The C word.
Scream out loud. I popped into the town this morning and the shops are full of the C stuff and playing C songs. C word not allowed in our house until mid November! Is it me or is C starting earlier this year?
Just heard from my publishers that The Night The Angels Came is at No 3 in the paperback non-fiction bestseller charts. I am really touched that my little stories are so well received. Thank you!
My Dad’s A Policeman
Apologies to those readers who have been unable to buy a copy of My Dad’s A Policeman. More are being printed now and will be available in a week or so.
“Look to the stars, Cathy.”
It appears that this line is becoming something of a famous quote: “Look to the stars and don’t be sad.” (The Night the Angels Came) How wonderful.
I’ve received so many lovely emails from people who have read The Night The Angels Came, I am very touched. Thank you.
Behind the story of Angels.
For those who are interested in reading behind the story. In the Femail Section of today’s Daily Mail there is an in depth article on the background to The Night The Angels Came.
I heard on the news this morning that the government is considering charging students an early repayment penalty if they repay their student loans early. What utter nonsense: fining young people for managing to get out of debt! You should be ashamed David Cameron.
The Night The Angels Came.
A reader has just told me that The Night The Angels Came is in WH Smiths already and can be downloaded on iTunes, although the official publication date is 15th September.
Ashamed to be British.
Words cannot describe the repugnance I feel towards the lowlife that robbed a young student during the riots, while pretending to help him. Ashraf Rossli, 20, won a scholarship to study accountancy in England and had only been in London for a month before becoming an innocent victim during the London riots. Bad enough that he was assaulted which resulted in his jaw being broken. Even worse was the cretin who pretended to help him and then robbed him. I am pleased he has been caught. I hope the person who attacked Ashraf in the first place is also caught and punished.
I’ve just received the preview copy of my new book The Night The Angels Came which is out next month. The publishers have done a great job as usual – thanks HarperCollins. Although this is my eleventh book I am still very excited.
What an appalling image of England we are sending out across the world. I’ve had many emails from readers overseas who can’t believe what they are watching on their television news. Neither can I.
Meetings and more meetings!
I sat in three meetings this week and not one produced a result. A shocking waste of time and money. The whole social care system badly needs reviewing.
It’s not often I take a passionate dislike to a word but I’ve made an exception for the word ‘engage’. When used to mean that a person isn’t cooperating – I tried to engage her but – it must be the most over-used word in social care. I counted it 34 times in the meeting I was in this morning!
Right to Die
The BBC documentary on assisted dying left me feeling very uncomfortable. It was one sided and did not advance the debate on euthanasia. Where were the other options? The wonderful hospice care that is so valued in our society and which I personally would choose. No one should suffer and everyone should be able to die with dignity but assisted suicide in a strange room in a foreign country is not the answer.
I can’t understand why the little boy I am fostering was left on the child protection register for years instead of being brought into care where he would be safe.
Run Mummy Run
Great news from the publisher. My latest book, Run Mummy Run, is on its 3rd print run. Thanks to all.
Muriel, an adult woman and a survivor of abuse sent me this and I thought it was rather nice: Good friends are angels who lift us when our own wings have trouble remembering how to fly.
Osama bin Laden dead
Despite the atrocities this man has committed I do not think it is right to release a photograph of him dead. He was after all some mother’s son and for her sake, if no other, human decency should prevail.
I had fantastic news from my publisher yesterday. My latest book, Run Mummy Run, sold out in the first week. They are reprinting now. The reviews of the book have been great, so thanks for all your support. Going to watch the royal wedding on television now. Have a lovely bank holiday weekend.
The glory of April
The heartfelt sigh of the opening line of Robert Browning’s poem: ‘O, to be in England, Now that April’s there,’ truly captures, for me, the glory of the wonderful April days we have at present in the UK. Birds sing, flowers bloom, and the air is fresh and warm. Days when one is simply grateful to be alive.
Very excited, just received the pre-view copy of my next book, Run Mummy Run. It’s a novel based on a true story and as usual the publishers have done a great job.
New legislation in the UK allows for grandparents to maintain contact with their grandchildren after their parents have divorced. The same now needs to be applied to children in foster care.
To all my friends and readers in Japan, you are in our thoughts and prayers at this very worrying time.
Gay Not OK
A Christian couple in England who said they would not tell a foster child that being gay was OK were banned from fostering. They took their case to the High Court but the court has ruled that the couple’s views could harm a foster child and therefore has upheld the ban. Often foster carers have to negate their own beliefs when fostering, I’m afraid it goes with the ‘job’. Carers who are vegetarian are often expected to buy and cook meat for their foster children including halal and kosher products. Those with religious conviction are sometimes expected to support other religions which may run counter to their own belief system. In an ideal world every foster child would be matched perfectly with a foster family but when there is a permanent shortage of carers this cannot happen. Personally I feel the court’s decision was the right one – for the child’s sake. Imagine the distress caused to a teenage foster child, who is struggling with his or her sexual identify, and confides in foster parents who cannot support him.
How absolutley wonderful to feel the sun after such a gloomy winter here in the UK.
My Dad’s A Policeman
Thanks for all your kind comments about my latest book. Cathy x
Scientists believe that a fossil found recently proves that great apes were starting to walk upright 3 million years ago. So I guess Ambam the silverback gorilla, videoed walking upright at a Kent animal park, has some catching up to do!
The serious case review took place yesterday for baby Alex, 13 months old, who died in his pushchair in front of a fire, his body charred and burned. He had been allowed to continue to live with his mother at their home in Manchester, even though she admitted drinking up to six bottles of wine a day. The review found that the social services missed 17 chances to save him. And somewhere there is another tragedy waiting to happen.
I am finally on twitter: http://twitter.com/CathyGlassUK#
My Dad’s A Policeman
I’ve just received the preview copy of my next book which is a short story in the Quick Read series. My Dad’s A Policeman is based on a true story and is out 17 February. In the book I explore what it would be like to be the foster child. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Belated Happy New Year. How time flies!
Happy Holiday to all my readers. Thanks everyone for your support and best wishes during 2010. Love Cathy x
Some rather nice quotes about writing: Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart, William Wordsworth. I try to leave out the parts that people skip, Elmore Leonard. The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia, E.L. Doctorow. Easy reading is damn hard writing, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Cause and Effect
I am looking after a six year old boy for a week who is violent and aggressive at home and school. But in talking to him it seems he has spent most evenings (for as long as he can remember) playing his older brother’s 15-rated PlayStation games with names like: Assassin’s Creed; Zombie Attack; Fighter’s Uncaged; Street Fighter, and Mortal Combat. I’ve now introduced him to Cbeebies bedtime hour which he loves.
More snow here in the UK. Very pretty but the novelty is starting to wear off. I still have the photographs from last year’s snow. I really don’t need anymore.
I had planned to travel into London on Monday but I understand there will be another tube strike – the fourth in three months. While I am sure the two unions responsible – RMT and TSSA – feel they are justified, I would seriously question the wisdom of bringing London to a halt in a recession when there are 2.5 million unemployed and struggling
Only a month to go before Christmas Day. I’m going shopping!
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
I’m sure I’m not the only person to find the regular changes in the workings of Facebook annoying, and not an improvement either. Please leave it alone. You know the maxim: ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’
I Miss Mummy has been in the top twenty non-fiction bestseller charts for over four months; two months in the top 10. My latest book, Mummy Told Me Not To Tell, has joined it – going straight to No4. To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement and I remain very grateful to all my readers for making my books the success they are. I receive emails from all over the world and am always deeply moved by the level of sympathy and support readers express not only for the children I look after but for children everywhere. Thank you. You are certainly in my Top Ten.
Kids In Care
Nearly four million viewers in the UK watched the BBC’s Panorama Kids In Care. If you haven’t seen it you can view it on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00v77vn/Panorama_Kids_in_Care/ It was a very fair, realistic and accurate portrayal of part of the care system, including sending Shannon to live with inexperienced foster carers and Conor’s anger, and loyalty to his mother.
A police officer visited my child’s school yesterday and talked to the class about ‘stranger danger’: never go with a stranger and say no to strangers etc. All very well and good; children need to be alert to keep safe, but there was no mention of the possibility of abuse coming from someone the child knows. Unpalatable though it may be the majority of abuse comes from someone known to the child. Of reported cases, one third are family members – stepparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, grandparents and parents. Two thirds are other people known to the child – neighbours, youth group leaders, teachers, other children, religious leaders and friends. Experts estimate that one in three girls and one in four boys will be sexually abused before they are eighteen years old. While we don’t want to make children fearful it is irresponsible not to include ways for the child to keep safe at home as well as out in the community.
‘Take me to your leader’
A piece in the newspaper yesterday means we will all sleep easier in our beds. The United Nations has appointed Ms Mazian Othman who is at present head of Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa) as the delegate responsible for welcoming visiting aliens.
Never Too Late
It’s never too late to report abuse. I’ve received emails from people in their late thirties who were sexually abused as children but didn’t report the abuse, or reported it and weren’t believed. Having gained courage from reading my books they felt able to go the police. Some of them achieved successful prosecutions and all of them found a degree of closure they hadn’t felt before.
I despair! Following my blog last month about the new social worker, far from there being any improvement, the situation has gone from bad to worse. Mistakes are being compounded by more mistakes. As a result the child I am fostering is becoming more and more confused and upset. Nothing can be done because the social worker is on holiday, as is her manager and team leader. And when they return I doubt anyone will be held accountable. In my experience such mistakes are passed off as ‘bad practice’ and no one is disciplined. If the social worker was employed in business she’d be dismissed.
Smelling of Roses
I was given a bunch of roses yesterday and like all cut roses today they looked perfect but didn’t have any scent. I wondered why cut roses no longer smelt and did some research on the internet. Apparently scientists modified roses to make then last longer when cut but an unintended consequence of this longevity was the loss of smell. A warning if ever there was one for genetic modification!
I had been working with an excellent social worker who was conscientious, caring, hardworking and kept me regularly updated. Unfortunately, as often happens with very good social workers, she left for promotion elsewhere. Sadly her replacement is the exact opposite, another Eileen I fear.
David Rathband – the true hero
Those cretins on Facebook who have joined a group which tries to portray the killer Raoul Moat as a hero should listen to PC David Rathband’s account of how it felt to be shot in the face and feel his eye disintegrate. He is the real hero.
On 26th October 2009 I blogged my views about the latest electronic readers – the Kindle and the Sony reader. How quickly gadgets become obsolete. Six months later the ipad has largely replaced the Kindle and Sony reader and while I can see the ipad’s advantages over previous electronic readers – mainly its multifunctionality, I wonder how long it will be before it too is replaced. Will I still be reading a book made from paper in 10 years time? Probably not, but maybe.
It would seem that the taxi driver who ran amok a week ago in Cumbria and killed 12 innocent people (most of them unknown to him) was an otherwise sane man who flipped. But why did a taxi driver need to own a gun? Without a gun the loss of life would have been significantly reduced, possibly to nil.
Well done BT!
My telephone line went dead yesterday so I braced myself and phoned BT. To my utter amazement and absolute delight instead of fighting through a maze of automated messages, after pressing 1 once a real live person answered. Not only was she real but I could understand her and she me, and she was very helpful, not patronising. She apologised for the drop in connection and said she would send an engineer the following morning. Gob-smacked I thought this is too good to be true! But sure enough the engineer arrived at 9am and fixed the fault. That’s what I call good service. Well done BT.
Smacking is in the headlines again as Britain is being pressured by the Council of Europe to introduce a total ban on smacking children. The UK is one of the few countries in the world not to have completely banned smacking. I believe a total ban is long over-due. Not only is physical punishment degrading, but how can we expect our children not to hit others if the law allows parents to hit their children? There are plenty of far more successful strategies for disciplining children (e.g. loss of privileges) without resorting to physical abuse.
Spring has finally sprung
The hills near where I live are suddenly awash with yellow daffodils. Wonderful.
The last couple of weeks have been very busy as a result of all the interest in Happy Kids. I’ve had lots of phone calls from journalists and radio presenters wanting to interview me so I am very very pleased. I thought Happy Kids would be useful but I didn’t realise it would also be controversial!
The Way Forward
One overriding factor emerges from all the abused children I’ve looked after, and the true-life stories I’ve read, and that is the child was too scared to tell anyone they were being abused, or if they did they told the wrong person, so the abuse continued. We won’t ever eliminate child abuse from society so we must give our children more power to protect themselves: a voice that can be heard and acted on. All children need to know they can tell an adult and have their disclosure taken seriously and investigated. But who should they tell? Possibly a family member but so often the abuser is a family member or a friend of the family. All children go to school so it would make sense for a child to know there is a person in school they can go to if in trouble. Every school in the UK must now have a ‘designated’ teacher who is responsible for the welfare of children in care and ensuring they receive the support they need while in school. I suggest the designated teacher’s role is widened to include a pastoral element so that a child in distress feels able to confide in him or her. Cleary this would require money from the government to set up and run the scheme, but it would be a small price to pay to ensure the safety of the next generation.
A friend of mine who fosters and lives in a house with a water meter is very worried by the size of her bills. She doesn’t waste water but with four children, two of whom are special needs and have accidents and wet their beds her washing machine is on twice a day. Like many of us her dishwasher is on once a day and the whole family obviously shower and flush the toilet. I sympathised with her but then I wondered, why, in one of the wettest countries in the western hemisphere are we metered for water? Shouldn’t clean and unlimited water be a right, paid for through our community charge or similar?
I was interviewed on Dublin’s Country Mix radio this morning by Lynsey Dolan, a lovely lady who was very complimentary about Happy Kids. Usually the radio interviews are recorded but this was live. I was nervous before but once I got talking it was fine. I hope!
I feel very honoured that I have been asked to participate in a web chat on the much respected and highly informative Mumsnet, beginning 4th February. Very exciting!
The birds are singing this morning – clearly they think Spring is on the way. Hope so!
And nearing the end of the third week in January. Where does the time go!
I sometimes wonder if I have the right to be happy with so much sadness in the world. Making a donation seems such a small token compared to this nation’s suffering.
I guess Gran was right when she said a cold snap kills off the flu germs. I haven’t heard of anyone with flu for ages, just frostbite!
My garage is the same temperature as my fridge 6c, and outside last night was the same temperature as my freezer -14c.
All best wishes for the coming year. Cathy x
A Very Happy Christmas
From the bottom of my heart I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and wonderful New Year. Your words of kindness and support mean more than you will ever know. Take care. Love and Best Wishes. Cathy x
Jeremy Clarkson’s humour may not be everyone’s taste, but if you have five minutes read his column in The Sunday Times today (also on line). I guarantee it will make you smile if not laugh out loud. Thank goodness we have someone who dares to say what many of us think. A Christmas toast to Clarkson’s irreverence; may it long continue.
I found this poem while researching my new book. What a lovely sentiment. “Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home and home sweet home, for there the heart can rest.” (Henry Van Dyke 1852-1933)
I switched on the radio this morning to hear the sickening details of John Allen Muhammad’s execution, and could have wept. I believe it is wrong to take a life in any situation, but to put someone to death with such detached precision seems more heinous and barbaric than the original crime. Thank goodness I live in a country that has abolished the death penalty.
There has been much written recently about Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader – handheld electronic devices that allow hundreds of books to be downloaded from the internet and read on screen. Lots of discussion about the pros and cons of each, and whether these devices will replace the traditional book. No, I’m sure a device, no matter how clever, will ever replace the book, for what has been lost in these sophisticated gadgets (and will be almost impossible to replicate) is the ‘experience’ of reading. Reading is not simply about reading words; it is a whole person experience: the touch of the book; the smell of the print on paper; the satisfaction of feeling the pages turn in your hand; the way a book moulds itself to your situation – curled up in bed, sprawled on the sofa or sun lounger, or sitting upright in a train or bus. We form an attachment to our books which is why we are so possessive about them – ‘Yes, you can borrow that book but please let me have it back.’ Possibly, if all of these qualities could be replicated in an electronic reader then these gadgets might see off the traditional book, but then surely that would be like reinventing the wheel – preferable to stay with what we know and love – the book.
I was woken at 2am with a very loud knocking on the front door. Grabbing my dressing gown, I staggered downstairs, switching on the lights. I checked the security spy-hole before answering the door – two police officers, one holding a toddler. ‘I believe you are an emergency foster carer,’ the WPC said, passing me the toddler who looked at me suspiciously. ‘This is Jason. We think he is fourteen months old. Mum is sobering up at the station, she should be out tomorrow.’ As I type Jason is asleep and I am very wide awake. Tomorrow will be a very busy day.
I guess our MPs now know how the thousands of people who claimed tax credits feel; having claimed the money in good faith, to be told years later they had to repay it.
Dear Mr Cameron
The promise of a pension at 66 will not get you my vote, I’m afraid.
I’ve just heard that the toddler I have been looking after should be able to return to his mother by Christmas, which is fantastic news. I’ve also now finished the edits of Happy Kids – my next book, where I pass on the secrets of raising well behaved and contented children. So all in all a very positive week.
Much excitement as the paperback of The Saddest Girl In The World is out today.
What a glorious day it is here in the UK. The sun still has some real warmth and the air is fresh and clean. The trees are beginning to change colour, turning beautiful shades of orange, red and yellow. Definitely a day for a walk in the country.
What a lovely man, and what a strong marriage he had – 34 years. I was very saddened to hear of his death. I guess we will find the cure to cancer eventually but clearly we have some way to go.
The Saddest Girl In The World
Donna dropped by yesterday evening and is doing great. When I think back to how she was it is difficult to believe she is the same person. Well done, love.
My deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the family of Stella Akanbi who drowned on Monday while swimming in the sea at Clacton. My family and I have just returned from that coast. The tragic loss of your beautiful daughter has affected us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
One of the emails I received this morning was from a reader asking what I thought about Baby P’s abusers being given new identities. It took me a long time to compose a reply which included this: …our legal system requires that when a prisoner has served his or her sentence, and therefore his or her debt to society, he or she can be released. If freeing the prisoner (s) puts their lives at risk – as it would in the case of Baby P, then our law takes on a duty of care to protect them. Pity we weren’t as efficient at protecting Baby Peter!
Am I the only person to think that punching someone in the face until they fall down should not be classified as a sport?
What a glorious day. Went with some friends and their children to a park which has a paddling pool. All the mums and carers were paddling and a few of the children. Had a picnic lunch. Great day out. Just returned to find my editor has emailed me the front cover of Happy Kids. Looks good, and lives up to its name – lots of happy, smiling children. Will put it on the website asap.
Lazy Days of Summer
Up early to continue editing. Going out for the day today – to the zoo. Just as well I have a (foster) child to take with me otherwise I might look a bit sad going alone. But not as sad as I would look going to a ball pond alone – which is where we went yesterday. I love the freedom of the summer holidays when the routine of school stops.
My new website is now up and running. Many thanks to Liz of The Website Design Studio for all your hard work.
Just realised that the next book will be Happy Kids – out in January 2010. The Girl In The Mirror follows in April. Rather a lot going here at present, with the summer holidays and a toddler!
I am now working on the final edit of my new book, which is a novel – The Girl In The Mirror. All very exciting. It will be out in April next year. There will be other fostering stories but I think my readers will like this just as much.