Summer Break Blog

We are preparing for our mini-break, a holiday, squeezed in before the start of term. Friends have always considered me to be highly organised and I have to admit, on reflection, that taking the young people away has often felt like planning a military operation.

Since becoming a foster carer I have always kept a kit list in the back of my diary. I circulate a modified version of this, according to what the trip or respite break entails, a week in advance to enable everyone to start to pack their bags – with varying degree of success.

There have been various interpretations of this from brilliant to “Did you even look at the list?” As a result, I have tried, as the children have become increasingly independent, to refrain from checking. I usually throw in a couple of random questions, “Did you pack your dressing-gown?” “What about your school shoes?” and it is astounding how I seem to intuitively focus on the much needed item that has been inevitably forgotten.

Once when I thought that a young person, who was to be hospitalised, was really struggling and the case seemed really heavy, I opened it to find that there were no pyjamas, no underwear, no toiletries, only school books. With a 20 mile round trip to the hospital I was really pleased that I checked !

On various occasions, usually longer trips abroad, I have had the cases brought down the night before in order that I could have a little peek to check. In addition I tend to have a bag with waterproof trousers and wet shoes (that can double as shower shoes, slippers and even for climbing) in the boot of the car (even for day trips).

On a trip that involved 10 flights ……. We had with us an 18 year old who was stopped every time at security. He was asked if he had packed his bags himself and he would reply “Yes,” and then I would come to wish that I had packed them myself .

He was found to have in his hand luggage :

Flight 1 : A fast charger for his phone

Flight 2 :  A 300 ml bottle of after shave

Flight 3: An unexploded bullet ( key-ring)  – that he had been given as a souvenier from Laser Quaser !

On the final occasion, I must admit that he drained of colour, as did I, when the guard shouted across to his superior and asked whether he had to be detained!

Thankfully the superior officer believed Alan’s ( Names changed )  account and only the bullet was detained and we were allowed to go on our way !

Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.

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