Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Child Protection

If we end up in a hostel, there is something very very wrong with this system. Never let it be said that it's my choice to take my son to one. But if the council does put us there Allocations, and this is what I need an answer to; if we are and social services slam a protection order on my son, will this help us or will this harm us?

Part of an email sent to allocations this evening. I'd give you the whole lot but I'm fucking tired.

All I will say is I need an answer to it.

Taking my headache to the doctor

For over a month now I've been getting wierd 10 second bashes on the right side of my head. I can't take paracetamol because it's not a headache. Coupled with flaming feet - eczema has descended on them in the same literally bleeding way they did on my breasts when I lived in Japan, I booked a doctor's appointment two weeks ago.

"I've heard you've been offered a flat in Kilburn," says Doc when I sit down.
"Wow, that was quick," I answer.

She said my son's social worker called her (she knew I was seeing her because I told her when she called yesterday morning). Doc was told to tell me that if I don't take the flat in Kilburn then the council will place my son and I in a hostel and if that happens the social services will put my son on the child protection register.

Yes, you read me right

They'll see my actions as one of an unfit mother. So said Doc.

What? I railed, I swore, I cried through all my rantings. That's blackmail I told her. It's the choices I have she replied. "There's no such thing as an ideal world"

"An ideal world?" railed I. "An ideal world is one where I've got a nice job and a rich husband and I live in a house that's mine and I can't get evicted from."

"Oh well that's everyone's ideal," she countered.

"What?" I could only splutter. What's her situation?

"I should take your blood pressure but it's probably sky high," she says.

I left her surgery sobbing, Hard, raw, gutteral sobs.

Sat with Nico Teen by Zat locked bike and sobbed some more.

Lucky enough to run into two lovely mums as I went to buy wrapping paper. Both have survived housing problems with the council in the past

They were both pretty incredulous. There is comfort in that. There is a lot of comfort in that.

"They don't care," said C's mum. "The council don't care at all. You should go up to them, whoever they are and shove that wrapping paper up their arse!"

It's like a heart beat. That's what it's like, the 10 second throb. And it's not 10 seconds at all. It's more like 3. Doc said it was "probably tension headaches." I hope that's all it is. I get them when I'm not stressed too. Right now I've got a real headache, you know, all over.

She said she'd got a referal that I be put through to CBT but said: "You've been down that route and now I think you're just being pushed from pillar to post." She didn't suggest anything else. She didn't say to come back if I need to chat.

She never got to see my flaming feet.

She won't get to see me ever again.

I've spent the night writing to allocations. I'll never post it. Too long. I was writing into a void, just like I am now.

Bad mother...

No-one to talk to but you stiggers.

Crack Mews

I got a call yesterday afternoon saying my son and I have been offered temporary accommodation. Nowhere near the areas my son has grown up and has friends, so no cycling distance from his school.

Upset I was, so so upset. An area further north, if it still is in the borough, it's at the very edge of it. At the moment we live closer to its heart, which is of course Camden Town.

Temporary. So not only a struggle to get the boy to school, and an expensive one if we can't get there by foot or bike, but we will also have to keep on bidding, bidding, bidding, bidding, for ever after or until the next eviction.

"Crack Mews?" I asked support worker when he told me. "Will there be easy drugs at hand then?" Seems I got the name wrong and it's not called that after all.

The email said to let them know if I'd let them know on Wednesday, if I agreed to see it on Thursday. On Thursday I have to say straight away if I want it or not.

There is no point going to see a place at this late stage in a game because you have to accept it or be damned. So it doesn't matter if it's nice, it doesn't matter if it's a shit hole.

Distraught I called my son's social worker. She said if I didn't take it we would be placed in a hostel.

What do I do when I fight the demons inside me? I write. I let pain bleed through a pen nib or through my fingers onto a key pad.

I replied to the earlier email that I didn't want to live in that area. I wrote what more temporary meant to me.

I added more names to who the supoort worker had already cc'd, including The Ed. I wrote that I was letting him know; the Camden New Journal got Jennyfer Spencer, the Ham and High could have me.

I cried and I cried and I cried because it's my son's birthday this week.

We all want the best for our children don't we? If we can't get the best, we must accept the next best? The next best is not what my son has been offered.

I remember finding out when I was pregnant. My relationship with the foca so new. He thought a termination would be better.

Damned if I do and damned if I don't, I thought at the time.

Here I am eight years later with those same words ringing in my head, but this time with the choices I've been given regarding housing.

I want to curl up foetally and eat my child.

Monday, 27 September 2010

SamCam and the Labour Party

"Samantha Cameron, all that she is, for all that you are!" Did you see the Sunday Times telly ads running all last week?

Sunday night the penny dropped. Tis no coincidence!

The Tories secret weapon is their only weapon.

SamCam, I do not doubt, is a lovely woman, but I'm a policy chick.

Saturday I was with the politician who said "David with my head, Ed with my heart."

Is it too much to ask, too much that the Milibands rule together?

Perhaps, but I hope, I hope....

Oh Brother...

Saturday's revolutionary street protest

I set my alarm early on Saturday morning, lay face down in the bath (Al Cohol was not the answer on Friday night, but is it ever really?), then plastered makeup on my tired face until my reflection looked back at me and said "Yes! Go forth Stiggers!"

Only five minutes late I thought the protest would be in full swing. Dozens of fellow protesters (I was being realistic about just how many hundreds could fit outside Somerfields) some with banners, making a noise.

Heh heh heh. We were three.
A pensioner, a politician and me. Then one more woman showed up.

Minutes past, then more minutes and more.
"We are the revolution!" cheered the pensioner.

I mean you have to laugh, even the organisers didn't show up!

All at the Labour conference party perhaps. The politician (a councillor but let's go with the P's here) said she'd voted for Ed Miliband.

"Oh brother. I didn't know so I didn't vote," said I.

"Are you a member?" she asked.

"Only of my own party."

I laughed, which was good, because I needed to.

The group dispersed, I went home and switched on the telly.

Oh Brother...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Haiku to Self

For flips sake cheer up
you're doing yourself real harm
try and feel grateful

My son my sun son
My son my beautiful son
What future have we?

AAARGH shake out of it
Nico Teen's not the answer
just snap out of it

This Morning

A full five hours yesterday I braced myself. A full five and for the first time in living history, definitely anyway since I've become a mother, I watched This Morning on tv.

This Morning! Even as a student I never put my feet up to that. Something seriously going wrong methought.

Paralysed I was. I've been told that some people have been housed by calling the council everyday. Every day until the council are so fecking fed up they actually house the person. Should I try that?

This won't happen with me. The housing division has something truly against me and any effort I make is not worth the effort in the first place and this would only result in a monumental high telephone bill.

So there was whatsisname and whatsername chatting on the telly while I sat on the sofa looking at the carnage which is paper and folders and odd socks and stuff my son has made strewn over the floor, and the number I should call written bold on the laptop.

Five hours, five hours later I called, going round the proverbial houses before I was put through to the flipping impotent homeless households division.

I asked them if they wanted me to follow Jennyfer Spencer into the grave.

Wouldn't it be funny.. wouldn't it be fecking hilarious.. if I died. It might make the news, all my appeals for help and there would the council be, making all its flipping excuses "oh we did no wrong, oh we did no wrong" and then possibly the bigger story that there were two known deaths due to housing now.

Sorry to admit I plunged into a pit of darkness afterwards. I know I should call again but I don't want to waste another five hours mustering up the will.

Jennyfer Spencer ran out of will. She didn't make the news. Why not? Why didn't she? She left a flipping note, attributed her death to housing policy.

I shall call again, even though it's as pointless as the points they issue us.

Telly's off. There's no This Morning for me this morning. It's a major distraction, which is cool, but doesn't actually achieve anything because I am actually nothing but a corpse with a pulse.

Aaargh, I've never been this bad before, totally and utterly incapable. Well not consciously anyway.

Snap out of it, snap out of it but Do Not Break.

Oh I don't know if I'll bother calling afterall...

Hanging on - a song

Don't give up on me Stigmum
Don't make the wrong seem right
The future isn't just one night
It’s written in the moonlight?
Painted on the stars?
Can we change ours?

Don't give up on me stigmum
It’s still worth one more try
I know I put our last one by
It was a rainy evening
When all the stars were few
Don't give up me stigmum, we can still come through

I really lost my head last night
I've got a right to stop believing
There's still a little hope left, even so

Don't give up on me stigmum
Lord knows we've come this far
Can't we stay the way we are?
The angel and the dreamer
Who always play the fool
Don't give up on me, I know
We can still come through

It’s written in the moonlight?
Painted on the stars?
Can we change ours?

Don't give up on me stigmum
It’s still worth one more try
I know I put the last one by
It was a rainy evening
When all stars were few
Don't give up on me, I know
We can still come through

Don't give up on me stigmum
Don't give up on me stigmum

(David Soul featuring The Blogger)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

On giving up

You can't give up
Though these days I wonder if God is going to take me.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Space cadets

Dad in the coffee shop asked me if I'd been clubbed in the head this morning, "you look like a zombie".

I was a zombie in my mental health meeting yesterday. I don't remember too much about it, only she asked me if I wanted a care worker. A care worker? A cleaner perhaps but oh where would they start?

No, I said.

Flip it would be nice to have someone take care of me for I just want to give up. Give up for a little while anyway. A week or two, perhaps more while I just sit there or lie there. I'm not sure I could even be bothered to open my mouth for someone to shove a grape in it, that's how giving up I feel.

Stiggers is writing this, not me.

The occupational therapist talking to me yesterday suggested I try not to think about housing and instead create space for myself by volunteering for the community research teams again.

Don't you understand I can't be bothered?

"I don't think you understand the kind of crisis I'm in," I said instead. "I'm about to lose my home, my son is my priority, his education, his, his his...life. Why does nobody get it??"

She went out to photocopy some information about something and while she did so I fell asleep on the chair.

She's going to refer me for more CBT.


I can be actually


Fly me to the moon, I want to give up.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Having my head read

Mental health meeting at 2pm today. New support worker sorted it out.
I'm feeling all millitant, having woken up with now familiar tightening of chest and bloody suicidal thoughts I can't control.
New support worker said "we'll see if anything comes out of it."
Millitant is good, no? Perhaps not for therapy.
I don't know.
I don't want to go.

One flew over the cuckoo's nest.
Am I flying or am I cuckoo?

Milly Tant?

Two bits of news this morning!
C's mum told me of a man who runs a cafe nearby who made an application to go on the housing list not very long ago and somehow managed to jump to the very top of the list and get housed. Flew straight into a two bed flat.
Someone, I know not who, has got up in arms about it and word is the man might have paid someone in the council to raise him up so quickly.
I've been sent an email:

Has Camden housing let you down? (Yes)
Are you suffering from stress and or illness because of Camden's housing system? (Yes)
Do you feel your case has been unfairly treated or even dismissed (Oh yes)
Seen cases of less urgency being put before yours (Yes)

We would like to hold a discussion to hear your views.
Please call or email to confirm your attendance or tell us your case. (OK)

Other bit of news...
Camden Defend Council Housing are having a street protest on Saturday.
I shall take my hungover corpse to the meeting place at 11.30.
My son won't be with me. I will be hungover. I've been desperate for Al Cohol all week.

Anyway, all I can say is someone heard me singing 4 Non Blondes at the top of my lungs yesterday!
One can but hope....


My home.
Lease ended between Camden Council, my keeper, and Pathmeads, my landlord.

Camden Council cannot legally help me until I have the bailiff's order in my hand, new support worker told me Friday.
Pathmeads say they cannot act until I receive the bailliff's order. The bailiff's order is with the courts, it says.

So there we have it. Oofed out of my home with neither institution taking any responsibility for the consequences of this situation on me and my child.

I wonder to myself whether my efforts have got me and my son blacklisted. My son blacklisted.

I scream hey hey hey hey
into the void

Monday, 20 September 2010

Waiting for the eviction order - a song

Two hundred years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
I realized quickly though it does no good
That the world is made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means

And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs

And I say, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
I said HEY, what's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
Ooh, ooh ooh (Nico Teen Nico Teen Nico Teen in this long instrumental)

And I try, oh my God do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my God do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution

And so I blog sometimes
Of the things I dread
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I write in the morning
While I sit inside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs

And I say, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
I said HEY, what's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
(over and over and over and over)

Two hundred years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
(4 Non Blondes featuring Stigmum who has barely tweaked the lyrics because they are EXACTLY HOW SHE FEELS.)

Can I change political policy?

My ward councillor was holding a "surgery" on Saturday and given the local political change from Blue to Red, I thought I'd drag my son and go.
A disabled man was waiting with me and as we waited and waited unsure of whether this guy would show up, I told the disabled man that I'd write a letter to the local paper entitled "bad week in politics" if he didn't.
Fortunately he did eventually turn up. I say fortunately because I don't want to slag him off in the press. I met him once at a roof party; he knows my friend Steve. I didn't mention this to him when I saw him, simply because I didn't think it would make any difference to my situation.

"Hello, what's your name? What can I do for you?" he said.
"You know of me," I replied. "I left a story for you behind the bar at the Dublin Castle."
"Oh yes," he said. "A bit long wasn't it..."
"I sent a copy to Cameron too, and Clegg and one to Dobbie. I told him to use it."
He raised his eyebrows, our conversation began.

He said he'd look into my case because he didn't understand the three way leases. I know he'll come back saying all is as it should be. I told him I'd gone through all of this before. I pulled out my CNJ article.

"This is about policy," I said. "Who is responsible for changing policy? I've written to the PM, he told me to contact the Minister for Housing. How do I go about changing it?"

"We the council are responsible for policy."

That, reader, was news to me. People in the housing division told me it's government policy in the days when I'd call up and also must have that on an email somewhere.

He took my article away with him "because it's about policy."

This is good, this is positive stuff, but I can't rest on that. The policy needs to change before the bailiff's order so my child can be the first to benefit from it and then everybody else.

The two things I want changing?
No caps on children. Currently only the under 5's are prioritised.
Extra points for statutorily homeless who are evicted or overcrowded.

Not asking much, is it?

The Minister for Housing needs to receive a letter from me. Also need to buy birthday presents and plan a party. Oh so much to do, so little time.

I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
(4 Non Blondes.. Make that 5... and it's been six years, not twenty five. OK, maybe 200 years.. it feels like forever...)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Judaism, Islam, Christianity

All three of these major religions believe in God.
All three believe in Angels.

It's when you get to the books things start to go wrong.

I am glad the Pope is here. I'm interested in what he has to say.

The mass in Glasgow was beautiful and I followed it, singing along, because I have the book of "Liturgies and Events of the Papal Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom".

I'm agnositic because I couldn't do athiesm.

God is love, God is light, in my world.

I like the stories in the Bible. I do not know the Koran.

No matter, we believe in the same God, in theory.

The coalition "does God"

The coalition "does God" apparantly, according to the Tories Party Chairman (Times, 16 Oct). Labour did not "do God", instead "acted as if faith was confined to 'oddities, foreigners, and minorities'" (Two out of three for me then..)

So, the coalition "does God".

Is that why it's directing it's biggest cuts to lone parents? (The loss to household incomes, according to the Guardian on 11th Sept is a whopping 11.2% for those like me, with single pensioners coming second with cuts of 8.7%, couples with children 5.0%, single no kids 4.9%, couple pensioners 4.8% and last and very least, a couple with no kids at 3%.)

Is that why it's turning a blind eye to tax evaders (worth £70bn) and tax avoiders (worth 25 bn, estimates by Tax Research UK in The Times 13th Sept). Basically letting rich tax dodgers go free?

The coalition's God is not my God

God help me and my God help you if you are anyone like me.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Stumble into single mum from upstairs in the lift as we run for school. She's tired she says, so she's taken the day off work.
I asked her why she's tired and she says she's got things on her mind.
She works part time and gets £448 a month. She also volunteers to gain experience following a course she did.
The housing office has said she has to start paying full rent - £90.
Up until now housing benefits has paid three quarters of it.

She will not be able to survive if she pays full rent. She may get working tax credits but that will only cover council tax and bills with not much left over for food and other necessities.

She said she's better off not working but that she wants to work, she enjoys working.

She'd taken the day off work to go down to the housing office to try and sort it all out.

A bidding poem

Stiggie she was rat shit bored
of bidding every week
plunged into utter darkness
no hope there where she seeks

A secure base to raise her child
so he's not bounced around
there is no longer rent so cheap
well, nothing that she's found

A flipping flat to rent that's all
how difficult can it be?
In today's harsh housing climate
you wait and still don't see

It's that time of the week again

I ended up being 117 out of 361 on that property last week.
Two for me and my boy today.
A council flat near here, a double and a single room, 2nd floor, £98 a week.
A housing association flat a bit further away, two double rooms, 3rd floor £110.

For council flat I'm currently 13 out of 46
For the other I'm currently 15 out of 43

You don't need me to tell you it doesn't add up.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Oh that's what I should've done... doh...

When I was chatting to Sir Libdem, I should've given him the photocopy of my postcard and pretty much begged him, as a human being, to give it to Clegg when he sees him at the weekend. That way I'd know that a leader of the coalition would see it.


Just saw Juggling mum as I took my boy to Beaver's and told her I went to parliament to lobby today.
"That won't help you," she said.
"Perhaps not but if I don't do something I'll get swallowed up by all the fear."

There's always next Wednesday, and the one after that, and the one after that, and every flipping Wednesday until the bailiff's get here.

Fantasy Island all I ever dreamed of
Something - holding me together
Stars shine? Fantasy Island oooooooooh (Tight Fit featuring Stigmum)

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again..."

An idea this morning, as my brain swirled in a dark grey mist, to cycle once again to the House of Commons, lobby my MP and get him to read out my postcard.

Wednesday today you see, Prime Ministers Questions. Even if it wasn't, I'd've done it today anyway on the off chance Dobbi was there.

The woman puts a call through to the chamber when I get to the central lobby and he's not there, not from what they can see anyway.

I know I can't lobby anyone else but sod it, I say to the pair at reception. Give it ago they reply.

My first Green Card, to Frank Dobson: "I have a copy of "the" postcard. Please read it out for me."

My second Green Card to Simon Hughes MP for the Libdems, who always makes the right noises about housing but doesn't live in the borough but who cares?: "Mr Clegg knows me. I sent a postcard to the coalition. Please care. Please read it out." (Oh damn, should have included 'I have a copy with me.' Oh well)

Then I settle down on the same leather green sofa as yesterday and pull out today's Guardian (Oh yes, I learnt something from yesterday's trip...)

At 12.30 they all file out. I know there is little chance I will see either of these MP's if they're around because I've already been told there are two exits from the central chamber. Would they scarper from me? I can't help wondering.

I recognise one guy off the telly. Damn, who is he? What party? Shite, shite shite shite. Red tie. That may mean nothing. Bugger. He keeps looking at me too but don't know why, I'm not off the telly. Maybe I look like his sister's friend (somebody asked me if I was their sister's friend just the other week. I look just like her apparantly.)

I think of going up to him and saying "I don't know who you are but you might be able to help," but um and ah about it for too long and he's gone. (Is he the minister for culture I'm now thinking? Hmm)

No matter, I've just spotted Sir Mingus Campbell walking towards a tv crew! I like him! Though I base my judgements from Question Time only.

I grab him as he looks to head off. "I need your advice," I say. "Can I talk to you for five minutes?" He tells me he has only two.

I tell him I met Clegg in February and he said he'd help me and my son and well, now, we're awaiting a bailiff's order. He's sorry to hear it, he says, sounding like he means it. I show him and read to him the postcard and the long and the short of that is that his consituency is up in Scotland and anyway can't act for me because I'm not his constituent. I show him abit of the article I wrote in the local paper. "This is policy. It's about my borough but it's a national problem."

He tells me there's a libdem conference at the weekend, which I know (and can't think why he'd tell me that though maybe because they'll talk about housing? Dunno)

He tells me to go to my MP and I say I will. "It's do or die in a situation like this and it's the third time for me and my son," I tell him. "That's the postcard, I'm doing something." He understands. He's got a very gentle face and struck me as a very genuine person. It's a nice thought to have when your sitting position is that 'politician' and 'genuine person' are not words that go together.

I'm home now and need my instinct to carry me to my next plan of action, whatever that is.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point being a damn fool about it." (W.C.Fields)

How can I quit? I can't. Is there a point being a damn fool about it? I don't know. I do know I'm going to fantasise though. Fantasise that alot of good will come out of my trip today. For my boy, for my borough, for my country.

Lobbying an MP

It's really very simple.

You make your way down to Parliament and ask a policeman where to go. He'll (because they happened to be men) will tell you to ask a uniformed personnel and they are quite easy to spot.

She or he will then tell you to go and ask the policeman just over there.

He will ask you where you are from and you might answer: "I'm not here to see my MP, I'm here to see the Minister for Housing because Cameron's office advised I do that."

He lets you pass and you walk down a little walkway until you get to security. Here you will have your picture taken and it's really bloody depressing because your cheeks will seem to hang down to the floor as you look into the mirror thing and think "do I really look like that???"

Then it's much like being in an airport as you put your bag in one of those trays (I've forgotten all vocabulary this morning) and pass through a metal detector (though you don't have to take off your shoes).

Unlike an airport I've ever been in one of the security guys is whistling a tune and you know it, you know it so well but you can't place it. So you ask, and he doesnt' know but someone else does, and of course it's "Oh Christmas Tree oh Christmas Tree how lovely are your branches" but I'm sure I associated it with something else, I know not what, when I first heard it.

You then walk towards the commons building and when you get there, walk through it or ask a security personnel where you have to go. (Up the stairs and turn left). You can wonder why there are rows upon rows of gold backed chairs with red velvet seats. (It's for the Pope's address on Friday)

At the top of the stairs you go left through heavy doors into another chamber where there will be a queue of people sitting waiting infront of another set of doors. You can jump this queue. They are there to come watch the commons in action, you are there to lobby a minister.

Once inside the central lobby ("the heart of the commons" I heard someone say) you walk to the reception desk and tell one of the attendants, wearing bow tie and tails, what your purpose is.

They tell you to fill in a Green Card. Who you want to see, what your name and address is and two very short lines to state your purpose.

You are told you will have to wait between 10 minutes and one hour and in that time someone will come out to meet you. If it's not the minister himself (or herself), it will be someone from their office.

You'll take a seat on one of the green leather chairs and wait, looking at the pictures on the walls, the statues on plinths, the people walking in and out and through. You will wait and wait and wait. Or maybe not. Two people didn't wait long.

An hour and a half later you'll go back to the reception desk to ask how much longer you must wait and, well, they'll be quite surprised that some other man associated to the MP you want, didn't come down and they will phone the MP's constituency. The voice on the other end of the phone will tell you you can't lobby that MP because he isn't yours. You have to go to your own MP and ask him (or her) to make the request on your behalf.

So you lobby your own MP. The person in tails rings his office for you and you're told he's in "the chamber". Person in tails tells you he's unlikely to come out if he's "in the chamber" but that this person is renowned for never coming down to meet constituents anyway and most often scrunches up the Green Card (which is green paper in actuality).

He knows my name, he knows my name.

You fill in the Green Card for him anyway, then go back and sit on the green leather sofa, but only long enough to quietly rage. Rage rage rage. Then leave.

Oh Nico Teen oh Nico Teen, how lovely is your poison (you know the tune)

The rain sprays your face as you cycle home, gently as though it's what's needed on a hot summers day.

You text the person who called you earlier to wish you luck and write: "Your prayers didn't work." Then later fall asleep in front of the telly.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Preparing to lobby an MP

1. Prepare what you will need to do the night before. Don't plan to watch some programme about the Pope for if you are anything like me, you'll fall asleep despite yourself.

2. Prepare what you will need the night before. You'll be busy in the morning, perhaps helping your child to finish his birthday invitations.

3. Live in a tidy house where everything has its place and everything is easy to find.

4. If your mouth is dry and your heart is banging have a drink of water (and a moment with Nico Teen if that's your thing).

5. Consult Google for a reminder of the opening times of the House of Commons.

6. Thank God you have some time.

7. Go through every diary and book you own to find out where exactly you hid the photocopy of the postcard you sent Parliament. It may come in handy.

8. Check every folder to find out in which one you put all responses from Downing Street that you have received (from this government, there really isn't that much time to find the ones from government's past)

9. If you have a friend, call them to off load some of your growing panic. I have Stiggers, you may have someone else.

10. Make a cup of tea and sit and breathe for a moment, with or without Nico Teen. Don't mind the mess, it's symbolic of your life, the very reason you are getting up and heading to parliament.

11. Accept that you will have to wear your grease stained flourescent yellow waterproof jacket. First impressions count and all that but hell, who are you anyway? You are not one of them.

12. Put on some makeup, particularly if you are there on someone else's behalf. This is your armour.

13. According to the Angel Numbers book: "Ascended masters ask you to stay positive and give them any fear or doubts that they can heal or transmute. This number also means the sacred feminine, the goddess, and the intuitive side as there are 13 cycles in a year." A good number on which to stop blogging therefore and tie up any loose ends before you get going.

14. "Angels are helping you manifest your positive thoughts, affirmations, and visualizations into reality." Wish yourself luck. Eek.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Is it written in the planets?

"As of today, Mercury, the planet of communications is going forwards again.…For you, Mercury has been going backwards in your FOURTH HOUSE of home, family and domestics. If life at home has been chaotic beyond belief, now you know why! Misunderstandings with your live-in love, spouse or flatmates should ease up. Even your parents will start to understand you better. Today, though, as Mercury actually changes directions, you can expect (or at least allow for the possibility) one last blast of mayhem. And after that? It’s smoother sailing. Your home life and family is still going to be taking up a lot of your headspace but there’s going to be a lot less confusion and upset. Hallelujah!"

I hope Hallelujah Closer Online!!

And then there were 10

There was a moment, a month or so ago, when I had one of my religious delusions. Like Jesus, I had 12 followers. Did this mean something? Was it symbolic in any way?

Anyway, shortly after my mini paranoid delusion, I lost a follower. I was going to mention it but I didn't know who the follower was! Doh! Only 12 and you don't know who you've lost?! I was a bit ashamed of myself! I mean it's hardly a big number!

Today I've lost another. I know who this one is! Rambling mum! We have little in common, the two of us, but she (in my mind) was brave enough to talk about playground politics, with a fantastic set of posts labelled "Making friends suck" Part 1, 2 then 3, 4,5.

She has a husband, two children, lives in a house with a garden; her life is very different to mine but that's ok, for me anyway.

Am I sorry she's gone? Well yes and no. I am aware there are so many times you can wish someone luck on a never ending journey such as this. I'm not sure there's anything in this blog for anybody at all.

I wish her well. I may continue to comment on her blog but I'm rather in my own world at the moment and am hardly reading other people's blogs, never mind commenting on them.

This is quite funny though: I bumped into an ex politician the other day, very well known. I asked him for advice so I can set up my own political party.

He asked me what my party was called. "I don't know".
He asked me how many followers I had. "I don't know, that's why I'm leader."
He laughed and said he would think about it.
He never asked my name so I thought about the conversation he'd have with his well known wife when he got home.
"I've met a woman who wants to set up a political party called I Don't Know."
"What's her name?"
"I don't know."

Did he smile I wonder?!

I like poetry

Lobbying plans

Tomorrow I am going to cycle to parliament and am going to lobby the MP for Housing and Local Government. I wrote to David Cameron asking that this man call me but he hasn't yet so I'm going to assume he's not going to.

Curious my One Woman campaign to rehouse my child appropriately at the exact same time I am organising a birthday party for him.

Wouldn't it be best to get the party over and done with? Lay low and hope the bailiff's order doesn't arrive until after it?

The bailiff's order might arrive before it though and if it does I won't have time to go gallavanting off to parliament. I'll be having to call "emergency desks" and start packing and all sorts.

I'm not sure what I will say to him if I meet him but I'm going to remain positive that I do meet him. My mum and my aunt are going to pray for me so I hope all the angels above descend on me and give me the right words to say.

I'm quite scared. I've spoken to enough politicians to know he'll say there's nothing he can do.

It can't be a pointless journey though. It can't.

The party hall is booked

I have managed to book a hall for my son's party in, shite, three weeks.

£40 it costs, for the whole day.

Aaaaaargh!! I've never done a party in a hall before!! How do you do it?

Bollocks, shite, crap, wank!

My Mate Charlie has said he'll DJ. That's a relief.

That's also how far I've got.

What games? Don't know.
Who to help me set up? Don't know, would be nice if someone can help.
How do I set up? Do I adorn walls? Aaargh!
Food yes, ok but at what point? Or do I do a buffet?

It costs money to move house so not best time for a party, but fuck it.
What if my eviction date falls on the same weekend?
Will we still be here? Will we have moved meaning I have to commute to it? Have to pay a taxi to get stuff back to whereever we'll be living?
Geez, what about more stuff to pack? Twenty kids = twenty presents.

I've booked the hall. I can't talk myself out of it.

Good, stiggers is saying.
Good? Good??
Mad don't you mean?

Playground gossip?

Oh I know I swore (did I swear?) that I would never mention Ugly again but today I can't help it.

Little A, one of my son's three best friends came up to me and said: "My mummy wants to know if you've moved."

Why does your mummy want to know, was my thought though I said "No, not yet."

Now his mummy wasn't there, and nor was his daddy but still I wanted to laugh. I wanted to laugh because I have no relationship with his parents because for many years now, they've had none with me. Sad but true. Sad because what little I knew of his parents, they were quite decent folk.

His mummy gets on very well with Ugly, his daddy I don't know, he trawls in last minute like me usually but I imagine he does. We talk small occasionally he and I but if I ever mention something funny about his child, he flinches as though I'm going to accuse the little boy about something.

I barely care what happened in Reception now but I haven't forgotten or forgiven Ugly telling me my son was a liar, telling me to pull him out of the school, whispering all manner of shit into A's parents ears until neither of them would talk to me. Neither of them ever invited my son to play with theirs again, both of them would always make an excuse if my son went up to them asking if A could come and play. It was very painful for my son and what is painful for my son is painful for me.

Yes, so makes me think the parents of my son's two best friends are gossiping about me.

It makes me want to laugh.

I maintain that A's parents are decent people. Ugly is still Ugly though. Roald Dahl wrote an excellent description of her in The Twits.

This is the very last time I will mention her. I can't be bothered ya know, and her child, well he's my son's best friend. I can quietly feel sorrow for what she's done and tried to do to them both but know these two boys are above all of it and have their time in school hours to hang out and have fun.

My son's making his party invites tonight. "Who do you want to invite?" I asked.
"R, K, A, L and L," he answered without drawing breath.

K and A didn't come last year. My son was invited to theirs though, and duly went.

Funny isn't it, how these parties are never about or for the parents but it's always up to them.

Now, how the hell am I going to fill two hours? I want this to be a party my little boy will always remember and one where the children all have a blast.

It's a D.I.S.C.O

Give me D desirable
Give me I incredible
Give me S super special
Give me C crazy crazy
Give me O oh ohhhhh!

(Ottowan featuring Stigmum)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Successful bid?

Last week I bid on a property with no bath, just a shower. Chatted with my boy about how he'd feel about that. Not sure why though, why build his hopes, why tell him anything at all?

Today it's a flat on a street where an old friend of mine lives.

I am currently 34 out of 95

It's all jack shit though. My neighbour was 12th on her list and got a call saying she was No 1.

The whole list thing is bollocks though

I am 82 out of 301. Depressing yes but there we go.
Then I'm 57 out of 210. Shouldn't I be higher than that, as in No 1?
Then I'm 137 out of 334. Hang on, that doesn't add up. Shouldn't that be 115 if you compare it back to the 301 which is in any case would be way lower than I was then?

Oh fucking hell. I don't understand any of it and the bastard system, which knows me, I've been writing and writing to it, doesn't give a shit.

You get the picture anyway.

Son's social worker coming round later. I'll see if she can make any light from it.

Good stress?

I've told my son he's not having a birthday this year. It was while he's been watching ads on tv saying "I want this, I want that," and I'm thinking "Shit, I can't order anything online because what if we move next week." I'm thinking "Shit, everything costs so much money."

I've had to be honest with him, it's really shit. He said he wants a get together with his friends, on the heath. The Heath is free, the Heath would be perfect.

I've had to say no, because in the park, parents don't want to stick around with their children, so the children don't come.

Two years ago was the last Heath party. Mostly old friends of both of ours, kids who attend different schools but with whom we've had such little contact with, especially since last year when I took a few of his classmates to the cinema.

A sleepover with two or three friends is not an option although I wish it was.

There's always the indoor play centre. Eight is the perfect age for that. How do I transport stuff there and back (food, party bags)? How do I afford it? It's one thing thinking "fuck the money" when it's £20 you're looking at. Quite another thinking 'fuck the money' when you're thinking the Oh The Draught will blow a further bright red £200 into the pits of hell. (Credit should be red I think, the Oh The Draught black, because debt is so dark aaaaaaaargh)

This morning familiar housing stress. topped with birthday stress. Why should I do nothing because our lives are currently in a 'could change any minute' limbo, but isn't changing. Day in day out, the bailiff's order, which I dread, doesn't come. Fear until midday then relief that I can let go of it in the afternoon.

Why should I do nothing because I can't afford it?


A few years ago a child in the other class had a disco in the local hall. I don't know how I would execute such a thing. I don't know how I would go about it. If we're still living here though it's an option because it's nearby and hopefully cheap to hire.

So the next few days I'm going to transfer stress.

I'm going to stop praying for housing. I'm going to visualise my son having fun with friends instead.

Somehow, the impossible will become possible.

The hall will be vacant and cheap, I will meet someone who has an ipod who's willing to help me out, I will meet someone who can tell me how to manage two hours with 30 odd kids, most of whom may not want to dance.

I don't know, I really do not know, I really have no idea, I've never done something like this before.

I want my son to celebrate his birthday with his friends.

That much I do know.

I'm going to pray it all comes together. Some how, some way some thing will come together.

Starting Over

Starting Over by Tony Parsons (free with The Times)

Options when your child is sick:
a) Tidy up around him/her
b) Sit beside them as they rest and sleep and read a book.

Yesterday I tidied up around him and in the afternoon, his strength up, we both attacked our bedroom.
Tuesday, as he slipped in and out of sleep on the sofa, I gobbled up Starting Over.

It's the story of George Bailey, a married father of two who has a heart transplant, and the effects that this has on himself and his family.

This is a page turner in the nicest way. Given the heart of a 19 year old boy, has George picked up attributes of this teenager's personality or is he going through a mid-life crisis?

Medical professionals and people he meets say the former is impossible, but you read it wondering if it is.

I don't want to give too much away, but as a strict disciplinarian, he adopts a more liberal attitude towards his own teenage children. His new lease of life at first renews the bonds between him and his wife, but then you understand her frustration as he lets go of his responsibilities as a parent to become instead a friend to his children, and an extra teenager for her as he revels in his new freedom, of a second chance at Life.

The story details the fragility of life and the struggle we have with it as we deal with and navigate all the problems that weigh upon the enjoyment of it. It's funny, it's poignant, it's subtle and it's honest.

I've not read any of Tony Parson's books prior to this although I've watched Man and Boy with Hugh Grant. I may get that book out of the library at some point and perhaps some of his others.

Yes, I heartily recommend this one. Not sure when I'll get round to reviewing another Free Book. Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square is still unfinished. I was a quarter of the way through when I put it down, to do a spot of tidying up I suspect, and never picked it up again.

All my Free Books will move house with me. I want a new life and I want reading to become part of it again.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My Sleeping Beauty

When I picked my son up from school yesterday afternoon I was told by his little classmates he was fast asleep in the book corner of the classroom.

I coaxed him awake. His classroom assistant told me he'd been ok during the day, if a little quiet, not his usual self.

He slept when we got home. I woke him up for food he'd barely eat, took his temperature: 38.6. Gave him some calpol and he went back to bed sleeping through until 8 this morning.

He couldn't get up so I decided to phone the school and tell him I was keeping him home.

I went in the room to deliver the news and he projectile vomited all over his bed, the floor, clear white; all the water he'd drunk.

He rested on the sofa after that asking for Classic fm when I suggested music. Later he played on education city on the internet and some game made him hungry so I made him a boiled egg. It's what he asked for, not wanting toast.

My neighbour kindly watched him as I ran out and bought some rehydration solution. So weak my little one with his grey sunken eyes. He can't stand the taste of it and even laying on bribes of chocolate when he's better couldn't make him take more than a couple of sips.

I pop out with Nico Teen and chat to my neighbour and when I come back in, where's my boy? In my bed, fast fast asleep.

Children are so beautiful when they're sleeping aren't they? Well, mine is..! I'll go and wake him up in a minute. It's like he's a baby again and having an afternoon nap before his 5 O'clock feed.

Only he's not a baby is he, my growing lad. I hope he'll eat. Boiled rice. How very exciting for him!
He was sad to miss science at school today. His favourite subject, he said they were going to learn about teeth.
He did make me laugh though. Big ol' holiday and first day back he goes down with some lurgy. With me it was the opposite: big ol' term time and I'd go down first day of the holidays...

Get well soon my little beauty!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Guilt tripping the boy to school

Oh my baby, leading him to school this morning, his head hanging low, automatically putting one foot in front of the other, clinging on to my hand as if he might fall over if he didn't.

Same school thank goodness, but for how long? I so believed we'd be rehoused by now and we'd be walking in knowing the battle was over.

Imagine it was his first day at a new one? It was a relief to see the mentor in the playground. After the how are you and how was your holiday questions I said:

"My son had some kind of bug saturday night, out both ends, the last time he was sick was yesterday morning, so it's been 24 hours. Still I'm not so sure I should have bought him in. Will you tell his teacher?"

"Of course," she said. "I'm going up there now, I'll let her know."

There was no excitement from my son, seeing his friends again. Still so tired, despite sleeping all yesterday afternoon and going to be bed at 6pm.

Today as they play "it" in the playground, he's likely to take himself to a corner and not speak to anyone. This morning he was hoping it would rain so there'd be "wet play", where he could stay in his classroom and "lie on a cushion."

He's in a good, safe space. I hope his little friends are supportive but if they're not, they themselves happy to see one another, when my son is strong enough, he can rejoin his group not feeling cut off from them.

He's a sensitive soul my one, why I'm trying not to worry. His sense of humour will return, he'll be alright.

Don't go changing his school, my country. My son doesn't want it, and neither do I.

Friday, 3 September 2010

My son appeals to Cameron

Papier Mache Towers
London SOS1 2OK?

Dear David Cameron,
Please don’t change my future by changeing
my school and putting us into a
smelly hostal. Please can you put us in
a house with two floors and threee
bedrooms and a kitchin with lots of
space and lounge that is very
cozy and nice garden in [our village]. Please make my future great.

Yours sincirly Son de Nim
(Sue’s son)

P.S. Please don’t worry about my spelling because I am only 7

(his big, slanty writing, you just cannot see his heart on here but you can get a sense of it)

Backing up my son's letter

Papier Mache Tower

28 Aug 2010

Dear David Cameron,

I did not tell my son to write to you; it was his idea. I did not tell him what to write, only to do so from his heart.
“We don’t need three bedrooms!” I laughed.
“For our friends mummy and maybe a little brother one day.”
My son has shared a room with me for over six years. This is his third eviction. I can’t tell him where we are going but he knows our options.
Coincidently, the day he chose to write to you was the same day we got a response from A Woman saying you couldn’t meet me.
Fortunately/unfortunately, we are still at the same address. The lease has ended but the bailiff’s order hasn’t arrived. I do not expect you to understand the horror of a situation such as this. I’ve been told to contact the “emergency desk” when the order arrives even though I’ve been bidding weekly for six years for a secure, affordable flat. We are not, we should not be, an “emergency”.
A Woman told me to contact [the Minister for Housing]. I would love to do this but I do not know what forwarding address to give him. If [A Woman], with your blessing, could ask [the MP] to call me on 1234 to arrange a meeting as soon as possible, I would be very grateful.
Congratulations to you and Mrs Cameron following the birth of your daughter Florence. I wish your family all the best.
I am fond of saying my child could be any child but you and I live in different societies Mr Cameron and I need you to see mine.

Yours sincerely,

Sue de Nim

Will the order come today?

Postman hasn't arrived yet.

Waking up my chest so tight. Bless my boy playing with his psp so I can just lie there pretending to sleep.

Still cannot start packing. I've realised it's because there is no excitement. I am not excited. We are not going somewhere better.

I don't want that order to come and I want that order to come.

I want that order to come and I don't want that order to come.

In equal measure.

Hampstead Heath, will you catch me today? Again?

Faltering with friends

These last few days my son and I have been very lucky, spending time with friends.

That my son is so happy playing with his friends of course makes me happy.

I try and be positive with mine, for of course housing will come up:
"How's it going?"
"Have you moved yet?"
"What's going to happen?"
"Do you know where you're going?"

I tell them I'm really looking forward to my son having his own room. He wants it blue. I tell them I'm looking forward to making it our home and then I falter. Words bang in my head: temporary, insecure, I don't know, don't know, know nothing.

I do not tell these words to my friends, I just falter when I get to the word "home" then smile weakly and say "I'm trying to be positive ha ha!"

Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa.

Thank goodness there's such a thing as changing the subject
(though not on here ey stiggers? Oh joy....)