Thursday, 9 June 2016

Would you, please, help The Little Family? - continued

First and foremost, I want to thank you. To thank you all and each of you who have taken time to read my last long post. To thank you who have shown that you cared by clicking on the "like" key. To thank you who have written a comment, an encouragement, a sign of indignation, ideas to help. 
You may not imagine how much of a comfort these signs of support may be. The sudden feeling that what we live is really not normal; that, yes, things ought to be done to change the situation; that these inertia and negativity are not to be borne without a word; that we have a right to live normally; and that what we ask is not extraordinary but the facts and deeds of any life.
Thank you.
Since my cry for help, two days ago, I have received news from a French non governmental organisation that I had contacted. It is called l'Office chrétien des persones handicapées (OCH - Christian Office for Handicapped Persons) and is situated in Paris. You don't have to be a Christian to appeal to it, although we are Roman Catholics. This Organisation listens to people who have problems either because they are handicapped or because they are family or friends or relatives of handicapped people. It has a legal counseling small department as well: I have been given the name and email address of a legal advisor upon whom I have called today.
Being Roman Catholic, I also emailed the services in charge of the care of “the ill and disabled/handicapped” of our local bishopric in Périgueux. They may show spiritual concern but also material help, indicating local charities. These might help in turn in giving alms to do the great spring/summer cleaning of the house and the cutting of the grass. Thank you for pointing to me the resource of charities of which I had not thought.
I have emailed Anne-Fleur's financial administrator for the nth time, stating our needs once more, as I have stated them to you. I have received the receipt that says that the email has been opened but this is automatic: I have no answer, even an acknowledgement of the email.
The Head of the local Agency that provides the "Socialising/ Shopping/Cleaning Lady" and should be providing the team of cleaning ladies and the gardener is on holidays for the week. If she were to give an answer, that would not be before next week.
Things cannot evolve with lightening speed. But they have moved in two days - largely thanks to you. I was disheartened when I wrote the last post: I feel better today and when I feel better, The Girls feel happier. 
We still need you, your presence, your ideas, your support, your suggestions, and your reassurance. 
Please, do not leave us now: we are at the beginning of the road towards normality. Please, still comment; at least, click on "like" to show you have read. And if you are kind enough, share on social media.
The Little Family thanks you.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Would you, please, give some help to The Little Family only by reading this?

This is a long entry with no illustration. Please, bear with it and read it till the end. It is important for Anne-Fleur, for me, for us. This is taken from my blog: 

No poppy today although this entry is once again related to the garden. Somewhat. Well. I shall try to make the issues clear, including the garden. If you understand, then, there is a chance the French administration may understand as well. And so, I shall use this entry as a basis for my correspondence with said administration.
Until her sixteenth year, Anne-Fleur was a minor dependent of her parents. When she was twelve, her father died and her mother received the full parental powers over her until her majority. Therefore, when she turned sixteen, Anne-Fleur was declared "incapable majeure" (incapable adult) and placed under the guardianship of the State. But the guardianship was delegated to her mother who remained de facto et de jure her guardian. She had all powers and duties of a parent plus one: all financial matter concerning Anne-Fleur should be endorsed by the Court in Périgueux. 
Anne-Fleur was declared incapable adult after psychiatric and medical evaluation. One knows that Down Syndrome is having a third chromosome added to the twenty-first pair and that this chromosome never disappears. Anyway, the French laws, rules, and regulations ask that this evaluation, medical and psychiatric, to determine that one person is still suffering from Down Syndrome, happen regularly every seven years. Don't ask me why. Anne-Fleur was born with Down Syndrome. She lives with Down Syndrome. She will die with Down Syndrome. But she must pass through the evaluation every seven years.
Each time she has been declared or confirmed incapable adult, she must go through another commission that is at the level of the State and the département. This board and another medical doctor determine the degree of her incapacity. The more she is incapable and the less she has revenues, the more she will "benefit" from a monthly allowance. This allowance has been determined nowadays at the amount of 782€.
While Anne-Fleur was living with her mother, nothing from the allowance was spent. Her mother paid everything. It is very difficult to calculate how much each person living in the same house spends on electricity, telephone, television, food, etc. Usually these expenditures are made communally. Therefore her mother estimated that xx€ were spent on food, xx€ were spent on electricity, etc. And accounts were produced to the Court that had nothing to do with the everyday real life because the everyday real life does not fit in administrative boxes.
When Anne-Fleur's mother felt she was ageing, she asked the Court to give the effective guardianship to her elder daughter, Anne-Fleur's sister. Papers were endorsed, signed, duly registered, and Françoise became her sister's guardian. Nothing changed at the financial level. 
When Francoise died, Anne-Fleur was now living with me. We went through the whole obstacle course of the medical and psychiatric evaluation. She was declared incapable adult once more but with high capacities. I was declared competent to take care of her but for the finances. More papers. Hearing of Anne-Fleur by the Court who asked her to sign a paper by which she recognised she was incapable (N.B. How can an incapable person validly recognise that she is incapable?) and that she accepted an appointed administrative guardian. Anne-Fleur did not understand a word of what was happening and told the Court it was stupid to spend a whole sheet of paper for three lines at the top: half a sheet would have been more reasonable.
Then, we went through the second obstacle course: that of the allowance. It was given: 782€ per month. The guardian decided that even as we had no other resources, Anne-Fleur would be allowed 220€ per fortnight. This is our sole "revenue". 
But...But Anne-Fleur being handicapped could "benefit" from hours to help her "socialise" with a lady who would take her out for "socialisation" (the notion is kept vague but may cover taking her for a walk, going to the library, going to see a film, etc.). Anne-Fleur has got three hours of socialisation per week.
I asked about the use of the "socialisation" hours for cleaning and gardening. But strictly speaking, this is impossible because these hours must be devoted to Anne-Fleur exclusively. 
However, if the cleaning, cooking, housekeeping, gardening (I mean keeping the environments of the house with cut grass, no more) are not done, the environment can be declared insalubrious and Anne-Fleur taken away from home.
And, letting alone the day-to-day life with 220€ per fortnight, here come the issues.
I drive. Fortunately, because we live in the countryside and we are two kilomètres away from the supermarket. The exhaust pipe is stalled and I cannot drive with it bumping under the car. I have signalled the fact to the financial administrator and asked for it to be mended. No answer. No use of the car. This happened six months ago. Six months of silence. The battery of the car is now discharged. More cost. Still silence.
As we need to eat and we need some other small things to live, the "socialisation" lady has become "the shopping lady". She drives Anne-Fleur and my shopping list supposedly during one hour on Tuesdays and two hours on Fridays (in fact, it is always less for evident reasons as she has to drive from house to house where she works and that takes a quarter of hour away from an hour) to the supermarket. When she is here. When she is not - at least once or twice per month - there is nobody and no way to make our shopping.
When I talked about a great spring house cleaning, there was a wholehearted yes by all instances. 
Now comes the question: who is going to clean and who will pay? 
As there has been three months that this issue is being discussed, I am beginning to tell the shopping lady that she will have to demean herself to cleaning lady and help me. She does not like this at all and finds excuses not to do it. 
The most evident is that without her shopping, we shall not survive. And you remember that we cannot go shopping by ourselves because the car has been needing mending for six months.
So, we have: no money, no mending of the car, no shopping by ourselves, no help for cleaning.
As to cutting grass, there has been a clear "no" to it. We dare not open the french windows anymore and the paths and alleys are full of grass that goes knee high,but hours for cutting the grass would not be exclusively devoted to Anne-Fleur.
This is our daily life.
If you have come until then and understood that the French administration is full of paradoxes, please, click "I like" or, better, leave a comment. And I shall try once more to explain my issues of car, shopping, house and garden to said administration.
Thank you!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Poetry is honey for the soul (10) - Alison Hope


        Poetry is honey for the soul

Ali is a well-known blogger, "specialised" in book reviews. She has her own blog and writes daily about a new book (better than I do and makes me feel lazy...). Here is the address:

for the few of you who would not know her yet. She is connected with books: buying books, lending books, reading groups, reviewing books, participating in book groups, in book events, creating them sometimes. I cannot imagine her without a book near at hand! Which is certainly exaggerated as she loves flowers and many other things.
When I asked her if she wanted to contribute, she asked for some days of thought, then sent me the following poem, comment and illustrations. I was surprised to see "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening" by Robert Frost that Phillip had already chosen. For the foreigner that I am it seems one of these poems that haunt you all your life long - and I begin to fall under its spell myself.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer  
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

There were lots of poems I could (nearly did) choose for this, many deeper, seemingly more complex pieces than this. Yet I kept coming back to this poem, one I first heard probably as a child. I love the deceptive simplicity of the poem, yet the images it evokes remain, and tell a story – albeit a simple one. The reader is left wondering about where the traveller might be going – what are those promises – and to whom were they made?

The poem reminds me -always of my dad – he died eight years ago. I can remember him quoting – on several occasions, though what those occasions were I can’t recall – that final haunting stanza – so it is a poem I always associate with him. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016


The Little Family is having some problems.
There are still poems  to be published
they may not be as regularly as before.
Please, excuse us.
The Girls and I hope to be back soon.