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.