Starting at the top, so to speak, Mum is still going strong on her own at Merryvale Avenue. She is becoming much more unsteady and losing confidence but she is at last accepting help from Social Services in the form of attendance at a Falls Prevention Class and home visits from a chiropodist and a hairdresser. Her eyesight is not so good now but there doesn’t seem to be a solution to that. Thank goodness she now wears her emergency button. Of course the house and garden are impossible for her. A gardener comes from the council sometimes but not often enough. We are reconciled to the fact that she is going to stay there and just hope that it can be made safe for her.
Joanna and John are still in Oz but thinking of making some changes. They were on the brink of buying a new house with government grants when they discovered that, being self-employed, John had to have 2 years’ tax returns, so that fell through. It turned out to be a lucky escape as he was made redundant just as we arrived in March. It took quite a time before he found something permanent again as brickies are no longer on Australia’s ‘most wanted’ list – apparently it’s hairdressers who are needed now. As they are not full citizens yet he had no help at all and the government have now said that you have to be resident for 4 years instead of 2 before you can take the citizens’ exam. Fortunately Jo is unlikely to ever be out of work but she had been cutting back the hours in preparation for starting their family.
As for Emily, working in the construction industry here has been pretty nerve-wracking but one way or another the Livingston depot has been able to pare itself down and survive – so far. It has meant more responsibility and more hours to get the work done but she has risen to it. With neither Emily nor Richard able to change jobs, she and Richard have bought a lovely one and a half storey detached stone house in Stonehouse, just off the M74. Richard sold his flat in Prestwick very easily and they moved in in August. Emily’s flat needed a bit of damp work doing to make the Home Report look good so she is just about to put it on the market now. The commute for both is not ideal but this is not the time to go job-hunting. Emily has also taken on two kittens, Bourneville and Cocoa, who rule the house. Hope Lodge is going to be a lovely home for them.