The fish tank, gotes and dressing up


An old mate Jill called round unexpectedly this afternoon while I was crocheting in the back room. I’m getting not too bad at crocheting squares with wobbly sides.

We had a bit of a reminisce over a cuppa and hob nob or two. The time we first met. About 20 years ago when Rosie, and Jill’s son Tristan, started at primary school together. Jill and I randomly sat on a wooden bench by the fish tank in the foyer so absorbed in chatting we missed the talk the headteacher was giving to new parents in the school hall. We laughed (in part horror) when they filed out passed us.

Failing our first ever school-related parental task.

The headteacher explained in the talk we missed that the bench by the fish tank was where kids would wait when no one turned up to collect them at the end of the day. The cone of shame bench. Rosie was to sit there a few times over the next four or five years. After what now seem like capers in the overly complicated and convoluted world of family life when a child is labelled as disabled.

ConnorWe remembered how Tristan became a regular fixture at ours after school typically wearing his Thunderbirds outfit. Virgil. Captain Tracey… The outfits.

I’d forgotten about the outfits. LB was a sucker for dressing up. Captain Scarlett, Woody from Toy Story, a racing driver, the Early Learning Centre policeman tabard. Batman to Tom’s handed down Spiderman.

Washing up gloves, school shoes and wobbly masks. The full gear.

Jill’s younger son Will became one of Tom’s bezzy mates. He was with us on the visit to the rare breeds farm when LB let the goats out.  I still chuckle when I remember being in that tiny space with LB and those cheeky goats. I recently found his school holiday diary where he’d written:

‘I let the gotes out’.

You did matey. And I should have seen it happening.

We didn’t half laugh though. That memory is priceless.





9 thoughts on “The fish tank, gotes and dressing up

  1. Sarah – I am sorry to learn you are still unwell. I have some information of potential use to you in respect of your health and Dr Dolman’s letter, which Dr Murphy produced at the GMC hearing. However, for reasons of confidentiality, I cannot post it here – or on my blog – and (I suspect) you are not opening your work email (I only have your work e-mail and telephone number.) If you feel up to it, please call me on 07787 972181 or email These are the contact details, which are in the public domain on my blog – you may of course use my other private contact number/email addresses if you have any of my emails at home.
    I do hope to hear from you. G.

      • Your comments are wholly inappropriate: you are ignorant of the facts, my involvement with Sara and the full reasons behind my comments. Your reaction illustrates exactly why I left it as a last resort before posting a comment here.

        I refer you to the comment by FF2016 at “Friends like CRASH sound good – I’ve also got a true friend to talk to.”

        Moreover, it is unbelievable that you feel it can possibly help Sara by entering into a public spat with one of her “true friends” on her own blog – especially when you could have telephoned or emailed me privately, if you felt you had a valid point to make. But that of could would involved disclosing your identity to me.

        For the same reason, please give some thought to Sara’s feelings by not challenging me again in public – if you wish to do so, please call or email me.

  2. Sara, I read this blog with delight. Thank you for sharing some of your precious memories of LB. This blog is moving beyond words. I too have lovely memories of my adorable sister Robin. I remember her and her cute ways like how she used to eat pizza upside down to have the sauce and cheese on her tongue. Take care of yourself. Karen

  3. I expect may readers of this blog have ‘experience’ (as patients, carers and families) of The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and associated Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (“DOLS”): you will probably agree that they are complex, confusing and generally ‘not fit for purpose’. There is currently a rare opportunity to make your views known to a highly influential Parliamentary Committee – The Joint Committee (of the House of Lords and House of Commons) on Human Rights. I have posted full details and tips at If you have views but do not wish to submit evidence yourself, you may leave comments on the CRASH web site or email at the address on the ‘Contacts’ page of our web site.

    • Hi CRASH.
      Yes, there’s a draft consultation on the NICE website.
      There are lots of basic recommendations that need us to comment.
      A really important point to say, for example, is that capacity should be assessed by trusted people, rather than just any old social worker or other person turning up. Families or the most familiar people should be part of planning questions as they’re the most expert at knowing the nuances of the person’s communication. It’s an emotional experience as the person can be affected by pressure. And yes, independent experts are needed too to refer to if needed.

      • Hi FF2016 – Excellent points with which I entirely agree. The only problem is how do you find “trusted people” – other of course than families and carers? Some might have a trusted GP. The problem with the NICE Consultation is that the expected date for publication of the final report not until 16 May 2018, i.e. after the deadline for the JCHR Inquiry – that’s government joined up thinking for you!

        So, even for those who responded to the NICE consultation, also should respond to the JCHR.

    • Well, yes, trusted people do need to be close to the person.
      But it is acknowledged.
      It’s a starting point, and families can’t be excluded as easily as they have been.
      Our GP who would support me as well as my son, as he respects my knowledge, and strangely our professionals for the first time work with me more than the provider or careworkers.
      Trust is possible, and asserting ourselves is the biggest driver.
      So far, it’s been being bogged down and hopeless. But we can use positive language, and be consistent.
      Sorry, I’m just going on and on.

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