February in Scotland is not famous for its warm climate, which is why I was not surprised when I arrived at Mary and David’s house in Perth and Kinross to find it snowing. Mary looks after Alan, a lad of twelve who comes to the house every Saturday for four hours. This allows his parents to concentrate their attention on their two other young sons and gives Alan the opportunity for some individual attention without needing to compete with his brothers. This break is financed by a scheme called Direct Payments, which is managed by the local authority.
Before Alan arrived Mary showed me around the house and garden. Here is a picture of me in the garden.
When Alan arrived we found out he had been out during the morning at his brothers football training. He wasn’t interested in going out again and just wanted to stay in the warm. Mary made Alan a snack and gave him some milk to drink. Alan was happy to play on Mary’s tablet for a while and watched a pirate program on the tv. We then had a game of walking the plank which we enjoyed. Everyone chants “Walk that Plank,” and Alan jumps from the sofa onto a pile of cushions. Alan has a hanky wrapped on his head and a cardboard sword. he certainly looks the part. After a while we sit down on the sofa while Mary reads us a story
Alan likes to dress up and Mary is kept busy trying to make up a new outfit every week. She is rapidly running out of old hats and clothes to convert. After another snack Alan tells everyone about the new school he has just started. He has had to leave all his old friends but is finding the new school much easier to cope with. He has made lots of new friends. In no time it is time to put on his coat and walk back to see his mum. We wave him goodbye as Mary takes Alan back home.
The next day Mary has a job over 100 miles away. Sally has been discharged from hospital after a long stay and her mum stayed with her throughout. Mums other children have been looked after by their aunt as mum is on her own with the children.
The NHS Trust has funded four hours a day of nursing care while mum has the chance to settle down to family life and give her other children some mum time. Sally needs constant care and is on lots of medicines.
It is a two hour drive so David does the driving there and back and waits for Mary to finish her shift. We drop off Mary at Sally’s house and David and me go down to the beach for a walk and some time on the beach. David suggested going for a swim but although the sun is shining today, there is a north wind blowing off the North Sea. David took some photographs of me on the beach before we retired to Tesco for a sandwich and a drink before picking up Mary and setting off for home again. I wonder where my next adventure will be?