Scottish Independence and why I cried last Friday

This time last week, the UK could talk of nothing else. From the sidelines, it seemed that the whole of Scotland was alive with possibilities, with hope, with an excitement envied by many of us. Scottish independence had become the conversation on everyone’s lips and it seemed that everyone had an opinion, one way or the other. Including me – my heart was passionately rooting for a Yes vote, and I will confess to feeling more than a little tearful when I woke up to a No.

I’m not Scottish, by the way, though I did spend five happy years at St Andrew’s. By birth I’m three quarters English and a quarter Welsh, though my great grandfather was a Scottish Watson. But it wasn’t through any tenuous sense of ancestral identity that I felt so passionate about the result.

More, it was the sense that a vote in favour of Scottish independence could change everything, for all of us, for the better. And let’s face it, that’s a pretty unusual feeling at elections. Come results day, we all know that we’re pretty much guaranteed a high proportion of self-serving, over-priveleged fuckwits around the Cabinet table, whatever the colour of their tie. While I would never not vote (too many people fought hard and long for my right to do so) I know, as I make my mark, that there is no real change imminent. I vote for the least worst outcome, that being the best I can hope for.

But Scotland – Scotland was different, somehow. Scotland seemed like it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for all of us to choose a different path.  Scotland felt like something much bigger than labels, or heritage, or national pride – all of which of course played a part.

It felt like this was the beginning of the rejection of the current system.

And you know what, it’s absolutely not right, this ‘system’. It’s not right that people should starve to death because the state safety net has been hacked away to a tightrope. (and that only the Mirror should shout about it). It’s not right that we should watch our public services be sold to the highest bidder, with no comeback when they fail to discharge their duty. It’s not right that the rich get richer, while the poor have to rely on food banks. It’s not right that Goldman Sachs can be let off a £10million tax bill with a handshake, while we’re all encouraged to spy on each other so we can report fraudulent benefit claims (which, by the way, add up to smaller sum than that of underpaid benefits).

A ‘yes’ vote in Scotland would have actually felt like a big, healthy, No. A No, we don’t accept that this is how it must be. No, we don’t accept a world where the rich get richer and the poor are left to fester, as long as they’re out of sight, mind. A No, thank you, but we want to choose our own way, we want to build our own society, and what’s more, we have faith in ourselves and our hearts that we can do this better.

And if Scotland had led the way, in a peaceful rejection of the status quo, perhaps the rest of us could have followed.

I am sure there are those that will tell me that I’m hopelessly naive. That I’m not Scottish so I have no real understanding of the issues. That things aren’t as bad as they could be, so we should all get back to making the best of it. That I should not have pinned my hopes for a changed society on one small country’s quest for self-governance.

But I did pin my hopes on it. And now I feel as if the chance has gone, for all of us, for a generation or more.

And that’s why I cried on Friday morning.

Our summer of football

I wasn’t expecting the World Cup to make much difference to our Summer one way or the other, except for the Husband’s inevitable slump when England got knocked out. Yes, he’s a Welshman. Yes, he supports England at football, though never, ever at rugby. No, I don’t understand – apparently ‘it’s complicated’.

Anyway, complicated aside, all the world cup really meant for me was the opportunity to binge watch everything on my Netflix list in peace and quiet while the Husband watched the matches on the TV. And of course to get fleeced on the ubiquitous Panini stickers and Match Attax cards, not to mention deflecting the endless begging for Fifa 14 on the Wii.

And indeed all that did happen, as expected. What was a real surprise though was that along with all that, they seemingly couldn’t get enough of playing the game itself! Yes! With a real ball! In the fresh air! In teams! With vitamin-c packed oranges at half time! That’s, like, LOADS of good parenting points RIGHT THERE! *polishes halo*

As soon as school was out the three of them would head into the garden to play three-and-in. If the Husband was home, he was pressed into service for a two on two match (no, before you ask, my co-ordination skills are apparently not up to scratch – I was pretty quickly demoted to bringer of snacks). But to be honest I was happy watching – watching my biggest boy’s confidence in his ability improving day by day; watching my girl in the middle refusing to be outdone by the three boys, and watching my littlest boy learning that the world doesn’t stop when he’s not on the winning side. Took a while, that last one, mind.

It  won’t be long now until the shorter days put paid to pre-bedtime garden kickabouts, and of course the World Cup excitement has long since faded into the background. But for the moment, we’re squeezing as much fun as we can from our Summer of Football!

Throw in
You need a hi-vis for a throw-in you know.
Football in the garden
Spot the ball…


Football Skillz
We call her Golden Crocs.

I’m linking up with  #Countrykids with Coombe Mill – why not head over for more fun and frolics in the fresh air, and plenty of inspiration to enjoy the great outdoors!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Getting towards a healthy work life balance…

I’m wary of breaking the spell by blogging it, but September has brought with it a new order in our life, and for the first time ever, I feel as if we may be on the way to achieving a work life balance that works for us all!

This is due in no small part to the fact that the children are finally all in the same place all day, every day. I did shed a tear when my littlest boy started Big School proper – and I still don’t like to think too much about how quickly time is marching on for all of us – but I can’t pretend I didn’t heave a sigh of relief as far as practicalities are concerned. No more juggling nursery/school pickups three times a day, no more extortionate wrap-around for the days when we couldn’t juggle, and no more guiltily trying to work at home in the afternoons with a bored pre-schooler who would much rather I was in the park with him.

Another new change in our routine which seems tiny on the face of it, but makes a HUGE difference to our family balance, is that the kids now go to a free breakfast club at school (thank you, Welsh Government). We drop them in at 8.10am which means on my work at home days, I can be at my desk for 9am sharp AND have had time for breakfast/getting the washing on/a quick tidy round beforehand. And getting to my desk for 9am, and working till 3pm, means that I get loads done so when the kids come out of school, I can actually be with them properly. The same applies for the Husband on his drop off days – getting into Rules of Play at 8.30am rather than 9.20am means a whole load of admin, internet sales etc can be sorted before opening time – which does take the pressure away at the other end of the day.

So home life feels like it has shifted to a more manageable pace. And in a highly unusual feat of moons colliding, I also feel as if I’m in a good place with work at the moment. This time last year I was just starting a new job, which I was unsure about for a number of reasons, not least the fact that I was out from 8am-6pm four days a week. I had a sense that I would be tipping the balance too far as far as my personal ability to be a half-reasonable mother  was concerned; and ability aside, I also want to enjoy my kids, and them to enjoy me, while we’re all young enough to do so!

I was right about four days not working out – but a year later and my role has happily morphed into 14 hours a week. Well, probably 17-18 in truth, but as I only need to be in the office two days a week it’s manageable.  I’ve also picked up some freelance work that is keeping me busy for another 10 or so hours, and of course there’s always a couple of hours on shop stuff that needs to be squeezed in – but here’s the thing – I can get all of that done while the kids are in school! Whoop! Working from home three days a week also really helps with planning the House Project , and I am hopeful that I might be able to squeeze in a teensy bit of blogging time too…

Weekends are another newish treat for Family Davis. Back in the days when we owned a coffee shop, the husband worked every Saturday and Sunday. It’s hard work being home alone with three kids all weekend – and sanity-saving play dates are harder to set up as most normal people are enjoying family time.  It also meant that if one of the kids did an activity, the other two had to come along whether they liked it or not – cue much fractiousness. Then we started Rules of Play and for a long time I worked  there on Saturdays (as well as the day job), while he worked Sundays in the coffee shop. Even after we sold the coffee shop, I carried on working Saturdays – it’s only in the relatively recent past that we have managed to drop all weekend shifts from our schedule, and boy has it made a difference! Weekends are now something we all look forward to, as opposed to a tag-team negotiation and competitive tiredness  arguments – you’ll know the score… ‘I’m exhausted, I’ve been working ALL WEEKEND’ ‘Yes, well at least at work you get to have lunch and coffee and go for a wee by yourself and GO FOR A BEER AFTERWARDS – you’ve practically been on HOLIDAY’ – and so on and so forth…

Yes. Life feels good at the moment. Here’s to a good work life balance, and long may it continue!

*awaits disaster of meteoric proportions to bugger it all up completely*