Within two years of qualifying as a Social Worker at Croydon I began supervising students on the course. These were one at a time until one of the established tutees gave up to become a Director of Social Services elsewhere. in mid-course. By this time I was conducting the weekly Experiential Group designed to facilitate learning what it was like to be a member of a group and how roles were established. Wolf asked me to take on another student. I agreed, as long as I was able to choose one who I knew from the group. Pointing out the name of Carole, who was to become a lifelong friend, I said “As long as I can have that one”.
I should explain that these tasks were undertaken in time I that, to some extent, balanced out considerable extra hours worked as first a Deputy, then as Area Manager in Westminster.
Later, when I had a vacancy for a Team Leader and Carole was ready for the post, she applied for and gained, a post heading the team in which she had been a student.
Rats, as we well know, can be friendly and loyal pets. This is not necessarily the case. When we lived in Soho’s Chinatown the story was rather different. In London you are said to be never more that a few metres from a rat. In this area, where the sun never sets on restaurants, it was more likely centimetres. We had very thick window frames and one very stout window box. We wondered what could be gnawing its way through this seasoned timber. Our friend Carole Littlechild, one night provided the answer. Asleep on the floor in the sitting room she had been disturbed by the patter of tiny footsteps. Across her face. It was indeed a rat.
Carole has, for most of her life, owned a horse. The one we knew was April. This was the only time I ever became a fleeting equestrian.
There is no doubt that Jessica, Carole, Matthew, Becky, and Michael all had better seats than I.