Archive for February, 2007

Post-Bakewell Tarts and Birthday Cakes…..

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, employment, gothic, Human Rights, me and my world, morecambe, pagan on February 28, 2007 by Khlari

Life never gets any quieter though, does it. The last few weeks since the adventure haven’t got any quieter though, life is constantly manic it seems. Hurrah though now have return of the Affidavit of Deemed Service, seems the judge also believes my husband did receive the demand, so yesterday signed yet another affidavit and at last a real petition for divorce, and whizzed it off to London….just have to wait now! Might actually have a divorce as my 40th birthday present, not before time!

Apart from that…now work three floors down from the team I work with so have to go up and down stairs fifteen times daily, all the paperwork is upstairs…and I answer the phone for a different team entirely. And they are disciplining me. Result of which, I spent all last night ill, puking, clammy, but I am at work. We are, apparently, not allowed to be ill. Ever. Whatever happens to us….come hell, high water, family breakup or major trauma…. but they do have different rules for broken limbs…. so you can have a nervous breakdown and be expected to show, but break your leg and you’re fine…… I have given up trying to understand…..

Apart from that have been writing supporting letters for friends adoption applications, rushing around getting soaked to get them in on time…..

Life really never slows down, and is Mr Spicy Cauldron’s birthday to top it all……Happy Birthday oh Ancient One (it’s me next!) May the good fairy bring you many Dr Who goodies and sexy assistants to help you assemble them……

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #8

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, employment, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Mizbah Rana, morecambe, pagan on February 28, 2007 by Khlari

Waking up in the cold grey light of a February morning in Birmingham. Grabbed breakfast and off we went to Morecambe. Crawled back in at about 11am, then I went off to AD’s to pick up M______, the cause of this pilgrimage. Don’t you just love children. ‘Hello Mummy’ it says ‘I’m happy you’re back but I don’t want to go home now as I’m playing with Boogyboo and we’re making wands’. Great. I have missed the little…darling, and all she wants is for me to go away!

AD’s living room packed with an AD, an OH, a Willow, a SpicyCauldron and D, and a Silent, so have many brews and hugs

and catch them up wth the news, until am banished home to sleep by AD with a promise she will deliver a monster later, after they have all been up to run around like lunatics at Heysham (children that is).

Gratefully go home and slump with Mr A, until overexcited little monster reappears. Unfortunately we are having a bedroom tidiness isssue (lack of to point that it is an obstacle course), so end up spending my one day of rest on Monday being big bad mummy again. She likes the presents though, and it’s good to be home.

Back to work on the Tuesday with everyone doing the ersatz smiles and ‘how did it goes’…cheesy grin cheesy grin. Then I am told, despite doing the phased return as I was asked to do in order to avoid the disciplinary…I am still going to have a disciplinary anyway. welcome back to the caring sharing world of where I work.

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #7

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, France, gothic, hague convention, Human Rights, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe on February 23, 2007 by Khlari

He was getting more and more greenish by the minute…….then ran. The hour and a half trip became a symphony of running up and down between the deck and the loo……When we finally got off at Dover, we then had the joy of being stopped by customs (for the third time this trip………). I have never ever been stopped before (except for on emabarrasssing strip-search incident at Manchester in the late 80s, but I blame that one on the person with whom I was travelling), but Mr A says this happens to him all the time, apparently.

As we drove out of Dover, it was still only 11pm, and Mr A said that if we did back to Morecambe in the same time we had down, we could be home in bed for 5am……sounded good to me, just wanted to get home.

It was still raining as we hit the motorway, and it carried on….heavier, and heavier, and heavier……It was becoming really hard to see anything, and the section around the M25 had me looking at the map fifteeen times as I figured we could have driven to Edinburgh in the time that it took…..We had considered popping to crash my brother’s birthday as we passed London near-enough, but by the time we had got there they would all have been too drunk to make any sense…….on, and on, until we hit Birmingham…that’s where the trouble began, Birmingham ring road……we were negotiating it at about 25mph in the dark and driving rain. Our eyes were hurting with the strain of seeing where the hell we were trying to go. We couldn’t take any more, by now it was 5am. Stopped at a service station where Mr A made me a ‘nest’ in the boot, and finally nodded off. Ignoring him saying I bore a resemblance to an Ewok, or a Hobbit. Just praying that we didn’t get fined for doing it, as everywhere we stopped had maximum parking times…thought they were ‘rest areas’?

Woken up eventually by a grey Brummie dawn, and a curoius bloke noisily emptying the bins……. a coffee, then onward, up north. On to ‘sunny’ Morecambe……

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #6

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, France, hague convention, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Misbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe on February 23, 2007 by Khlari

Apologies Sorry for the halting nature of this narrative…….my bane-of-my-life PC is again ailing and in PC hospital as we speak….yes, the one that went wrong just out of guarantee, had shower gel poured in it, required a total rebuild including new motherboard and processor, and is STILL going wrong………………..aaaagh.

So where was I? Oh yes, getting lost on the way to Calais…..just as we entered the Somme again from the Aisne, torrential darn rain…..horizontal into the windscreen, winds nearly blowing Tigger off of the road….up into the Pas-de-Calais, where it got worse if anything…….We were going to stop in Calais on a present and nice food run to the hypermarkets, but a bit later we suddnly found ourselves pulling into passport control and it was too late. Whoops.

Bang goes my smelly cheese and Petits Lu. And wine, and Mayonnaise du Dijon……

So we get on an earlier ferry…As we get on, it is a little wobbly. Getting a cup of coffee I ask the bar guy how choppy it is out there… ‘comme-ci, comme-ca’. Now, I don’t get seasick, never have done. Arrgh Jim-lad, ’tis cos my family ‘as all bin mariners and I have me sea-legs. Remember going on boats before I could walk. Unfortunately, is rapidly becoming clear that Mr A doesn’t by the slightly luminous green hue of his face…..

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #5

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe on February 15, 2007 by Khlari

Fit the fifth..in which the Bakewell Tart may become evident…….

We eventually went back to the hotel and fell asleep, interrupted by phone calls from our friends and family, AD and D among others, until I took pity on Mr A and we headed off to the Leclerc cafeteria as he was again ‘fading away’………

The next morning we headed off back to Blighty with a double mission ahead……well triple really. To get to Calais, to visit my great-grandfather’s grave in the Aisne, and to get some pressies for people……

Left around 8, and fairly whizzed as far as Rouen this time, as we even managed to find the elusive A28 which had eluded us before…..up to Tours……and then on and on and on and on. I had looked this up on the War Grave Commission site, with directions…..and they went on, and on some more. First find P_____ we did, then the route took us back the way we came in……

Mr A ‘suggested’ that I could have asked the woman at the Peage on the motorway, not seeming to realise WE ARE IN THE SOMME….surrounded by war cemetries, and I happened to know this one was small………. then got annoyed when I mentioned that little fact. So we argued all the way there…. Mr A finally ignored the route given…and we found it. Every town we had been through was closed, and I hadn’t been able to get any flowers anywhere. In France they DON’T sell them in petrol stations………. The sun was settling, we were rattling down a narrow unlit cart track, but we were there.

I found Sydney eventually. He’s been there since 1917 with no-one visiting. Noticed with a little pang that he was the age I am now when he died. His son only died in 2005. But I had nothing to put on the grave, which upset me after coming all this way.

Mr A then said…something from home, and hared back to the car. Returning with a Bakewell Tart. There we were, two mad goths in the deserted graveyard at sunset in the back of beyond, and I was laughing and crying at the same time. Mr A said ‘A taste from home, thought he’d appreciate it’. He was, after all in the Nottingham and Derbyshire regiment, so it seemd oddly appropriate. So Sydney lies there with a Bakewell Tart to remember him by.

On to Calais……

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #4

Posted in child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Mizbah Rana, morecambe, pagan on February 15, 2007 by Khlari

I promise that I will get around to the Bakewell Tart eventually……..

So then the solicitor came and got me, and I had to leave Mr A behind and go up to see the judge. By this time I really was shaking, a lot. I was taken into a little room, where there was….. a judge and a solicitor. No husband. The judge then asked his solicitor whether he was coming. She mumbled that he had left an answerphone message that morning saying that he would not be attending, after telling her that he was the day before. Hmm I look at my solicitor and she looks at me. Evidently pissed again.

The judge then explained that this should be a conciliation process, with each of us giving our side of the story and our wishes. Then she turned to me saying

‘Madam, I understand that you have come from near the Scottish borders, and Monsieur had less that two kilometres to come. You had already written to me saying that you may not be able to attend on a financial level, and on an emotional level, yet you are here. He is not’

Then she got really cross and ferreted about in the Code Penale for ages, shouting things at his solicitor so she could only mumble back. Then she slammed the book shut.

She then asked me about what contact D____ had tried to have with his daughter in the last 4 years. I explained about no money, no contact, no birthday and Chrsitmas contact, and about M_______ refusing to speak French because she was so traumatised by her father’s behaviour.

The judge then explained that he would have to have a phased return…starting with letters and phone calls, and due to his behaviour, eventually in a contact centre. She agreed that there would be no question of me putting him up given his behaviour and the fact I have a new partner….She asked me how this would be arranged in the UK. I said that as I worked for Social Services, this could be arranged (which seemed to go down well). His solicitor claimed that he didn’t know where I was, didn’t have numbers etc……so I produced the emails between me and them proving the contrary.

Now the judge got in a really bad temper. She explained that as D_____ had demanded this case, and not turned up, he was in effect in contempt, and that no amount of excuses from his solicitor were going to get him out of this. She said that as I was asking for a declaration of incompetence of tribunal, I would get one, and declared herself incompetent to judge the case. So all judgement would have to go back to the UK.

She advised me to sue D_____ for damages for all the inconvenience of me turning up and him not bothering, and said that now if he wished to argue the point he would have to find HIMSELF an English solicitor and go and argue this in the UK.

She also finally pronounced on the Hague Convention ruling. She ruled that D_____had left it far too long to try and make a Hague Convention case, and that ha had run out of time, as she would consider M_____ now normally domiciled in the United Kingdom. So there would be no question of ‘returning’ her to her father or place of birth. Then she definitively closed the case, with a recommendation that it should never again be opened by a French court.

I really wanted to kiss that judge but thought it might be inadvisable as a) she was a woman, b) she was French, and c) she might just change her mind.

Came back down with the solicitors and talked to them for a while. Became evident his solicitor didn’t have a clue. Mine had whispered to me on the stairs on the way down ‘drunk again?’ His solicitor started arguing about contact. Told her he would have to have parenting and psychiatric assessments, as well as risk assessments before he was allowed anywhere near. ‘How do you know this’ she asked in a snotty BCBG kind of way looking down her nose……’Because I work in Child Protection’ , I said…..touche!!!!

We came out of the court feeling like a ten ton weight had been lifted from my shoulders……and around the sunny bay for a coffee……….

Catastrophes, Courts, Road Trips, Rain, Rouen and Bakewell Tarts #3

Posted in creative / writing on February 15, 2007 by Khlari

La la la, where was I…yep, in the bath draining the contents of the minibar……good place to be and getting more nervous by the minute….took ages to drift off into a fitful sleep until I was awakened by the 6am alarm call…….. Mainline coffee for a while, then to the preparartions. Heck, I’m a goth, and this is the most important performance of my life. Secondly as ex husband in a suit usually wriggles around and bears more of a resemblance to the defendant than anything, always better to unnerve him.

Back up and began to turn myself into that scary thing known as executive-goth, smart but slightly terrifying around the edges. Red and black fishtail pinstripe suit, check.Red top. Check. Pentacle in place, say it out loud, I’m Pagan and I’m Proud. Straighten hair for that Morticia vibe. Enormous diamond engagement ring (lent by Mr A’s mum for that paranoia-giving life-goes-on message). Impeccable and immovable red lipstick, high-heeled boots and we’re ready to go. Mr A co-ordinating in red and black with more than a touch of the mafioso about him. Good. Scarier the better. Am now to the point of shaking. A lot.

I am not scared of courts. Especially when I haven’t actually done anything really bad. Or lawyers. They have a degree in law, I have one in English……. What I am terrified about is seeing my ex again after four years despite all my bravado and big boots, he still scares me. I know that I am going to have to go into a closed court with hm and Mr A will have to stay outside.

Eventually get to the court an hour early in a taxi. Much cigarette-smoking now required. Have to mention at this point that the French, simply in order to annoy me have changed the law regarding smoking. This week. No smoking in bars and restaurants. Especially to annoy me. Have another cigarette to calm myself down. Or ten.

Tell the office that we are there, then wait, and wait, and wait. 9 o’clock comes and goes, no sign of my solicitor (the one that I have not met yet who is pleading the plea bundle that the Parisian Barrister had prepared for me…) No sign of my husband either (yes readers, the one I am still married to although I am living with Mr A and have not seen for four years…). Great.

Back to the court office, where they told me that my solicitor was there, and that she was with his solicitor and the judge, and that this practice was normal in France…….