Saturday, 26 September 2009

And they call it Puppy Love

If you all want to tell me I'm mad, that's fine. I know.

But just look at him. How can you not love that little face? His glossy black coat that makes him look as though he's been in the tumble drier? The teens raided their savings accounts to buy him and he wasn't in the least bit expensive either. He's an English Springer Spaniel, Patterdale Terrier cross, although at only seven weeks' old he is already much more Spaniel than Terrier.

We love him. Although I hadn't banked on his piteous mewing noises being quite so loud.

Especially when he's asleep.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Back for good - or not

Oh blog. I've neglected you. I have my reasons, of course. Well, reason. I've had a lot to deal with and I'm as miserable as sin. Here's why.

My beloved son did not do as well in his GCSEs as I and indeed he, hoped. He was away on holiday with his father when the results were issued so when I called the school for his results, I was told I would have to attend an interview as the powers-that-be weren't convinced they would allow him to join their Sixth Form.

I duly went to be interviewed the next day and did my level best to persuade them to allow him into their Sixth Form. One of the panel remained unconvinced and so I had to wait for their decision. Four days later my son returned (I might add that his father was reluctant to take any of my calls or increasingly worried emails as to what the alternatives would be) and went into the school to meet said unconvinced teacher. Again, this teacher wouldn't give him a decision. By this stage, most pupils were starting the new term. I didn't know what to do. I asked my ex-husband if perhaps we should consider a school in Hertfordshire which is where he lives. Hmmn.

Anyway, long story short, a school was found down there, my son visited it, loved it, they offered him a place and more importantly they said he could study the exact subjects he wanted for A Level. His current school remained silent until three days before their term was due to begin and said he COULD come back, but with some fairly rigorous provisos. My son said no and the next thing all of us knew, he'd gone to spend term time with his father, but of course returning to me at least two weekends a month and every half term and school holidays. Or so I thought.

Not only has my son been told that now he is staying with his father he is not to go "running back to Yorkshire" because "his family is HERE now", but the maintenance payments I receive from my ex-husband for my son are to stop with immediate effect. All my pleas fell on deaf ears. I'm struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over our heads as it stands even with this monthly sum of money, so I asked if some compromise could be made, say, I still received a proportion of the maintenance to cover when my son would be with us. No dice. He put it plainly. He "didn't need the money" but it was the "principle". Apparently his latest wife thinks that I am "robbing" her. Considering that the amount I receive(d) wouldn't even cover the monthly fuel bill for her new Aston Martin, this was a tad hard to swallow.

Anyway, funds, or lack thereof, being what they are, getting myself a solicitor was out of the question. I don't qualify for Legal Aid (not many people do unless they're on Job Seekers' Allowance, I discovered via the Citizens' Advice Bureau) but I did get a free half hour's consultation with the firm that handled my divorce nine years ago and thank God I did. I was given a copy of the Consent Order that categorically states I am to receive this maintenance, or periodical payment as it's known, unless either party went to Court and requested it to be stopped or varied.

I managed to speak to my ex-husband and told him this. I was told that unless I accepted his decision to stop paying, then he would take my son out of the school he had just started, send him back to Yorkshire and he could "take his chances". In other words, it was the Hertfordshire school (which is fee paying) or no school. I'd already investigated the possibilities of a place at the two state schools in Harrogate which are excellent, by the way, but was told they were full and that I should have applied for a place last March and they wouldn't let him study the A levels he wanted either. Well, I'm not going to jeopardise my son's happiness at his new school so - there it is. He's there and we're here.

I am, however, going to take my ex-husband to Court. You can do it without a solicitor. The various people I've spoken to at Harrogate County Court couldn't have been more helpful and I am eternally grateful for their patience and understanding. he's definitely got a case for reducing the maintenance but you've got to go through the Courts to do so. In the meantime, however, I have no idea how I'm going to meet all the bills but even more importantly I miss having my son at home. I know I should get over it and everyone's children leave home eventually and he's not gone for good etc, but man: it's hard.