New blogging thoughts

I’m thinking of starting up my music blogs again.  I am considering writing book reviews (nothing major); posting videos of various pieces on various instruments (guitars, Lute, ukes, mandolin, banjo (at a push), bass guitar) at various stages of learning from first pass to “performance”; any other ideas I may have or anyone else may have!  I may put up more of my teaching experience, too.

I will also try to learn how to use this product so I can post to the relevant page (see above links, hopefully) and possibly the home page, maybe even include multimedia!  :-0 New learning experiences for me! If it goes well I could treat myself to a proper Mac!

First book reviews will be of recent purchases …

Creative Guitar volume 1 by Guthrie Govan

The Acoustic Guitar Bible by Eric Riche

101 Bass Guitar Tips by Gary Willis

A new page, perhaps?


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Organising thoughts


So many different thoughts, different things to think about.

Fostering is supposed to be rewarding. I have yet to experience this. We are drinking more and I am feeling more stressed than I have for a long time. Although FB is a lovely person with much potential and joy to share, I am not willing to give up what I want to do for someone else. I thought I could do this but I am doubting myself.

I have done my parenting. I would like to return to a level of freedom and spontaneity that was pre-fostering.

There is no financial reward even though there is money. The rate is insulting and the role is hugely undervalued. I am really tired and term starts soon and I have much to do.

This little one is opening up.

The positive I have seen and enjoyed is the discussions with Mrs FC about how to handle various situations; how the fostering process works (or doesn’t, progress is so slow and we are not kept informed until things have happened); the impact trauma has on children, especially little ones. Things like this have been enjoyable.

At the same time I look at what I want to do and feel I need to do for my business, and my life. I need to make more money but how much time do I sacrifice to that, and what price do I pay for it and is it worth it?

Not only that, but am I actually capable of doing those simple things? What barriers do I put in my way and why? Am I used to failure, therefore not mentally equipped to understand what to do and do it? Overthinking?

So, fostering is not rewarding for me on any level directly child-related.

It is not rewarding financially.

It is hugely time consuming, mentally and emotionally draining.

I have enjoyed seeing Mrs FC being so engaged and use her skills; I have really enjoyed the interaction with her, though she could improve her timing a little!

I have suggested she look elsewhere for opportunities to use her skills; that she talk to those she has met through this process to see whether they can help; I have even said “I don’t want to do this” but she isn’t showing she has heard me.

We will have a break when FB goes which will allow me to evaluate my own feelings and responses before we have a discussion about the future. I don’t want to quash Mrs FC’s desires etc but at the same time I feel I am paying too high a price and am more involved than I want to be, or initially anticipated.

Do I feel my thoughts are more organised? Not really.


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So, just a quick write.  I do not want to be reincarnated as a nappy or a potty, especially one where the child has had a laxative and has five days stored internally and is able to semi control the movement.

I never knew it was possible to hold so much and then to expel so much so messily.

Get FB clean, then five minutes later it happens again.

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Now there’s a thought. Many of us strive for more all the time. I’ve been guilty of it and still am at times, but since my redundancy five years ago my income has dropped nearly 80% and I’m fine.

I make less than £20k as does my partner and we still manage to do the things we want. We don’t Holiday every year, we are not fashion conscious, we don’t have the latest technology as the old stuff still works, we don’t have a fancy car.

An article from a friend has prompted me to continue removing things from my life that do not bring pleasure or regular function. I have yet to decide what to remove, maybe some books, empty the loft, guitars can go (maybe not that far yet).

What brings me pleasure these days are Mrs FC, the dogs, teaching, playing guitar, seeing others close to me do well. I don’t need or want the latest phones as I don’t need to prove myself to anyone on that level. It’s all about ego and insecurities, anyway.  Same goes for cars, TVs, hifi’s, etc. Someone else has created that thing you desire, what have you done? Create don’t consume.  Also, do not let that process of creation become one of consumption, too.

I do want the coffee maker (notice the word “want”) but I could live without it.

I wonder what possessions I could not live without?

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That’s what my mind is turning to. If we say “no” in any form, even if it’s “later”, we get tears. If we ask FB to speak up as we can’t hear what has been said, FB gets quieter. Cue those cartoon moments where the character twitches with impending madness, that’s us.

🐿 whilst looking for an image to support this I came across lots of Steampunk Alice in Wonderland! Awesome! I love steampunk but just can’t be bothered to do the dressing up. I wonder whether Mrs FC might be interested? It’s more fun with two!

After a most unpleasant migraine inducing morning chasing health professionals across two counties trying to get them to see a 4yr old child, we have some laxatives and the child previously known as “No Shit Sherlock” is now to be known as “Shit Sherlock!” 💩💩💩🤢🤢🤢😷😷😷

My head is easing and I can contemplate work. 🎼 Managed to get the dogs 🐕🐕out for a short run round the fields just before the rain came. 🌧🌧🌧

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Voice and Peace

Little one FB uses everyone’s name except Mrs FC’s.  This had led to a very quiet time as we have all withdrawn from FB.  Mrs FC has tried various approaches, including lots of modelling, and it is clear this is a deliberate action from FB.

This morning FB has used “please” and “Marky” in the same sentence to ask for a drink. Could this be progress?

It has been very quiet, I’ve got lots done! My new amp has arrived and it’s amazing! For a cheap practice amp the sounds are brilliant! This will encourage lots more plugging in at home and, since it has a line out, it could even be a gigging amp! It’s the Roland Micro Cube GX. Mrs FC says its loud, but I could plug in my old sixties amp, that’s awesome and loud!  Funny what you get used to.  I don’t think these amps are loud. What I find loud are sudden and unpleasant noises, like drummers, until they are in the mix.

We did an unplugged gig over the weekend as part of the Bristol Harbour Festival.  What a different experience! I had to work more on keeping the rhythm and integrating it into my solos as we had no drums, but that was fun! More please!

Today is paperwork day and FB is very chatty. FB is also using “under” properly, that’s new.

Started discussing age with an ex-student in Nebraska, US.  You know, life, experience, achievements, happiness.  I don’t feel my age, but then I don’t know what my age is supposed to feel like.  I definitely feel childlike as I visit clients and see how serious many of them are.  Is this something that comes with age? I’m not wealthy, I do have worrying concerns about health and old age, but not to the point of depression or anything similar.  There are plenty of things to get down about but as long as I do what I can to change them, why worry? I could be dead tomorrow – I’ll order that guitar and pedal I’ve been considering, lol!

Mr Nebraska has hit the big five oh and says he feels settled and at peace.  He has a balance of good and difficult things in his life, but feels the good outweigh the difficult. He has his own business which is doing moderately well, he gets regular gigs playing pedal steel and has many friends.

When my mother-in-law was seriously ill with ALS/MND she always said “It’s still better than the other option.”

Whilst hobbling around with the dogs on their normal field walk (something went ping in my knee a few days ago), the heavens decided to open.  It was lovely, oddly enough. I still had at least 30 minutes hobbling to do but I didn’t care, it was actually nice.  Mind you, I did get very wet walking through sweetcorn crop 8 feet tall!

I’m running out of battery so I’d best go. Have peaceful days.

An hour later and FB is dressed and clean, sitting in the middle of the room and not asking for things to do.  We have had tears as I left FB in that room (I’m in the next one and can see FB). I have reminded FB to ask for anything required, but, nothing; not a sound. Tears have gone, and FB is sitting quietly.

My instinct is open the stair gate and enable free movement around the house but that negates what Mrs FC is trying to do; to get FB to ask and use her name.  I can see this continuing until FB goes in October, assuming all goes to plan, which we don’t know because nobody tells us anything.  Being PC I am disappointed in the whole foster process and Social Services support, being unPC I am pissed off enough with it to tell them where to stick it!

We have been encouraged not to teach this little one (by Social Services henceforth known as The SS), even though FB is hungry for it, but it’s not the “proper thing” to do.  We are dealing with a child hungry for input and we’re not supposed to do it, but at the same time we are supposed to be child led? What kind of bollocks is that!?  Do these people have any idea how to deal with these little people or are they just ticking boxes?  I’ll go with the latter.

i need to walk/hobble the dogs to calm down.  Grrrr.

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Originally conceived to help a student practise part of “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, it evolved into this.  Me on guitar, drums and bass programmed by a friend, vocals by said friends daughter.  He came home one day to discover she had done a vocal!


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Jus doin mah ting

I like this one,  again the result of messing around trying to come up with something.  I’d been listening to a lot of Pat Metheny, but you’d never know!


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Alien Tea for Two

More me, until I get some video done it’s just audio.  Bass is not me, and I got a bit carried away with the wah pedal!


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Funky Doodle Dandy

All me, well, me and some machines.

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A normal day…or is it?

5:50am FB is up singing 🎶and pooping💩, pooping 💩and singing🎶. It goes quiet as FB squeezes one out. I do not want to be reincarnated as a nappy. Singing 🎶resumes and I doze off.

6:40am I wake up, FB is still happily singing. I walk onto the landing and the faint scent of excrement hits the nostrils. Lord knows what the dogs make of it! Breakfast?

FB happily announces the nappy contents…”I dunna pooh.”💩

“Yes, I know. You always do one in the morning,” I reply, wearily, not noticing what is on the stair behind me.

FB announces all the cats as we enter the kitchen and the dogs chase them. A normal day. 🐕🐈🙀

Off to the shower room, it’s off the kitchen, to put FB on the potty. There isn’t much point this morning as FB will have expelled the contents of the bowels already.

OMG! It’s shit city! 💩💩💩💩💩💩😷😷😷🙀🙀🙀Armeggedon has arrived and it’s massive.🚨🚨🚨🚒🚒 All lower garments I realise are brown on the inside instead of the original colour, and they no longer smell of the original summer breeze white linen flowery fabric conditioner Mrs FC uses in the wash (we are surrounded by farms so that must be strongly scented conditioner!)

Back to the nuclear nappy. It is everywhere, down FB’s leg, up the back, all over the bottom, and some of it has even dropped off onto the floor and the dogs are investigating. Thankfully, they don’t seem interested – no meat content I guess, we are veggie.🍓🍇🍆🥒🌽

No emotional reaction from FB, no apology, nothing. Tears as I show I am not happy, but that’s it. Into the shower 🚿 goes one mottled shit 💩coloured child, five minutes later FB is the original colour and smelling of soap. Unfortunately, I drop the shower, it is first thing in the morning and I am dealing with “buy one get one free” sized poop here. Gimme break.🏝

I am now soaked, too.😩😩

FB stands there wrapped in a massive towel looking as if butter wouldn’t melt, while I drip and work out what to do next. Oh, yes, clean the floor and the stairs, rescue the clothing. 🚑🚑🚑 I’m beginning to see the funny side now. 😀Thankfully, FB’s bed and room are unaffected.🌈

Finally, I can feed the animals and do breakfast.

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So, after a break from writing due to a heavy few days and a couple of migraines things have calmed down.  FB is becoming more confident, which is lovely on one level, and after some chats with a couple of long term students about working practices I am trying to change how I work! Clearly, I am not achieving what I want, so time for change!

I am so work focussed that it isn’t healthy; I’m losing why I do this in the first place, ok, apart from the money (such that it is!).  Music for me!  So, I spent a pleasant hour tuning the lute then ten minutes playing it! Lol.

Lute 'n' Uke

Lute ‘n’ Uke, an illicit affair!


I used to enjoy researching early music, studying music learning new things.  Now I don’t have time, unless it is work related.  I need some me time now summer is here.

To that end I am going to compartmentalise everything, or flit from one thing to another as one of my mature students does.  She finds it very effective.  She is self employed like me, but semi-retired.  She works on a project until she can’t concentrate on it any longer, then moves into a different room and starts something completely different, and so on!  Each room is a different project/idea. Ok, she lives on her own but the idea can be adapted to my madhouse!

Tomorrow is paperwork, recital pieces while FB is at nursery, then teaching.  Once the hols begin properly so will the compartmentalising! 🐿 I wonder if there is space in my office to have the mandolin out? There is certainly a lot of unnecessary crap 💩amongst the necessary crap💩! Perhaps a small shelving unit could house the recording desk and digital modelling box? Maybe some stuff could go in the loft? 🐿 Then I could make room for another guitar!….No, I did not say that.  Perhaps I could just leave space to put my shoes away (we have a shoe cupboard but there isn’t enough space for mine!) We have a coat cupboard, and yes, you’ve guessed it, there isn’t enough space for my jackets!

I have also decided to go as dairy free (vegan) as possible. In other words, vegan in the house, and possibly outside depending on the situation. We are already veggie. I’m also cutting down the alcohol again.  We went teatotal for most of last year, it was great! So, I may also make some major reductions there, too.

imageLute and Penny Poppers asleep in the case!

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Chinese whispers and conflict

We have heard a whisper that the prospective new parents have “issues” which may stop them becoming carers. Onto the adoption market for this one. I’m trying to think this is good but that’s a horrible turn of phrase.

Mind you, I will enjoy the p and q when FB goes. It’s very difficult to think, let alone work, when you have a 4yr old (going on 2 yr old) constantly in your ear repeating “what does a horse say? Mark marky, what does a horse say?” This particular horse may learn to speak quite bluntly quite soon!

When can I go back to work?

Mrs FC is struggling too. As much as I want to support her and FB is benefitting from being here, I would like to stop. Mrs FC needs to find another way to use her talents. She is also over tired and in pain with a foot condition making walking very difficult.

Phone call from our social worker and we have potentially opposite information! The potential carers are a teacher and a health carer and everything is looking promising.  That’s good then, back on track, maybe….

It is now late in the evening and we have watched one of the house build programs where a team of trades people rebuild the home of a needy family. I now feel even more conflicted with what I want to do with my life and helping others! Some people are sooo selfless!

FB is taking toilet issues to a new level and using them to wind up Mrs FC.  FB knows exactly what FB is doing and what is required but still insists on soiling underwear and nappies.  You can see it in the face.  We are at a loss for what to do about it.  My current feeling is to not care, to not try and FB will have to learn somehow, why fight about it?  However, Mrs FC wants to change it more directly.

Mrs FC has confirmed there will be no further fozzies (foster children) until after Christmas, assuming things work out for FB.

It has been another really hot day here, too hot to play classical music, so I have been trying some new jazz lines and feeling conflicted!

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Mind management and dreams

I was reading a book on Mind Management by the sports psychologist from the British cycling team last night and it said I should set out my dreams first, then break those down into goals. My dreams must be quite boring as I fell asleep pretty soon after that page!

That’s a tough one. At my age my dreams have changed or no longer exist as reality has made its mark (also, I can’t see the point of them any more). I used to dream of playing big stages and making albums. I’ve played big stages but not made a single album of my music, unless you include a live album.

I’d like to sing, others would prefer I didn’t!

I’d like to be a better teacher, a better guitarist, a better bassist, and ukulele player; a stronger person, someone who could make significant changes for the better for others; how about world peace and harmony?

I’m not interested in travel and I no longer want to gig for a living. My dreams and my view of them is that they are about the self, what the self wants. I am surrounded by people (and animals) who rely on me to some extent, there is little time/space/energy for dreams, as such my thoughts and feelings are in constant conflict between the self and others.

So, perhaps my self dreams are/were …

A) to sing

B) to record an album (of all my music on various instruments including my lute) – it would be really nice to put recordings and videos of me on my site/page. I’ve been saying I’d do it for years!

C) another teaching position at a school of my choice

D) recital plus recording of classical and acoustic pieces for guitar and ukulele

Therefore, the goals need to be manageable and achievable steps towards each dream.

A) singing….can I spare the time for lessons and practise?

B) discuss new recording with band (easiest option, will take organising but at least the music is ready); learn/write own material (more involved – source backing tracks for covers and/or write and record own material); record at home or in proper studio;

C) research schools in chosen area; what are their peri policies/contracts/requirements; can I meet those; do I want to meet those;

D) learn the pieces; give practise recitals; organise full public recital; lots of recording; take lessons/mentoring

🐿🐿Yay! Physical contact is cancelled for the foreseeable future! It never happened and was very disruptive and restricting for us.

Alternatively, I take note of my dreams and get on with them!

Good gig last, tired this morning and a bit stiff. Lovely walk with the dogs, new hayfever tabs working well. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the fields are cut and parched. It’s all good for the heart!

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I may scream today

You really do make rods for your own backs, but this one has been made by someone else’s failings. I know I’m supposed to be understanding but today I may scream. We are all paying a price for this – routines completely disrupted, time taken away from things we need/want to do, taken from people and animals we want to give to.

It’s not FBs fault and I suspect this one will be with us for some time yet, beyond the current official marker of mid October.

Mrs FC has a thumping headache, she had one yesterday, as a result of the frustrations this little one brings. Two of her kids are sick, possibly as a result of new germs in the house.

Breakfast was ok with some prompting from me, but FB dropped a strawberry on the floor. Quick as you like Willow the Black Shadow had gobbled it up. OMG! Can dogs eat strawberries? Are they safe? Internet internet internet google … phew! Dog is safe, wallet is safe, no mad dash to the vet, heart rate slowing. It’s not even 7am!

Breakfast done, a few more hairs missing from my head, upstairs for teeth brushing of (Go Yoda!), dressed getting and covfefe for Mrs FC. Back downstairs for another covfefe (which is now recognised by my spell checker!) …. and breath.

FB is now playing with little ponies and doing some interaction games which appear to involve hurting each other, calling for mummy and pretend crying. I’m waiting for apologies to happen.

Today’s plan … walk dogs, go to Man Shop buy Man things, play nice music on ukulele, try not to scream.

A new interpretation of Albeniz “Asturias Leyenda aka Preludio” to play with, thanks to Tim Higgins.  Some interesting new ideas to feed into my more traditional interpretation.



Right, walkies!

Note to self….take hayfever tabs before walking dogs through fields of hay! Half a loo roll later and I’m still snuffling and finding breathing slightly compromised. Must be a bad day for hayfever, so I sit in my room with the above selection – some music for me, some prep for students.

Lunch…which I am tired of taking at a fixed time and with FB to show “how it’s done”. Today was the usual trial. It’s a healthy meal which has been eaten on numerous occasions, however, today FB decides to take fifteen minutes to eat the remaining one tomato and two sugar snap peas. Of course, FB could be full be FB can’t vocalise that and wants the pudding!

Pudding is flapjack, yummy cake as far as FB is concerned. The condition is “finish your first course”. We’ve used the oven timer on this before, when it goes buzz the plate goes away regardless (within reason). I used this again today. A minute later, no effort made on the part of FB to eat, so I take the plate away, no pudding, floods of tears.

Teatime was better. Bath time and hair wash all sorted, FB sat on potty did nothing. Into pyjamas, stories and bed………….monster poop 💩💩💩 in nappy.😷😷😷🚒🚒🚑🚑🚨🚨Stretcher bearer! Smelling salts! Holy 🦆🦇man, what the 🦆was that??!!

9:30pm I didn’t make it to the Man Shop.

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It’s been a few days since my last post but they have been busy ones; research, work, and FB – oh my, FB!

Major toilet issues 🙀🙀🙀 FB seems to have been deeply traumatised in earlier life regarding the toilet. Using words to tell us the nappy has been filled is a) non-existent, b) very quiet, c) just loud enough. No matter how much encouragement we give or how much trust has been built elsewhere this one isn’t clicking and it is driving Mr & Mrs FC to 🐿Land in a not happy way!

Yesterday afternoon we went nappy free and I watched FB like a hawk whilst trying to play Bach! I guess it does the concentration some good 🙄😕 AND I sacrificed a trip to the Man shop (local hardware store – oh dear I am becoming American-ised). We need new man toys in the house and the music room. Ooh look, 🐿. The summer will be full of home maintenance jobs so I’m stocking up on the necessary bits of kit etc.

Back to FB – five times on the potty yesterday afternoon, five! It’s not natural. Something each time and then two attempts at self-cleaning (which explains the eating and smearing written in FBs previous notes from Social Services). Holy catfish, Batman🦇, what happened to this child to create this?

Oh well, I did find some Villa Lobos and Brouwer preludes and studies to work on, after I’ve done the Sor and the recital, hopefully. 🐿 One thing about these false nails, they are rubbish at scratching! Great for tone and confidence in sound, but terrible for scratching. I guess you could file them rough instead of polished?

Once I’ve done that maybe I should do some electric stuff? Eric Johnson, Satch, Paisley, Lane. Or maybe some acoustic? I’ve got lots of ideas but time is fractured so it’s really bloody hard to get on with them. Then the band needs a new recording – 🐿 – I could get the vintage amp out for that! Ooh!

FB is now playing with animals and making the relevant sounds right next to my ears, roll on October. How many times have we been told we “have our ears on”?

🐿 When term starts I get less playing time so I’m out of condition by the time the “holidays” come round. People find that hard to accept – ” You teach guitar/bass/ukulele all day, so you must be playing all day!”  I wish! I play to demonstrate but rarely my own practise.

According to FB covfefe “smells like covfefe”.  That’s good then, I’m using the right stuff!

ttfn 👋


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What a difference!

Today I’d like to have some headspace!

Great Saturday as my daughter visited, and it was heartwarming to see the interaction between her and FB. She will make a good mum if she takes that route.

Soggy walk with the dogs but I did notice that last nights wind and rain had flattened the grass the farmer uses as hay feed. He should have harvested it the day before, we all knew it was coming. We walked through a line of trees while the wind was high, fifty yards later one of them came crashing down!

Had a couple of glasses of Malbec in the evening and am now reminded why I only drink Shiraz!

Next day.

Walk the dogs who were oddly unfazed by the very low flying/circling helicopter as we walked the fields. It landed in one of them. Unusual behaviour for this area.

After the walk I played lots of Baroque and Renaissance music on the ukulele as research, and organised my files. Oh no…contact with FB family! How will this go and what impact will it have?

Three hours at the park with some excellent contact with FB’s extended family. Like a different child again! Really came out of FBself, climbing, sliding, running, laughing etc. We haven’t seen this before, it was lovely. FB did things I didn’t think FB could do.

Back home, FB tea, bath and bed. I prep some lessons, urge to play returns and I’m digging around in old files for teaching material and discovering lots of musical memories! Things I used to play when I started, then I remembered … when I started classical I had already been playing five years, no wonder I could move around the fingerboard a bit! That has made me reconsider some of my teaching – a healthy result. Mind you, I still can’t bear to listen to any guitar music! It’s almost painful.

Willow is in the music room with me, curled up while I type or play. How nice is that?

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It’s another stand off!

Dogs, small child and major thunder storm over night after REALLY hot weather.  Should be an interesting mix. 😕😕

Not much to say about FB as a normal child is appearing.

Music 🎶🎼🎸 … well, I’m beginning to see inklings of interest emerging from the fog of mental tiredness. I still can’t face listening to music or playing any instruments with any serious intent.  Gotta rehearsal tomorrow evening and a full day’s teaching.  I wonder how many will actually turn up?

Next day!

Ok, so another stand off this morning. FB refuses to say whether FB has finished doing a poop. I’m confident FB has finished and I know the easy way out of this stand off is to feed the right line, however, this doesn’t help in the long run so we continue. I’m tidying up after breakfast, making coffee coffee for Mrs FC, filling the dishwasher etc.

All the time FB answers my prompts with “Yes”.

Me: FB use words (FB is two years behind developmentally and is four yrs old chronologically)
FB: Yes
Me: I will go upstairs when I have made coffee and you will be down here on your own.
FB: Yes.
Me: FB use words or go on the naughty step. Does FB want to go on the naughty step?
FB: Yes.

I give up! This is maddening when I have to go to work! In the end we go upstairs as I can’t leave FB alone, check FBs nappy, no poop. Arg! So, FB sits on the potty while I finish getting ready and leave Mrs FC to continue the morning.

In retrospect I wonder whether FB was trying to tell us that FB needed the toilet and to use the potty, thus beginning to recognise the need to go rather than just going? As FB is two years behind the words and understanding is difficult for FB to recognise or express.

My lack of desire to practise or study continues. Possibly related to the approaching first anniversary of Dads passing. I know my behaviour changes when the same anniversary approaches for mum, between Christmas and New Year. The moment the day has gone is like a switch, and I’m back. Very strange and a little frustrating. Students lacking commitment and failing to show up doesn’t help much, either!

Right, I’m at school so must get out of the car and head to the staffroom and my teaching studio.

I’d like a life where I had my own studio and the time and knowledge to use it. Oh, hang on, I’ve got the studios!

So, music teaching challenge. How do you inspire someone who exists in a “spoon fed” environment where needs are met for you, discovery doesn’t appear to exist, and distractions are so many that you need to be SO committed before you even start! I would like other strings to my musical bow but I don’t know what else I can do – I am pushed for time; I don’t understand digital studios; gigs are poorly paid and a major time commitment; I had hoped to compose but I am time limited. Feeling flatter than a bad pancake right now. I hope this is Dad.

Home, finished teaching, FB is in “non speaking stand off”. About the same thing as thus morning, really!  Now this kind of behaviour really ticks me off. It is utterly pointless, achieves nothing and winds everyone up. I have precious little patience for it, but that is what you need. However, now is not the time for a battle as I need to go to rehearsal and Mrs FC could do without this! So FB gives to bed with no stories and only one goodnight instead of one from at least three of us.

Bedtime for me, too, busy day tomorrow.


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William Ting

Lac yesterday, too hot to post.

I forgot my nail care kit today, bugger. I have hooker talons today! Just not painted 😁

Right, so a LAC meeting today to establish a direction for FB (who was chuffed to bits with some new clothes this morning). I can’t get hold of Mrs FC, who is struggling with walking anything other than short distances. As yet, I don’t know what is going on, but it is exciting. Hark at me, and I didn’t want to do this!

Only one family member being considered instead of at least four, which is great. No idea what the feeling is for this, so FB will be with us until mid-autumn probably. I hear the emphasis is on speed for the benefit of the child, as well as the depth of training and investigation of prospective carers.

As FB is so developmentally delayed school entry will be put off until Easter of the coming school year. That will also help.

Really hot here. Willow struggled, lots of panting and trying to find cool places. Django drank so much he didn’t make it through the night without peeing on the carpet, twice!

Next day

Sod’s law, on the morning we need to get up early FB sleeps in! Mrs FC to training, FB with puzzles etc, me in charge, what could go wrong?

Mrs FC home, lunches had (I am now modelling not eating between meals. I’m sure it’s good for me!).

All good, off to nursery and I can get on with some work. The uke is a really interesting and fun instrument to use to play with harmony, it really makes you think as you are limited to four notes.

So, all good this evening. I did some teaching, too. I must be doing something right, contrary to my own beliefs, as some students are kind enough to say some very nice things about the whole learning experience we share. So, Witters, put away the hair shirt and enjoy it all! You only live once, blah blah.

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Our good friend Melanie Ting

Another scorcher today, even early this morning when I took the dogs out was hot n heavy.  The air around one field had a particularly thick and chemical taste to it.  My guess is the local farmer has been crop spraying, so the dogs had their feet washed when we got home. Clearly not an organic farmer!

We have all spent the day melting. However, FB has done well; eaten lots of fruit and veg. FB has a food fixation, not quite sure why?  Could be that food has not been reliably and readily available before?  We don’t know.

Having spent two days trying not to work I feel rested for the first time in weeks. I’ve even done some planning and some spontaneous return to basics type practise for myself.  Gently pleased.

FB managed to use the potty twice! Yay, I think.  Yes, yay for FB but I never thought I’d be doing this for someone else’s child when that child is not family in any way.  It’s difficult but it’s a child, how can you not?

We are an insane species, incredibly self-centred and arrogant.  I cannot believe the way we behave sometimes.

I am not religious but spread light and not darkness wherever you go.  Think of the consequences of your actions and do your best for all of us.  None of us are saints, we all make mistakes.  Any more cliches?  You know what I mean.

Another day tomorrow.

Peace and love

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A good day

So, a good start to the day!

FB wakes at 6:30! Yay!

Down to breakfast, change nappy (this one hasn’t had the luxury of toilet training!)

Feed animals and FB says “I want cheerios! I’m hungry!” That use of language is a big deal! Two grapes have been eaten and now FB is playing with the bowl and whining and whimpering, pulling “oh poor me” faces instead of using words to get a second bowl. FB knows the words, has used them before but for some reason would prefer to not speak. I don’t get it.

We went food shopping and FB ate an apple. We came home and ate peppers, carrots, hummus, bread, grape, strawberry. Now sat on the sofa chilling in front of David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet eating a pear, trying not to sleep!

I’m having a day off from music. I’m finding it quite difficult! I keep thinking of things I could be doing.

Great day with FB. An almost normal, barring toilet training, three year old!

I need to shut my brain down from work, something I find very difficult!

If you have read this far, thank you, have a good day/night!

Ps … Late evening walk with the dogs and bumped into our local postie and family plus extended family at the also lovely local pub! She’s really nice but I could barely string coherent thoughts together after two glasses of wine! Sort yourself out, man!


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There are days when I think this is ok, then there are days when I look forward to FB going! Today is one of those.

Breakfast of dry cheerios consumed with enthusiasm. When asked whether a grape is wanted, the request is greeted with greater enthusiasm. At the end of the bowl of cheerios FB lowers face, looking at me through eyebrows, just staring. The occasional whine. I know what FB wants but for some reason beyond my comprehension FB will not use the words we all know FB can use, and I have had enough of this….almost.

I tell FB to eat the grape and then ask for what FB wants.


Five minutes of this and I give in, removing the chopped grape, yes, I chopped the grape to make it easier to chew. I tell FB that I will eat it and there will be no seconds.

I give FB one more chance and, success. Grape eaten, seconds given. It’s all about control. Next time it’ll be one warning and gone in sixty seconds. I can’t be bothered with this kind of behaviour.

I spent some time working on my accounts this morning.  FB spent time playing in my room or clinging to my arm or me! FB has had a rough time the last few years so craves 1-2-1 attention and for you to initiate everything, but you can’t do that, and it’s not appropriate. It’s not easy, though!

Yet more control attempts around dinner. Demanding of food now and not at tea time, refusal to behave appropriately in the expectation that this will result in early tea, and so on. Chop of the nose to spite the face, I don’t get it?


So, it’s Friday, wine flows, well….a bit less than one bottle does! I wish I could have a proper conversation with the person in my head!

Good day teaching. I keep realising that I respond best to good students, but I keep not learning how to make the most if it! Silly boy.

Looking forward to breakfast of oats, fruit and coffee while it’s still affordable!

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Two bowls of Cheerios for breakfast, sans milk, for FB.  Really hot today!

Biggest bugbear for me is the frequent interruptions. Once I’ve walked the dogs I like to work, but because I work from home I am “available”. Hmm!

Some veg at lunchtime and none for tea! All are hot and bothered tonight.

Just trying to psyche myself up to do some work!

That was yesterday. Too little to post.

Today…two bowls of cheerios, two grapes! Mind you, only one and a half grapes were actually eaten. FB enjoyed them but needs them to be cut up.

The beard was beginning to irritate me so I shaved it off, only to regret it almost instantly! Hey ho, it’ll grow. I may wait til hayfever season is over, bit messy.

I’ve been listening to Paul Galbraith playing Debussy and Ravel on guitar, reminds me very much of dad, though he was a pianist. I’m well aware that the first year since his passing is almost upon us, so I may get more grouchy soon! I can remember the funeral, being quite chirpy until I walked passed the coffin. Even my speech was ok until I turned to the last page only to see those final few words I had written and rewritten, then all that blank space. I nearly didn’t make it. I’d like to remember mum’s funeral but that is harder to recall. It was a good few years ago and we had to refocus our attentions to dad, there wasn’t the space for mum.

Very low turnout at school again today! There is only so much practise I can do without the input of others. However, I did some work on turnarounds and tritone subsitutions, bemoaning the fact that I don’t have any students capable of this level of understanding!  Did I remember it at tonight’s rehearsal?  Not a chance!


I wonder how Mrs FC got on this morning?

All was good in the Fozzie Care House today, bar minor whinges. Let’s hope this keeps going!

Looking forward to coffee coffee coffee, as it is now known, thanks to FB!

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Where is my apple?

Muchos busyos today.  Feeling stressed with lots of lovely work to do and too many interruptions!

I had an apple today until FB decided to pinch it!  What a turn around!  A completely different child!  Time with mum starts Friday, may see the old FB after that. We are not allowed an opinion but I don’t care.  This one should be with people who can provide a lot of physical, mental and emotional support. FB will blossom in those conditions. It’s complicated and our opinion doesn’t count, but if FB goes back I think FB will end up in care again.

Had me nails done.  They take quite a beating on guitar and I’m just getting used to them, so it’s nice to have them repaired every few weeks!

So, time for wine and the accounts. Listening to Paul Galbraith play Haydn on his 8 string guitar.  What a phenomenal player he is. I wish Dad were still with us to share this.  His birthday and the anniversary of his passing next month.  I may shave.  I’ve had a beard of sorts since he went.  It feels like time to get rid of it.


One handsome devil and a dog.

Have fun peeps!


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It’s been perfect!

Seemingly good day but I have been in school!  All are tired, so not much to report. Mrs FC and I have had a minor falling out this morning so my day has been a low one.  She is very important to me so when things go wrong, however small, it ain’t nice.  Wine tonight.

Rediscovered Snarky Puppy and Mark Lettieri tonight so I feel even worse now!  😕 Sometimes I wonder why I bother playing guitar.

Still, ML has inspired me to get my Strat out and get the loop pedal going, possibly, maybe, when I find the time ….ha ha ha, in a nummer life time!  Less teaching tomorrow so I hope to catch up with a few things. Need a break, only just had half term! Mixed feelings when I see one of my students going to music college, another student taking a diploma and this one is only 15, another joining a big jazz band. Almost wish I was young again.  I’d study music much better and much more!

When saying goodnight to FB tonight I looked out of the window and commented on the beautiful evening and FB replied “It’s been perfect!” Cue hidden jaw dropping!

Step daughter returned from a school trip and I got a hug, oh yeah! My daughter visits in a couple of weeks, more oh yeah!

Tonights dinner … brown with spuds.


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Red Letter Day



Whoever said walking is healthy lied. I’m as stiff as a board this morning after a two hour walk with the dogs yesterday. Perhaps a shorter one today, lol!

FB is very chatty this morning, looking for “bee en bee en” (Bling bling) the cat. Two bowls of cereal eaten, which is an improvement on toast. Having a cuddle and looking at photographs of cats, dogs, and people. Nummer cat is outside (another cat – bee en bee en – we have five, plus the dogs)

So much to do, so many ideas, so much music, it’s great! I’m planning a solo recital March 2018; maybe followed by a concerto reduction for piano and guitar; a cello and guitar duo recital; repertoire for ukulele and bass guitar; composition (unlikely at the moment); lots of duets I’d like to play after the March recital (maybe I should look for a duet partner instead of a new band, or some flute and guitar duets? Ooh, that’d be good!). Until then it’s back to reports 🙁 I need intravenous caffeine.

Time to make more covfefe while it is still affordable! One for me and one for Mrs FC.
Ouch! It helps to focus on the coffee machine rather than typing when frothing the milk!

It’s lovely to walk around the house and be reminded of all the love Mrs FC brings. It can be seen in the little things – a small ornament or a pair of knitted socks sticking out of the laundry basket.

Lunchtime – OMG! Not only did FB try some hummus but FB ate a piece of carrot 5×0.5×0.5cms! 😮😮😮😮 At last, veg has been eaten and a pudding can be had.

Then, unprompted, FB told me FB had done a pooh in the nappy! It must be the weather!

Off to see the ducks shortly……..

Ducks fed, swings swung. Practise not done. Reports unfinished.

Dinner was a major success, with some encouragement. Yellow (sweet corn) and orange (carrots) were eaten. We didn’t like green (peas). So, a nummer pudding and the return of a favourite cuddly.

After MANY interruptions I have tried to practise and FB stands right in front of me and strums my guitar as I play! Bach sounds really interesting with lots of plunking and percussive notes! Still, I guess it’s good for me on some level. Dunno how I’m supposed to do this without regular practise. It’s beginning to get annoying.


Bedtime for FB. Shower for Mrs FC. Reports done, at least in draft. Might shave later, ooh the excitement!


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After an excellent morning at the hospital for FBs health check the afternoon has turned into a naughty step battle, and I fear Mrs FC may have met her match. This one has trouble caring about anything…toys, clothes, possessions, you name it. Sanctions are very difficult. This time it’s over refusing to speak and basic rudeness. Little one will not initiate anything.

When I left the house we were down to favourite toys. Bear in mind this little one can stare out of a window or into space for long periods with no trouble!

Back from work and the conflict continues! Oh my, never known anything like this before. I feel for both sides. The difference between morning and afternoon is black and white, quite incredible!

So much potential, so much goodness in this child, yet it’s so hard to reach.


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Day Five – Subdued

Feeling very subdued this morning after the news from London. I don’t understand why humans have to behave like this towards each other, it doesn’t achieve anything positive.

Walking the dogs helped as it was nice seeing them disappear in the long grass and play but I can’t face practise today.

Little FB has done a huge poop! Nice 🙁. FB still refusing to listen to instructions so it’s either tears or constant high energy trying to cajole!

We’ve played with Play-Doh, made “cake” (a regular food source before coming here), and had the grumps over tidying up.

All are tired. FB has pretended to be a dinosaur and used Mrs FC’s name for the first time! Yay hey! Some toast and jam was eaten for breakfast, all toast and honey was eaten! Only two pieces in total so little one must be hungry. Lunch was the usual offering that we all eat – fruit, salad, cheese and a cracker for FB. FB understands that in order to have the desired pudding fruit and/or veg needs to be eaten, one grape will do! However, stubbornness means pudding remains in the cupboard again. I’m putting on weight with all the good modelling I’m being asked to do! 🙂

FB saw an egg today and became quite excited, so let’s try a boiled egg for tea. I wonder what difference it will make…..hmmm, absolutely none. Spat out across the plate. Great. Fish fingers and potatoes have been eaten but no veg – pudding stays in the fridge. No good modelling required, waistline can relax, only not too much as it looks worse!  Breathe in!

FB is making progress in other areas, though. Some trust in our routines is appearing, FB knows what happens when and how, and is now willing to nap upstairs rather than downstairs. Language is improving, independent play is slowly taking shape with some repetition of new stories being told through FB’s toys, instead of the frequent “pick up a toy, sing a song, pick up another toy, sing a song” cycle.

However, FB is over-tired, mainly due to refusing to eat properly I suspect. Questions will be put to the Health Visitor but this is very trying for all. Really feeling for this kid and Mrs FC. Bought some new clothes for FB today, chosen by FB!

FB is lovely, but SO frustrating at times!

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Day four in da house

It’s been almost normal today, whatever that is.

Breakfast included jam on toast which was almost eaten. The honey on toast was demolished. I like breakfast, I look forward to it as it means coffee, fruit, porridge and a new day!

Lunch was refused.

Dinner veg was not eaten but the rest vanished.

Some minor fibbing over the need to use the toilet – in order to gain attention, I assume.

Time in the park was refused so we went anyway, just to get out. It was nice, I’d forgotten how little ones love being carried on the shoulders, and how much I like it! Saw some horses.  Saw some tractors yesterday.  Come the end of the month perhaps we can build our own farm?

Bath time was not fought over and bed time was good. Fewer tears today.

Mrs FC has very little voice and spent lots of time resting with her knitting. I got much practise done then wondered why I bother, other than fun, I must be tired!  Back to school for me next week, and nursery for the little one.

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Is it worth it?

Is it worth it?

We reached new highs yesterday. Breakfast is now one bowl, not two, of shreddies, strawberries, grapes; then it’s upstairs to get washed and dressed. Not this morning, oh no! FB decided one bowl was not sufficient and brought the house down. I had to take FB back to FBs room for safety and try to reduce the disturbance for everyone else.

Cue being told to “Fuck off!” by a 4 yr old, twice, and with passion. FB then tried doing a “Here’s Johnny!” to FBs bedroom door before also trying to pull off the door handle. FB calmed down quite quickly and apologised, even so, this is a first for me.

You could look at this as negative, what a dreadful thing for a child to do, how awful etc; but you could say “Yes, it’s a dreadful thing for a child to say but a) try to understand where it came from – said child must be feeling comfortable enough and trust me enough to do this; and b) what awful experience did FB have that means FB understands this language and can use it?”

What is far more draining is the constant parrot repeating of anything we say or do. An example, when I return with the dogs FB tells Mrs FC, repeatedly that “Marky Mark has taken the dogs for a walk”, until Mrs FC replies. FB then proceeds to tell me that I have taken the dogs for a walk, repeatedly….every day, every time.

Whenever I need the toilet I have to be surreptitious about it so I am not seen or FB will also suddenly need the toilet, and that can be a loooooong and fruitless process!

I suspect this is attention seeking but there is little instigation from FB. The majority of communication needs to be fed from us, though we are making tiny steps in the right direction. FB usually asks questions and hardly ever listens to the answers and rarely makes statements (unless it’s “I dunna pooh” which has been non existent for the last four days as something is causing enough stress for FB to hold it all in)

Fostering is no holiday. The pay is rubbish, verging on insulting, it’s way below the minimum wage and the hours are crap; the support verges on non-existent and vague at best (Be child led – wtf does that mean?); and you get abused by your charges. I don’t have the energy to give what is required, or the time.

Everyone is suffering, even the dogs leave the room when FB starts whining!

The current question from FB is “I need it” Now, we have no idea what “it” is as the question is out of the blue, out of any context and, with the best will in the world, we are going out of our minds.

This is an experience, to say the least, and I am still uncertain whether I want to continue or whether I/we are the right people.

It is very hard to see the positive.


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