Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Archive for June 2010

Pet corner: a Gallery post for Tara

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N with Scamper

I’ve rarely contributed to Tara Cain’s Gallery because time just seems to fly by.

But Creatures (this week’s theme) was easier as I had the photos on my laptop.

It;s about Scamper and Squeak.

Last year, I capitulated on the pet front. I said no to cats and dogs (OH is allergic to the fur, thankfully).

We’d tried several goldfish, but they never last more than three weeks.

After the tragedy of several dearly departed fishes, the pestering for pets stopped.

Then it started again.

This time, I agreed to let them have a pet – but no rats or gerbils. I’d have loved a chinchilla, but they are a bit pricey. I love rabbits, but only the cute ickle ones.

But guinea pigs. Yes! I love guinea pigs. They could each have a guinea pig: two are needed for companionship.


So, Scamper and Squeak came into our lives. I *adore* them. They squeak madly, love their fresh carrots and brassicas, and are genuinely friendly – even jumping onto my lap when we have them on a blanket in the hall.

I worried madly when winter approached, so moved them to the greenhouse to keep them out of the bitter cold (OH -who fusses them and talks to them as much as any of us – refused to have them in the house).

I chat to them more than the children do. I fuss them and feed them far too many carrot tops. But, look at them – awwwwwwww.


Written by CommonPeople

June 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Jayne's posts

Should lone parents go back to work when their child is 5?

with one comment

Here is a question that I doubt George Osborne can answer: what jobs are you expecting lone parents to get when their oldest child reaches the age of five and is at school?

In his emergency 2010 Budget, Osborne has declared that from October 2011, single parents will be expected to go out and find work when their little one enters Reception class.

Presumably, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to guarantee thousands of part-time, flexible jobs, 9.30-2.30 probably– perhaps term-time only.

Perhaps the remuneration will be sufficient to merit paying up to £10 a day for before-school or after-school care.
The salary will need to be good enough to make up for the fact that child benefit is to be frozen for three years from 2011.

The Government believes the new initiative to get lone parents back into work will save £380million by 2015 and will help 15,000 people into employment.


I’d love to believe that both the private and public sector will be falling over themselves to offer such ultra-flexible terms to those who need them. But it isn’t going to happen.

David Cameron visits a school

Is it?

Written by CommonPeople

June 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Time for the glass to be half full again

with 9 comments

I’ve noticed a change in me these past three weeks.

I’ve had a bit of a wake-up call, to coin a cliché.


I’ve decided that instead of worrying about the next bill that comes through my letterbox, demanding to be paid, or wishing I were a stone lighter and doing nothing about it, or worrying about work (the lack of it, the too-much-of-it), I’m going to take a step back and put everything in perspective. The glass will be half full. Again.

This was a promise I made myself in January – it was one of those New Year’s resolution that are always forgotten when the last of the Christmas decorations come down.

Every so often I remind myself of it and check myself to ensure I’m reacting to situations in a proportionate and appropriate way. If I read of a tragic or horrible event I remember the promise to myself. But usually I forget.

However, traipsing up and down to hospital six days out of seven for two weeks and driving to a care home for one week has brought home to me how short and precious life is.

Dad has suffered his third stroke. He is fortunate in that it hasn’t taken his speech and he is – thankfully – on the mend; he is slowly learning to walk properly again and is looking forward to recuperating at home.

Photo courtesy of PicApp

The nurses at Walsall Manor Hospital were marvellous, considering they were usually under-staffed, and the staff at the care home where he is receiving intermediate care before being allowed home are also fabulous (although he wishes they would serve tea later than 4.30pm because it’s a heck of a wait for breakfast at 9am the following day).

I’ve seen some poor souls over these past three weeks, once vibrant people with fascinating stories to tell. Many have been robbed of their speech or the use of their limbs and most need help with the most basic of tasks.

Seeing people like this has made me reaffirm my pledge to keep things in perspective. It’s time to stop worrying about the future and get on with living and enjoying my life and my family. The glass will be half full.

Just remind me, though, if I forget. Right?

Written by CommonPeople

June 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm