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Littles & Bigs

November 16, 2014

When I was a kid, my Auntie Rose had a cleaning job for a local doctor, Dr Pragnell. He was our GP but he also had a very successful private practice which afforded a grand house in one of the posher parts of Southall. I used to call it the mansion. It probably wasn’t but to my 10 year old eyes it was mightily impressive. For four weeks during the summer holidays, the doctor took his family to Cowes (yes – they had a yacht) and my auntie took me with her to work. What a place! They had a gypsy caravan in the garden where I’d go to eat my wagon wheel. I used to spook myself by going into the consulting rooms with the skeletons hanging in the corner. My favourite room was the children’s playroom. It was bigger than the whole of the ground floor of my house. It had a dolls house with a roof garden and a swimming pool in it.

One day, I spotted a door at the back of the playroom. I went through it and discovered a library of solely children’s books. Thousands of them! It was here that I came across a collection of books about the Cherrys. They were derivative of the Famous Five but what marked them as different to the Blyton characters was that the grown ups got involved in the adventures too. The kids were called “The Littles” and the adults were “The Bigs”. Inevitably the Littles solved the mystery before the Bigs. I was totally inspired by the Cherrys and set up my own gang that went about solving perplexing mysteries. Once we found a box of clothing coupons from the war dumped down an alley and set out to find their owner. For our mission, we decided we needed to be in disguise. I dressed as a tramp whilst Gary Saunders wore my Auntie Hilda’s old crimplene coat and Ascot hat.

Reading through an old exercise book, I was reminded of one of our cases. My neighbour, Miss Twinnie’s budgie escaped one day and we swore to track it down. Here is my 11 year olds’ report:

” Saw Mr Hutch from the cafe. Told him to put him posters of Bluey in his window. Went to the police station and told PC Walker to have his eyes peeled. Trevor’s mum took me to the town hall to tell the Mayor but he’d gone out, so we had a sausage roll instead…….”

Reading this back, the name dropping is shameless. Shit – I was a mini Sir Stephen Bubb. Read any of his blogs and you know who he met and what he ate but precious little of what he did. His writing makes him sound 10 at times. The difference between us is that I was tasked with finding a budgie, whilst he is tasked with rescuing thousands of people from ATUs. Bubb is clearly a Big but sounds like a Little.

They’re all in it. By they, I mean all the big players in the social care world. Today in the Sunday Times (theres no point liking to it as it’s behind their paywall) there’s the dreadful story of Lisa, who was first reported in the Three Lives report, several months back. It’s an odd article because it doesnt really focus on Lisa but reads more like The Bigs, The CBF & Mencap blowing their own trumpets. Neither rescued Lisa but they’ve both got plenty to say, after the event. Like Bubb, they announce rather than do.

When I do stuff for #LBBill, I often feel like a Little. The DofH are the Bigs. I know where that comes from. After all, like Bill & Ben, I could only come out to play as a kid when the Bigs went off to Cowes. But then I remember the Cherrys and in every book, it was the Littles who got things done and solved the problem.

  1. Janet permalink

    You are so right, the ‘littles’ chipping away are the ones who ultimately make the difference and drive changes for the better

  2. Weary Mother permalink

    I have read the report.
    WOW! if only? We can hope that all the actions are carried through, we can hope only that we ‘littles’ ‘experts by experience’ (who thought that one up?) will be permitted by the ‘biggies’ to have a real place round our table. It is is an upside down world where the people who take most and put in least have all the power and all the praise. An Alice in wonderland where the world stops to listen to people who are paid to have their ego stroked.

    I sat in a church recently where the play ‘Journeys End’ was performed by a wonderful theatre group of actors all with learning disabilities. At the end of this very powerfully moving play,a man with Down’s and physical disabilities was the sole surviving soldier in a small village, coming home up the road from the war. His wife slowly moves up the aisle to welcome him home. In the background a line of the villages dead soldiers, each with a supporting hand on the others shoulder, moved across the stage. The last post sounded quietly in the background. Earlier I saw one actor about to sit on a chair that was unstable, another actor seamlessly made the chair safe as his fellow sat down. Beautiful.

    A pin could have dropped as that soldier came home in a theatre full of proud and moved to tears every day anxious and fearful proud to bursting, families and friends.

    Beat that Mr Bubb.

    That soldier, coming home, spoke for us all.

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