Saturday, 28 August 2010

Dave: 41p. Me: £5.05

Downing Street sent its letter on August 26th. I received it yesterday, August 27th. Price of first class stamp 41p. It's stamped of course by a machine and there's 10 Downing Street on the back which might mean something special. Hence proper First Class Delivery.

For mere mortals like me, first class stamps don't ensure next day delivery. With my letters to way up there, I usually pay £1.40 so it gets signed for. They tell me it doesn't guarantee next day delivery, but it does guarantee delivery.
To ensure next day delivery, they encourage me always to send it 'special delivery' which does guarantee next day delivery. The bloody thing costs over a fiver.

It's a bank holiday. I wanted to my son's letter to get there on Tuesday. I thought sod the price of a special delivery, this is a special delivery.

Only it's not going to get there until Wednesday because today's post to arrive Tuesday left at 12. I was still handwriting the thing then.

Just doing 'signed for' might have landed on the Downing Street mat on the same day but it might have landed there on Thursday. Some risks I don't want to take.

Why the hurry why the hurry?

My letter needs to beat the bailiff's order. I've asked Dave to ask A Woman to ask the Minister of State for Housing (sounds so Harry Potter) to call me ASAP.

He needs to beat the bailiff's order too.

Wind wind, carry my son's dreams,
deliver them with mine
so we can live ever after
never begging
never pleading
never facing eviction

Thank You

Oh the draught...!

No money in the bank account. I rarely look at it because it depresses me.

There's a number followed by OD
Oh Dear
Oh Damn
Oh Deary me

I can hear the bankers joy: Oh Delightful!! As they scoop up the interest and call it 'profit'.

Oh you know me, I think of those millions I've asked of the government: Show me the money!!
I think of my bank account: Fuck the money!!

Well yes. I'm out tonight with Issy, she wants to go to a restaurant even though I could feed her like I did Annie last night. Then later Hope is joining us and we're going to an 80's disco. On the bright side, drinks are the same prices they were back then.

Sometimes you have to live a little, ya know?

Why am I posting this though? I've just sent Dave my son's letter. I wrote one too and included my Guardian article. Cost me a fecking fortune....

I no longer like the word 'overdraft' so I'm now going to call it 'oh the draught' and hope Life blows cash into my bank account; plenty plenty of it!

Friday, 27 August 2010

A coincidence to make a boy's dream come true?

The joy to be reunited with my son earlier today. The tooth fairy left him a pound he said! I'm so glad to be with you mummy, he said as he held my hand on the walk home.

"You know you said you want to write to David Cameron?" I asked him.
"Do you want to write it when we get home so I can send it while you're at your dads?"
"Yes! Then can we watch Tom and Jerry together?"

A letter on the doormat as we walked through the door. Addressed to me, I looked at the back of it and read "10 Downing Street".

I laughed, I whooped! "Son! You're writing your letter today just as I get a response to the one I wrote!"

I carefully opened the envelope.

Dear Ms de Nim,

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter of 17 July requesting a meeting with him to discuss your son's future.
The PM was sorry to hear about your problems but owing to the enormous pressures on his diary I am unable to arrange a meeting.
I am sorry for the disappointing nature of my reply; however we do hope you understand. May I suggest that you get in touch with the the [sic] Minister of State for Housing and Local Government. I am sure [the MP] would be interested to hear from you.
Yours sincerely,
A Woman

Woooo! Silver linings to catch!!

I told my son he could write whatever he wanted, but to write it from his heart.

I read it now and it's so beautiful, so simple. The beauty of it is his handwriting, the spelling mistakes (yours sincirily)!! (P.S Please don't worry about my spelling because I am only 7.)

I have to write one to go with it. My son's signed it 'Sue's son' and we don't want the PM wondering 'who's Sue' now do we?!

Yes Stiggers, I shall write from my heart too.

I'm insanely sane

I rang the mental health team with whom I was meant to have an appointment with this morning, but which new support worker cancelled for me on Wednesday because I had no childcare.

I told them my son had a spontaneous sleepover, was the space still free (you wake up so glum some mornings...)

I was put through to the woman who would have spoken to me, who told me it wasn't. I told her I'd been referred to the service without being told.

"Oh that shouldn't have happened," she told me. "You should have been told."


When I first got a call from these Mental Health folk a couple of weeks ago saying I'd been referred by new support worker, I could have got really angry on the phone. The social services are on my son's case though, so I complied and accepted.

Such behaviour makes me think that I am not insane.

Cabinet ministers that I will meet before the year is out might think I am though.

I've got a 'defeat' plan of action you see. I know what it is but I don't know how I'm going to do it but I do know it can succeed.

I'm going to tell them all God sent me.

(The God Delusion on telly the other night was really rather good. Nice one Richard Dawkins. I may get to meet you one day too!)

Why I bother I do not know

Subject: New bidding system shutting me out.

Dear [Allocations] (or should I start calling her Nurse Ratched?)

I have gone in to bid, however pointless this exercise may be, and the icon to "view properties" is not there, so I can't.
I'm still waiting for the bailiff's order, every day. [New support worker] told me to call the emergency desk when it happens. Is that what we'll be, my son and I, emergencies?
What is the council planning to do with us? It must know, because it does know of us.
If you could tell me and also tell me why I can't "view properites", I'd be very grateful.
Kind regards

Dear Ms de Nim

Thank you for your email below.

As you will notice, that we have updated the Home Page and the button to view all properties is the last button on the left of the screen and called ‘See all properties’.

I’ve checked today and was in the site yesterday and it is there.


Thanks [Nurse], I've just checked and yes it is there but it wasn't there yesterday or this morning, which prompted me to write to you. You are also best placed to find out exactly what the council intends to do with us when this bailiff's order arrives so I thought I'd ask about that at the same time.
Sue (I speak the truth, it wasn't there, but when I email allocations with problems like computer glitches, they miraculously disappear, which I'd consider lucky in different circumstances)

Dear Ms de Nim

The council has and always has intended to find you further temporary accommodation following the lease end, as we have said it is our goal that you remain in Camden, but this is dependent on what accommodation we have available in the coming weeks.


Allocations (you could read this any way you liked but I, of course, can't take the chances...)

Dear [Nurse],
Yes, I've been told two bedroom temporary accommodation, so once again, I fail what I've been trying to get for my son, for it's yet more bidding facing another eviction. There are so many empty properties that could end this nightmare for us.
I'm grateful that your goal is that we remain in Camden, but so important for me, is that my son remains in his school, not far from the community of friends we have both made over the past five years.

I bid on a council flat in a low rise block in the heart of a large estate not far from here. Not something of my dreams you understand, but you have to play the wretched game, however pointless you've been told by the creators of it.

I also bid on a housing association property, not one I've ever heard of. What if it's one of those that go bust? What then? Needn't worry, won't get it.

As usual my bile over such actions and conversations make me look right at the very top. This morning I was thinking: Dave, I'm coming. I don't know how, I don't know when, but I am. I'm sick of all of this.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Why have I let my son have a sleepover?

Invited round to Hope's house this afternoon. My son's bottom tooth fell out over dinner. He was so excited, love love love the little one!

I tell him we're leaving at 8pm.

"Oh mummy, can I watch a dvd with J? He'd said we'd watch it later. Please?" His beautiful eyes imploring.

"He can stay over if you like. You can stay too," says Hope.

Oh the instinct. Nooooo. My son, "please mummy please, please....."

I couldn't stay. Funny mood I'm in. I like putting my boy to bed then sitting infront of the tv, watching whatever. I'm not bothering anyone, I can watch what I like, channel flick, disappear into my head. Not talk. I can put my son to bed and not talk.

"Please mummy, pleeeeeeeeeeeease?"

When I went to kiss him goodbye he barely registered me. He and J weren't watching a dvd, they were playing chess.

Walking home, heavy hearted, I asked myself why I just didn't say 'no', firmly. There was no reason to that's why. He wants to write to David Cameron. If I'd reminded him, would he have come back? Doubt it.

He's off with his dad tomorrow. I won't wake up with him again until next wednesday. Ache, ache, ache, every heavy step.

I'm feeling sad. Tonight, Hope will put his tooth under his pillow. Tomorrow morning he'll check under it. Share the moment with J. Great for my son, really.

If he were here he'd whoop with what is still excitement at the wonder of the gift, then jump into bed with me.

Why didn't I pull my son to one side. Why didn't I say "your tooth baby?". It might have worked. He might be young but he loves money that one, might love it over sleepover with a friend.

Flip I should have done that. Instead I'm here with Al Cohol. Bless the Superior Brother.

Hanging out at Hope's is easy because Hope is lovely and loves hanging out herself. She'll say to chill out tomorrow while our boys play; their relationship as fluid and easy as ours.

I'll bring him back early though. I'll say I'm being selfish, I want to spend time with my boy. I'll tell my boy I'm being selfish, but he's got another sleepover with J next week.

Let me love you let me love you let me love you son. With you with you with you. While you're still small, and I can.

Sweet dreams my beautiful, beautiful, one tooth less child xxx

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


New support worker came round and having spent the morning in bed (oh my son! Wrapped me in his duvet and said "right, I'm going to watch Eastenders!") with a monumental headache, no tidying up had been done in our little flat in Papier Mache Towers.

In fact, I could do diddly squat, though I did manage to make him a cuppa tea when he arrived. He rang the mental health teams with who I have an appointment on Friday and cancelled it, because I have no childcare. That was nice, I hadn't got round to it yet.

He didn't know what would happen to me when the bailiff's order comes in, but said the council had read my articles. Couldn't tell me what they thought of them though. I told him I'd been commissioned to write a piece when it's all over. How angry should I be in my defeat piece? I feel pretty defeated now, I tell you.

You see, before he came, I met another guy from the council in the lift, in maintenance he said. He told me there were loads of empty properties near by, that I should find them then ask the council if they belonged to them.

Searching needles in haystacks I told him. How would I know what's empty in a tower, and how would I know what's not leaseheld in a street?

If I had energy I'd think what the hell and go and discover in my awaiting baliff desperation.

Headaches, honestly, they really get in the way of things. Tsk.

Oh dear, deluded?

Doh, The Shack isn't a real story. I thought it was, well, suspended any disbelief. Still, worth a read (suspending your disbelief!!). The emotions are true enough but not the weekend with the Trinity, which is a shame as I'd quite like to have my own little pow wow with the celestial lot in lovely surroundings. Apparently, according to the author the "conversations" are "real". (I googled ladykiller trial.. oh well) I did wonder how Mack would have remembered so much but the author's religious friends inputted some of their knowledge, so yes... Fiction. Pity.

Tonight on telly there's The God Delusion on More4. I'll watch it, even though it'll be so intelligent its arguments, the whole lot will fly way over my head.

I don't care if I'm deluded. If believing in God makes me deluded, don't care. Far better to fly in la la land in a delusion of peace than sink in deep space shite of real life (I've been somewhere inbetween today)

Lorna Bryne's Angels in my Hair isn't fiction.

Doris Day did sing Que Sera Sera

I am not deluded!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Reading my redemption?

I've not been able to read a book in months. Months and months and months. I love them but I can't concentrate on them.

The last four days, I've gobbled up two.

Heading to my parents last Friday for my nephew's christening, I spotted Angels in my Hair by Lorna Bryne, sitting beneath a half a dozen books I haven't read yet. My hairdresser lent it to me over a year ago.

At the church where my nephew was christened, where my son also did his Holy Communion, there were three copies of The Shack, by WM Paul Young, sitting on a table. I asked the priest if I could borrow one, saying it might be a year before he sees it again.

I believe in angels, never having seen any. Lorna Bryne's been seeing them since she was two. So simply told her tale, it was a beautiful confirmation for me (and Lorna, it's why I don't see them... If they told me I had my husband on borrowed time, it would be all I would think about where as you accepted it and didn't think about it and you're amazing).

The Shack? I recommend that too. More a biography, unlike Lorna's auto biography, it tells the story of a man, Mack, with a shattered past, whose daughter is abducted, presumed murdered after her bloodied dress is found in a shack in the american Oregan wildnerness. Four years later Mack gets a letter inviting him back to the shack for the weekend, apparently from God.

My sister in law had read it and said because others had told her it was fantastic, she didn't find it all that great. I thought I'd keep an open mind.

Oh there is a kingdom I would love to be in, a place of such serene beauty, this desolate place transformed by God's touch. Mack meets The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. He accepts Jesus, he accepts Sarayu, the Holy Spirit. He is angry and blames God, despite warming to Him (who appears as a woman, which I liked!)

A learning experience for me, thinking all the while of Ben Needham and Madeleine McCann, of their parents. Mack gets the closure he is seeking and much more. How can they, their children still out there somewhere?

Hard, hard lessons to learn, today it turned me upside down, as I tussled not with God, but with Jesus. I read the book pretty rapidly laughing at moments, being relieved at times, then crying my eyes out.

Angels followed by the Holy Trinity. Good order to read them in I reckon. Led by those I feel comfortable with, to those, to those I....

When I'm rehoused, what's going to become of me? I'd surrender now to a more spiritual way of life but I'm still too frightened of what the council will do with me and my son.

I can put my trust in God, in Jesus, hope for the best but the state has no soul. I'm finding it really hard to be Doris about all that, especially with new support worker coming round tomorrow and chatting to a dad earlier whose ex partner has told the council she's staying with a friend and has been given 250 extra points, bringing her up to 700 and viewing properties. Me, I get fuck all for facing eviction.

Anyway, I've been chatting to my Palm crucifix, and also the 'light up' Jesus and 'temparature changing' Mary my friend Chus bought me for a joke years ago. In mine and my son's new house, I'll make a little alter for them.

If you read the books will they effect you as much as they did me? Perhaps not but definitely worth your time if you have some available.

Enjoy! They are enjoyable!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Ten Qualities of Ideal Home

Scotland's Only Son was in London last Sunday, came with me and my son to listen to the Undercover rock gig at the bandstand.
He made me write my ten qualities of my ideal home.
Here they are:

1. Secure
2. Safe/Location
3. Location/Safe
4. Room for son
5. Room for me/Affordable
6. Living room for friends
7. Affordable
8. Sit in kitchen
9. Garden
10. Peaceful

It's asking so much

Party Games

Snakes and Ladders
Pass the Problem
Happy Families

Bidding is Snakes and Ladders. I land on snakes, not a ladder in sight.

Pass the Problem. There are "Go To Jail" cards hidden in Pass the Problem: The temporary I'll be given once the other family are evicted. I remember Mohammed. He was in a hostel, moved to temporary, lease ended, begged the council: "Please don't put us in a hostel again."
The hostel is where I met him, his wife on her anti-depressants, unable to get up for breakfast, lunch or dinner, never mind cook any of these meals.

"Go To Jail" is the joker in Happy Families. Punitive, cruel, damaging.

Don't get me started on Monopoly. I always hated it, I always lost.

I don't mind losing to my son in Junior Monopoly.

I want that child to win. With all my heart I want him to win.

Dreams on hold

I've bid on a flat I don't see in my dreams this week. Second floor of a block, one single, one double room, £119 a week, half an hour, not five minutes, from my son's school.

Needn't worry. I won't get it.

Talking to my old support worker, everyone in the council have read my guardian piece. They've said I can bid like everyone else.

They don't care about the issues raised in the CNJ, where I say the system is leaving me and my son behind, with a fact to back that up.

That the Ham and High published a piece by me chasing money for the borough. They couldn't give a shit.

Do they want to make an example of me? Are they looking forward to the article saying I've failed? It means nothing to them these 9 to 5ers.

Watching One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest last night. A tragic comedy of a man (Jack Nicholson) entering a mental asylum hoping it will get him off workduty at the 'farm' where he's an inmate. He rallies all the patients together to take on Miss Ratched, a nurse who doesn't have her patients interests at heart.

Is Allocations my Nurse Ratched? She has the power to use her discretion. She answers to others but can put a word in on my son's behalf.

I've said before. She doesn't want to. It's really beginning to upset me now.

Breathe, breathe, breathe...


A beautiful coincidence running into Hope on Monday because five minutes before I'd been thinking of her.

Had my son and I gone to the Lido I could've called her. Didn't think. Here we were in the playground. There she was, with her son who gets on fantastically with mine.
"I haven't told you! We've moved! We got a house! With a garden!"

I hugged her tight. Fourteen years this mamma's been crammed, literally, into a tiny one bed with two children and her on/off partner.

The council said she'd be transferred when her eldest son was five. He is now 17.

She's coped with it all these years because she had a garden. Valuable space. Her son hasn't been coping with it at all, she's always said. She didn't want to trade her garden for a high rise. I understand that.

It's a housing association flat. An assured tenancy she can pass down once, which she will, to her son. Throught the bidding system they called her and asked if she'd received their letter; she hadn't turned up for the viewing. She'd received no letter.

They said they'd be back in touch with her later in the week to arrange another viewing. She missed the call. No message was left but she guessed the withheld number was them and looked them up on the internet. What an obstacle course.....

She viewed the flat on a friday and was told to move in the following monday. She couldn't do it at that speed, but that's where having an on/off partner comes in handy.

Hope was lucky in this lucky lottery. She was Number 4. One family didn't show and two others turned it down. "Rooms are too small," she heard one say.

Too small? A kitchen you can comfortably seat six in? A bathroom you can put furniture in? Bedrooms bigger than my living room? A garden the size of which I haven't seen in friends' surburban semis.

What can I say? Those awaiting transfer, they are secure. With extra points for overcrowding, they hold on for the dreams.

Hope's have showered on her like fairy dust.

"Thanks for having us over to stay," I said to her Wednesday morning as we left.

"Oh it's my pleasure, I'm just so glad that finally I can!"

Hope is the name she picked for herself when I asked if I could write about her.

A good one methinks.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Doing things

Tomorrow I'm taking my son to church in the morning and a rock gig on the heath in the afternoon.


I know we need to pack, but I just can't face it.

Where's my blue notebook?

"Have you seen my blue notebook?" I say to my son watching tv/drawing a picture/entertaining himself in our living room.

Stigmum can't post when he's in the room and nor can I read her, if I want to.

Stigmum is my sanity. I need her.

I live in a high rise. I'm a storey short.

Doing nothing

I am looking eviction in the eye, yes?

If I am not tidying up I should be packing, no?

I can do fuck all. I survey the mess around me and I can do nothing; not throw away old newspaper supplements, nor put files in order, nor whoop my son into a game of 'who can fill the bin bag quickest."

I sit on the sofa redundant, listening to an 80's shuffle on VH1.

In denial?

There's mince in the fridge. I should cook something. Yes. Cook. Do something.

This was written in my notebook before being transposed onto blogspot. My son was actually on the computer at the time.

If ever the powers that be want to crucify me for writing this blog, let it be known I write because I do not want to go under. I do not want to die.

What do you do when you can't do anything?

Doing nothing about evictions

I'm assuming it's a family ok, even though I don't know. Thirty 'people' are facing lease ends between Pathmeads and the council, including myself.

Here's what I've been thinking since yesterday. Can't help it.

If my son and I are to live in the flat down the alleyway, a family has to be evicted first.

Now, since the first repossession order (before even), Hannah and her husband Tim have fought tooth and nail to be given a council flat or remain where they are. At the last minute, the property owner has said they can remain in the flat and the lease resigned between the housing association and the council. They avoided a hostel by a day.

I have also fought tooth and nail. Still fighting. I have hundreds of posts to prove it. My property owner wants us out. Our future is currently hanging in the balance. (In the balance? Balance? What kind of expression is that?? Turbine more like, being shredded. I digress...)

This family who are being evicted in order for my son and I to live in their flat: Did they fight tooth and nail or did they do nothing, trusting that everything will end well for them? They don't know how to fight, their faith will see them through, I don't know, just waiting it out...

Where will they go, this family? Where will they be placed?

These questions will haunt me if we move there. I know what I'm like.

I wish Tommy had given me more details.

Even better, I wish he'd said nothing at all.

Friday, 13 August 2010


Tommy, my Pathmead's housing officer, came round this morning.

He said they've found a two bed temporary for me and my son, down an alleyway, within the perimeters of my son's school.

I felt angry tears spike my inner eyelids. Worse than a secure, affordable council flat but better than a hostel.

Then he said:

"We have to wait until the flat becomes void for you to move in."

Excuse me?

"The person living there has to be evicted before you can move in. I think the court has issued the bailiffs order already."

"What? What? When is my bailiffs order coming? Who is this person? A family? A family is being evicted so we can move in?"

"I cannot give you details of the case. Hopefully the flat will be void when you are evicted so we can move you in."

"And if it isn't?"

"Well you might have to go into a hostel in the interim."

"What? No. No. That can't happen. It can't." Where oh where oh where will the council fucking put us?

"Don't cry mummy," says my son coming up to me, arm around my waist, little hand stroking my wet cheek.

"It's okay son, it's ok." How we mothers are forced to lie.

"I can't be made to do this. Even if we get this two bedroom that others are being evicted from, it's still insecure. Look at this... look at this..."

I showed him one of the letters I'd often receive from the council, this one dated

Dear Ms de Nim,

Re: Your current temporary tenancy

Camden Council currently has an arrangement with Pathmeads Housing Association to provide you with temporary accommodation at you [sic] current address. This arrangement may be finishing later this year..."

"We've never felt secure here. Never, never. Is this how it's to be forever? Eviction after eviction after eviction?"

I showed him my article in the cnj, switched on my computer so he could read what I sent to the Guardian.

"Look after your mummy," said Tommy as he left.

It's not his fucking job. I wanted to scream. Nothing, nothing came out of me, just pain from my eyes, hot as might be in a hellish situation such as this.

On the form I had to sign, he wrote that I was "distraught".

Why do you bother Tommy? Nobody will fucking care.

Your hopefully, my hopefully

The system doesn't care.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Three rainbows

At their art workshop, the kids all drew on a poster advertising an exhibition tomorrow.

My son drew a person surfing on a rainbow.

Later, as he was having a bath, Eva Cassidy was singing "Somewhere over the rainbow" when I popped out with Nico Teen and saw a rainbow arched over the sky.

It was so beautiful
so incredibly beautiful
Thank you World
Has Benders started?

Giving a shit...

I phoned my Pathmead's officer who's due to come tomorrow for his "regular property visit". Between 9 and 12 said the letter. I'll be out between 10 and 11. Lucky I now have his number!

"Your name came up in a meeting today," he said.
"Oh yeah?"
"You remember [Council's Pathmead Manager]?
How could I forget, he who laughed at me saying he didn't know why I bothered bidding with my low points.
"Oh him."
"We'll talk tomorrow."

I don't want to go to bed thinking about that.

A lesson in not giving a shit

The heath to clear my head earlier, the walls of my flat closing in around me as reality dawned on what I'd done.

My usual spot, near the ponds; near water, ducks, lying on the grass looking at the grey sky.

My son's social worker called. I told her I'd had an article published, I didn't tell her what I was frightened about. I told her yes, I'd keep my appointment with the mental health teams my new support worker referred me to. She said my son and I would need longer term support from the social work team, which surprised me. I hope we get housed properly was all I could say. She said she was going away for two weeks, she'd email me an emergency number.

Of course, we're being evicted. Soon.

Lay back on the grass. My alarm rang, I went to pick up my son.

Later, I showed my boy the article. Two people had commented!

The first, a guy called craig, saying he was bought up by his mum in the 70's when life was harder and she rented a flat and got a lodger and started her business and never looked to the council.

Stiggers got angry and wanted to comment: a council flat is a rented flat you pillock
I wanted to comment too: Good for your mum!

Neither of us could be arsed and in that moment of not being arsed I thought: Let them say what they like. I won't say anything.

Since then a few more voices, one very kind: all she wants is a secure home, is that really asking too much?

What's interesting though, is that all the comments are about me, not about the issue I wrote about.

Where do I get my sense of entitlement?

Why thank you person in the void, who does not know me, who does not understand the situation thousands of us are in.

I seem to have removed myself from myself and like them am looking at myself objectively. Reading their comments objectively.

Who is this girl?

There's a lesson in there somewhere, an important one to boot... to wedge, to stilletto, to flat, to kitten, to high heel....

I must learn it while I've got the chance.

1000 darts did I say earlier?

Only if I get on the telly and newspapers are my thing....

Calling Mr Advice Man

Hey Mr Advice Man,

Thanks for getting back to me. Late nights ey? Good for you! I was knocking back so much while [my son] was away me and my liver are glad to have him back.
Mr Advice Man, I am in a mental pickle panic. I think I need to speak to you. You free tomorrow while [my son's] at art workshop? There might be time today but I have to pick him up at half 3.
The problem is.... Guardian has linked sue's article to my bylined one. I googled sue, she never comes up. Ever. Ever Ever. She has done today, and so has the blog.....
I emailed allocations at the council last night saying I was going to be published today. What a twonk.
"I'm on the cusp of greatness" said that man at the torriano that time.
I'm on the cusp of being found out.

Mary, Mungo and Midge

I've bid on three properties this morning, all local to my son's school.
They are all in blocks, they are all 'one double room, one single room'. This is fine of course, but makes me think, what about Zat?
Where will Zat live?
Will Zat fit in the flat?
Might there be a shed for Zat?

I bought two lucky dips last night. One for me, and on his insistence, one for my son.

Last night I read to him an excerpt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - "The Miracle"

I want my boy to win. Whatever, whatever, whatever, I want my boy to win.

Questions I can't answer

"Mummy, what's the point of having a mummy and daddy if they're always going to be at work and you never see them?"


Journo Gal asked me yesterday under which name I wanted my article bylined.

I said mine. Sod it. (Ok I didn't say sod it, that's just how I felt)

Stiggers has been asking me this morning why I didn't use hers. It makes sense of course because she's been published before. It's a continuation of her story.

The wider story is the national problem, I told her, and felt I had to enter the debate.

This morning I've been reading all the single mother bashing on the boards as the Guardian has run a story on single mothers being forced back to work.

Oh it's quite frightful. We're 'scroungers', we're 'bums', we're 'lazy', we should go back to work instead of living on 'state handouts'. Oh you might get the picture.

There's a woman called Myrtle. I don't think she is a stigmum, she doesn't say, only at one point mentioning "us" which isn't erm, us. Anyway, she's fighting our corner with intelligent, articulate comments, being accused of being "far left" by some mother-bashing bloke. There is a little mother on mother bashing on there you can be sure, of the 'I'm doing it so why can't they' variety, but that just saddens me. My point is: Thank you Myrtle.

Back to bylines, perhaps yes, it should be you stiggers. Or should I just brace myself and allow a thousand darts be thrown at my name?

Because I am going to get a job you know. Just as soon as the housing's sorted. And yes, I am bricking it because just this morning my son was saying how he really didn't want to go to the art workshop, he wanted to spend time with me.

"It's only two more days," I told him.

Fast forward next summer: "It's only six more weeks." (If I can find and afford a day centre for him)

Bridges crossing bridges crossing bridges crossing

The Guardian's not published my piece. Yet.

What should we do stiggers?

I didn't think I'd do it.....

9th August in response to an email from allocations that she'd seen my letter in the cnj and understood the points I made.

Dear [Allocations],

Thank you. The editor of the Ham and High, recently asked me if I would like to write an article about perserverance after [my son] and I are housed. I said to him I'd rather write about hope but it is only the council that can allow me to do that. I don't know how I'd write it but I'd like to give it a go.

I'm also thinking of approaching the Guardian, in terms of Tory plans to destroy life chances of children. I'm only thinking about it. I'm in an incredibly vulnerable situation and [my son's] father has chosen this moment to make my life more difficult than it already is by issuing me with a court order.

I do not wish to expose myself more than I have already done so but I'm just so frightened and so angry that if I don't do something, I'll just collapse under the weight of it all.

I'm just letting you know. The Guardian may not take the piece. I just have to brace myself if it does, transferring fear of eviction to fear of exposure.

Kind regards

Sue de Nim

Yesterday afternoon I just whipped off 500 words and sent it to the National. I surprised myself because what with all that Foca shit going on, I didn't think I had it in me. Uncharacteristically, I did not sit on my copy in order to clean it up this morning.

Journo Gal replied saying they'd take it and publish it today.

Allocations emailed again last night about The Flat In The Block Down The Road. I told her I'd sent the Guardian a piece. It was directed at the prime minister and his deputy. I wrote that I didn't know what I'd done and hoped I wasn't hurting my son.

I do know what I've done of course and I don't know what I've done. Or rather I do know what I've done but I don't know the consequences of what I've done.

Either way, what's done is done.

(and while I'm here, why didn't I say to allocations that if she understood my letter, why couldn't she, of all people, use her contacts to help us. I guess because I've asked her before and she won't. For whatever reason, she won't.)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Living on a prayer - a song

Son he used to play with his blocks
Housework’s been on strike
He's down on his's tough, so tough

Stiggers worries problems all day
Writing for her boy, she brings home no pay
For love - for love
She says: We've got to hold on to dreams we've got
It makes a little difference
If we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - we'll give all a shot

Oh we're nearly there
Oh oh livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it - I swear
Oh oh livin' on a prayer

Son he’s got his feelings in stock
Now he's holding in what he used
To make it talk - so tough, it's tough
Stiggers dreams of running away
When she cries in the night
Son he whispers: Mamma it's okay, someday

We've got to hold on to dreams we've got
It makes a little difference
If we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - we'll give all a shot

Oh we're nearly there
Oh oh livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it - I swear
Oh oh livin' on a prayer
Livin’ on a pra a ayer

(lots of headbanging during instrumental)

Oooh we've got to hold on ready or not
We live for the fight when it's all that we've got
Woh we're nearly there
Woh oh livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear
Woh oh livin' on a prayer
Wooh oh....

(Bon Jovi featuring Stigmum)

Flat in other block taken

Allocations has very kindly replied to me with two emails. One telling me the council can't just give me the flat in the block down the road, "almost all" are let through Choice-based lettings. The other email telling me the empty flat in the block down the road has been signed over to a leaseholder since 2001. She's contacted the Estate Manager and indeed it doesn't look like it's been lived in for some time. I sent her an email saying Cameron's got it wrong abolishing secure tenancies, he should be abolishing the Right to Buy, but just before that I sent her this:

Dear [Allocations],

Yes, I do know that almost all your properties have to be let by Choice-based lettings.

However, last week, I noticed one of the properties I bid on was "withdrawn". This reminded me of a letter I received from [Needs and Access] last year regarding a property I bid on in [Kentish Town] that was also "withdrawn".

She told me that occasionally "the council will make a direct offer of a permanent council or housing association accommodation to an applicant with exceptional needs." One of these were: "There are child or public protection issues".

I am trying to protect my child. On Monday I sent Brighton Family Courts a letter, with a form I had to fill out, saying I would not be appearing next week. I made a reference to my son's social worker saying I was "not emotionally equipped enough" to appear at this time.

I have to send the form to my son's father. I do not know if I have to send the letter too. He is a serial emotional abuser to me, which is why he has issued me with a court order now, while my son and I are awaiting a bailiff's order. He will do everything in his power to discredit me and declare me an unfit mother.

I've tried to get legal advice but this is a battle I will have to fight long after [my son] and I are housed. I thought when his father married and his wife had two children by him, the abuse would stop. It's only going to get worse if I can't sort out my son's housing and I do not know how to stop it.

[New Support Worker] has referred me to Kentish Town Mental Health Services. They called and said they will make me an appointment in September. This could be a start for me but [my son's] father will use that knowledge to his advantage if ever he finds out.

My son is in an Art Therapy workshop this week, for children whose parents are separated or separating. His school suggested I put him forward for family therapy, but [his social worker] thought this might be better for now.

I need to know his foundations are secure with me. I have to be "emotionally equipped enough" to safeguard him and I'm sure you can understand that dealing with one issue at a time is better for both of us.

Thank you for your enquiries about [the flat in the block down the road].

Kind regards,

Sue de Nim

I just have to be a bit Doris about that now, what more can I do?


Enrolling my son on an Art Workshop taking place when we haven't seen one another for 12 days isn't what I would call perfect timing.

However, it is perfect timing.

I sent the parental responsibility form, together with a letter, to Brighton Family Courts, on Monday.
I'm supposed to send a copy to the Foca. Do I have to send the letter as well? It's really screwing my head up.

I tried to get some legal advice in Kentish Town this morning but the family lawyers were all with clients.

My letter accuses him of emotional cruelty. It also says: "In light of the above I wish to make it clear that I shall take all necessary steps to safeguard [my son's] interests should I perceive [the Foca] to be acting in a manner which is contrary to them."

I don't necessarily want the Foca to know this but that's because I'm a fucking pacifist and don't like confrontation.

The other day I said that I had to tell myself I am strong.

This is wrong. It should be as someone else told me recently regarding him:

Do not show weakness
Do not show weakness
Do not show weakness

I'm in no mood to be strong about access when I have to be strong about housing.

I'm glad my son is in this workshop. I am living too much in my own head and it's good for him to be with other children.

I don't know what I'll do next week.

Being in the eye of a storm is no fun, no fun I'm tellin' ya...

My son is home!

Ding dong my son is home, my son is home, my son is home
Ding dong my lovely son is home!
(Wizard of Oz featuring Stigmum)

He arrived just when I finished posting yesterday. Oh how tight, how tight, how tight the hug!
Ten minutes later how painful the tears when he discovered I'd enrolled him in an art workshop and that was what he was doing in an hour or so.

He refused to go. I didn't want him to go either. The timing was just completely wrong.

I said we'd go down and tell them he wouldn't be doing it but he would go along the next day.

Oh the tears, more tears.

I tried blowing rasberries on his stomach and he said "Don't think doing that will make me change my mind." I told him I was doing that because I'd been desperate to do that.

I cycled him down to the workshop, without a packed lunch, to prove to him I wouldn't force him to go.

While we were there he discovered the children were going to draw outlines of each others bodies later that afternoon and walk on the heath today to find nature, with which to make a collage.

As we left and I put him on his bike seat he said: "Can I go there after lunch mummy?"

He went and had a great time.

I am so glad he is back with me.

I love you my son, my sun xxx

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Where are you my son?

Tuesday morning the foca said.
I wait I wait I wait
I can't wait
I want to give my boy a massive hug
and blow raspberries on his stomach.
Yes I know he's seven
but I still do that.
Oh golly
do you think he's changed much
while he's been away?

Not the last email after all....

Dear [Allocations],

I was told yesterday that [flat in block down the road] has been sitting empty for so long that post no longer fits through the letter box.
[Allocations], so many of mine and my son's problems would be resolved if we could take it.
It's a first floor flat with no lift so not suitable for a wheelchair user.
It is very close to my son's school. So little of his life and activities would be affected if we moved there.
I'd be happy to go and clear it up before hand.
I've had to email you about it because I feel I'm failing my child if I don't.
Kind regards,

Sue de Nim

I'd popped into the Royal Oak pub yesterday afternoon to... to what? Take the edge off all I was feeling?
Anyway, I sat at the bar and got chatting to the barmaid. She's the one who told me about the flat.
She and her boyfriend are in battle with the council at the moment over housing. They live in her boyfriend's dad's flat. Last year he lost both parents. The council will not let him stay there.
You see, children don't automatically get their parents flats. I say that because I've been reading in the newspapers recently that they do.

I hope she and her boyfriend can stay in their flat.
I hope me and my son get the one she told me about.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Today I send my letter to the Courts

My brother is a corporate lawyer, well, some kind of lawyer, not a housing lawyer or a family law lawyer. My brother doesn't live in England.

My brother has never been able to help me with housing, for I did ask him when the church evicted me and my son.

Last week he came to England to spend a few days with my parents. After I'd written my letter to Brighton Family Courts on Thursday, I sent it to my mum. Could big bro have a look at it before I sent it? Lawyers all speak the same language after all don't they? Could he clean it up?

I got it back last night. It's brilliant!

I'd written:
In theory, particularly in terms of my son’s best interests regarding health and safety, I consent to his father,[the Foca], having parental responsibility.
In practice I do not consent and as such will not be present at the court hearing on August 17th 2010.
The proceedings can take place without me.

With great tweaking, the new improved version begins like this:

In terms of my son's best interest (in particular his health and safety) I consent to his father, [the Foca], having parental responsibility and I accordingly shall not be present at the hearing.

However, it would be remiss of me if I did not set out my reservations as to the timing of this application.

Isn't that great?!! He's left blanks for me to put in dates. Outlined in much less emotive terms how he handed us notice and the fact I've never denied the foca access.

(v) To all intents and purposes [Foca] has been exercising full parental responsibility over [child]

On his application, the Foca wrote:

"[Son's] mother has refused to consider making a parental responsibility agreement and I believe that our son would benefit from having two parents with Parental Responsibility the same as any child of separated parents. Our child should not be disadvantaged because his mother and I were not married.
It would be better for our son if I had parental responsibility as it would facillitate my support in everyday situations and also since it would allow me to act promptly as may be required in a contingency."

Contingency? What the fuck's that?

Oh my bro.
The new improved version safeguards me in the future. If I need to apply to the courts for residency (as family lawyer told me last week), I can just produce this letter. It also means that I can tick the consent and not consent box on the form I have to return.

Thank you, thank you, thank you SO MUCH

Now to stand and repeat after myself with full knowledge of what the Foca's like:

I am strong
I am strong
I am strong

"I am on the cusp of greatness!"

The Torriano Pub, on Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town is a great pub.

I first went there a couple of years ago with friends. I was chatting to a writer at the bar who said to me: "I am on the cusp of greatness!"

I started sniggering as a friend piped up: "We're all on the cusp of greatness mate!"

It was a brilliant evening. I hadn't been back until last week when I went twice.

Last Monday I'd texted The Ed and said I owed him a drink for publishing my article. That is where we went. I met the landlady, I met the regulars. We'd only intended to stay for one, we stayed all night, sitting on bench outside, all of us, putting the world to rights.

As I got up to leave, the landlady said there was white feather beneath where I was sitting. "The angels are with you!" she said. Well you can only imagine the warm fuzz that enveloped my soul.

On saturday two bands were playing gigs there. I wanted to go but not on my own. I emailed the landlady, asking if I did so, would I be a muppet?! I switched off my computer. What a silly thing for me to do. She'd only say 'of course not!'

By some beautiful coincidence, a fellow stigmum called me in the afternoon saying she had a spontaneous evening off. Did I have any plans?

Oh yes!!!

You remember Cheers? That American sitcom? The Torriano is like that; a place where everybody knows your name. It's very home from home with delicious bar snacks. They're doing barbeques all summer. Their halloumi and feta salad. Yum yum yum!

The Torriano is under threat. Developers have bought it and want to turn it into luxury flats.

Never mind the need for housing, communities need a pub to go to, especially a pub like this one where apparently a lot of single women go and can be found with their laptops, particularly during the day.

SAVE THE TORRIANO! It's a massive campaign with some big celebrity names behind it.

Pete Doherty, of Babyshambles fame (or was it going out with Kate Moss fame?) played a set there the other month in support of the pub.

If ever you're passing through London, pop in, you won't regret it!

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Haikus are superb
when you can't articulate
all you want to say

Have I told you this?
Forgetful my brain can be
oh I don't care though!

Funny isn't it
A man I never dated
started me on them!

The Tory Party haiku

David Cameron
wants to destroy our country
by hitting the poor

Love for my son

My love for my son
unequal in all regards
to all life offers

Beauty none behold...
It's wealth encompassing more
than the deepest depths

Higher than the moon
the sun, the stars, the planets.
My love for him told

Saturday, 7 August 2010

1000th post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had really hoped I would be housed by now. This Never Ending Story would have ended, and with any luck, given someone, somewhere out there, hope.

Nah. Not yet.

I need hope though. I need gallons of hope, oceans of it.

I've consulted my Angels Numbers Book.

With four digit numbers I'm told to read the number corresponding to the first three, then the last separately.

This is what the Angels are telling me to do:

Keep your thoughts totally aligned with God's love and light. Your positive thoughts and actions make a huge difference - especially right now.
Zero relates to prayer or meditation practice, and the all-encompassing God source. God is talking to you.

God is telling me to sit still a minute. Create some space for myself so I can let go of my thoughts and get on with my day.

I need to do that.

Materialising through Skype

Sinja originally called me on my mobile then discovered I had skype. I rarely use it, I don't know how. My mum calls me on it and I email chat to my friend in Canada.

When Sinja's voice came through my computer, it felt like she was in the room. I closed my eyes and she was. We chatted for 45 minutes, while her son played with friends.

Empathy. It's so powerful. She knows, she knows.

She said she didn't know how I was coping, she wouldn't be able to, she'd go under. "You're so strong Sue."

"Oh Sinja, so are you. Don't you remember?"

I told her that a couple of years ago, I sent her an email and I'd copied it down. I didn't read it to her but I had read it to myself:

Flip Sinja, so glad you didn't succeed and fate stepped in. You are so so so so special, and don't just take it from me [your son] thinks so too. I contemplated it last year, didn't try as my window doesn't open far and that was going to be my method, so there I stood infront of it, planning, planning everything and suddenly there was a powercut and in the dark I heard "mummy". I'd totally forgotten [my son] was there. I gave him a candlelit bath then later me the same with lavender oil. I was really shocked, numb as the whole thing dawned on me. The next day I thought I'd cook him his favourite meal, a labour intensive fish pie that I never bothered to do and I went out for cigarette and there in the sky were 2 rainbows.
I've been crawling up the banks ever since so I know exactly how you feel. Hang on girl, find a bit of gold and clutch on to it. [My son] is mine but anything Sinja, find anything. Don't leave [your son], don't leave me, don't leave this world. Oh and don't worry about calling!! Flip no. I live in a quiet night and no-one ever comes by here unexpectedly.
Sending my love and a big tight hug. Feel it Sinja, feel it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

-Fucking facebook won't send it, just when it needs to Aaargh.
(December 2008 - copied in a diary so I wouldn't the lose the message to send it to her again)

My Danish friend has turned her life around. She is an incredible person. I've not had to surmount what she's had to surmount.

You know how you can feel really really lucky to know someone? That's how I feel about her. I feel it about quite a few of my friends.

It was lovely chatting to you Sinja, speak to you again soon and have a fabulous time in Canada! xxxxx

Reaching out to Facebook

The Lease Has Ended. Thunderbirds are... Thunderbirds are where exactly? Ah, down the pub!

This was yesterday's comment on Facebook when I woke up needing to be positive, having spent Thursday night coasting the hard, brittle edge of my life.

It's when I posted on social networking site the week before that it took courage. Or was it courage? Was it desperation? Isolation? Just fecking giving up?

We all know that not every friend on facebook is a "friend". Perhaps we all have some one, or someones, from our past that we accepted as "friends" in order to let go of that past. Well I have them anyway and I've resisted posting about my life on Facebook because I didn't want these one or two individuals to know that what I have become is a single mother on benefits wanting a council flat. I'd rather I was known as a billionaire philanthropist.

Oh you know what? Sod it. I am what I am, I'm going through what I'm going through, take it or leave it. I broke the news with this:

Awaiting bailiffs order and son's dad has thrown me a court order. Pants. Spotty, dotty, stripey, all kinds...may as well come clean....

It's not hundreds that commented, it's a few and many of those didn't comment on my message. They sent an email, they telephoned me.

A couple wrote on the comment they didn't know how to help. That's the problem when someone's in a shit situation isn't it, it's hard to know what to do or what to say.

I told them they were helping. The fact that they are there. They don't have to do anything.

Yesterday, three phone calls: One from Canada, one from Denmark and one from Spain.

Thanks guys, it means alot xxx

Friday, 6 August 2010

Cot Beds

When my son sleeps in his bed, his little feet dangle off the end.
When I sleep in my son's bed I curl up like a foetus.

I am my child, I am my mother.

My boy is coming back next week.

I can't wait.

Parental Responsibilty Agreements

I want the parental responsibility for my child on medical grounds. I am currently the only person who can sign for him in an emergency. He is in Ireland. I am not there.

The Foca wants the parental responsibility agreement because the piece of paper will make him "feel like a father". Without it he is "failing as a father."

Never, never once has he sited the reason he needs it for our child.

Years ago a solicitor told me he could get parental responsibility without my agreement. She'd said then that he would have to pay for it.

My signature is free.

Why he wants it now, when I'm expected a bailiff's order is because he wants to hurt me.

There are men like that. Not all men are like that.

Family Law

Went to see a solicitor yesterday regarding this court order from the Foca. I told her I didn't want to attend.

She said I didn't have to if I consented, I'd just have to sign the paper. If I didn't consent I would need to attend, to state my case.

It's tricky though you see.

I absolutely consent signing the parental responsibility agreement for my child.
I absolutely do not consent signing it for the Foca.

She said that later I could apply for residency if he started posing problems.

I still don't want to go, I said. It's not a good time.

She told me to write a letter.

I came out of the solicitor's office and tears rolled out my eyes in streams, my eyes wide open and clear. As though my bones were weeping releasing pain, the sorrow at source. I resisted drinking myself for I didn't taste salty or acidic.

I wrote the first draft. It's really difficult.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Last Email

Dear [Allocations],

The lease on my tenancy ends today. I wait for that bailiffs order as though it's the date set for my execution.

I just want you to know, that when the Camden New Journal published my letter last week, it was not directed at you. I write to you alot but I also write to others. I have been compulsively writing for 18 months.

It was just another letter to the system, to who knows who, who knows where, hopefully someone who cares. I could not direct it at you, you have been very kind and I love my son too much.

I wrote to David Cameron last month. I attached the article I wrote in the Ham and High. I asked him to meet me and to get back to me by today. Yesterday I read the devastating news in the Guardian. The Times carried it on their front page too, this abolishment of secure tenancies replaced with short-term leases.

I will not give up hope; not for my child, not for anybody else.

I just want you to understand, I mean no harm.

Kind regards

Sue de Nim

I am still Peter Gabriel. I am still Kate Bush.

I am England

I am on my knees
England is on its knees
I am England
England is me

The Lease Has Ended

Papier Mache Tower

17 July 2010

Dear David Cameron,

Please could you schedule an appointment to see me in the next few weeks?
It is important I speak to you for my child’s future is at stake.
The lease ends on our tenancy on August 5th. I know nothing more, simply that the council will not act in my son’s best interests when we are evicted.
Time is slipping away very quickly so if your secretary could call me on 1234 or email me at, I would be truly grateful.
A policeman told me to send you my article when I cycled to parliament to ask how I might lobby you.
I look forward to hearing from your team and meeting you.

Yours sincerely,

Sue de Nim

There are those who say he will not meet me but I will not give up hope.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Secure tenancies abolished by the Blues

"Have u seen the front page of the Guardian." A text from my support worker at 8.45 am this morning.

In that early morning fog I was scared something had happened to my son. I switched on my computer, accessed the paper's website. In a way, I guess it has.

Cameron: no more council homes for life
Lifetime tenancies to be replaced by short-term contracts based on need.

It makes grim reading. If I manage to get a council flat for my son, he will face another eviction if I earn a little too much. We will be sent back to the private sector, where there are caps on housing benefit never mind short term leases. A cyclical life time of poverty will be the hallmark of his childhood with me. The hallmark for thousands upon thousands of families.

Dave says the deficit is a "moral issue" and when the economy recovers, money will not be pumped back into our public services, the fire service being the one mentioned in the article.

I left a comment on the website:

I thought, oh how foolishly, that Cameron had a real opportunity to heal this country. I wrote to him, I wrote to clegg, I got down on my knees. I've received my answer. My country will break and bleed beneath me. The people will scream but will they be heard?

It's like he's got a metal rod and hit me behind the legs and now he's going to finish me off by whacking it on my back.

Not just me.....

I believed in you Dave just like I did the Foca

Courting Al Cohol

At a picnic on Hampstead Heath yesterday I said to my friend's sister as she poured me a mojito:

"I'm not drowning my sorrows, I'm surfing on them!"

It's fair to say I got completely wrecked....

The School of Doris

"Do you want to come to a rave?" Trojan Pete asked me on Saturday night as I was just finishing my beer ready to head home.

"Ah, thanks," I said. "But that's not really my scene."
"Only for a drink, I like talking to you, I want to talk to you some more."
I smiled as I said: "I should really be getting home. I want to go to Church in the morning and don't really want to miss it."
"Are you religious?" he asked, looking at me with a shocked expression.
"Well, more spiritual really. The Church I'm going to does Latin masses sung by a choir. It's very beautiful, like a free concert."
"That sounds good," he says. "I was bought up religious but I didn't do my confirmation or nothing so I don't go to church."
"I was bought up religious and I rejected it when I was 17. I tussled with God, tried to become an athiest, couldn't do it, found spirituality in my mid 20's. I've reconciled myself with it all now. I've started going back to the church of my childhood but in my head I'm a member of the School of Doris."
"The what?"
"The School of Doris. You know, que sera sera?"
"Oh yeah!" His eyes light up. "I know Doris Day. I love her!"
"Do you?!" Quite surprised I was!
"Yeah, she's like early reggae!"
"Is she? I never knew that! But yes, School of Doris. I'm not a leader, only a member because I find positive thinking so difficult!"

It's why I pray. A prayer is a positive affirmation. It's why I believe in Angels, because Angels are light and good. I believe in God and Jesus and Mary too, and all the saints. You don't have to believe in any of what I do to be a member of the School of Doris. That's the beauty of it.

I went with him to The Grand Union. They were playing rock and roll and rockabilly. I drank coca cola in a bottle through a straw and pretended I had my Pink Ladies jacket on. I danced and danced until I could dance no more.

Then Trojan Pete walked me to the end of my road and we parted company. He'd asked me for my number but I'm not in the right space for any of that. I think he understood.

The Estimators

A Ska/Rockabilly band called the Estimators was playing at The Oxford on Saturday night.

I wanted to go. I know two dads in the band and I wanted to support them. On Saturday morning I had no friends.

I can go to gigs on my own, I can go pretty much anywhere on my own. It usually doesn't bother me. However, on Saturday morning, trooping off to The Oxford with no companion in tow, filled me with dread.

The Estimators have quite a following you see. They have quite a following of people I know to say hi to. Nice people. I didn't want these nice people to think I had no friends. Aaaargh, what to do?

My phone rang. It was Issy. She'd invited me to Birmingham for the weekend and I'd declined. Turns out she decided not to go too. She was still in London! "Wanna come with me to a gig?!"

She was going to see comedy with her flatmate, she said. She'd try and make it. Oh I was happy! I texted Annie, because if Issy wasn't in Brum, neither was she. She said she'd try but she was dog sitting and also felt like shite.

I hoped I hoped I hoped!!

Through the letter box comes a large envelope with the Foca's handwritting on it. I ignored it. I ignored it for as long as I could, then told myself not to be silly, I'd only ask myself what it contained all weekend anyway. May as well get it over with.

A booklet on parenting plans and putting your children first. Patronising bastard.

A court order to appear at Brighton County Courts on August 17th. I saw his signature. It stung my eyes, it burnt my fingers, I crammed everything back in the envelope and shoved it under a cushion on the sofa.

Bastard. Bastard.

The Estimators. What kind of company would I be for anyone anyway. I should go. What the hell, what the hell.

I see the drummer outside the pub when I get there at 9pm. Thank goodness I haven't missed it! I was going to text his wife this morning, I tell him, ask if it was ok to go along with her because I had no friends. He said he'd seen my article in the CNJ well done but didn't like the ending; I should've written I was at my wits end.

I see his wife, Glam Mum, and tell her I was going to text her. She was with her 'new' family. I say 'new' because she didn't know she had 30 cousins from Tipperary in Ireland until a few months before. She'd never known her father and a whole denied part of her life came to her through facebook.

Lovely, funny people, I chatted to them for a long time, before Issy turned up with her flatmate, the band started upstairs and an evening dancing to glorious trumpets and saxs', drums and bass ensued!!

You know a really wonderful thing about that Saturday?

Where one Irish man wounded my soul, a whole community of others embraced it.

I thank the World for many things, I thanked the World for that.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sleeping in my son's bed

I miss my son.
I can handle my nightmares when he's with me.
I can't at the moment, so terrifying watching metal structures collapse on top of me.
I've taken to sleeping in his bed
to feel closer to him
Last night I kept seeing his face appear in front of me
So I said a prayer every time it did so.
I love you my baby.

Social worker to the rescue

She called last week saying she wanted to come round on Monday, yesterday. I'd told her that I might not be in, or I might be hungover (for I'd planned to get totally fucked hadn't I?)

Yesterday morning I hoped she would call as I put 14 green bottles into a bag for recycling.

"I'm so glad you've called," I said, when she did around midday. "Did you know my son's father was going to issue me with a court order? Your name is on it."

She said she'd be round in about an hour, and she was.

I told her I was angry with her the last time she came. I had to be honest. She had called me again because the New Support Worker had got in touch with her.

We talked. Or rather, I talked. She listened and listened and commented where comments needed to be made.

My past, whoosh, poured infront of her.

I showed her the court order and said I wouldn't be attending. Not now, I couldn't. Not ever, I didn't want to. She said I wasn't "emotionally strong enough to deal with it at the moment" and I wanted to hug her.

She said I needed to get advice from a lawyer, find out just what he could do with the parental responsibility order. Could he bring my son home late without my consent? "He's done that before," I said, "without it." "Find out," she said.

I showed her my two articles from the Ham & High and Camden New Journal. She said it would make the council nervous. I read to her draft letters I'd written to Dobbie, the photocopy of the letter to David Cameron.

I tried to make her understand how important all this was to me. She understood.

"Please can you put us forward to the exceptions panel?" I asked.
"Social workers don't have a strong relationship with the housing division," she said, or something like that.
"You would be the fourth person. Three others have tried and failed. If I meet Cameron, I'm going to ask him to do that too. Tell him I won't tell anyone if he does."

She said she needed to know my mental health history. Could she have my permission to talk to my doctor?

"I haven't seen my doctor in months", I told her. "She tells me to "think positively", think about other things and well, I'm obsessed, I can't." She told me not to worry about that.

She said she'd see what she could do for me and my son. I said that was all I could ask of her.

She is a lovely woman. Not only because she's going to try and help us, but because she didn't judge my mess, she said the flat was too small for us. She recognised the bond that exists between myself and my son and looking around at all his pictures on all my walls, suggested Art Therapy for him.

That would be perfect for him, my little boy, who struggles with the pain of separated parents but rarely lets it show.

Social worker? Thank you.

Text to Foca on his birthday

Sending me a court
order [foca] while
[our son] and i await a
bailiffs order is pure
cruelty. Paper or no
paper, action like
that is you failing as
a father. Send my
love to [our son]

I didn't send this next bit because I've got a crappy little mobile, not an i-phone:

I see your true colours
shining through
I see your true colours
It's why I don't love you
So do be afraid
to let them show
Your true colours
aren't beautiful
like a rainbow
(Cyndi Lauper featuring Stigmum)

I found the original with lyrics on Youtube and Stiggers and I have been singing it to one another. Neither of us must lose hope.

Here they are for you, incase you need telling too: