Friday, 28 May 2010

Half Term Haiku

Half term break with friends
my problems I must leave here
or I might lose them

I'll pretend all's good
watch my son play with others
laugh at their mischief

Drink wine with my pals
listen with joy to their tales
Housing? What housing?

Allocated emails

Allocations has replied to my email this morning apologising for its tardiness due to new council and government. I'd asked her to explain why my points are so low. She didn't but did say she noticed I was bidding and knowing the property owner did not want my son and me to remain here, was making every effort for us to remain in the borough. She said as homeless applicants we can't apply for both insecurity points and statutory homeless points "at the same time" (serious fucking flaw in the system if you ask me....)

I'm grateful this manager replies to me when I write to her. I also know she does have the power to at least talk to those who can change our lives, so I sent her another. After the half term I'm going to get busy again. I'll have two months. Only two months left having started all this pleading for a secure tenancy 16 months ago. I don't want to say "watch me fail". I want to post success, to give other people hope.

Here's the email anyway:

Dear [Allocations],

Thank you for your reply. As you know I continue to bid, even though I was told not to bother. With a possession notice hanging over me and my son it is a very painful exercise not made any easier by the fact that in October I am to be forced back to work. I volunteer for the Council, but was told at a Work Based Interview on Tuesday that I will have to stop doing this in exchange for waged employment in some private company somewhere.

Securing my son's basic foundation is my first priority so you understand the pain of unsuccessful bidding.

Thank you for making every effort for us to remain in Camden. Please, like me, make every effort to keep my child in [His School]. He is so well supported there. The school knows our history and in my mind, are doing a phenomenal job in encouraging him to participate whilst coping with his high levels of anxiety.

His father moved to Brighton in the Autumn. The school continues to mediate problems between us. They have allocated me a student social worker to alleviate the effects of my housing fears on my son.

I still do not understand why my points are so low. I met a Polish mother of one recently who complained to me that "Somalians" got housed before her even though she'd been in the country longer. What upset me was she had a far greater number of points than us and had only been on the waiting list for three years. I met her two weeks ago and she's been successfully housed. I was pleased for her child and sad for my own.

I can't accept that we haven't been left behind and still believe that something can be done to help us. With a secure flat I am only going to do what my country is asking me to do. It's a huge challenge for a single parent and one I can try to meet head on if I know my son is safe.

Thanks again for your email.

Kind regards,
Sue de Nim

Wake up call

A knock on the door at 8.35 this morning in the middle of that stressy bubble known as "about to leave the house for the school run"

It was the Housing Association's housing officer. My son opened the door.

"I thought you were coming at 9.30," I said. "I'm about to take him to school."

He said the housing association could try and offer us one of their properties if I continued to refuse the private rental sector.

"Where?" I asked, because I do have to be open to this shit with that bloody possession notice hanging over our heads.

Not walking distance to school. After my bids on those local flats yesterday the desire to stay in this vicinity is stronger than ever.

"When the lease runs out, what then?" I continued.

"Don't think about that now," was his answer.

After six years you'd think that all housing officials would know that all I ever do is think, I can't stop myself thinking, I think myself into black holes, I think myself into dreams for my child. Think, think, think. Think, think, think about everything. I want to stop thinking about housing.

A real bloody challenge for me, as any follower of this blog knows.....

Thank you blogspot

I finished posting yesterday and sent out texts and emails to friends past and present and haven't seen and occasionally seen saying it was the "annual bday/any excuse picnic". I am glad I did this because my morning's started with housing issues once again which wouldn't put me in the frame of mind to send any chipper happy messages.

So thanks blogspot, for catching my spill so I don't have to spill it on my flesh and blood friends!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Birthday Blues

I NEVER post this kind of stuff. I feel I have to though because I think it's what's partially responsible for the prolonged company of the Black Dog at the moment. I'm not saying that by posting about it will make it go away but it's not something I can admit in my day to day out there as I fix a smile on my face.

My birthday's coming up. I'm thinking of having a picnic. Every year I have a picnic. Every year these picnics are getting smaller. In short, this year, I don't think anyone will come. Next year, a big decade change, I might not do anything at all - a week day, easy.

Don't be silly, you might think. Of course people will come.

I haven't seen my old mum friends much this past year - they, the faithfuls that came in the past but their lives have moved on while mine.. well mine same fecking same so I rarely text them...

My family can't come but then they never do.

Playground politics feel acute at this time of year.

Oh crikey, my whole life swirls about me as I think of all this, seems I can't post about it after all.

This morning I voiced the fear to my son:

"Lots of people have moved on, other people aren't around that weekend. What if no-one comes?"

"That's ok mummy, it'll be just you and me!"

How I love my son.

Fate is on my side that day. A band is playing on the Heath. "Life on Venus" - a pop/jazz ensemble. We can sit amongst a throng and listen to tunes. We'll be outside with the sky above us and green, green grass beneath.

Shall I just text everyone anyway? There's always something so que sera sera about my annual picnics, and people still mean something to me even if we don't see each other much or at all nowadays.

This decade was heralded with a massive party and a pregnancy six months later. So different my life now. It's right isn't it, to see it out in such surroundings, especially as my life is on the cusp of changing? Be thankful for what I have and hold all other dreams close to my heart as my little boy laughs and the music plays.

Thanks for bearing with me x

"Give it some love!"

Two weeks ago I pushed the Master up the hall. Pushed him with all my might as he resisted me with his.

"Wake up!" he's said in the past. "You can do better than that!"

Two weeks ago, he went for a different tactic as I struggled against his weight.

"Give it some love! Put all your love into it!"

I pour my hate into Bazza's Boot Camp. I pour my fear. I pour my fury.


He's right. If we take our own power, rejoice in our own power, use our own power, what can't we achieve?

I haven't gone this week. Again. There is no love. None that I can harness to shift the weight of the obstacles I see before me. Or there is, somewhere, but over the rainbow maybe, not anywhere I can reach. Nico Teen is love of a different kind; not healthy.

If I see you though and you're having a bad day, I will tell you you are special. I will tell you to value who you are. I will tell you to love yourself a little bit. I will tell you to believe. I will tell you to have hope. I will tell you not to give up.

I will mean what I tell you too.

I'm funny like that

Two street properties

Not often you see street properties in my immediate vicinity on the HomeConnections website. Well, never in fact. I saw them and my heart attempted to burst out of it's defensive barriers. I bid on both with the same hopelessness I bid every week.

One of them is on the same street as my son's school and the other a couple of streets down. Can you imagine? My God it would be so amazing. Best I don't think that way.

How lucky the two families out of the 400 bidding who move into them.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Free School Meals

64.50 a week will be the first thing to go when I start work.
Free school meals will also be the first thing to go.
Music and swimming concessions will also be the first to go
After school club concessions also the first to go

Bills won't go, just continue to rise under Government inflation
Rent and council tax impossible to cover unless in a council flat.

I want my working to work for my family.

What chance have we got?

Income seeking allowance

On Income Support - I can keep the first £20 of any earnings
In a few months time...
On Job Seekers allowance - I can keep the first £5 of any earnings

The Government cannot explain this to me. I don't get it. I don't understand.

Mother... Job seek or else....

"I'm warning you it's going to happen," said the "Government's Face" in the Job Centre yesterday afternoon. "You are healthy, your child is healthy, you are not caring for anyone else. In October you will come off income support and go on Job Seeker's Allowance. You will need to be available for work."

"I've got a voluntary job, I was doing it this morning, I said I would co-ordinate the next event in July. It's enough for me at the moment as I fight housing problems and well, it's leading me to other, voluntary, opportunities. Can I continue to do this and not be forced onto Job Seekers?"

"No. You will have to look for waged employment."

So there the warning. Mine and my son's life over as we know it. In a few months I have to prove that I'm "actively" looking for waged work or my benefits will be cut.

Every fortnight walk into that soul-less building where the paint is chipping off the doors and windows, where a "Government Face" sitting behind a metal desk tells me to go up to the first floor.

I don't want this.

Oh you can say tough shit mamma but I've been on job seekers once before. It was fucking awful. I didn't have a child and week in, week out I would send covering letters and CV's to media outlets. I would work for free, sometimes weeks, sometimes months at a time (unbeknowst to the Job Centre admittedly), given the morning off every other week to go and sign on until one day, I finally got my break and was "employed".

I don't have the drive to do that anymore because I like the job I do - the parenting one I'm going to be told to outsource.

I don't have the drive to do that at the moment because I'm working so hard to secure my son's' basic foundation; a secure roof over his head.

"I hate how the Government is penalising mothers like me," I told the woman.

"I am the Government's Face," she replied. In her late fifties perhaps, softly spoken.

"I want to leave," I murmered as the familiar picture of noose and pills filled my mind and my son pricked my eyes. She handed me a tissue.

"Don't do that," I heard her voice break through. "We need skilled British workers to stay in the country."

Nothing I could say to that really, so I got up and walked out.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My letters effective then?

Social housing to be cut by £150 million. Great news for the taxpayer whose taxes will be raised to pay for our housing benefit, thought I as I turned the pages of The Times in a coffee shop.

Still, I shall wait to see what reply I get to my letters to Downing St, if I get any at all and continue to deliver the boring non news about mine and my son's eviction in the meantime.

Oh crikey, I'm asleep already.....

Monday, 24 May 2010

Letters to the Commons - a song

Sweet dreams are made of these
Who am I to disagree
Travelled the world and several seas
Leading to letters to the British Commons

Some of us want to love them
More of us want to be loved by them
Show some compassion rich men
When you wield the axe to kill our dreams

Ooooh ooooooooooooooooohhaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Hold your head up
Keep your head up
Movin on....

Hold my head up
Keep my head up
Movin on.....

(Eurythmics featuring Stigmum)

Letter to the Blue Man

Dear David Cameron,

I wrote to Tony Blair, I wrote to Gordon Brown, now it is only right I write to you.

My seven year old son and I have been statutorily homeless for six years. Last year we received a possession notice on our temporary accommodation the week before Christmas and are soon to be evicted. You want a stable country and economy Mr Cameron; I want a secure, affordable home. I’ve been busy campaigning on behalf of my child and the situation looks hopeless.

My son is in a very good community school, doing well after a difficult start. I fear the excellent education he is getting will be torn away from him. What does this spell for his future?

In January I wrote to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat camps asking to meet you and Nick Clegg. By coincidence I met the Liberal Democrat Leader and he took down my details.

My borough is on the cusp of a catastrophe Mr Cameron. Under a Labour Government it was run by a Libdem/Tory coalition. Council flats were being auctioned off to the detriment of my child, of many children. Now under a Tory/Libdem Government my borough is run under a Labour council.

Mr Brown’s office told me it was up to the Local Authority to house us. Back then, the Local Authority said our problems were the Government’s fault.

I am tired of being thrown from pillar to post. I am tired of this cycle of evictions my son and I have found ourselves in. Mr Cameron, I am desperate to take my son home. First his father, then a Church, now a Housing Association the council placed us in. It has to stop. I know you are extraordinarily busy but I am sure that someone within your team can help us.

I have sent you the election eviction story I wrote to channel my fear and fury at our situation during the elections. I hope one day you find time to read it because as a case study it may help anyone, any Government understand the social impact and high costs of ignoring housing policy.

You did say that you want to help the poor and vulnerable. You need to if you don’t want our country to really break under the weight of chronic poverty.

I wish you luck in your new role and with Nick Clegg by your side, hope for the fairer society so many of us crave.

I want the best for my child Mr Cameron, just as you want the best for yours.

I look forward to a positive outcome, for my son, for my country.
Thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Sue de Nim

Letter to the Yellow Man

Dear Nick Clegg,
Congratulations on entering the portals of No 10! It’s not generally my style to write to Deputy Prime Ministers with my problem but to me you are still the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party and you are in Downing Street! It must still make you smile sometimes.

I met you, if you remember, at the offices of the [local] newspaper in February. I told you my son and I are being evicted and you asked [your Pal] to help us.

To my knowledge the council did not reply to any email he sent on our behalf. His help has probably gone now the council is back in Labour’s hands. I feel like Sisyphus, only I’m carrying my child on my back as I roll the boulder up the mountain.

I’ve written to David Cameron. It felt mad and desperate writing to Blair, less so writing to Brown. Writing to Prime Ministers on the issue has become a habit pregnant with hope.

Can you still help me and my son from way up where you are? My son still believes you can. I don’t know but I do know you can help our country.

The Libdem housing policies I read filled me with hope. In the TV debates, you were the only one to mention the need for council flats. You were the only one who demonstrated an understanding of just how difficult it is for some of us to come off benefits, housing benefit in particular.

The Conservative ideology is so far from yours on the issue I am relieved you are in Government. Obviously I want your coalition to help me and my son but I don’t know when the bailiff’s order will drop through our letter box.

Over four million people are on the waiting list for council flats in this country, 18,000 in my borough. There’s an unaccountable number of people who aren’t accounted for. The Tories started all this, they can end it too, with your Party’s help.

I’ve sent you an election eviction story I wrote recently. I hope you will read it. It’s no literary masterpiece but I needed to channel my emotions somewhere, so it was onto paper.

I’ve sent it to Mr Cameron too. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...It might kick start the inevitable discussions you must have with him about housing if they haven’t begun already. I could be anybody. My child could be any child. I do so want our nightmare to end.

I wish you the very best of luck in your new position Mr Clegg. I hope it’s not too difficult juggling two such challenging roles.

Yours sincerely,

Sue de Nim

Letter to the Red Man

Dear Frank Dobson,

Firstly I’d like to say how happy I am that Labour controls Camden once again and has put a stop to the Libdem/Tory activities of selling off much needed council flats. It’s a positive start to a difficult journey under a Tory/Libdem run Government.

Mr Dobson, my son and I are being evicted again. I’ve enclosed the letter you sent me the last time when the Greek Orthodox Church handed us notice. Hundreds of families fortunately have been housed since then, but now I’m still seeing hundreds more go before us, many who have more points than us even though they have been waiting less time.

It is so difficult to live through this and now my son is older and interpreting my fear and my anger which I have trouble controlling. He is doing well at school at the moment. I am terrified his education will be affected when the bailiff’s order comes through and the Council does with us what the Council will. How many more evictions, how many more schools as I bid, bid, bid for security, getting nowhere?

I have written countless letters and emails over the past year. [My old MP], my son’s school, my doctor, psychiatrists have all written on our behalf to no avail. I feel like Sisyphus Mr Dobson, rolling the boulder up the mountain, only I have my child on my back and am struggling under the weight of my own responsibility.

I’ve sent you the story of an election eviction I wrote recently, which I’ve also given to my new Labour councillor. It’s no literary masterpiece but I hope it helps us. I do try so hard on behalf of my child.

I’ve also sent it to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. I met Nick Clegg in February. I’ve asked him to open up discussions with the Conservative Party, which ideologically, is poised to destroy the life chances of millions of children.

By sending it to you I now know that this local and national problem sits in the House of Commons in the hands of the three main parties. I know how great the problem is and do not wish to be penalised for my efforts to resolve it, not only for my son but for my borough and my country too.

I wish you and [my old MP] well and the best of luck for the coming years.

Yours sincerely,

Sue de Nim

The Internet

A fault on the line
A damn fault on the line.
I want to post my Letters
Is it a sign?

An intravenous drip
attached to my hip.
No internet connection
is a catastrophic blip.

I know I don't "work"
but nor do I shirk.
To practice my writing
is a benefits perk.

Clearly I'm back now
Blogspot my Holy Cow.
Online's my life saver -
A communications pow

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Son Late Scream

My boy's late
It's gone past 7
It's nearly half eight
Remember the lovely day
head first in the pond so great
I was with a mate
Now my boy's so late
I sit and I wait
Something I hate
Can't let it
take over me

Son Day Dream

Is my son on Brighton Beach
throwing pebbles in the water?
Is he at a barbeque
playing with his uncle's daughter?

Are you up to mischief son
or playing Hide and Seek?
Even when he isn't with me
I love to hear him speak.

Later he will come back home
and I will guess no more
all will be revealed to me
once he's raced through our front door!

Sunday Haiku

Lying on my back
not a cloud in the blue sky
grass supports my body

Warm sun on closed eyes
blades of green between fingers
scent of summer dreams

Children's playful shrieks
adults laughing at a tale
such bounty of Life

Friday, 21 May 2010

Staying indoors haiku

On a sunny day
hope will find the air it needs
outside on the Heath

Rays of light

On this beautiful, warm sunny morning, the very last thing I want to do is post darkness but if I wake up and can't shift the weight what do I do?

Do I not post anything? So many bloggers do not post their dark moods and moments. They might write that they have been feeling that way but have now cheered up.

Sometimes I think: Share the moments. However I also know first hand how depressing it can be off loading that which depresses in the first place.

This morning the very thought of posting my feelings had me dunk my head under the bath water and decide to leave blogspot for a while. I need blogspot though. I need to write. More misery? Oh I've had enough.

So beautiful indeed as I walk to school under my own invisible dark cloud and then in the playground get chatting to a mum who asks how I am so I lie and say I'm feeling fine.

Beautiful to muster up some sunshine and tell her I've written to the Government Leaders when she asks how my housing is going when in reality the hopelessness of my actions is what sits in my belly.

Beautiful to be told the new Leader of the Council is a parent at our school. "The council have stopped selling off the stock so it might not be that helpful for you to know that," the mum says.

Beautiful that in one moment light is thrown into the dark well of emotions I've been swimming in all morning.

I don't know if using it will help our situation, I don't how I'll use it but I do know I have to.

Beautiful that in a hopeless moment life throws you a line.

I've caught hold of it and will now wait patiently and hope when I meet him, the words that will save my son will come to me.

The words that I spill on blogspot will one day give hope to other people.

I just have to bear with myself.

Thankyou, Life.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A week off

The grey sky sat as heavy on my 'hood as the Black Dog on my back. Do I go to Bazza's Boot Camp? I felt like this last week and I went. I nearly cried last week.

I will go next week. I can't let these dark moods weigh me down, I must shrug them off. I must fight them off! I must star jump and box until they fall away!! Next week....

No such luck with the whole bidding thing though. Can't have a week off from that. Nothing last week but today, there are two.

One is right near here. The other is the street up from where I used to live, a mile away.

I'm really angry at the futility of the exercise. Everyone's points are way, way, way higher than mine.

You've got to bid though, yeah, because they look at that when they look into your case.

I wonder if Allocations is still manager? I could send her a little email.

Yes, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to send her a little email. Ask her why there are such enormous discrepancies between mine and others who have been waiting the same time as me....

Ah, Zen Dog joins the Black Dog because I started the post about Boot Camp!

Small mercies, small mercies.....

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

"Are you trying to get your son into a good school?"

I was asked recently if my reasons to take my son to church and do his Holy Communion were to get him into a good school.

Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa!


My neice has just done her Holy Communion. My nephew is doing his next month.

One day my son will go to church with both of them and when they both go up to take the Bread what I have never wanted to hear is:

"Mummy, why can't I take the bread?"

What I have never wanted to explain is..well, what I'd have to explain and I don't know how I'd explain what I'd have to explain because now I won't ever have to explain it.


Christ through the letterbox

A date has been fixed for my son's Holy Communion. Next month! Shite, he's nowhere near ready! I'm still bribing him to behave in Church. I'm still telling him to pretend the priest is his headmaster to instil a little God Fearing in him.

Anyway, rather concerned that as his Sunday School Teacher I've um, not taught him anything, I bought him a "Children's Missal" on Amazon (£3.30!!) which has just fallen through the letterbox. It looks pretty good; step by step through the mass service, why didn't I buy this last year?????? We are not going to Church again until the Big Day.

The little Bible I bought him as a present has arrived too. What present does one get their child on their First Holy Communion???

The last thing to land on my doormat was from my mother: "Let's Go To Confession". A step by step guide of what to do on the day that she's photo copied from my neice's workbook.

My son's not doing a confession though....Ahem.... because it's not our local church, it's not our local priest and there won't be time when we whizz down to my folks and their local priest.

Still, all is forgiven. My son won't have to do his Confession until after his Communion. I called the priest see, and we had a chat. He said it would be ok.

I like this priest taking my son through his formative steps, not adhering to the rules and best of all, best of all, I'd have done my duty and can now take my boy down the pub on Sundays instead heh heh heh!

Coincidences through the letter box

No sooner do I write that I'll have a Work Based Interview soon that an envelope plops through the letterbox from the department of Work and Pensions. It tells me to be present at midday in a couple of week's time, during half term no less.

Shit. I won't be there. Bollocks. You need a cast iron excuse not to go. Flip, I'm crap at lying (taking a little hol with friends on the Isle of Wight).

I do need to go though, find out if volunteering is something I am allowed to do or will I be forced into paid work.

Brrrring brrrring, brrrring brrrring, takes ages to answer.

I tell the man it's half term and I won't be there.

"Are you travelling abroad?"

What difference does that make, I think to myself. Technically the Isle of Wight is abroad though isn't it....Oh I hate how nosey my symbolic husband is.

I ask the man why the interview is at a different location, not my local Jobcentre. He won't tell me. I push him for an answer: "Have they made cuts to frontline staff just as unemployment is about to rise?"

He won't tell me.

You have to tell them everything. They don't have to tell you anything. Bugs me no end.

Still, the interview's been changed to next week. Perhaps I should declare my little earnings after all.....

Self Employment

The CAB have given me a number to call to arrange a consultation about going "Self Employed". This is incase I manage to sell articles over the next financial year.

I will do this because the whole thing confuses me no end and I might learn something.

What is quite curious is that this morning I sent an article to the website on which I am a member of the editorial board. Will I be pouring pennies into my "business"?

Nah! Because I am doing it all for free. I am doing it all from the goodness of my own heart. I am doing it because it's easier not to be paid for what I love doing.

With Government making cuts upon cuts to local councils will our little website survive?

If it does, will I still be thrown back to the factories because my child is seven years old and I'm not picking up a wage?

My Back To Work interview should be coming up soon. I'll find out then....

The cost of bureaucracy

The CAB called me the other day to say that the £75 I earnt won't be taken off a week's worth of income support, forcing me to make a rapid reclaim. That's good news in a way.

However, I tumble head first into red tape that may very well squeeze the life out of me.

I must phone Work and Pensions, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits and tell them all "my circumstances have changed." It's a one off payment so my circumstances haven't changed at all really.

This £75 will be "floated". Divvied up over the year, my weekly 'earnings' comes to £1.44. I am allowed to earn £20 a week before benefits get taken off.

Declaring it should cost me nothing therefore. However, calls to W&P, HB and TC are not free. Nor the stamps when they send me forms to fill in and send back. Seen from the other side, their admin costs, for such a small one off sum, will be quite big in comparison.

Hardly seems worth declaring it really. I'm not quite sure what to do. Declare the one off to both our costs, or collect several one off's and declare the lot at the same time? If I do that though the machine might think I have an earning capacity more stable than I actually do.

Oh my symbolic husband does not want me freelancing. My symbolic husband is not encouraging me to go back to my old career, where I have experience and remaining skills.

My symbolic husband wants me back in the factory, scraping the minimum wage with no entitlement to holiday pay, time off sick or a pension.

Yes, I watched "Blood, Sweat and Luxuries" on BBC 3 last night. It reminded me of so much.

Is the future of my country the reality of the Third World?

Thai protestors have courage. Why can't they be listened to instead of gunned down?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The courage to do nothing

Words of wisdom from my Oracle (my horoscope ha ha) today is that it takes true grit to be inactive, that sometimes it takes courage to decide that one is better off doing nothing at all.

As these oracles are open to interpretation I've decided to sod the housework. Ha ha, only joking.

In my own interpretation though, I have slightly blown the advice. I've written to our Prime Minister, I've written to his deputy, our Leader of the Libdems. I should let things settle awhile no?

No, I decided to type a letter to my Red MP. Sent him my Story of an Election/Eviction just as I did the Blue and Yellow men.

All main parties in the House of Commons now have the local and national housing problem on their desks (or will do in the next day or two when my MP gets his).

Now I must find the courage to do nothing. It's hard you know, especially given I don't know when the Bailiff's letter will drop through my letterbox and there's a whole new council to start annoying.

Nico Teen, I'm relying on you matey as the Treats are calling from the cupboard and my jeans are already feeling tight....

Monday, 17 May 2010

Comfort Eating - a song

Five doughnuts in one day
And a round of toast with peanut butter on it
Jammy dodgers, Shortbread, Twix
The sun shines on the cupboards waiting for my necessary fix

Even when I’m feeling warm
The temperature could drop away
Need five doughnuts in one day

Scoffing as the shit comes down
You can’t tell a mum from what she has to eat
Everything gets turned around
And I will shove it down my neck again

I will buy treats when I’m down
When I’m happy, when I’m sad
Like all the times I can't explain
Five doughnuts in one day

I want more
Like crisps like crisps
Fills my mouth
Like five doughnuts in one day

It doesn't pay to make predictions sleeping on a springy bed
Finding out wherever there is comfort there is food
Only one room away
Those five doughnuts in one day

I want more
Like crisps like crisps
Fills my plate
Like five doughnuts in one day

(Crowded House featuring Stigmum)

Number Crunching

3/08/2005 = 351
14/06/2005 = 1068 points
27/05/2004 = 814 points
13/02/1999 = 769 points

Those who already have a council flat who want a bigger flat are put on the "transfer" register. Their points start very low again. I'm guessing the 2004 and 1999 family are "transfers" although you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's me and my boy.

1068 points to the family waiting two months longer than me.

Where are the NumberJacks when you need them ey? Perhaps I should write to them c/o CBeebies and ask them to sort out this big CBoobie....

Friday, 14 May 2010


Blue Man
Prime Minister
10 Downing St,

Yellow Man
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
Deputy Prime Minister of the Conservative Party
10 Downing St

I allowed myself a little chuckle.

Two letters this time. Will they make it down the corridors of power? Will I get a positive response?

Little tremors within me I must say. Why? Well because the new Secretary for Work and Pensions was very recently a governor at the School That Kicked Me Out where my sister in law is Deputy Head.

Nah, it won't get that far and Yah, God help me if it does...

"Stop talking about politics mummy"

Oh my baby! He doesn't want me to become a writer!

After school yesterday I took him to the Heath. Hand in hand we walked when suddenly he says to me in stern tones:

"Why aren't you listening to me?"

Oh flip, my chatterbox boy had been chatting away and I hadn't heard a word.

"Sorry baby, it's just I've been writing to David Cameron today and I need to write to Nick Clegg and my head is just full of the words I have to put down on paper."

"Stop talking about politics mummy. I hate it when you ignore me. I want you to talk to me!"

"I know, I know but it's so important, it's about you and me. I need to finish the letters so come the weekend I'm not ignoring you, yeah?"

"No. I don't want you to be a writer mummy, I want you to be my mummy."

I laugh because I don't know how else to respond.

"Listen, it's a good thing I'm doing. It's like a job, I have to do it and you know, I could drop you off at the after school club and get it done now but I promise you yeah, I promise I'll have it done by the time I pick you up from school tomorrow. Just bear with me yes?"

The poor lad had no choice. He played, I sat on a bench and thought. He let me know he wasn't happy with me but there's a Class Tea on at school this afternoon so I'll buy him some cake.

I'll tell him job done, then shut up about it all. Well actually, I better get the job done....Yikes, so much to do, so little time! Thank goodness I like deadlines!!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Zen Dog?

Black Dogs at Boot Camp may have a purpose....

Mine told me today to write to David Cameron. It makes sense really; I wrote to Blair, I wrote to Brown, there's a new Prime Minister, I'm still in an eviction cycle, it makes perfect sense!

The Dog came up with another idea as my body tried, tried, tried to hold it's Plank position, which was to write to Nick Clegg too!

Deputy Prime Minister? Not my style!

But of course! He is still Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party and he is no doubt sitting in No 10 as I speak! Funny isn't it?! His party got the least votes and there he is!!

It's going to take some thinking! I've never met the Prime Minister. I can write any old rubbish, he won't read it.

I have met his Deputy though, I have met the Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

I ought to be quick really before he forgets he ever met me.

Ought to be quick really because August isn't that far away and the bailiff's warrant will land on my doorstep....

Thanks Zen Dog!!

"Don't give up...Pace yourself"

I didn't want to go to Boot Camp today and when I got there, I realised why. I had the Black Dog with me.

The last time I was being evicted I simply couldn't go to Boot Camp so it's a first for me, exercising through the hardship.

And believe me, it was tough today. Really tough. Tough like the days he'd work on our stamina and I could feel my strength build. Today though, just the Black Dog weighing me down.

There's a hymn isn't there.. "It's hard to dance with the devil on your back".. from that "dance lord where ever you may be, I am the lord of the dance said he and I'll lead you all wherever you may be and I'll lead you all to the dance said he." It is isn't it? He danced on a Friday when the sky was black, it's hard to dance with the devil on your back... Yey! It is that one!!

Anyway, the Master said he made it hard on purpose. I was partnered with him cos of odd numbers and honestly I tried not to do what the widow upstairs told me not to do this morning. Cry.

I don't know if I'll keep going. I feel I should though. Fight myself, fight my demons, fight, fight, fight so I can drink the endorphins afterwards.

Yes reader, I survived it and I'm not sorry I went after all.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Popping corks

Wedded bliss at No 10 I hear between the two C's (and no, that's not Cameron and the Conservatives, it's Cameron and Clegg)

The £6bn in cuts as promised
Labour's plan of raised national insurance our new government fought against in their campaigns is getting the go-ahead.

Someone on the news said: "There'll be unemployment, more unemployment and then more unemployment. Very scary for the unemployed."

Still, let's look on the bright side! Inheritance tax cuts is still on the agenda so millionaires are drinking champagne right now!


The Lay of the Land 2

Last week my borough:

A Libdem/Tory coalition under a Labour Government.

This week my borough:

A Labour council under a Tory/Libdem coalition Government

The positive change I'm desperate for?

One hopes!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Blue + Yellow = Hope?

His silver jag swept him to the Palace, then took him to No 10. I wonder if the Blue Man was doing a little sit down jig with his wife in the back of the car?

A coalition with the Yellow Man he said.

I like many of the Yellow policies, if you've followed me since I began my journey to No Whatever, Whatever St, you'll know.

I particularly like the Yellow policies on housing. I also like the policies on tackling crime; youth crime before it has a chance to happen. If I were housed and working, I'd love their policies on tax, mine and the bankers'.

Can the Yellow Man change the landscape of our country? Or will the Blue policies win out in the end? They do have the larger share of the votes after all....

I went to give my son a kiss when the news finished. It was 9pm and he was still awake. I told him in a whisper:

"Cameron's our new Prime Minister but Clegg is in there too so you try and get some sleep and we'll chat in the morning..."

Woo Harriet, Gordon nearly made me cry!

Harriet Harman the acting leader of Labour! Oooh I like that!! A woman at the helm! A woman who was told to shut up during the campaign so we never heard her voice.

I am sorry to see Gordon go, ya know. OK, he wasn't the most visually handsome man, not always the most articulate, but I think that's why I did like him, despite him blackmailing my borough. His policies towards my son were good ones, when the banks were crashing he did well, sorted out a 0.2% growth after all most recently.

So much dignity in his speech. I hope the papers don't villify him the way they did today. It upset me so it did, all bar the Guardian and the Mirror.

They might not even mention him actually, only in passing, because of course, they are all pro Tory and Dave just walked into No 10.....

See you Gordy. Thanks for SureStart, the Child Trust Fund and the Tax Credits oh and the shrinks I didn't have to pay to see. Thanks for all kinds of stuff, I hope your legacy remains.

I ought to shut up really

Just been over to Bringing Up Charlie whose post made me laugh, as he made a serious point about the Rainbow elections. How banks are demanding whatever government coming to power to make stringent cuts affecting well, you know; low paid workers, families, welfare recipients.

He's saying he's going to stop posting about the elections, perhaps I should too. This is what I posted on his link, copied due to lacking the imagination to write it differently for you:

It's all my fault.... I asked for a hung parliament and as you say, it'll be me and millions of people who will be hung instead probably upside down to make sure the coppers fall out.... Perhaps I should vote Bungle and then Zippy at the next election!

Yeah Stiggers? Yeah? Yeah??

I Don't Know!

I like my country as it is.....

You know, as the Tories desperately try and scrabble for the keys to No 10 and the Libs probably commit political suicide by going with either them or Labour, I have to say that I'm happy with how my country is at the moment.

Dave's saying it's "decision day" for the Libs.

You see, desperate he is, desperate.

I can only be grateful he didn't get my vote, one similar to millions and millions and millions of such decisions on ballot papers up and down the country.

I'm actually hoping now that the Libs go it alone and that we get two Labour leaders when Brown stands down: The Milliband Brothers! Sounds like a band! We need some music ey stiggers?!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Vanishing comments

Lunarosa has just left a really beautiful, supportive comment, coming at a moment to shoot light through darkness.
Blogspot? Where is it? So I can answer her and say thank you?
Lunarosa, if you come back, this post is to give you very, very big thanks particularly as I've been thinking recently that this blog is so darn depressing I'm hardly surprised that hardly anyone follows, never mind comments. So yeah, thank you everyone who does.
I feel I have to write what I feel though because I'm not the only person going through this type of rubbish, so unavoidable in a first world country like ours.
Yes, so I raise a glass to your health, wealth and happiness and if you are not in this situation, I hope that you never find yourself in it xxx
(labelled under 'songs' to highlight the coincidence!)

So tired of all this - a song

I'm so tired of being alone,
I'm so tired of on-my-own,
won't you help me, State,
just as soon as you caaaaaaaaan.

People think that I've found a way,
to make you say, that you’ll house us.
But baby, you’re not going for that, us,
it's a natural fact,
that my son needs your tact,
show me where it's aaaaaat, baby.

I'm so tired of being alone,
I'm so tired of on-my-own,
won't you help us, State,
just as soon as you caaaaan.

I guess you know that I, uh,
I need you so,
even though,
you don't want us no more,
hey, hey, hey,hey
I'm cryin' tears,
all through the years,
I tell you like it is,
My country, love us if you can.

Yeeeeeeeeeah baby,
tired of being alone here by myself,
I tell ya, I'm tired baby,
I'm tired of being all wrapt up late at night,
in my dreams, nobody but you, baby.
Sometimes I wonder,
if you love us like you used to do,
You see baby,
I I I I I've been thinking about you,
I've been, I've been wanting to get next to you, baby,
Sometimes I hold my arms and I say,

O baby, needing you has proven to me,
to be my greatest dream, yeah.


I'm so tired of being alone,
I'm so tired of on-my-own,
Always late at night I get to wonderin' about you baby,
Baby, baby, yeaaaaaaaaa...
I’m so tired yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah

(Al Green featuring a very tired Stigmum)

The Heath on monday morning

A turquoise sky smiles on iridescent green leaves of every hue
Light dapples the shadows on the path
Crows commune on budding trees
Red canopies dance in the breeze
Beauty is all around but
I don't see any of it.

My son, how can I help my son?

He cries. Again he cries. Smiling and chatty until the school gates, where he clutches my hand even tighter.
The bell goes and I take him to class. He won't enter the room, only crush my legs with his young arms.

Too often now, too often. I don't know how to deal with it anymore.

Ah, his friends are there! Go with your friends! Little R extends his hand to him but my son burrows his head further into my stomach. How many times have I told him to pretend to be happy even if he doesn't feel it? I don't say this now, it's too late to say it isn't it?

"He went to bed very late," I tell R. "He's very tired. You go in , he'll be through in a minute."

Little R skips in with little A, my son's other best friend. My son is pushing these friends away. I know he does that, I know he can't help it. I know he's thought up games where his companion is himself. It's good to do that, but only sometimes, not all the time.

"Go in," I urge my boy.
"I want to stay with you mummy."

So often now, too often, I don't know how to deal with it anymore.

"You were like this in reception, soon you're going into year 3. Are you always going to be like this?" I hear impatience in my tone, I don't want to be impatient.

Tears gloss his eyes. "I can't help it mummy."
"I know." I want to scream and crumple into a corner and cry. He senses this, I know that too.

We hear his teacher call his name on the register. "Go on, go in now," I coax. He pulls me towards his classroom door where the teaching assistant is there to take his hand.

In he goes and I turn and close my eyes.

My son, my sun, my son, don't worry about me. Please my beautiful child.

Public sector evictions - the ups and downs

In the private sector, if an owner wants their property back, you have two months to move, unless of course, you take them to court, but most people move.
In the private sector, if you want to move, you can and are already on the search, having thought about it possibly, way before you handed your notice.
Both scenarios are stressful, horribly so, but often over fairly quickly.

In the public sector, after you are served notice, you have time, plenty of time.
This is great if you have money. Money can remedy all kinds of situations.

If you don't have money and are reliant on the public sector to house you, you can use all this time to campaign for something better.

All this time you don't know where or when you are going and your pleas are all ignored as you try and act positively and constructively for your child. It's suffocating.

I watched two films recently. Cher was the mum in one, Mermaids, Heather Locklear was the mum in the other, A Perfect Man.

Whenever life gets too hard, they are dumped by yet another man, they bundle their children in their car and off they go to a new life, to a new start. Over and over they do this so of course, the point of these films, is learning how to stay put.

I don't know how these mums could afford to move, I don't know how they could afford the nice new places they rented.

I do know though, that mums do move. Some mums do keep moving. I know because I've met one. I don't know where she is now, I met her when I was doing my masters research. She moved from a hostel in Camden to a refuge in Cornwall, then she was back in Camden, but only for a short while she said, while the council sorted something else out for her, somewhere else. She had a nine year old son. I almost envied her; she was doing something.

I want to go. I want to flee. I want out of this situation so desperately I cannot tell you.

I want to stop moving but I don't know how.

Yep, I woke up this morning, the hope bubble has exploded and I'm drowning in its dark void.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Blue and Yellow Man in "negotiations"

I hear on the news that Cameron and Clegg are going to "negotiate a deal later today".

On Friday reader, as the Country woke up hanging, I sent a text message to the Libdem Leader's Pal who lost the seat to the sitting Red MP.

"Hi Pal. Please tell Clegg to tell Cameron libdem housing ideas will save our country from breaking & thank him from me 4 being the only one 2 mention council housing in debates. Thanks & hope you're ok. Sue de Nim."

I doubt he will, having not replied to any of my emails or texts during the campaign but nothing ventured nothing gained ey?!!

Also, floating in my hanging hope bubble, I emailed the ed of the local rag asking when's my deadline!! Was he free to chat at some point?!

I'll tell you something reader, I'm probably as desperate to get housing onto the political agenda as David Cameron is to get his mitts on the keys to Number 10!

Que sera sera ey Stiggers!

Just The Tonic!

First time I went to a comedy gig on my own! It was great! You know when jokes come and you laugh inspite of yourself? That was me! I can't remember their names unfortunately, but the headliner, Geoff Innocent (?), hilarious! He looked like an East End gang leader but wearing a bright African tunic. Said he was an "ethical" comic and said he wasn't a hypocrite because he 'offsets ethical decisions'. His Caterpillar boots, he said, was made by the same company that also make bulldozers to occupy Palestinian territories. His ethical offset was to "give the Israeli's a good kicking". Free range chickens, free to roam by some but at M&S given c-sections if they don't want to lay eggs. Oh I'll wreck it if I write any more!

But, right, what I didn't mention yesterday is that I was meant to go on a date with MakeHay! Remember him? No, I barely do after falling asleep on him the last time we went out. He's got some kind of man flu and bailed on me.

To those who are fearful of doing things, or going places on their own. Don't be!! If I was like that, I'd miss out on so much!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Just The Tonic?

Just as I was resigned to staying in tonight as I didn't fancy cinema on my own, again, I'm going to go and see comedy instead!!!
Thanks so much for sending me an invite!!
Just The Tonic it's called. I don't know what to expect! It doesn't start until 10pm and I don't give a flying fairy cake that I'll look a right Norma!

"They're not going to parachute you into a flat"

I went to the Parent Council's housing meeting because I said I would even though I knew it would be depressing.

It wasn't depressing, I was too hungover for depressing. Not too hungover to get angry though.

Two representatives of the council were there to answer our questions. Our "why?" questiions.

First up, a Bangladeshi mum who lives in a two bed council flat. She had two kids and fostered another. She had over 500 points. With the birth of two more children, she gave up fostering and the council have taken away over 250 of those points.

"Are they different?" she asked. "The child I'm looking after or my own?"

"No," said the council rep. He couldn't explain it. The fire was stoked in my belly on her behalf though.

Others were overcrowded and asked what they could do. Leave their secure tenancy and get an insecure one was the response.

I queried why facing homelessness, I could not get the insecurity points. "You don't know do you?" I said. "It's because I am already statutory homeless, because I am homeless I can't even get overcrowding points."

They said PRS or hostel. I said they were happy to keep bouncing my son around. Meanwhile, people were getting housed with more points who had waited less time.

"Well they're not going to parachute you into a flat," said the guy. Prick. That's not what I'm suggesting.

The other parents were angry on my behalf, while I got angrier on behalf of all our children.

It was great to see some of the parents, some I've not seen in a while.

The Polish mum I wrote my poem about was there. "I got a place!" she said, walking over to me.
"Oh that's great, " I said genuinely but flatly because my head was banging.

She accepted a one bed in a Victorian conversion. She was 2nd on the list but the first person didn't show up. The others behind her had more points than her, she said. "450 one, 480 another." None of them had children. She knew that because she asked them.

She said in a years time she can swap it for a two bed. I was sold that line, for it is a line. No-one's swapping, particulary those in 4-beds whose children have flown. I don't fancy this mum's chances anyway because she said she didn't want to live in a tower on an estate. That's the only hope she's got, if any at all.

My new hope is her story. You don't need the 'highest points' to get a place.

The other is that my 'hood's turned Red. We oofed out the sitting Tory, happy to auction off council flats despite living in one himself, who told me not to go for a council property because of my "social profile" and to take "creative steps" to social housing instead....

Hope and plenty of water has seen my hangover off.

Parliament is still hung. I missed the "Take Back Parliament" demo where 1000's of protesters gathered in central London and Clegg told them he would negociate electoral reform.

I hope he does. Even if that means doing a deal with the squatting PM instead.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Blue + Yellow = Green

D'you know, I don't reckon Dave's a bad bloke. I don't. He might be posh, but he might be alright. That's what I reckon anyway, I've never met the guy.

His Blue party has a back bench of hard line Right wingers. I don't reckon Hard Line Right Wing ideas are good. I reckon they break things, like Society.

These backbench Hard Right guys could put alot of pressure on our Dave in a minority government. They lost didn't they, the Tories, but not as bad as the others, so they might be feeling a bit miffed.

They may be Right but they're not stupid.

Nick's offered to boost Dave's chances of Governance in a little pact between their parties. This could be good, this could be really good. I like Nick's rhetoric on housing, diametrically opposed to Dave's party's ideas. Nick could change things! Urge Dave to undo Maggie's terrible decision that Tony didn't undo.

If Dave makes all sorts of horrid cuts now, if he becomes PM of a minority government, well, the people won't like him will they? No, not much, especially if crime sky rockets.

So I was dozing while the telly was on a while ago and I heard a Hard Right guy say that Dave might go in with Nick, introduce some cuts that will prove Gordon "lied" about Tory plans during the campaign, then when we, the electorate, see the Tories aren't that bad, they'll call a second election and try and get a majority government; try and get a government where the Tories can rule ALONE!

Nick will lose this election but his reputation will remain intact whilst the Labour Party? In shreds!

Blue + Yellow does indeed = Green, but don't be fooled, don't be! The Real Green Party did win last night (the only one, so I stand corrected on a post I wrote earlier)

That's the thing with the I Don't Know Party. It's a party of thinkers. It wouldn't mind going into coalition with Jen's Smoking Party but we both need funding and not just for the fags.....

A small prophecy

I'm not sure I told you all that I sent a five part election/eviction story to the nationals, which they didn't take. I should really post it here for you, which I will, when I have a lot of time, as it would be good to post it on the same blogspot 'day'.

However, my last 'chapter' is entitled 'Hope' and it starts with a suicide dream I had!!

My mirth and excitement comes today because in a copy of the Big Issue not long ago, the associate editor of The Telegraph wrote an article and mentioned Zaleucus, the lawgiver, who ruled at Locri Epizefiri, a Greek colony in Italy, in 660 BC. "A Locrian who proposed any new law stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord around his neck and if the law was rejected the innovator was instantly strangled."

My dream took on new significance after I read that.

Today we have a Hung Parliament!

My dream had a happy ending, I didn't die!! Though admittedly, the story hasn't ended... not yet...

It ends with Doris though....

The morning after the night before

I'm feeling strangely philosophical this morning, perhaps because I went to bed at 4am, so compelled I was watching my country speak.

The Parties all lost!!!

The left leaners won in my 'hood!!!

The I Don't Know Party naturally does not know what any of this means!

Do I have a window though to get housing children on a future agenda?

I feel excitement in my belly but not sure if that's the coffee (I finally found the essential part of my stove top expresso maker so that's the equivalent of six shots I've swallowed this morning!)

Que sera sera hey Doris?!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The journey to the polling station: A song

Ground control to major Mum
Ground control to major Mum
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
(Ten) Ground control (Nine) to major Mum (Eight)
(Seven, six) Commencing countdown (Five), engines on (Four)
(Three, two) Check ignition (One) and may God's (Blastoff) love be with you

This is ground control to major Mum,
you've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirt you wear
Now it's time to leave your capsule if you dare

This is major Mum to ground control,
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm voting in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here am I sitting in my tin can
far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles,
I'm feeling very ill
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my son I love him very much,

He knows
Ground control to major Mum, your circuits dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, major Mum?
Can you hear me, major Mum?
Can you hear me, major Mum?
Can you...

Here am I voting on my tin can far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue there must be something I can do....

(David Bowie featuring Stiggers who wants to turn it Orange)

Dressing up for the Poll Station

Black. I chose to wear black, so bleak the expected electoral prognosis. In mourning for the lost hopes of my country I walk to the polling station.

Black shirt, dark jeans, black boots. Black.

Hope. I have to hope. Where are we without hope?

So I wore my Red Pants and

Red + Yellow =

Orange socks

Per ardua ad astra! ("Through adversity, to the stars!)

What a mug!

Barely was the sleepy dust out of my eyes this morning that a Conservative flyer flew through my letter box. Bloody hell, I thought, there's a party that can afford to be so keen.

Thought I'd read the blurb anyway and my, I was almost seduced. A little map of my 'hood and all the good work they'd done to spruce up the area. "Ooh yes!" I thought as indeed crime has reduced here at the Towers (I'd list some more but my son wanted to tear it up on sight so may have well thrown it in the bin)

If I didn't know what I know, housing, oh I don't know, I'm not a Tory, more of a liberal me but... but... after posting last night, feeling suitably still abit down, I went into the kitchen to make a cuppa.

There hung the two mugs my old shit school acquaintance had given me for my birthday last year.

The design on one of these mugs was originally from a World War 2 poster "intended as a "last case scenario" to be used only should the Nazis succeed in invading Britain via Operation Sea Lion, in order to stiffen resolve" (thanks Wikipedia).

Funny thing is, on the RED background of original poster mug is:
On the BLUE background of the other reads:
"NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT" so true, so true..

It certainly stiffened my resolve last night - abstaining is not an option for the Leader of the I Don't Know Party and well, I'll continue to drink my morning expressos from the mug that gives me hope.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Last Supper

Fish Pie - I realised it's my swing back from suicide meal as I cooked one today. A terrible depression earlier as I realised the catastrophe of a Blue win and its sink or swim ideology.

I've been saved from drowning before, when I was five years old.

I must cling to a buoy tomorrow.

What colour are life rings traditionally?

The Lay of the Land

New Labour: Nanny State?
Conservatives: Police State?
Election tomorrow: Positive Change?

Supervision orders

Trust in social workers. On the one hand I work in an environment where they say they can be trusted and families should trust them more. On the other hand I live amongst people who say they can't trust them at all.

Take Lucky this morning. Her daughter is already under a care order. Lucky says if she doesn't "jump through the hoops" the social workers tell her to, they are going to put her child under a supervision order.

Lucky's not been well and the response of the social workers towards her family has put her under even more pressure, she says.

"Can't you try and trust them?" I say.

"Trust? They work on a rotation, so every six months they change. Just when you get to know one they say: "I'm leaving"."

She listed the number of support workers, mental health workers, councillors, work supervisors that she's had in the past year. She trusts no-one any more.

She said that years ago she spoke quite openly with social workers and said her daughter had behavioural issues and the social services hang on to this now to the point that Lucky isn't even allowed to tell her off. "What child doesn't have behavioural issues?" I said. "What child doesn't explore and try to push their boundaries?"

Baby P has got everyone paranoid. Lucky saw a parent slam their child into a bus shelter last week saying "get the fuck in there and fucking stay there". "They're picking on the wrong parents," she says.

Lucky is doing a great job with her daughter but I know what happened to Baby Face.

She'll be alright. I have to believe that and she does too.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

From the depths come bright ideas

My bright idea as I sat in the dark cloud with my Black Dog earlier today, was to send an email to Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show, about, of course, the three political parties and housing.

So fearful was I (what if they call me back, what if they read it out, what if my name is thrown out nationally, what if what if what if....) that I did what I always do in such situations and consulted my horoscope:

Fight or flight? Persist or desist? It's hard to know quite what to do about your current obstacle, but it is at least clear that there's not much room for compromise. Generally speaking, when life presents us with no 'middle way', it either matters immensely which course we take - or it makes no difference. Try an imaginary exercise, just for a moment. Throwing yourself wholeheartedly (or at least whole- headedly) into either of your two options. How does that feel? If it feels right and positive, think no further. If not, think again.

Oh I don't know. Oh sod it. I wrote my don't know who to vote for scribe on their website, then I emailed my friend Em the election/eviction diary I'd promised her last week, saying I was thinking of sending an email to Vine, then went back to the website, pressed send, after which Em's reply came back saying "go for it!"

A quivering mass of nerves I was, especially when I heard Clegg was going to be there for an interview. Oh no! I've met him, oh no oh no oh no!

Then I got a message on my mobile from a mum I did my thesis on two years ago, asking me how I was doing. Alright, I said, and you?

Aaargh Fuck. Any nerves at sending that email just flew out the window. She'd been in hostels for four years when I met her two years ago. Details, details, they make me too angry but suffice to say her two very young children were taken by the social services and have now been adopted by another family.

She is still in a hostel, her and her partner are still together. Given what they've both been through at the hands of the council I didn't think they would be.

AAAARGH. It's so WRONG what happens to some people. Remember I met them, she quiet, he vocal, a nice couple. Geez, I don't understand some things.

As it happens Vine didn't read out my email, the radio station didn't call. That's ok. It took courage I mistook for madness to send it.

I have got to learn not to be afraid. I've got to start talking to the Black Dog to discover why I am. If I even dare to talk on behalf of other people, I need to sort that out first.

On a brighter note, my brother texted to say sorry about the weekend and the mum I've just been writing about has texted me saying to call her name here "Baby Face". I will do should I write about her again. It's made me laugh... these strong mothers and the names they give themselves... 'Lucky' is the other one. The ones that ask me to make up names for them get ones, well, you wouldn't know I make them up.

I wish them both luck, I really do.

"Only the poor vote Labour"

Ages ago the Libdem Leader's pal said this to me and recently it's been depressing me a whole lot.

Then a Labour flyer dropped through my letter box with words of anti Tory appeal from Ross Kemp, JK Rowling and support from others such as Jo Brand, Tony Robinson, Eddie ("I pay no taxes") Izzard and Liz Dawn aka Vera Duckworth. An enormous comfort to me that it's not just the "poor" who vote Labour.

A Libdem letter was then delivered, from the Leader himself.

"Dear Sue de Nim,
It's hard not to feel let down by Westminster politics right now...This election we can choose to do things differently. We can choose real change with the Liberal Democrats.....
Please do lend us your support.
Thanks and best wishes,
Nick Clegg

His photo is in the top right hand corner, but at the bottom, at the bottom, is a drawing of two horses. Not a yellow and blue horse, but a yellow and red one.

Noooooooooooooooooooooo. No national Tory/Libdem coalition. Pleeeeeeeeeeease.

Furthermore, the pictures shouldn't be of horses, they should be of donkeys. It's a struggle that awaits us. Well, I say us, not the 3000 millionaires who will be the first beneficiaries of a Tory win.

I cannot abstain. I want to, but I can't.

Pin the tail on the Donkey

Nationally: The libdems say we need more council flats. Labour says housing is a "private issue" - the Conservative's ideology as well.

Locally: The Libdem/Tory coalition are auctioning off existing council flats. Labour councillors are fighting to stop this.

Who? Tell me who? Who do I fucking vote for??????

I cannot vote blindfolded on a Red/Yellow/Blue donkey so I'll make things easier for myself, my donkey is simply a Red and Yellow one.

A three horse race between these parties?

Oh I don't think so, it's a fecking donkey charge and we're all screwed.

When feelings are so confused

Two more days until the walk to the polling station.

Labour flyer through the door last night: "End Town Hall "Regeneration" Secrecy."

All the plans to "regenerate" the blocks around here.
Demolishing the recently refurbished children's play centre and selling it off for a "retail chain store" and flats.
Demolishing the local housing office and local Tenants Residents Association Hall for private housing.
Replacing the recently refurbished health centre.

Yes, the local libdem/tory coalition has been silent on these plans but these labour councillors are revealing "work appears to be continuing, with senior council officials discussing massive Private Finance Initiative."

The questions the flyer asks make me want to cry or scream or something. The 'bold' ones are the ones that make me feel this way. The 'unbold' ones are what everyone else is thinking:

What does the term "estate regeneration" mean for people who live on estates?
What is the role of the private sector developers
Will all tenancies be secure afterwards? (How many more will throw me lower down the waiting list?)
What are the rights of leaseholders?
Where will people go while work is carried out? (Where am I going?)
Will tenants be rehoused outside (the community)? (Are they going to tear apart my son's currently good eduction?)
What will the community look like afterwards?

They say if we elect them they'll call an immediate meeting. I DON'T CARE. I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MY SON'S IMMEDIATE FUTURE. CAN ANYONE TELL ME THAT??????

Never has an election been so fucking depressing for me.



My son: Mummy, yesterday you said that I couldn't watch tv or play on the computer
Me: Oh yeah! (Mind swings back to outside the cinema)
My son: You said all week
Me: Oh gosh yes, so I did
My son: Not all week mummy, that's not fair
Me: Maybe, maybe not but maybe it's an opportunity for you to learn that how you behave at home is really how you should behave when we're out.
My son: I'm not Jesus you know!
Me (suppressing a laugh): No, I know, and I'm not asking you to be. I'm just asking that you're, you know, you! Funny, clever, friendly, you! Not the little boy who calls his teachers stupid (last week outside Beavers, very embarrassing)
My son: Okay, okaaaaaaaaay.

Later as I am in the bath:

My son: I really wish I'd seen N & L this weekend.
Me: Yeah, I know. I did send messages, I did try to sort something out.
My son (putting fingers to his ear and mouth like a receiver): Yeah, but why didn't you phone? Huh? HUH?
Me: Because my phone um er, you're right, we should've phoned. I should've got you to call.
My son (clearly frustrated): I don't have a phone do I?
Me: You could've borrowed mine but hey son, son....
He leaves the bathroom, head hung low
Me (calling after him): Listen there's nothing we can do now. I'm sorry ok. Don't let it spoil your day.

I stamp my feet in the bathtub, bash my fists against its base, shake my teeth clenched head. There's so much I can't tell my son. So much that hurts.

Fortunately he's a good natured boy and before we even left the house for school, his sunny disposition was back.

RRRRARGH. I keep thinking that when I get him Home I can right every wrong. That will be my mission, when this whole sorry saga is over, I'll make everything up to him.

I will. Goddammit Krystal I will. (Cue Dynasty soundtrack)

Monday, 3 May 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

I thought I would treat my son today so suggested we go to the cinema. We did nothing yesterday, bar go to Church, and that really, cannot be called a 'treat'. I've been sending message after text message to my brother, who I knew had his kids this weekend and well, some ideas I had, like a May Day celebration, maypoles and morris dancing down at Battersea Park, got canned due to no response.

My son asked if he could bring the dragon I got for him with a Happy Meal last week then asked if I would take him so he could get another. Why not, I thought, saves me cooking lunch.

At the Golden Arches, he duly got his toy and off we went to the local picture house to watch How To Train Your Dragon. I weep at the price of a cinema ticket, especially for a 3D film, a treat these days a gold plated Treat if ever a treat was had.

Great film! A young boy called Hiccup is desperate to prove to his Viking dad that he can slay dragons with the best of them given half the chance but his dad doesn't think so. Then one night, unseen by the clan he hits the most elusive, dangerous dragon of them all, the Night Fury. Heading out the next day to find the dragon and bring back its heart, he instead befriends it and thus begins a friendship that will alter both their worlds. Like I said, brilliant!

We leave, having seen a couple of friends we'll catch up with outside, and my son realises he's lost the wings of one of his Happy Meal dragons. I tell him I'll go back into the auditorium to find it, but nope, he promptly throws both toys into the bin.

I cannot tell my fury, so contained that smoke was coming out of my ears and out through my nostrils. He began to cry, I didn't want to hear any of it. We see our friends and instead of excited buzzing about the film, he's hiding behind my leg.

Fury, such as I was feeling, always has a history and because I don't often write about my son, you won't know any of it, but I held my anger in silence on that bus journey back until we were in the safe confines of our home where I meted out my punishment.

Later, to lighten the atmosphere I said to him:

"So, how are you going to train your dragon?"
"I don't have a dragon mummy."
"Yes you do. Me!"
He didn't understand but when I told him we used to call school battleaxes 'old dragons' when I was younger he smiled.
"You're not a dragon mummy, you're beautiful!"

Peace was shortlived. I burped out some fire when he dropped a cake wrapper on the floor, centimetres from a dustbin.

I do take some responsibility for that. A flat as messy as ours, well, what do I expect...

Parenting ey...laugh a minute, innit?

How To Train Your Child

Write ten words on a piece of paper and cut them up.

I chose: 'polite', 'rude', 'funny', 'ungrateful', 'shares', 'spoilt', 'kind',
'moody', 'never says thankyou' and 'says thankyou'.

I then drew a line down a page of A4 and on the top of one side wrote: Behaviour when home with mummy. On the other side wrote: Behaviour when out with mummy.

Gave the lad some glue and said: "Stick the words on the side they belong."

He got ten out of ten. Did I say: "Well done!"? Did I hell. I said: "Right, now go away and write down on a piece of paper how you think your behaviour makes me feel when we are out."

He came back with: 'angry', 'cross' (originally spelt 'croos' but crossed out), 'very sad', 'embarest', 'horrified'.

We then had a little chat.

Is it effective? No idea!

Let me know how you get on if you try it.....

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May Day down at Trafalgar!

My shorthand tutor told me she was singing at a May Day celebration down town today so I took my son on the adventure. Only a bus ride to Trafalgar Square!

We got there and kids were drumming... "Mission for the World"? Can't recall but very good. I do so love drumming. Went to a concert in Japan years ago and got swept away. I was reminded of that today as the beat, beat, beat beat beat woke up my soul.

Front row to hear my friend singing, then the speeches; from union heads, from a transexual asking for rights for sex workers (I half expected my son to query all that but nothing. I don't think he even realised the guy with the high boots and blond wig was a guy at all which was great, all is equal and fair in a child's eye)

Tony Benn then got up on stage. "Use your vote," he urged. A history lesson how it all started, the small wealthy bourgeoisie challenged by those who wanted health, education and housing for all. "You are their employers," he told the crowd about politicians and if I was paying taxes I'd think, yes I am. But I'm not and feel in a kind of no man's land, no different from the MP claiming expenses but a world apart.

In the rapturous applause he got, my son said: "I'm bored" so we went and sat on the steps a while, where I had a much needed breath of air from Nico Teen. My son not inspired to a life in politics I mused to myself, earlier fearful of how I was shaping it.

We had an icecream before catching the bus home. A luxury my boy takes for granted.

May Day is the workers day. I raise my arm to them all as I wonder if we'll riot like the Greeks soon. Tragically I don't think I will though I know I should.

Happy May Day! Apologies it's not tales of Morris Dancing and a story less bleak but there we go...

I still Don't Know who to vote for, but I do know I will use my vote. If anything it'll give me the licence to carry on complaining if I don't get the result I asked for - A liblab coalition if you're wondering....

Oh Brown, you're Blue?

"Housing?" stormed Paxman as he asked Brown what cuts he'll make if he wins the election (for a minute there I thought: "He's read my article!!")

"Housing is a private issue," replied the Red prime minister.

My heart sank. The Red MP in Camden is on my side, but the National Red, well he's bloody Blue isn't he?

Hard to hear when your heart is sinking but did he really say there is no need to have to keep renovating homes? Did he say no need to build more schools or hospitals? Heart sinking, sorry reader.

Legal Aid. I heard that loud and clear amongst the civil servant pay freeze, and other Westminster cuts. Legal aid that helped me so much when the Foca dumped me, legal aid that can't help me with housing because there aren't enough funds. Cut it more? The poor and their problems don't exist to the politicians anymore.

And all that from the party I thought cared about us.

Blair was bought in when I watched the news later. True Blue? No I don't love you but good song Madonna....