Thursday, 30 April 2009


While trying to write an article about my fury that Camden Council has earmarked 500 council properties for rental by fat cats in the private sector, which are not the same 500 properties they have earmarked for sale by auction,
I've emailed a letter to the 'needs and access director' begging her to consider my bid for a property in Kentish Town.

Under the specifications for the flat it says that candidates who have children under 5 living above the 2nd floor and those with overcrowding points will be prioritised.

I have a six year old on the 6th floor who has outgrown his buggy but still gets carried around on a baby seat on the back of my bicycle.
I'm not eligible for overcrowding points because I am 'homeless'

I also told her I still hadn't received a reply to the letter I sent to the Chief back in March......
And that a few weeks ago a family (?) got housed with fewer points than me despite only being on the waiting list for two years.....

You want to give up hope down here and dare to dream but you just can't because your children need you.

oh perhaps I should just stick my head between my legs and kiss my arse goodbye (Fascinating Aida)

Monday, 27 April 2009


I've been quiet on the blog because quite frankly, I can't be arsed.
I'm not procrastinating, I'm procarsetinating.
Yes, makes me sound like a posh southerner when I say it aloud to friends so I say:
"I'm procrarsetinating cos I can't be arsed. Those that can't be arsed procrarsetinate."
Makes procastinate sound like something donkeys do and well, donkeys are more commonly recognised as work animals.
So there you have it.
Pro-crarse-ti-nate: To defer action; delay

Monday, 20 April 2009

Playing or Fighting?

In Barcelona it was inevitable that Luke and I would talk about Shit School. We talked quite alot about it. He hated it but for different reasons to me. At the end of my stay he said:
"It was a prison but I learnt to play the system, I became house captain, was captain of the 1st 11 cricket team. Those teachers, they were prisoners too and they are still there. We aren't.
"You. You did what you're doing now. You fought the system, just like you're fighting the system now. You'll get out."
"At what cost though Luke?"

That's the thing with this battle of mine. I'll "win" it in the end. I'll get housed in the end, whenever that "end" may be. But what's the prize? Some flat in some crime ridden shit estate? It's why I'm writing the blog though, so that you know just a bit of what so many people go through.

I'm also wondering if I should leave London. I don't want to, I shouldn't have to but I guess I'm just scared
For my son.

'This day marks the beginning of the rest of your life'

'Treat it with respect.' So said my horoscopes when I read it in my inbox. "Oh wow!" thought I. For this morning, little old me was on her way to Sainsbury's to get some food in the house, and thought "hmmm, perhaps I should drop into the GP to see if they have a walk in centre."

You see, Barcelona was fabulous. Barcelona was beyond fabulous. How to start telling you about it now, living as I did in the centre of the old town, walking its cobbled streets, gazing at the gothic cathedrals, strolling to the beach, seeing the boats, the life I lived once, well to start telling you this I just don't know how.

The bars you can smoke in, so many of them, so many....the Champaneria where you rub shoulders with the locals as you eat sandwiches and sup cava (at 3 euros a bottle!), the tapas bar which looked like a converted front room where we were told to try Galician wine which turned out to be cider, well again, don't know where to start.

Old Shit School Acquaintance? Again, stories attached to this but in short, we got on like a house on fire. A wooden house on fire that is. Oak, old, strong.

I didn't bring a raincoat did I? Left my cagoul on the chair in the living room thinking "nah, it'll be sunny in Spain." Only it wasn't. Well it was, but not everyday. On my fourth day, Luke had to work and I was going to stuff myself with Gaudi, as though he was a cheese. Pitter patter dropped the rain. Luke walked with me to get a map and I suggested we have a little coffee while he told me other good places to go. Pitter pitter patter patter.

We went into his shop. The recession has hit him and his business partner and he had to sack his sales assistant. He felt my being there would lesson his anger at the young man 'taking the piss'. Well quite frankly, I told him, If I were told I was going to lose my job I'd roll in late too and take extra long lunches to boot etc etc (which is why I've always been given my marching orders on the day no doubt, no warnings for me.)

Luke offered to lend me a jacket, and a very nice jacket it was too. Tight fitting around the waist, very urban, a million pockets and a great big hood to catch the pitter patter that was to fall ALL day.

I walked and walked and walked some more, very grateful that when I got to Parc Guell it was raining quite hard so I could be grateful my son wasn't with me, instead of wishing he was. Rested my tired limbs in a little bar off the Plaza de la Revolucion where I had a cup of tea (four nights on the sauce, I needed it).

When I got back to the shop, Luke said I could keep the jacket. "Really? Really truly?" It retails for 210 euros hence the enormous amounts of 'really'. But get this!!! His friend Marianne, a lovely Chilean stylist, was off to the Wrangler factory to get some samples to give out to bar staff and such and on Thursday night, when I appeared in the shop ready to go to a burlesque evening she says "I have a little present for you."

Inside the bag were three pairs of jeans! One dark skinny, one cream skinny, and one regular straight leg. Two mini skirts, one my mother would prefer I wore and the other I loved and two shirts!!!! She got me out of my drab black wrap dressed and 'styled' me for the Taboo evening. Ooh ooh baby.

Which brings me back to the trip to my GP this morning. I have a rather generous bottom. I squeezed my ample arse into the dark skinny's and well, the day after I fly back to England, I have thrush. Oh I never have bubble baths because I'm just too sensitive and well, I'm guessing my bits couldn't breath in the skinny's.

Oh suffering suffragettes, I've been on fire down there all week. It did not spoil my fun in Manchester seeing Skinner again. On Friday we went to the Footballer's Arms, an old style pub of yesterday, with patterned carpets heaving with not hot young men. We sank pints and laughed our heads off as though we'd only gone for a pint the week before, not 15 years ago. I even puked up in her toilet when we got home and her husband heard the lot so I couldn't pretend I got it in the bowl on my first hurl (tried my best to clean it up though but her daughter still found splatters on the radiator the next morning. "What's that mummy?" Not my crowning moment)

So yes, today, first full day back in London. My son went to play with his friend and I thought I'd take the opportunity to go to Sainsbury's and ended up in a walk in clinic on Tottenham Court Road having a 'full screen'.

Following the rapes, I never got tested. For anything. I was too scared. I was dirty, damaged disgusting. I just didn't want to know. Every 'invasion' was an invasion. My god, just having my dilation checked during labour stopped the contractions for four hours. That's where therapist has been very helpful indeed in recent times. They took blood tests, I had my legs in stirrups. Next week I find out if I have syphillis. I'll make light of that to the few friends I tell. I won't make any jokes about HIV though. I hope I am clean. I swallowed my pill for the thrush and still made it to Sainsbury's before I got my boy back.

Barcelona and Manchester. A fantastic break I've had. A much needed break from London and the bucket I live in. It will carry me for some time. Going out with such little money as so overdrawn but coming back with amazing memories and a whole new wardrobe worth at least £400.

I've come back in credit too. Amazing I know but it would appear the child tax credit revenue have realised they didn't 'overpay' me so have returned the money they took which they shouldn't have. I called them this morning to make sure they haven't made a mistake (well I don't want to be paying back £300 because their finger hit the wrong button).

So I smiled when I read my horoscope for I thought "yes little lady, this day marks the beginning of your life. Treat yourself with respect."

Onwards I charge

Friday, 3 April 2009


I packed my son's bags this morning in an adrenalin fuelled rush before taking him to school. I couldn't face it last night, I felt too emotional.
In the afternoon I bumped into Muslim mum in the playground. I bump into her now and then and haven't seen her for a few weeks.
"How are you?" I asked.
The last time I saw her was a month ago at a housing forum meeting. She was there with her daughter.
"Four days later she die. She went to bed and didn't wake up."
Her 12 year old had come home from school, told her mum she had homework to do, sat down to dinner with her family, dad and two brothers, then had gone to bed.
"How? Did they do an autopsy?"
"Unexplained death," she replied.
She was her only daughter. All I could say was that I was so so sorry.

Later I put my son to bed just before Eastenders. Peggy/Archie wedding, Ronnie/baby storyline. I told my son I'd come and give him a kiss when it was over, like I always do. I didn't know it was an hour long episode.
My son kept coming out of bed and instead of gently taking him back, I was getting more and more impatient. When the programme ended I went into the room. He was crying. "I only wanted a hug mummy."

I hugged and hugged and hugged and kissed him then left the room and began to cry. Guilt, anger towards myself, sorrow for Muslim mum, more anger at myself. My son is so so precious but the night before he goes away for a week, I put some bloody soap before him.

Like an angel my mum calls me and wishes me a safe journey. My uncle may have an operation to remove a tumour on his spine next Monday. It was meant to be today but as the operation has been postponed three times already they have to do more tests as he has lost such an awful lot of weight since last November. He's 86. My aunt, his wife has alzheimers and is in a home. They were my stand in parents when I was growing up.

It was an emotional evening so I blogged the Facebook stuff I'd hand written a bit of earlier. I've kept myself busy packing for my trip this morning.

On a lighter note, when I booked the ticket I thought I'd save money by not paying for a bag to go into the hold. So I've got a small backpack I'm carrying as hand luggage. All well and good when I booked the ticket but then found out that Luke owns two retail outlets. Damn! The bag is packed to the hilt. If there are any freebies going I'll just have to layer it ontop of what I'm already wearing.

I've brought with me:
A black wrap dress
A red jersey dress
A pair of shorts
6 thin tops
A bikini
A sarong
Makeup etc
A pair of wedges and a pair of flip flops
Two bags (one for Burlesque evening)
I'm wearing the jeans, biker boots, another thin top, cardy, fluffy sleeveless thing my brother gave me for Christmas years ago. It won't keep me warm but I'm not bringing my winter coat.

I'm not going to pack England, I'm going to leave it behind, but I will carry my family in my heart.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Facebook: It's been splendid, surreal and scary.

Splendid? Friends from yesteryear; school friends, uni friends, ex work friends, travelling friends, maternity friends, all kinds of friends. Some I was already in touch with, others I wasn't. Fantastic! I'm taking my son to see uni friend 'Skinner' in Manchester in two weeks time. We'd shared a house, got drunk, got stoned, peed our pants laughing, sat our exams and gone our separate ways. Facebook got us back together and last month she came down to London with her husband and two kids. I knew her husband back then too! Splendid indeed.

Surreal? My parents moved to the UK from Mauritius in the 1960's when the island gained independence from British rule. I first went when I was 16 and met a load of cousins. One of them invites me as a friend and well, I can't resist being a voyeur and sneaking a peek at his friends. Bikini clad bodies on beautiful beaches. Lots of surnames I'd met and also heard my parents mention. Had they stayed on the island, I would have grown up with these people. My life would be totally different. Surreal indeed.

Scary? You can run baby but you can't hide. Shit school was shit. That's why I call it Shit School. Sure there were good times. There must have been good times. I don't remember good times.
When I left that place I stayed in touch with no-one and began running. Ran into booze, drugs, countries. I ran. Run rabbit run rabbit run run run.
When Friend's Re-united got set up I posted my details on all my old schools but not that one. I did peer in though, being a curious kind of scaredy cat, to see who was there. I emailed four people. "I hope life's treating you well," I wrote to a girl and two boys in my year. "I hope you're happy now," to the boy in the year above. No questions. I wasn't looking for answers. I wasn't looking for friendship. I don't know what the fuck I was looking for.
The girl in my year didn't respond. One of the boys said he was a banker in Singapore, the other sent an email from a keyboard attached to his tv. It was tricky, he said, he'd write soon. He didn't which was fine. Which was more than find. I didn't know what beast I was unleashing when I typed my spiel and hit 'send'.
The boy in the year above discovered I lived in London and suggested we meet. We did more than meet. He's the Foca.
Oh how I've cringed over that little cliche.

Leaving that aside and going back to Facebook.... I was caught in the proverbial headlights when Adam sent me a message. I replied saying I didn't remember him. "I showed you around on your first day." I remembered. Nice guy. I took deep breaths for several days before I accepted his invite to be a friend.
When Luke, Old Shit School Acquaintance, Adam's friend, sent an invite with a message, I didn't remember him but I did remember smoking behind the chapel.
Then Adam invited me to join the Shit School Association. I panicked. That's the thing with running away from something; you don't actually go anywhere. I went half way around the world to get away. I came home by foot, by boat, by bus, by train, by strangers' cars, because I knew it would take ages to get back to England. It didn't, it took 14 months. Fourteen glorious, way too short, months.
I didn't want to get involved with the Foca, it wouldn't be the first time, but I fell for him, again. How was I supposed to know what would happen?
I ran into a girl from Shit School on Camden High Street when I was eight months pregnant. "The old girls are having a party, come!" she said.
"I'm too pregnant."
Too pregnant? As if. I worked until my due date.

I haven't 'ignored' the invite to join the Association. I haven't 'accepted' it either. How can I align myself to a school, put my name to an establishment, I wasn't happy in? It may be virtual but I don't want to go back. Why pretend that I was happy, that I'm indifferent to everything that happened there? That wide, cold corridor leading to the chapel haunts my dreams. The refectory with its high ceiling, sitting with our plastic trays on those Dickensian workhouse benches. Please Sir, get me out of here.

Going to Barcelona is what I have to do. I've been before, it's an amazing city.
Seeing Luke is something I have to do too. Facebook is just a window. It's silent. I know that Lynne only got in touch recently to find out if the gossip was true; is Foca the Father of Child? She's not been in touch since but then neither have I.
I'll talk to Luke, eat with Luke, drink with Luke, clink glasses with Luke, dance with Luke. That is real.
I could have said no, I could have kept on running, I'm good at that. I find it fitting however that I flee from the ache of missing my son right into horror memories that Luke had no part in. It will give me the courage to go back to that place in person one day and accept what happened.

Facebook scary? There comes a moment in every girl's life when she has to face the demon, whatever manifestation it takes, and just let it go.
My time has come, at long fucking last.
He's picking me up from the airport.
Who knows, I might remember something good. No problem if I don't, we've got 20 years to catch up on and a Burlesque party the night before I leave.
Wee heeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Going away

Tonight I have to pack my son's bag in readiness for his holiday with his dad. The Foca's even sent me a text of what he'll need; like I need telling.
Usually I would be a cocktail of sadness, resentment, anger and jealousy, trying desperately to be happy for my son.
Not tonight though. I've thought 'fuck it' and booked myself a ticket to Barcelona!!
I go when my son goes, I return when he comes back. Oh I can't wait!
There is trepidation though, I do admit. Paranoia is lurking in the shadows. If the council finds out its agents will think I don't need housing if I can 'afford' a holiday abroad.
I am also nervously excited because I haven't seen Old Shit School Acquaintance for twenty years. I haven't seen anyone bar the Foca. When I left that place I turned my back on everyone associated with it, nice or not.
I barely remember him. I don't remember him at all to tell the truth. He found me on Facebook just after someone I did remember found me on there.
Old Shit School Acquaintance is always inviting his 300 friends to parties in the city that's become home to him. The last time an invite came through I accepted with: "I'm free, send over your private jet!" To which he replied: "I fear my yacht is too slow." I responded with: "And my raft's just collapsed under my fat arse," because at that moment the chair I was sitting on did just that leaving me legs akimbo on the floor.
That's not the party I'm going to. No. That's just the conversation that led me to saying that when my son went to Cornwall I should pop over. As a joke; not that he was to know it was a joke as he didn't know at this point that I was on benefits. He swiftly responded with "Great idea, I've a spare room and a spare set of keys so you can come and go as you like."
I deliberated. I punched it out at boxercise. I ummed and aahed some more.
Last year when I had exams and a thesis to hand in, did the Foca take our son so I could work? No. The year before he did though and I'd fled to the Lake District, hid in the hills while my son played with cousins on an Irish beach.
It's good to be on your own sometimes but all the time?
Tonight I'll pack my son's bags and feel very lucky. One day I will take my boy with me but next week he'll be in my heart. He'll party with me, fiesta with me, siesta with me while tramping through the English countryside with his dad. Like I said, I feel very lucky. I'm feeling good! (Nina Simone and Hal Mooney)

Violent Protest

Someone on the Times Online message board wrote, in regards to the clashes at RBS bank yesterday:
"Who is going to pay for the broken windows?"
I wrote back:
"You are going to pay for the smashed windows Jenson just like you paid for the bank bailouts, just like you paid for Freddie's pension. They were demonstrating on your behalf because it is not fair that you should pay for Government 'mistakes'. Many came in peace, cut them some slack."

Ask a silly question.....

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Society's parasites

MP's who claim expenses on their 'second' home.
A husband living with his mum and dad and not his wife and kids? Yeah right
A wife living with her sister so she doesn't have to pay for her high definition tv in the 'other' home she shares with her husband? Funny ho ho
Expenses for porn?
There is so much I do not know
Oh look, it's April Fool's Day

G20 Summit

So Barack Obama's arrived in the UK in a cavalcade of security costing millions (and they can't even afford to fix our lift... funny ey where all this money comes from and who it goes to).
I want to be there. I want to walk with protesters and demonstrators because what they are saying is so important, what we as a country have to say is so important, what we as world citizens have to say is so important. So much is at stake.
I won't be going though.
It's not the violence keeping me away, I personally feel that threat of this has been blown out of all proportion, as though that is precisely what the media and the police want.
No, it's the small matter of the school run.
Sorry people.