Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Our Advent Calender

After my son opens a window he dips his little hand into the Quality Street tin I bought reduced in the supermarket.
Before he knew we were doing this he was so upset I wouldn't get him a chocolate calender but I told him the whole point of Christmas, the whole message was lost to him.

"It's not all about presents, presents, presents you know!"

Tis though innit, about gifts.

The gift of life; our families, our friends, our selves.
It's a moment to celebrate all we have and be thankful for it.

I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas and a bountiful New Year!

Overcompensating at Christmas time

I have totally been an overcompensating mother this Christmas.

My son wants certain things and well, I've seen that he gets some of them.

I say some of them, there were lots, and I've passed the cheaper ones to his dad.

I couldn't help myself, even though my heart was in my throat at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.

I thought my newspaper article would cover the cost of the kit, but no...

Then buying that football Fifa game that you know, you know will be reduced after Christmas. Took the whole bill, for those two things, to over £100. Daylight robbery really...

Does the cost of these things mean my child goes without this Christmas?

That's what I mean...I overcompensate

I have one child. Other people have many. You can't always give your kids what they want....

"Mamma, the way you talk, I think Santa doesn't exist."

"Who knows son, who knows..."

"You do mamma!"

"What makes you think that? I don't know!"

I enter an altered reality at Christmas time. Just to see the joy on his face. Santa needs to exist for me because my son knows we don't have money. How can "I" afford what I give him? At the same time I'm trying to teach him the value of money...ho ho ho!

Why is it, just an aside, the bank charges so teeny interest on savings, but so massive on debt?

Still they're lending....

Next year we'll all be singing Wham with re-jigged lyrics.

Next year, if I don't chance to wish you well for it later, I wish you well for it now!

Happy 2012!

Hopeful Horoscopes Hosanna!

Do you need to do some talking? Or do you need to do some listening? There's a point you are keen to communicate. Understandably so. It is important. Indeed, we have to ask, if it matters so much, why is it not already self-evident? Is it because you can see further than someone else. Is it because you have information that someone else is oblivious to? Perhaps a third party can help you to find some way to draw it to their attention. You can't just hold up a megaphone and shout. It's necessary to be subtle and sensitive. What joyous potential can 2012 bring you?
(Jonathan Cainer)

I'm going to a carol concert tonight, which is followed by a champagne reception, dahling.

I don't know how to talk, I don't know how to listen, but I know I have to pass information. I have a chance to pass information.

It calls for Magic Pants and Pearl Earings I think

(and no, I haven't blogged about that yet, but I will, now the need to pull them out pops up again)

Wish me luck. Oh God, a little bit of luck oh, and an ability to talk, to listen and to SING!!!

Tra la laaaaaaa a a a a oh!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Conversation with handsome man on the tube

Jumping on a northern line train, late at night

"Not being funny," I say to a handsome man in a red jacket sitting next to me. "This is exactly the same seat I was sitting on three hours ago when I took the train into town."
Looks at me with a faint smile...
"Yeah, really," I continue. "This Glamour flyer was on this seat, just like it was on this seat just now, where I left it!"
"Maybe it's telling you something," says the man. He had a slight antipodean accent, hmmm, nice looking guy!
"Telling me..." I look at the flyer again offering six issues for a pound plus a free gift.. "Sorry Glamour, I can't be arsed. You know what though," turning back to the good looking man. "It's almost like when you say 'Stop the world, I want to get off,' then you get back on exactly where you left, though, different perspective..maybe...."
"This'll blow your mind," he says. "That ticket was actually on my seat. I moved it onto yours."
"Oh really? Maybe the person who came on after me moved it onto your seat and then you moved it back...."
"Maybe you were sitting here," he says.
"Hmmm, was I? No. No I wasn't, I was definitely sitting here!" and laughing I grab the pole with my left hand as though clutching onto it for dear life.

Then with perfect timing, before I could make a total idiot of myself, the train reached my destination.

"This is me! A very merry Christmas and nice talking to you!"

"Nice talking to you too! Merry Christmas!"

I didn't look back and oh flip, I just realised I didn't look in the Metro today to see if he'd left me a message. Darn! Oh well, he wasn't meant to be!

It's a wonderful life!

Saturday afternoon, having made no plans with anyone while my boy's away, I saw online that the Prince of Wales theatre in Leicester Square, was showing It's a Wonderful Life.

I love that film, though only ever remember seeing it on a teeny portable, so seduced by a big screen and a £4 entry (I'm a member of the cinema!!) off I went.

Do you know, I never realised that the film was all about housing! Yeah! Ok, not all about housing but Bailey's Buildings and Loans is central to the whole film. George, dreams of going travelling but has to stay and run his father's company, which offers loans and affordable housing for the town's inhabitants.

The alternative for the town of Bedford Falls is wealthy slumlord Potter, who evicts people who can't afford his high rents... Remind you of anything today? Any party in particular?

After marrying and raising four children George starts up Bailey Park, an affordable housing project so people have an alternative to Potters expensive rents in rundown slums.

Towards the end of the tale, George goes to commit suicide off the local bridge (our local paper is awash with people doing the same thing over Archway Bridge (though there's a road beneath it, not water like in the film so sorry sorry sorry about the pun).

Bedford Falls without George is Potterville. The housing project doesn't exist. The high street with its mix of independent stores and buildings are now nightclubs, pawnshops, strip clubs. My street is all tanning centres, saunas, cafes and five supermarkets. Five! Like we need five. You can only buy clothes in one of three charity shops on my high street. The road's not even a mile long.

Just last week Mary Portas delivered a damning report on our high streets. We're all supposed to go to malls now. Welcome to the new American State of Great Britain...Free healthcare? Ha ha ha, get an insurance...

It is a lovely film, much lovelier than I've described here. Mary (Donna Reed), George's wife, is so beautiful. George (James Stewart)...

I cry everytime I see this film but what I noticed on Saturday is that I start crying after George has been rescued by the angel Clarence.

I howl as all his friends come to help him after his wife has gone out and told them he's under arrest.

One word though to people watching it on their own.
The inscription inside a copy of Tom Sawyer that Angel Clarence gives to George says: "Remember that no man is a failure who has friends." It's not true is what I thought as I sat there on my own.
I'm not a failure am I stigs?

I've heard the film is out in colour. I don't think I would like it in colour. I think it would take away the romance, take away the warmth, make it look dated as Rosie Scribble found it.

The message is very strong today. Look at what you've got. Don't look at your debt or your past or your future, just look at what you've got, starting with your breath, with any luck.

It's not an easy life I will warrant and I will say a prayer for those who have nobody on Christmas day and for all those who feel very alone, which will be many many people.

I'm not alone, am I stigs, even when my boy's not with me.

Achy achy heart though, come home soon son!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Batten Down The Hatches

Batten down the hatches: Idiom

to prepare yourself for a difficult period by protecting yourself in every possible way
Usage notes: When there is a storm, ships batten down the hatches (= close the doors to the outside) as protection against bad weather.


How do you do it? How do you batten down them hatches?

I use Al Cohol.

I used to do it with Nico Teen but these days it seems...

Tuesday, c'mon, I'd just sent off a somewhat tongue in cheek but also tragic article about my own personal circumstances and a picture of me to fully illustrate the point I was making.

Thirsty work that. Still don't know what response I might get. It was brave, what I did and I always toast my bravery (always? hic!)

Thursday the piece came out. Oh stiggers, what a big nose you have!
All the better to sniff out injustice my dear!

I was on a high. I had a Parent Council training session to go to followed by a Christmas party and I was just really happy, I guess.

Not even the Polish mother could burst my balloon though she very nearly did. A Daily Mail dream that one but I'm not going to write about her (again). It bothers me, that's all I'll say when people have got what they want and still find room to complain when their own country don't offer half what ours does (although the coalition is seeing to that) Not all Polish mothers are the same, Mistress Ha Ha's one but hopefully I don't need to tell you that. She's got more points than me again though..oh don't get me started...

Later that day, the school Christmas disco!! I'm looking after Juggling Mum's boy as her daughter's got a show elsewhere and supping beer with other parents as the boys..where are the boys..oh the boys are alright!

I drop off Juggling Mum's boy and she invites us in for some pasta. Oh wow: "I was going to take him to the Golden Arches," I accept, beaming and oh yes, I'd love a glass of wine!

On the way home, I buy another bottle. Cheap stuff from the corner shop.

When the Foca left me and I cried down a bottle and ended up puking, with my one year old oblivious in his cot, I swore I wouldn't drink alone. And I didn't. For years.

Nico Teen's gone now though.

On Thursday night I knew I had to send my article to the housing minister, shadow housing minister and deputy prime minister (glug glug) and I did that.

The next day, the next morning, I did that. I sent my article to the housing minister, the shadow housing minister and the deputy prime minister altogether under the caption "who cares?"

Oh hells bells, it's Christmas.,, I'll detox in January....


Published in both local papers

This week I wrote an article in the Ham & High, well a long letter really but I'm getting paid for it!!! So an article, a viewpoint, not a letter!

You read it here first. I can't send you the link but can tell you it was about the Great British Affordable Housing Lottery. It could be you!

Are you homeless? Squeezed middle. I think I included all 'groups'. All the empty properties "Does one belong to you?" Plenty of filthy rich folk in these parts, politicians with a second home allowance? So yes, a very inclusive piece. A nice one I thought, even tempered.

The Ed emailed and said did I want to put a picture with it. Instantaneously I felt sick.

On Tuesday night, after I'd sent it, I was so excited and so frightened that I drank a big bottle of Budvar, then dragged my son out to buy two more.

Then around midnight, deadlines far far over, pissed and on my soap box, I rattled off an email to the Camden New Journal in response to an article they wrote last week about the council selling off hostels cos there's no money.

I can write the original of that one for you. The Ham & High didn't edit my piece (much?), they didn't need to, I sent something polished but the CNJ had to do a proper clean up job; fix spelling mistakes, grammatical flaws, reduce caps, that kind of thing....

Let me get this straight. The council wants to sell some of its hostels in order to reburbish some properties in order to reduce the mighty waiting list of people desperate for a decent affordable home? (Council admits: 'We have no money ' and tries to sell two hostels for £12m' 8 Dec p6)
The council wishes to sell these homes to private developers who wish to build luxury homes out of them which will price out all the 18,000 names on the waiting list desperate for a decent affordable home and will instead simply accerbate the homeless crisis?
Tell me I've got it wrong. I love getting things wrong, especially at Christmas and New Year when you hope people will WAKE UP to the catastrophe before us.
I'm glad the Free School didn't get them. I know schools are needed but what? The children get an education but there's nowhere for them to sleep at night?

I didn't dream they'd publish it and thank both papers. I hope what I've written in both can have a positive outcome for the borough.

That is my Christmas wish!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Camden's 2.700 empty properties. Happy Christmas?

Front page of the Ham & High today: "2,700 homes empty as waiting lists hit 18,000".

Very topical as Channel 4 carries on its series on the country's 350,000 empty properties around the country.

Why am I saying Happy Christmas?

It's two years ago I got a possession letter telling me and my son to vacate my premises four days before Christmas Day."It's not your home, it's somewhere you rent," said the Libdem Lady

It's seven years ago that the Church wanted me and my toddler out the week before Christmas (I know!) until a local Labour councillor intervened so the wait for the court order got extended.

Oh blimey, back then, empty properties on my street. Oh how I longed for one of them. I discovered they belonged to a housing association. I called them up. "You need a job," they said. "I have a job, I'm a mother!" "Not that kind of job," they replied.

This Christmas I am safe. Well, as safe as you can be in temporary accommodation. Other people aren't. Crikey, it's never been just me.

These empty properties though. Apparently there are 752 out of that lot that are council owned.

There's a rumour that if you find one of them, you can have it. So last year (did I blog it? Must have..) I was told of an empty property in the estate across the road from Papier Mache Towers. So long abandoned letters couldn't fit through the letter box anymore.

I called the council, they investigated and the flat was actually leaseheld. Bought under the Right to Buy scheme and abandoned. Or bought under the Right to Buy scheme, sold, bought by another and abandoned.

That's the thing...over 2000 properties are privately owned and privately abandoned.

I don't know the numbers of families in temporary accommodation in Camden but I know I'm one of them. I don't know the number of families under the "Private Rental Scheme", I don't know the numbers of overcrowded families, living in council properties or otherwise desperate to move. I don't know the numbers of street homeless, sofa surfers, adults living with mum and dad because they're outpriced for a squalid bedsit. I don't know a damn thing.

I know what I want though. I want those homes to be returned to the council and managed by the council.

How it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, a positive thing without end


Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Great British Property Scandal - It could be YOU!!

Last night I watched Channel 4's Great British Property Scandal about the vast number of empty properties we have in Britain while the waiting list for affordable, secure housing swells and the number of homeless rises.

My friend texted me to tell me it was on but I didn't want to watch it. Firefox crashed my iplayer film though so I switched on my telly with bad reception.

Strangely I didn't find the programme depressing at all possibly because when it comes to housing, one can't get more down than a suicidal thought about it. Go George Clarke! Go Jon Snow!! Go Phil Whatsyername!! The issue is out, every day for a week!

At the end of last night's episode a very grateful family who had been moved from place to place and was currently residing in squalor got the keys to a renovated empty property. Three flats converted into a four bedroom home. Brilliant! A lottery win if ever there was one!

Tonight that fella off Location Location Location is going to try and put two street homeless people into two of the country's 350,000 empty properties (and counting)

It's luck isn't it. Pure luck. Over two million people (five million I thought) on the waiting lists and over two programmes, three people are helped. Three people 'win'!

Tomorrow, it could be you!

Tomorrow, it could be you...

The 'squeezed middle' I read are feeling unprecedented pressure on their mortgages due to high energy, food and fuel bills and are terrified of losing their homes.

Do you think they watched this programme? I mean, it's their taxes going on the likes of me, unnecessarily if they sorted the problem out.

People only care about other people when it's happening to them don't they
or am I wrong?
I am wrong aren't I
None of my blog followers are in my situation and yet they follow and some comment (strong stomachs! Thank you!)

Thank you Channel 4 for this series. George, I think I fancy you. Good luck with those Tory 'couldn't give a toss unless you show me the money' ministers

and that's my one issue with the programme.

You want small loans to go to individuals so that they may refurbish and rent the place out, thus taking pressure off councils and housing associations

BUY TO LET is a major component of why this scandal is so scandalous. You know, both programmes so far have covered the awful state of the private rental market.

Bring power back to the councils I say. Local Authority housing has been the safest bet for those with no or low money for decades and now it's being totally destroyed.

Channel 4 should keep running this series until the problem goes away.

I mean, thinking about my blog..seven years I've been statutorily homeless..three years I've been writing unpalatable copy about myself...I started with one follower and now I have more!

There's a market for this scandal, that's what I'm saying.
After all....

It Could Be You!!

Click here to join the campaign

Housing benefit has NOT been suspended

It helped writing yesterday. It helped showing myself my son's Red Card. Screaming out. It meant that this morning I could force myself to fill in the housing benefit forms to have it reinstated.

I was thinking the system I am trapped in demands so much transparency from me, from you but the higher up the chain you go...well, do you really think the expenses scandal is over? Do they have to show their bank balances each time they make a claim? No. Would they find that invasive? Yes, of course. Dave bought a drive way the other month for £140,000. A drive way! For cash? Wot no mortgage? What benefits do you think he claims for these days? Be nice if he declared all his assets wouldn't it? Well, we're asked to.

Anyway I send it off hoping I don't add detriment to my situation. (No, I don't have £140,000 squirrelled away incase you're asking. I'd have spent it by now, on a deposit, since you might be asking)

This afternoon a white and green envelope arrives from the council, with a letter inside, saying

No Change In Benefit

I have worked out your housing and council benefit again...
Private Claims Team (what a job...)

Damn. Why did I send the letter? Me who's usually so disorganised?

The man on the phone said they follow whatever instruction comes from the jobcentre (makes you really excited about going back to work...) and they saw that I was still on benefits so no change.
Good though, a relief. No comebacks please...

Small mercies.
Small ones
Only for the time being though
Best not think about it

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My son shows the Red Card

On my friend Annie's boyfriend's advice, my son drew a STOP sign on red paper which he was told to show the boys at school who were picking on him.

Good ey. Your child gets picked on or teased at school, doesn't need to say anything, just shows the Red Card (and eyeballs kid before walking away).

Wow, you could do it, take it to work. Boss being an arse? Show him or her your Red Card.

I need my son's card to day.

It's all the dark stuff... benefits...insecure expensive housing...no heating because the bills are already too high without it...guilt my son is cold at night..
voices...all voices...my voice...my voice...government policy...council policy...cause and effect...


Let Me Bring You Down Today - Song

Don't look at me

Every day is not wonderful
Suddenly so hard to breathe
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain, feel so ashamed

I’m not beautiful no matter what you say
Words can bring me down
I’m not beautiful in any single way
Yes, words can bring me down, oh yes
So let me bring you down today

To all my friends I’m not delirious
Not consumed in all my doom
Tryin' hard to blog the emptiness, the peace is gone
Left the puzzle undone, ain't that the way it is?

'Cause you’re not beautiful no matter what they say
Words can bring you down, oh yeah
You aren’t beautiful in any single way
Yes, blogs can bring you down, oh yeah

Let me bring you down today

No matter what we do
No matter what we do
(No matter what we say)
No matter what we say
(We're the song that's outta tune)
(Full of trashing mistakes)

(And everywhere we go)
And everywhere we go
(The sun will never shine)
The sun will never, never shine!
(But tomorrow we might awake on the other side)

'Cause we are beautiful no matter what I say
Yes, words will bring us down, oh yeah
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, blogs can bring you down, oh yeah
So let me bring you down today
Let me bring you down today
Let me bring you down today

(Christina Aguilera featuring Stigmum. This song's been on the radio alot recently so I'd just like to say, if you are a self hater, please befriend yourself, you need to know one person on your side oh and listen to the original)

Suspending housing benefit when you get sick

I didn't actually want to be writing about housing right now. I wanted to write about 'spiritual emergencies' or 'mental breakdown' (in medical parlance) because it's well, more trippy but fuck. More shit comes through the post and stiggers is like "WRITE IT DOWN'

A couple of weeks ago I signed over to Employment Support Allowance (there are retrospective posts about this in my Black Notebook.. like I said, it would have all come later this life on benefits stuff)

Yesterday, having just received a letter telling me I am £2000 in arrears from the housing association, I get a letter from the local council telling me my housing and council benefit has been suspended.

Dear Ms de Nim,
Notification of Suspension of Benefit
Suspension of Housing and Council Benefit

"The law allows me to suspend houisng benefit and council tax payments in certain circumstances (LIKE WHEN YOU'RE SICK). I am writing to tell you that I have suspended your rent payments from 21/11/2011 and your council tax payments from 28/11/2011 because your JSA (IB) has stopped."

Fuckers. Honestly. Fucking fuckers. Then they wonder why people top themselves or run riot and set places on fire.

I tell a stigmum mate who's actively seeking work this morning (and has a council flat) that I'm on ESA and housing benefit's been stopped and she says "What are you doing for money?"
and I'm like "Money's fucked..."
"Get a job!" she says. "Go back on jobseekers!"

Oh fucking fucking hell.

People don't understand.

People don't understand people with mental health problems because it can be so invisible (unless it's really fecking visible like the man on the bus the other day talking to himself)

People certainly don't understand me. Clear complexion, bright eyes, smile smile smile (or am I gurning?)

On closer inspection actally I don't have a clear complexion, or bright eyes. I just look flipping tired. The job application can wait..yes, yes, I have one in my bag...fat fucking chance I'll get a job I love though....

Anyway, this post is just so you know that if you sign off signing on because you're unwell, they'll suspend your benefits. Woo hoo!

The exclamation mark's a joke

Punitive policies and suicidal thoughts in emails

This is long because it is three emails I sent within one conversation. I've paraphrased the council response because I'm not sure it's ok to post it at all.
Still, the system doesn't give a toss if you kill yourself.
Take Jennyfer Spencer; a martyr to housing. Yesterday I asked the shadow housing minister to take up her case on the Guardian Housing Network discussion and gave him the article link. Will he? Look out for it.
As for me, I might send someone this run of emails, just in case you know, just in case.
In the meantime, suicide is very much in the news at the moment, with Clarkson calling victims Jonny Suicide and selfish for hurling themselves infront of an oncoming train. So um, I guess this is quite topical. Oh stigs, we're so on trend...

2nd December
Subject: Is it true...?

Dear [Allocations],
I hope you are well. You might be quite surprised to get an email from me but you are the best person who can clarify something I was told this morning.
A friend of mine who has been harrassed in her home, been given extra points and is bidding now from [England's Hostel] told me she'd been told it was important to bid or we got penalised.
Is that true?
I know the waiting list is long and the coalition want council's to shorten it but is one way to reduce it, to penalise people who do not bid on the homeconnections site?
I do not bid.
I cannot bid.
I've tried but I go into a suicide default position where I want to kill myself.
It's very hard to live in a dark dark place like that so I try to avoid it, and it's best avoided by not bidding.
I don't have enough points.
As you know, when I was in desperate need I was unsuccessful. I have no chance now and the knowledge of three evictions. So I cannot bid and I cannot avert another eviction and now I discover I will penalised because of that. [Ex homeless household support worker] knows all this because I told him.
I actually signed on to ESA two weeks ago following another breakdown. I wouldn't mind having another breakdown if I knew the home I was in was settled and my child was settled in his school because it might be the last one I have but I don't have that kind of security so I am likely to keep on having breakdowns, to keep on landing in my suicide default position where I want to kill myself but can't because I love my son and will not leave him.

Please tell me what the new rules are around housing. Please tell me what it means for my family that we do not/are unable to bid. I can't make my son start doing it. Make a nine year old feel that desperation and hopelessness? I can't.

We do love this flat. We have a room each and it's a great location for my son's school, friends, community we have lived in all his life.
It's expensive though. I've been paying last winter's electricity bill at £40 a week so I've not put the heating on yet even though it's cold.
I got a letter yesterday from the housing association saying I was £2000 in arrears which simply isn't true. It can't be true. I have not started work yet, I have been unsuccessul with all my applications. I'm aware I'm better off than those families in the private sector who have had their housing benefit capped. Same fears though.

If you could let me know about the housing rules and how they fit around my family - just the two of us in temporary accommodation - I would be really grateful.

If you are no longer the best person to speak to about housing allocation please let me know who is.

Thanks very much

Kind regards

Dear Ms [de Nim]

Thank you for your email. However, I believe you have been given incorrect information. There are no new rules around bidding and we do not have a system where people are penalised for not bidding.

Under our current allocations scheme, some points will be time-limited for a period of time i.e. three or six months say for harassment/DV and after that period has expired the points will be automatically removed from the application. This could be what your friend means. I presume that she is a council tenant placed temporarily at [England’s Hostel], because homeless applicants under the current scheme do not receive harassment priority.

We will be reviewing the allocations scheme next year and it is very possible that we will make a number of changes and consider penalties around those who are in a position to bid successfully but are not doing so. But there will be a number of issues that we want/need to take into consideration but will do so in consultation beforehand.

I hope I have been able to answer your query satisfactorily.

Thanks [Allocations] for your reply.

Yes, my friend is a council tenant. Why, if people such as myself have been accepted as homeless under the council's duty of care, why can't we have the same 'advantages' as council tenants. Not that harrassment is an advantage, far from it for anyone, but you know what I mean. I wish her luck of course, as I'm constantly wishing luck for myself and my son.

How will the council decide if someone is 'in a position to bid'? I might be seen to be in a position to do so but I'm not in a position to bid, I've explained why but I wouldn't trust the council to take that into account, for they didn't take into account letters from psychiatrists in the past saying how important a secure home was for me.
Can you let me know what the issues are that may be considered, particularly in light of penalties? It directly affects me and my son. In a year and a half our lease will be up. With the points I have currently I would not be successful bidding, not now, not then, particularly as you know I was not successful when in 'desperate need'.

It's all hopeless to be honest with you, really hopeless and I really don't know what to do about it anymore.

Thanks again for your reply. It's good to know I'm not being penalised yet
I hope we don't get penalised at all.

Kind regards

Dear Ms [de Nim]

Thank you for your email.

I don’t think anyone who has to move unwillingly from their home because of harassment/DV would say that harassment priority is an advantage. However, it is more difficult to move a council tenant who has an established tenancy than it is a homeless applicant, because we can always find alternative temporary accommodation immediately for homeless applicants than we can for council tenants.

In deciding whether someone would be in a successful position to bid, we would need to consider the size of home they require, the number of properties that have become available in the past year, the number of points they have, the average points that size property based on successful bids, whether the applicant had above average points and their bidding frequency.

The review of the scheme has not begun and so penalties aren’t being considered at the moment, but that is not to say that they would be entirely ruled out. It is something that might be considered. However, I really don’t want you to dwell on something that might not happen and has not been opened up for discussion at this particular time. The issue of penalties among other issues relating to the allocations scheme would be something to take into consideration as part of the consultation process of the review of the scheme.


Dear [Allocations],

Harrassment is no way an advantage, no way, that's why I put it in inverted commas. It's really sad it has come to that for my friend, who like you say, was a council tenant so harder for her family to move into another better permanent home. She actually should have been moved a long time ago so hopefully her time in [England's Hostel] will be short. The fact that it's very easy to move me is what has catastrophic effects on my mental health.

You are right also that I shouldn't dwell on something that hasn't happened but on your list, already, bidding frequency is considered. I have tried to do it while I've been here but I crash. I crash into a dark dark place. Every time. When I moved into [Papier Mache Towers] and started bidding after six months I was contemplating how I could kill myself when there was a powercut and I heard my son call out for me. It still shocks me today that if the window could open wider than a couple of inches, I wouldn't be here. I'd have left a three year old boy sitting at a table, possibly clambering out after me.

I've been bidding despite hating the process because I had to, I was losing my home and now I'm blocked. I can't physically do it and now I can't apply for jobs either. And worse of all, no-one can help me. I've had tons of therapy and still I here am, with a bidding frequency of zero, unable to do what I have to do, even though stability is what I crave for my son and myself.

Please let me know when the consultation starts. In the meantime I will try not to think of housing so if you could write a note by my number that due to mental health problems I am unable to bid for properties I would be very grateful. I don't want the lack of activity to be held against us should we be evicted again in a year's time. I don't think I can go through it again [Allocations]. Three times is already too much.

Kind regards

Out Of Office AutoReply: Is it true....?

Monday, 5 December 2011

We need to look out for and teach our children

A friend posted this on facebook this morning. It's young Jonah Mowry reaching out. It is heartbreaking.

Yesterday I read a heartbreaking story so relevant to this one. That of 15 year old Dominic Crouch who was driven to suicide following playground taunts that he was gay, a homo.

They've started calling each other gay in my son's class. These young boys don't understand the implication or what it means and I've told my son when he's been called so to laugh it off saying there's nothing wrong with being gay, gay means happy, or his favourite, what you say is what you are.

Above all, I have told my son never to tease someone else in this way, not even for a laugh. He's talked about sexism and racism recently and I've told him this is discriminatory aswell.

As the comment in the Observer says: "School children endure stress and misery as homophobic abuse and name-calling go unnoticed or unpunished. As casual racism and sexism have become increasingly unacceptable, homophobic name calling is passing into everyday use."

Bullying of any nature is awful for the child.

It is our role, along with their schools, to teach them about tolerance, acceptance, and, like the Observer says tackle the 'real issue about respect and identity.

The landscape for our children isn't a bright one at the moment. They're leaving school to either get indebted with university fees or chase jobs that aren't there.

If they have very low self value and very low self worth too they will find living intolerably hard.

Jonah, thank you for having the courage to post your pain and having the courage not to be defeated by any of it. I wish you the very very best for your future.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Self Possession

It appears I have been haunting myself, on and off, for the best part of a quarter of a century.
Brings new meaning to the phrase
Self Possessed

Next time somebody tells you you are very self possessed say
ha ha ha ha ha ha........boo!

Tres drole Stiggers, tres drole

(Taken from Notebook 20 November)

Food or Heating or Past Life Regression Therapy?

Past Life Regression therapy is expensive
I don't have £60
I have a bank account with the number indicating a rise, another rise, yet another rise with a - next to it as it sinks, sinks, sinks into the red hot lava of oh fucking hell....

I laugh as I tell my doctor. I can't do any of it, it's all on debt, it's not about choosing food or heating or past life regression or or... or... Christmas


You know what?
Fuck it
Fuck the overdraft
It's no kind of life worrying about money

With any luck Sir Camelot will appear over the horizon and pour Gold into my bank balance

Oh that past life healing was available on the NHS, but it never will be will it because pharmaceutical companies cannot profit from it so have nothing to gain saving countless lives.

(Taken from Notebook though not in original format 20 November)

Repeat after me
I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire

Past Life Regression Healing

I thought I had a gremlin, or some kind of malevolent spirit living inside me and I told the healer to get rid of it, get rid of this fluttering black thing inside me.

She said it wasn't a thing, it was a part of me and while I sobbed, she spoke:

"Where is she?" asked the healer.
"Perched on the window in her old bedroom," I replied.
"What is she doing?"
"She's crying, she wants to jump. In the distance, far far, far, she can see her parents, they'll be so disappointed..."
"What colours can you see?"
I looked around.
"I can't, it's all black. Black."

She spoke alot this healer. Very gently, coaxing. A I cried I bore my knuckles into my eye sockets, desperate to disappear.

"How does she feel?" asked the healer.
Wracking sobs, my torso shaking, then a word appears. A new word to me. A word I never knew. A real word. The truth.

More tears but different somehow. The healer gently asking why and taking my memory back two years; making sense of everything between until that realisation that I too had abandoned myself and suddenly all of that, everything that the 16 year old inside me was feeling, was acknowledged.

"Shall we see if she wants to come in now?" The healers voice drifts into my revelation. "Shall we comfort her? Shall we wrap her up and comfort her? What colour shall we wrap her in?"
Through the black comes "pink, like the t-shirt my friend gave me", then "No, blue, not pink,"
"She can have blue aswell,"
"Blue like Mary's veil..."
"Oh that's lovely.."
I giggle, excited, then embarrassed, say I'm being greedy, but the healer doesn't respond to that, just keeps talking about bringing her in from the cold, from the dark place, from the nightmare.
"Perhaps she didn't know that you had stepped back in," she says gently. "Maybe she didn't know you hadn't jumped."
The comfort of those words, a feeling so huge it stayed with me for days as I held myself at night.

The healer wants me to go again. It's really expensive. I'm not sure I want to, but I feel I owe it to myself.

(Taken from Notebook 20th November)

This post is for Marcus, a school friend I recently discovered killed himself two years ago. It goes to Jennyfer Spencer, the disabled woman I wrote about, who left her note with the local paper. To Helen and Mark, the couple I read about the day after I wrote a post about being internally paralysed. It goes to Gary Speed, the Welsh football manager who was found hanged.
It goes to all of those who cannot cope

Do Cuts Kill? asked Patrick Butler in the Guardian recently.
Yes, yes they do. And yes, yes they will.

Find hope and hang on to it.

I wish you all peace, in this lifetime as well as the next x

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Men feeling particularly low can/should also sing along to this great '70's number which acknowledges and celebrates all of us women! Sing 'A man' and let it celebrate you too!

RIP to all of those who have taken their lives recently.

Taking It Easy - Poetry?

Not been writing pad nor blog
My head that's filled with all this fog
Or visions of the path I'm on
No sign of any battle won
Just a voice saying 'Don't worry'

(Taken from Notebook 25th November)

Don't worry
Don't worry about anything
Give everything you don't like to the Universe
and just enjoy your day

Black Notebooks

Black contains every colour
Every colour is contained in black
Every colour including pink
and blue (of Mary's veil)

(Taken from Notebook 22nd November)

Taking breaks from Life

I've swooped into Blogland to let you know I shall probably start writing again next week, and it will probably be retrospective stuff written over the past two that I've not been on here.

I'm in a funny space. Funny strange and funny haha and funny cos it's not funny at all. One of those spaces! You know it?!

I took myself to the doctor and said I was fine apart from the headaches and I was generally ok, ya know. Told her I'd been to a psychic healer and was reading about God.

Well...bless her, she said I was very depressed and needed something more 'concrete'. I sniggered because God is a pretty concrete concept to me at the moment (that's what reading does to you...)

But, you know, my Life. Nothing much to snigger about there for millions of us. The Chancellors shoved his austerity cloak/blanket/shroud on women and children (I read in the Mirror yesterday) and my housing associatiion is saying I'm now £2067 in arrears and the job centre has sent me a P45 form. I've just signed off sick, not signing on for paid employment.


So, there is the space I am in. What I do not understand I push to the side so I don't have to deal with it and then turn my attention to Light and Love and the Universe and God and my Son and Christmas being the Season of Goodwill.

I know though, as you must know, that things that you push to the side, things that you ignore have a habit of coming back to you and slapping you in the face so hard your head spins.

That's the space I am in. My head is spinning.

It's not bad actually. Actually it's better than I've ever felt before. Woooo! What a trip! Just don't talk to me about reality!!

"You need something more concrete" says the doc.

Tell that to the Government...

Well, until the next time my friends!!!

In the meantime take a look at Conversations with God Book 3. How a purposeful successful Matriachy became a Patriachy and all you might want to know about the After Life. It's good, it's really good. It's very comforting too!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Conquering yourself is better than winning battles

"It's better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.
Then the victory is yours and it cannot be taken from you by angels or demons, heaven or hell.
Buddha said that!"

Sent to me by a friend on Monday evening. An athiest friend I might add!
Today it makes total sense to me as at some point it may do to you.

Dreams of bats in white porcelain bowls

Last night I was woken up by a flutter and vision of bats trying to fly out of one of my white porcelain bowls. I didn't let it freak me out. I'm going to the London School of Psychic Studies today. They will help me. (They have to help me) I'm really scared actually, so good job the doc has signed me off signing on, noting 'anxiety' as the cause.


To see a bat in your dream, symbolizes uncleanness, demons, and annoyances. Alternatively, bats represent rebirth and unrealized potential. You need to let go of old habits. Your current path is not compatible with your new growth and new goals. It may also mean some unknown situation and how you are blindly entering into a situation or deal. You need to evaluate the facts more carefully. The dream may also been a pun on feeling "batty" or feeling crazy.

To dream of a white bat, signifies death of a family member. To dream of a black bat, signifies personal disaster.

To see a vampire bat in your dream, represents that a person in your life may be draining your of self-confidence and/or your resources.

According to Chinese folklore, if you see five bats in your dream, then it symbolizes good health, longevity, pace, wealth, and happiness.

Wish I'd counted how many now!!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The location of old ghosts

The second email I wrote after my first 'thanks' one. Sometimes it's not good to rake over the past, but other times you have no choice but to. So, a little bit of history for ya, potted so it's makes sense (ha ha ha):

Tuesday, whenever that was. Oh yeah, yesterday!

Hi [Member of Staff],
I don't know if the college is in touch with [my son's] father and it's really not my place to interfere with that. It's between him and the school. I'll be seeing him later and if I get the chance, will probably ask him. He wasn't happy there either. I will tell him his biology teacher remembers him well.
Not really confessing, ok yes confessing but Sunday a mad thing happened to me as I walked through my old corridor. I felt the flutter of a ghost inside me. Only for an instant but it made me smile as better in me that out I thought at the time, so fearful am of, well, ghouls! Wonderful lunch followed, chatting to Mr [Brother] who's daughter was the year below my sister at the school they went to. Great afternoon. Great, all of it. You know. Good chat with Mr [Told Me My Ally Wasn't Dead]. Lift to the station! Briliant.
Told all on facebook - brilliant! Some even said they wished they'd come (not my year though!)
Revenge of the tears last night. Oh my..for the break up of my family; [my son's] dad was my boyfriend at school, all for two minutes but still, the bullying I allowed to happen with some girls and finally of course, that the flutter happened outside the room where I contemplated suicide in [Lower 6]. Three breakdowns/breakthroughs I've had since I left [That School] that now I know to be 'spiritual emergencies'. Housing problems led me to suicide dreams that I am now able to control. Over the next day or two I'm going to get in touch with a healer because I want to understand what happened to me. I'd said to somebody before going back to [That School] that I was going to reclaim myself because I lost myself there. Well myself has certainly seemed to have found me and the tears are what I told myself last night, another much needed healing process.
I took a giant step to come back. Infact, I think I was pushed. I think I was pushed by God. I didn't have to listen of course but it's always easier if you do isn't it?
So I don't know (I have a political party called the I Don't Know Party!). I don't know if I will come back or whether I will hold the memory of last weekend as a perfect memory. I have no idea. I'm getting dreams to write to one of the girls.[Decades past] though, people's lives have moved on. Mine has to. Why wake things up?
I will send the cheque, thank you so much for the puddings;) Please be patient though, I am quite rubbish and forgetful but you will get it. If I come I may come with the cash.
Sorry about this email. I'm aware I don't have to explain anything or justify anything but I've started a journey, long long ago and well, I've got to take it to the end. I'm sure I'll start enjoying it soon! I did say to [my son) yesterday I might come back next year and he asked if he could come along. He is a great little boy, I am very lucky to have him.
I won't give my mailing address now but I may do in the future.
I'm aware I'm being how I'm being and please don't mind me because I'm used to it!
I'll be in touch again. Please thank [Vintage Priest] for his time the other day and for the offer of returning.
Best wishes,
Sue de Nim

Old ghosts

If I had more than two tapes in the bedroom on the corridor at the Shit School I really shouldn't call a Shit School anymore, (later I was moved to the stairwell) then I can't remember.
On facebook I posted Bat out of Hell but I think I've referenced that song on here, to do with housing.
A great album that Meatloaf album. Some great tracks. Stiggers picked this one for you today. I used to cry out loud to it:

Awakening Reunions

I can't articulate about the reunion, just to say it was magical. Really. From the first direct train getting me and my son to the church on time to be given a lift back to the station minutes before our carriage home. So much inbetween. This is what I recorded on facebook as I'd told friends there I was frightened so wanted to reconnect there first. What I will say is that I believe my blogging days as Stigmum's conduit will end soon. Sure, I'm sad about that but it has to be done.

Sunday 13th Nov 9pm on my homepage
Il reunion was brilliant, wicked, fantastic, mind blowing! More surreal than surreal, for I've never been to one like it, nor will I ever again; there was not one person from my year there!! Year above, year below, but mine?!Nope! I tell ya, flying in the face of your fears... well, I've got a nice large glass of vino to keep me grounded, else I might fly right away!

In response to the Facebook Event Creator's "How was it guys" Monday 14th Nov
It was brilliant! The girls' area is now a boys area...As I walked through it I sensed all the ghosts inside me which was quite funny believe it or not! Our common room a staff common room now. Old teaching allies who are not dead like I'd heard one was! The Mass was amazing and later hilarious, even [Vintage Priest] laughed when [my son] banged his head against the 150 year old relic [ of saint]. Didn't make it to the rugby, or behind the chapel to join some smokers;) There were only a few of us there and it was great to see you/them. Great vibes basically from a school that has haunted so many of us. Will I go again? Dunno! Maybe!
(9 comments) Two guys including Luke wrote they wished they'd come having read that

On my homepage, to my friend friends
You might think I'm abit odd but yesterday when I walked along the corridor of my old living area (which is now a boys living area) I felt my ghosts fluttering inside me! Only for a moment. Then I tried the door to my old room, not used by any person now and it was locked and to the old common room (now for staff) and it was locked and to the toilets where some of us would smoke up by the fans, and it was locked. Just remembering it this morning! I don't think I'm odd btw, bit mad maybe, but not odd!
(14 comment conversation follows between me and an Old Boy after the post I'm posting next)

I'm thinking of deleting my last comment but I'm not going to. I simply failed to get across that my ghostly experience was funny (shame you can't use italics on fb, or can you and I haven't figured it out yet...;))
A primary school friend and a girl I worked with in Japan 'Like' this.

Highlight of yesterday was [my son] accidently headbutting a 150 year old Relic in the old school chapel. The priest laughed and I sniggered in exactly the same way as I would try to control my sniggers back in the days before I was forever (not, clearly) banned from the place!
Comments that follow
I think that counts as an extra blessing for [your son] :) From an Old Girl
Monday at 12:11pm · Like
Me Yeah! And inadvertently, I like to think a message to me too! It is all Light. Or at least, it should be...!
Monday at 12:14pm · Like
I felt a bit like that when my daughter did a poo on the side of the croquet lawn at [the school which kicked you out]...
Monday at 4:36pm · Like · 1
Me: Ha ha ha that's hilarious [G}, makes me think revenge is a dish which will be served up by our children, whether we like it, or plan it or not!!
Monday at 8:35pm · Like · 2 (though I wished I hadn't commented and kept the blessing thought instead of the revenge thought because:

It's been the Revenge of the Tears ever since
I will blog about it the best way I know how (or the best way Stiggers tells me) then leave this board

I am only writing about this experience because I believe it has some value for someone. It is hard though, I don't know what to tell you to expect.

"You're the real deal" had said a member of staff at the school
"Raw deal you mean, ha ha ha ha ha!"

Boo hoo hoo hoo hoooooo, I love blogging as Stigmum but I'm going to have to start over, with a different username, but I know just the one!!!

Pre Reunion Nerves

Relax relax relax relax breathe relax
It will be fine
It will be fine
Man on Heath said "You'll love it!"
You will so get excited instead of scared
You've got [your son] with you, the prayers of your mam and pap, the luck and support from friends. Do it.
Go into the church and bow your head, repeatedly saying thankyou to God and the angels, to Mary and the saints, for [your son], for your parents, for your being there and holding it together.
Good things will come from it
Good things
Your relationships will get better because you will feel stronger.
Rest afterwards and stay close to people who love you, yourself included.

(Taken from notebook: 12th November 2011)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

I ain't afraid of no ghosts...says trembling me

The spectre of that Shit School is looming large. Body is trembling, knees may buckle, heart is beating so fast I have to breath hard to steady it...
but hey, it was long ago, long ago. The wicked priest is dead, the evil prison marshalls gone... haven't they? And, most curious of any reunion I've ever been to in my life, I don't know who's going, just the friends who aren't (If the Foca's there I think I'll drop down dead but he won't be.. he won't be will he.. just the shadow of a memory in that great corridor where I was told I couldn't go into the church because God didn't want me there.)

I've got to keep calm and keep telling myself...It's all in the past and I ain't afraid of no ghosts! I'm brave me, brave...and it's costing me a fecking fortune just to get to the place so it better be worth it!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Meditation for 11.11.11

From Soul & Spirit. November issue. Page 41

Try this meditation from Shekinah to connect to the 11.11.11 energies at any time on the actual day of November 11th. When you do it, set your intention to ground peaceful, unifying energies into yourself, and the world and the universe.

*If you can, create a relaxing atmosphere with music, candles, incense or oils
*Focus on your breath. Inhale and exhale peace and love
*Imagine putting all your problems in a basket at your feet. Do this for a few moments until you feel completely relaxed.
*Then, with one deep breathe, picture roots growing out of your feet into Mother Earth. Inhale the Earth energy up into your heart and then out into the universe. Imagine this vibration, contained in your breath, merging with the 11.11.11 energies, and breathe that back down into your heart, and out into the universe.
*Visualise it going all the way round the world, enlarging and strengthening the lay lines.
*As you breathe, envision two symbols of light growing in your heart: one representing your internal masculine energy and the other your feminine.
*When you feel ready, imagine Shekinah as a bright diamond ball of light coming down from the universe, through your head and into your heart. Picture the latter opening to receive this Divine feminine energy and sense it merging with your internal masculine and feminine energies, bringing unity, peace and harmony.
*See and sense this energy going around the planet, bringing peace and unity to our world. Continue doing this for as long as you wish.

"Shekinah represents the 'hidden feminine' and together with archangel metatron seeks to bring balance and unity to humanity."

Even if you don't believe in any of this, breathing in a white light is a good thing to do anytime you want to reach out or reach in and harness some strength for yourself. You can also do this anytime, any, any, any time!

I wish you all a happy 11.11.11!

Advice for going to frightening school reunions

It might be a long way back to your Shit School. You might have to take a train, change, get a bus, then at the destination get a taxi. You might not think it's worth it. That's fine. You might think it is worth it. That's fine.

Even if you get to your Shit School doors and you can go no further, that's cool. It's further than you have ever been before.

No-one is forcing you to go
No-one is forcing you to stay
No-one is forcing you to leave

No-one is forcing you to do anything you do not want to do.
It is your choice and you are in control.
You can change your mind at any point about anything.

Remember you are brave
Know you are brave
You are brave

Nice neighbours

My neighbours are Italian. One's a musician, one's a hairdresser.

The day before last when I took my son to the salon where he works, he told me that if I was free on Saturday, he'd blow dry my hair!

He knows I've been shitting my pants about the reunion because, well, I've told pretty much everyone I'm shitting my pants.

Anyway, how nice is that???!

"You will look niiiice," he says. "I make you look niiiiic."

They're beautiful my neighbours but telling them how long it's been since I went to Shit School, flip, I don't think they were born!

No matter, age does not matter, age does not wither, nor stale our infinite variety. Isn't that right Shakespeare?!

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours.. That's on Channel 5 these days isn't it?

Focus on the good
Focus on the beauty.

Single mum friend this morning told me I was more than just a single mother on benefits, and should not define myself that way.

"You are a freelance journalist. You may not have written for a while but that's what you are."

With a little understanding
That's when good neighbours become...

OK, Ok, you've got it...


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Fuck, who knew????????

I see a single mum outside school today who tells me she's going to resign from her job at the NHS. I tell her I'm going to a school reunion.

"That'll be good," she says.
"Oh I dunno, the place was a prison. I'm only just admitting it to myself now that it was traumatic."

We chat, and the long and the short and the tall and the small of it, she tells me that I'm going through post traumatic stress disorder. She went through it years ago with an experience relating to her teens.

The initial experience is so big our brains can't compartmentalise it. Here is a page I just found from Mind. You might find it useful.

I'm a bit blown away to be honest (forgive the pun on this day of all days). 2002 years after the event a light shines.

My breakdowns in Japan, when the Church evicted me, when I was evicted from Papier Mache Towers (which is documented here on the blog)

Who knew??????!

It's November 11th today. 11.11.11.Rememberance Day. NotSupermum has written a beautiful post containing a beautiful poem:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

There are a million thoughts in a moment's silence.

I'd just like to say thank you.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Alcohol and Spiritual emergencies

You don't need me to tell you they don't go well together.
Alcohol suppresses the healing that wishes to surface.
So the hurtful emotions and feelings inside you grow and multiply and in time harden (I stashed whisky in my room at school, anaethetise angst)

I really want a cigarette

No I don't

I don't want booze either though, aaaaah, it is rather lovely, so much so I can't stop when I start

God says (and I know I'm banging on about it but Conversations with God bk 2 is good though I'm not telling you to read it, or maybe I am..) God says:

"You cannot hold in "you," because you are as boundless as the Universe. Yet you can create a concept about your boundless self by imagining, and then accepting boundaries" (p.13)

The problem when your boundaries are too tight (I say) is that "You", who you have been suppressing eventually breaks out. Doctors call it a break down. Spiritualists call it a crisis or emergency.

That's why a drinker shouldn't drink, should just allow that whole breaking out process. (I'm really thirsty)

God says you've got to be 'out of your mind' to experience True Awareness (wish I could find the page).

I've been 'out of my mind' a few times and it is great and now I know it was bought on by a 'spiritual crisis' well..I want it to happen again!

I better stop this post before you start thinking I'm mad.

I'm not, I'm just really spent

I'm going to go and imagine I'm having a moment with Nico Teen and then, and then I don't know. Try and build myself up, slowly slowly, so I can make it rhrough the doors of that school on Sunday..

"If ya gonna do it, you've got to go the whole hog," said my mate Charlie when he popped round the other day to charge his laptop.
"How do you mean?" I said.
"Confidence," he replied
"Look, if your not doing nothing, come down to the cafe with us now. Scotland's Only Son is there, a few others. Come, have a cup of tea."

So I did that, and it was good.

I hope I've stopped crying by Sunday

I can only copy and paste the response to an email I got from Shit School with four attachments. All who were new when I was, all who are and aren't in touch with the school and a list of the records they have on us. I was crying when I left the job centre this morning so it came at a good time to really drive out more tears.
I thought of writing something shorter, but I can't think any more. Tears are well knackering!

Hi [Staff member at Shit School],

Thank you very much for these attachments. They have come at a very good time!
Please excuse the email that follows, and certainly keep it under your hat, at least until after Sunday. Please.

I'm not in a very good place. I had to go and sign on this morning and well, I don't like doing that.

The long and the short of it is that I'm terrified of coming, terrified of being judged. That's normal and it's natural and I'm used to it but still, people don't go to school reunions, particularly schools where they don't associate much happiness, when they are not in a good place. Well, maybe they do. I'm doing so after all. I'm absolutely terrified of crying. I haven't stopped really since I wrote on the facebook page that 'maybe' I would come. What was I thinking?!

People remember me and I remember a few and really I've got some good friends and life otherwise is alright. I make no sense I know.
A decade ago, I got in touch with four people. I ended up meeting one of them and he is the father of my child. He left when [my son] was one, he's married and settled with two other children now. He loves and sees [my son] and that's what's important. It's also one of the reasons I am not able to let go of the school and my time there. Believe me I've tried. Facebook... You can't put yourself on a social networking site and not expect to be found.

There has been alot of pain in my experiences recently that also associate with school and there's nothing in my life to suggest that circumstances will change soon. I don't want to talk about that really (because it has the power to make me cry) but I will say I am going to a protest next Tuesday outside parliament against the new housing policies the coalition is tabling. It's an issue very close to my heart.

I do not know if I will stay for lunch. It's a giant step to even go into the church. I've got between now and Sunday to sort myself out so I at least look like I've got some kind of control over my life. I really do not want to cry but the soil is fertile for it so I'm trying to get it all over and done with now so I can enjoy myself later. I tell you, it feels like a dam has burst.

Thank you for those lists. [E!] That was her name! It's helping in other ways too. Some girls achieved loads. House colours, this and that. Brilliant. You get to me and well, it's all abit of a surprise! House Monitor? Me? House Monitored, no? I spent alot of time housebound when I was there. It's why I want to go back up there really; it was so much more my home than anyone elses, in that I spent so much more time there than anyone else. House plays? I was banned from playing hockey: "It's not golf Sue!" after I accidently hit (A) in the eye. I came last in cross country... but then again, I did come in so that's something I guess. I did play the flute and I was in the orchestra. I got it fixed last year actually, keep meaning to pick it up again.

I haven't got too much to be frightened about in regards to people's judgements because i haven't really fallen very far from any position I had back then, which is good to know. Quite lucky in that regard ha ha. But still, Daily Mail readers hate people like me, the Tory party too actually. After a while it takes effort to walk with your head held high.

However, that is exactly what I wish to do on Sunday, what I am going to do on Sunday, which is why I had to tell you what I've told you and ask you please not to tell anyone else. I'll tell them if it comes up in conversation (aargh and dammit I will try not to cry!)

I will send another email to you and [The Old Girl Who Works There] just saying I might not stay for lunch. Right now I'm wondering if I can even make it to the door but a friend said even if I get that far, it's further than I've been before.

I'll be alright. I've got my son really excited about it. None of you must worry. I'm a big girl now, honest!

Thankyou that I have been able to tell you what's on my mind. Like you said on the phone, many many people come back who had a hard time. I guess it just has to be done doesn't it?!

I look forward to meeting you and thanks again,

Best wishes

Sue de Nim

Internal paralysis

Unable, unable, to do what the government requires of me.

The sheer hopelessness of bidding for a stable home
The sheer hopelessness of applying for jobs

I tell people not to give up
but I have

The man at the jobcentre said there aren't immediate sanctions if you don't fill in the notebook and you and I know, at the end of this road, even if you do fill in the form, if you don't find a job, there are only sanctions that await you.

Give up on your dreams
Give up

I don't know how to advise you if you feel like this.

You can sit down and listen to James or do what I've just done and make an appointment with your doctor.

Who knows if it'll help. You've given up haven't you. but with the little bit of hope that's in you, that little bit, that part of you which wants something better for itself, use it to make that call.

(Oh Stiggers, I used to be so funny)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sitting down with James

I've been listening to this track alot and find it very comforting. Because I do not want sympathy, nor do benefit claimants, nor do occupylondon protesters, just understanding, Stiggers replaces that with a cuppa tea. Bless me little stiggers, she knows I'm weary

Shit, I've not done my JSA homework

Shit shit.
I have to prove I've been looking for work tomorrow or I won't get my benefits.
They won't buy 'spiritual crisis' will they? They won't buy 'hurtling at speed towards a mental breakdown'. You've still got to be available for work and you've still got to be looking even though it's hopeless.
Three jobs, all they asked for.
They'll give me so much shit if my notebook's blank. Rules n all.
I'm going to have to lie.

I remember being like this when I was being evicted. I knew I had to pack but I couldn't stop blogging.
Now, I know I have to job hunt but I cannot stop blogging
and of course, blogging knackere me out because it's so emotional and mental so I end up not sleeping, or not sleeping because I'm stressed and use that stress to write because no-one is alone in this world, with their experiences but they feel it.

Blogging saves my sanity
When I'm being forced out of my home
When I'm being forced to look for work.

Shit. I'll stop now, but I'm so tired, so so tired, all I want to do is sit down. Not think. Just be.

Shit, I don't know where I've put my Notebook


Teenage kicks

There was one day when me and My Best Friend came down to PE earlier than everyone else. We waited with the teacher for a while, then she told us to run upstairs and get the other girls.
So we ran upstairs, told the girls PE was cancelled, wasn't that great?! And they were like, 'really?' and we were 'yeah! Swear to God'
Then went back downstairs and waited again. And waited. And waited and my son really does take after me because I started to giggle and couldn't stop.
The teacher went bananas at us, told us to wait for her in the changing rooms while she got the girls and I laughed so hard I peed my pants, right through the wooden slats of the bench and the look of horror on her face is what made me laugh last night.

OK, it's not the best memory. Maybe I should have left out the bit about peeing my pants. Was funny though.

http://stigmum.blogspot.com/2009/09/woman-in-tower.html - I'm wondering whether to re-label this under 'reunion' because I'll have been to two this year, this one by far the most frightening.

Reunions a chance to let go, right?

Some friends can't understand why, how, I've not let go of my school days. Well, the answer is, because it's been hard. I did let go of it in Japan (or so I thought), came home overland by foot and everything, contacted four friends then got pregnant by one of them.

Here goes, the top three events that have ensured that the memories of that school come back and back and back and have caused two mental breakdowns as consequence, maybe even three. Hopefully not four.

Having a baby with the Foca. Prime cutlet of first class gossip me. Then dumped. Then (effectively) evicted from his brothers house (oh why didn't I take it to court?). I'll tell them me and the Foca are bezzy mates if they ask.
It's all about being judged isn't it, always has been and here is my chance to stand in the face of all that judgement. I reckon that's what most people are afraid of, nervous of, what people find quite traumatic. Do you like being judged? Are you afraid of it? I wish I was going back as a film star, rock star! Human rights lawyer. Millionaire. Seriously feckin' rich. No. I'm going back as a single mother on benefits. I'm thinking how lucky I am that I was never Head Girl.

Being evicted by the church when my son was two years old. Throw yourself at the Bishop's mercy the good priest told me. "We have no duty to care for you."
You were sent by Satan to do the Devil's work . I file that under trauma

Facing eviction and threatened with hostels twice
The school link: Detention, sometimes indefinite detention. 'Housebound' they called it then. 'Early Nights' they call it now. Can file that under trauma too.

What is going to this reunion going to achieve? That if I end up in a hostel indefinitely I will survive?
It's not going to achieve anything, is it? I cried so hard the other night, so hard, as the thought of our next eviction loomed into my mind. Fighting for my son again, for his education, that whole threat of displacement, how living with me puts him at risk of so much change and insecurity that perhaps it would be better that he goes to live with his father. His father who can give him what I can't. I ground those tears, god they're so painful, then thought no. My child doesn't want to be separated from me and I will not sacrifice him, even if his life away from me is better.

Sorry to admit this to you, but there is so much pain in my life

Fuck, sorry.

The man was nice on the phone to me yesterday. I told him I was a bit scared, bad memories n all. He said last year a 64 year old man came back for the first time who'd hated the place. Another guy, a major in the army, came back and cried.

So many of us hated it back then, I said. Alot's changed. There's no saturday morning school anymore for starters.

The man said things like "we'll take care of you"

and I thought no and I cried no and I cried and cried some more and some more and I couldn't stop and I thought I'm not a victim

I'm not a creep
I'm not a loser
I'm not um, a wierdo
I do belong here
and Radiohead is a great name for a band and that is a great song.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"We'd love to have you!" says Shit School

I'm shshshshshshshshaaaaaaking.

Watch my hhhhand tttttremmmble.

I phhonnned the ssschhhoool yyyyesssterrrday aaand itttt rrrung ouuttt.

My nnnumber's ccome upp, I tthought. Bbbllaack mmmark, nnnot wwwwelcccome.

Rrragh. Ddefffiant. I am going to that bbbbloody pppplace.

Called hhalf aan hhour aggo. Ssaid I'm cccoming onn tthhhe aaanswwer mmmacchiine aand ttthey cccalled mmme bback.

Bbbbreeeeaathhe. Brreeeeattthhe. Bbbreeeaathhe

I wwwwiill bbbloggg agggain tttooommmmorrowww

Message for A Single Mother's Journal - Why block me?

To A Single Mother's Journal,

I'm reaching you from my blog because a while ago I noticed that although you follow mine, you have denied me access to yours.

Then two days ago, I lost a follower. It's always a shame but you know, not everyone is going to like what you write. That's how I see it anyway.

It made me wonder though, if it was you! When I saw it wasn't, I clicked on your blog and I got this:

Blogger: permission denied
This blog is open to invited readers only

It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.

Do you mind explaining? I know I used to comment on your blog. I comment on quite a few people's blogs. Did I offend you in any way? Why don't you just say, or delete my comment if you don't like it(like another blogger did who doesn't follow me, nor block me).

I wondered how to reach you because I was unable to contact you and figured writing to you through a post is the best way, seeing as you follow me.

Is there such thing as blogging etiquette? I thought there was, unspoken.

Maybe you could 'unfollow' me, Either 'unfollow' me or allow me access to your blog. You can't have it both ways.

Well you can actually. I figured I could block you back but there's no point. Mine is an open blog for anyone to enjoy or learn something from. You just have to google me and you're in. I leave it with you.

I have thought about posting something about you doing this on the mummybloggers site, see if this kind of thing is unusual and I might.

They might not respond to me, or comment on this. Years of blogging I've come to accept that. I'll do it next week though. Might put this post on twitter though (I do that with pretty much all my posts)

It's up to you but I hope you do the right thing. I also hope you're alright. You're a lot younger than me I think and it's very hard the life we lead bringing up our children on our own. I'm pleased my blog has helped you in some way because that has always been its intention.

Take care of yourself.

Sue de Nim

Say, what shall I wear to the Shit School reunion?

Before going to sleep the night before last, I asked the Universe, the angels to give me some idea of what to wear to the Shit School reunion should I go. It's always a bit of a nightmare isn't it, deciding?

I floated in my dream wearing my grey wool dress from M&S last whenever and my dark blue chunky boots. Then I appeared floating in my dream wearing the grey wool dress, a pair of black buckled court shoes and a red coat I would buy at Primark because I am overdrawn and I may find a cheap one there.

Cool! I'll go to Primark!

Hang on, what if the red coat actually symbolises something...

Don't Look Now...that formidable psycho thriller with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland which haunted me for days afterwards. Am I that little girl in red?

The chest seizes...

Little Red Riding Hood! I am little Red Riding Hood entering the forest! I am not afraid of the wolf because I Run With The Wolves (Pinkola Estes)!!!!

Don't Look Now...

Ok, I'll get a maroon coat!


Ok a black one!

Whose funeral?

AAAARGH..Why can't I wear jeans??????



Go back to sleep

Monday, 7 November 2011

The past comes haunting - song

Half past three
And I'm watching my past show in my bed all alone
How the memories come crashing on my own
Autumn winds
Blowing outside my window as I look around the room
And it makes me so depressed to feel the gloom
Is there a soul out there
Someone to hear my praaaaaaaaaaayers

Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

All my friends
Found the end of the rainbow, with happiness to win
It's so different from the world I'm living in
Tired of my view
I can’t open the window and gaze into the night
for there's darkness there to see, just ghouls in sight
Is there a soul out there
Someone to hear my praaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayers

Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day
Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme some peace after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

(oh the beautiful instrumental)

(Abba featuring Stigmum)

The tune if you want to sing along...

Skeletons in closets - a thought

Skeletons in closets
make an awful lot of noise.

Friends who betray you

I'm not happy telling you this. There are things you want to forget, it all happened long ago but with all things I write, if I think there might be value in it for someone, then sod it, I spill. It's long though, and a bit boring, so you can stop reading now, I won't be offended.

My Best Friend actually betrayed me the first week at Shit School. Some spanish girls were giving me dirty looks so I asked them why and they told me, in their not brilliant english that I'd been bitching about them. Who told you? I asked. They wouldn't say, and then when they did, I didn't want to believe it,despite Best Friend being half spanish herself

Then my roommate, a Chinese girl, who'd I'd been having a real laugh with, started blanking me, turning her back on me when I walked in the room, that kind of stuff. Turns out my Best Friend had told her I'd been bitching about her as well. In my first week!

I challenged my Best Friend and she denied it.

What you've got to understand maybe, what I've got to understand, is there were slim pickings for friends at that school. There were what, a dozen girls in my year. Me and My Best Friend made each other laugh. Things were never the same, as lighthearted and fun with the Chinese girl anymore. She probably thought it was true, and that I had been bitching and that I had lied to her.

Fast forward a year and My Best Friend is bitching about two girls in our class, A and B. I didn't really like A and B, I thought they were up themselves and vain (B would brush her hair gazing infront of her mirror, every break time, before every meal time)So I joined in the bitching. "What's he doing with her?" would say My Best Friend. "I know, he could do so much better..."

(I've cringed about all this before, there's no value for me in writing this)

Anyway, one night, when I'm in my bedroom in the stairwell with the bricks missing from the wall, B comes in, furious, saying: "I heard you've been bitching about me."
I say: "Um, yeah." "Why? What have I ever done to you?" she says. "Well (I struggle for something) I guess you're a bit vain.." She shouts at me, goodness knows what she says, and storms out the toom.
Then A comes in the room:
"I heard you've been bitching about me," she shouts.
"Um, yeah," I answer unable to deny it.
"What have I done to you? What have any of us done to you?"
"Oh for fucks sake, I'm tired of this. Don't either of you wonder who I've been bitching about you with???"
"Who? Who have you been bitching about us with??"
"Well if you can't work it out I'm not going to tell you."

I was furious and hurt, really hurt but no time to think about it, exams looming and all. I don't even think I had it out with her, My Best Friend. I think I just profoundly thought: FUCK YOU. FUCK ALL OF YOU. FUCK THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD.

A day or so later a 'friend' called C tells me My Best Friend, A & B want to see me in the school field at 1 O'Clock. I tell her to tell them they can fuck off. Then I think no, no, stupid fucking bitches and I go down to the main hall, where some boys have gotten wind of it and tell me they'll come with me. "You don't have to do that," I tell them. But they do. The Black Hand Gang I'd call them; five of them and a Greek fella. Have you ever felt rescued? I remember feeling rescued.

I reach the girls who have not expected the boys, and have become all girly, flicking their hear, "hi!" they say.

I don't remember beyond that. Alot of shit was going on then; detentions, priests telling me I was Satan, general abject misery, oh yeah and A levels...Maybe it'll come out over the next few days, in my sodding sleep. Maybe it never will, because it's not important. It is past.

Here's this though. The value, particulary for someone who has been bullied.

My Best Friend followed me to college a year after I got there. She wanted to come see it before accepting a place and to see if she'd changed, I told her I fancied my flatmate. I told my flatmates my little plan and My Best Friend did indeed try to snog by flatmate.

When I returned from a year in France she had a group of friends and I'd see her in the SU Bar but never talk to her. Then one day, she was gone.

She'd tried her, what, game? with her friends. She betrayed her new Best Friend, Em, telling others in the group she'd been bitching about them. She didn't count on Em being close to the others in the group and the lot of them figuring out what My Best Friend had done.
My Best Friend got hissed out of college. The whole art department turned against her.

Karmic Justice! Thank you Universe! Sure I was sad that another person got hurt, and Em and I since became friends but the relief, the relief I wasn't the only one. Maybe that's the important point. You are never the 'only one'.

I. Let. It. Go. Didn't I?

My Best Friend invited me to be her friend on facebook earlier this year. I ignored it. So why now, suddenly all this fear bollocks.

She may be at the reunion. A photo popped up, see, on the Home page, of a guy who I can't remember so why did I accept a friend request from him..anyway, a photo popped up and it turns out she's going out with him. "My beautiful boyfriend!" she writes. And other girls (A but not B) from the year commenting and liking.

My Best Friend would never go to a reunion on her own but with this one she won't have to. She's very much part of the school network that exists and which I don't want to be a part of. I care for so few of them and don't remember so many.

She is not My Best Friend. She has not been My Best Friend since we were teenagers. I'm likely to see her precisely because I don't want to...in that place with all those people who remember us as being joined at the hip..are you fecking kidding?

What will I say?

What would you do?

All I do know, is that I allowed that whole experience to affect the whole of my adult life. I do not fight for my friends, geez, I don't even fight for my son.

Here's what God says and I can't tell you that it makes me feel any better about any of this:

of yourself
in order not to betray
It is the
Highest Betrayal

Your Shakespeare put this another way:

To thine own Self be true
and it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false
to any man

Skeletons in closets ey, who knew they could make so much noise...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I sometimes go to Church on Sundays

I didn't go today. Not to my local church nor the church which has a beautiful latin service and choir (of angels heh heh)

Woke up in time, looked at my clock, rolled over again.

Is that alright do you think?

Alright that I go to Church sometimes? When I fancy it, when I want to?

I don't think my local priest would think so. He's always telling us to come every week and be on time (I'm always late, bit disrespectful I know but...)

If I'm a now and then attender does that mean I shouldn't attend at all?

If you are a church goer, do you go because you want to or because you feel you have to?

God doesn't want you there

No, memory bank, no. Some priests, some believers of the Faith, don't want me there.

Does that mean I shouldn't go?

There is no peace between me and religion.

Should I force that?

Should you?

Should we?

Let it be

Music is the food of Love

For anyone going through any type of spiritual 'crisis', 'emergency', or simple spiritual growth, I can't recommend music highly enough to see you through it.

I find myself listening to Classic Fm, Magic and Heart at the moment.

Whatever floats your boat, they say

Enjoy the ride, try not to be afraid

Depeche Toi..

I phoned Shit School on Friday afternoon, ostensibly to ask if when I come for the Feast Day, that they will allow me to go back up to the girls' living quarters. Ya know, remember the child I was and let her go.

I didn't get that far.

I asked to speak to the Head Teacher but spoke to his secretary instead, which was cool(very).

"You would have been sent a letter inviting you," the woman said on the phone.
"No, I'm not an alumni. When I left that place I really left. I found out about this on facebook."
"Oh, word of mouth then?"
"Kind of, some people are talking about a reunion on facebook. I don't really know too much about it."

The long and the short of it is I might not be able to go.
"The chapel is very small," she said
God doesn't want you there
"I know, I just think it would be very special."
"Yes, I'll find out for you and call you back. Are you on this number I see on my handset..1234567891011"
"Yes. Thanks."

She didn't call me back.
I will call her tomorrow.

Don't know if I'll join the lunch though, if there are tickets left. AAARGH.

I've been crying all morning for flips sake, tears chasing off the shadows I've allowed to lurk around my soul.

I've got Classic Fm playing in my bedroom.

Good job it's Sunday ey?

I may go and have a bath

Reach out and touch me

Friday, 4 November 2011

From a friend

Evelyn Evelyn "Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn" Music Video from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

Spiritual Emergencies

I discovered the phrase Spiritual Emergency or Spiritual Crisis in a natural remedy health book belonging to my mum, last weekend.

There was only one page on Spiritual Crisis but it told me enough that modern doctors don't understand it and will be quick to diagnose you with depression and put you on medication, which is what happened with me.

Medication didn't work for me, I almost committed suicide for fecks sake, and I've been through I don't know how many shrinks and psychologists.

I can't tell you too much, because I don't really know. I know that my last breakdown, I called it a breakthrough, because that's who it felt. It felt like both. The breakdown part of it though, was terrifying.

Religion is at the root of it for me.

Right, it's no biggie, though I have allowed it to be a biggie in my life, but at Shit School a priest told me that I'd been sent by Satan to do the Devil's work.

That's it. That's all. No priest ever touched me physically. Just wounded me at a time when I was experiencing major teenage turbulence of the emotional kind.

Good. I've admitted it now. To the world.

God says (in Conversations with God bk 21 p 80):
Religion asks you to learn from the experience of others. Spirituality urges you to seek your own.
Religion cannot stand spirituality. It cannot abide it.

On page 247 God says: Return to Sprituality. Forget about religion.

This is good for me even if priests don't like it. I cried in my bathroom this morning when it crossed my mind that when I email the school to say I'm coming, because I'm going to do that, the teacher that remains that I saw on the website may recall me and say that I am barred from the chapel and am not allowed to enter. You know, because "God doesn't want you there...."

Stupid I know but I didn't know this morning and different fears are rising all the time.

I have to lighten up or I'm going to have another breakdown for fucks sake.

Hey stiggers..Are you Satan and me the Devil or am I the Devil and you Satan? It's always really confused me....ha ha ha!

http://spiritualemergency.blogspot.com/ Brilliant, found it this morning.

Reboot is the label I used after my breakdown though at the time so much was flying through my mind and I was too scared to write because I was afraid I was going mad. Teaching is a label I used to explore spiritual stuff but when I started the blog did not want to admit I was a spiritual person. If I had, the label would read 'spiritual stuff'.

God, you really do learn as you go along...

What you resist persists so accept

What? That I've been sent by Satan to do the Devil's work or that I'm doing just fine with my kind of spirituality?

You know the answer

When you are forced to confront what you don't want to

"What you resist, persists."

I left my Conversations With God book 1 with my mother so can't give you page number or anything, just the recommendation it's a good book.

It's true though, what God says, in that book. What you resist persists.

Last night I saw on facebook that a guy in my old class at school had added me to the "Class of.." page.

Three years ago, when his friend had found me on facebook, I was invited to join and well, the tremors and shakes and loss of appetite and headaches, always, headaches, I didn't accept. Why would I? Why would I, even symbolically, align myself with a place that made me so unhappy? No!

My posting that I might go to this reunion may have something to do with my being added to the Group now. I don't know, I'm not asking, I'm not saying anything, I'm just letting it be.

All the memories are coming up again; the dententions, the bullying, the religion. I push it all down because to allow them to come, well, makes me cry if I'm lucky.

In my heart I know I should thank that guy for adding me to that Group. It is a kind thing to do and he means well by it.

I have to go back to that school, I have to face the possibility that there will be girls there I don't want to see, because I've got nothing to say to them. I could go back to that school when there is no chance there will be any old pupils there, like this Sunday but I just want to deal with it all and be done with it. Do that or else delete those I accepted as friends from my facebook page because otherwise what's the point of them being there?

The soul speaks to you in feelings. Listen to your feelings. Follow your feelings. Honor your feelings.
Why does it take so much time to create the reality you choose? This is why: because you have not been living your truth.
Feelings are the language of the soul. And your soul is your truth

(Conversations with God book 2. Page 14/15)

What you resists persists
Confront it
and keep breathing

If I let the memories surface maybe good ones will come up too.
I need to be strong when I get there because to be honest with you, I'm terrified.
I don't want to have any kind of break down infront of anybody. I don't want to be all shy and awkward and stuttery in front of anybody, I don't want the act of putting on a brave face to to, I don't know...
I want to be myself, but not the self who is writing this right now.

I will of course, let you know how it goes - Really Good, Good, Shit, Really Shit

If it is Really Shit though, don't let that put you off attending your own if that's what you feel you have to do for whatever reason your subconcious wants you to decide.