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Thursday, January 05, 2012

While I was in Haywards Heath yesterday, hearing about Tufty getting hammered, Brighton Council were busy doing some DIY of their own. I came home from work last night to find that in the space of a few hours, they'd built four portacabins on the grass outside our flat...

For a moment, I thought we had gypsies. As mere residents, we obviously haven't been told what's going on, but the council came back today and erected a fifth one, before digging a hole and connecting it up to the electricity supply. So I think they're re-homing asylum seekers. Or preparing for a Hollywood film. It's like having a row of Winnebagos parked outside.

That wasn't the only momentous thing which happened yesterday though. It was also Amelie's first ever day at nursery. And needless to say, there were tears. Not when she got there, but when she had to go home. It was only an hour-long settling-in session, but they had a water play area with ponies, which is pretty much everything Amelie wants in life. Frankly she was in hog heaven, and Lisa could barely drag her out of there.

They returned today for settling-in session number two, and Amelie's already made a best friend called Mandy. A lot of toddlers can be selfish with their toys, but apparently Mandy came and she gave without taking.

Unfortunately, the shine's been taken off the situation entirely by the news we received this morning, which is that despite having registered Amelie solely for the fifteen free hours a week she's entitled to by law (in fact, she'll only be there for twelve), the nursery's going to charge us almost fifty pounds a month anyway. It seems that the hours you do are irrelevant, and nobody gets away without paying. As Lisa was told this morning "We'd go out of business if everyone just had the free hours and paid nothing".

In addition, the government entitlement is for 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year (to tie-in with school term times), so we assumed we'd just keep her at home in the holidays. Apparently not. The nursery have said she'll lose her place if she doesn't attend throughout August. And if she attends throughout August, we'll be paying the full fees.

So we're not very happy. Especially as Amelie won a place there six months ago, and they've waited until she's started, fallen in love with the place, and made a new friend, before telling us it's going to cost us big time. Naturally we're looking for someone to blame, and it appears we may have found him. It's all David Cameron's fault.