Who do you know who knows motoring law?

It was 9:30am on a crisp, Thursday morning.  I had dropped the boy at school and was on my way to my Husband’s work to drop off the packed lunch he’d forgotten.  The traffic was good, I had Rhianna on the stereo and was mentally going through what I needed to accomplish that day.

I heard the sirens from a distance.  I was at the traffic lights at the time and they’d just turned green so I was looking all around to see which direction the sirens were coming from.  The police car whizzed past me and I set off on my way.  As I turned the corner, I saw the police car in the layby, and he pulled out behind me as I went past.  I thought nothing of it, why would I?

We exited the roundabout and came up the hill, he put his lights on and I could see in the mirror he was gesturing for me to take the next turning.  What the actual fuck? I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was within the speed limit, all the lights and indicators were working, I’m a new driver so I’m a bit anal about these things so had no idea why I’d been pulled.

My hands were shaking as I handed over my documents, and he asked me to sit in the back of his car whilst he performed the necessary checks.  He informs me that my car was reported as having no valid insurance.  I figured this was a misunderstanding, as the insurance certificate I had with me stated it expires April ’18.

A quick phone call to the insurer clarified that the insurance had not been paid since July of 2017.

Now, let me explain the situation fully.

The car belongs to my Mother.  It’s her car, in her name, she organised all the necessary insurance and tax, and at no time had she mentioned anything to me about there being a problem.  I was just borrowing the car, as a named driver, until we leave the UK to go travelling.

So as I sat there, I was starting to realise how serious this was.  Not only had I been pulled over by the Police, had my car impounded, been given 6 points on my licence and a £300 fine, but I was also now without a car, and with a child who goes to a school that’s near on impossible to get to without transport.

As shit as all that is, the worst of it came when I started to think about what the consequences could have been if I’d had an accident whilst uninsured.  Could I have been arrested? I shudder to think.

Having left poor Sydney in the street to be taken away to the clink, I set off to deliver the packed lunch.  Thankfully a friend from school took me over to pick the boy up later that day.

Over the next 2 days we made several trips to the Police station, whilst also making several discoveries, such as the car not having any valid road tax, and also having no log book or even being registered in my Mum’s name.

It felt like at every turn I was experiencing a roadblock.  The insurance cost me a fortune thanks to the conviction, and it had to go in my name because the old policy, in Mum’s name, had been voided by the insurance company.  The receptionist at the Police station  spoke to us like dirt, asking for things I apparently, judging by her tone, should have known about.  I think it was evident I knew very little. Each time we were turned away for not having the right paperwork, was another day of getting charged for being in the impound.

We finally got a break when meeting a different lady at the Police station, who had some empathy and was not such a jobsworth.  She told us exactly what we needed to do and we arrived back to see her with everything in order.  She signed the release form and off we went to pick up the car.

Obviously the impound isn’t open on weekends.  Who was I to think that the last hurdle would go smoothly.

So I head home again to a disappointed boy who just wants Sydney home.  Over the weekend I do a bit of research and discover that, as I’ve been driving for less than 2 years, the liklihood is that my licence will be revoked.

Monday arrives and I book a taxi to get the boy to school.  That’s another £14 to add to the bill, but he’s at school so that’s one less thing to worry about.  With 1 bus an hour servicing the airport next to the school, I settle down with a coffee to wait.  3 buses later, I make it to the impound, pay the £210 charge to get the car, only to see her pushed around to the gate because she won’t start.

Of course she won’t start.  The guy tells me it’s not his problem so he dumps it out on the double yellows for me.  Thankfully, as I was now in charge of the insurance, I’d added roadside recovery, so I called the RAC and they arrived promptly.  The battery had been flooded (or something), and Mr RAC was furious about me being dumped on the street.

I didn’t care.  For now, Sydney was purring and I was outta there.

So, let’s recap.

A mercy trip to deliver sandwhiches to my husband ended up costing me in the region of £1000 AND my driving licence. And with most of our money tied up in investments, that £1k was set aside to pay for our exit from the UK.

The flights to Sweden

The travel insurance

The health insurance

The backpacks

Now I am just waiting for formal notification from DVLA as to my exact punishment.  I will appeal if I lose my licence, but that doesn’t really help in the short term.

So, if there are any legal beagles reading this who can offer some free advice as to whether I have a leg to stand on in appealling the revokation of my licence, I would be grateful for any help.  I’m not so fussed about the points and fine, though they are both a punch in the guts.  It’s the licence.  I need the licence desperately. If I can keep that, I’ll take the rest on the chin.

sydney

 

My questionable reasons why people fail to manifest what they visualise.

The year was 1986.  I was a chubby 13 year old, with permanent boulder sized spots all over my chin, and a ‘trendy’ buzzcut that attracted ridicule from every other teenager within an 8 mile radius (thanks Mum)

At the time, I was discovering those teenage feelings.  Not in my penis, that’s where 13 year old boys develop their feelings, and I was a girl.  Thanks to the buzzcut, it wasn’t always obvious but still, I could prove it if necessary.

No, those feelings were in my heart, and although I was young of age, the feelings were mature.  I knew it.  I was in love.  My heart swelled with such an intensity I could hardly bear it, and just the mention of his name made me flush.  If I caught a glimpse of him, well it was game over.

My friends understood it, they could see raw animal magnetism when it was staring them in the face, all brooding and sultry.  In fact they actively encouraged my righteous pining.

You see, the object of my affections had a brother, a little too efeminate for my liking, but I was happy for my BFF to keep him occupied.

Now, to get to the point of this story, as a 13 year old with a heart full of love, I visualised like a mofo.   Every waking hour was spent dreaming up situations where the 2 of us would be together.

Walking hand in hand

Listening to music

Laughing at nothing

Snogging by the tuck shop

Never happened though.  And I really felt it, I visualised harder than I ever have since.  Visualisation wasn’t on my radar back then, but it is now, so I have to question the whole premise that visualisation ever manifests anything.  I couldn’t have tried to think that scenario into existence any harder, really.

I wrote love letters until my tiny digits cramped so bad they resembled action man grappling hands, still, Luke Goss of Bros never arrived unexpectedly at my door to whisk me away from all the awkwardness of blossoming womanhood.

I’m happy now that it didn’t turn out the way my pre-pubescent self hoped, because the people you like when you’re 13 are definitely not the people you like when you develop taste as an adult.  Luke Skywalker vs. Han Solo is a point in case.

But if thoughts really do become things, and you can feel things into existence, what feeling works? Because I need to get it right, I want to visualise the shit out of some abundance this year.

Deleting Folk

As someone who has gone on a long personal development journey over the last couple of years, I find myself in somewhat of a quandry.

Angelic Mandy sits atop my left shoulder telling me that, when someone is being a dick, I must take time to consider what it is about their behaviour that triggers me.  I must meditate on this, and not judge to swiftly or too harshly, for fear that I might burn a bridge that I cannot later rebuild.

Evil Mandy is sat on my right shoulder telling me to stop being such a pushover.  If someone has been a dick for 2 years, they’re not likely to change no matter how much meditation you do, and why keep that person in your circle if nobody is getting anything good out of the relationship?

But, I have banished certain people in the past, sometimes hastily and under a red mist and later beaten myself up about it.  When I hit the delete button in the past, I later regreted it and apologised.  Only once I might add, but you know, I try not to be a dick these days.

Was that a hasty decision?

Did I act under misguided judgement?

Will I regret this decision?

It’s even easier to ‘unfriend’ these days, which I think is what makes me question myself even more, am I just making a flippant decision on a 10 year friendship just because s/he doesn’t share my leftist leanings, for example?

On the flipside, I’m sharing so much of my life on social media; what I’m up to, my plans, my dreams, my goals, my gorgeous little family and my hope that we will one day make a difference.  It’s part of the business to share on social media, it’s the tool by which we make the money to follow our dreams. And it’s not something I take lightly, it’s a gamble using social media in this way, (but that’s a post for another day)

Yet I can’t stop focussing on the haters – why share my fab little life with them if they can’t appreciate what we’re trying to do?

Does it set poison in my soul if I know, every time I post something, everytime I talk about our plans to travel the world, there are those who are secretly hoping it goes wrong?

Should I stop being a pushover and just torch those damn bridges?

Or should I keep the haters close so I can enjoy proving them wrong, wrong, wrong?

question

 

 

Why you should never let a bit of muck stand in the way of your dreams

The day my friend Karen fell down a man hole and ended up covered in shit.

Karen is a clever lady, but she never really believed in herself.  She would always use self-deprecating humour, and if anyone were to ever compliment her, she would respond with a negative.

She had missed out on so many opportunities because of this lack of faith in herself.

As her friend it was difficult to watch, I’d seen her push away wonderful partners, and avoid going for work promotions because of this negative impression of herself.

One day Karen came to me and told me about this job opportunity in her company.  On paper she knew she was capable, but she was being put off by the salary, as it was considerably higher than her current take home.

Let me just say that again, the high salary was putting her off… crazy right?

But I understand it because I’ve done the same.  If the salary is so much higher, then there must be more to the job than they’ve stated and I probably can’t do it.

We parked the salary to one side, talked it through and she submitted her application.  It was one of the most impressive applications I’ve ever seen, and I say that as someone with a background in HR.  I mean really, top notch.

Karen was asked to attend an interview.  She’d done some serious mind set work and on the day of the interview, we met for a coffee and she was fully prepared.  We went through some possible interview questions, and I fired some tricky ones at her, but she responded like a pro.

We left the café and walked across the square to her building all prepared for her big interview, and that’s when it happened.

Stepping off the curb, deep in conversation, I turned to ask Karen something and she was no longer there.  I mean, completely vanished.  What the…?! I couldn’t get my head round it?  She had been right there, and now she wasn’t.  There were no shops, it wasn’t busy, no corners to hide around, it was a wide open space, there was absolutely nowhere to hide, yet somehow she had.

As I stood there completely bemused, I heard a faint whimper. It sounded familiar and I followed the sound to an open man hole cover.  There were workmen along the square putting up cones, however they hadn’t coned this one before my friend had stepped out and been devoured by the stinky hole.

Karen was making her way up the ladder.  Surrounded by grovelling workmen she was lifted out of her predicament, and placed gently on the tailgate of the work truck.

I’ll not lie.  She was covered in shit, bloody knees, mascara and snot all over her face from the crying, and shaking like someone who had just fallen down a man hole.  I mean, that doesn’t happen in real life does it? She’s not a cartoon character!

I started laughing.  I seriously couldn’t stop, the kind of belly laugh that knocks you to the floor.  The kind of insane giggling that you do when you’re in a situation where you shouldn’t be laughing, like at a funeral, or a redundancy meeting, or when your friend has just fallen down a man hole and is crying and about to miss out on her dream job.

Through my laughter I could see that she was also laughing.  Then everyone was laughing.  People were stopping to see what all the commotion was about.  Soon everyone in the square was joining in.  I shouted out that Karen was on her way to an interview for her dream job.  We all laughed some more.

When we calmed down, I checked what time it was.  She had 30 minutes before she had to arrive.  It wasn’t looking good, but she had this huge gang of people who were willing to help her, people invested in her plight, and were wanting a happy ending for her.

John the Plumber went and got a coffee and a sugary treat to calm her nerves.

Kerry the Lawyer had a spare blouse and skirt in her office and ran off to get it.

Joanna the student had makeup, wipes, perfume in her bag and got to work.

The workmen made a makeshift dressing room out of barriers and tarpaulin.

I gave her the pep talk to end all pep talks.

We reassembled Karen.  We worked as a team to get her looking and feeling as good as she could and sent her on her way with 5 minutes to spare.

 

Crucially, there was one other person who became Team Karen in her hour of need in the square that day.

Richard was passing when Karen was unceremoniously dragged from the stinky hole.  He laughed with us, he empathised with her situation, he paid for the coffee and sugary treat, and more coffees for us when we were all working together to help her get back on track.

And he asked her easy questions when she arrived for her interview.

Because Richard was the Head of Department for the position she had applied for.

Roll on 4 years – Richard and Karen are now married and setting up their own consultancy business together.

What’s the moral of this story?

Is it that teamwork really does make the dream work?

Or is it that you’re worst day can quickly turn into your best day ever

Or maybe the fact that you should never let a bit of muck get in the way of your dreams…

Or perhaps it’s just that stepping in shit really is good luck.

golden-poo

Why can’t we admit we are afraid?

We’ve seen it time and time again over the past couple of days. We must carry on as normal, hold our heads high and show the terrorists that we cannot be scared, otherwise the terrorists win.
But haven’t they won already? If this sort of thing can happen, unchecked, at any given moment and in any given situation, and we are basically trying to get on with things but not ever knowing when something might happen, is that not living in fear, however we try to kid ourselves?
My actions have been impacted by the attacks across Europe over the past couple of years. The first time I realised the impact was when I was travelling across London via tube last year. I was on my way up to the surface, one of those double deep stations, and I started to feel hot, and weak at the knees, my heart started to race and I honestly felt like I was about to faint. I had to talk myself out of the station, out loud, so everyone could hear me. ‘You’re ok, you’re going to be ok, we’re nearly at the top, soon be outside, just breath, and concentrate on your breath…’
But the anxiety hasn’t stopped there. I feel nervous in crowded areas and close to landmarks, and I’m thankful my friends all live close to the river in London so we can just get on a boat and get the hell out. This also coupled with the nightmares about keeping Freddie safe and yes, I’m aware that media has a lot to do with this, but that doesn’t negate the inherent fear. I rarely watch the news these days, and I tend to unfollow people who just regurgitate horrible news on social media because I’m aware it feeds my anxiety, but the fact remains that anxiety is real and increasing, and has picked up speed the closer to home the attacks get. Fun times.
Until recently, I felt it was my duty to put a brave face on and keep my fears hidden, because that’s what everyone does, and so as ‘not to let the terrorists know they’d won’, but then I thought, doesn’t that just feed into the right wing agenda, the defiance, the puffed out chest, us against them, immigrants not welcome, blah, blah, blah…
How about we admit our fear over these atrocities and what the future holds, instead of sticking 2 fingers up and saying, ‘nah, didn’t affect me, bring it on’. What if admitting we feel some of the feelings they feel when their children and families are killed unnecessarily? What if we make this country a tolerant and accepting place that everyone can call home, instead of marginalising segments, pushing them further away, isolating them and making them feel culturally lost in a place they have always called home?

By showing our vulnerability, and joining together, we have the best chance of making some progress towards healing these catastrophic rifts that tear families apart, instead of pretending it doesn’t affect us.

cropped-afterlight_edit_2015_01_21_14_17.jpg

Just so it’s clear; I have a child, and he is my number 1 priority, and just trying for 5 seconds to put myself in the shoes of anyone who’s lost a child breaks my heart, so no I won’t be carrying on as normal, I will be looking over my shoulder, I will be alert, and I will do everything I can to ensure his and our safety, and if that means I cannot carry on as normal so be it.  Until we get the f*ck out of here.  Roll on Spring 2018…

Footnote:  Just after writing this, I did a search to see if there was anyone else out there that shared my views, not really expecting anyone to be on board with my obvious irrationality.  I found this article from back in 2015, and in it Zoe Williams conveys my feelings far more eloquently than I ever could:

Zo Williams – Admitting the Fear

Who is Responsible for my Son?

education is self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon”

In a case that has been back and forth for over 2 years, the supreme court today ruled a parent to have acted unlawfully in removing his Daughter from school for a 7 day family holiday during term time.

Back in April 2015, Jon Platt took his Daughter out of school for the holiday, and against the School’s rules.  On his return he was awarded a £120 fine and refused to pay it, citing the fact that his Daughter had an above average attendance of over 90%, and therefore, he felt that she would not suffer as a consequence of taking that time away during term time.  The local authority did not agree and the subsequent legal battle began.  Over that time, Mr Platt has been steadfast in his decision not to pay the fine, and despite the matter being upheld in his favour twice, ultimately, the supreme court has ruled against him.

So what does this mean for parents across the UK?  It means that if we choose to state educate our children, as the majority do, we relinquish some of our rights as parents. Ofsted and the incessant pursuit of statistics dimishes our babes as mere numbers to be entered into graphs for the end of year reports for Governers and Councillors, Government Bodies and Politicians.  Travel companies will be rubbing their hands together in glee, already sitting on a gold mine given that they know exactly when the majority of families will be taking holidays, and that’s even if parents CAN take time together.

Looking at our own situation, Freddie’s school is closed for half term, Christmas, half term, Easter and the summer holidays – a total of 10 weeks, and between Johan and I, we accrue 9 weeks annual leave.  So not only does this not cover what we need, but we also can never take time off together as a family.  It’s never going to happen is it, unless we do something different.

Meanwhile, and I speak from having just yesterday talked with a passionate teacher friend of mine, the children and those who teach them suffer.  I sincerely hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her but her words moved me to tears:

It is so sad. The early years curriculum is actually a wonderful document- emphasisng the whole child, the need for play and exploration and physical development. Then children go to year one and all of that is stamped out immediately and it is all read,read,read,write,write,write.  No awe and wonder, no self led investigations where the teacher follows the childs interests like they do in (a good) early years class.

I have battled to change the way we teach- to add an element of play – at least significant periods of it – into their day – but it wont be changed.  It breaks my heart to see the same child I taught last year who was so full of beans, so tired looking and subdued sat at a desk.
 
I love being with children, it is my passion (and im fucking ace at it) but i hate the rest of teaching – the limitations, the paperwork, the meetings etc… I have NO life
My day between 8 and 3 with the children is amazing – the hours whizz by and i am filled with joy.  The hours of prep, between 7 am and 8 am and then from 3pm way into the night just zap all my energy and joy and time that should be spent enjoying people, my community, nature and learning new things for myself”
So as I read the outcome of todays ruling, and consider just who is in control of my Son; the local authority or us as his parents, and giving thought to the conversation with my friend, it just compels me more than ever to fight tooth and nail to create this fucking fantastic life for my Boy, where we as his parents take full responsibility for his upbringing, learning and whether he takes a holiday in October or May or whenever the hell he wants, because we, above anybody else on this planet, have his best interests at heart. Always.

One World School House

khan

There are about a million books I need to read and I need to read them all now!!  Anyone else feel like this when they’ve made a big, life changing decision?  I’m spinning plates at the moment, with ramping up my business efforts and the welcome but time consuming fall out of that, alongside getting to grips with all the decisions we need to make in terms of our adventure.  We also have all the UK stuff to consider, like downsizing to a smaller rental until we go, selling all of our ‘stuff’, making arrangements to remove Freddie from school, making sure we see all our friends and family over the next few months etc…

I definately don’t have time for a day job anymore so that needs to go asap!

In the meantime, I have had to centre myself and think about what is the single most important thing I need to do, and it is to ensure I have the necessary tools and resources to keep Freddie’s education on track.  Not on track with any school system, but on track in terms of ensuring he has the right level of learning for his age.  So I’m starting with this book, which should be with me in a few days.  I have just discovered the Khan Academy online and I’m intrigued to read all about the background and how it came to be.  It looks like something we will be utilising lots over the next few years.

If anyone has any other essential reading recommendations, or learning tools for digital nomad families, please do pop them in the comments 🙂

Why a Different Education?

There are a number of reasons why we have been considering homeschooling or world schooling Freddie.  Until 6 months ago, we hadn’t even considered it.  He finished at pre-school in August and we chose a school for him to go to, which was the only montessori school in the area, and we kept everything crossed he would get a place as we didn’t choose a back-up.  My Husband had grown up in the Swedish school system so he knew what he wanted for Freddie, and knew the mainstream schools here in the UK would not provide that for him.  Thankfully, Fred got a place and started there in September.

It was difficult to begin with, but surprisingly more so for me than for him.  All of a sudden there were all these rules being imposed on my little 4 year old and it became overwhelming. The insistence on draconian uniform policies, sausage-gate, homework, and not teaching the full picture on certain things had annoyed me enough but at the beginning I felt there was no other option and he would remain in the system until he came out the other side at 16 or beyond. I persevered, but I certainly started researching alternatives and that’s when I came across the wonderful world of homeschooling.  I knew in my heart that this is what we needed to aim for and eventually spoke to Johan about it.  I added myself to lots of groups, both locally and further afield and started to find out about all the amazing and creative ways parents were bringing up their children, and talking to parents who had committed to this way of life and who’s children were positively thriving.  See the video above as an example.

Freddie is doing well at school, he’s a smart kid and picking things up easily, making friends and such, but there hasn’t been a single day that he’s gone in willingly.  Now I know some will say that all kids dislike school, but that’s not so.  I stand there with him every morning, and watch most of the other kids running in happily whilst he clings to my leg.  Yes he always comes out happy, and I am certainly not knocking the school for their education, I just feel that there is a much better way.  And that is to take him out into the world and teach him about being an individual, creative, compassionate, cultured alongside learning the staples of maths and english and languages and science.  Get him right into the situation, immersed in volunteering projects and seeing first hand the impact he can have on the world.  Wouldn’t every parent want to offer this to their children?

Where to Begin?

vervet

We literally have no idea. We’ve started adding ourselves to worldschooler groups, vegan travel groups, house swap sites, budget travel sites, and volunteering pages. There’s a great site called Wwoof where you can work on organic farms around the world for food and lodgings, and they have available options if you are travelling with children, plus you can search for farms without animals,, perfect for us.
I’m also following lots of worldschoolers on Instagram, because I love Insta so much 🙂

In terms of giving back, so far our interest has been peaked with the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa which is totally vegan, offering food and lodgings for volunteers. So Johan could take a Chef position and I could be a Monkey Mama, how amazing.

We are also looking into working with refugees in Greece, but that needs a bit more research as unsure how that would work with Freddie.

In terms of a route, this isn’t going to be like a gap year, where you book all your flights in advance and head off with everything planned. We are probably going to have the first few months planned out, and then we will need to plan as we go. We are currently compiling a list of everyone we know around the world, and will be in contact with them over the course of the next year to figure out where we can sneak a few days here and there in a house with a hot shower.  We’ve also registered with Cape, which is a new way to bag a cheap flight or even a free flight by referring your friends.  Nothing to lose there so hopefully that will come up trumps.

We have started to compile a list of online resources for education, and there’s loads out there, especially TES, a teaching resources site. The worldschool and homeschool tribe share loads of great stuff too.

As far as my business is concerned, I just need to make sure that the majority of places we stay have internet access, or that there is an internet cafe within easy reach. I may have to go off grid occassionally, but my business should be ticking over nicely by the time we leave the UK anyway and then I will just have to work hard in the pockets of time I get.

The more we think about it and talk about, the more ridiculous it seems that we didn’t do it sooner.  If anyone has any links to sites we should look at, places they’ve been, places we need to visit or even friends and family that would welcome us for a stop over, please do hit us up with all the info 🙂

 

Team Tinglert. xxx