Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Happy new year! Well it’s Nearly the end of January...


I realise it’s been a while since updating!  Going to plan to do it fortnightly.. see how we get along!

Firstly, there’s no change on the housing front... we are still in temporary accommodation, and will be here for a long time the way the bidding is going.

I have no idea how it works anymore!  Before the system changed we could bid on larger 4 bedroom houses and was coming second so you knew it was only a matter of time. Then last April the system changed..  so now I can’t bid on four bedrooms (as that’s less than I ‘need’ surely I should know what my family ‘needs’ more than a computer?) and I’m coming 40+. This week was the perfect house ideal location, all out support networks in reach... we came 49th!!! How does that work?

We have now been homeless for two years. Why does no-one have the power or common sense just to say, you’ve lived and worked in the area for 30 years, all your friends and support are there, you didn’t make yourself intentionally homeless, you worked for the council in a position where you had to live in our house to do the job, here’s the house you need!

The more I've talked about this the more I've become aware of the amount of residential caretakers that struggle to find housing and end up in flats or private rental houses, (which is probably what would have happened to us without a young family) its a shame that these people put their lives into looking after our children's future, but there's no loyalty or back up from the council who employed them (then the schools turned into academies...) to support and re-home them.  You do get residential points for housing, which are taken away when you become homeless, you only get residential points or homeless, your not blessed with both!

This house is costing the council a fortune, the rent is near to double what we would pay in a permanent house and the difference comes from benefits.  A permanent house would be lower rent, a stable base to start job hunting and getting off benefits,  a place where my hubby can feel secure and  heal so he can get back to work, for a man who’s always worked this situation really doesn’t help your mental health, it would be somewhere to re-start our lives, (and get a dog!). All it would take to change our lives is someone to say.. this house is ideal for you, b19, close to where your lives were left paused, here you go, now restart your lives, live...being able to plan the future would be amazing!

As for the kids, one is looking at colleges, one is just finishing college so job hunting, but its difficult when you don’t know how long you will be here. even getting interviews can be hard! We keep coming across the question 'Is this your permanent address?' (is it?)  Are we lying if we tick yes, then its found out that its a temporary address (so rendering any contract void), but then to tick no and explain the situation, would you employ someone who doesn't know where they will be next week, month, year?

As for the small ones, home education is the best decision we've ever made.

There's some amazing home education groups in Birmingham, you can find any information you need on the internet, and active parks have set up a forest school!

Some pictures since the last update..

The big man himself paid a visit..
I am so truly grateful for the house, imagine spending this time of year in a B&B.... 

and left presents

We went on a trip to Telford Wonderland,  

Small community groups such as the Ladywood project are a lifeline for families who are isolated or struggling, they don't get nearly the amount of credit they deserve! I'm incredibly lucky that the Ladywood project has been at the end of the phone, road or Facebook page, for many years, nothing is ever to much trouble for them and if they don't know the answer they know someone who does!  They give families a day trip, an ear, a phone line, a referral, whatever they can to help! They really are so underestimated and i honestly don't know where i would have been without them sometimes, not just recently with the homeless situation where we are never forgotten, but throughout the years we have lived in Ladywood.    Thank you xx

We've been out with friends,

I am blessed with friends that are unconditional, if we cant make something we still get invited next time.  Moving away from everyone and everything can feel completely overwhelming and isolating, we are lucky we have a small group of friends that are reliable and amazing!

one of the elves copied the you tuber with the head in the microwave....

and we had some snow fun!!

Thanks for reading! I'm amazed people are interested in us!   Please be kind to people you never know their stories.   Anyone's lives can take a hiccup so never judge it could be you and yours one day x    

We are lucky everyone we've had contact with has been nice, but being in limbo land is horrid, knowing your at the mercy of someone who's never met you, who presses the information into a computer, and feeds you the outcome, computers have no common sense unfortunately and people seem to have less and less input.

We are grateful to everyone who's helped us and thank you xx

And if your a computer, Hurdlow Avenue, Hockley, B19 is ideal for the Romeos!!!  

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

An update.. and a discussion about Home education


Nothing has changed on the Home front..

We are still in our temporary home, (we do like it though and are grateful of a roof!) we are now calling it out temporarily permanent home!   We are missing having our rabbit and dragon though and the kids miss a dog, but fingers crossed it won’t be forever.

So last month we had been on the housing list for two years (and homeless for 19 months).  It’s a situation I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,  don’t get me wrong I’m grateful of our roof, but not being able to settle isnt doing anyone any good.  Having discussions with a child leaving school about college when she asks about were we will be living when she starts, so where does she look?  The advice I’m giving at the moment is carry on regardless....   story of my life! Lol!  We will deal with whatever else is thrown at us when it happens but while it’s not happened it can’t be allowed to crowd our heads.   The kids take this on board, I just muddle along, hubby is having proper ups and downs,  it’s mentally tough x

We had the lady out from the education authority (you can refuse these visits but we chose to take them)  she’s happy with the education the girls are receiving so that’s a huge weight off my mind!

We had a long chat though about the increasing numbers in Home educated children,  I don’t want to be quoted on this as it’s just the way I understood it.. but more children are now being home educated that are homeless, as parents don’t want to settle them in a school when you don’t know how long they will be there.. (I understand that completely, it was a huge part in our decision too), the areas we are moved to don’t always have enough school spaces (and probably don’t want homeless children as a transient population looks bad on their records for ofsted) and where new houses are being build the infra-structure isn’t being put in, so besides the lea convincing schools to open extra classes where they can, there’s no school places for the kids in permanent homes either..  I appreciate there thousands like us who want to home educate, it’s the best thing for us and we love it, but I also appreciate there’s parents who want school places, and can’t access them.        

 I don’t have the answers, but this our next generation, the adults of the future, who have no belonging, no community. People complain the kids are causing trouble, there’s increasing gun and knife crime.  Firstly there’s good kids out there too!!   But if you take away all ownership of areas, all community spirit, take kids away from where there’s respect and care, you used to find generations of families, kids had someone to look up to, someone to turn to, to talk to, to guide them, listen, help, and to bring them down a step or two when they needed it, then move families out.. away from the support systems, don’t give them a permanent home, a school, a community centre, a youth club, youth workers, support..  these kids look for some stability which at times are gangs and getting into trouble, it’s not right, but takeaway everything they hold precious or want to protect and there’s nothing left for them other than people who manipulate situations so the feeling of ownership and belonging is fulfilled, and Gangs can do this..

As I say I have no answers but I do know that by constantly cutting the services to the people who need them aren’t helping anyone.. invest in the kids they are our future! And the poor kids deserve  the same as the rest. Irrelevant  of colour, race, religion and creed they are all our future and all deserve investment.

On a plus.. we had our traditional bonfire night.  We had a brilliant night, the kids all invited friends (who are all adult size now!) so we had a house full!!  The neighbours enjoyed the fireworks (they had been warned)  so life plods on.......

Looking at fireworks from a warm viewing spot! 

Saturday, 30 September 2017


I appreciate its been a while since I updated the blog, to be honest nothing new has been happening..

We are plodding along, still waiting for our forever home, the last time we could bid we came 18th,  which was a few weeks ago. There's no houses out there to bid on!  So hundreds, probably thousands are left like us in no mans land, emergency housing,  I will be eternally grateful for our house, its a shame we cant just be offered it (we would take it!) the house we are in is classed as 4 bedroom, we have swopped it round to a  3 bedroom and have a separate living room and kitchen.    I am noticing more emergency housing popping up almost daily as you can tell from the blinds, but this house is costing nearly double the rent of the same house with a normal tenancy. So everyone loses out... us = no forever home, council = another homeless statistic, benefit agency = they make up the difference in rent... 

We just want to settle, at the moment we cant have pets.. a friend has our rats and Bearded dragon, another our rabbit, (we had to sign over to charities our cats and dog - I am grateful our older dog passed away before all this happened). I will be eternally grateful for the people who have put themselves out to help us, we aren't allowed to put nails in the walls or posters up   its a hard way to make somewhere your home.  We've weeded the garden and planted things, painted the outside walls.. but want to make a home.. want to get an allotment, want to plant, decorate, the kids want to make plans.... where do they go to college next year?  where do they look for jobs? where do we look for jobs?  where will we live next week, next month, next year?  have a think... have those conversations with your children..  imagine not having the stability that you cant give options or give the ground base they need.

We are incredibly lucky... we have amazing children, they work hard...  only one left in the school system and sitting exams this year..  the others are in further education or working hard. the little ones are being home educated which I love.. we should have done it with all the children years ago, I appreciate its not for everyone, but for us.. it is!   My huge concern is the social element, but when you walk into a home education meeting and kids run up calling their  names your reassured your doing the right thing, for today... tomorrow is a different day and no one knows what the future holds!  Its harder holding down adult relationships and can be isolating without the playground chats.. mind you I don't miss the playground politics and silliness!

There's people around us who still have no bidding number, and no homeless status..  but moved in, in June like us... imagine living everyday without knowing your even accepted as homeless....

The situation is shit, but in the summer the kids were all in the park and it didn't matter who you are, the colour of your skin, your religion... the kids played.. active parks came for a few weeks with an amazing group of staff, got all the kids involved and they loved it,  but that died off..   so back to nothing!

Its easy to say these kids are a pest, into gangs, etc... but if the infrastructure isn't there to give kids a belonging, an ownership, a community... (which gangs give them)     what the feck do they expect????   surely its cheaper and makes more sense to invest in the kids and not have to pick up the peace's??/

Saturday, 8 July 2017

pets, worms and someone thought salt was a good idea!

We are constantly on the look out for new things to do with the children, especially as we are conscious that their education is firmly on our shoulders..

So this week, we've done the obvious play dough, paint, collage and added on cornflour.. always a hit with our kids, also a hit with the neighbours! 

And we tried salt...
it was an amazing resource for mark making

and the children (including the big ones) loved it..
but cleaning it up, oh my word!!  I think its something to use in the garden!
we've used chalk in the garden.. much easier to clean!
We've been incredibly blessed with the amount of kindness we have been shown through this journey.  I will always be grateful to the people who have helped us.  Some have listened to me moan, offered me coffee out over and over, not giving up when I haven't gone. Some have appeared with alcohol (always a good friend!). people have washed for us, turned up with food, just said kind words (which always make me cry). My sister-in-law and her husband have been a rock and god-send!
Then we have the people who have taken on our pets.. a new type of person!  They have made this journey so much easier, for the children as well as us. We lost our beloved dog, bud, before we were evicted which, it may sound odd, I am pleased about.  I, for one still miss him everyday, but he never had to leave the house he loved.  As for the others..  our other dog, went to my mom, we don't have an amazing relationship, but when I asked, she helped, she will keep him as, he now has her dog as a friend and I wouldn't upset him again. The cats, went to an amazing lady who runs a cat sanctuary, she's stayed in touch and kept poppy the oldest cat for a while, but managed to re-home the other three together. The others.. the ducks went to a friend until her grass was re-turfed now they are at the primary school where the older kids went. Another friend took on the rats, snake and bearded dragon..  she amazes me! and I'm pretty sure she amazed herself when she had to feed them! lol!!!   Another took in our rabbit, and a lot of our stuff..  we are still collecting stuff! We will be eternally grateful for her having shark and her yes attitude, shes been a rock and I don't know what we would have done without her. xx  This is where people really show how kind they are.  I asked on face book for a new foster home for shark the rabbit and one appeared immediately, I've met this person over face book but she's always giving advice and listening to me moan.. I've paid the others partly in advance with BBQ's babysitting and alcohol over a few years.. pmsl! we've never met this lady and she still offered!    I love you all and will at some stage buy the alcohol 

Shark in her new foster home with Frankie the dog
and Bud cause he's my baby and I can!
Now for worms...
We went to the Summerfield Community Garden, its a beautiful resource and now I know where it is we will go again, to make a wormery.  A lovely lady called Anna showed us what to do.. the girls loved it! They had their hands in the manure within seconds.. (I wouldn't want to distract from their fun by doing it for them!)
We will keep you informed on how they are doing.. I'm hoping they wont be called pets,  the way all the neighbours kids have had a look I think they are gaining names!
The Wormery lady and info can be found at www.theurbanworm.co.uk  it was interesting and the kids loved it! (and it was free!) 
putting the manure in the tub

mooching with the rabbits.. 
I actually felt today we were doing ok with this home education thing..  she talked to different people about food chains and bees, she showed the confidence I was concerned she wouldn't have without school. Whereas the small one has never been anywhere and talks to anyone!

it was hard work making the wormery..  held onto her basil plant though!

passed this on the way home so had a discussion about the coat of arms,  on the to-to list is to find some info about what the building used to be!
a light note to end on..
a water fight with the neighbours

my nice clean floor......

an overheard conversation and a few nice things

So im going to start with something that happened a while ago but until I mentioned it to someone didn't think twice, she suggested popping it on here...

When we first moved in I was privileged to overhear a conversation between our seven year old and a six year old..  they were discussing their experiences in the B&B, and working out who's room was worse. (Apparently his had a leaking roof and no shower, but two joined rooms, we had bed bugs and a single room - I don't think the boys having a room was included!).
We often get carried away with our own thoughts, concerns and plans we often overlook the way small humans see things. We are incredibly lucky, our children (we hope) are doing ok, we talk, we laugh, they are allowed to be cross at the situation, we accept they are sad sometimes, we do try and explain what's happening without any blame, we have spent a while discussing with them what may happen (as I've said before that's the hardest conversation to have with your kids what may happen to them and what sofa can they sleep on).
Kids are amazing but sometimes we have to step back and listen to them. Being homeless is a very adult situation, and children simply aren't equipped for adult situations, its very black and white to them..
The one comment that made me realise that was  
      'they (school) said we are a family but they took our home'  (it still makes me cry now).

The situation is obviously not that simple,  but that's how a seven year old sees it, its black and white, no varying shades of grey!

Now on a brighter note..

We can bid...   we are 16th for a five bedroom house in soho,  if we can only get to 16 after 18 months of homelessness and all the other crap, I dread to think what the people at no 1 have had to endure!

We went to our daughters show.. (she was obviously amazing), she gave us two days warning to get an animal outfit for her to wear, that she chose not to use!!  but she wore it home....   and got transported in style when she had no shoes on by her older brother!!
We took the older one for a free eye test... wasn't so free after a day of shopping and lunch!

a largish pudding........ (yes he ate it!)
shopping is hard work!
 (and a new hat from her big brother!)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

we have feline visitors, some good weather and (fingers crossed) some good news

This week the weather has been amazing, and we will start with good news!

We had a phone call from the secondary school as the older one had told them she stopped taking medication..(I had meant to but forgot). Its good news,  we are becoming confident that she may be outgrowing her skin condition!  At the age of 7, she started blistering in random places, it became apparent over time that it was sun related. Eventually she was diagnosed with polymorphic light eruption, basically she is allergic to the rays of the sun (not the heat) she got painful itchy blisters anywhere the sun touched her skin, not just in the summer, winter sun effected her too, as did sun rays through windows. She has lived with this condition for the last 8 years, but last year she noticed she didn't need to take the medication (she was taking malaria tablets as one of the side effects is a decreased skin sensitivity, but the potential side effects meant regular blood tests, and eye tests), and didn't need sun block if she was wearing sun protection clothes. 

- Going back a little, she had to wear specialist clothing, a cardigan cost £50 + (you pay extra for the material to cover her hands) gloves cost £30+ ,  the material was spf 50 but she still had to wear sun block, as any gaps caused a blister. She got DLA for three years that helped with the cost but was turned down when we reapplied the reason given was that it wasn't for specialised clothing.. (its sad that I could account for where the money went, saving invoices etc, and could prove it made her life easier but that wasn't enough) we had sun protection film put on our windows and was informed by the hospital she wasn't to go abroad.

This year she had sun burn! Not normally something I would shout about, but a few years ago this would have been impossible. so fingers crossed..  still sunblock in the sun obviously but hopefully she will be able to lead a life without sunblock all the time,  and she's got a school trip to Spain she will be able to go on,  just got to pay for it now!

I was invited to be part of a 'citizens panel' for Birmingham City Council, basically following scenarios using the new web site and feeding back any problems. I was nervous about going, but the people who were facilitating put us at ease and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually felt that we were listened to which is brilliant! Afterwoods I left her my details and some information on our situation, and weve had contact since so alls good.  I also sent her a link to the blog...

I have spent some time on the phone trying to be released from the house, we were sent paperwork saying position 1, but this was wrong we are positition 2, which means we cant bid on any other properties until the person in position 1 either accepts or declines the property, we fully appreciate could be upto a year until they view as its a new build property, but as we are in emergency accommodation it seems silly we cant bid as what sane person is going to turn down a new build?  After a chat with the new build office it turns out we wouldn't have been offered it anyway as our situation as changed!  (we were offered the house on the Friday afternoon, on the sunday our son turned 21 so we are allocated another bedroom,) Im glad we found out now rather than when the house was viewed.  I have sent the e-mails but so far no replies, so we will see....

We have become popular with the neighberhood cats, one even coming in!

this cheeky soul was in the bedroom!

a random picture of a bed bug bite that I found..
we took advantage of the sun..
we washed dollies

we painted.. some of the paint even went on the box!

we built..

we practised our phonics
we hammered shapes into pictures

we collected natural materials for a collage

we stuck the things we collected onto sticky plastic

It took some concentration to remember which side would be the front

The finished article!

We met friends and went to the dragon boat racing, there were lots of activities going on in Brindley place, including a dragon dance, we are incredibly lucky that we have so many free attractions.

we made butterflies using filter paper

we made patterns on the paper

then soaked them in water

the end result..

and we got internet!!!

now to call the rent team as we have two letters that make no sense..  wish me luck!!
thanks x

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

the new house, birthdays, and nearly a forever home but not quite

So we moved in on the 1st of June, and we love it here, the children are all close to where they need to be, the house is a layout that suits the way we live and we are next to a park, its all good.

It seems a lifetime ago that we were in the hotel, when its realistically its been days.

We have nice neighbours, one who came from the hotel with us and the other who lived quite close to our old house! they all have children so my worries about bothering the neighbours with noise is unfounded.

One set of neighbours keeps feeding us,  they could sell their food its fantastic, we will be lost when eid arrives!

The simple things in life are the best.. its been a long time since we have been able to wash and hang it out, our son has done and amazing job at hand washing his uniform while in the hotel, but we are grateful we now have a machine to take over!

We have had friends over and it feels very much like our home. We have a cat that sits on the doorstep, waiting for food. hes lovely and makes us realise how much we miss our pets, they are such a huge part of our lives and to have had to re-home or rely on friends to pet sit is horrid, but hopefully it wont be for long.

While we were in the hotel the lady who kindly sorted our the re-homing of our cats got intouch, shes kept poppy the old cat for a while.. so sent us this pic

She looks so settled!  We are incredibly grateful for so many people helping us.

We asked on facebook for living room furniture and we had offers of so much.. people have bought me to tears with their kindness! So we have a furnished living room.

And we are blessed with kids that like each other!
 The learning continues..

                                                   reading is everywhere...

even poker is a game of numbers!

back to baking..  we really have missed being able to cook


pairs of pears...

and the obvious butterfly feeding

This week we had three birthdays, a 21st, a 17th and hubby,  so its been a busy week.

we also made a trip to the storage

lucy the elf has been keeping an eye on the toys for us apparently,   its the little things that reassure the kids. they loved receiving the picture through the printer, 
 (we have a wireless printer, so we can be sitting quietly when suddenly  pictures come out, its very magical for 7 and nearly 4 year olds)

There was also the horrific fire in London, it was awful to see and bought back memories of a house fire when i was small, (not my house) the smells and sounds stay with you forever, i pray everyone involved get the help they need.

we also had a call from the council, we were walking down the street at the time so found it hard to hear but all the information was to be in the e-mail,  the e-mail stated we had been shortlisted for a new build house, as position 1!!!  we drove down to look...

we have an exited weekend telling friends and family about our new forever home, we look at allotments close, bus routes, community centres etc.. this is the break we need!

then while trying to work out how long we will have to wait to view, (it doesn't matter if its a week, a month, or a year, when you live with someone who suffers from anxiety you learn that they need time to process situations so this is important), some one says in their paper work we are position two, i then spend days writing e-mails, to try and find out what information is correct.

After no response, I call them twice, (to double check the information given) the letter is correct and we are position 1..  

Then a call from the allocations team, they made a mistake with the letter... we are position two, and another letter has been sent.

This is an awful situation to put anyone through especially someone with mental health problems through, its a tough few days.

So we've gone from a definite house to not even being able to bid until the person in 1st position accepts the house, knowing this is a new build house we are aware this can take months.  A chat with the person who made the mistake with the letter and its suggested we may be released from the house so we can bid.  this is ongoing and we haven't yet had our bidding reinstated so will update at a later date.. 

But onwards and upwards........   the weather is lovely!