Sunday, 28 February 2010

THE article in the local rag

The story appeared in the heart of the paper. Not in the first few layers, but deeper, in its heart.

Bones carved in black and white of a stressed mum and child bounced around by the System.

People I met felt its resonance when I guided them to the heart.

Others, did they find it? Did they feel it? Did they want to know more?

Did they find it and turn the page without a second thought?

Where are we in Camden at the moment?

Where are we in Britain?

How do people feel?

Getting lost, being found

Getting lost has been a feature of this week; to the journo course, to Church.

What's worrying me though is will I lose what I found in my mini breakthrough?

I hope not.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception

At the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Farm Street in Mayfair they do a beautiful mass sung in Latin on a Sunday morning.

I woke up so early, better rested though, sleeping foetally on my son's firmer mattress (I've convinced him to go back to his bed and asked if I could sleep on it while he's been away)

Good idea I thought to go to Church after the hard, hard week I've had. Great idea to go to a beautifully sung service.

Bugger to find it though.

Luckily I bumped into a couple with GPS. I still got lost but eventually found it!

Half an hour until service. It was raining so I took cover under a hotel canopy so Nicoteen wouldn't get wet.

I looked where I was; The Connaught Hotel. A posh one that one.

How much is a cup of tea in there? I wondered. I popped in and wrote this.

A cup of English Breakfast and a cheeky chocolate croissant set me back £9...

I'd wanted to break the tenner so I could put a few coins into the collection basket. The Church could only get a quid now.

Oops. Well, never mind. I've never claimed to be a Good Christian now have I?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Careful what you wish and write

They say be careful what you wish for, it might just happen.
I say be careful what you write too.

It will all work out for the best
It will all work out for the best
It will all work out for the best
Me and my son will be fine
Me and my son will be fine
Me and my son will be fine

Children tweaking Cheryl Cole

I want to post this quickly because I'm going to stop blogging for the day in a minute and because it's so topical, well why not now?

Last Thursday, when I believed the paper was breaking the story, my son woke up and sang to me:

"You gotta fight fight fight fight fight for a council flat!"

I laughed! I'm the song re-tweaker in this family I thought!

Later that afternoon, totally independently, my neice also sang to me:

"You gotta fight fight fight fight fight for a house!"

"Wow!" I said, "your cousin there sang the exact same this morning!"

I'd seen Cheryl Cole floating in the headlines but on Sunday I bought the Mirror for something 'light' to read.

"Cheryl," I thought. "You gotta fight fight fight fight fight for yourself!"

She knows that of course. What I don't know is, how on earth she deals with the media spotlight on her when her life might not be what she wants people to know.

You're a brave woman Cheryl!

The Big Weep

I've written about my storms in a thimble. I have ideas and then I don't go through with them, or I do and they come to nothing.

My appearing in the paper tomorrow feels like a much bigger storm, not only within me but without me as well.

A storm like I saw years ago when crossing the Atlantic.

The captain of the motor boat told the crew to "stay indoors" but I wanted to witness the ocean's fury brightly lit under a lightening sky.

I snuck out and held on so hard to the metal rails as I slowly, carefully made my way down to the aft, the back of the boat.

What I saw was terrifying, exhilarating, awesome.

Where am I going with this you are wondering (I barely know myself anymore I'm so shattered)

Years ago, in my letter to Blair I wrote: "We stand before God and our country and ask for a stable, affordable home."

Yesterday, in the clarity of my mental breakdown/breakthrough, I realised that I was doing exactly this through the local paper. The 'guttersnipe' of back then is the same 'stigmum' of now.

The Party Leader I coincidentally met symbolises my country (all three of them do to me in this borough's coalition as you know).
When I spoke to the him, in a news room full of people, it was with God in my heart.

I find this all rather overwhelming.

I finally understand the dream I had.

I'm due a Big cry.

To cry is to heal (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)

I am asking angels to protect me. I have plans over the next couple of days anyway, so I'll be fine.

On being interviewed

I told you the other day the part of the council I volunteer for asked if one of the parents would agree to be interviewed on the PA work we did.

The manager in charge got back to me yesterday saying a parent had stepped up, but she'd send my details to the interviewee just in case.

I know the parent who stepped up. We presented to the board together. We've got a kind of unspoken agreement to work on this stuff together.

I replied to the manager saying the parent who had stepped up was much better at articulating the work we did than I was, but I would be happy to accompany her and not be interviewed myself.

I wrote the parents perspective. You'd think wouldn't you, that I'd be quite capable of verbally articulating it.

No! This other parent is much, much better than me, even with her thick Portuguese accent. I've seen her in action, believe me!

"We worked as a team," I said to the manager (who very kindly hoped all was well in my life as she signed off and I said I hoped me and my son would get housed soon)

That's me really.
Writing has always been a kind of therapy for me. It's also a hobby and a companion, especially when I was travelling. Something I did, something I do for myself.
When writing was a job I was paid to do, there were always subs around to clean it up a bit.
I'm really glad my Portuguese friend has agreed to be interviewed; this PA stuff is really important.
In short I am someone who can work on her own but works better as part of a team.

There, you really wanted to know that didn't you?!

(I should actually have placed this post nearer where I posted the 'voice of the people' thing. Oh well! Fragmented motherboard, fragmented blogspot, art mirrors life once again!)

When you lie and do wrong

I know that I have it within my power to delete everything I've posted which I didn't ask permission to post. Do it quickly, before the story breaks.

I have broken a fundamental code of conduct within journalism. I know I'm not a journalist but I do think it's this background that's given me a sense of duty to agree to be interviewed for the rag's story. That, and of course, the desperate desire to finally take my son Home.

I might have gotten myself into "a whole heap of trouble". You know, I've been boring you for months with my paranoia.

One of my 'punishments' (Christ, I hope there are not too many) is that the State will refuse to house me.

If I am to continue bouncing my son around through no real choice of my own, I have to feel I have done something wrong.

I have to feel it so that when my son asks again: "Mummy, why do we deserve this?" I can tell him: "My child, I wrote a blog. I didn't ask permission to write the truth."

Such is the risk I am once again taking, with my son in my arms.

"The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing" (a poem Jules gave me when we worked on the boats together. At some point I'll source who wrote it. For a long time I thought it was her!)

Meeting the Editor

I confessed.
I told him I write a blog.
He just smiled and didn't say anything, which as you know I like.

"I want to give you the link," I said.
He turned to look for a pen.
"You don't need a pen, you'll remember it. Stigma. You know, stigma. Stigma, stigmamma, stigmum."
"Stigmum," he said.

He smiled at the username; well it is a good one if I may say so myself. We talked about it for a little while; where the word originated and stuff.
"She is my source," I said. "I have to protect my source. Throw me to the wolves if you want, but will you protect my source?"

I told him the journo at the free paper had it, that he's not the first. Other papers have it too. Well how was I supposed to know all this would happen? I didn't, honestly reader.

As I left, slightly more at ease as when I went in but still frightened nonetheless I told him his paper had my story.
"You have the exclusive!"
We both laughed.
Many a true word is spoken in jest... (Shakespeare? Dunno, a very common idiom)

He said to get in touch next week. I may do so after my doctor's appointment.

I thank him for that.

"If we house you, we'll have to house everybody else"

At the four way meeting the Tory exclaimed at one point: "If we house you, we'll have to house everybody.."

"I'm not suggesting that," was my instinctive reply which surprised me because I was actually thinking "Who will know?"

What he said wasn't new to me. A few people have said it; Milly, my sister in law.

I mention this tremor from that meeting now because the other day when my support worker rang he said: "The Tory said 'social profile' no less than three times."

It is more than his job is worth to defend me like that but being so honest with me has meant so much. I have been/I am very lucky to have him.

I owe him thanks for much, much more and also an apology one day for not telling him I was writing a blog.

"Mummy, why are you sleeping like that?"

I'm used to these sleepless nights at the moment. I knew going to bed early would anticipate them but I need the rest.

Last night a fear gripped me. Annie Lennox was singing "Who's that girl?", a great track but I was thinking of the 'media interest' in my appearance in the local rag's political story.

Earlier that day, post posting, post rest, I went for a walk. I was feeling very lightheaded and well, thinking about God. (I am over the religious trauma of my teens by the way; I've spoken to 'good' priests about it since)

Once home, I finally read last week's 'free paper', the anger at the council flat sell off's, and it bought me back down from my strong desire to fly.

In my dreams I'm flying again though. It's feels so nice, so peaceful and that's when the fear gripped, "I need to stay grounded" and I got up and I wrote down why I was doing this. Why I was letting the paper tell my story.

I ended it: "Britain is on its knees because the voices of its people are not being heard."

I went back to bed, and when my son woke up (in a bit of a hissy fit for some reason) he said:

"Mummy, why are you sleeping like that?"

My left leg was cocked up with my right ankle sitting on my knee. I rarely remember dreams but I do remember thinking "because I've got stay grounded."

Because of this I'm telling you now: I can't be a voice for the people. I can't even command a class of 30 children for goodness sake - an experience in Japan.

No, as a person, I'm best one on one. I'm best as interviewer, not interviewee.

What can I say, you learn things when you're rebooting....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Kickstarting the writing process

That Friday night, my parents said I could smoke in the house.

"No," I said. "It's not fair on you."

They insisted though, and I was really grateful.

With Nicoteen and a glass of wine, I started the writing process at the beginning; buying the paper.

The next day, with too many people accessing the wireless connection, my mum's internet went down, with me mid post.

Needing to write though, needing to empty these thoughts, I set about with traditional tools. Oh it was nice! MakeHay had been right though; I'd told him I blogged but didn't tell him, nor did he ask for, the link. He asked if I was addicted to it, if I'd manage without it at my parents. "Oh sure I will!" I'd said. That's what inspired the poem, I don't know how many posts away now!

Right, I'm going to take a break; eat something, listen to Capital Gold as I rest on the sofa. A girl can write too much! Especially about her bleedin' self. There's so much flipping more aswell from where all this has come from....

Self protection though innit? Hardly anyone will read these posts.

I'm rebooting the system. The system needs rebooting!

If you find anything in amongst it all though, cool!

On the third day she rose again

That thought came when I was in the bloomin' shower. I hadn't had a wash the day before; the water splashing on my face was so cleansing.

"On the third day she rose again!"

It came out of nowhere and fear gripped me.

"It's not the third day," I say to Stiggers.

"Yes it is," she er, jokes. "Thursday, Friday, Saturday!"

"Thursday night, Friday night, technically two."

"Friday, Saturday, Sunday!"

"Bugger off, I'm not in the mood." The motherboard nonetheless tries to locate the history.

Eight points to make here.

1. Years ago my son's grandmother rang to wish me a happy birthday. "You're the age Jesus was when he died," she'd said. I'd replied: "Thirty Free" and in my head, because I didn't want to die 'and he rose again'. She is like my mother, they both have great faith and both say things that I consider a bit Alec Baldwin barmy sometimes, but I know where they're coming from. Of course I do, I have faith too. I want to 'rise again'; all people who hit a low point do.

2. I went a bit loopy when the Church evicted me. I thought that people might think that I was the Second Coming! It wasn't long before I laughed at myself though, and wrote down the experience.

3. Yesterday I asked the ed of the rag if he was bought up within any religion. I told him I would be introducing a new 'character' to the blog soon. "A trinity," I told him with fear in my heart. I'm so glad he laughed. I left him with the 'Paranoia' chapter of My Book That Will Never Be Published. That and the 'Dreams' one where I recount my history in journalism and end it saying "I am not an informer." Scared that my book is a prophecy, I ask him what's going to happen to that name in his comment. He's not to know is he? That's my fear again though; of going loopy again. This time though, being misunderstood.

4. In Andrew Davidson's book, The Gargoyle, his protagonist says that religious trauma when you are in your teens can have detrimental effects later on. Now, I'm not schizophrenic. Geez, if I am then the mental health services certainly missed that! But no, I'm not, The 'voices' I hear are only my own. I travelled alone through Asia didn't I? Back then I could hear it like I can now. We all have an inner voice. Good book by the way, there's alot of truth in fiction!

5. I am not the Second Coming!In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says the Second Coming is change of universal consciousness. I got both books down last night to search for the relevant paragraphs. Absolutely shattered, I told myself to go to bed. Rereading some of Tolle though, it's sounds quite nice, a change of consciousness, and nothing to be afraid of.

6. My 'mini breakdown' was actually a 'mini breakthrough'. People understand the word breakdown better though, so depending on who I'm talking to, I'll use one or the other.

7. In MBTWNBP I write, and also on here I have written:
A stigmum found a nut in the deep dark wood
Can't go over it, can't go under it
Oh no, I'm going to have to go through it!

I understood that fully last night. My breakthrough has made so many things make sense!

8. I was initially only going to make three points! Ah well!


Home from my shopping trip, my sister is round my parents place with her daughter.

I tell her to read the comment.

"What do you think? Sis, what do you think?" She's drawing along with her daughter. I want to know though.

"Sis, what do you think?"

"Some people might think you're ungrateful."

Woo, that's a medicine ball. Didn't see that coming. Does the backlash begin here at Home? "What do you mean?"

"I just think it's ambiguous."

"What? No it's not."

The phone goes. I answer it. It's my eldest brother.

"I've just read the piece, it's great!" he says.

"Thanks bro, I really needed to hear that. I really need to hear something supportive."

I go and lie down. Thinking all the time is so tiring.

Ungrateful ungrateful what else are they all going to say? The chattering classes will be the worst won't they? Those who have no idea what it's like down here.

"Screw your courage to the sticking place," says Stigmum.

What? What? Who said that? Who? I know Shakespeare but who? Who?

The answer isn't forthcoming. I give up. Zzzzzzzzzzzip. The lights go off on the motherboard.

In the eyes of the Law, in the eyes of God

I'm my son's Sunday School Teacher as you might know (and doing a rubbish job as you do not). Ages ago, possibly following a 'lesson' the day before, but on the Monday morning school run, my son dragging his feet, I said:

"You know, in the eyes of the Law I am an adult, but in the eyes of God, I am a Child. Race you to the corner!"

That got him going!

I tried to explain it later. Sometimes I think he'd be better off in a proper Sunday School. Other times I think no.

I remember this just now, so I thought I'd share it with you.

When you're rebooting, all kinds of memories come up.

Going shopping

My ma's going to the shops. I decide to accompany her. I'd forgotten my toothbrush (Don't Forget Your Toothbrush! I met Evans once, on the Heath. I smile at the memory) and my b o basher.

"You accompanying your mother?" says my dad at the front door as we leave.

"Yes, if I stay in my dressing gown all day I'll think that I'm ill and I don't want to be ill."

(We did actually talk in French but I was always hopeless at spelling, not much better at grammar so I'll spare myself the trouble)

It'll take too long to write up our shopping trip but at some point as I wheeled the giant trolley with my chest and my mum hobbled along on a crutch, I wondered if me and my mum were both children. Then I wondered if we were both old people.

I told her I was thinking this because I thought it was quite funny.

Spelling tests

"What's that?" says my son, pointing to a picture he's drawn in my notebook.

I hazard a guess: "A tree? A lollipop?"

"You sing from it."

"A microphone! Can you spell that?"

He starts to write. "Do you need any help?"

"No mummy."

I expect him to write it phonetically.


"Oh well done! I didn't think you could do that! High five!"

"Pirate ninja!" says my nephew.

"I can spell that!" says my son. And he does.

"Spell journey," says my nephew.


"You spell it like this," I say and I spell it out.

"What did mummy used to be?"


"You know what mummy is now?"

I spell out journylist.

"Ha ha you're funny," says my nephew.

I laugh too then so as not to confuse my son, I scribble 'journalist'

"Na. Na na na na na nalist!"

One of my son's favourite songs pops into my head: Kids by MGMT

"Don't kill yourself, take only what you need," says Stiggers in tweak mode, to those who might want to.

Fear of the media, fear of being known

7.30 Friday morning. "Message from the dark side there is" says my phone.

Who is that? I ask myself, so early in the morning?

MakeHay! Yes reader, I finally met the guy, met him the day before Valentine's day when I had planned to delete my online dating profile.

"Hey you made the page..good write up. Go girl"

What? Where? I thought I was just the anonymous front lead.


I go downstairs, open my copy of the rag. The comment section: "Human impact of homes auction"

Oh my God! Oh my God! That's good, I think, as I see "visitor..she has a seven year old son..." Oh my God there's me! There's my name! What does it mean? "Mam look!"

I feel instintively quite elated. When my dad comes downstairs I tell him to read it.

"We can all blame Margaret Thatcher, but the council's current policy of selling off some homes to the highest bidder certainly hasn't helped."

Wow, he says it all much better than I ever could!

My dad, the Tory, and me, the I Don't Know, talk politics. He's not that ill! What a relief!

I cling to my instinctive thought that the piece is "good" as the motherboard fizzes and pops trying to make sense of it all.

Is it the media I fear? I was a journalist for goodness sake. No, it's the fear of being known.

The ed said my name. He's not letting me get away with it.

Oh crikey.

I should thank him really.

Motherboard meltdown

Last Thursday before lunchtime, I arrived at my parents weary as from battle.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I always seem to come back in this state."

"Ca ne fait rien," said my ma. My dad was simply overjoyed to see me.

We chatted for a bit, but events are hazy now, I know I was soon back inside my head. We sat down to lunch, with me catching bits of conversation; my neice, nephew, brother, my son, my mother. My dad's always quiet these days, it's great he's always there though.

After lunch, the kids dispersed, my dad went back to sit infront of the TV, I don't know where my mum went. I went outside with Nicoteen and when I came back in, the maddest thing happened. I saw my life flash before my eyes. None of the crap, just the good stuff, in glorious technicolour.

I sat down at the kitchen table because I wanted to keep watching it, you know, from a comfortable position.

"Je te trouve pensive fifi," says my mother walking into the room. The kids had long gone, I could hear them though.

"Pardon mamma, je suis ok, c'est juste que je suis entrende de voir ma vie passer devant mes yeux!"

We chatted for bit, I couldn't really tell her what I was seeing; moments travelling spring to mind. I asked her if it was ok if I went to lie down.

I might have slept, I think more that I rested. What a comfortable mattress after what I have to sleep on here.

I got up for dinner. Rice, lentils; comfort food. (I've just checked in the freezer, me and my boy will have that tonight! Maybe not, it's rice and jerk chicken at school today. Bangers and mash tomorrow... that's dinner sorted for then, then!)

Yeah, so sitting at the table, between my dad and my nephew. It's like white pieces of paper are shooting out of the motherboard and a Mama Cass and Labi Siffree track are jumping from one to the other.

The higher you build your barriers rocket bells and poetry know that I can make it it started quietly and grew something inside so strong getting better getting stronger deny my place believe it or not...

I was getting really frightened, it wouldn't stop. Everyone around me seemed so far away. If I voiced it, it might stop.

"Guys...GUYS... I... I think I... I'm having a.. a... mini breakdown."

They all look at me.

"I..I..I've got like these things f f flying from my head and mama cass and thingy, you know thingy, Labi thingy, you know, something inside so strong, they keep singing over each other."

"Oh that's a classic track," says my brother.

"Yes, you hear it on the radio all the time," says my neice.

"Really?" I say, gratitude pouring from my eyes.

My brother takes out his iphone, puts on some music and stands it on my mother's zimmer tray thing.

"Thanks, thanks for that," I say to him.

I can't really say I slept that night, but I rested really well, the mattress so smooth and every turn and breath of my son sleeping on the blow up mattress beside me.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Change of plan!

My doc called and we're meeting next Monday and I was just starting to post bits of my weekend when I thought, call my mamma!

Sat back down to type and my support worker has just called. I've told him I'm in the local paper. I've told him I had a breakdown and I'm angry that the council has consistently ignored him when he's tried to talk on my behalf. "This wouldn't have happened if I'd been housed."

Lease End has sent me an email but I can't deal with that right now (but here, I'll copy paste it here to remind me to answer it)

Dear Sue,
Following our meeting on 9th February it was agreed that I would look into whether you could continue in your current property beyond the lease end date in August.

We have spoken to the landlord of the property,[] who has told my colleague [don't know her]that she does not wish to continue in her agreement with Pathmeads. Unfortunately this means that as it stands you would need to leave your current accommodation at the end of the lease.

It was also agreed at the meeting that [support worker] would arrange for you to meet with a client who has been through our Private Renting Scheme. [Support worker] has identified a client who is willing to show you around their flat and talk to you about any concerns that you have about the scheme. [Support worker] had also arranged for you to view a 2 bedroom flat in Belsize Park when it becomes available.

[Support Worker] has told me that you no longer wish to meet with our client nor view the property and do not want to consider PRS as an option. I am sorry to hear that. I am copying [Support Worker's] line manger,[don't know him either], into this email.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.


Lease End

I know it's sleety snowing outside but I'm going to go up to the Heath, or maybe the Gossip Stop. Don't know, I have to buy some electricity first.

Either way, I'm not playing music here at the moment because I don't know what to choose in order to calm down a little.

Ordinarily I would reply to a council email straight away but I need to get out.

I have to be at least a little compus mentis when I meet the editor later. I'm nervous about it, but did tell him last Wednesday that "I could get into a whole heap of trouble".

Staying in this flat will do me no favours whatsoever.

Life/Death/Life cycles

I've heard said that when you die, you see your whole life flash before your eyes.
Is it so with rebirth too?

I am not stupid, I am not mad

The motherboard meltdown I had at my parents place wasn't altogether awful but perhaps that is because they were there. They were there, my son was there, my neices, my nephew, my brother, my sister.

In short, my family.

Oh, and Nicoteen, my faithful friendly foe.

I am back home now, in my home that is not my home, just somewhere I rent (Libdem Lady, you probably didn't mean to hurt me)

I cannot afford to break down again, because really, it's not that pleasant if you are going through it on your own.

As I dropped my son off at school this rainy monday morning, choosing to take the front entrance so I could hand in the form so my son can do gymnastics, I saw the head, the deputy head and someone else standing where they usually do on a Monday morning, under the clock, in the corridor.

I went over and told them I was in the local paper.

I could not articulate this very well, not 'normally' at any rate, speaking ten to the dozen, when suddenly the deputy says: "Would you like a cup of tea?"

I did not expect that and said yes, yes please.

In her office I told her what had happened. I told her my 'big secret' and you know, bless her, she didn't ask for the link.

The school's primary concern, obviously, is my son. I told her yes, I was trying to protect him, I was trying to protect myself, that's what the blog is all about. Well, now at any rate. Now I can see...

It was good to 'off load' some of my mental mayhem. I can trust my son's school. I trust it because they have always, always, taken care of my son when I have asked them to.

I didn't ask her now, but she did say, if my meeting with the editor over ran today, they would look after him if my son didn't get into gymnastics (a volume of parents like me handed in their forms this morning.."Let's get there early," I said to my son. "It's first come first serve. You might not get in, but we'll say a little prayer to Jesus." "And God mummy." "Yes, yes, God too but if it doesn't happen, you've got swimming on Mondays, so it's not meant to, ok?" "OK".)

I thanked the deputy, a lot!

Nicoteen on the way to the coffee shop. Nicoteen on the walk home with my double expresso.

First things first, I called my doctor. I have an appointment next Monday but asked the receptionist to ask the doctor to call me. She will, when her shift finishes after midday.

I went to my inbox and replied to my friend Anne, that I would try and attend her redundancy drinks evening. Years ago I used to work on a communications title, that's where I met her. I find that quite funny, the coincidence (you know, calling my mind a motherboard and all that)

I replied to a person in the council, saying I would be prepared to be interviewed about the PA report I was part of.

I'm not sure I'm up to that, but she sent the email last week so perhaps another parent has stepped up to it. Que sera sera cross that bridge and all that.

Like I said to deputy, I cannot abandon "what I did before". I still need to go to Bazza's Boot Camp and stuff. She agreed. I was talking sense obviously in my ten to the dozen chatter.

Now obviously, I am here, ten to the dozen typing.

Later, I have a meeting with the editor. I told the deputy "I have to trust him". You can't tell someone you've got a 'big secret' then not tell them what it is. She told me to "be careful". I told her I would be, "he did pull the article the other day after all, I think I can trust him. I hope I can."

For you though, and for me, I'm going to post some of what I went through at the weekend, some of the stuff I didn't get round to posting last week, because my son was hogging the computer!

It's important because I AM STILL HERE. What I've been through has given me HOPE.

I will leave this post with a song. Susan Boyle! I forgot to bring my cds to my parents and Saturday night, I saw hers in the kitchen. My brother got it for my mum for her birthday apparently. "Do you know, I've never heard her sing," I said to my neice. "Really?!" she replied. "Yes, really!"

I pick this song, or the relevant to me bits, because that's where I was last week and over the weekend I learnt that no woman is an island (John Donne with a stigmum tweak)

You think after all you've done
I'll never find my way back home
You'll see, somehow, someday

All by myself
I don't need anyone at all
I know I'll survive
I know I'll stay alive

All on my own
I don't need anyone this time
It will be mine
No one can take it from me
You'll see

I do need people this time, I cannot do what I need to do, all by myself.

Yo doc, I await your call. Yo ed, I hope our meeting goes well! I'm actually crapping myself (figure of speech, not literally for once!)

(And a big thank you to Jen of the cigarette diaries for teaching me how to do multiple label links!)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Having the space to think

I am safe here
My son is safe here
being ignored by me

I hear his chatter
his laugh
rings the air
while I lie on a bed
of no poking springs
and listen to the story of my life
byte upon byte upon byte

I might have had a breakdown
but now I'm withdrawing
I might as well face it
I'm addicted to bloggin' (Robert Palmer feat stigs)

I miss you Blogspot!

I wrote this yesterday at my parents place, after I had tried to post "All That Stress for Nothing" and lost the lot and bought their internet connection crashing. Thank goodness I had a pen and paper! I'm back home in London now and getting myself 'up to speed' on here will take me ages, so I'll just go with the flow but introduce a new label!

"All that stress for nothing!"

Wednesday afternoon I went into my local newsagent to ask Nash if he'd get an early delivery of the buy and free papers. My brother, as luck would have it, was going down to my folks too, and would pick us up at 8.30 the following morning.

"Yes" was Nash's answer but the free one wasn't delivered there anymore. I didn't tell him I was going to feature in the buy one. I'd told hardly anyone.

I didn't sleep that night. The bed was uncomfortable yes, but so was all the noise in my head. Stigmum wanted to put Labi Siffre's Something Inside So Strong in the fleeing post so I did as I was told, puffing away on Nicoteen as I did so in these dark, dark eye stinging hours.

I went back to bed. Actually no stiggers, that song will give the wrong message. Out of bed again to delete it. Oh the beauty of blogspot as a paper's about to tell your story and emotions are vying for centre stage within the already loaded Motherboard.

My son wakes up at about 6.30. I give him breakfast; I have tea. He wants to play on the computer.

"Let's go to Nash's first," I say. "Buy the paper."
"Oh no mummy, I want to play on the computer!"
"You can play when we get back, come on."

We get to Nash's and without me breathing a word he puts a copy of both buy and free in my hand.

I lay them on the counter, to pay for paper on the top obviously, and scan the front page.

There's Clegg in thebottom right hand corner.

"Liberal.." scan scan "And he also agreed to take up the cudgels of a single mother who is facing eviction from her council accommodation, along with her seven year old son."

Oh thank you, thank you!

"See page 7" The trepidation, I can't explain it, fingers and thumbs turn the pages.

There he is! There's Clegg! Where's the photo of our group with him? Maybe they decide to use it!

I scan the article, looking for reference to me but the words swim before me, blurry. "A&E....A&E". Hang on, it's not about me!

"All that stress for nothing!" I laugh.

Nash doesn't understand so I tell him I thought there'd be an article about me, but instead the Libdem Leader kniew the paper was onto him to help us!

"All that stress for nothing! See that son?! Now we can go and have a lovely weekend and I won't ignore you and we'll have lovely quiet times reading together if you want space away from your cousins. I'm so sorry mummy's been so far away. All for nothing!"

I buy it and head home. I am so relieved that I can actually clean the kitchen sideboards. I grab Henry who sucks up visible carpet crumbs and so on. Well done me for packing last night! I'll have another cup of tea!

A text from my brother, he's running late. I consider going outside with Nicoteen but it's Thursday isn't it? May as well bid.

I see two for us not far from son's school, blocks on large estates.

The phone goes; it's support worker.

"How are you?" he says.
"How do you think?" I answer abit curtly as I'm thinking I don't want to be thinking about the council.
"Have you spoken to Tory?"
"No, I haven't heard anything."
"I've spoken to agents and I've found a private flat you can go and view."
"HOW MANY TIMES," I say suddenly furious, "DO I HAVE TO SAY I DO NOT WANT PRS?"
"But you agreed at the meeting that you'd go and visit one."
"I was pushed into accepting. You heard me say I knew what I was missing. They were saying 'do it for us, do it for us.' You didn't speak at all, you were there, you know!"

Oh I was mad. Not with him, it's never with him but he always gets it.

He told me of families already in the private scheme. There was a mum who had 480 odd points who was "already viewing flats." He could arrange for me to meet her.

"Already viewing? Flats? How many? How old are her children?"
"She's got a four year old and she's working full time and..."
"FOUR? My son is SEVEN. I have been waiting LONGER THAN HER."

There were more, all children younger than mine. I asked him to get me the insecure points I got the last time I faced eviction but he reminded me of course that the homeless aren't eligible for that. He said he'd speak to Allocations.
"Yes, do that. Ask her to reply to my letter. You got that email didn't you? Tell her I am STRESSED."

I did say sorry for being angry and thank you for talking to Allocations for me but when I put the phone down I was straight back in Far Far Away Land, turning circles on the spot, robotically, not knowing where to step.

My brother had arrived and was pissed off because he'd tried to call me twice to say he was waiting so now I'd made him even later to pick up his kids. Two angry adults in the car. I squeaked a "sorry but.." and leant my head back and gazed out of the window.

The journey passed in a haze. I vaguely remember his kids getting in the car. At some point I heard Mama Cass singing "It's getting better" on the stereo. I'd just been listening to her the day before.

"Can you turn that up?" I asked bro.

As Mama Cass sang her song about love for a man, I could think only of stigmum. That song will now forever be etched in my mind about me and her.

There's comfort to be found in Far Far Away Land, sometimes.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I am not fleeing this time

Tomorrow, I'm going buy, yes buy, the paper I'm featured in (I thought if ever my story was told by someone else it would be the journalist who knows me a little bit over at the free competitor).

After that I'm leaving. I'm proud of myself, if one can be proud of themselves, that I'm not fleeing. I promised my son I would take him to see his cousins. It will be good to see my mum and dad, I've not seen them for ages.

I will come back and face the music.

Right now I don't know what that music will be but I'm so fecking tired I don't care.

I've had to confront my one of my greatest fears and I've done it.

I've done it.

I was going to take my son away earlier, but I wanted to feel the copy in my hand, not read it online.

For me, this is akin to walking into China as opposed to taking a train.

Let's hope, once again, it's all worth it.

Can my past protect my future?

Way back and long ago I wrote a small piece for a local paper.

Tomorrow a local paper is going to publish a big political piece using/helping me in a different way.

Yesterday this was one of my handwritten posts ending with:

Eek, will it protect me?

Today the penny has finally dropped.

I am up against the Government, the Council and the Media.


No wonder the motherboard is over heated and in danger of cracking up.

Thank the Holy Comolies the ed's agreed to meet me Monday.

Needing space to think

"Mummy, are you going to be exciting today?"

"Sorry my lovely no, mummy's head is so far, far away. How about I see if you can go and play around one of your friend's houses?"

He was very excited about this, but I had to warn him none of them might be around.

They weren't. All parents got back to me, except A's dad. No surprise there... can't the guy see I'm trying to do our children a favour?

My son refused to go with girls, so that ruled out asking some other friends of mine. I was trying to be a bit Doris about it though and not add guilt to the stress. Things happen for a reason, yeah?

I wanted to use the computer but I can't visit you stiggers with my boy around.

Opportunity to tidy up. Couldn't even do that. Spent don't know how long in the kitchen trying to find the most important part of my stove expresso maker. Told myself I might find it while tidying up. Don't know what's up with me, perhaps as overwhelmed by the mess as I am by my constantly fizzing motherboard. I kept going round in circles, literally.

A bright blue sky. Thank you thank you world. I took my boy to the Heath; get out of this suffocating environment. Still though, I kept having to say: "Sorry sweetie? Mummy was far far away again..." Not pleasant. Why can't I just focus on him and forget all the crap? It took a herculean effort to do so and I failed every time.

Because I can't talk to him about what I'm going through, or get advice from him I end up talking to myself, in silence. Not fair on either of us actually.

I am lucky to have the most chilled out, chatty boy in the whole world.

I owe my life to him, not least because if he hadn't been here, I wouldn't have eaten.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Advice from horoscopes

Fear and paranoia is really unpleasant and this morning felt I had no recourse but to read my horoscopes to try and instil some positive thinking in me.

Feel free to be quick to point out when an injustice has been made, sue. If someone says something that is offensive or untrue, do not sit back and let it slide. By doing so, you are just as much at fault as the person who offended in the first place. When you know you are right, say so. It is important that others listen to and respect you. Your honest nature and good sense of morals are extremely important qualities, and should be recognized accordingly. (Keen Starscope. This one very good as I was thinking I'm the type of person who does let it slide and this has got to change or my life never will)

If nothing ever falls apart, you can never experience the joy of putting it all back together successfully. Why do you now face a particular problem? That's the wrong question to ask! We should ask, instead, why you need to be worried about this issue? Later, you can sit down and learn your lesson from the past. What mistakes (if any) did you make? Could they have been avoided? Right now, you have an opportunity to move on. You can fix whatever's broken and compensate for whatever is less than satisfactory. Let bygones be bygones. 2010 is here. (Cainer)

The paper is out on Thursday. I do not know yet the backlash. I do not know yet what will be asked of me or how to deal with it. But good questions to chew on while I hope he's right and the opportunity has arisen to move on.

I'm wired beyond belief stiggers, can I go to bed now?

Story of my life... a song

I've been walkin' these streets so long
Singin' the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Camden
Where hustle's the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain

There's been a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowgirl
Riding out on Zat bike in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowgirl
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

Well, I really don't mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you're down when you're ridin' the train that's takin' the long way
And I dream of the things I'll do
With a subway token and a fiver tucked inside my shoe

There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me
Like a rhinestone cowgirl
Riding out on Zat bike in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowgirl
Gettin' cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone

(Glen Campbell featuring Stigmum.)

This is the first song I ever sang karoake on my own. I was meant to sing it with my friend Paul at our college Leavers Ball me and my uni friends gatecrashed (a spontaneous decision, they could have waited to hold if after our exams!) but he abandoned me on the stage the minute the music started.
Stiggers, to try and wipe away my paranoia this morning, played it.
"I'm not ready for this," I told her all, oooh, fearful!
"Were you ready when you saw the blue line?"
"Point taken, but still, I don't believe such glitz is coming or know how to deal with it if it does, unlike the blue line, where I got really lucky with an amazing boy though not amazing journey he's forced to take with me...."
"Chill out and sing."

"Why do we deserve this mummy?"

"Oh [son], what you said down the phone... why do we deserve this..."

"Why do the council think we are deserving this?" he says again. "Because they are ningcompoops or worse?"

I laugh.

"I told the woman on the phone "does every child matter? Only theirs..?"

"Why did you say that mummy? Why do you do that if you want them to help you? Because if you do that you're going to ruin my life aren't you?

I'm quite speechless.

"Nick Clegg said he'd help you. If you want them to help you, you've got to be nice to them don't you?"

"You're right yes, but there's a song about nice guys. The one we were listening to this morning."

I think about Mr Clegg and think shit, I'm going to be so unpopular with all of them.

Seven years old.

My son my sun, what is your mother doing?

Seeing red makes good copy

The journo rang as I was in the cinema foyer waiting with my son for Ponyu to start.

"How are you?" she asks.

"Mentally, emotionally, physically exhausted if I'm honest," I say.

"We rang the council and they said they offered you a flat three years ago."

At the mention of the council, I saw red. I tell her yes, they did, I turned it down on account of the bike and I haven't viewed anything for three years while other people have. As I'm complaining, my brain is mentally tracking who's at fault, jumps over the council managers and says "It's the Leaders, all of them," and on I go, unstoppable, saying I'd like to meet them and finishing off with "Every Child Matters? Only their own!"

She's busy when I call her after the film but she calls me back. It's to tell her I was 26th on the list to view that flat, that 25 families had turned it down. I wasn't first. Now I was around 200th with no explanation as to why I've slipped down the list.

I tell her that maybe I'm being paranoid but the council will read the piece and just laugh and do nothing. Everyone, including the leaders will wait to see what my next move is until we do move into a hostel and it will all be my fault. Rah rah rah. And this is a massive risk I am taking, I say, another risk I'm taking with my son. I could have always said I wouldn't do it and I don't know why I am and why am I and maybe I'm just following my instincts.

Oh fuck. Tired see, I'm like a toddler when I'm tired. She got great copy though. Beats any copy she actually got on the day. I'm not sure a journalist will ever get such great copy from me ever again. It'll be interesting to see how she puts it together.
She said she wouldn't use my son's name and I took great comfort in that. "I don't want him to be a poster boy. He could be any child."

Suddenly my son says to me, very close to the ear piece:

"Why do we deserve this mummy?"

"Why do we deserve this?...I don't know."

Will she use that? I do not know. A perfect end to her political piece. Tell you what though, I wouldn't be surprised if the story makes their front page. If it makes their front page, then that's a bit mad too.

Years ago I said to friends that I should send a picture of my son to the Mirror, he'd make the front page, but I knew I wouldn't do it as I didn't want him to be the poster boy for all the troubles in the country.

It is political my story. It always has been. It's finally come out because a politician and a mother had a chance meeting in a news room.

The mother perhaps coulda shoulda stayed quiet.

I do not want to be a poster girl. For a start, I know nothing about politics...

Why aren't you exciting mummy?

Aaah, he's in bed, I can let the guilt go.....

High stress, high stress, alone it's one thing, but with a child?

"Mummy will you play shops?"

"Oh baby I can't, not now, play on the computer."

"Mummy will you play penguins?"

"Not now, not now."

"Mummy, can you get me a penguins membership?"

"Can we talk about it when we move?"

"Is that soon mummy?" his voice suddenly excited.

"I hope so, I really do."

"Do you promise you'll get me a membership?"

"Yes I do."

"Oh please come and play penguins with me, just for a little while."

"Oh [son] I'm so sorry, mummy just can't right now."

"Oh mummy, why aren't you exciting?"

Why couldn't mummy be exciting? Because mummy is lost. Slept badly last night, woken up at 6am, my eyes were stinging, I couldn't speak, I was going outside for fag after fag after fag, then thought 'silence the noise in your head and write'

I hand wrote about four posts. You 're not getting any of them. By the time I've finished tonight I'll be too knackered. I wrote while he played on the computer.

"Oh mummy, why aren't you exciting?"

I took him to the cinema. If I was going to ignore him, he at least get something good from it.

Ponyu. He loved it. I couldn't tell you; missed the lot.

"Oh mummy why aren't you exciting?" he asks again when we leave the cinema.

"I'm under intense pressure."

"What's that?"

"Lots of things on my mind. Am I really a rubbish mummy?" I say, feeling bad.

"Yes but you're generous too."

Was it easier when he was a baby? Was it easier when the Church eviction robbed me of my ability to talk to him, to play with him?

Back then he had a little nap in the morning, then I shoved him infront of the telly, then I gave him lunch; mutely. He had another longer nap, while I sat inside my head, then I put him in a pushchair and floated him around Camden, Regents Park pointing nothing out as I was so far far far inside my head. Back home, mute dinner, mute bath, read a story; THANK GOD FOR BOOKS and then bed, at 7, thank heavens for that. Now I don't have to ignore him without meaning to.

Now of course, my super chatterbox is wondering where his playmate's gone, though thankfully I did manage a game of 'batbear' after dinner (baseball; I throw the bear, he hits it with an old wrapping paper tube) Batbear is easier than 'shops' even though he's the one doing the maths these days.

If I wasn't blogging I know I'd still be thinking, thinking, thinking because in 2005 I wasn't blogging and I was thinking, thinking, thinking. Of what I couldn't tell you. It's all fear, hope, paranoia colliding. The endless fight against a hostel back then, anything that isn't a secure council flat now.

It's shit for my son. Absolutely shit. I haven't even been able to organise playdates for him or anything.

How those with more than one child manage I do not know. How those with disabled kids manage, I do not know.

I take my hat off to you, I really do.

Monday, 15 February 2010

It would be nice if magic happens....

I'm not at all sure what happened this weekend but it must have been some crazy tossy turny dream because I've broken the curtain rail by my bed.

Three nails of that cheap plastic have been wrenched from the wall.

Last year property owner said the curtains and curtain rails were awful and really need replacing. That time my son had leaned on the curtain and the whole lot had come down.

On that same visit the property owner was shocked by my mattress and asked me if I wanted it replaced.

"It's alright, I'll be moving soon," said I ever hopefully. I really regret not taking her up on the offer.

You can feel the springs through the thin mattress fabric. They all jut through. I feel all the pokes and prods when I can't sleep.

My son insists on sleeping with me on those wiry springs. Tonight I tried to urge him to sleep in his [cot] bed, the mattress is firmer.

He won't do it. "I love you mummy."

When we move baby, you will have your own room.

"Oh, I want to sleep with you."

"It'll be great, you'll see."

When he was a baby he had his own room. Then when he was one, he started sharing with me.

How hard will it be for him when the magic happens and we move to our secure flat?

We'll both need new beds.

Am I rambling reader?

I'm knackered.

Am I sure I want to run with it?

The journo who interviewed me Friday rang this morning, asking if I was sure I wanted to go ahead with the story.

No no no no no no no no NOOOOOOOOO! I was thinking

"Well yes, it's important, there's an election soon..." said Stigmum.

I'm convinced now I was possessed by Stigmum last Friday. Clegg thought he was meeting me, but he wasn't.

"being evicted with her son"?

Stigmum was talking about me.

Stigmum wanted answers.

It's stigmum keeping me awake, stigmum writing to the council at day break, stigmum sending the whole story to the press.

Where am I in all this?

Well I just don't know!

I/Stigmum told the paper to do what it likes.

What's news to you later this week, will be news to me too.

I find that quite mad.

Stigmum finds that quite mad!

It's all quite, quite mad...

Job done for now

Right, I've just sent the newspaper editor the email I sent Clegg.

My son's still not home.

Which means of course I haven't played it by the Foca first.

I will let this go now by sinking my head in my bath water.

What's that you're saying stiggers? Que sera sera?

Well yes, best stop thinking about it all.

My son my sun my son, mummy can't wait to hug you.

(and damn, damn damn, I forgot to buy you a valentine's card. I'll find a way of getting one and go "ooh! Look what arrived for you! I totally forgot! Who's it from who's it from?!)

Early morning emails

My son's going to be home soon! After wretched tossy turny night, stiggers has hauled me out of bed and told me to respond to the council's email and yes, post it on here before my boy returns.

There's nothing more I can do now apart from bid on Thursday. I think that's the day the rag comes out. I'm not sure my son and I will be around, what with it being Half Term. I'm feeling quite relieved about that right now.

Anyway, will this be the email to finally change everything?????

One lives in hope....

Dear [Allocations]

Thank you very much for your email. I am sad to read that amongst the options available to me, a secure tenancy isn't one of them. (shit, didn't say why not?)

You say that not all applicants who registered in 2009 will be in a successful position to obtain a home. "However, there will be a few that because of their circumstances will be in a position to secure a home."

Why can't my son and I be one of those "few"? We have been waiting since 2005. We have already been waiting many years.

This next move is our fourth move. I approached the council in 2003. I have a record of this so the council must do too. Back then I did what the council suggested and moved into the private sector. My son and I were back again within a year. We're back again now. How many times must we keep on coming back?

Thanks for explaining why children under 5 are prioritised. You don't mention however, why my son who is over 5, is not prioritised. I need to understand this.

I have not received a letter from the Medical Assessment Officer. If like you say, the officer hasn't changed our recommendation then it is further evidence that my medical professionals are ignored by the council. To suggest we move out of the borough is ignoring my son's school.

You don't ignore me [Allocations], you always reply to me and I thank you for that. The council though, whoever the council might be, does ignore all those who have my son's best interests at heart. Why?

[Lease End] did laugh when he said not to bother looking at bids. I understand though, why he would deny it. No-one in that meeting told me to bid. It's probably the first time in six years when I wasn't told to "keep bidding."

No, I was urged to take a flat in the private sector. When they left, I said to [Support Worker]: "You can tick your box now." I was very upset. The private sector is a good option for many people, but in mine and my son's case, it's not. Not after all this time and all these upheavals.

I hope the council will take this email into consideration and place us in a higher banding while we go through this terrifying eviction process.

In the meantime I will "keep on bidding." Like I said to you, it's what I've been programmed to do.

Thanks again for replying to me so quickly.

Kind regards

Sue de Nim

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Do I send the editor of the rag who got the story of me and Clegg the email I sent to the Libdem Leader in January?

Attached to this email is the original email to all three leaders asking for sponsorship for the Big Issue walk.

Within that the sorry tale of Foca and Church and now State.

I didn't tell the journalist about the Foca and the Church.

It's a dilemma because it would give the newspaper a better story. It would give the story 'legs'.

I can't help thinking the Daily Mail would love it.

My son has a member of his family who works for the Mail.

I tell you, sometimes my world feels like a teeny weeny one.

Why this sudden fear?

Well, one of Clegg's men has just emailed me asking for a bit more information. He's cc'd the editor. I've replied a long me and my son answer to both men.

I've sent Clegg's man the original letter I sent in January.

I have not cc'd the editor with this even though that email puts me in a better light because it's not just about me and my son, it's also about everyone else in the borough.

The Foca and the Church is what gives the piece a human angle. What gives the piece 'legs'.

I don't have to protect the Foca. I do have to protect my son. I have to try and protect myself.

Maybe I should sleep on it.

Maybe tomorrow morning when my son comes home, I should ask the Foca what he thinks.

Yes, I'll do that. I will sleep on it and talk to the Foca in the morning.


A mad week in politics....

Just thinking, on Wednesday I didn't post the email I sent to Tory.

Given the week I've had, which in a way is absolutely mental and I couldn't make it up if I tried, here is the full email... mad mad I tell you.... I don't know what to make of it all....

Hi [Tory],

I was thinking of you and my son this morning.

In terms of you, in another world it would be great to sit with you and have a debate about housing. Your decision, for example, to give more points to long term residents of the borough, is a good idea even though sadly, swooping in from Wandsworth, my son and I can't benefit from it. I give this example to say, that in this other world, the debate wouldn't be an attack. It would look at the situation. It needs to change, but how?

In terms of my son, I was thinking that if we move, if we do this prs thing, then that will be the fourth home he has lived in since he was born. That means on average, he has moved every two years and the moving is not over, another lease end awaits. On and on it goes. [Lease End] said didn't he, we couldn't be guaranteed permanent accommodation. I don't want to move to move again, not again.

None of these moves have been a choice that comes from me, except perhaps the first, because my son's father said I couldn't bring up our baby in a studio and suggested I move with him into his brother's flat here in Camden. I didn't listen to my instinct, I listened to reason, and I'm still paying the price for that.

I want to take my son home, finally. I don't live in a world where I can do that though and I don't understand why.

I'm sure you don't underestimate how all all this affects me. I'm lucky though, I 'look' ok. I 'look' well. The council certainly underestimates it, despite all the letters from medical professionals.

I absolutely want to help you help me. It's what I said to the shrink all those years ago: "help me help myself". I want to help you help me help my son. I want me and my son to reach that 'other world'. I want to stop worrying about our housing.

Thanks for getting back to me.

Kind regards

Sue de Nim

I've not heard from him since, but yesterday Allocations cc'd him and Lease End and Support Worker and Quality in her email to me.

On Friday I told the Libdem Leader I wrote to his camp before Christmas. I was wrong, I wrote to him in January.

Remember what I said to you? Que sera sera...!

It's all a bit bonkers don't you reckon?!

Like I said, I couldn't make it up, meeting him the way I did, when I did.

I don't know who I can turn to for advice....

Help! I need somebody,
Help! not just anybody,
Help! you know I need someone,

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone,
I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling WAAAAH
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me keep my feet stuck to the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed
in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, it's all gone maaaaaad
And I would appreciate you being round.
Help me keep my feet stuck to the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

(Stiggers has hardly had to tweak these Beatles lyrics at all! I don't think even stiggers can help me now, she needs the help as much as I do. Gulp.)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Groping in the darkness

Did the Libdem Leader put in a call to the council yesterday? Is that why I've received an email so quickly?

The Leader asked for my email, will he reply to me personally?

If the council managers read an article in the papers that the Libdem Leader was put on the spot by a stigmum, will they privately laugh but publicly say they are following directives if challenged?

Will I ever see an end to this Never Ending Story?

What will my son, my sun, make of all this as he grows older?

My son my sun my son my sun

I was meant to go to a parent council meeting on mental health issues today
Right up my street
Why didn't I go?

At midnight last night I jumped on a bus
and found a friend
and shot tequilas
Bang, bang you're dead
I don't feel too clever as a result
but I'm not clever
or am I?
My son my sun my son
I want to take you

Emails you don't want to read

Friday 2/12/10 6.24pm. I have opened it now. Saturday afternoon.

Dear Ms De Nim

Thank you for your emails of 10 and 11 February 2010, regarding your housing situation.

I am aware that [Tory] kindly took time out of his busy schedule to attend a visit to your home with [Lease End] and [Support Worker] from our Homeless Household Support Service. As you know we have been talking to you for sometime about the pending cessation of the lease on [your temporary accommodation] and the options that are available to you. These options could be private sector housing, hostel accommodation or accommodation outside of the borough.
[not council housing, I hope you read that loud and clear]

Whatever option you choose, it does mean that you will be unable to remain [where you are living now]. I know [Support Worker] has advised you of the benefits of taking private sector housing and we have achieved a great deal of success housing families into this form of housing
[hitting targets, ticking boxes]. I would ask you not to rule this out in its entirety but give it due consideration. If you do decide to rule out private sector housing then the distinct probability will be that you will be offered hostel accommodation and if this is unavailable at the time, accommodation outside of the borough [and you only have yourself to blame for that].

I am sorry to learn that you have moved four times since your son has been born, but our records show that since you approached Camden for assistance with housing, we placed you [where you are] and now are proposing to move you again [to somewhere equally insecure]. Therefore, the other moves must have taken place before you approached us for assistance.
[I approached you in 2003. You should have a record of that. I do. I did you a favour and went into the Private Rental Sector. Came knocking on your door again in 2004. We have moved three times. We're staring at the fourth]

As I've explained in previous correspondence, not all applicants who registered in 2009 would be in a successful position to obtain a home, in actual fact a majority will not be housed for a number of years to come. However, there will be a few that because of their circumstances will be in a position to secure a home, but many will be be waiting for years and because of this we advise that the private sector may offer an appropriate housing solution. The points you have been awarded reflect your current housing situation and are in line with the points that can be awarded under our Allocations Scheme, I am sorry that you felt that no one was able to explain this to you yesterday.

We give priority to families with child a under the age of five living above the second floor and who are overcrowded for ground floor properties only, but this is only after consideration has been given to those who have been medically assessed for a ground floor properties. I hope this explains this particular issue for you and hopefully clarify that we are not giving priority to all families with a child under the age of five living above the second floor.
[we are not going to tell you why not families with children over 5]

I have looked at your application and your medical points have been assessed, this was done on 2 February 2010 and you should have received a letter advising you of the Medical Assessment Officer's decision
[no I haven't]. From what I can see the Medical Assessment Officer has not changed his recommendation and your medical category remains a C. This takes into account the letter dated 9 December 2009 from [your doctor] [we will never consider the earlier one from your shrink].

I am sorry that you felt that at the meeting Lease End had laughed, but I have spoken to Lease End and he assures me that this was not the case
[which he would say of course, wonder if support worker will back ME up? Tory might not dare either]. He did say that he advised you that he thought that given your points level that he didn't expect you to be successful, but everyone at Tuesday's meeting agreed that you should continue to bid, as sometimes properties go to second and even third shortlists. [not everyone, not Lease End]

I know that you feel that you are being ignored, but as you know Support Worker has been assigned to assist you and help you through the process of the lease ending on [your temporary accommodation] and both [Quality] and I have responded to your emails, so we are well aware of your anxiety about the situation and we are doing all we can to ensure that you are kept aware of your options and what is happening.

I hope that I have been able to clarify matters for you, but please do not hesitate to keep in contact with [support worker] if you have any further queries.


Allocation Service Manager
Needs and Access
Housing and Adult Social Care
London Borough of Camden

It is good she responded so quickly. It's quite clear what she is saying, but I will respond to this on Monday because it's not quite clear enough to me.

Friday, 12 February 2010


Mine are all over the place.
Are yours?
I've a weekend alone without my son.
Nothing to take my mind off today.

Is that the menu?

I need to chill chill chill all weekend

And maybe talk to an editor on Monday

Say my name say my name? (Beyonce)

When others believe in you...

I posed for a mum at the school disco tonight who took a photo of me with an unlit fag in one hand, a can of beer in the other, and a class tea poster in both, affliating me to the school.

This is after I told her of my newspaper experience with a politician she didn't know.

The penny dropped as the camera snapped. Kerching!

Shit. Or should I be thinking that way?

Either way...

She believes in me. Why don't I?

The private sector - the fear

I met a mum earlier today, who's in a hostel with her two kids. She's been there for three years.

"Haven't they offered you the PRS?" I ask.

"Yes but I don't take it."


"You see them [families] go and then come back again."

Sbe didn't need to say more to me.

On Tuesday, with the three men, I was saying the same thing. Bounce, bounce, bounce our children.

The Tory was saying if I take these "creative steps" to social housing, I would definately get somewhere for my son and I afterwards.

"Don't say that, you can't say that," said Lease End.

1 in 10 people in hostels get housed.
2 in 10 from the PRS get housed.

That's what he said, selling me the advantages of the Private Rental Sector.

One of my little shocks I give you now.

Tory said he would 'monitor' my case. He would make sure I get housed.

I wanted, I so want, to believe him.

It's not the first time I've heard: "Don't say that, you can't say that." The first time was at the housing office last year when the woman said she thought all children were prioritised and the man next to her said "No, no, you can't say that".

It's wrong to assume things, even if you work for the council. The Tory learnt something on Tuesday, or maybe he didn't, how am I to know....

There is NO guarantee that my son and I will get permanently housed taking this "creative" route we are being forced to take.

Down here, we all know that.

Was I lucky today or am I just a good story and nothing will get done?

Opportunities? A song....

La, la, la, la, la, la ,la ,la,la, la-a
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la-a
La, la la la la la la la la la-a

Now that I've fought everything for you
You say you wanna start something new
And it's scarin' my heart you're leavin'
Baby, I'm hopin'
But if your luck's to leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just on a smile, girl
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
I'll always remember you as my child, girl

You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do
And it's breakin' my heart in two
Because I never wanna see you sad, girl
Don't be a bad girl
But if your luck's to leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware

I love you
But if your luck's to leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware

(Cat Stevens sang the original to me, First Class on the way to Japan. I know, First Class! Funny the luck when you're scared. Stiggers changed the words a little when I got back earlier. She knows what I'm feeling, what I'm hoping, why I'm scared. She's hoping I'm going to get lucky and I can take my son home. Finally home. Me, I've given up hoping. Hope is terrifying. Have you ever hoped?)

I'll get to the point eventually....

Journalism course today and with the week's events, haven't done my film review homework.

I come here. Stiggers has written a rubbish review or two. Take it, try and improve on it, before I hand it in.

I print out an old copy of an article I sent to the national press. Maybe my tutor can give me some helpful pointers as to where I'm going wrong, and where I could go right.

The class is visiting a local newspaper today; a Q&A session with the deputy. I'm going to be late. I jump on Zat and make my way there.

A few people on my course are standing outside. I'm not late; cool!

We go in and the editor welcomes us.

"Nick Clegg is supposed to be coming in today. You might get a chance to meet him."

"I wrote to him and asked if he would meet me," I say without thinking. "I haven't got a reply yet!"

"Oh you never know, you might get your chance," says the editor, or words to that effect.

I'm thinking oh my goodness. Angels, angels, I leave this up to you yes. If I meet him I meet him. If I don't, I don't.

The meeting starts with the deputy telling us about the paper, the sister papers. She's asked how she got into journalism.

A knock on the door and in walks the editor with Clegg and a few others and says something like:

"This girl here has a question for you!"

Clegg looks at me smiling. (He looks the same in real life as he does on telly, if you're wondering)

Do you know, I do not know exactly what I said. I did a charity walk, I asked that you sponsor me, I asked everybody, your camp got back saying you were committed to other charities but that's cool, I sent an email back asking if you would meet me because me and my son are being evicted and I haven't heard back yet.

He says he's sorry about that and he'll look into it and I say it's ok, I didn't expect a response. I carry on saying I feel bullied and threatened by the council to accept alternatives that do not benefit my child. I have written to the prime minister and he said it was up to the local authority and you are the local authority and your people say they can't help because they have no influence so a Tory is helping me at the moment and he's telling me to accept alternatives that aren't in the best interests of my child too.

He asked me for my email address and he would see what he can do.

I write my name and email and "is being evicted from her temporary acccommodation along with her son.... Thank you!" (Her? Am I talking about someone else?)

There's a mini photo shoot with all of us. He, the editor, their entourage, leave.

A few people say "well done" to me. I don't know what I'm thinking.

The meeting with the deputy reconvenes.

The editor comes back in and asks me if I will talk to a reporter afterwards.

I am reminded, if I had forgotten, that I am in the offices of a NEWSPAPER. This is a STORY. Clegg is in the CENTRE of it being caught off guard by ME.

Everyone is the room is very pleased with this. I bury my head in my arms and they laugh.

I think I looked attentive through out the rest of the meeting but I'll be honest with you, I didn't hear a thing. God knows where I was. God does know, I don't.

I'm gasping for Nicoteen. Absolutely gasping. My mouth is really dry. I've not had any breakfast.

The journalist says she'll talk to me outside and I'm really grateful for this. I'm talking what sounds to me like gobbledigoop, tripping over my sentences, running off at the mouth not wanting her to know why I'm so desperate. I tell her I'm a statistic, a stereotype, I fear a backlash, no don't say that, don't mention fear of backlash. Oh fuck what am I saying? She's taking it all down in shorthand.

"What's your name?"

"Oh god."

I don't want to give my name but I know I should because this is a story that has to be told only I was a journalist once and you know, you want to tell the story not be the story.

She understands this and says she'll let me think about it.

I'm thinking don't let me think about it, thank you for letting me think about it, There's a monumental problem happening, I shouldn't have to think about it. Did I tell her at any point in all my gobbledigoop that I write a 'secret' blog?

The editor comes out. It's an opportunity for me. He laughs saying he bets Clegg didn't expect that, probably thinks the paper set him up.

I didn't tell him I write a blog. I was tempted to, but not infront of everyone. My son my sun my son.

We chat, I tell him about others in the same situation, agree it's part of a much bigger story.

Oh my son my sun my son. Mummy finds herself in another storm, but is it in a thimble?

I can see the story. It's a good one. Any journalist can see that.

The point to my post?

Clegg caught off guard by mother facing eviction from temporary accommodation.

I still haven't eaten but I will roll myself another cigarette.



I hug my beautiful child to my belly.

"I've got to pop into the bath!" I laugh.

"I don't want you to go," I whisper under my breath as I cradle him.


"I said I've got to pop into the bath!"

I pop a kiss onto his head and turn away.

A little later he asks: "Mummy, if you could choose, would I go to my Shana's or would I stay with you?"

"You'd stay with me of course! But it's great you've got this other family, your dad's family. You have to spend time with them, I can't keep you to myself all the time!"

He smiles.

I smile back and sink my head under the water.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Email etiquette

Dear [Allocations], [Tory] (forgot to add support worker and lease end but they got it too)

At the meeting on Tuesday, [Lease End Manager] asked me why I was bidding. With my low points it wouldn't be noticed. He told me "not to bother."

For the past six years, I have been told to bid. Everybody has told me to bid, to "keep bidding", as you know. I'm told it will help my chances.

When [Lease End Manager] said I shouldn't bother, he laughed. A nervous laugh perhaps, but a laugh nonetheless.

Is everybody laughing?

My son and I are being EVICTED. Because we are homeless already, rather than being given extra points for this, the council wants to further disrupt my son's life by forcing us into the private sector or into a wholly inappropriate hostel room.

I did go to bid this morning, it is what I am programmed to do. There was nothing near my son's school so unfortunately, this week, I cannot hope to get us out of this situation.

I did write to you yesterday Allocations, but to keep all the questions on the same page, I still wish to know why have applicants waiting since 2009 successfully acquired a flat with upwards of 500 points while we have been waiting since 2005 and have only 351?

Why also is priority given to children under 5 who live above the second floor? My son is over 5, lives on the sixth floor and has been entitled to his own room for some time.

Why haven't my medical points been reviewed?

Why is the council ignoring everybody who is trying to help and safeguard my child?

It may seem like there is plenty of time before the bailiffs come but I have been through this before with my child and that is why I am so upset.

Kind regards


Hopefully, I will get a response to all these questions...

Mobile Phone etiquette

A missed call, voicemail message and text from support worker while I was in Boot Camp.

"Are you ok. I manage to speak to a agent about the [area] flat."

My instinct is to reply and say "Am I ok? What do you think? Fuck off."

I am not going to answer it though. Nor am I going to listen to the voicemail. Nor am I going to answer any calls from "number withheld".

I'm not being rude. I'm busy.

I'm busy wondering what else I can do to protect my child from all this bullshit.

Big Brother

"You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. Stigmum, you have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation. You have been evicted, please leave Big Brother's temporary accommodation.

I couldn't punch it out of my head during Bootcamp.

It came to me last night as I was thinking of changing my online dating profile. "You wanna know about me?"

I might still do it, the sub runs out tomorrow, only I can't think what to put under "Ideal Man"

It's a mad thing to do but I am mad.

Mad angry you understand, not mad delusional.

"Don't sit down, you'll lose all your hard work."

Smoke as much as you want, drink as much coffee as you can stomach but NEVER go to Boot Camp if you haven't eaten for 15 hours.

A 40 pence banana at the Hampstead Heath Cafe five minutes before class is better than nothing, I'll vouch for that.

The class was extraordinarily difficult for me despite being no different to past weeks.

The Master's a good teacher though.

I'm glad I forced myself to go.

"Keep bidding"..."Don't bother..."

For the past six years, I have had, from every council manager, council worker, housing officer, everybody: "Keep bidding, just keep bidding. You've got more of a chance if you do that."

On Tuesday, the council's Lease End Manager said "You're bidding? Why are you bidding? With those points no-one will notice."

I stared at him.

"I wouldn't even bother looking if I were you!"

"Did you hear that?" I said to the Tory. "He," pointing at my support worker "tells me to bid, his managers tell me, tell him to tell me to bid, now this guy," pointing at lease end "is telling me not to bother."

My saying that just aided further bullying tactics to get me into a private flat.

I've gone in to bid just now, of course I have, it's what I'm programmed to do.


You know what hurts? Do you?

The lease end manager laughed when he said it.

They're all laughing.

I can't even begin to tell you how much that hurts.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Wednesday night telly

Mad Men and Desperate Housewives is on in a bit
I am a fan of both
I am neither man nor housewife
but I am mad and desperate

Funny that

There's no safety net naive mamma

I thought I'd do the decent thing and ring the Property Owner to tell her that I'd told the councillor and two council men that if I could, I'd stay here so she should expect a call.

She knows how desperate I am for a secure, affordable tenancy and bedroom for my son.

She has plans to upgrade the place. This was her plan when she bought it and saw that the existing lease with Pathmeads would be ending this August.

If my son and I become tenants under her the council "will be relieved and won't do anything" to help us. "By taking the problem off them you cease to be their problem."

"It might work in your favour if we say we won't take you."

"It won't," I tell her.

She's worried she won't get the housing benefit and will end up in court in some 'long drawn out' case because she needs the rent on this place.
Many many landlords feel like her. How do I know? Well I've been here before haven't I...

It's suited to a working professional couple. I agree with her, it is.

Although the housing association say they don't charge a service charge, they do, they take 20% of the rent.
This is true. I told her how much rent the housing association gets and asked her how much she does. We were both quite surprised. When she queried this with the housing association they apparently said "most of our tenants don't tell," then ran off their admin costs etc.

She's worried about us. We should really go public with what's happening, it's outrageous. She says she might phone the Tory. We got on the landlady and I. We get on should I say. I can't even hope that she puts in a good word. MPs, councillors, doctors, schools, shrinks.. what will her word matter? Worth a try though, it's all worth a try.

She asks if she should call the housing association because I've told her someone is going to and she's worried because she doesn't know when that will be.

"Don't worry!" I say to her.

What is it about me?

To my support worker, to the property owner I say "Don't worry!"
Don't worry!! Oh don't you worry! You'll be alright don't worry!! Don't worry! Do not worry! Don't worry, don't worry!!

To my son I don't say, I shout, then I go mute.
Mother on automatic pilot mute
He's in bed now.
I'm so relieved I could cry.
I haven't cried for ages.
Bugger, writing that has just stopped the flow.

My son and averages...

If we move into a bigger flat in the insecure private sector that would mean that my son has lived in four flats since he was born.

That indicates, that on average, "I" am currently making him move every two years.

I am not in the Forces. I don't need to do this.

If it was up to me....


There is a difference between choosing and being forced to choose.

I will explain this difference in greater detail when I have won the lottery.

Depressed people should leave things overnight...maybe...

Yesterday, after posting my posts, I fell into a jolly big black hole.

To extracate myself from this, I thought it would be a good idea to email the Tory.

I looked at my draft and thought "sleep on it and send it in the morning"

Send it now send it now send it now, said the voice inside my head.

No, in the morning.

I picked up my son from school.

I fed him, pasta with bolognaise sauce from the freezer.

He wanted to listen to Queen so we jumped around singing "We will we will ROCK YOU"

I ran his bath.

I quickly went into my inbox and edited the draft.

Send it now send it now send it now, said the voice inside my head.


"Mummy," called my son from the bath tub. "Come here a minute!"

"Hang on sweetie."

Fuck it. Send.

Dear Tory,

Thanks again for calling the meeting at my flat today. I had hoped mine and my son's accommodation problems would end.

I know the Pathways system of housing people would benefit certain individuals or families and you all put in a good case for it benefitting mine.

I find myself envying you though. Envying what you are able to give your son. You can go out to work with no concerns for yours or his tenancy.

Through Pathways I can go out to work too but I cannot afford whatever tenancy I will be forced into accepting in order to accumulate more points to attain a secure one like yours.

I know that not everybody feels the way I do.

I send this email by way of apology that the meeting served only to depress me which wasn't your intention.

When I picked my son from school I asked him to answer a question. I told him to imagine the scenario so as not to get his hopes up. "What do you think of you and me moving to a place where you've got your own room and we have a garden," his eyes lit up, "but we can't stay there long, we'll have to move somewhere where we can stay, which probably won't have the garden?"

"No," he replied. I didn't even have to explain why we'd have to move.

As you know, I look at the bidding results and do not understand why my son and I are so far down the list compared to others.

I'd prefer to understand this than to keep bouncing my son around.

I really am grateful you said you'd advocate for us. Like I've said, you've gone way beyond anyone else. I just need you to understand where I am coming from. I am aware that none of this is easy for you.

Thanks again for your help.

Kind regards

Argh, the black hole has endless depth. I should have waited until morning. I should have taken out reference to his son, to him. But fuck it's true. It's how I feel.

My son went to bed and I sat on the sofa in silence.

In silence I sat on the sofa for hours.

I didn't want to go to bed, so I made a cup of tea, sat on the sofa and smoked a cigarette, then another and another, sitting in silence.

When I became aware of this I switched on the stereo. The Queen CD was still in it.

Track 14: Who Wants To Live Forever

I don't know. Me?

Track 5: I Want It All.

Me too.

Track 19: The Show Must Go On

Oh don't tell me that.

I went to bed. Prayed to my angels that my son remains safe and that I sleep.

I slept.

The Tory has replied this morning.

I genuinely believe that things will work out for you if you help me help you.

So, lets stick with what we have decided so far and we’ll stock take once the plan has been enacted sufficiently.

Super nice. I didn't expect that so I've replied. Stuff you already know finishing with I absolutely want to help you help me....I want to help you help me help my son... I want to stop worrying about our housing.

Things from yesterday's meeting will be posted over the next few days.

The after shock you know.

Impossible to put two and three quarters of an hour into one post. So much was said.

While I'm in this black hole, it is better to write than do nothing in silence.

Oh hang on, Simon and Garfunkel sang a song about the Sound of Silence.

Perhaps I should listen to that, in silence.

Snow is falling, it might be quite healing.

Then again, I've got a Lounge cd somewhere...

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

"Would you be a case study?"

Pathways is a new initiative to help residents in "supported" accommodation move into "settled" accommodation and help them with employment issues. Sounds good ey?

The pathways team will place me into private accommodation and help me find work.

"You could be a case study," said the Tory. "Would you be a case study, after your accommodation is settled and you're working?"

I stared at him blankly.

"Creative steps" to "secure" housing

"You can tick your box now," I said to support worker as the three men left.

"Oh come on now, that's not fair," said the Tory.

Two and three quarter hours they've been here extolling the virtues of the private rental sector.

I'll get my points increased in the Private Sector.

It's the new "creative step" to social housing.

It's settled accommodation that you can settle in until such time you successfully bid on a settled flat.

I mean obviously, if the lease runs out, you'd have to settle in another place before becoming settled.

Their interpretation of 'settled' and mine.

You can talk talk talk and not be heard.

I was listening to them and I heard what I didn't want to hear.

They were listening to me and they heard what they didn't want to hear.

I was told this place wasn't "appropriate" for my son. There was nowhere for him to play. There was no storage, nowhere to put things. He must come home from school and think: Aaaargh.

We could get somewhere nice in the private sector that would be better for my son and would "fit" our "social profile". We could eventually move to a nice housing association flat that would "fit" our "social profile" much better than a "council flat in a sink estate".

I said I didn't mind living in a tower, some were ok, this one was ok.

They said it would be better for a family of my "social profile" to live in a housing association flat. There are new developments being built with 10% going to social housing. It would be a better place to raise my son, avert his falling into the "wrong crowd."

When I said "hang on" they said this wasn't about other families, it was about me and my son.

I dunno, it's telling me that only people of a certain "social profile" can enjoy the security that a council tenancy brings.

I'm too posh it seems for a council flat.

Damn, I should have asked that: "Am I too posh for a council flat?"

I've been asked, "for us", to visit private flats, to see what I'm missing out on. "For us" was after I'd said I've spent decades in private accommodation, I know what I'm missing, I don't have to go and see them.

I said I wanted to stay here. That's when I was told it wasn't appropriate for my son. I've been writing for years that sharing a room with my son in a flat that has no storage isn't "appropriate".

Only now that they want to get the 'homeless statistic' down by moving us into the private sector does it become an issue. Coincidence that.

A living room is deemed a bedroom. I would get no 'overcrowding' points if I stay here.

Also, my stuff in storage, yes I have stuff in storage...well that wouldn't be paid for by the council any more because it's just for those on the homeless register and there'd be more space for it anyway if I moved into a private flat because where I eventually, in a few years, move to afterwards will be "no bigger".

They suggested I talk to someone living in the private sector. "Will you do that?" Will you do that "for us?" I know a few already you see, that's why I should talk to more, for them.

I was told I didn't have to accept these options. "It's totally up to" me. Whatever I decide. The Tory said that what ever I decided, if I decided I didn't want to do the private sector, he would still advocate for me.

Not much of a leg to stand on though. Not with my low points.

Points, yes we spoke about points. The Tory knows all about points for he was behind some of the changes, extra points for long term borough residents being one of the changes, which I do agree with. He said he found it confusing sometimes. Fuck yeah.. some people have been waiting no time at all and have loads... explain that. He couldn't, it's "confusing sometimes."

He said I was being presented with a lot of jargon. I needed to be explained the benefits of the private sector more "clearly." That was at the beginning though, chat about points and direct lets and secure accommodation, not at the end.

Some people sit around and do nothing waiting for things to happen. I'm not like that though. According to them.

I was told to look at it "creatively". If I move into the private sector I'll have a better chance of being housed.

At the end we agreed I'd go and look at a few private flats.

"You can tick your box now," I said to the support worker.

"Oh come on now, that's not fair," said the Tory.

I know. I know, you're trying to help and I'm not playing with a smile on my face and I'm sorry about that.

But it's how I feel.