Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Crisis Teams

My GP called yesterday, saying she'd received a note from Dishy Shrink and was I ok? I told her I was, racing around trying to sort out my son's birthday had lessened the weight of housing problems on my Motherboard.

She asked me if I wanted the Crisis Team to come and see me. I was quite surprised by this and told her because I was not a suicide risk, I wouldn't usually be the kind of person they help.

Besides, I continued, I'd only see them if they could sort out our housing and well, that wasn't their job. We chatted for a bit and I told her I'd see how I feel next week when I see her.

Then today, shrink I will be seeing in two weeks, sent me one of those questionaires to fill in of how you're feeling and to be quite honest, I'm quite appalled.

It asks if I've been bothered by any of the listed problems in the past two weeks. You circle 0 for not at all and 3 for everyday. If we take out my writing writing writing this blog, things like anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, fatigue, poor appetite, crap concentration, manicness, fear, all get a "3". Fortunately violence towards myself or to others gets a "0" (if you take out smoking that is). I'm also not afraid of social situations which is good, although I have isolated myself a bit.

Fuck! Maybe I should tell my GP to send the crisis team after all. I mean I'm so cotton pickin' tired, they might tidy up for me. This place is in a right state and all I can do is lie on the sofa to claw enough energy to cook my son's dinner. Mercy, mercy how do others cope....

They tell me go to rehab and I say 'yeah yeah yeah if it helps' (Amy Winehouse)

Downing Street responds!

Yes! Just now! Plopped through my letter box!

Says Gordy regrets that he's unable to reply personally to the thousands of letters he gets each week, which is fine, I didn't ask or expect him to.

The writer of the letter says however that he's been asked to forward my letter to the Department for Communities and Local Government. Cheers Gordy!

The letter I got back when Blair was in office said my own letter would be forwarded to the Deputy Prime Minister's office and I never heard back.

This is an altogether more positive letter. Let's see shall we?!

Flights of fancy

Yesterday's Mirror covered Peter Mandelson's speech. "We (heart) Mandy" screamed the headline. "From Prince of Darkness to ray of sunshine he vows: It's still up for grabs."

The paper quotes Mandy as saying "We can win for our country and win for the British people" and talked about helping "hardworking families" save.

I was in a cafe at the time and said to the woman who works there that I had written to Gordon Brown two weeks ago, asking to legislate "None of the Above" on the ballot paper. "Do you think they passed around the letter?!" I said it would be a good opportunity to send my letter to the Mirror but the risk to my housing problems were too great.

We had a good yarn, me and the woman, it was nice. When I got home I started to write the first draft of a poem.

I took myself to the Gossip Stop
Where I go when I feel shit
When my problems weigh upon me
And I should eat a little bit

I always have two eggs on toast
With a cup of tea
Sometimes a can of coke, no glass
then gaze inside of me

Today I read the Mirror though
Mandy's labour speech

And that's as far as I got, and once again, I shall quit while I'm behind.

Council Flat Dreaming - a song

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On an autumn day
I'd be safe and warm
If in my own flat I lay
Council fla-at dreaming
On such an autumn day

Went through the Church, just me
I stopped along the way
I got down on my bended knees
And I began to pray
Oh the preacher wasn't there
But he knows I'm gonna stay
He knows I'm gonna stay, I told him so
Council fla-at dreamin'

Oh somebody help me now
I wanna go so bad yeah

Cos all the leaves are brown
And the skies are grey yeah
I went for a walk
On an autumn day oooohhhhhhhh
I'd be safe and warm
If in my own flat I lay
Council fla-at dreaming
On such an autumn day
Such an autumn day
On such an autumn day yeah, yeah, woahh

Council fla-at dreaming
Council fla-at dreaming
Gotta, gotta, gotta get some sunshine
I've gotta clear my mind
Council flat dreaming
Council flat dreaming
Ohhhh gotta get one
Council fla-at dreaming ohhhhhh
Council fla-at dreaming
Where I wanna lay
Get some sunshine everyday
Council fla-at dreaming

(Stigmum pinched and played with Bobby Womack's version of this classic Mama and Papa's song)

Fingers crossed people

On Monday I met Mr Gray to give him the bumph to back up my appeal letter (yes I know it's Wednesday now, I've been dreaming...)

Fortunately he put me sufficiently at ease and I was able to look him in the eye. He went through my documents, eviction notices, evidence of this and that, then asked me questions, like why I'd turned down the hostel back in 2005.

I said I didn't want to justify everything but he said in an appeal I may have to.

Geez, if that's true, the council treats us like perpetrators of a crime, not the victims of Government policies.

After he'd read everything he called Quality Man in the council, acting on my behalf just like I imagine a defence lawyer would.

"MP?" I heard him say. Ooh bless, she's onto it then.

Mr Gray told me I should write to Quality Man with details of my medical history and my "Notice of Possession" then he gave me my bumph back, including my Letter of Appeal.

I wrote to Quality Man just last week telling him my doc had to told me to stop writing to the council but "I have to do something".

Nah, he didn't reply, but he knows of me. Let's hope he hears the voices of all I've asked to help because one thing's for sure, the council isn't hearing me trying to secure the foundations of my child.

I have my fingers crossed

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The man in Leicester Square

He was in a wheelchair, wearing a flourescent yellow sleeveless jacket, collecting money for disabled children. It was like watching a film, this immobile bright beacon with a swirling mass of people whizzing back and forth around him. It was quite surreal.

I went up to him, gave him a pound, for that was all that he asked. "I think it's really amazing what you're doing," I said.

We chatted. We chatted for half an hour. He'd recently raised enough money for 1800 wheelchairs for children. "I want everybody in the world to have a wheelchair!" He told me of inspirational seminars he attended, that I should come along. "It's not religious or anything like that."

I knew of the speakers he was talking about when he mentioned 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'. People who had nothing and had become very rich and are now giving away their knowledge. They hold seminars with the money raised going to various charities.

He invited me to a seminar next Wednesday, said he would pay. I told him I was babysitting. I told him that me and my son were on the homeless register.

"You don't look homeless," he said.

"I know, that might be my problem, but who knows what homeless people look like, so I'm blogging what I'm going through. I wanted to smash the stereotype but right now I'm feeding into it!" I told him in the future I'd look back at all he was talking about, I had to focus on housing my son now.

He told me about HUB. Humanity Unites Brilliance? That what he said?

In the half hour I spoke to him only four people gave him money. Only four! Placed as he was in the heart of the metropolis!

He made £200 a few weeks ago in Watford, this evening was an experiment he said, he thought why not try it here, it's a clear night. I told him I'd email him to find out. I think I'll do that now!

Julie & Julia

A film about a girl called Julie who takes it upon herself to cook over 500 of Julia Child's recipes, her heroine, in 365 days and blog about it. This is juxtaposed with Julia's attempts to learn how to cook and her road to getting published 60 years earlier.

I liked it (the men next to me didn't!) It's not usually my kind of thing so I was surprised to see so many single women, but it was a good distraction and I'm glad I went to see it.

Julie, the blogger, wants lots of followers, unlike me who is more than content with my five. Oh yes little miss scared of the council!
Julie, the blogger, has many meltdowns. I hear ya baby, I hear ya!

The plan was to go and watch it with an old school friend and fellow blogger but Mother Nature decided to visit and strangle her ovaries. Why does She do that? Is it not enough that we bleed? Perhaps it's to remind us we are strong. Hmmm, I dunno....

My letter of appeal

I was going to post it to you in all its entirety but I can't. I can't bare to read it myself. You know what's in there because I've told you. But where I've taken 270 posts to tell you, I've told the council in two sides of A4.

Everything. I don't know how. "I'll be brief" I wrote and managed to squeeze in the last six years which would go some way to explain why I don't want to do the PRS, why I don't want to take my son to a hostel, why I have a fear of large estates, how it's only now I've got treatment for rape which I never told the council because I didn't want the council to know, and also why this treatment was suspended because of the impact of council and housing association mistakes. Crikey, my son's school, the community here, Zat bike, why I fought for those flats, the utter desperation that led me to write to "both Labour Prime Ministers, knowing they are too busy to help but hoping they will anyway", how depression affects my reasoning so even though I might look ok, I'm not. "I write alot," I scribbled down in pencil. "Perhaps too much, a coping mechanism I learnt as a child. Right now I'm profoundly sad." Man, everything I tell you, why I turned down the flat three years ago so couldn't bid on the same place again last week. Shit, the gambles I've taken with my son, the contemplative suicide thoughts, everything I tell you. I couldn't have written it the way I had if I'd thought about it. There was too much information. It was too honest. It IS too honest.

At a loss of how I'd write it, I'd gone up to the Heath, and tears splashed on the pages as I ripped out my own heart.

I put the typed version through Mr Grays letterbox yesterday morning. God knows what he's made of it, I don't think I'll ever be able to look him in the eye again.

When I look back upon my life, it's always with a sense of shame, I've always been the one to blame. I know, it's a sin (Petshop Boys)

Humble pie and magic gravy

On Friday afternoon, my WIRED day, I called back the King and apologised for my earlier call asking him to get me a lawyer (oh mercy mercy, who does that? Get the politician consigning their life to hell to find a lawyer to nail him with??? What a twonk.)

I hoped it would go straight to voicemail but he let it ring out which was good. I don't think I could have handled crying on him.

Following lunch with my mate Charlie (Nando's - The speed with which I ate that burger you'd think I've never been fed) I was going to go and lie on the Heath. My mind felt disconnected, problems with the Motherboard, and I felt weak. The Heath is so medicinal.

However, I suddenly remembered I hadn't taken my washing out of the machine. At 3 am on Thursday night, in my wakened state, I remembered with a jolt that I hadn't switched the machine off and got out of bed. The clothes would begin to smell. The heath on this blue blue day would have to wait.

While I was hanging up my son's pyjamas, t-shirts, school trousers, there was a knock on the door.
Who could it be? Npower again?

Mr Gray stood outside, he needed to talk to me a minute. "Come in," I said but he said it was only a quick visit. "I'm hanging the washing, come in, and sorry for the mess." (Oh yes, I NEVER invite people in unless they are council or housing association and they'll have my head if I don't, but I was weak, I couldn't just stand there, I'd fall over.)

Roberta Flack was emptying her lungs on the stereo. "I've just written a silly poem," I explained, though why, why I should tell him this only the Motherboard could know.

Mr Gray said I was going about my fight with the council the wrong way, there was a risk I'd get the council's back up the way I was carrying on (?? but true, my paranoid self has already thought about this but only in terms of blogging).

He said there was a blockage somewhere. There was a reason why my points were so low after all this time. I must find out what this blockage is, where it is and deal with it (eh? how???)

He told me to get some stuff together and piece together "a small description of my circumstances", add a "few details of my medical issues", that I must "focus on the job at hand."

Then he was gone. My Motherboard began to fizz abit, the wiring slacken, tears began to knock on my eyelids and in this state I called the King. Humble pie, humble pie......

I wondered though, at precisely the same moment I wondered how I would write this appeal, whether one of my angels sent Mr Gray. I had posted that I was a "One Woman Army" but I couldn't do this alone then out of the blue, on this blue blue day, when I should have been on the Heath, my washing kept me where I needed to be.

A coincidence, but by God I hope it's a good one.

*From here on in, my mind shall often be called the Motherboard. A Motherboard is an essential part of your computer that ensures that the whole thing works.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Smoking - a song

Strumming my pain with its poison
Stinging my life with each hit
Killing me softly with each drag
Killing me softly with each pull
Stealing my whole life with each dose
Killing me softly with each puff

Fags remain my best friend
On whom I can rely
I panic if I can't get them
This I cannot lie
And there it is this white stick
Willing me to die

Strumming my pain with its poison
Stinging my life with each hit
Killing me softly with each drag
Killing me softly with each pull
Stealing my whole life with each dose
Killing me softly with each puff

I felt all flushed with fever
Like I could barely breathe
I found I coughed my guts up
Ran to the loo to heave
I pray that I will finish
But I just keep right on

Strumming my pain with its poison
Stinging my life with each hit
Killing me softly with each drag
Killing me softly with each pull
Stealing my whole life with each dose
Killing me softly
With each puff

It's like my life don't matter
In all my dark despair
Stick the warnings in my cupboard
Then pretend that they aren't there
The fags just keep on calling
Calling clear and strong

Strumming my pain with its poison
Stinging my life with each hit
Killing me softly with each drag
Killing me softly with each pull
Stealing my whole life with each dose
Killing me softly with each puff

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
La la la la la la la oh oh oh oh oh oh
La la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa a a uch ugch ucgh

Strumming my uch uch ugh
Stingiugchugch ugch
Ki ugchugchuchucghgugh
Killing ugchughucghugh
Killing me softly

Strumming my pain
Oh yeah stinging my life
Killing me softly with each drag
Killing me softly with each pull
Stealing my whole life with each dose
Killing me softly
With each p.....
(Roberta Flack featuring Stigmum)

Belle de Jour

How did she maintain her anonymity with her blog?

I ask because of the growing fear and paranoia.

Her's was 'social' blog. Mine is 'sociopolitical'. I could get into a whole heap of trouble.

Can't lose sleep over that now, I've got an email to read and a lunch to go to. It's been a mad and heavy morning.

I can float through this life but still 'psychotically' write and write and write. Beats me how. How do I do it Stigmum? You're the one driving this.....

I can relax a bit next week

I phoned the Foca. Three of the six little friends can join my son at the cinema next week.

Two parents of the unable to attend boys spoke to me. One had told me last week, after school was too difficult for her son, the other got the week wrong and they had relatives coming to stay from far away. It happens, thanks for telling me, you who have been so supportive.

Ugly was the only parent who didn't speak to me. Her son told my son, that's how I knew she'd changed her mind.

"I'm not surprised," I told her as the bell rang. "You've had it in for my son since reception. You've tried to damage all his friendships with the things you said about him."

She turned away, not entirely different to the Foca when it comes to facing the truth.

"I'm nothing like you," I finished. "At least I invited your son."

Apart from walking away from me the Foca is nothing like her. He has never projected his bile onto someone else's child. He loves his own. He's bought the tickets and said he'll organise a cab to take the kids there. He even said he'll see if the cinema will set aside some space so the kids can celebrate a little before the film starts. He has taken the weight off. The children who can come are going to have a really lovely time. That's all I want.


Hannah said it, yesterday when I met her for coffee. Her family, like mine, have been handed the Pathmead's notice.

"We don't look like there's anything wrong, we don't cut ourselves, do drugs, there is no outward sign that we have ever suffered any trauma."

We are up against every single odd, her and me. It was good to talk to one another. I wonder what we'll talk about when all this is over. I wonder what we'll do. Well, she has four kids and a partner so she's got plenty on her hands already.

Will this phone call help my appeal?

My support worker just rang to ask have I read my email because 'allocations' has responded to mine, about immigrants. I've not read this yet, obviously, but said I will thank her for replying.

I told him I had just spoken to the Estate Manager, who is a very nice man, who told me the flats have gone. I told him I had just left a message on the King's voicemail.

"I'm a recurring depressive with psychotic tendancies, that's what psychotic people do, they phone the man responsible for auctioning off the properties and ask him to find a lawyer."

"You're not psychotic," says support worker, who is also a nice man.

"Well that's what a psychiatrist wrote down when I told him I was going to get Cherie Blair to defend me years ago. Just because you can't see scars doesn't mean I'm not traumatised by all this."

There were no exclamations in my speech, so there are none in my sentences. My voice is flat, calm, psychotic.

He told me to read the email. I will in a minute.

Step one of the appeal

I have just left a message on the King's voicemail. I have told him I have lost the flats, I have told him it's been suggested I appeal. I have asked him if he can find me a lawyer to help me with this appeal. I have told him I am only human, that I'm not that strong, that despite his help, my MP's, the Council are just "happy to grind me into the ground."

We'll see if he responds but everything's worth a shot.

The flats have gone and I am sad

I am profoundly sad. I do not look it, I do not sound it, I do not even feel it so absolutely WIRED I am but I know it, deep in that beating bleeding heart of mine.

I called the Estate Manager to ask if people were viewing the flats today and he said they've gone. People viewed it earlier this week. They were accepted. He'd put in a good word for me, he said.

Him, Mr Gray, my MP, my support worker, my doctor, even the executive King on the housing board, all of them put in a good word for me. The Council couldn't give a fuck.

The Estate Manager said he can't understand it, I am a good tenant, but my points are so few, he cannot understand that either. He's told me to appeal.

I am a One Woman Army but I can't do this alone. But like the soldiers in Afghanistan, I must not give up. They can't, they are not allowed to even if they want to, I mustn't. I must be as brave as them, no matter how tired I am feeling.

As luck would have it, my mate Charlie texted me inviting me to lunch. His treat. I can pour my wired profound sadness into his glass (poor bloke but he can handle it).

Then I have to start thinking of this appeal.

I have to do this appeal.

For my son and my sanity's sake I must win this appeal.

I must eat.

So thanks Charlie for your very timely text.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Stigmum's back on the case

Yep, I was going to give it a rest but nope, I've decided to battle on, so I've just sent an email to 'allocations' and 'needs and access' (can't cc on my computer...): Questions that aren't being answered.

The jist was why are immigrants being housed before me and my son given some have been waiting less time than us and why, why, why for the nth time, have my son and I fallen so far down the waiting list?

I also added a 'fact'. That although the Council says the state of my flat is a risk to my child, and that my mental health has no bearing on it, I say that the Council puts my mental health at risk, which in turn makes it difficult to keep the place "tidy". So it is the Council putting my child at risk. Doctors need to help me so I can be there for my child yadda yadda.

We'll see if I get an answer or have they put a mark on my mail as 'junk'??

There was auto response from 'needs and access'. She's not around.

Does that mean "allocations' can start pretending all sorts, like she thought 'needs' was answering it for eg. I mean, do these people even talk to each other? I write to them both to act as a bridge, yes I do. Leave no stone unturned as it were. Annoy the whole bloody lot of them. But how many more stones must I find? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. That's enough for today I think....

And no, the flat is not that messy. Would not pose a fraction of a challenge for Kim and Aggie. Just for me. Who should give a flying fairy cake anyway? "Dull women have immaculate houses" says my fridge magnet and "Good news for messy people: tidiness is bad for you" screams a 2007 cutting from the Times on my wall.

Council people just like to exert their power. Really bugs me. Really REALLY bugs me and bang out of order if it's true... that behind closed doors managers are saying they won't give me a flat because I pose a risk to my son....

T-Shirt in Camden Market

I don't need sex
The Government f*cks me every day

Obeying shrink advice

My doc said don't write to the council,
shrink said writing was good.
My doc is nice but I think I'll listen to the shrink
because he was quite dishy!

We're all mad

A copy of Reveal lying on the black leatherlike sofa in the light filled waiting room


Ulrika - the real cost of her fab new body

Britney - Risking her sanity

Cheryl - Cracks show in her perfect life

I pointed to this cover when shrink walked through the door but I couldn't say "I'm a celebrity, get me out of this!"

Visit to on duty psychiatrist

There was an old stigmum called Sue
With housing at loss what to do
So she went to a shrink
Said "what do you think
to get me out of this stew?"

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Npower at the door

She knocked, I saw her badge, I said not today. I also said I'd been handed notice on here, that it was homeless temporary accommodation and I'd been living here for four years.

"That's crazy!" she said.

See, alot of people don't know.

Off to A&E

I've decided to self refer tomorrow morning, talk to shrink on duty. I'm scared. These people like to give you sweets and I'm anti sweets. I'm Queen of Paranoia people, I've got to be careful they don't section me if I refuse those sweeties. When you have a history of something you know what to expect not that I have ever been sectioned or even threatened with it. They've tried to up the sweeties before though. I'll tell them I'm taking homeopathic stuff (Rescue Remedy is ALWAYS in my bag!)

I managed to pull myself off the sofa and cook a meal for my son after my rant. I haven't cooked a meal from scratch in a while. I'd chopped the onions then realised I had no tinned tomatoes to cover the courgette and bacon. I was forced therefore to go out. As I walked I wondered about how childless people in this situation cope.

I sent Support worker a text telling him what I was going to do and he rang me afterwards saying the council won't budge, stop writing to them, tried to talk me into the prs again. Said he had his concerns and was going to refer me to social services. For fucks sake. All because my teeny weeny flat is a bit cluttered. He also said that the chances of them putting us in a hostel next year were 'high', because of the 'composition of my family'. Wow, that's really going to help matters.

I may never tell you about shrink or social services. I'll write stuff in pencil though and maybe one day. Just this is personal you know. I've been reading Note to Self over and over but I can't quite believe what I told myself to believe.

I've lost the flat upstairs that I fought so hard for even though I know it's not gone yet. We all crash when we don't get what we want when we bid. Too dangerous it is to hope. Why we stop.

Shit school aquaintance who I dumped even though you couldn't really call him a "boyfriend" called me this morning out of the blue. I asked him to call me this afternoon and just cried on him.

I'm still going to blog. Oh yeah! Me and Stigmum may have been listening to Eva Cassidy's Songbird album on rotation but that was just to calm me down!! I'll carry on listening to my instincts. If my instincts tell me to write to the council I will.

I wouldn't even tell you this but then thought I would, because I'm not labelling it under 'mental health', I'm labelling it under 'housing' because it is the Government and that fucking bloody council, doing this to me. Again.

Oh, and the Queen of Paranoia tag I've given myself? There's a tale in the Book That Will Never Be Published. A few friends read it and thought it was funny. Depression can be funny. I'm just protecting myself by seeking help. I know myself much better now but no, I'm not invincible!

It's my son's birthday though. I've got to get my head together for that. I need to get him a present!

Right, toughen up. Toughen up toughen up toughen up. You shall not be beaten!

And one other thing

It's my son's birthday next week. Just about managed to get invites to his party to the parents in the playground. Some are now saying their kids can't go because it's 'after school' and I'm so KNACKERED from all the HOUSING BOLLOCKS STRESS that all I could fucking do was drop my head on a mum's shoulder when she asked me if I was OK.


No rest for you Stigmum

I'm resting my head to grab a little energy before taking Zat bike downstairs in a decluttering attempt of my corridor and then having to run around the Heath after a little boy. Then the phone rings. It's my support worker. He spoke to his managers this morning to try and get me on the exceptions panel, he was calling to let me know how it went. I've asked him to email it for me "because if I have to sue the fucking bastards I fucking will."

Apparantly, because my flat is a "health and safety issue", this is not grounds to move me. The state of my flat concerns them which means I cannot be rehoused. Not only might my next flat be messy, but I have la la points, I'm la la on the waiting list, they are going to have to call in social services because my son is at risk.

Why weren't the social services called in earlier this year when the manager came round declaring this box a "health and safety issue"? She was a judgemental fucking cow: "You have a lot of things," she'd said. Well not really, I'd said calmly, because most of it is in storage with YOU. I had a life before all this you know. Can't I keep some things from it????

No, no, you're not allowed books and music when you're in temporary accommodation. You're not allowed anything that might breath some life into you.

"They make judgements on me," I screech. "Because I'm white, because I'm well spoken, because I'm well educated. If I can find a lawyer I'm going to sue the fucking bastards for discrimination."

My support worker, who for the purposes of this post is not white, said something supportive but I can't remember for the life of me what.

But forget about THAT for a minute.

My support worker had my doctor's letter in his hand saying that my housing issues were an instrumental part of my depression. Move her. Securely.

"They don't see it like that," says support worker. "They will see it as you will need help as far as psychological matters are concerned but where they are concerned, housing is not a part of that."

"Oh no? What about that letter I gave you yesterday, from LAST YEAR from my shrink, saying I needed space to work on my depression and my son needing a separate room was of "valuable importance." They ignored that didn't they? IGNORED THAT? The state of my flat is detrimental to my son they're saying but my mental health isn't part of that? No? No? Why don't they just fucking move me and SEE. A little experiment, go on, see what that does."

"They don't see it like that."

I went on and on and fucking on "tell them this, tell them that, they should fucking know, I've been writing to them since January" on and on.

Oh I was angry, and why spare you that anger here in Blogland? Why wait until I'm 70 (if I get that far which doesn't fucking look like it) and write my memoirs in a softly softly retrospective way. Fuck that. You need to know what kind of country you are living in and I've made it my business to tell you.

He told me he'll call me after his lunch. I won't blog again today. No, I'll be too busy smashing fucking plates in my kitchen. Oh no, can't do that. We're still eating off plastic ones because like some prize fucking turkey, I thought FOUR YEARS AGO that getting real ones would be too flipping heavy to carry when we MOVE.


Where are my fags? May as well just hurt myself.

The curious thing about energy

I have none.
None whatsoever.
None, rien, zilch.
Yet I'm writing
and writing
and writing

Now I have to carry my bike down the stairs one last time for they've given me a new shed, which locks, with its own carpet!!
Later I've agreed to join the Beavers troup and monitor the 'run away' boy up at the Heath.
Oh shit, but I promised last week.

I think perhaps it is this
When you need to be mentally, emotionally strong
Your physicality goes out the flipping window.

I'm right, you think?

I do believe in Angels

I have a dream, a fantasy,
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in Angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in Angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

(Abba. Just reinforcing the post below)

Child Poverty

I should not be penalised for shagging someone rich, which erm, I didn't do.
I should not be penalised for shagging someone who hasn't reneged on his financial responsibilities towards his child or children.
That's many stigmums.
Nor should other stigmums who shagged an absconding Foc-er be penalised for keeping their children. Children are gifts. Children are the future hey Whitney?
I'm just saying

Money, money, money,
It's so not funny
In a poor girl's world (Abba, Oh how I love them!)

Oh to be rich!

It is much better to be rich in spirit and poor in pocket than it is to be rich in pocket and poor in spirit, this I know (she says, sitting on a lottery ticket...)

The Robin Hood of Politics

They steal from the poor to give to the rich.

Robin Hood
Robyn Hood
Riding through the Glen
Where the fuck are you?

A phone call from the King

I was very surprised I must say when the King called yesterday afternoon just before I was going to pick up the nipper from after school club.

I was very surprised that he was very pleasant on the telephone, so used am I to hearing I'm "no different" from anyone else or the contradictory "others have greater needs."

He just wanted to note down my details again, name, address, postcode. Then he asked for a little bit of history.

It's a good job I don't fancy the man because I don't enjoy telling men that I suffer from "recurring depression with psychotic tendancies" (though it's an excellent card to play if you are on a bad date or, I imagine, at an interview for a job you don't want, which hasn't happened to me yet...)

I mentioned the flats he heard about when he came to the resident's meeting. "No-one accepted them!" My son, Zat bike, my son, Zat bike. "It's not an ideal place to bring up a child what with the crime but..."

He said he would see what he could do. Result!!

Later his boss was on the news, which has focused on LibDem plans to tax those that live in houses worth more than £1 million. The owners of these Palaces are not happy. The reports have not said that the money could go to repairing empty properties instead of auctioning off much needed council flats. It's a no brainer to me.... Who is going to be the Robin Hood of political parties?

I really must be careful what I say. Or should I be careful what I say? Hmmmm.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Creeping paranoia

Will I get strung up if ever this gets out???

Tell tell tit
My tongue shall be slit
For slagging off the policies
Without an ounce of wit

Tell tell toe
The people do not know
That everything they say to me
On the blog it goes

Tell tell gob
I see it as a job
I can be a bit of a scaredy cat
If I think about the mob

Tell tell heart
A movement we should start
To wake up England's councils
Who couldn't give a fart

I should quit while I'm behind.....

One Woman Army

I've gotta fight 'em all
My Country cannot hold me back
They're going to rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back

And I'm talking to myself at night
Because I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette
And the message coming through my eyes
Says leave it alone

Don't want to blog about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
But not all know about it
From the Queen to the hounds of hell

But if I catch it coming back my way
I've gotta serve it to you
And that isn't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
And the feeling coming from my bones
Says find my child a home

I'm going to Blogita
Til they give me my own door
I'm going to work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding
Right before the Lord
All the words are going to bleed from me
And I will sing no more
And the stains coming from my blood
Tell me to get a home

(White Stripes - Seven Nation Army, who got it from Audioslave and now Stigmum's borrowed it and played around abit)

I should really try and write my own poetry but everyone else's is so damn good!

Disobeying doctor's orders

Whoops. Decided last night that I would give the Council a rest for a few days but as I was coming home from the school run, I had the idea to call the King. In my head I planned what I might say should it go straight to voicemail, that he could lend his weight along with my MP and my efforts, seeing as he was an executive. I was beginning to feel discriminated against. There, I would say it. Out loud. It's a call, it's not writing, it can't hurt.

He picked up. At first I thought he couldn't hear me, was frightened that he'd snap his mobile shut, but no, it was fine, I got contact.

The line wasn't terrific at first. "What did you say would lead to corruption in the housing system?" Needing a framework to deal with people was part of the answer, presumably those like me for he went onto say about the 17,000 people waiting, all those that turn up to his surgery asking for help.

I mentioned the auctioning off of houses and he said that didn't directly affect the situation.
"Well it's affecting me," I said. He could explain his views on it. "It's ok, I've read them." He didn't feel I was being discriminated against. "Well of course you wouldn't." (woh, get me...)

It was a good conversation, which in truth, I did not expect.

He said if I felt I didn't have enough points he could look into that, but he didn't have the power to pursue every case, write letters (my MP floated into my mind. Where does she get her energy?)

Anyway, I latched on to the points comment like a monkey to a branch. Told him I wanted overcrowding points, I'm not sure we were allowed them on the homeless register.

He said he'd get back to me but he was currently having breakfast at a LibDem party conference. "Oh that's nice," I said, because it is - free food! All the street homeless should gatecrash! (no, I didn't say that...)

I thanked him for his time and then my support worker came round and he said he'd look into overcrowding points too, which is great.

Then I went into my email (not for facebook though, just because it was open for I'd read support worker the email I sent 'allocations' and 'needs and access') and a reply from OO7 sat there saying about the many people in similar situations. I hit the reply button before I could even think about it. The difference between me and shortlisted married mother last week? was my jist. Auto out of office reply with his manager's name on it, so I forwarded it. My doctor told me not to write to you but this is about my son's future, I need to do something, was my jist there.

Writing writing I can't stop writing. Me and Stigmum are ruled by Mercury, planet of communication. Maybe that's why. I don't know if it's going retrograde, or what Mercury in Retrogade means but it was my intention to sleep all day.

However, I will make a Herculean effort and go hang the wet laundry, put away the dry laundry, clear and hoover the carpet but first have a bowl of the boiled rice I made myself last night. I'll post about my growing paranoia another moment.

"Strike when the iron's hot" they say!

Visit to the doctor No 2

She said she was concerned about my mental health. She said she was "worried" I was "driving" myself "mad" writing emails to the Council. She told me to stop doing that. "But it's blogging it all too," I said. "But I can't seem to control that."

In my weakened state, I was running off at the mouth abit, my head resting on my arm against her table.

"I must say you aren't looking very well," she said.

"Oh that might be the wine I drank yesterday but I am not sleeping, I'm barely eating, and I'm smoking so much I nearly threw up coughing coming to see you."

She wanted my support worker's telephone number "so we can work together with this". Deep, deep in my subconcious, I felt something akin to relief.

I sloped off to buy some food. My mate Charlie had called saying to go to Iceland. I thought about blogging about that but maybe another day. So cheap in there though compared to where I usually go with my nectar card!

The Foca came to take our son out to dinner as pre-arranged. He offered to feed me too. I declined. I felt like shit.

I physically couldn't switch on my computer while my son was gone, not even to respond to Facebook friends. It's been a long while since I've been on there.

I'm not entirely sure it's good to fight a war and leave all your friends behind you, but that's exactly what I'm doing. I'll get back in touch with them one day. I'll tell them I've been "travelling". Hopefully they'll welcome me back.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Got the shed but can't use it

I was so excited on Saturday when I got back from Notting Hill (I'd cycled to Kentish Town then got the tube, I'm not Wonder Woman you know!) The lift was on the blink but I had the keys and a free padlock for the shed!

We found it, but oh no! It didn't have the bit that juts out so you can lock it. I didn't want to risk putting my bike in there. A dad in the block told me not risk it either. Not so long ago someone broke in and tore the metal wiring from another shed and made off with the things inside. They've changed the locks since, but still.

The dad carried my bike up for me. He's the second dad this week to do that for me. There are so many nice people in this block. Even my next door neighbour with her car crash past, if only she'd realise it, not think instead that I look down on her.

I went to the housing office but woman I hugged on Friday wasn't there yet. She's just called me back and said she'll talk to the caretaker, see about getting me another shed. I thanked her and told her I'd have to walk to my doctor's appointment because I've no physical energy to lug Zat bike down them stairs.

I shall float to Kentish Town. Put lead weights in my feet so I don't topple over. I never changed my doctor when I moved because I liked the one I had at the time and I like the one I have now. Sometimes you just want some things to stay the same.

Lady Somerset Road Street Party

I was supposed to go to the capital's Freewheel event yesterday as I have done the past couple of years, but I texted my mate Charlie saying: "We're not coming charlie (sad 'smiley' animation). The clouds weigh heavy, blue skies will burn my eyes. Damn shame but next year definitely. Thanks for reminding me x".

A stigmamma mate phoned and asked me if I fancied going with her to the 10th Anniversary Lady Somerset Road Street Party. Sounded good.

Media parents and Juggling mum live on that street. Juggling mum organises it. She's a phenomenal woman, just take it from me.

It was brilliant. I barely saw my son who was up to all sorts with his friends. Juggling mum lent him some change of clothes after he got absolutely drenched by the fire engine hose. The kids were allowed a go on it; whoops and shrieks of delight. They tried to get me and stigmamma friend when we were coming back from the shops. Wine for both of us, pasta for me. I've no food in the house, none. We managed to dodge the sprayed water but it was close!

Later Juggling mum invited my son to dinner. I didn't ask her but was so grateful. It meant we could stay and watch the films.

Last night when I woke up, I thought "It's not the wine, this is happening to me everyday, try and sleep."

My son was trying my patience this morning. He wouldn't get dressed, then he wouldn't turn off the telly, then was absolutely devastated when his water bottle fell out of his hand outside the lift and got scratched. I held it together though.

Walking to school, we ran into Juggling mum. Her son let out a giant yawn. "My son too, we're all shattered!" We laughed.

Class - under, middle, working

Apparantly, according to some books I've read, I'm a member of the "underclass" because I'm a stigmum, I'm DSS.

But according to my next door neighbour I'm "a posh middle class bitch who looks down on everybody." That's inverted snobbery that is. You are looking down on me.

My family history isn't found in this country. By the time I understood the concept of "working class", I didn't feel it. I was born here, but my parents weren't. Maybe it's got something to do with that.

I am "classless".

Oh and for the record, I don't look down on anyone, I look across. But I do look up to loads. Their class, their creed, their colour, none of it makes a difference.

The Woman in the Tower

When she was 14, her parents thought she was out of control, so they sent her to boarding school. She was teased when she got there because she didn't pronounce her 't's. "Le'er, bu'er" the girls would chant but this didn't phase her, she just took the mickey out of herself. She made some firm friends there and eventually started to talk like them.

The school kicked her out after two years because they couldn't control her, or so the headmistress said.

Her mum and dad suggested she go to a six form college near them and she said "No."

She went to what what used to be a boy's boarding school, recently turned co-ed, where she was teased at first for being "posh". "Letter. Butter." Some staff were unkind to her, she let her best friend be very cruel. The whole experience silenced her.

The school "expelled" her on her very last day. She was caught drinking with the Head Boy, Head Girl and Prefects. The friends she'd made she left behind then ran, ran for her fucking life, speaking as she does today but not in the way of her childhood; free.

"You can run but you can't hide, you have to stop now," said her swelling belly.

The Tower has been her refuge but it's nearly time to leave. She is frightened but Stigmum tells her not to be, tells her she must fight for herself, fight for her child.

She is learning that she must use her past to be who she truly is.
She must look inside herself in order to do so.
The only thing to fear is fear itself.

Something inside so strong (Labi Siffre)

It feels abit naff to put that in, but it's just popped into my head.

If the link doesn't work, put in Something Inside So Strong With Lyrics. If I need telling, maybe so do you.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Who's driving this?

Stigmum's starting to bug me! I swore that I would give myself a break from blogging this weekend, see it as a Monday to Friday job, concentrate on the person who matters in my life, get some sleep and smoke less (I smoke alot but Stigmum's worse! Or is it Stigmum smokes alot and I'm worse? Hmmm.)

Yep, once again, I see us as two separate people. She is tireless, cramming ideas into my head all night. I didn't take my notebook out with me today but there she is, forcing me to make sense of all the events so I can give it to you and let them go.

Meanwhile I have been feeling vulnerable (do I have to tell them this stigmum???), frightened and if you need an indication of the chaos in my mind, just come visit me in the flat. Stuff everywhere! Sink full of pots and plates begging to be washed! Now she's gone and dragged me out to blog tonight. I wanna sleep I wanna sleep!

SHE is in the driving seat, not me!

But then it is me, isn't it? Of course it's me. I am stigmum.

I do like stigmum. As an entity separate from me, she's only doing what's best for me. She is the wisdom that resides in us all.

Like now, I want to post what a beautiful day I had with my son, going to watch a free film, The Tales of Despereaux, at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, then going to Portobello Market and eating a seafood platter on the side of the street, followed by a chocolate crepe perched on the side of the pavement. Coming home and being so knackered he let me sleep for an hour while he did a puzzle, then asking to play snakes and ladders which he won.

Phew, it seems I got that one in because she's saying stop, stop, stop!

Goodnight sweetheart
Til we meet tomorrow (no monday, please!)
Goodnight sweetheart
Sleep will banish sorrow (hope so!)

(Dean Martin is singing this as I quickly tell you that now you know my ethnicity, stigmum still has no creed, no colour, her name don't matter, she is there)

Goodnight sweetheart goodnight!

The "Girl and the Church"

There was already quite a queue when I got to my MP's surgery and I was relieved the school had taken my son into its after school club for me so I could just relax. I pick up my keys for the shed. At last at last! I hug the woman I'm so pleased. "Ooh I've never been hugged before," she says.

I chat to a man next to me, for I am after him, and await my turn.

As I give my MP my details she remembers that I was at her informal coffee evening and tells me she's already written to the housing chief and will contact me when she gets a reply and prepares to see me out.

I need to remind her who I am, to properly remember who I am.

"I don't know if you remember, but years ago, years ago when I was writing to Dobbie, you called me "the Girl and the Church" (at the time I thought, blimey, my letters have been passed around...). Recognition flickers and she settles back into her seat.

"I'm not that girl anymore. I'm the Woman in the Tower now." I've got her attention. I tell her the events of the morning, that I'm not racist, I know the needs of immigrant families as well as anyone, more possibly, but that it hurts that these families are being shortlisted ahead of me and my son.

"I'm retracing all my old steps. The Girl and the Church wrote to Dobbie, quite a few times," and my MP nods, she does remember. "She wrote to Tony Blair, I was very depressed at the time. Now I'm writing letters to the Council, this week I wrote to Gordon Brown. What else can I do? I'm so tired of this."

"Stop writing!" she says, not unkindly. "It's wasting your energy."
"Because they don't have the time to read and answer them all." (That's about right, I've not heard from OO7 and I only sent him one email. Needs and access on the other hand has gotten quite a few.... and no, her answers haven't been forthcoming since I shoved in my Big Questions)

She gets up, it's time for me to leave. "I really enjoyed coming to your informal evening by the way. It was really interesting."
"Come again," she says. "Bring your son."
"Oh, I can't, they're on school nights." She nods her head. "But I could get a boyfriend and he could babysit," I laugh.

"I marked it "Urgent" on the envelope," she says.
"Did you? Oh thanks!"

Now I don't know if she did, so cynical have I become, but I hope and will trust she did. More than that, I hope he pays bloody attention. I like my MP now (she was quite abrasive when I met her four years ago), I'd go and listen to her again and again on local and national issues. I admire Dobbie in a different way though I probably wouldn't go and listen to him talk informally again and again. I certainly wouldn't go and listen to any of the councillors I've met. I rang a Tory one last week and left my name and number as requested and she hasn't got back to me.

Two African mothers with children are waiting for my MP outside. I don't envy her, this country's in a fucking mess.

Yesterday I felt quite hopeful that I might get one of those flats. Tonight I don't, I've crashed again. One can only hope, can only hope.

"Oh good, she's White"

After I posted my letter to Brown I went outside my door to see if the shortlisted had arrived. They had, there were a number of women with buggies outside. As I went to go downstairs I run into the Good Caretaker. "Are they doing both flats today? I'm going to go and accept them, fuck it, I don't care."

Down I go and see a man and woman, who I learn are the Ward Manager and the Estate Manager. "You can't smoke on the balcony," says the Ward Manager. I stare at her, two more tokes to finish it and put the butt in my pocket. "Have you come to see the flat? What's your name?" she asks, the Estate Manager takes out his list of people. "Are you on our shortlist?"

"Yes," I reply, "Sue de Nim, but I'm not shortlisted. I've come to accept it anyway."
"I'm afraid if you haven't been shortlisted you can't come in."
"I don't care. I don't need to. My son's friends live here."

I tell her my story, I tell her what I've been going through. I tell her it's about time I was shortlisted. She tells me the system allocates those with the "greatest need" and suggests that if I think I've got a case, to take it to a lawyer. I tell her I've done that, and the council knows I've done that and failed because lawyers wrote to them and they never bothered replying. I go back to the "greatest need" thing. In this time, three muslim families have arrived and one of these mothers waits outside with one of the buggies.

I ask her how the system decides who's in greatest need. She sidetracks this and says: "There are one or two people it doesn't benefit."

"What?" I say calmly from my lack of sleep. "Am I one of these one or two people who don't benefit from this system?" and she just looks at me. She's not going to talk to me anymore.

I turn to the Muslim mother. "Have you been waiting long?" I repeat it as she didn't expect me to start talking to her. "Three years," she replies with an exhausted tone in her voice, not dissimilar to mine.

"Where do you live?" I ask.
"In bedsit. My two childen, my husban," and shakes her head.
"Haven't you been offered the Private Rental Scheme?"
She shakes her head again. "Yes, but two childen, my husban and me I don wan everytime the landlor make me move."

I understand this, oh yes I do, so later in my email to the council I say "Why are they being shortlisted to view a flat and I'm being bullied into the prs, going into a hostel if I refuse?"

There's a British girl there, mixed race, with a toddler and I make an assumption that she's a lone parent like me and feel my anger abate a little. The others all had their husbands with them. Immigrant families, their spoken English to the Ward Manager was poor and I couldn't understand what they were saying to one another regarding the flat.

Suddenly everyone's gone and I ask the Ward Manager (who for the sake of this post was Black British)"Did anyone accept it?"
"No," she says, quite surprised. "None of them."

She tells the Estate Manager that they should go upstairs so I think righty oh, I'll go accept that one too. Once up there the kitchen fitter that I saw the other day comes out of the flat.

"Why are you power dressed?" he says.
"Power dressed? In a denim mini? I had a little breakdown last night and just wanted to get out of my jeans. Pick myself up, pretend in the school playground that everything's ok in my world."

Immigrant families are coming up to see this one aswell and then a British girl turns up with her partner and baby.

"Oh good, she's White," I say to Kitchen Fitter, thinking out loud. "Makes me feel better." He looks at me quite surprised. "Well..." I tail off for even I am quite surprised.

"There was a British girl downstairs, I think she's a lone parent like me. The only lone parent amongst these families."
"Well it doesn't make any difference does it?"
"It should," I say. "Imagine, you and me are married and I'm working, we'd just have to pay £50 a week each for that. £50 each!"
He looks at the flat and his eyes light up with only what I can call desire. I continue: "I might be able to pay the rent on that flat on my own. I can't pay the £250 for that box upstairs."
"I get your point," he says.

"Nah," I hear the White girl say to her partner. "I'm scared of heights, I can't take that, it's too high." The other families come out, speaking their native dialects.

"They're leaving," says Kitchen Fitter.
"The door's still open," I say.
"Yeah, I'm going back in there, finish the job."
"Oh right, oh ok, nice talking to you, bye!" and I walk down the balcony and barely shout over to the Ward Manager "Did anyone take it?!" I repeat it. I repeat it again.
"She won't stop following me!" I hear her say to Estate Manager. Following her? FOLLOWING HER?? I ask the Estate Manager as he's walking down the stairs. "Did anyone?" He shakes his head no.

No! None!! I race to my flat and straight away email 'allocations' and 'needs and access' to tell them to give it to me! I didn't mention 'immigrants' once. You can't with these council people, political correctness and all, equality and all. I'll spare you the letter, it was a garbled mess. For example I write: "Once again I want to clarify I was not a problem up there. When Ward Manager told me I could not smoke on the balcony (so where, in my flat it's a bad polluting habit that I already fail to hide from my side.." My side? My side? I meant my son. Punctuation was all out of the window as well.

I go and meet my MP, I go and pick up my son and I talk about the days events to a British mother. She listens without judgement (oh I could kiss you I could kiss you). "I'm not proud," she says. "But I used the race card." She tells me her story. "I said "you're being racist and three days later my daughter and granddaughter have a flat. Coincidence."

"I feel I'm being discriminated against," I say. "For being "white", being "intelligent," for "having resources" but I can't play any race card." I was relieved to see the White girl, because it signified to me, that neither could she. I do wish I knew how she got there though....

I am an immigrant myself in Camden. I wasn't born in the borough. But three notices in 6 years is beyond a joke now.

Five years ago Dobbie, my MP at the time, wrote to me saying "To be honest, I am at a loss to know how to advise you further..... but the process for all who find themselves in such a situation is that temporary accommodation is offered until such time as permanent housing becomes available. Camden Council would therefore be in great difficulty in offering you permanent housing at this point, going as you would before the hundreds of families before you who are in temporary accommodation waiting a permanent housing offer."

2004 he wrote me that. We are 2009. Those hundreds of families have been housed. Our turn now, surely?

Friday, 18 September 2009

My letter to Brown

As promised. I've just looked over the balcony and there aren't any shortlisted individuals outside. I'll be quick though for I do want to look out for them and if the opportunity arises, walk into the flats with them with my passport. You have to bring I.D you see.

Dear Gordon Brown,

You have pledged "Good homes to rent and buy for the British People." I write to ask for a home for my son and myself; a permanent, secure, and affordable tenancy.
We have received a "Notice Requiring Possession from Pathmeads Housing Association (where we live in temporary accommodation) in accordance to its lease agreement with Camden Council, on whose homeless register we have been on for four years.
If we do not accept the Council's Private Rental Scheme, it says we will be placed in a hostel. My son turns seven in a few weeks time. I cannot put him through this again. I shouldn't have to.
The private rental sector is insecure. It also keeps me locked into this benefits trap forever. Very few one income families can afford the high rents of this sector. The Scheme also allows a council to say it has "reduced homelessness" which is a manipulation of the true facts.
Camden's Libdem/Conservative coalition are fond of saying it is because of you that it must auction off existing council properties. All political parties therefore are leaving my son and myself in this recurring situation. I want the best chance for my family too Mr Brown.
I accept there is a housing crisis but there are still empty properties. I placed a bid on three last week close to my son's school; a bidding process I have been following for five years. The Council will still not tellme why my son and I have fallen so far down the waiting list in recent years. Perhaps your team could look into this for me.
I enclose the letter I sent to your predecessor, Tony Blair, in 2005. This will give you a sense of our history.
On a different theme, which I'll mention whilst I'm here, is that from what I've read, it is likely that you will lose next year's election. Could I ask therefore, that you legislate "None of the Above" on the ballot paper before that time?
We are not an apathetic nation of voters even though that's what it might look like. We are real people, with real needs; we need a real choice.
I hope your team can help me on behalf of my son. I ask Camden's housing division: "Does my child matter at all?" It hasn't answered me that either.
I wish you well.
Yours sincerely,
Sue de Nim

I'm seeing my MP later down at her surgery. I'm going to force myself not to blog this weekend. I need a break so that I don't break down. I'll be back though.
To fellow stigmums and dads in this situation I'll just say:
Don't Give Up
(I am Kate Bush and I am Peter Gabriel)

I get knocked down, I get up again.

I went to bed at 9.15 last night. Altogether better than falling asleep in front of the tv than waking up at midnight, then again at 4am.

Jo texted as I closed my eyes. "Sorry didn't call (Wednesday). Fell asleep..U ok? I drove up to parents 2day, back sunday. Big hug x x"

"Just got into bed cos think I'm cracking up blogging everything. Don't worry not calling but thanks so much for your timely text. Big hug too x"

"Sleep tight. Try to empty your mind. Lots of love x"

I don't know when I woke up but I guess it was around half one. School, Council, State dancing ceilidhs through my cranium. I listened to my breathing, my son's, I asked my angels to help. My phone said 2.16. School, Council, State morris dancing through my mind. I listened to my breathing, my son's I implored my angels to help. My eyes were too sore to look again at my phone. School, Council, State breakdancing in my brain. On and on thoughts danced, over and over as I looked to my angels and listened to my breathing son.

I was calm when I heard my son get up. Calm when the alarm went off and he said "Mummy, I've finished the first chapter of Harry Potter!"

Do you know what? I won an important battle yesterday. I've not got the flat, but ex support worker rang to say I'd been put on his caseload. Victory! My other support worker is a nice guy but like I said to the Council. "He's part time and I'm not a part time problem."

I had a bath, and although the sky is blue blue blue I put aside my jeans and wore my miniskirt with tights and black boots. I put on a little bit of mascara, a little bit of lipgloss, and took my son to school.

I approached the bench just as a parent I don't know liberated it. My son on my knee, pointing out his friends in his classroom. When the bell went he said "I'll go in on my own mummy". My boy! At the class meeting Wednesday, Year 2 teachers had told us to encourage our children to go to class alone, not follow them in and when I told my son this he initially balked.

I saw Media Mum, I hadn't got round to phoning, but her father in law had told her about my son's birthday. All five boys can come now. I'll text the ex for he's buying the tickets for the spaghetti meatballs 3d film at the Imax. Well I hope he is, after our blow out the other day....

Walking home I run into Peggie, who has relented and said that I can help her. In a few weeks time I'll be taking her son to school because she won't be well enough to.

The posts I wrote about School surprised me but they clarified something in my mind. A couple of years ago I had my son down for a faith school. When he got accepted I felt like 10,000 elephants were sitting on my chest. I couldn't breathe. This school was my third and only secular choice. I rang and they agreed to put him on the waiting list. I prayed.

Over at Ellie's son's school, some parents think this one is "rough". It isn't, but there's always one bad apple in a bag, so I've been told.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Cracking up

I was only ever going to write one little post titled 'isolation', about self induced isolation. How odd it was now feeling, particuarly now that this blogging lark feels like a full time job, that none of the parents in the playground knew I was writing a blog at all. None of them.

Not the friend who helped with my masters thesis, or the dad that I tend to talk council stuff with or the mums I talk about any old thing with. Instead that other stuff came out, buried stuff, stuff that I've learnt to deal with even though it made me feel sad for my son.

I kept the title 'isolation' because I couldn't think what else to call it. I hadn't planned to write it. I know I can delete it, such is the beauty of blogging, but have decided it has some value. The title stays because it was an isolating time. I didn't want to create rifts in the playground. It wasn't my playground, it was my son's.

Last week I read about a mother who attacked another mother who'd 'disrespected' her infront of her child with a hammer in full view of the kids in a school playground in Crawley and was jailed for 3 1/2 years. I know mothers in the playground who would defend their children better than I defended mine. Molly said once that she had a dream she hit me because I was horrible to her son. It was an opportunity to tell her about ugly, but I didn't. But enough about that.

When I met the mentor earlier I told him I was 'writing everything down now', writing myself into black holes, writing myself out of them, but I didn't tell him I was blogging. It almost felt deceptive, for I knew I was about to write about him, well, about the school through him. It doesn't feel deceptive writing about the council; that feels like duty. It's a system, operated by people whose wages you are paying. What they're doing to me they are doing to lots of people.

Two weeks into term I'm walking into the playground on automatic pilot, so full my head of housing housing housing. I've been playing this same record for years, it's not something I want to talk about the five minutes I'm there in the morning and afternoon for I know some friends have walked away over the years. You take your losses in battle. I have to train my brain to think about other things because I have a future, even if I don't know what it is.

I need to sleep. I'm not sleeping. I didn't have lunch today, only realised when I was late to pick up my boy. My body hurt I'd smoked so much. I had cramps in my shoulders and stomach as I walked. I had to sit on a bench when I got there as I couldn't stand up straight. I couldn't articulate my speech or my thoughts properly when I mentioned the logistics of my son's birthday party to mum with newborn baby.

I feel like I'm cracking up. I need to get back with the human race.

The flats are being viewed tomorrow apparantly. I didn't get called today. That means only one thing. I must go to bed before I write myself into my grave. I'm meeting my MP tomorrow. It would help if I'm a bit compos mentis.

Advice I was given, gave, and had to take

"If you don't like the way your friends treat you, and they won't stop when you tell them you don't like it, you either accept it and let it continue, or you walk away."

My friend Mary gave this advice to her daughter who was having a hard time at school. She then gave it to me whose son was having a hard time at school.

My son didn't want to do it. "They're my friends mummy."
"I know but that's the choice you have to make," I replied, "I know it's hard." He actually did though, actually did it! More than that, it resolved whatever issue between himself and his friends.

I was so proud of him, I thought I'd tell my playground friends. It concerned their kids after all.

I've learnt my lesson.

Later I had to follow this advice myself. If my son could do it, so could I. Recently I've had to tell him.

"Why don't you talk to Ugly mummy?" (No, he doesn't know I call her that either)
"Well, remember I told you if you don't like how your friends treat you.......? Well, I didn't like how she treated me so I just walked away."

"What did she do?"

"Oh she just said I was this that and the other and I just had to do like you did, and walk away."

"What did she say?"

"Oh I can't really remember, just stuff, like I was negative and always talking about myself. She talked about herself too so it just made me cross."

This was enough for my son. It's not lying, it's not the truth either. I've forgiven her for that for she did me a favour in a way. My son though, I could never forgive any adult who projects their bile and insecurities onto him.

Isolation Part One

Yesterday I did something I didn't want to do.

I went up to Ugly to ask her if her son could come to my son's birthday party. Her son and my son are friends. "He's my best friend mummy," he often says. Though sometimes it's Juggling Mum's son, other times Media Dad's.

Now you may or may not recall that I wrote something under 'playground bullies' a while back.

After that unfortunate event in reception, I came to despise Ugly. I had no issue with Media Dad, but if he happened to be standing with her, which was usual given the three of us used to be friends, I would drag my corpse over to them in the mornings so our children wouldn't pick up that there was anything wrong. I did think if there was trouble between our kids when they got to year 1, then I would blame her.

On my son's birthday last year, I had a little tea party round my flat for my son and his three best buddies. I did this because Super Juggler Mum's son had been quite gutted he was unable to come to the birthday picnic the weekend before. Ugly's son had and so had Media Dad's but I thought it would be nice for my son, for all the boys, on my son's actual birthday.

Media Dad's son couldn't make it, some after school thing, but Ugly's son could, only she insisted on coming too. Erm, ok. I didn't despise her at this point, I merely disliked her. "You understand don't you? After what happened," she'd said. I'm a Delayed Action person (which I really must sort out) so I didn't say "Er no actually, you insulted my child remember, not the other way round" but I did raise the whole sorry mess a little later when we were all in the playground downstairs.

There's no talking to her. Honestly.

"You should know I'm still upset by what you said about my son last summer so in the playground I come up to you and Media Dad so the kids don't pick up on anything." She must have thought I was talking about her and Media Dad, or deliberately misinterpreted it for she flew.

"Me and Media Dad are friends! Close friends! We have a bond! Maybe because we're both Leos, I can't explain it, but we have something special!"

"I don't care!" I answered. "I don't have an issue with you and him, jump into bed with him for all I care! You called my son a LIAR."

"He IS a liar!" she screeched.
"He is NOT a liar! They were five years old! All children lie at that age, don't accuse mine!" And that was that. I discovered in that same conversation that when my son accidently broke her son's arm pushing him off a frame in a game, she'd gone round implying my son had done it on purpose, was a bully. I despised the woman.

(My son meanwhile, who was taking video footage with his new Early Learning Centre digital camera of his friends playing, had captured quite by accident, but brilliant for me if ever I needed to demonstrate that five year old boys will be five year old boys, footage of Juggling Mum's son pushing Ugly's son away from him while he was rocking on an 'elephant' and Ugly's son giving him a right old bashing in return. My son later deleted it and I thought what a shame because my son's eye had also captured the astonishing ugliness of Papier Mache Towers in the daytime.)

The next day, Media Dad, with whom things had gotten back to normal with, blanked me in the playground and I thought oh for fucks sake and started timing my run into school to coincide with the school bell so I wouldn't have to deal with it and pretend pretend pretend so that my son didn't ask awkward questions.

Things came to a head last November when Ugly did not invite my son to her son's birthday celebration.

I was scared for my son. Literally, physically, nauseously, frightened for him. Was this it now? Was he always going to be excluded by all his friends because the parents had an issue with me?

Drastic action was needed and I saw my opportunity at the Christmas Fete. I would talk to Media Mum, Media Dad's partner. A full time working mother, she was only in the playground once a week. She had nothing to do with any of it, and if she did know, she never let on. I was bringing her in. My guts emptied themselves out a number of times that day, I so didn't want to do this, destroy everything for my son. Needs must though. Needs must.

"I just want to start by saying it's fine you are friends with Ugly, it's good that you are, your kids are friends, but she doesn't talk to me and now I don't talk to her because she was rude to my son."

These are not conversations you want to have; her son, her partner. "I'm not blaming them. I never blamed them (no thanks for putting that in their heads Ugly)." It got sorted out, of course it did, we're grown ups. My son got invited to her son's birthday, was invited for a sleepover, I let my son go for the sleepover, Media Mum and I hung out at the International Evening, Media Dad and I talk sometimes, both our boys going to Beavers. Things are 'normal'. Ugly's boy doesn't go to Beavers and I can't say I'm not happy about that, the way things stand. I don't like to look at Ugly so I'm forever grateful she's tall and I don't have to.

Our boys all had a rough start the first term of year 1. On one occasion just before Christmas I saw my son, who couldn't see me, going round and round a tree, on his own. Other kids were enticing him to join a game of 'it' but round and round he kept going. Gently I coaxed it all out of my son. He and one of his friends had gone in different directions, my son cutting himself off entirely, and the other, would tease others. Neither stance was good.

I could never talk about it with the parents, I didn't have that rapport. In Reception, at the time, I'd spoken to the school about what Ugly had said about my son. I had to, he was missing out on going to the park with them after school, all sorts, but I didn't raise it now. I just had to trust the school knew what it was doing. It's all fine between the kids now, it has been for a long time. Ugly never achieved whatever it was she set out to achieve.

This morning the mentor took me by surprise and said: "Your son and Ugly's are good friends." (No, he didn't call her Ugly, no-one knows I call her Ugly apart from some of my out of school friends) I replied: "I know, it's great isn't it? Those kids are so much better than us adults at resolving things," before resuming boring housing crap conversation.

However yesterday Ugly said her son could go to my son's birthday party. If she insists on coming along this time, I'll just have to have it out with her one last time. You might never know for I'm not at a place in my life where I post about what this or that person does, so obsessed am I with fucking housing....

Next month's (October) issue of Psychologies though has an article entitled:
"Playground politics for adults

Bullying, telling tales and tight-knit cliques are all part of school life - and that's just the mothers. Clinical psychologist Dr Stephen Briers offers advice on how to navigate the schoolyard."

Came abit late for me but I knew just what it meant.

If Ugly ever reads this, well, what can I say? Bridges, crossing, all that jazz....

Talking to mentors, not dementors

I had the opportunity to talk to my son's teacher yesterday afternoon, just to let her know the score, should my son start playing up in class or his school work start to suffer. She was cool, as I knew she would be. She suggested I talk to the Deputy Head. I told her I'd done this, and the Deputy had said I could talk to her anytime, but as she was the Deputy, and probably had enough on her plate, I would talk to the mentors. "The school has these structures in place to help all of you which is brilliant. I'll log it with them."

The mentor was available this morning. He helped me when I was doing my Masters, was under a great deal of stress, and wasn't there for my son.

That was the first thing he said: "How's did it go with your Masters? Have you been able to find a job with it?" and I said. "No, but what's funny is that I graduated last week and missed it. I met a friend last week who said "It was our graduation yesterday and I completely forgot...."!"

I told him I was going to ask if I could take my son out for the day and he said: "We'd have let you do that. It's an important part of what we're doing in the school to promote further education." I didn't know that, but I knew the school would have let me. I'm telling you Reader, my son's school is cool!

Now last night I shouted at my son. Oh stupid things you know. "Come and eat your dinner. I SAID COMEANDEATYOURDINNER!!!" "Stop playing with things on the table, eat your food. I SAID STOPPLAYINGWITHTHINGSONTHETABLEEATYOURFOOD!" 0 to 60 in 0.3 seconds.

Back when my son was two and we were handed notice by the Church, I became like this. Back then I surrendered and went to the doctor - oh go on, give me the drugs! "I'm not going to do that this time," I said to the mentor. "But I'm scared of the impact of all this is going to have on him."

I told the mentor how tough the bidding system was, that I couldn't play the game and "bid for everything" because I couldn't risk being shortlisted "for a place in Kings Cross then have to turn it down because it was too far from the school."

I didn't have to explain, justify myself, there wasn't any need. This was a community school, he said. They want children to be from the community, be part of the community. If a child lives too far away, they risk being late, which means they miss out on important elements of numeracy, literacy, subjects taught in the morning.

Kings Cross was a good example. It's three miles away. Sure I can cycle it but a child shouldn't have to. Not only would he or she be knackered when he or she got into class but London roads are dangerous. I know. I sing "It's not my day to die, it's not my day to die, oh no no it's not, it's not my day to die!" ALL THE TIME especially when I'm in the city.

We had a good chat, mentor and I. I admitted I was paranoid about the social services. "Alot of mums I met in hostels are, it goes with the territory."

It felt good to have a conversation with someone this week and be understood, be heard.

There might very well be good schools in Kings Cross but I like this one, my son's doing well here, I know my son is safe here. I would only upset his education if I were moving out of the capital and I'm not ready to do that. I love London. It's good to single people like me, tons to do, but then I've told you that before.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A bike called Zat

I found my bike a name while I was playing around with a Janis Joplin song.

Zat is my bike
My bike Zat is very heavy to carry
Zat makes bidding for places much harder for me
I don't like that but I do love Zat
The metal machine Zat can get me anywhere
Zat carries my shopping when my son is not in the seat behind it
Zat also doesn't omit carbon emissions and is therefore very good for our planet
Zat is a very fine thing no?
Think about Zat you people in the council.

There are perks to going mad. My bicycle has a name!

Oh Lord will you get me a two bedroom flat

"I'd like to do a song of great social and political import." (Janis Joplin)

Oh Lord will you get me a two bedroom flat
Politicians all have houses
I'd quite fancy that
Worked hard all my lifetime, now I am a mum
My son he lives with me, my bike is called Zat.

Oh Lord I don't ask you for anything more
My flat's far too small, things, won't fit through the door
My son wants his freedom, his friends round to play
We're both looking forward to a brighter new day.


Oh Lord will you get us a two bedroom flat
Politicians all have houses
We'd quite fancy that
Worked hard all my lifetime, now I am a mum
Oh Lord will you get us a two bedroom flat.

'Nothing out of the ordinary'

Phoned OO7. The council are a bunch of bloody bastards if you don't mind me saying. I asked him if I could have what he said in writing, so I'll see what he writes. He said that he "can't help", had "no influence" over mine and my son's situation .

"It may seem harsh but there's nothing exceptional about that from our point of view". "I'm sorry but there is," I replied.

"Your situation is nothing out of the ordinary" he said and I of course, disagreed. He banged on about the "very many people" as if I didn't know. I just wish I didn't know.

If I didn't have a child, I'd go and find a dealer right now. I don't care that I don't like needles.
If I didn't have a child I wouldn't be in this situation. I'd have left the country if things got so hard.

If he writes what he said to me, I will start with him a game of email ping pong, starting with "define exceptional." I've asked the council that a few times. I want an answer.

New kitchens? That's nice....

I coming back to Papier Mache Towers after the school run and there's a van outside the block with a man taking things out from it, cabinets? As I haven't finished my cigarette, I sit on the wall.

"Are those for the empty flats?" I ask.
"Yeah," he says and I tell him I've bid for one of them. We chat abit and then I point at the cabinets and ask "What are they?" because I can't work it out.
"New kitchens for both flats," he replies.
"I hope I get one of them," I say, stubbing out my fag.
"Yeah good luck" he says.

I walk into the foyer as a tenant walks out. "New kitchen's, new bathroom, that's nice.." said not without a whiff of sarcasm.

Indeed matey, for didn't the King say it would be three years before the Decent Homes Programme got here? I didn't say that to him though, just fraction smiled in agreement. And anyway did the King say that? That Thursday night at the residents meeting, my lights were on but no-one was home. Bit like now really.

The viewing of that flat is on Friday I saw on the homeconnections site last night. I'm 77th or something. I have until tomorrow to get my boy up to number one. I don't want to call the council today, I've no energy, but I must find the will. OO7? I hope you pick up.

Sleepless nights

I've been telling my son recently that he must sleep in his own bed because "mummy's not sleeping very well so it doesn't help."

I woke up at about 4.30 this morning and soon after in clambered my boy. "I want to sleep with you mummy because you're warm," which was a change from "my bed's too small".

We chatted abit and he fell asleep. Not long afterwards he wakes up with a shudder. "I dreamed you were hitting me and biting me mummy!" I soothed him, stroking his hand saying "you know mummy wouldn't do that," and we chatted some more before he fell back to sleep.

My mind's whirling about god knows what and suddenly "mummy mummy there are dogs chasing me and they're trying to bite me!"
"No they're not sweetie, they're probably trying to lick you. It's only a dream, you decide what happens, the dogs want to lick you, they're being friendly."

Dawn broke and he sat up with a book of Horrid Henry. I dozed beside where my night's worries came crashing to the shore. The letter to Brown. In it the letter to Blair. In it asking him if he'll lose next year's election, would he legislate "None of the Above" on the ballot card before he goes. Brown's letter is more political than Blairs. Brown's isn't purely about me like Blair's. "What have I done?" popped into my head when yesterday morning I was "got to be done!"

I decide I should go and talk to the school's mentors. If his nightmares and not sleeping are a precedent of what's to come while I fight all this, well I should really let the school into the picture. Not that he'll fall asleep in class, but children can get wired when they're tired.

The mentor was with another parent.

Oh our children our children. There are a number of kids in that school living in hostels. I don't know how many in temporary like mine.

It can wait, I'll see how he sleeps tonight.


"What don't we want to find?"
"What do we want to find?"

That was the chorus this morning as I went to give my son a kiss last night and he was furiously scratching his head.

I do the traditional method of tea tree conditioner and hours of combing with him as the products I tried that you leave overnight seems to make them breed like hell.

Oh they are disgusting those big beastly bloodsucking buggers!

And combing them out isn't the end of it as all you mothers know. There are the sheets to change and wash, not only his but mine, so often does he sleep in my bed.

I think of those mums in the hostels where they'd tell me they had to handwash everything in the bath as the washing machines are always on the blink. My friend long ago in temporary that would do the same. Launderettes add up if you have or want to use them all the time.

I'm lucky. The Foca bought our son a washing machine for his third birthday. In Landscape of a Good Woman, Caroline Steedman says that in the 1950's it was not uncommon for adults to be given things through their children. When I read that doing my masters I laughed at how little seemed to have changed, at least in my eyes. Post war economic abundance was also built upon family 'credit' for things like tv's, washing machines etc. Made me think at the time, of our society, and I'm just remembering now that once upon a time I used to think of other things besides me me me and my situation. I loved doing my masters.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

My son's birthday wish

"Mummy, if we've moved get me anything you want for my birthday but if we haven't can you get me my own room?"

Oh my baby, I will try.

Manic days manic posts

Run into Mr Gray and the Good Caretaker as I'm carrying my bike down the stairs (I don't get the keys until Friday apparantly and the lift, as always, is out."Bloody incompetents!" says the Good Caretaker).

Mr Gray tells me I should contact the Quality and Review team, that is the group which refers people to the exceptions panel apparantly. "Oh god really?" I say. "I have the guy's name! Why didn't I know this before?! I'm off to meet my friend for coffee and another for lunch and then I was going to come back and write to Gordon Brown (ha ha ha giggling) but now I won't have time!!"

I speed into Camden, ring Jo and ask her if it's ok if we have lunch another day "because I need to write to the Council's review team and write to Gordon Brown before tomorrow! Meet tomorrow?!"

Now, at the time, these letters were a matter of urgency. I had another 'wide awake half the night and falling asleep minutes before the alarm goes off' experience, taking my advice and asking my angel to help me sleep, but current fear or whatever taking over, it didn't work.

After school run, I put together some psychiatric reports and shrink letters to give my doc to help her write the letter she promised to write for me, then quickly drafted a letter to Brown because tomorrow or Thursday people will be viewing the flats upstairs and I don't want to give up hope that we'll be shortlisted at the last moment!

I read my draft to Millie who said it was good but I should expand on the private rental sector and make clearer why it would make working so difficult but we quickly moved onto our kids at school, our families, oh much more interesting stuff while I chain smoked all the while.

I raced home, tried to find an old letter from OO7 in the Review Team for Mr Gray said I should ring and try and set up a meeting with "someone from there". Voicemail: "I will be out of the office until July 6th" Ha ha, that's funny. I ring housing to ask to be put in to the team proper and I get put through to social services (?!) who say he's the only one and I should email him. Which I do, adding as a P.S "Might I suggest you change your voicemail message....!"

Before I email him though, I quickly respond to an email from 'needs and access' who says she's contacted the relevant person in the support team for me, so I thank her and say "could you also ask whichever panel it is to shortlist my son tomorrow?"

Flip I'm shattered but must write to Brown. Handwrite to Brown. Handwrite to Brown because I handwrote to Blair. Oh fuck! No time to extrapolate on the private sector, no time to edit the damn thing because it means rewriting the whole damn thing. "Oh it will have to do, have to do."

A support manager phones, telling me we've spoken a number of times and I say "No, I've met you once!" She's pleasant enough, tells me I can call her whenever I want but she's not going to house me so I'm not going to call her. I ask her again why we've slipped down the list and again she says "people have greater need" and I'm like "no, I'm not going to buy that now."

Then I jump in the lift, jump on the bike (which I'd left outside in the pouring rain) and peg it to the Post Office.

The queue! Oh for fucks sake! Is this a sign? Is this a sign I should not send the letter? I check my phone. It's 4.30. My son's in after school club, will I make it within the hour? Chat to the guy infront of me about angels because he's here for his mother, something about her grave plot being covered in Japanese (something) Weed and he'd seen a van go past with Japanese (something) Weed on it so he'd jotted down the number, omitting the need for the Yellow pages so I'd spun off about coincidences being miracles in a Paulo Coelho book. I did start my spiel with 'you might think I'm abit of a nutter but..." but I have to say, he was very responsive. Chat chat chat. Was it a coincidence that the queue was flipping long (recorded delivery see, all my letters to them up there go 'recorded delivery'.)

Man sees a friend of his, a sweet looking old lady, and I disappear into my head. Before I know it, it's my turn!

"So will he get it tomorrow?!"
"No, there's a postal strike tomorrow. Thursday or Friday."
"Oh you're joking, really? Thursday or Friday? You should give me a discount on the stamp!" I laugh. (Laugh! Like this is really rip roaringly funny!)

Then I race to the co-op for some milk and more tobacco then jump on the bike because I forgot to drop off my letter to the docs this morning.

I could really go on about the rest of the day, how I turn up to the school soaking because my waterproofs aren't effective anymore, and the club leader says I'm "soft" and I say "yes, but I've got to be fierce! Got to step up to the plate!" How my son said "Mummy, if we've moved get me whatever you want for my birthday but if we haven't can you get me my own bedroom?" then asking me to play Mamma Mia and I wanted to swoop him up and kiss him as I played the entire Abba Gold album but I didn't, we just did 'dance moves' (well actually Abba was before dinner, he told me his wish in the bathtub).The Book That Will Never Be Published is nothing like this blog. Everything I've written in this post would be condensed and split into much shorter nuggets, or else ignored entirely. But seems I've written my headache away, or have I? Will it come back when I stop? Is this the equivalent of foaming at the mouth????

I'll blog my letter to Brown on Friday. On Thursday you see, I will be really depressed, really at a loss when I see "Properties Offered To Others" and it's not us. For something I need. It's back to bidding for somewhere for my boy and my bike. It's back to fighting that flipping council.

Seems I haven't written my headache away. I might have made it worse. Oh joy. Oh fuck it, let me end my day's posting with something really painful because I can't work miracles in my life....Obviously, as posts read down you will have seen it repeated in here. It's what I shall dream of tonight whether I want to or not....I'm too wired to sleep.


Dark black thinking thinking thinking round and round up and down thinking thinking thinking tired tired tired can achieve nothing. Bloody awful, wouldn't wish it on anyone but fortunately didn't feel that way today. No, I was feeling hyper, hyper hyper hyper can do alot with hyper, believe alot with hyper hyper hyper, hope alot with hyper hyper hyper. Saw and sang to Millie:

I'm gonna take it
to the limit
take it
to the limit
take it
to the limit
One more time! (Eagles)

It's good feeling buzzy positive. Must learn to make it last but now have thumping headache. Will the letters I write work??????

Monday, 14 September 2009

Depression or Madness?

A friend once said to me "If you think you are going mad, you aren't"

I'm going mad, I'm going mad, I'm going mad, I'm going mad, I'm going mad.....

Visit to the doctor

Oh doctor I'm in trouble...

Oh goodness gracious me!

The housing crap has hit the fan
I can no longer see


I have been here before
It makes my mind feel very sore
It goes bang di di bang di di bang di di bang di di bang di di bang di di
bang bang bang


Bang di di bang di di bang di di bang

Oh goodness gracious, I will help you, goodness gracious me! (Stigmum and Peter Sellers)

The King responds

I've called him back about five times already, my calls always going straight through to voicemail. so I left another message just once. I must have been dialling him when he called me back because I was alerted to a voicemail message on my phone.

He said he was at work today and couldn't take calls but would be in touch. He said he couldn't fix up the allocations system just like that anyway as councillors don't have that power.

I called him back, left another message saying I knew this but he did have the power to put pressure on the people who do operate it.

I've asked him to take on board my son's case. This man who with Nail'er is auctioning off council properties. I can't quite believe it myself.

I also contacted the Big Issue, to ask if they could recommend a good lawyer who would be prepared to take a case like mine under legal aid.

I will not keep stalking the King by voicemail this morning. Just one last message at a minute past 12 saying if my son isn't shortlisted today, then this system is flawed.

The doctor's seeing me at 12.40. Not a moment too soon I'd say.... I could bore all my friends with this stress but I'd rather not. Do you think I'll laugh about it all one day?

What I am doing to my son

My son was really compliant this morning. This worries me. Usually when I tell him he can't wear his trainers to school it ends up in an argument, him fighting his corner, until we reach a compromise. Today he just accepted this.

Usually when I tell him to get off the computer he says "Let me just finish this game!" This morning he said "OK mummy," and closed the laptop.

My son didn't go through the terrible twos when we were evicted by the Church. My god he went through the tyrannical threes when we got here though and I was able to relax a bit.

My handling of this situation is already having an impact on him. He is much older now. I don't want to put him through this. I can't put him through this.

This isn't some little experiment like my Masters. This is our lives.

I'm going to get the doc to get the mental health services onto me as a matter of urgency.

This mother is mad. This mother has got to get even.

Stigmum and the council's housing department

Tainted love
Tainted love
I toss and turn
I can't sleep at night
Tainted love

(Soft Cell)

At noon today my son's future will be determined

Following a sleepless night, I topped up my mobile and have put through a call to the King on the housing executive board. Just now infact.

It rang then went onto voicemail. I've told him bidding for the flats in my block closes at noon today. Please could he put calls through to members of the council. The allocations manager knows me, so does needs and access, so does the Chief.

I told him I can't put my son through this again. First notice by his father, then the Church, now this. "Does my child matter at all?"

"You may not be my councillor but you are an executive on the housing committee."

I've told him I'm going to keep calling his mobile until noon today. "I have to do this on behalf of my son."

When I was little I was really annoying. I was reminded of this yesterday as I caught the writing on an old school shirt hanging in my wardrobe:

"Bye & good luck in the future. Who will make a noise for us when you have gone
lots of love Ali xx"

I've got to find the girl I was and be really annoying. Really fucking annoying. It's my son who hangs in the balance here.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


I'm telling everyone I meet, friends and strangers, that my son and I are being evicted from our temporary accommodation.

I am not moaning, I am merely enlightening them. When I discovered many years ago that mothers were living in hostels "for up to two years", I would say to friends and strangers "Did you know..." because I didn't, hadn't known.

Today I personalise this housing catastrophe in their society so they know it's true. One day I won't know what the truth is for our Government, our Councils lie to us.