Thank goodness it’s half term! I have officially hit a brick wall and today I just had to sleep. Work is always hugely busy, always something to do and getting back in the swing of things after six weeks off takes its toll. Coupled with the emotional roller coaster we have ridden this term, it’s been tough. The media interest and keeping up with my blog has also impacted on family life. It has been time consuming but also necessary. I have enjoyed writing about the feelings we are going through and the enormous support we have received. The response has been totally unexpected – can I say I’ve gone viral?! Probably not but probably as viral as I’ll get.
I had a good chat with my dad this week. I popped to my parent’s house after work on Thursday, before returning for the year 5 and 6 Hallowe’en party. My mam wasn’t in so dad made me a cuppa and we sat in the kitchen while he cooked and we talked. My dad is 69, a retired sheet metal worker. He had the chance to either study art at college or take an apprentice in sheet metal work when he was fifteen. The option of perhaps a secure future in teaching or a future dependent upon contracts coming in to keep the workforce in work. Dad chose the latter. We, his four children, never knew when things were tough, when his job was under threat. Our parents sheltered us from that. Our parents must have faced uncertainty. Dad must have taken jobs that didn’t pay as well as the last. He was never out of work, always moving jobs if there was the threat of redundancy looming. Dad did have prosperous times working away on the rigs and involved in the building of Hartlepool power station. This afforded us a couple of foreign holidays when I was just a baby. On the whole we had a modest upbringing but never felt as though we went without. There are four of us so we were used to sharing and having things passed down. Just like our daughters now. The benefits of having a big family, for me, outweigh the fact we might have had more money for buying material items if there had been less of us! We didn’t miss stuff. We had each other and I would not trade that for anything. Our parents instilled in us a strong work ethic and we all went on to further education and now all work in the education system. Gemma, my eldest sister, is a ballet teacher in Boston, USA. My brother, Greg, is a teacher in Devon and my sister, Madeleine is a teacher in Sunderland. I did not originally work in education but it is where I have ended up and where I have been happiest. My mam was the secretary in our primary school. Education must be in the blood. Maybe, one day, I’ll take the plunge and do my teaching qualification but right now my job fits perfectly around my family.
So back to my chat with Dad. I’ve previously stated that I’m not really politically motivated. However, writing this blog has awakened me in a passion for politics that I didn’t know was in me. I want to know more. Jeremy Corbyn interests me. He’s different. I don’t know, yet, if it’s a good different but I intend to find out more. My dad likes Corbyn but is unsure his ideals are possible in today’s society. My dad remembers a time when trade unions had huge power and thinks that power was sometimes abused by those at the top. He can see some of the failings that brought about the closure of the shipyards and mines but doesn’t believe it is the best thing for England and its infrastructure to have other countries producing goods and running our industries. This takes work away from our nation, it impacts financially on so many families, the emotional impact cannot be costed when someone’s livelihood is taken away. The steel industry has been removed, our income has been significantly diminished and the stress this has put on to our family cannot be discounted.
I feel as though the current government have left us high and dry. It’s sickening to see David Cameron wining and dining the Chinese President while people are struggling to make ends meet. I cannot understand why he has allowed this to happen. I can only assume that he does not care about us and is more motivated by money than the welfare of the nation he governs. How many millions has been spent on this visit that could be used to pay for retraining? If someone reading this knows how Paul can get funding to retrain please, please contact me.
I dread to think how some families are coping right now. Christmas is round the corner or rather right in our faces every time we turn the TV on or go into a shop. This was to be the first Christmas in three years that Paul was off work, the first time Paul would see the girls on Christmas morning opening their gifts together. We hope he’ll be with us this year but that depends whether a new job would expect him to work on Christmas day. However, we’d rather he had a job than be off for Christmas! The fact we live with Paul’s parents means the pressure of mortgage and bill payments is eased and we know we will not lose our house. Other families must be facing the uncertainty now that they could lose their homes. Those in rented accommodation must be struggling to meet their rental payments. If they had received their notice and consultation period payments then maybe the pressure would have been eased for a couple of months. However they were not given a buffer and with no more wages coming in obtaining a job is imperative. I am just thankful we have a roof over our heads and a couple of prospects of employment on the table.
We will enjoy a family Christmas. Perhaps there will be less spent on gifts or Christmas outings. That doesn’t matter, just as it didn’t matter when I was a child. Christmas was just always fabulous no matter what. My parent’s made it magical, not with hundreds of pounds spent on expensive gifts, but just with lots of excitement, fun and love. I hope our Christmas reflects those times.