It's just over a year a now since I had to re-home our chickens because we had to move. Unfortunately there wasn't the space in our small Cornish garden for my four girls so I sought a good home and off they went to pastures new.
I love chickens. They are such characters and fantastic pets. Yes, they love a good scrat and you wouldn't let them near your favourite flowers or veg patch, but the return you get for giving them a loving home far outweigh the unsightly lawn (kind of!) - lots of free range fresh eggs!
I know my girls have a new garden and new names, but to me they will always be my handpicked Coco, Peach, Mademoiselle Fifi and Little Red.
At just 23 years old I rocked up at the University of Bristol to begin my Social Work training.
Twelve months after graduating with a degree in Sociology, I knew social work was my calling.
17 years later, is it still my calling?
Well, I'm surprised to hear myself say "yes". When I consider all the lows, there have still been plenty of highs. I've post qualified, dabbled at Management, been involved in more changes than Superman, and worked for 10 different Local Authorities in England and Wales, but there is never any doubt I will continue to return to this mistakenly controversial Profession.
Times are tough at the moment. Budget cuts, pay freezes, all round low morale with even staff turning on staff through utter frustration at policies, procedures and damned bureaucracy making you wonder why the hell you bother, but despite all this I still don that name badge four days a week and hopefully make a difference to people's lives. On a grand scale it might not make an impact, but on a day to day for the adults I work with it's huge, and it's that sense of satisfaction that keeps me from hanging up that name badge for good.
So why have I chosen to write this post now after 15 years qualified? Well, because no one in my office knows I write books, and people who know me as writing books do not know I am a social worker, and because someone in the office said to me today "you're an Aries? You don't look like anAries, you're too quiet", and a wry smile formed on my lips and I thought of 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' - maybe it's true...it is always the quiet ones!
"She[Evie]adored this room; the holly and red berry garland on the dresser, the chain of paper doves stretching from one side of the room to the other, red padded cushions on the benches and red dinner candles in white holders. She admired cleverly stacked glass baubles in festive bowls, and silver and white crackers and tealights that lay chicly on the table, but her triumph was the centrepiece - a large round glass bowl of fresh clementines; simple but vibrant."
So, I am aware the last few posts have been all about Christmas, which is officially my favourite time of year for so many reasons, and for one I will not apologise! Besides, I can always hide behind the fact I have 2 small(ish) boys who love Christmas as much as me!