Friday, 30 April 2010

The last of the TV debates

Housing! It made it!! Clegg you are my hero of the night for saying the C word... Council flats! Such a dirty word the other two didn't so much as mention it. Labour even tipping over to the Conservative ideology of owning a home. Aaargh, that's what started this bloody catastrophe in the first place.

Clegg also wins points for highlighting the loss of housing benefit when someone goes back to work. Well done Yellow Man!!

These two points have not been picked up by any paper I have picked up this morning.

Cameron wins no points from me for saying that those who can work and turn down work will have their benefits cut. The Guardian has an article in it today saying just how measly the £65 claimants get a week really is. I get a bit more obviously with the child tax credits.

Cameron gets no points for saying that those who have given nothing in their life time, haven't "saved", should get recourse to free care when they are pensioners. I'm not convinced Cameron knows what he is talking about.

Brown got drowned out some how. Cameron wins prizes for skirting the issue, what ever issue that might be; tax cuts, immigration, everything.

I have just returned from my meeting at the Citizen's Advice Bureau. I am allowed to keep £10.45 from the payment a paper has promised me. Whoopee doo. The £10 covers the electric for my metre but the 45p doesn't cover a pack of Match Attax for my son.

You wonder what's the point. Yup, I've lost sight again. Hello Black Dog.

Come on stiggers, I need a bright idea.....

Deep tissue massages

Mistress Ha Ha spent a long time on my left bottie and leg. Oh you can take pain when you know it's for a positive purpose.

I slept with no searing agony from left cheek and walked to school gates without limping.

Thank you Mistress Ha Ha! Thank you so much!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

"Look after yourself"

Left leg feeling jippy at Zen Boot Camp today. The Master told me to listen to my body and take it easy.

Mistress Psychic was back! She wasn't there last week as she works nights but a great partner she is, as right leg ooofed her and left leg stroked and she said nought.

I cannot lift the weights, too heavy. With bad left leg it was a struggle to get the damn metal rod off the ground.

Should not feel sorry for myself. Mistress Twin needs her knee cap replaced but doc's tell her she's too old so keep taking the pain relief. She was wincing in agony at the end of the class but she'll be there next week, lifting that metal rod high, high above her head.

She is a Warrior. I am the Weakest Link.

Mistress Ha Ha does massages, so I'm going to pop over to her place now and get left leg seen to. Master's idea. He said I should look after myself. Told me to eat properly too.

One weetabix, four fags and a double expresso before class. Hmmmm. Should sort it out really....

I am a warrior in waiting; I may be the weakest link but the chain is not broken.

Doubles cheaper than singles!

Bid on three this week. Two flats in block have double rooms for £94.11p a week. One of them I'd like, so close, so close to my son's school.
The other is two single rooms for £108 a week. Don't geddit personally.

There's something I find truly depressing about sleeping in a single room as an adult. Maybe because only a single bed will fit in it. OK I'm single, I don't need a double bed, but I want to hope and I want to dream and I want to move around in it and do star shapes and not feel squashed when my son clambers in beside me

I won't get any of them so I needn't get too further down in the dumps than I already am.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Five Daughters

I've thoroughly depressed myself writing about housing, but all morning I've been wanting to write a small post on this three part BBC drama about the prosititutes that were killed in Ipswich in 2006 (crikey I'm getting old, it doesn't feel that long ago).

The drama, which finished last night, tells the lives of the five woman who were murdered. They were daughters, sisters, mothers, all addicted to heroin and crack and sold themselves to fund their addiction.

So powerful this story, which was written with full co-operation of the Suffolk police and family and friends of the girls, that I did what I haven't done for ages, which is cry uncontrollably.

It was about the effects of drugs on these women; how addiction is all consuming and comes before everything. We remember don't we, these women still walking the streets at night despite the killer not having been caught. To see their bodies in the morgue and their mothers crying over them was more than I could handle, having witnessed their relationships with eachother, their families, themselves.

In it a drugs counsellor wonders how money that has been donated to his refuge should be used to help the girls. In one scene he gives an addict some money so that she will not go on the streets that night.

Made me think of an article I'd read earlier about addicts being given their heroin in hospitals so they don't have to go to dealers (Guardian: yesterday). Many groups are against this but I think, like some others quoted in the article, coupled with counselling, it could work towards individuals getting off the drug completely and moving forward with their lives.

Worth a try anyway I'd say.

RIP: Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennel, Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls

"Home Removals"

Along similar lines to what I pitched the nationals, an article came out in the Guardian today about whether councils are shifting families into the private sector in order to deny them a council flat. Four homes in three years this family are quoted to having moved - from a hostel to a substandard private flat which they fought themselves out of into another council-provided private rental flat.

Children's education disrupted twice, the mother has a two hour commute to her part time job back where they originally made their request for housing. I've met a few like this family but they're Home now and relieved.

In the article a labour councillor "claims that some Conservative-controlled authorities want to "make homelessness disappear by putting it into the private rented sector,"" which a Tory MP says is "scandalously is absolutely untrue that we are trying not to provide social housing."

Reducing statistics is certainly how it looks to me in my Tory/Libdem coalition. However.......

My support worker told me when he popped round for a visit the other day that our council is so aware that no-one would believe that homelessness has disappeared that they are going to keep some families in temporary accommodation to keep the numbers real.

Homeless families I met in the hostels can't go into private renting if they are in rent arrears and besides, private landlords who'll take us benefit scum aren't 10 a penny so hostels are the '"suitable alternative" for someone of my "family composition". I'm in rent arrears but who the fuck knows what's happening with me at the moment, I certainly don't.

All I do know is that it's a fucking mess and in all the lies and smoke and mirrors, the chances of me and my son getting somewhere secure, affordable and near his school when we are evicted are are are....

I swear I'd love to get some Hero In to forget all this shit but Nico Teen will have to do.

I need to earn £40,000 a year

Article in the Guardian today, Home Removals, about a couple with kids who are being bounced around the private sector while waiting for a council flat. An interesting one, though depressing for me, who as you know, bangs on about the same thing day in, day out as I fight, fight, fight for security.

In it though, the executive director of a campaigning charity says: "A single mum with one child needing a two-bed place would need to be Earning at least £40,000 before she could come off benefits."

Wow! Good to know! I only ever work it out weekly and with my one-bed, if I put rent + council tax + bills, I'd have to be earning at the very least £400 after tax and NI. Yesterday I looked at a social research job and the annual salary was..... £14,150 pro rata ( a six month contract only)

Oh you do the sums for me. Do they add up?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

My son's poem...

Money Money Money

I love money,
I want all the money,
I wish money grew on trees,
Some people have loads of money,
It's all about the money!
(Aged 7)

My sentiments exactly, without the exclamation mark.

Ideal jobs?

Three opportunities in my inbox! I've said yes to them all! They are all for different tentacles of this great octopus we call The Council.

I can do them all because they are part time and flexible and all within school hours. Great! Fantastic!

I have this ideal scenario because I'm not being paid for any of it.


Last night on Panorama, they were following 4 lads on benefits and their attempts to find work. One was a bit "fussy". The reporter concluded we must bring a US style Work Fare programme into the UK. The Blue's definitely want it, they've said already they'll cut the benefits of those turning a job down. The Yellows and the Reds are heading down the same trajectory.

I don't know what this means for me but.....

Why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why, politicians don't see parenting as a job, particularly if you're doing it solo?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Sad, sad stuff

I read a newspaper article last week about a young 21 year old girl who killed herself after being rejected for 200 jobs (Mirror: 23/4/2010)

She "took a drug overdose a day after receiving yet another "No" letter following an interview". She left a note for her parents and boyfriend saying: "I don't want to be me anymore. Please don't be sad. I want everybody in my life to be HAPPY".

Oh Vicky I am sad. She was applying for a dozen jobs a week her mother said, including shop work, waitressing, stacking shelves and becoming a dinner lady, all jobs that I did when I was younger.

She has gone now. Not gone to Europe to seek her chances and send postcards home. Not flown to Asia or anywhere else. She has gone, gone for good.

My thoughts go out to her family and friends.

My label goes to "work" and "elections" because I can't articulate what needs to be articulated.

Rest in peace Vicky Harrison.

Rest in peace 16 year old Agnes Sina-Inakoju who was shot in the neck two weeks ago while in a take away shop in East London. My thoughts go out to your family and friends too.

Dishonesty doesn't sit well with me....

My support worker's just been round. We have such interesting chats he and I about the society we live in. I don't tell him I write a blog and although some of what I'm told I keep to myself, for his opinions on the state of things are also mine and you get mine, other things I can't help but note.

Like erm, being told the support system's been revamped and a dozen front line workers have lost their jobs and half the managerial have lost theirs too. My support worker had to re-apply for his position and I told him I was so grateful he was still around because he is the very best that I have met.

I couldn't do his job, I've said that before. Spend my days talking to people like me being unable to help them.

Of course my support worker does help me, even though in terms of voluntary work and training I am able to help myself. He is someone I can bang on to about housing because it dominates my mind and depresses all my friends.

Still, I believe it is in "the public interest" to say some stuff and while I'm so frightened of my son's future with me, well it's the moment to voice it I suppose isn't it?

Argh, this morning I've been reading an excellent post by Gappy about privacy. It got me thinking that I still don't know who reads this and unlike other bloggers, have no idea how to track it.

Should I worry?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Happy Haiku

My son has come home!
Next weekend's Bank Holiday
he'll be with me too!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Paxman interview

Last week was Clegg, last night was Cameron, next week is Brown - Paxman's televised interviews with the potential leaders of a potential coalition.

Paxman's so good at what he does and well, I'm mentioning it today because yesterday I said that in the TV debates, I found being stared at by the Blue Man irritating.

I don't find TV interviews irritating! Hurrah!

I should end this post here but I'm not going to so bear with me a minute.

There were alot of questions about the deficit and proposed cuts that the Blue Man didn't answer. What he said about the economy, I'm not an economist and on the news later I learnt Brown has seen in a 0.2% growth. Because I don't understand the economy, I won't be voting on that issue. I was made redundant seven years ago when the country was not in recession. Boom/recession, same to me. Economy? Don't geddit!

Nah, marriage tax. Couples are being wooed with a carrot worth an extra £3 a week I was told. Paxman was asking him if he was encouraging one parent to stay at home to look after the kiddies in line with Tory ideology. Blue Man wouldn't answer that.

Will you let me stay home Blue Man?!

Readers, as you know, I'm voting on housing. Housing and Children. (Pensioners too).

Cameron wants everyone to own their own home and feel empowered. Nice idea maybe. This Tory ideology was started by Thatcher and not stopped by Blair. Not enough council flats anymore? Thousands remain empty.

There are currently 4.5 million people on housing waiting lists in the UK (David Orr: Guardian 14th April). 4.5 million. 18,000 in my borough alone. This is a country wide problem.

I want to meet the Blue Man! I won't mind him staring at me in a one to one interview!

I want to meet him and bring with me my son's class photo. I want to point out my son and ask "what are you going to do with him? All tomorrow's children, what are you going to do with them?"

I asked his team mate the other night if we'd ever get a council flat. As you know, he didn't answer me.

I need to know. My son is all tomorrow's children.

It's a sunny day. I wonder if he's down the beach with his daddy, his daddy's wife and his two younger half siblings. That's the nuclear family the Blue Party likes.

I love you my son, my sun, my son xxx

Friday, 23 April 2010

Leaders debate on Sky

I watched the debate on Sky News last night. Ol' Brown won it for me this time, have to say. Clegg was the same as last time but Cameron? Geez... He took Clegg's trick of looking straight at the camera and well, it really irritated me! Not sure what that means!

Clegg's eyes skip from the audience to me, the audience to me. Cameron was staring at me for too long saying "family is the bedrock of our society" and I was thinking: "Even mine Dave? Are me and my son a family or do we not exist on your radar?"

The last debate next week should be cool, Brown's really getting them to talk about policy. It's policy we all need to hear about and um, trust, before we decide either who to vote for or whether to vote at all....

Blogspot spurs me on

Hi Libdem Leader's Pal,

I've not heard from you for ages. How are your attempts going to get my son a secure home. I met Mr N finally the other night. Practically the whole libdem team now! I told him you were helping us.

I want my chance meeting with your Leader to mean something to my boy. He points him out in newspapers and says: "He's helping us mummy, he's helping us!"

What do I say?

I hope you're well and enjoying your campaigning!

Kind regards


A Home for my boy

I've bid on two.
One a housing association flat with a communal garden - £127 a week
The other a council two bed, 12th floor in a tower - £89.01 a week.

I'll get neither. I wonder if one day we'll get what my son wrote on a word document last week:

Mummy and I
Mummy and I are together in a flat. The council won’t put us in a council flat.
We have been living in this flat for ages. I have always wanted to live in a house with a garden, and in the garden there is loads of flowers and one apple tree, but the council won’t let us.
In the house there is a big Sony TV, a big comfy sofa. In the house I have my own bed room and so does my Mum.

My heart is crying because I can't give him what so many have.

"Good morning mamma!"

My son woke up just as I hobbled into our room at 6am this morning. He sat up in bed and smiled, "good morning mamma!"

Oh my heart. It's that moment when you live in the present and it swells into your whole body. I'm so lucky to have this beautiful child.

"Why are you walking like that?"
"My leg hurts."
"Come into my bed next to me."
"I think I will, thank you sweetie, your mattress is much firmer than mine."
"Maybe your leg isn't used to doing exercise, that's why it hurts."
"Yeah! You're a bright boy!"
"And the springs stick out of your mattress because it was really springy to begin with."
"Yeah, I think you're right."
"I'm so sorry it's hurting you mummy. It's not my fault but I'm sorry."
"I know what you mean baby. Thank you." I hugged him to me, not wanting to let go of him.

He later saw my legs were dangling off the end so got out and put a blanket over them to "keep them warm". He said: "I'll look after you mummy. I can help you cross roads and things now."

He wasn't due to go with his dad this weekend as he was invited to two parties and we agreed to swap, but on Tuesday my son said to me he wanted to go, so I said yes. It was the original weekend anyway.

Hand in hand we walked to school, got there just as the bell rang, and in he ran with his backpack hanging off his shoulders. "Blow me a kiss at least!" I begged. He didn't, but he gave me one of his cheeky smiles.

With every hobble I will think of him this weekend; think of his kindness and his tenderness towards me.

Love. I'm so lucky to have love in my life.

My derriere is distressed

I am blogging at 5.30 in the morning because all night I've had a searing pain in my left butt cheek! I've tried resting on my bed of jagged springs and that has just made it worse.

I got up to get some water and could not place left leg on the floor, such was the agony. My left leg does not like exercise, I learnt that on the Big Issue walk.

At least it's not more serious but I'm thinking I'm going to look a right tit limping through the school gates. Still, I walked through yesterday wearing my Boot Camp uniform, I can pretend it's hard core there, perhaps try recruit more mums! Whatta ma chances?!

For now though I'm going to catch what looks like a beautiful sunrise. My frosted kitchen window is glowing pink!

"Wake up!" "Drive your power!"

Bazza's Boot Camp resumed yesterday. It was good to go back, channel all my angst into something positive.

Punishing though! Stiggers had this idea to send a diary to the nationals. I say this because everytime I tried to focus on something (like not being whacked around the head) she was on my motherboard - "do it, write it, send it, take the risk, take the risk!"

I never knew I took stiggers to boot camp, so yep, I learnt something as me and myself divided in the high stress of a dream situation.

Anyway, only five mistresses turned up, so after the run (I hobbled in so last, so wheezy after this Easter break) I was partnered with the Master for the kicking routines. It wiped me out! It finished me off! Afterwards we had to push our partner up and down the width of the hall. The Zen Master is Gold winning strong, yes? I was pushing him with all my might and he was saying "Wake up! Wake up!" I wanted to cry yes I did but thought "don't you dare!"

Of course, he didn't push me when the other girls swapped over, I'd be horizontal in a second, so he made me run round and round the mat. "Drive your power!" he said, seeing me stagger. Me and stiggers started chatting (not out loud obviously) and well, I finally got into a rhythm!

The class was excellent. We spent the last half hour tripping each other up. Doing the tripping was great fun, landing on my arse was not but then you've got to go with the punches don't you? Learn to fall without hurting yourself....

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A warning from my son

"Mummy, if you carry on smoking when we get to our big house you'll either be dead or too ill to enjoy it."


Off the back of the libdem's help, I got an email from a man I've never known. CC'd were the two libdems responsible for council flat sell off's that one party, can't remember which, called "tweedledee and tweedledum" last night. Anyway, they all got this; I couldn't hold back my fury....

Dear Man I've Never Known,
I don't mean to sound ungrateful but temporary, temporary, temporary... move, move, move my son, keep me in the arms of the NHS for a lifetime.

I know there is an enormous problem down here but the policies around housing are flawed beyond belief. Back in September I went to view two properties that I wasn't shortlisted for. They wouldn't let me in but that didn't matter because they were in my block, where after four years, I've finally got a shed for my bicycle, which I still use to carry my son.

Ten of the 12 people viewing it were not British and had waited less time than me. Everyone refused the property, I wrote to the council. I can't tell you how many stories I have like this.

I had a Polish mother complaining to me that "Somalians" get housed before her who have only been in the country for two years. I understand of course but what upsets me is that she has more points than me when she has been waiting half the time.

A property I was 5th on the waiting list for was readvertised and my position dropped to 134th.

I play this brutal game by its rules but I cannot understand why the council keeps sliding me and my son down snakes instead of helping us up a ladder.

We are being evicted; we could be given extra points, we could be placed in a higher banding.

My son's life, as you have read, is as important to me as all your children's lives are important to you three gentlemen, if you have any.

There are properties despite the horrors happening in this borough for I bid on them all the time. I crave a positive outcome for my child and a fundamentally secure foundation in order to get on with our future.

I thank all of you for your help so far, do not think it does not go unnoticed.

Thank you Man I've Never Known for your email.

Kind regards

Smash brick walls with emails

Good morning gentlemen,

I email all three of you together because two of you didn't answer my question when I met you at the housing meeting in Camden last night. The answers I did receive struck fear into my heart.

Which party will give my son and I a council flat when we are evicted from our temporary accommodation this summer?

The Green party did not know (I would have included him but I didn't catch his name), just as I do not know.

Libdem, you mentioned Pathways, which is private renting. This next flat will be my son's fourth home. I worked when he was born, when I had a partner. I worked before he was born and was able to pay my rent, my council tax, my bills, by myself. The private sector is not the best option for us. However your party is trying to help us and thank you for answering my question and asking me for my details.

Labour, you mentioned the 18,000 people on the waiting list. It is not a crisis in our times, it is a catastrophe. However, 18,000 people were not present last night and to the best of my knowledge, no single parents who are statutory homeless (just so you all know, under the private rental scheme I would still consider myself 'homeless' as my tenancy would still be insecure and I would still have to bid, week in, week out for a secure, affordable home as I have been doing for the past six years). I was there last night, my son was there. What will happen to us?

Tory, I didn't catch your answer at all. I don't think you gave one but I could be wrong.

I need to know. The future of my child is at stake here. He is in a good school and I don't want to see him torn away from there. He is also seven years old, an age where he can articulate the stress he picks up from me. If he picks up an asbo when he's 12 years old you can blame me all you like, but I am trying my best here.

I was pleased to meet you all, I look forward to your answers.

Kind regards


The Libdem replied almost immediately saying he appreciated how difficult it was for me and he'd see what he could do if he was re-elected.
I don't know if Labour and Tory will answer but I hope they do.
I'd thought of saying "does my vote matter to you?" but forgot. Oh well, I think I know the answer anyway.....

Council meeting hangover - a song

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Watching you you you ... yeah

Won't you come see about me?
I'll be alone, crying and you know it people
You know my troubles and doubts
I've given you everything inside and out, out

Pain's strange so real in the dark
Think of the hopeful things that we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
I need us back together at heart, people

Don't You Forget About Me
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget my son

Will you stand above us?
Look our way and never love us
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Would you recognise us?
Call our names or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Watching you you you ..... yeah

Don't you try and pretend
It's my desire to win in the end
I won't harm you or touch your defenses
Vanity and security

Don't you forget about me
I'll be alone, crying and you know it people
I can’t tell you apart
Kids need you back together at heart, people

Don't You Forget About Us
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget About Us

As you walk on by
Will you call our names?
As you walk on by
Will you call our names?
As you walk on by

As you walk on by
Or will you walk on by?
Will you walk away?
Come on - call our names
Come on - call our names
Will you call our names?
We say
La, la, la la laaa la la la laaa
la la la la la la la la la laaaa
la la la laa la la la laaaa la la la la la la la la la laaaaa

When you walk on by
would you call our names
as you walk on by
would you call our names?
When you walk on by...........

(Billy Idol featuring Stigmum who's most upset by the political reception she received last night)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The future looks bleak children

The meeting with local yellow, red, green and blue councillors wasn't rammed as I expected. My son asked to sit at the front, so I did, as I was afraid I wouldn't ask my question. There were only eight seats at the front and we were the only two. Seats only went back four rows, not full at all.

The councillors spoke for five minutes each then the floor was opened for questions, three of us at a time.

An old guy asked what "affordable housing" meant nowadays.
The second guy spoke of those living in private bedsits paying higher council tax because their flats were seen as "self contained" even though the tenants shared bathrooms and kitchens with others.
Me the third, asked: "Which one of you will give us a council flat when we are evicted in the summer?"

I expected answers to mine. The Tory answered the first two but not me, before it got handed over to the Green. He at least gave the most honest answer: "I don't know."

Labour, oh how fecking disappointing was Labour. He piled me in with the other 18,000 on the waiting list. Were there 18,000 people there? No. Was there another statutory homeless person there? No. I'm asking about me, this little boy, but didn't get my chance to say that because his monologue flew over to the Libdems.

Mr N, my nemesis. We meet at last. He mentioned Pathways (private renting to you and me, so a "no" then, no?) but then asked me to leave my details and he'd see what he could do. That meant something to me. In my note to him I put: "I am Sue de Nim, you know who I am.." Well he does. Now he really does. I wonder, does he think my "social profile" doesn't suit council housing too? He's right leaning but he's not Tory so perhaps not...

Suddenly, more questions from the floor. Hang on, not all mine were answered! The "mediator" wouldn't let me ask again, "against the rules" I heard Mr N say. I did wait to see if I could get in my little request for an answer, but my son was tired and was writing "I want to go home. I'm hungry. I'm tired" in his notebook. I couldn't stay until the end.

So there you have it, answers in a word or two on the future of children and secure housing:

Tory: No
Green: Don't Know
Labour: No
Libdem: No, but he did ask for my details and the Pal's onto me at his Leader's request so one can't quite give up hope.

Emails tomorrow to the Tory and Labour guys. I'm not going to let this go. I can't.

Armour when fighting/campaigning

I carry my son around my neck
I carry my mother in my hand
I carry my father in my head
I carry all three in my heart

Running into Tim

Tim is Hannah's husband, who I mention now and then because they're in the same boat as me, only with four kids.

I ran into him as he was pushing his daughter's buggy just as I was walking to the CAB and said:

"Hello! How are you? How are things? Have you moved yet?" They were due to be evicted last month you see.

"No, they're saying we're ok until August but it could be anytime really. We're just living in limbo, not really knowing what's going to happen." Oh yes, how I know that feeling....

We traded stories. He said they'd been talking to the Yellow Man. I didn't enquire whether it was the Man himself or his Pal, but he said the Red's had been round his gaffe. Yep, yep I nodded as simultaneously thought I still haven't written to Red MP....

He said he wanted to get bunk beds for his kids, to create more space, but with an imminent move, and not knowing to where, couldn't risk the investment. He and Hannah are still thinking hostel. It's cramped he said "but at least you know you can stay there. Somewhere with more space, well we don't know when we'll get evicted again."

"I hear ya, I hear ya!"

He also said his ten year old was beginning to pick up on it all. I said my seven year old was too.

We wished one another luck, I told him to send my love to Hannah and we should all stay in touch. I didn't ask him if I could write our conversation down but his wife is cool with it so I doubt he'll mind.

I write because I'm not alone and nor is my son, my sun, my son.

Rescue Remedy at the CAB

One should feel no fear as they enter the portals of the Citizen's Advice Bureau. They are there to help and advise and well, what with funding cuts an' all, thank God they still are! A real person, face to face, with me!

I went in to ask them for advice about earning a little bit of money. I earnt a few pennies the other week and I'm set to earn a few more next month. This earning lark is a little bit "bitty" and not "secure" like the smooth running of the system I'm caught in demands.

They've invited me in for a "better off calculation" next week. A one off payment shouldn't make much difference to my situation, they said, but a second payment...well that adds to the complexity of a subject already very complex. I tell you, so tempted not to deal with it and give all the cash to charidee. Still, if I told my shorthand tutor to take my cash and "start as you mean to go on", well I've got to bite the bullet too...

I told the woman who was helping me I received my tax credit form yesterday and should I send it off straight away? She said I should call Tax Aid, which I will do. They only offer telephone advice, she said, but may invite me in depending on the complexity of my case. She also suggested it might be in my best interests to go "self employed" for Child Tax Credit purposes, even though my earning power may well be short-lived.

Oooh, all this activity in this Stigmum's world! The woman said it was all "very exciting". It may well be it was that excitement which prompted that familiar pressure in my chest that demands a few drops of Rescue Remedy as I stood outside with everyone else. I have ideas and well, not to put too fine a point on them, the fear and the desire of their fruition scare me witless!

The housing meeting tonight. Will I be too scared to raise my voice? Maybe, maybe...

Stigmum, you're coming with me ok?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Taking my son out on a school night

First day back at school tomorrow for the little one. He's out with his daddy right now who's taken him to his swimming lesson then for a meal. He might be back quite late.

Early night tomorrow then?

Well, I don't know.....

I've just seen a flyer downstairs saying there's a housing meeting tomorrow in Camden Town. The Red, Blue, Yellow local party politicians are gathering in a hall to answer peoples questions on housing.

I imagine the place will be rammed.

It starts at 7pm.

I don't want to put my son through it but.....AAARGH.....A mother must do what a mother has to do. I'll let you know how many 'bad' ones are there.

Early thought on Broken Britain

The Blue man keeps saying this: "Broken Britain, Broken Britain..." (a plethora of newspapers I've been indulging in recently as my son played in the glorious Spring sunshine)

Never mind the tax for married couples, there will be a tax allowing mothers to stay at home if they choose to. That's nice! Nice if you're married to a living person that is.

If like me, your husband (wife if you're a dad) is symbolic, you are raising your children alone, you will be forced back to work. Refusing to do so will see cuts in your benefits.

How will that fix things?

Hang parliament in a Cafe

I'm so coming round to the idea of a hung parliament. I've had fantasies of the Red Man, Blue Man and Yellow Man meeting at a Westminster Greasy Spoon discussing, not arguing, discussing, what is the best way to pick this country up off its knees.

I was pulled from my fantasy listening to the Blue Man on the news:

"Is a hung parliament going to get that job done? A hung parliament would be a bunch of politicians haggling not deciding. They would be fighting for their own interests, not your interests. They would not be making long-term decisions for the country's future, they would be making short-term decisions for their own future."

Are you speaking for yourself Blue Man? Does my fantasy need a moderator? I quite fancy David Dimbleby. He comes across to me as quite calm and humourous.

I shall therefore continue to dream, continue to hope, that May 7th, will be a sunny day and the likes of me and my child won't be washed down the River.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The first televised election debate and the I Don't Know Party!

Did you watch it? Good wasn't it?! Yep, right up the I Don't Know Party's street this one!

I was impressed by the Yellow Man, which didn't surprise me in the slightest (I read somewhere that he was an agnostic, like me and did a degree in Anthropology and I've met him, of course) I thought the Blue Man had some good ideas in regards to cutting waste (I'm not waste, OK Blue Man, let me just make that clear) and the Red Man? I enjoyed the humour and the pointed questions to his Blue rival. Yes, the I Don't Know Party loves questions!

Aren't we tired of the same old parties "playing pass the parcel", as Yellow Man said so succinctly, "making the same old promises, breaking the same old promises"?

Well, I think so yes but the devil's in the detail innit?

Two more debates to go! Fantastic! Didn't I tell you the I Don't Know Party welcomes competition from an I Know Party? It couldn't have wished for better with this historic first!

I'm definitely after a hung parliament after last night's show. You can't ask for such things, you can only hope.

I shall hope, Blue Man, not fear, just as you said.

I shall hope, hope, hope!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ooh! Look what I've found!

The election debate's on the telly, got to go. I'm going to try and stay awake incase they say something I want to hear about housing, housing, HOUSING zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

"I don't want to move school"

Bidding day swings round again. Only three properties this week, two of which were council and one, a housing association.

Not a hard core fan of housing association as you know but I bid on it anyway.

"Why that one mummy and not the other two?"
"Because the other two are far from your school and I don't want to have to pull you out of your school."
"I don't want to move school mummy. I've got such great friends there. I've got friends and I don't want to leave my friends."
"That's why baby, I bid for the ones where you won't have to do that."

I scrolled down to see what rent and it said "£0.00" !!! Do Prime Ministers pay rent? Is it a perk of the job not to have to?

Me in Number 10?! The tenancy isn't secure enough. Still, if it's a "creative step to social housing", well why not ey?! I might even get a chauffeur to take my boy to school!

I'd just need to find the I Don't Know Party a deputy because I'm hopeless at presentations...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Me for Prime Minister!

Imagine! Let us, just imagine, for a minute!

I'd had the time, the resources, the cash to make the I Don't Know Party happen!

May 6th.

Half the country still don't know who to choose out of the "I Know" parties so they vote for mine!

Landslide victory for the I Don't Know Party!

I stand under a blue sky with the keys to Number 10 in my hand!

My son, my sun, my son, plenty of room for us in there!

"How will you reduce the deficit and save public services?" ask the people.

"I don't know!"

"How do you plan to save this country?"

"I don't know!"

D'you know, it could've worked! Get a good team of thinkers, all who don't know one thing but know another.

Where would I find these thinkers?

I don't know.

Honest my party!

Me for Prime Minister!

Can you just imagine?!

I may just go and laugh my way to bed!

Night, night, the Great Out There!

Nick Clegg on telly!

Just caught the libdem leader chatting to Jeremy Paxman.
What were his four things?

Housing Yellow Team?
Housing Any Team?
Do taxpayers have any idea how much of their money goes on supporting us who can't afford extortionate rent?
I Don't Know Party?

Take That!

This is the life we've been given
So open your mind and start living
We can play a part if we only start believing

Stop being so hard on yourself
It's not good for your health
I know that you can change
So clear your head and come round
You only have to open your eyes
You might just get a big surprise
And it may feel good and you might want to smile, smile, smile.
Don't you let your demons pull you down'
Cause you can have it all, you can have it all.

Have a little patience

(Circus album, stiggers has got it on repeat before keeping me up all night!)

Me and my laptop in synch

I tell the property owner when she comes round that I got her letter of warning and I'll reply to it as soon as I can get my printer working again. "OK" is all she says. No conversation starts with the electrician, and once he's there anyway, she carries on like I'm not.

That's fine for when she arrived I carried on playing with my son while she nosied around and noticed the lock on the front door was broken. I told her to leave it, there were two other locks. Then she asked how it happened and what with her loving to blame me I said: "I might have shut it too hard. You yourself said it was a fragile frame so I can't take all the responsibility for it."

Anyway, I'm rambling, this is supposed to be about me and my laptop.

In short, my laptop needs a "full recovery". The dvd/cd entry thing is jammed, won't open. I rang support (and I'm covered luckily) and the device for it was nowhere on my lovely, little hardware. So the man said I have to bring it instore for a "full recovery". I'm scared. I truly am. I'm a luddite remember. I don't know how to save web links and stuff. I'm even more scared there's something seriously wrong with it and what ever needs to recover, will never recover (in which case I'll tell them not to do recovery work and carry on working on my damaged sanity saver). It's appointment with the PC guys is at 3.30 tomorrow at the end of the earth somewhere.

Meanwhile, I need a "full recovery" too. Like the laptop, my appointment for (yawn, yet another) shrink assessment is at 1pm tomorrow . I didn't think I'd get my son a playdate but my friend Jab's saved the day.

A good friend sent me a love letter at the weekend. A beautiful letter. Aaaargh!

Do men that like me, like me because I resist them?

Is my being single a choice or a comfort?

Timely the shrink visit but why oh why did I schedule my equally damaged laptop in the same day?

Wasn't thinking, that's why. Wasn't bleddy finkin'....

I hope my laptop will be alright.

Life resumes

My son's coming back in a minute; the Foca didn't take time off work which is why it's not longer.

I'll try and post but won't put pressure on myself (ok stiggers?!)

The property owner called at 8.30 this morning. What? She doesn't think I'll be in when the electrician calls? I didn't answer as I was making a cup of tea at the time (and also thought it might be the foca, after I'd replied to his text at 8.20am, that he wanted me to pick up our son at the station, that I was still in bed! I am going though, in a minute!)

Also, I might not get round to posting about Whip It! Drew Barrymore's direction, about a girl who defies her mum and enters a roller blading rally.

It's a good one to go and see on your own but with mates or daughters, even sons, it's the best!!





Sunday, 11 April 2010

World's End

Issy and I stayed at Annie's last night. Brilliant girly day with them today! We parted company at about 3pm and I went along with Issy to the World's End, because she lost her purse at its sister club - The Underworld - and was hoping it had been handed in.

"Oh it's the trouble maker," says the bouncer as we approach. I was of course wearing the same red dress as I had been hours earlier so pointless keeping my head down. Face the music my dear!

Walking into the pub, the barman says: "Oh look! It's the bad-ass girl!"

Oh God, what did I do in there???

The Underworld, I know.

I'd had a couple of beers at Annie's, then the three of us had a drink in World's End. I'd had two more in The Underworld when I decided to pop out for a moment with Nico Teen.

When I've had a bit to drink, Nico Teen can make me a bit dizzy. I stubbed it out and swayed back to the club's entrance.

"You're drunk, you can't come back in," says the bouncer.
"I'm not drunk, I've just had a cigarette and I'm a bit dizzy. I'm not drunk, honest!" Fortunately I did not hiccup as I said this.
"You can't come back in. Leave."
"But my friends are in there! My jacket!"
"Doesn't matter."
"Doesn't matter?"
The exchange went on a little while after which I thought I'd shut up, and wait patiently, so he would see that I was not drunk.

Issy then came out. "Look, look my friend!" I said to the bouncer. He ignored me.

I chatted to Issy and some guy she was with. Surely he could see I was not drunk! Then Issy went back in and still, the bouncer wouldn't budge. I asked to speak to his manager. He said I couldn't. I pleaded. He wanted me to LEAVE. I tried to go back into the club and he picked me up and plopped me back onto the pavement.

It was all rather humiliating, so I thought I'd make my humiliation complete. I started to shout. I started to shout to all of Camden Town.


Then the manager appeared and I told her I was a single mother who rarely drank and when I did cigarettes made me dizzy. "I'm not drunk!"

She said I could go back in and I said to the bouncer: "Please don't man handle me like that again."

Then three bouncers, one of whom was the guy we saw this morning, tried to block my entry.

"What have I done now??"
"You don't talk to our staff like that."
I turned to the man handle bouncer and said: "I said PLEASE."
He nodded to his three colleagues and into the club I went. Bought myself a vodka shot to congratulate myself and drank no more.

The bouncer this morning smiled when he said: "Oh it's the trouble maker!"
"I'm not a trouble maker," I said in my, um, fragile defence.
We chatted for a while, he said they realised I was polite then when Issy told him I was a single mother he said it was good that I go out sometimes and have fun but I should get some... and here made a motion with his hands.. and said: "You know what I mean? Release the tension!" I was quite speechless!

We go into the pub and I tell Issy I'll buy us half a pint each.

"Oh look, it's the bad ass girl!"

I know what I'd done, but had I done more????

"I remember you from last night," said the barman. "I must have served a thousand people, but I remember you."
"What did she do?" asked Issy.
"We were really busy, and she waited, for ages, really patiently."
"I worked in a bar once. I know how hard it can be," I mumbled.
"How did you two meet?" he asked Issy.
"We did a masters together."
"What did you do?"
"Anthropology? What's that?" he asked me, as Issy had looked away for a minute.
"The study of society, society and culture. You know, drunk mothers and stuff!"
He smiled. "What's your favourite group of people?"
"I dunno!"
"Do you believe all people are equal?"
"I wish tbey were, I hope for it, but I know it doesn't exist."

He charged us a pint, for the two halves, tried to convince us to stay for a shot but I told him I was out of cash. We high fived, then me and Issy left. She back to Brixton and me back here.

Yes, last night I was the single mother on benefits stereotype. I tell you this incase word ever gets out that I am a lush.

I'm not, but last night I walked a very fine line. I wobbled only slightly, heh heh!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Libdem being ignored???

My support worker called yesterday! A pleasant surprise!

He said he'd just bumped into the Libdem Leader's Pal. I've not heard from the Pal for donkey yonkies. He'd said he'd let me know when he heard something, and well, Easter holidays an' all, I've not been stalking him.

Apparantly, and this is interesting for little old me, Libdem Leader's Pal sent an email to Allocations three weeks ago and hasn't had a reply!

Allocations is quite good at replying to me, telling me to "keep bidding". Libdem Leader's Pal is a parliamentary candidate! He knows my situation. He knows this "keep bidding" lark is having a detrimental effect on mine and my son's life. Why isn't she responding to him?????????

Curiouser and curiouser! (Alice, Alice, who the fuck is Alice - oh stiggers!)

I like the Libdem Leader's pal so this news warms my heart a little.

The council's housing division though? It makes my blood run cold. They have something against me and I don't know what it is.

My son, my sun, my son, I need to get to the bottom of this...

The Tories want my vote?

The Tory councillor who urged me to take the "creative steps to social housing" was delivering leaflets door to door as my son and I were leaving the flat to go to my folks last Thursday afternoon.

"How's the housing going?" he asks. It shouldn't make me angry but it does.

"Well, we're being evicted aren't we?"

I lock my front door and as my son and I walk round to the Toilets I say: "I don't know why you're bothering putting that through my door, I probably won't vote."

He mumbles something which my ears don't catch, then says something about housing again.

"I sent you an email and you never replied," I respond.
"Oh that, about your history."
"Yes. You said you'd help us but you agree with bouncing children. Bounce, bounce, bounce mine."
"I don't agree."
"You don't agree?"

The Toilet arrives and the door slides open. "I've got to go, but send me an email about your "look" so I can read it properly."

It won't surprise you to know my inbox was empty on my return.

His "Look.." could have been loaded with good intentions but he walked away at the first council hurdle so I doubt it somehow.

Tories? I need to know your position on bouncing children. I need to know your future position on affordable, secure, council tenancies for the masses (It's not just an issue in my 'hood, I'm sure...)

Oh, I Don't Know Party. My heart breaks that I Didn't Know how to get you up and running.

Alas, it's too late, the election contest has begun.

The Warning Letter

I received the Warning Letter from the Property Owner last Thursday afternoon.

It's not worth the paper it is written on!

Apart from the mess she mentions, it's all bollocks.

My extention brackets aren't overloading the system and her insinuation that I still keep receipts in the meter cabinet are false.

I'd reply in my defence but I can't be arsed. Perhaps I should be arsed. Oh my printer why aren't you fecking working?????

What kind of a threat is it? The woman doesn't have a leg to stand on. I am not her tenant. I'm already in a process of eviction from the property, the possession order delivered by my landlord, the housing association, last Christmas.

I should have pointed this out to her when she and her bully partner came round two weeks ago but I'll get my chance again. She's coming to oversee the electrician does a decent job next Monday.

I'll have a "witness" this time. Wooooo!

Take it, paper!

Take it, take it
you could do worse
Take it, take it
it's not a curse

Take it, take it
you won't get hurt
It's just a little mamma
getting rid of dirt

(scratched with inkless nib on Feint Ruled Sheets)

Friday, 9 April 2010

0 profile views!

I know I said I'd speak no more of profile views, but this is funny.

Just before I went away, I saw that I had 1200 profile views, then I looked to see how many I had when I logged in just now and it said 1301! I was like "wow". I hit it again because I couldn't believe it and it said 1302! I smiled. I hit the back button and looked again at "profile views" and it said 1303! Did it again: 1304! Laughed and thought how funny this was because I've been on 1200 for donkey's years, I went back and hit profile views again! Would I have gone on all night? I don't know! But when I hit it again:


Approximate views since 2009: 0!!

Blogspot, is this my welcome home? You are funny!!

We're home!

My son's just left for the weekend. We've been back a few days.

A lovely Easter down at the folks but Sunday he declared he wanted to come back, for none of his cousins were there. I woke up Monday and didn't feel ready. What horrors awaited me back here? I asked my son if we could stay an extra day and go back Wednesday.

Reluctantly he agreed for I had now disappeared into my head and wasn't playing "catch" or kicking a ball around or drawing with him or anything. I did suggest I read to him but he wasn't interested in that.

By Tuesday night I was looking forward to coming back. We live here, both of us. It's not a busy life we have, full of social dates and stuff, but well, it's Home. This flat isn't Home, but it is home.

The sun came out for us! Two days we've been lolling around on the Heath - my son's enormous playground and the Saviour of my soul.

Yesterday he found some kids to play with and I sat reading a copy of the Big Issue. Today we headed up to Kenwood House. We had a picnic, we played 'tickle time', he clambered up the brilliant clamber tree, he found a huge stick and pretended it was a javelin. Hours we were up there. I had my notebook but nope, stiggers just wanted to whisper in my ear while I gazed at my child.

I barely wrote at my folks. Did on the train down and although yet to write the bilge I left behind, you may have read it already, for I will copy it down at some point!

Then I wanted to write but my pen ran out. With an inkless nib I scratched a poem onto the paper and then scratched no more, pointless really! I'll shove that poem on here too - I'll call it "Take it, paper!"

My boy's away this weekend, I've only plans to meet Issy and Annie tomorrow evening. Plenty of time to write therefore!

Oh stiggers, I'm glad we're back!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

I am my Cave

Velveteen Mind has written a fantastic post titled Enter Your Cave. She describes her own and asks if the reader has one. She mentions Clarissa Pinkola's Este's Women Who Run With The Wolves, of which I'm a great fan. She also made me think.

Stigmum is my cave. My cave is Stigmum. I write myself into black holes, I write my way out of them. My cave is turbulent place, with jagged edges where I must mind my head. I will write and write and write until I climb out into the light, then I will remember it always as a peaceful oasis, as I was once, in the beginning.

For now though I am going to leave my blog to be with my child for a little while. I will take Stigmum with me; I will take a pen. My notebook is blue; the colour of Mary's Veil, which is quite apt given the Season!

I hope I come back to you, whoever you are, which I guess is a way of saying I hope I can come back to me, whoever I am.

I wish you all a Happy Easter.

The electrician's' coming back

The property owner called this morning to say the electrician was coming back to 'finish the job properly'. She asked whether I'd be in tomorrow. I told her I wouldn't be, I was going to my parents and I would be leaving early because it's Good Friday and I'm going to take my son to church.

Oh la la la la la and "it's got to get done" and "I'm not paying the electrician until it is" la la la.

"It's the Easter holidays and I'm going I don't know when I'll be back." (She's always telling me I can't always get what I want which iritates me but this time I'm not going to let her or her bully boy partner give me grief) "It's not an emergency. There's no flood, there are no sparks. It can wait."

The electrician calls while I'm in Sainsbury's and tells me she's been "moaning" at him for "half an hour". We both have a good moan, we come to an understanding that he'll come a week on Monday. Happy, happy all sorted and if property owner is not happy, well, too bad really. I won't tell her she can't always get what she wants because I don't want to start a habit of patronising people.

Believe what you want.

The electrician is quite lovely. The electrician is also married. It's good to know these things!

"I'm going to call the fire brigade"

The property owner called last night asking if she could come round to check the new fuse box the electrician had installed.

9pm she turned up. I was knackered watching any old rubbish on TV until my Wednesday favourites started.

She was not happy. There was a screw top missing on the face panel which itself didn't look secure. A cable was stopping the door which can't close, from closing. Nor had the electrician cleaned up after himself. She said she'd get him to come back.

I went back to sitting on the sofa and just let her get on with her investigations.

She came into the room and started poking about the sockets again.

"Did you get my warning letter?"
"No, not yet."
"You know you really have to do something about this, it's a very dangerous fire hazard."
"You haven't come to lecture me again have you?" I ask flatly.
"Yes I have. What's this?!" as she picks up a postcard off the armchair next to the telly stand stacked with my son's video's. She then taps the extension bracket sitting on a filing cabinet behind the stand and next to said armchair.
"You put that there. Those brackets have four sockets designed to take four plugs. It's perfectly safe. Two electricians told me."
"I'm going to have to call the firebrigade and get someone to come and talk to you."
"Do what you want."

Oh to be past caring about something. It's so nice.

She left and I settled down to watch Mad Men. They've gone and scheduled Damages on the same night so I've had to sacrifice Desperate Housewives. As it turned out, I missed the flipping lot because I fell asleep and woke up again at midnight.

Funny though, not so long ago I told you I was mad and desperate. I may aswell admit I'm damaged too! What a comfort, Wednesday night telly!

I'm also quite excited at the prospect of a fireman coming round, have to say. He might be really gorgeous! He might be really strong! He might understand.