Sunday, 27 September 2009

Nanny state

I read this today on the BBC website:

“Parents in England who regularly look after friends' children and receive a "reward" for doing so must register as childminders, regulator Ofsted says.

It said most parents would be exempt but those who babysat for more than two hours at a time, or for more than 14 days per year, should be registered.”

It incensed me.

The last time I checked, a full day of nursery costs for one child was about £50.

The staff that worked in that nursery also made themselves available for babysitting at a rate of £10 per hour.

With that kind of cost, it really doesn’t surprise me that people seek cheaper solutions.  One of the most logical solutions would be a reciprocal arrangement with a friend.  Sharing the job of childcare and avoiding the cost.

It is such an arrangement that Ofsted told two detective constables, Leanne Shepherd and Lucy Jarrett, was illegal.  A reciprocal arrangement can be deemed to be a reward.

And if I understand this Ofsted statement correctly, it means that my children cannot be babysat by a friend of mine if we plan to be out of the house for more than two hours and I offer to return the favour.

Equally, when I was a teenager I used to get paid to babysit, sometimes for five or six hours.  This enabled couples and single parents to enjoy the occasional evening out.  This, and the nursery staff that babysit in the evenings to supplement their income, can no longer happen.  It is illegal, unless these individuals register as a childminder with Ofsted.

How puerile.  How utterly ridiculous.  Surely, as a parent, I should be empowered to decide who cares for my children, and if it happens to be a friend or neighbour I trust then that’s my decision.

It might seem strange that I complain about this Nanny State because I rarely go out but it’s the principle that matters here.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Knickers – it gets worse

Update from Hannah.

The knickers weren’t handed to a teacher, but a parent helper. So not only do all of the teaching staff now know about my knickers, but so do all of the mums.

And, the mum she handed them to was her best friend’s mum. This is the woman I often chat to in the playground.

Debbie – can I have my knickers back please?


Hannah had her school swimming lesson today and as per usual I asked her how the lesson went.

She started talking about some knickers she’d found.

It appears that when Hannah took her towel out of her swimming bag and started to get changed she found a superfluous pair of black knickers.  She knew they weren’t hers and so she took the only action that a sensible little girl would take.  She handed them to a teacher.

At this point in the story my ears pricked up and I started to ask questions..

Were the knickers lacy or plain?  Lacy.

Were they the kind of knickers that don’t cover somebody’s bottom properly? Yes, Hannah thought they were.  A thong then.

So one of my thongs had somehow got caught up in the laundry with Hannah’s swimming gear and had ended up in her swimming bag and subsequently in the changing room and therefore in a teacher’s hands.

And now they were the subject of great amusement in the staff room no doubt.

If I was the teacher receiving the knickers I’d put two and two together and, being a teacher, I’d get four.  So the teacher knows they are my knickers which probably means the whole of the staff room knows they are my knickers.

The question is, should I ask for them back?  This would clearly be an embarrassing exercise.

The alternative is to just “let it go.” 

Whatever I do I am now unable to look any member of the school staff in the eye without a hot flush enveloping me, and not in a good way.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

BBQ – no thanks

Is it just me, or are barbeques a bit of a faff?

Victoria wanted a gas barbeque and was asking for advice. 

Vish was of the opinion that gas was a heinous crime.  The only barbeque one should entertain owning is charcoal.

Lucinda owned up to owning a gas barbeque but that wasn’t her crime.  Her crime was buying disposable barbeques and using the gas barbeque as an attractive platform to support the disposable barbeque.

Whereas others considered this to be a bizarre practise, I thought it was completely logical and actually very sensible.  Although I did suggest that it would be possible to rest the disposable barbeque on a less expensive option.

Barbeques are hard work.

It’s the cleaning I detest.

I’ve been told that barbeques should be cleaned while they’re warm.  How stupidly impractical.  When I’ve sat down to a barbeque meal with a glass or three, the last thing I want to do is to rush to don the Marigolds.

Plus it’s just such a horrible job to do.  It’s filthy, dirty work.  It’s so much worse than a bit of washing up, and of course just because you’ve used the barbeque it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any washing up.  So you have the hideous barbeque cleaning and the washing up to do.

So we tend to leave the barbeque cleaning until the next time we want to use it.  This means that the happy anticipation of outdoor cooking is spoilt by the knowledge that there’s an onerous task waiting.

So, Victoria, my advice is buy disposable barbeques and enjoy the pleasure and avoid the pain.