Thursday 1 July 2010

Up on the Roof

One day at the care home where I had the misfortune to be employed for a period of time, we were having another particularly difficult time with Liam the unfriendly giant.

On this particular day, Liam was trying to climb out on to the roof of the three storey house in which he was being accomodated in and rewarded for his feral ways by the state. Allowing Liam to play on the roof was deemed to conflict with our duty of care towards him so myself and two other Support Workers were wrestling with Liam to prevent him from getting up on to the roof and potentially falling to an early demise and thus never realising his adult potential as a future inmate of one of her majesty's salubrious penal establishments.

However, Liam viewed our intervention not as a display of our concern for his physical well-being, but rather as an interference of his right to do what he wants and also as a power struggle between himself and authority figures; a battle he has almost always won with threatening and violent outbursts.

Anyway, one of the other project workers, Dean, and myself managed to hold Liam's legs so he couldnt climb on to the roof. As he is a strong lad he managed to struggle free a few times and lash out a few kicks, but luckily we backed off in time so they didnt connect. However, in between us trying to restrain him and his kicking out, the third support worker present, Jim, managed to secure the lock on the skylight window which Liam had been attempting to climb out. This outcome didn't go down too well with Liam and threats of violence ensued, of which I was the main recipient.

"I know which fu**ing room you sleep in Winston and tonight when you are in there asleep I'm going to kick the f**king door in and mash you up and there wont be anything you can do about it."

I simply ignored his comments and daydreamed about enticing Liam out on to the roof by taking the lock off the skylight window on the thirdfloor and leaving it wide open and pouring goosefat all over the roof tiles.


Jim said...

I have read your blog for a while and I must say a big thamk you for doing this.

My now Ex-wife lived in this type of accommadation for several years and even though I am fairly certain that you were not at her house, I recognise so many of the people you describe. It has opened my eyes to what her problems musr have been.

Again thank you

jdub said...

Hmmm, yes, you could become the Black Nurse of public housing!

A bit of grease on a pitched roof...

a rollerskate left at the top of a steep set of stairs...

Who left the toaster-oven by the tub? Merciful heavens, if only we'd been allowed to impose our oppressive mores of cleanliness and tidiness, these terrible accidents wouldn't keep happening!

Along these lines, I strongly recommend you either watch or read the screenplay/story for the Twilight Zone episode entitled
"We have what you need."
Cheers, Winston.
(Knowing wink)

Anonymous said...

The actual title of the story jdub recommends is "What you need". It's by Henry Kuttner.

Anonymous said...

Another great posting.

I have to confess to having these thoughts with some of the young people I work with!!!!!! But never acted on my impulses..... Although the Goose fat sounds a classic !!! LOL

Keep the posts coming Winston.

Jackson said...

It's a strange situation isn't it? I understand the bind. An idiot fending for himself will probably be killed eventually either by another idiot who will in turn be namby pambied by the state. Or else killed by a reasonable person who will be pilloried for political incorrectness first and murder second.

You can do nothing unless you operate with extreme stealth and implacable resolve.

TonyF said...

I suggest letting the twat onto the roof, then shutting all roof access from the inside.

What shouting? I hear nothing. Ohh look, it's starting to rain.

English Pensioner said...

It may be wrong, but I'd have tried to restrain him, but allowed him to win.

Gitane said...

So your real ambition is to be judge AND executioner. Shame on you for the social charlatan that you are. You are no better than the unfortunates that you criticise.

Lilyofthefield said...

Well don't just leave me dangling! Did he come in and mash you or not? Or did he slide to an untimely and tragic end?

Anonymous said...

Personally I think he is already damaged beyond all hope, and now the main aim of the state should be to protect others (inclusing yourself) from his abuse. At some stage he could probably be turned around, but I fear no longer.

My ex partner was serially sexually abused by relatives, and then "rented out" to other paedophiles as a child prostitute, but then through the love of good AND strict foster parents, she has managed to overcome many of her problems, ultimately going into social work herself, where she is now a successful professional helping to turn other people's lives around.

This kind of outcome is impossible in the kind of "care" situation you describe, which is nothing of the kind, and in fact condemns the residents to the worst lives imaginable.

The system is broken from the very bottom up.

The state that encourages unsuitable parents to have children to fulfill some lack in themselves and promises to pay for it, is the start of the failing, and it just gets worse from there on.

I enjoy reading your blog, though much of what you write absolutely horrifies me as I am fortunate to have had a priviledged upbringing.

When I first discovered it, in a single sitting I devoured every post you had made so far, thinking of my ex partner and just amazed at how she had emerged from it the diamond that she became.

I admire you and feel your frustration, and only hope that this horrifying situation will someday (soon) change.

You have my respect.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Thanks for all your comments even the ones I dont agree with. Criticism is valid at times and I have learned much in my life from keeping an open mind.

Just one or two things. A note to those who take every word I write as evidence of my intentions or how I interact with the young people/kids in care I work with. Whilst Liam may have annoyed me to the point of wanting to give him a deserved smack I would never do so, mainly for the legal consequences, he actually could do with a limited and regulated form of corporal punishment for his extreme and dangerous outbursts of aggression.

Secondly, I wouldnt actually want to rub goosefat on the tiles and let the lad out there to fall to his death. For the millionth time that part of the anecdote was cathartic i.e. injecting some humour in to the scenario to relieve stress and tension. Writing it doesnt mean I want to or will set Liam up to have a fatal accident. This is the last time I explain that having these humorous thoughts doesnt mean I want to do it in reality. Why do so many people that email me not get this? There are shades of meaning and irony in much that is written by myself and others.

WinstonSmith33 said...


Neither my friend but the next day he was back to abusing the staff and getting away with it as always. Thanks for taking the time to comment.



Anonymous said...

Winston, don't take it personally, some people are just lacking a sense of humour I think it was obvious in the way it way written that you had no intention to actually do it but an idle musing to help you cope with a very difficult situation.

Personally I admire your constraignt, I am a lesser person and would have probably let things run their course perhaps an injury would make him think twice about putting his life in danger.

Dack said...

I think we need to get away from the word 'punishment' and start talking about consequences. (Not a goosefatted plummet from several floors up, of course - you've got to draw the line somewhere...)!

It's the same in teaching - done f' all for the last four years despite us giving you all the support you need to succeed? No worries, we'll give up time we haven't got to make sure you get that grade the league table stats say you're capable of (otherwise we'll suffer the consequences of you getting the grades you actually deserve and have Ofsted knocking on the door to remind us of your 'rights' and our 'responsibilities' and put us under 'special measures').

If we're not teaching them about the consequences of their actions (or inaction) what's the bloody point?

Anonymous said...

You let it all out Winston!

As someone who has just started in the field I can see there is very little support and supervision for staff to work through what they are exposed to - let it all out here.....

Adoor Man said...


I like your blog and have put you in my blog-roll.
I hope this is ok with you.


A Door Man

Rans Stodd said...

Anyway it would have been a waste of some very nice and expensive goose fat!!