Wednesday, 18 June 2014

'The Welly's' Mission Statement

A table painted for my daughter for her 3rd birthday. Still going strong.
Well, you'd not expect me to be ENTIRELY wordless every Wednesday would you? Erm, no. Anyhows dear hearts, last night I had a cracking blether with a lovely lass whom I don't know very well, but hope to know better in the future, she appears to be a keeper (and a fellow 'dyslexian').  Always fine to have a yarn with someone else who's struggled with writing and reading the way that I have, too. There's no embarrassment, just sharing. I like that. Not that I'm generally embarrassed by not really being able to read outloud or construct a 'sensible' sentence, but somewhere deep inside there's always shame. Even if 'sensible sentences' are highly over rated in my opinion. Perhaps from years of mis-edcuation and that dreadful being asked to share with the class, who knows where that squeamish feeling comes from. It still lurks, like the stuff that slips down the back of the fridge, scowling at you, whilst you stand by momentarily helpless. Then you remember, you do have muscles and a fine cloot to hand. We're never truly helpless if we help ourselves.

Anyway back to the point, all I know for sure these days is that we all learn differently and we're probably all the more interesting for it. So if I mix up my possessive pronouns or get me spelling wrong, enjoy the ride, I'm so over grammatical correctness. If my words are 'insulting to your eyeballs' (one of the most disgusting bits of negative feedback I've ever had my studies from a 'mentor'. Educators (or bad ones) have a lot to answer for in my opinion, and no I didn't get my PhD, I have a bonnie 'pair' of masters instead - no thanks to my tutors efforts). [excuse mini rant on an otherwise cheerful post]

So getting back to the point, if I offend with my poor sentences, I apologise and I'd suggest, quite kindly, that your eyeballs look elsewhere for fodder. I'm dyslexic. I don't mean to offend with my grammatical fopars (faux pas), sloppy spelling, badly constructed sentences. Mostly my brains just not wired the right way to notice many of my mistakes, and often, lets be honest, I just don't care. Simple. Life's too short to be prostrate on the floor agonising over a lack grammatical prowess. I'll probably never win an award for debating that's for sure, big words flummox me and by the time I've looked up my dictionary (Mr Google), I'll have lost the argument. Yes I'm educated, and I'm lucky I have a nice family, I do something I love and no, sorry I write badly and I really can't read out loud. I can often misinterpret written words/statements and meanings like a beast. I often don't 'get it' and often need help. I'm happy to ask for it now. I use all these 'tools' in my professional life and a bit of nifty software, so sometimes I even hold down 'work' and get paid for it too.
Iris wilsonii - Gardening Scotland 2001
I've come clean on this before of course, but its always lurking in the background, festering. This is when I told my kids I couldn't read out loud, they were ace about it all. Nice that they are like that, they decided to keep me as a mother, for now. There is shame though, and slowly I'm working through it. Does it matter, not really, so I wonder where the inner shame comes from? And, probably why I've taken to study plants and botanical Latin as no one picks you up on your dodgy spelling and can't pronounce most things anyway!

These days, I use the useful strategy of trying to avoid reading out loud, I'd rather skin a crocodile. If you're ever unlucky enough to be in a class of mine, you'll find me using lots of visual aids and short bullets (points not guns I hasten to add, no student deserves to die of anything but boredom in my class). Yes I'll give comprehensive written notes, well proof read so even those with proper eyes don't get muddled by my illogical horticultural inspired ramblings and muses, but you'll not find me reading a script. I just can't do it. No offence to those 4 year old darlings trying to read, but I sound a lot like you, just more wrinkles and freckles I'm afraid, not so cute. Although at 4, man I was cute!
Always a gardener at heart.
Anyway's enough of the haivers on that. To the point. This new chum asked me about 'the welly's' and what it was, as this blog is often referred to (especially as I'm sharing lots on facebook too) - so I confessed to haivering and to the dyslexic brain I owned and we shared stories. After that more questions about the blog. What was it for? A job? Work? It's just 'haivers', I replied. I started it after my diagnosis as a 'way' of beginning to try and write again, to regain confidence, shot to bits by PhD writing (or lack of decent writing). After a diagnosis its odd, relief, tears, understanding, denial, shock (I'm a good student, how could I not know), and mainly relief. Life still makes little sense to me, but now I can think outside the box, ask for help and not worry for it.
Bread birthday cake, why not. Plough your own furrow. I don't like cake, I like bread, I like birthdays.
Well some of those things do come along as a consequence of it I guess, haivers can sometimes be productive. Especially when you've been terrified to even write hello without wondering if you've written it right. Yes! The welly blog about just letting the inner words out, musing on nonsense and alike, sharing. However, I guess if it had a mission statement, I guess it would be about getting out there and enjoying life. 

Splashing in puddles.
Having sand in your toes.
Cartwheeling in your wedding dress (thanks Jane!).
Friendship and Family. Both with a capital F.
About enjoying each moment we're around.
Reveling in the small stuff.
Tackling the big stuff.
And being outdoors.
Smiling and laughing when you can.
About being alone, but not lonely, knowing lots of folks somewhere else might read your silly antics.
About love and family.
About living responsibly.
And, about ploughing your own furrow. (And you'll bet I had to look up both 'plough' and 'plow' to know which one to use - this vocabulary lark is very confusing.  I simply don't care for Homophones they are the devils work to a dyslexic. And, don't even get me started on that random 'i before e except after c' rule.....grr)

There's the welly's mission statement right there -
 'Living responsibly, enjoying life and not wasting a second of it. And, haivers.'

And, nope I'm still not reading that lot out loud. I'm off in the garden for me tea break, raspberries won't pot themselves after all.

Enough of my haivers. And, if you see lots of mistakes, be a dear and pop that red pen in the bin, it helps no one. Use a nice green friendly one if you've a mind. I love the Inelegant Gardeners blog, you should pop by. Maybe mine should change to the Ineloquent Gardener or most likely Inelegant - although I always thought of myself as un-elegant.............

Have a good un!

PS I also had a good natter about tree growth in Orkney and hyper-oceanic climates and paludification (cannae say that out loud or spell it properly either) yesterday, so hats off to us dyslexics who probably sit for hours attempting to read all sorts, including papers, with dictionaries open too, you can't say we're not determined little buggers when it comes to learning. Braw that blether was too, thanks Mr Tense.

Dyslexia affects everyone differently and affects folks confidence and potential to shine. More about dyslexia here.

You'll find a good amount of support and help from various dyslexic associations around the world. Our Scottish lads and lasses helping us poor muddled-brained-loons here at Dyslexia Scotland.

I got my diagnosis at 42 after a good bout of 'normal' further education, a masters and a decent job. Its different for all of us.  Never too late to get help/support for it all, if you've a mind.


  1. Very well said, I love your mission statement and list of things to live by, sounds very like mine. Live life, explore, love, laugh, get as much out of life as you can no matter what you get thrown at you, stand up, walk on and smile. Haivers are great, I love your posts and blogs, especially about moving, as I'm in the same boat. Good luck in East Fife, its a beautiful place (I'm half Fifer lol). Rona (aka The Quirky Bird Gardener)

    1. Quirky Bird goodluck for your move too - I hope it goes well, leaving gardens and lives isn't easy is it. I like the sound of your mission statement too. I'm Dundonian but don't tell the folks in the Kingdom, they might not let me back in here.

  2. Just knowing you is an education in itself. Bread over cake? Really? Wow!

    1. Mr Intense, I'm not sure if you're joking there or not, but thank you I think :) Bread always wins over cake as cheese does over chocolate.

  3. My brother is dyslexic and although he was younger than you when it was diagnosed he was still in his final year at school so he always felt it "came too late". When he was younger he struggled massively - I watched this fantastically intelligent human being terrified of being "found out". This had such a profound effect on me that it was a major influence in my decision to become a special needs teacher. I felt if I could help one person overcome their feelings of inadequacy when struggling to make sense of written language then I could feel successful. It is an uphill struggle though to get some people to accept that dyslexia is a real difficulty but is in no way a reflection of a lack of intelligence.

    1. Linda you sound like a star. My tutors laughed at my sentences, I've never been so humilated in my life than at grown men reading out my words and cackling. I salute your good work and that you've been inspired by your brother is a real inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  4. It makes me sad and angry, reading your post. The awful waste, the numbers of intelligent people who grew up, feeling branded by reading problems! I was a secondary school English teacher, trained to teach language and literature to pupils who were presumed to be able to read to a certain level. This did not always work. Obviously. I met many young people who were achieving so much less in the system than I knew they were capable of achieving. I was about half-way through my career before the research began to show just what was going on, and to give us some tools to help. You would have been coming through the system just at this time of change.

    It is a bit better now, but it still depends on getting a correct diagnosis and proper, skilled help. It doesn't make the difficulty go away, but it gives coping skills. But of course, this all depends on school funding, and what is in fashion at the time. At the moment New Zealand, where I live, seems to be more concerned with continually 'assessing' pupils than with helping them with specific difficulties. Bad and sad.

    I started following your blog because of the joy in nature, in gardening, and in living that comes through like sunshine. By the time I left teaching, we were 'allowed' to allocate marks for correctness, but did not have to fail a piece of writing that was full of style, enthusiasm, and intelligence just because there were major technical problems. You know, I honestly hadn't noticed that you had any writing problems!

    1. Lynne thank you for taking the time to reply. I think that you're right its such an awful waste and demoralising for some folks to feel like you're very different if you can't really read/write in the appropriate manner. Diagnosis and skilled help is such a great way forward. I'm lucky my support teacher was fabulous. Sounds like you're a good one yourself. I'm glad you like the enthusiasm we like to lob out here. Its a joy to be doing it and experiencing life outdoors to the full. Thank you again for posting.