on each of our doorsteps in turn.  She has zero road sense and has been known to stop traffic by slowly sauntering across the road, often stopping midway to have a wash.  I recently found out she was 18 years old.  Despite being more of a dog person, I have always been fond of her.  We all have.

Our neighbours are a young couple in their thirties.  She is expecting her first baby in the summer.  They went on holiday for a fortnight and his parents visited their house twice daily to feed the cat.

Last Friday, I was out in the garden and heard a commotion coming from the road at the front of our house.  I rushed out to find two young Asian men with two bullmastiff dogs.  Each dog had one end of our neighbour's cat.  I'm not going to go into detail but will say that it was horrific.  Instinctively I ran straight over to help but the dogs were not going to release their prey until she had died which she did thankfully quite quickly, through shock I think.  One of the men panicked and was thumping and kicking the dogs on the head but the other man couldn't really give a shit.  He became very threatening with another neighbour who called the police and then ran off.  These men have been seen locally on numerous occasions, particularly in a nearby park, goading other dogs with theirs.

As I said, I am more of a dog person and know that a dog's behaviour is a product of the way it's been brought up.  These dogs were aggressive like their owner.

We have a lovely local community and it wasn't long before nearly every neighbour came out onto the street.

The police arrived en masse and tracked the men down but as I hadn't actually seen the men taunting the cat with their dogs prior to the attack, no arrests were made.

I looked after the cat's body until our neighbours returned the next day and obviously had to tell them what had happened.

The problem has been that I haven't been able to stop re-running the ghastly scenes through my mind.  It was one of the most awful things I've ever seen.  What if it had been a child?  I'm even worrying about the dogs - they took quite a few thumps to their heads.  I know the pictures in my head will fade but it is still leaving me a bit sick to my stomach.

So, as I said, the last couple of weeks have been a bit pants.

However, the sun is shining.  Four weeks of Easter holidays stretch ahead.  My desire to crochet is making my fingers twitch and I have a lot of delicious blog reading to catch up on.

Thanks so much for listening.



  1. oh my word, poor you, thats horrific!!
    i can completely sympathise with imagine over drive...i do worry about these young, aggressive types being allowed to own dogs- i think there should be an age limit or test to make sure you have good nature yourself to bring up a dog.
    My local lovely park has made me 'panic' on many an occasion when i see aggressive, dodgy men with pit ball type dogs off leads with young children about....its scarey.
    The poor cat...thank heavens you have a good community.
    i had a situation last summer when a lady attacked me at a bus stop, she had mental issues, it has left me with mental scares- i feel very insecure- i see this women alot and she shouldnt be out on her own!.
    but mainly i get worked up inside thinking about what happened or what have might have happened to my daughter...over active imagination i think its called.
    On another subject of schools, alot of my friends growing up had ponies n pools on their grounds...but funny thing is they loved comming to our home because it was a 'home' not a show home...i would love to send my daughter to a private school...i see the mother near by swearing like its normal in front of their children and i hate seeing that- call me old fashioned but you give respect to gain respect.
    And whats happened to good old mannors? pleae and thank you's...?
    I havent got my placement yet for the school Sophia will go to...but i hope its one of my first two choices...fingers crossed.

    good luck with the placements for your children.
    They sure are lucky to have a mum like you that cares sooo much about their future ;0)xxxx

    Enjoy the easter hols x

  2. You really have had a hard time! I am sure it will all work out. Kids quickly adapt and I'm sure they will settle well into their new school. I know how worrying it is though. my daughter is due to move school next year and already I am worrying about the choices that have to be made.
    Have a lovely weekend and I hope the sun starts to shine for you again! Cx

  3. oh how awful, words cant describe how i feel for that poor little cat. some people really dont seem to give a s--t if you know what i mean, not a great memory to have in you head though, poor neighbours too at least they didnt have to see it as i think that would of been worst for them. Sorry to hear about all your worries too, put them all to one side and try and enjoy your weekend x helen x

  4. Oh Heather - what a tough time you have had. These things always seem to come all at once. Am sending lots of love and hugs your way - hang on in there - it will all get easier and less painful. Wishing you a relaxing, non stressful Easter hols xxxx

  5. Oh Heather. What a shock! A cat ran out in front of my car once and I hit it. The cat was OK but I felt dreadful and, like you, I couldn't get it out of my head. It will go, lovely. Look after you. Much love, my gorgeous friend. xxxx

  6. Oh Heather, these things are difficult individually , together they are so stressful .
    Go easy on yourself and hopefully the Easter break will do you the world of good.
    I'm sure your children will adapt and you were so brave trying to help the cat.

    Jacquie x

  7. Perhaps it might be a good idea to call the RSPCA if the polica cant do anything. I dont know much about dogs, but arnt bullmastifs bread to fight? I thought the law was that they should be wearing muzzles? surely thumping them on their heads is abuse in itself? and yes it could have been a child they attacked, and might well still be if nothing is done. If anything just to ease your conscience I would perhaps call the RSPCA for advice.

  8. Oh gosh what an awful time you've had. I'm sure the children will settle into their new school very quickly and carry on being a credit to you and your hubbie. As for the awful incident, I know exactly how you feel as seeing something so horrible can linger in you head, but it will get better. Enjoy the easter hols with your family and look forward to a slightly easier financial future
    Big hugs
    Pene x

  9. oh sweet heart, what a terrible couple of weeks :-( I am sure your girls will love their new school and make friends very quickly. You can also get a home tutor to help them if needed (which would be a hell of a lot cheaper) but I am sure they won't need that. They are happy and loved and that is the main thing.

    Re the dog incident - that is really shocking and to be truthful it is probably best the cat did pass away after what it had been through :-( Have the RSPCA been called about the dogs, they sometimes have more power than the police on these subjects. I hope the images leave you soon - that must be really nasty to keep re-running it over and over.

    Take care of yourself and remember you are a fab Mum so don't worry about your lucky, happy little girls. xxx

  10. Hello, we did the very same for our boys! I remember picking Ben up from a friends house, OMG their kitchen was the same size as our downstairs. But ben said he was looking forward to getting home, he said the house was too big. He is at college now, I'm sure he would have done just as well at any school. I look back now and think how the hell did we do it. I'm sure you have made the right decision. :0) xxx

    PS. I'm really sorry but I couldn’t read about the cat! I hope it's ok.... :0( x

  11. Oh that makes me want to cry. What a horrific thing for you to have to see, and I hope it fades quickly from your mind. That poor poor cat...

  12. I'm so sorry. What can I say? Your children will be fine, a new adventure for the whole family.... Bad memories of the poor cat will fade. Hopefully the men will rethink what they are up to. There really is no way to understand some people.. x

  13. Oh Heather, you really have had a crappy few weeks - sending you a cyber hug. The poor cat, it makes me go cold just thinking about it. Some people are just such bastards - nothing more to say.

    Your children will be fine once they settle at school. I would have loved to send ours to private school but the fees would have crippled us too. They are obviously bright so will do very well I'm sure.

    Take care


  14. Sounds like a tough decision Heather! You do what you have to...
    The cat story is horrendous, no wonder you are traumatized.
    Hope things stop feeling so pants.

  15. Oh how horrible for you. Your girls sound wonderful and will thrive where ever they are sent, I am sure. x

  16. Hi Heather, I've found your blog via Gillyflower. That's one heck of a fortnight to endure.

    I'm sure that your girls will adjust to their new school in no time at all. After all, they clearly have fab parents who care about them. Your husband was obviously feeling the strain, hope life will be less stressful for you both. Don't forget to take sometime for yourselves every now and again.

    Have a good day.


  17. Heather, I'm not sure how I managed to miss this post. I hope you are feeling a bit better. The trauma with the cat must have been awful. It's horrible to witness something so awful. I witnessed a dog being run over when I was a little girl. It is something that you don't ever forget but it does eventually get put to the back of your mind.

    As for the schools, you know, don't worry. Easier said than done I know, but the blondies will adjust fine, make friends and settle. The financial aspect will make you both feel better and less worried and you have set your children up on good stead. I went to private school for a while. A couple owned it, he was lovely, his wife was a cow. He died suddenly and the day after, the wife put up the fees excessively so many parents withdrew their kids. I went into mainstream school and it worked fine. So don't worry too much! You do what you have to do and at the end of the day, if you are happy and hubby happy, the kiddos will do fine! A good happy home to be in is really important. Sorry for the ramble, have a restful weekend!
    Love Vanessa x

  18. I have just written a huge ranting post which took me nearly 45 minutes to put together and Blogger lost it when I tried to log in. Grrrr.. You and your readers have been spared - ha!

    Horrible horrible thing to happen to the cat, to you, to the cat owners. Just horrible. I'm a dog lover and stories like this make me so angry. Very brave of you to rush in to help - it must have been so scary and your heart must have been pounding. That poor little cat.

    Good luck to your children in their new schools - they will adapt just fine I'm sure, they sound like lovely children from your posts. School fees are extortionate, I know this from a friend, and it's a big thing to decide that enough is enough.

    And I can't believe what your daughter's friend's father said! What an odd thing to say to someone who has spent the day at your home! How funny! Loved your daughter's reply to that - good on her!


  19. OMG! I am not a cat lover and generally prefer dogs but I cried reading this post! How can anyone be cruel to any animal. Thank goodness the poor thing died quickly!! And also thankkfully your kids did not see the horror!! I cannot imagine how you are coping with this and cannot even think of anything to say to soothe your poor feelings!

    Regarding your children, I think that you have given them a really solid foundation from which to flourish! You have sacraficed so much and I am sure they will reap the benefits of an amazing start! love Annie x

  20. Poor you, you've been having a tough time of it, I'm really sorry to hear you had to give up on the girls going to private school, as it's obviously very important to you, and you felt you were giving your girls the best you could.
    That poor poor cat, just awful, I'd be having nightmares about that cat, which it sounds like you're having. Those sort of dogs can be very gentle, but their owners probably treat them very badly and it makes them very aggressive. I don't understand how the men can't be prosecuted.
    I hope things get better for you, and you are able to feel more positive, though I imagine it's hard at the moment. Big hug. Love Vanessa xxx

  21. Gosh, what a traumatic time you've been having one way or another you poor thing.
    That poor cat. There is no understanding people like that, but they will get what they deserve one day I am sure.
    Your children will cope just fine, I'm sure it will all work out well.
    We too sent out daughter to a good local private school from the age of 3 until she passed the 11 plus. The fees were a struggle as they increased every year and we couldnt afford to move until last year.
    She is now at one of the best (state)grammar schools in the area and very happy. It was worth the financial struggle during those years as she had a great time in a beautiful Grade 1 listed Jacobean stately home converted into a school with fantastic grounds, and small class sizes (15)and small year groups (30)and a very homely atmosphere, but she is equally happy now, if not more so, at a large school with 150 girls in her year!
    She has made wonderful friends at the grammar school and feels far more comfortable with them that she ever did with the private school friends (apart from a handful of similar background friends whom we still see regularly as its all about the Mums too isnt it at private school!)
    We too had our share of her visiting friends with huge houses worth millions, with swimming pools, horses and acres etc, whilst our whole ground floor (then)could have fitted into their hall and we lived in a semi!
    So you may find your children make more solid, comfortable friendships, and they are obviously very bright so will do well wherever they go, so I'm sure they will be just as happy once they are settled so dont worry.
    Gill x

  22. Heather. I am not sure if you will see this as I am late arriving....as usual! But I wanted to give you a belated hug and cuppa! What a time!

    You have taken a very difficult decision and made it a very important learning experience. You have talked and guided your babies through it with love and understanding. You have supported your lovely man bravely. I think you are an utter star x

    I am equally and completely sorry you had to witness something so awful! I hope time eases it a little. How brutal...

    Enjoy your sublime...x

  23. Hi Heather
    I don't know if you remember me - I dropped out of blogland last year. I have spent time this morning reading your posts, and am so pleased that things have improved and that your Blondies are happy at the new school. I have tried to re join as a follower but 'computer says no'. I am apparently blocked by most blogs.:-) x


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Anyone ever told you that you're a peach? xx