Tuesday, 29 March 2011

"Wage constraints" and the "Employer's market"

I watched Panorama last night. It's "Big Squeeze" episode was quite depressing if you could empathise with the families interviewed. Hopefully an eye opener if you couldn't.

People are getting poorer was the thrust of the programme with a big emphasis on wages. Peoples' frozen wages are worth less than they were two years ago. Some people are prepared to take a pay cut so afraid are they to lose their jobs.

"Ledge Dwellers" That's what people are called who might tip over the end of life any minute and find themselves in rent/mortgage arrears and imminent homelessness but I'm not here to post on that, for I am a "Ledge Dweller", dangling my feet, banging them together in deliberation, as you can do when they can't touch the ground.

No, I'm here to post about Annie's boss. Well, Annie's ex boss. She lost her job but has been working through to the end of her monthly contract. He mustn't lose a penny in these austere times. She of course, needs a reference. Only reason I can think of that she's sticking around (other of course than her low wage)

Her ex boss cut to the chase "I can employ someone with more experience than you for the same money." By way of apology he added: "Sorry, but it's an employer's market."

Well fuck me, yes it is. Wage flipping constraints; to raise people's salaries risks interest going through the roof and all hell breaking loose according to Panorama. Meanwhile, certain employers are rubbing their hands with glee because they've got a pool of over 2 million people to pick from. They don't have to pay them very much.

"You've got loads of fucking experience," I said to Annie, angry on her behalf. She said that her ex boss did say it was a shame he couldn't employ people like her and train them up. Bollocks. She's hardly slow my Annie. Totally overwork her and of course it'll look like she can't keep up.

With rent responsibilities as well as the rest, Annie's been using all her spare time trying to find another job, filling in application form after application form and feeling quite down in the process.

Then, last Thursday, an interview!! A job she really wanted which suited her politics down to the ground (off that fecking ledge)

She found out today she "did a very, very good interview."

It wasn't enough though, not in this "employer's market"

Makes me so angry.

Better will turn up Annie, it will. Don't lose hope x

NUT Strike!

When my son's class were all told last week that they'd get a day off tomorrow they all cheered!

This morning my son, once again, was very excited! He said we can do whatever I want to do tomorrow and I thought how lucky I do not work.

We could join another protest!

2000 Camden NUT members are going to strike against government cuts along with 2000 teachers from Tower Hamlets and 3000 Unison council members.

Or he could come along with me to my voluntary job meeting (it's not work, that's why I'm being forced onto jobseekers) which is taking place between 10 and 12 tomorrow morning. This the email I sent to my "boss" this morning after she said I could bring my son along to the meeting:

Aargh, I feel pulled in two as I want to come because I want to contribute to the website more but I also feel I should use the day to take him to the science museum or something. Let me chat to him, I could say he's part of it and can give some of his own ideas?!
I just don't know (unfortunately I'm in that swirl at the moment, probably the spirituality book I've been reading....)!
Thanks (Boss),
Best to you

She's sent back the minutes but I have discovered the protest march is taking off from Camden at 10 am tomorrow morning, from her place of work to the Town Hall!

I've invited her to join!

Vince Cable said on Sunday that the marches and protests would make no difference to the economic foundations of the country.

Well, we'll just have to see about that won't we?

Pupil premium - the reality

A libdem policy isn't it? The pupil premium? Good in theory, but how in practice?
The newsletter from my son's school I read yesterday was so interesting on the subject I thought I'd share some of it with you!

"Undoubtedly, schools have been apared the worst of the government's cuts but nevertheless this year's exercise of setting the budget was more difficult than usual....
Schools have been given a standstill budget, in other words, the same amount as the last financial year. However, this takes no account of inflation so in effect represents a cut of about 2%. Because of the high numbers of children with special needs (Son's School) has received extra money from the new pupil premium but in the final analysis this gain has been wiped out by the losses explained earlier due to inflation. School with few free school means children will fare much worse."

The newsletter does go on to say what other cuts the school is making, (improvements to the building like upgrading the children's toilets, getting outside staff to help with special needs pupils) and what it has managed to save this year (internal staff and the after school club)

I always wondered how the pupil premium might work.
Devil's always in the detail isn't it?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Lunch date that's not a date

I've been invited to lunch by some fella who works for some housing federation.

Wanna be in my gang my gang my gang? he said at the housing strategy meeting where I met him two weeks ago.

Oh ok! Maybe...

I was meant to meet him yesterday. Better that's it today, more business like. Business.

Poor guy though

I'm feeling TOXIC

and not in the Britney sense

(What you are stiggers? You're toxic? Perhaps I am feeling Britney sense then - "I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic....")

Fuck I don't know

which is handy

for I am the Leader of the I Don't Know Party.

If all else fails

I can tell that guy that.

Best go put a face on...

Support worker does my bidding

I should be grateful. My support worker texted me on Friday to say he'd bid on 3 properties for me.

I remember a Bengali mum in a hostel who helped me with my dissertation; she told me her support worker did the bidding for her family. I figured it was because she couldn't speak English, so couldn't understand the system. She'd been waiting two years and at the time I just couldn't believe she hadn't viewed anything, what with all that support.

Crikey, what does it mean that I need that level of support now? What does it mean that I can no longer do my own bidding? What have I become?

I couldn't tell you this good news on Friday as it would put a downer on my whole weekend, and I didn't want that. I must forget that he's doing this for me otherwise every week I'll be wondering if I'm moving again and.. fuck it's so hard to feel settled when you're in temporary accommodation...

This is our text conversation, I'm sure he won't mind, hope he won't mind, am I beyond caring today such is my head mind?...

SW: I bid for 3 flats (support worker)

Me: Where? I should say
thanks so er, yes,
thanks. I hope what
i'm offered some day
is near here & (my son's)
education. You know,
i hate to turn things
down (sad face emicon) cheers

SW:I just bid for
everything.It doesn't
matter. You can turn
down as many as you

Me: Last time i turned
one down i slipped
way down the list,
hence losing that last
eviction. I want to
believe you but can't.
Not your fault.

Absorbing oppression

I think I do this.

I absorb all shit.


Heard on the news last night that not filling in the Census costs the local councils billions. Not filling in the census means less money is delivered to councils for essential services because they don't know how many people live there.

Bullshit. It's all bollocks. Fucks me off.

Sometimes I absorb stuff without even totally understanding what I am absorbing, because what I am absorbing is too overwhelming and too poisonous to my psyche. Like missiles in a war I never ask for, I don't know how to stop it.

I don't feel better writing this down. No, not at all

Which means of course this blog today is TOXIC

Stay away if you know what's good for you.

As I should do with the political world outside my window, inside my window, fucking everywhere in my life.

There, I've given you a public health warning.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Clocks go forward, the sun still high

I was going to go to the Latin mass in Mayfair this morning, for as you know, I sometimes go to church. Instead I had a lie in! I woke up and my phone said "10.56" and the service starts at 11! I forwarded my phone last night so as not to miss it. Ah well!

The sky has been blue all day and I felt I should go to the Heath but I didn't want to go alone, for I did that a few times last week, which was nice, don't want to spoil that healing memory.

So I've stopped in with Stiggers, to tell you about my weekend.

It's late now, 17.15! The sun is still so high in the sky! Summer is on its way!

I'm going to go and post that sodding census then I'm going to drown my sorrow of that down my local pub.

Just one beer. My son's coming home.

I can't wait.

Census due in today

The day I was going to send it, I saw the video below on one of my friend's facebook pages.

It's due in today. Today. A Sunday.

I wish I could boycott this census, but I don't have £1000 nor do I have the guts. I'm ashamed to admit it, but then our Government should be ashamed of itself aswell.

Thousands marched in peace

I heard on the news last night that 250,000 protesters had descended on London for the March against the Alternative.

I don't think so!!!! As we took fairy steps up the embankment, so crowded the slow moving train of waving banners, I told Annie and the two others we were with: "There must be at least half a million here today, more!"

There were loads and loads of us! Some dressed up, others with DIY banners: One woman had a poster of Dave and Nick as the Banana's in pyjamas: "What do we do now B1?" asks the Deputy. "I've absolutely no idea B2!". Someone else carried a banner saying "My mum went to the polls and all I got was this lousy coalition."

Mine said: "No cuts" and on the other side "coalition resistance". Annie's was "Cut Trident" and her friend J's was "Leave Libya Alone"! Just picked them up off the side of the road! Woo woooooooooooo! Our voices our whistles!!

While we were walking Annie would get tweets about the violence taking place in Oxford street where UKUnCut was staging its own protest. There were other spin off groups there too, one called the Black Bloc, mostly responsible for the broken windows at Starbucks and the Ritz I'm guessing. Must of been them who chucked some paint at Boots while we in there buying chocolate and so told to sneak out a back door! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_bloc).

Fortnum and Mason's got occupied by UKunCut just after we'd walked past it! I've read this morning they were peaceful, didn't so much as nick a cupcake, just dancing and singing and tidied up after themselves!

We got to Hyde Park as the rally ended so missed Miliband's address, all addresses infact! It was a great march though. It just seemed like everyone was out, people you see everyday. There was a really good vibe all of us there together (ha ha) "defending the needs of the majority against the interests of the few" (fellow protester!)

A shame then that I hear of police brutality. I was meant to be having lunch with a guy I met at the housing strategy meeting last weekend but he emailed to say his friend's friend's uncle "got beaten up by the police and is in hospital. Serious."

This vid, from the Guardian, may give you some idea of what I mean when I say there were lots and lots of people and lots of lots of people just like you and me!!:

Next time come if you can!!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Jealousy still strikes my heart

The Foca has just picked up our son for the weekend.

I agreed that he could take our boy to Spain for the May half term.

I've had a few days to think about it. My son told me two weeks ago his dad was planning a holiday (and I was oh when is he going to mention the idea to me??) then two nights ago, at 10 past midnight, I got a text telling me what days he wanted.

It upset me (not to mention the hour)
I want to take my son to Spain
I want to take my son abroad but but

"I should ask you for money," I said to the Foca this afternoon
"What do you mean?" he replied.
"Access costs me."
"How?" he asks.
"How? Babysitting him every night costs me nothing but when he goes away, what, I should just stay in and not go out? It costs money to go out. You want to take him a whole week?"

He ignored me: "Are your bags packed son?" "Do you need to take your football boots son?"

"Well?" I hadn't agreed by that point. "Are you not going to say anything?"

Clearly not.

I can't deny my son a holiday, because I'm jealous. I can't!
Off he'll go with that other family of his
(see! Even how I write there's no happy acceptance!)
(I know, I know, acceptance is the key to the universe...)

Oh bloody hell. I'm going to go and have a beer. In a pub beer garden, the last of the sun on my face.

Then I'll come home I guess. Didn't make any plans with anyone tonight.
I'm in no mood for moaning anyway (except to you!!)and I've the march tomorrow to look forward to.

I thought I'd post my green eyed monster because time hasn't made it go away!

"It gets better" is not what I say to single mums.


Hug a Real Tree

Back forth
Back forth
Back forth
to the tree

The Oak that
takes my weight
cradles me
in its embrace

Its roots centred
to the deep earth
just like mine

Don't fall over

Hug the tree
Ear to its soul
say 'thank you'

Thank you oh mighty Oak

(Scribbled in notebook on heath this morning, emptying mind some more after Tuesday night's suicide dream. By coincidence, REM's Everybody Hurts has been playing on a compilation cd of mine whilst I've been transposing this

Hold on
Hold on
Hold on

My message to you too

Doing a Ken Clarke

I didn't watch the Budget on Wednesday but I saw the footage and also media pics of Ken Clarke having a snooze during Osborne's address.

Last night I fell asleep watching Question Time.

Well. I hardly blame myself, or Ken really. Don't we know the Tory line is to help the rich get richer and poor get poorer? Ken's heard it all before and I'm simply exhausted by my own fury.

It's happened alot since I moved to the Attic Flat following the trauma of eviction. I fall asleep at the beginning of Question Time and wake up at the end of This Week. Every week. What does that mean?! (Thank f*^% it's Friday?!)

It's almost like I can't deal with our politics anymore despite my desire to.

I might comment on housing next week yeah?

Oh Ok, help for first time buyers all very well but what about help for those who don't have the readdies?

At the Housing Strategy meeting last week, Stategy (formerly Needs) asked me if I'd thought about Shared Ownership.

"I don't have a job," I said and she sighed "oh".
"I'm also not convinced what I think about it," I continued. "I'm worried I'd end up paying out more. I'd rather rent all or own all but not half and half."

She didn't say anything to that.

But she did say I should get my son to bid for me when I said I found the bidding for a flat process too depressing.

I said "I wish but the social services would have something to say about that."

How we giggle at what's not funny!

I wasn't the one laughing.

March March March March March March March March

Channel anger in constructive positive ways I say

Now I may Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzen

Close my eyes


Marching with the Women might be Wild!

Got this in my inbox yesterday from the Global Womens' Strike organisation.

What fun we had!! Perhaps I should walk with these guys tomorrow after all! The energy, the vibrancy, the colour, the music and hymn sheets we were given!

Housing guys have sent an email saying to meet at 11 at Embankment

Camden the borough has said meet at 11 at lincoln Fields and walk down to embankment together.

Annie emailed and said she might be on her own
Can't have that!
So, know what I might do?

Chat to her, tell her my ideas and we could come to a decision who to go with together! Wouldn't that be fab!

The most important thing is to have fun while sending across a very important message to that Don't Care Coalition.

With thanks to the Global Women's Strike for sending me the vid! Now if you can't go on the walk tomorrow but wish you could, you can watch it and imagine you're with us!!

Or with the NHS, NUT, Firefighters, Police (yes, I'm sure there'll be some on our side!)

It's going to be massive.
Massive massive HUGE!

So glad I'm going!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

March the Alternative March but with who?

On Saturday is the Alternative March against government cuts through central London to Hyde Park. Are you going?!

I am going.

I have to decide who to go with.

Mums I know and protest with are going but I don't have my child with me.
Annie's going with her mum. That would be really cool.
The Mothers March crew are going. I walked with them two weeks ago. I am a mother, I am a woman, the cuts are biting us the most.. I'd be going on my own though...
I might go on my own, but with the Defend Council Housing brigade.
It's the issue closest to my heart
Friend or issue? Issue or friend?
Marching with a mate is fab! The rally with a mate is fab!
The march with the issue would be good, and the rally with the friend would be great-a pint afterwards!
It's going to be massive though! How to find anyone? March with the issue and rally with the issue? One can feel lonely in big crowds...Flip, I don't want to be on my own. I do want to be on my own. I don't. I do. I don't I aaargh!
Recent thoughts have reminded me that I can't predict or know the future so I shouldn't worry about it.
That's in all things though isn't it?!
I won't be on my own though will I?
I'll be with me!
A friend emailed and told me not to get arrested!
Not my intention so it better not bloody happen!
Maybe see you there!

"Imagine you are hugging a tree"

Back to Zen Boot Camp today after an absence of three weeks. Not a moment too soon, I can tell you. Thankfully no vulnerable jaw/tooth/ ache!

"Does that say Tao?" my son says as I put on my uniform. "We have the same at my Kung Fu class!"

He then went on to show me some of the moves they are taught, the fist and elbow punches and I say "Don't you swivvle your right foot when you do it? We do!" "No," he answers and there we have a lovely little bonding session right there in my bedroom.

We're going to have another little bonding session later aswell!

It's not my Master who said "Imagine you are hugging a tree," it's my son's. At the end of his class on Tuesday, his Master told the group of children, to close their eyes, then feet apart, bend their legs, and hold out their arms as though they were hugging a tree. - for one minute!

I saw my son open his eyes, I saw him flag. It's hard! (So was punching with 1kg weights today but I did it without stopping for a break!)

Kung Fu homework is to do the hugging a tree exercise twice. We're going to do it this afternoon. On our balcony!!

I'm going to go first, with him timing me, then he will go.

Yesterday I spent hours on the Heath, leaning against a big Oak tree. This morning before Boot Camp, I was there again, sitting on the grass, head resting on the bark.

My suicide dreams upset me alot but in a way, they seem to bring me back to what's important.

That I'm alive.

That knowledge is a start for me.

I am alive.

You are alive.

I hope that can be a start and not an end if you are depressed.

Imagine you are hugging a tree x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Blue sky salvation haiku

Home is an attic
So when the blue sky calls me
I race to the Heath!

A sanctuary
beneath the blue canopy
quietens my mind

A coincidence
A gift from the Universe
A balm for my dreams

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Pouring one's heart out

I finally poured my heart out to a mum at school today
My son, my sun, my son my sun
Her son the same, similar
it turns out
I hope I didn't upset her
as I bitched
not my nature
to bitch
and rage
about people
but it felt good
to talk
My son
My sun
My boy
My joy
Thank you mum who let me pour out my heart at school today

Despair Haiku

Sorrow in the heart
can lend beauty in the eye
to shatter darkness

Despair the default setting

As you know, I am reading "The Diamond in your Pocket" at the moment, a spiritual tome, that tells us that who we are are not the thoughts we attach to ourselves.

To stop a moment, to be still, we can realise that the peace that we seek is within us. This peace and contentment is our default setting. (In the book Gangaji doesn't say 'default setting', I say 'default setting')

My default setting is despair. No, it is, honestly. I seek peace; all the time, every minute of the day, now even by writing about this...

I had a suicide dream again last night.

It's always death by hanging and I always want to indulge it then feel guilty because I have a child and I love my child and I want to be with him and not die goddammit, not really. (Oh good, I'm crying. don't stop don't stop tear that drops)

Last night I did what Gangaji said and explored this despair, go through it and feel at its end, not death but the bliss of being.

Despair at housing, so personal, so local, so regional, so national, war in Libya, international violence, people, nature, Japan

"Pretend you're having a lie in," I told myself. Lie in's are so lovely aren't they. Just pretend 3am is 7am. That's what I do. I don't think of my son and run from despair, I meet it instead. I felt no bliss on the other side last night, which made me think that despair is my default setting.

I'm half way through the book. Maybe it will give me pointers in how to deal with my despair default settings.

Where did I read recently that "being born" was a trauma for all of us, every single one of us. In our lives thereafter, there will be points where we grow, as human beings we grow, where we shift from one way of being to another and the journey can be painful.

Maybe it was in one of the horoscopes and the planets going all diddly wop this week. Maybe it is in the Gangaji book. I'm not sure I can't remember.

Cainer (once again!) has said this morning:

They say, 'A problem shared is a problem halved'. But surely that depends on who you happen to be sharing it with (blogspot). Some people, it seems, have an amazing ability to make difficulties multiply as soon as they start to look at them (Yes me). Be careful then, about who you talk to and what you say. Make sure, though, that you don't just keep a situation to yourself. If you are now brave enough to draw it to the attention of the right person (Stigmum), you won't just divide your difficulty; you will end up getting rid of it altogether. (Hope so)

I've decided that come April or May I'm going to stop writing about housing on here. Other platforms, I'll use my experience, fine, to talk about other people, fine, to defend how they might feel, fine but on this platform I can't write about housing and pretend it doesn't affect me.
It does, and it depresses the hell out of me.
My despair default setting cannot remain so
The dreams have got to stop
or if they don't, at least lead to the abyss of peace
yes, here on earth

Monday, 21 March 2011

Secure lettings made 2010/11

1,221 lettings for council flats have been made in 2010/11, I was told in a workshop about the council's Allocation Scheme. My son and I weren't one of them.

346 homes were let to people who have lived in the borough for two years or more. My son and I weren't one of these.
768 homes were let to those who lived in Camden for 10 or more. Next year my son and I will qualify for those extra points.
7 households who didn't live in Camden for two or more years were housed. Why did they go before me and my son?

This is how bad things are:
The number on the left is the number of properties let against the number who bid for them - the number on the right.

Studio: 187 let/7620 bidded
1 bed: 487 let/4914
2 bed: 280 let/5242
3 bed: 139/2240
4 bed: 21/1067
5 bed: 1/439
6 bed: 268

In terms of priority, we were told that the points based system awards points for different housing needs. "The more pressing the need," said Allocations. "the more points they'll have."

I wanted to shout: "NOT TRUE"
but it's rude to interrupt
So I waited until the end and said softly
"You know. It's not true"

I have three landlords

I have three landlords.

The obvious can take so long to articulate.

I had three landlords in my last place.

Dawned on me properly at the weekend when people asked me if I was a council tenant or a private tenant. "Neither. I have three landlords."

The council
The housing association
The property owner.

If the council wants to cancel its lease agreement, me and my son are out on our ear but at least they have a duty to house us.
If the HA wants to cancel its lease, me and my son are out on our ear.
If the Property Owner wants to cancel its lease, me and my son are out on our ear.

When the man said: "Oh you poor thing," I hadn't even articulated that.

You'd think with three keepers you'd be more secure wouldn't you.
With three keepers you are just as vulnerable as with one

Asking questions quietly

I attended a housing strategy conference at the weekend (which I've mentioned a couple of posts down!)

It was good. My only complaint, which is a massive complaint, is that there was no creche. No childcare was provided so the whole demographic of lone parents were in many ways excluded. I was going to take my son, to the wrath of the social services and deputy when I bought up at the "Child in Need" meeting ("Is it appropriate to take him?""Should you go?")

At the Nth hour, one of his best friend's mothers took him (ah yes, a couple of mums thank god, are great out of my son's chosen gang of mates)

At the end of part one - an intro by the Councillor for Housing and a talk by Anne Power, Head of London School of Economic's Housing and Communities followed by results of a survey consultation by the Director for Needs and Social Care - we, the audience were invited to ask questions.

"Three at a time!" said the councillor.

My question: It is legislation that when private tenants are evicted from their homes they receive points in order to access the secure properties they desire. When statutorily homeless people are evicted they don't get any points. Will this legislation be changed? If not, how do I change it? These people are the same people, why is one set being discriminated against?

Tentatively my left hand went up. I wasn't picked.
Next time round, my left hand went up and I wiggled my fingers. I was not picked.
Third time round, my left hand shot up and I waved it. I was not picked.
The final time round my right hand shot up stretching as high as it possibly could. I want the world to know! I want the world to know!!!! I want to hear what you say. Do you even know???????
Yup, I was not picked.

Ms Powers had to dash off to a wedding reception (well it was Saturday) so I grabbed the Councillor afterwards.

I need to get something called a Stututory Instrument.

What is that?

Fuck knows!

I shall endeavour to find out, pretend it's an Olympic sport. Like a relay, retrieving information, from this person, that person, I hope not too many people person, until I cross the finishing line holding aloft the Torch of Light!

You see my point?

Putting faces to names

Long time followers, you might remember my eviction, when I wrote to Allocations all the time.
Dear Allocations, Dear Allocations... writing into a void every hope every fear, to a woman I knew nothing about. You've read some of the emails reader, you know.

Imagine then, on Saturday, looking down the list of workshops to see who would be leading mine:
Allocations. Her!

My heart stopped. It did, for a moment there it did. Fuck. This is the woman I've been writing to for years. This is the woman I told I was suicidal, this who I asked if shooting heroin into my veins would get me a council flat. Fuck. She might be a real patronising bitch.

I switched off.

I tried to concentrate on what a Professor from the London School of Economics was saying about how knocking down estates doesn't increase the housing supply and is actually more costly than regenerating existing ones, but it was hard.

After the talks from the Professor, the Council Member for Housing and the Director for Needs and Social Care, it was time to attend one of the six workshops.

I was attending the one on the Allocations Scheme. No, I hadn't even thought she might be leading it. Blimey.

I entered the room and there were maybe twenty people there. On the chairs were a piece of paper. Workshop Groups. Group One. Group Two.

I was in Group One.

Which one is she? I was thinking. Only one man in the room.

It is when she came over and said she would be sitting with Group One that the penny dropped somewhat. She, who knows me so intimately, didn't have a clue who I was either.
By putting us into groups, it narrowed the faces to names down.

Afterwards, I did go up to her, although I think she guessed, despite my being quiet. "Hi, I'm Sue," I said, "you know me really well!"
"Yes, I got a surprise when I saw you on the list, I thought.." and her expression said it all and we laughed.

Do you know what. All this time I've thought she'd be blond. I don't know why. I really have no idea.
I wonder what she'd thought of me?
Who knows, it's like asking you the same question. For you, who I don't know, knows me intimately too.

Next time I write to her, I'll know who I'm writing to.

I wonder if that will make any difference to what I say?

How come I'm so calm these days?

On Saturday I attended Camden's first ever housing strategy conference. Never before has the council, any council, involved us oiks in their decision processes.

I met some of the managers who I had written to all last year, year before, year before that, begging, begging for a council flat. I met some of the people who could have used their discretion to house me and my child. Why didn't I ask them why they didn't?

Why was I so goddamn polite?
Why was I so flipping diplomatic?
This is all hindsight of course. At the time, I was so calm. No trace of anger.
"Your job is so difficult," I said to Allocations.
I just stared at Needs when she said "Children are so resilient, they adapt very well to circumstances." Do they? Why didn't I say that?
I just stared at her when she was giggling, nervously perhaps, about a child she knows who's always telling his parents he wants to move house. Why didn't I say anything to that? Why didn't I antagonise? I had plenty of opportunity.

Needs is Strategy now. If she truly believes that children want to move house and adapt very well then her new job is very dangerous to the rest of us.
I wish I'd asked her more about her own situation, if she sleeps in her living room or shares a room with her children. My instinct held me back. Why oh why, stiggers?

If my son had been with me, I would have been different. I would have said "Why didn't the council help us? Why didn't you help him?" I'd have said it to her, I'd have said it to everyone. I'd have used my son. Oh thank you thank you that Juggling Mum stepped in at the last minute to look after him for me, so I wouldn't do that.

I would not have accepted the line I was accepting, that there is not enough properties. The conference was mostly around how to address that very problem.

Strategy (formerly Needs) approached me huh, I didn't approach her. Little would she have guessed. "I wrote to you," I said when I saw her name tape. "Oh you're the bicycle," she said when she saw mine.

Yes, I am the bicycle, I am the child, I am the mother. No, I didn't say that....

I only approached the Councillor for Housing and a co-ordinator on the workshop I attended. I did discreetly look out for names stuck on clothes but didn't see the Chief's PA or whatever her job is - oh yes, to tell me to keep bidding but I'll be unsuccesful. Councillor told me to talk to her about my private sector misgivings. "Her! I wrote to her!" I'd said to him, like I know all these people, when the truth of course is that I don't.

The Director of Needs and Social Care was there. I avoided him. Only at the end, I cut short a conversation with a fellow resident to go and grab him but he'd vanished.

He was the one. He was the one I'd have asked "Why didn't you house us?" He was the one because he has more power than the rest.

Maybe he would have unleashed my anger, for I would told him about the great efforts I made for my son (I never did write to him so I don't know if he'd have heard of me. Maybe he had). It's why I avoided him at the beginning, I'm thinking. It would have upset me and I might have projected that, pointlessly, onto Allocations and Strategy (formerly Needs).

It's a shame I missed him at the end.
Everything happens for the best I guess.
Deep breath

Friday, 18 March 2011

Red Nose Day Haiku

Red Nose Day today
Let's put things in perspective
and wish the World hope

(blogging on housing,
about events in my life
leads me to reflect

I am so lucky
My son laughs with me tonight
must run to fetch him!)

The rich pour in while the poor poured out

News the other day that the coalition has decreed that 'wealthy foreigners' who invest £5m will be allowed to stay here, indeed, be fast tracked for indefinite leave to remain.

Ooh! House prices will rise with an increase in demand!
Rents will surely go up!
This won't match the reductions in local housing allowances!
This will add to the tide of people already facing eviction as a result of housing benefit cuts!
Why am I putting exclamation marks?!
It's not exciting!!!!!

Why should I pay 'my' rent arrears?

Got a letter yesterday saying I have to pay back my former rent arrears.
Here is the email I have sent because I do not want to pay it, I do not see why I have to pay it nor understand why I have to pay it.

Dear (Former housing officer),
I got your letter yesterday afternoon saying I've got rent arrears from Papier Mache Towers totalling £184.49.
I have always maintained, this arrears is not my fault. I have been in receipt of full housing benefit since 2004 when I lived in Posh Street and was evicted and rehoused by the council. I do not know where this sum comes from, but it's not from any of my own wrongdoing.
If anyone thinks the sum is small, perhaps it could be paid by (the housing association) or the council, or indeed written off, because particularly as I am not the one at fault, it is not small to me.
I hope you are well. I've cc'd... my housing support worker because he was recently involved in a case of £4000 rent arrears being held against me by (the housing association) from this new flat. This was later deemed an "error".
I'll hear from you soon,
Kind regards
Sue de Nim

(It really is quite frightening just how long I've been in this situation, fighting for security and affordability for myself and my son. There are some things it's best not to think about.)

Cigarette moments

I've got one. A cigarette moment. It's not painful, it doesn't ache, just I fancy a little hit which I know now to be a little choke, and I ride a bike and choke alot behind traffic and so decided that although I like hits, I don't like choking.

I've got a cigarette moment because I always used to think what to write in my real cigarette moments. Breathed in inspiration, breathed out ordered ideas - or so I thought, or so I think, I can't actually remember.

There's so much I can write on blogspot
That's why I'm writing this
Because you are not going to get anything I thought about writing this morning
Like the Volunteers party last night where I was given a certificate by way of thanks for my help
Or having to take the bus there because my son really is now too big for the baby seat on the back of the bike
I don't know what to write because I don't want to write what I will be writing - about more rent arrears.
Oh Fun! Don't you just love it?!
Housing. Stigs is obsessed.

A cigarette moment is also a good thing to write because I have finally bought a card to say thank you to the man who got me a free session at the Alan Carr clinic.

It's got a picture of a woman on the front, writing in a cafe, with a fag in her hand.

That was me once, that was me a couple of months ago.

I wonder what I'm going to write inside it, aside from 'thanks, I don't miss it.'

Because I don't. Not really. Not ever if I don't think about it. A thought hardly ever.

Let me go and make a cup of tea

Or maybe just post that post about rent arrears to get it over and done with....

This was a very pleasant cigarette moment.

Thank you.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Why do channels put on films so late?

I watched Amadeus last night, the Oscar winning biopic about Mozart. I've seen it before but years ago.

It started at 11.30pm.


Alot of good films start so late at night. Not long ago it was Y Mama Tambien that I didn't get to see.

As you see I'm not qualifying who directed these films, or even a brief synopsis what they are about because I stayed up to watch Amadeus, which finished at 2.30am.

My eyes are burning. DON GIOVAAAAAAAAAAANI is playing on my brain.

It's a great film, and has an amazing score.

Classical music has such power, doesn't it, to still the mind and stir the soul?

There's a lot I have to be thinking about at the moment; a council run party I'm attending this evening, another meeting in a couple days time.

I'm feeling an expectation, I don't know about what, perhaps desire, what one reaps one sows.
Perhaps an expectation that one doesn't reap what one sows but on a course I can't step away from.

I don't know.

What I might do though, is settle on the sofa, shove my head in a pillow and let the crashing clashes of a requiem course through me.

I know that's pure indulgence, but I've missed Zen Boot Camp today because of toothache.

(Last night I could feel my heart beat in my tooth! Quite awesome! I closed my eyes so I could properly feel the rhythmic pulse, then I took a paracetamol)


No, I don't have that tune, but I do have many others

Close your eyes
Still your mind
Stir your soul

A gift from the homeless persons unit

My support worker rang yesterday saying the homeless unit had come into some charitable funds allowing families to purchase things they need from an Argos catalogue!

Oh wow! A bookcase please! To get stuff off the floor!

I'd have got that myself by now but the small one in my bedroom was heavy for me to carry back on the bike.

I might be getting a desk too, to put this laptop on, so I don't have to sit on the floor!

I asked for a desk and chair for my son for his bedroom.

How lucky is that? How so so lucky. A balm after the social services meeting the day before, which incidently, my support worker felt "went really well".

Really? How?

I guess it goes well for everyone except for me, doesn't it? After all I'm the one who doesn't get what she wants out of it.

No can't say that. I'm getting a little bit of furniture aren't I?

I cheekily asked for a rug.

"For the living room?" support worker asked. "I'll pick a nice one out for you!"

"Thank you!"

I won't know for ages, apparently, what out of my mini list I'll get, but given that it was surprise, it doesn't matter!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Take support from all sources

It is comforting the number of people who have got angry on my behalf at my child being labelled a 'child in need'.

I will accept what the social services tell me to do because I have little choice. One hopes they have mine and my son's best interests at heart but one never knows. Their job is to tick boxes and on one level I can't believe they are putting their resources towards me and my son when there are children out there who are in grave danger or who are being abused, and the imminent cuts to social services budgets will leave many more of these children and also vulnerable families without any support whatsover.

Still, if the social services can help us with housing, which they say they can't.. oh stigs, shall we just drop it now?

There are some forces that we can neither ignore, control nor even predict with any great degree of reliability. How then, do we protect ourselves from the intensity of their impact? By a combination of common sense and carelessness. First we must envisage every possible problem and do what we can to avoid it. Then, before we drive ourselves into a frenzy of anxiety, we must decide that having duly worried, we should worry no more and may as well relax. It's time, now, to be decisive and clear.

Cainer this morning!
I emailed a charity last night. I hope they respond.
Now I'll rattle off a few more emails then take a break for lunch.

My son is still a "Child in Need"

There was a meeting at my son's school yesterday to ascertain whether my son was still a "Child in Need". The last time we all met was just before my son and I were being evicted and they determined then that my child was one in need, and yes, I'd have agreed, in need of a home.
At that meeting they agreed I should be presented to the mental health services for counselling.

That was then. The social services hadn't been able to help us. This is now; two bedroom flat, fairly settled, all things improving, you can let us go, concentrate on another child who perhaps isn't as fortunate as mine.

They swooped on my mental health and the impact this was having on my child.
"It's not as bad now," I was saying. "The eviction was traumatic, as it would be for anybody, we're not being evicted now."

They said there'd been a recommendation that I talk to the mental health services, had I done this.
"Yes," I said. "I'm on the waiting list."

Where? How long waiting? Wouldn't it be better to try for some psychotherapy instead of or ontop of counselling? Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez

"It's the mental services, it can take a while, it's fine. It's not like I've got a huge tumour inside me and waiting is going to kill me..."

Do you know, at one point I had to tell the room "I am stable you know" and they laughed, nervously because yes, they were going too fucking far trying to portray me as some kind of unhinged mother. "We want to help you, we're here to help you."

I have support, I told them, I have friends, my son has friends who come to play, life is better now. They want everything though, everything, barely considering that we moved recently. Imagine it had been Kilburn; imagine my son would've had to change school, at least I still see people of my old community. Not enough though.

They said my son would remain on their books "for the time being".

As if to qualify this, they said I was anxious. "We can see you displaying signs of anxiety now!"

I was speechless. I could only half smile like some dumb, dumb what? Dumb me I guess.

D'you know what? I'm actually enraged by the whole meeting. The more I think about it, the angrier I'm feeling.
Will they genuinely help us? They decided that housing made no difference to my mental health.
It's easier to think that isn't it?
I asked them if they'd take our case to the exceptions panel, to get more points. I wonder if they heard me?
It's not the system that beats me down, of course not
But it is me who puts my son at risk

It is you who puts your child at risk

It's shocking what you learn down here.

"Once you're on their books, they'll get you for anything"

"Right, let's talk about how (the child's) doing at school," said the social worker. Not my son's social worker - no, he's a student, it was the manager.

I smiled at the deputy. She's been in this meeting with me before.

"I spoke to (the child's) teacher who said he had said "I want to make my mummy happy."


What's wrong with that? There's something wrong with that?

"Let's just check his academic record first," said Social Worker Manager and Deputy took up the relevant papers.
"His attendance is 96.6%...Lateness...lateness..let's see, no, he's never been late." I was abit surprised about that to be honest, we do tend to make it in on the bell, not before it...
"He is doing very well academically, he's above average for literacy, science and numeracy. He's playing well with his friends, he's not isolating himself anymore, his teacher said there's been a marked improvement since December."
She looked at me and I nodded. That eviction wasn't easy but I'm back now! I said without saying.

"He's still displaying signs of anxiety, for example he cried when he forgot his book bag."


She then spoke of an "incident" recently, she "didn't know too much about it" but "the teacher feels.."the situation was made worse for (the child) because Sue placed all her anxiety about the outcome onto her son.."

WHAT? Reel, reel, reel, reel, back.

"I know the incident you're talking about," I said a bit later, when I had the chance to defend myself. "A parent devastated my child and I didn't know who to turn to so I turned to the school."

Support, of which I now believed to have none, came from an unlikely source. My son's art therapist, the woman who hears him slag me off since I told my son he could do that with her.

"Listening to all this," she said, having been witness to the all the housing chat aswell, "Sue's dealing a lot of critisism. Wouldn't it be better if...."

Later at Kung Fu, I see Brightsmile Mum ("Kung Fu? When did he start doing that?" had said support worker. They'd all responded positively to this latest development in my son's life)

"My son wants me to be happy," I told Brightsmile. "He didn't say, I want to stop my mummy smoking or drinking or shoving needles in her arm, or hitting me across the room or telling me to fuck off all the time. He said he wanted to make me happy."

"My daughter says that all the time!" she said. "You've got to be careful. Once you're on their books, they'll get you for anything."

Hey, I don't know. Maybe the social services genuinely want to help us but one other thing Art Therapist had said.

"Do we honestly believe, that if Sue had got her secure flat, a council flat, that everything would be ok in her life now?"

They all said "No" - No? How do they know no? - but me, I fucking forgot to say: "If I seem a little on edge today, it's because I've got the dentist this afternoon, not because I've got a room full of people, shining a spot light on me and my parenting."

I'm afraid I can't advise anyone on how to "be" should they end up in a meeting like this. Though upon reflection, if you can bring someone with you, do.

Children in Need: The system's not at fault; parent's are...

Who was at the "Child in Need" meeting yesterday to discuss my son's welfare? Two social workers, my housing support worker, the school's deputy head and my son's Art Therapy teacher.

Housing issues took up rather alot of time, which I won't go into here but may reflect back to in other posts.

In the pre chat round up, the social worker said that we'd moved home and were in "secure", accommodation now, well "stable" at least, a two year lease.

Secure? Stable? Er no! My son and I are much happier now, it's fantastic he's got his own room and has friends round to play but

You know what reader, this is just too massive, I'll be here all day.

Basically, the housing support worker said that if we were evicted in two years time, be it on lease ends or back to work arrears or government cuts to benefits "you'll just have to move, that's just the way it is!"

It's not your home, you just have to move, it's not your home, you just have to move - Libdem Lady still haunts my dreams

"I don't accept that!"

They all piled in about how concerned they were that I still worried about housing and the effect that was having on my son.

My defeat at not getting a council flat reared itself up with the housing support worker seemingly impressed that I'd contacted everyone, written to everyone; managers high up, councillors - but now there was "no-where left to go!"

"Yes there is," I said and mentioned a possibility.
They all laughed.
"Them! They're a big, an enormous charity!" What was support worker thinking? I didn't stand a chance? I was joking?
"Not for me," I said. "For everybody" and I waved my fingers in the air as I said "everybody", in the way we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to toddlers.

There is so much more to say about about housing, and I'm sure I will say it, but the bottom line is this:
You are harming your child.
The housing system is as it is, accept it.
You are harming your child.
Whatever you do
Whatever you say
You are harming your child
It's no-one's fault but yours.

NHS dentistry "no funding left"

A guy walked into the dentist's surgery yesterday saying he needed an emergency appointment, there was a "massive hole" in his mouth (what I overheard).

The receptionist took his details and then he said he was on income support.

"There's no funding left I'm afraid," she said. "If you come back in April, we'll have the new budget."

Aside from the fact I am very lucky to have had my excruciating jaw ache/tooth problem just in the nic of time, funding is a question I asked my dentist a couple of weeks ago while I was waiting for the anaesthetic to take hold.

By March, he said, the little they are given has gone, so they have to tell people to come back, which he doesn't like doing. London is ok, he told me. In other parts of the country, where there might be only two surgeries in the town, there might not be any NHS work done at all because it simply isn't cost effective. People are resorting to pulling out their own teeth because they simply cannot afford the treatment.

I am not cost-effective. Had I been paying for the treatment I'm sure it would have been me who was getting frustrated, not my dentist. It's fair to say, I'm not their favourite customer although we get on and even laugh about stuff a little (like the footballer who bought the dental nurse's friend a £17,000 bottle of champagne in a club because it turned out they shared the same birthday. "I'd have asked for the money!" said my dentist. "Yeah, me too. Or just a white tooth and maybe £50 for a hygienist!" Oh ha ha ha!)

Yesterday I went to sit in the waiting room while the two injections took effect. I'd asked for this the last time thinking maybe I'm just a slow coach. I am a slow coach. Dentist said "Normally it takes people between 3 and 5 minutes to be numb," he said after I returned 15 minutes later saying it's "quite" numb. "I'm not normal then?" My eyes were pleading, they really were.

He thinks the root canal is over. I go back in two weeks. I still have to be careful eating on the left side. It's throbbing a little this morning, I thought the root was dead but erm, best not think about that...

My mini worry though is he says a filling might be enough to reconstruct this fragile tooth of mine. Fillings are cheap (metal ones, not white ones)

My filling broke the tooth next to it, twice, which is why it is now clad in gold.

It would be more "cost effective" to give me a crown, or something similar. I can wait until April...

Things are not going to get better. Politicians are not financially poor enough to know what life is like for ordinary people.

Politicians (and footballers) do not have to resort to pulling out their own teeth. They do not know what it is to drown in this Free Market; they can pay to go private without thinking about it at all.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

We are all millionaires

In the great scheme of things, in the wider picture so huge it spans further than the eye can see

We are all millionaires
You are a millionaire

Repeat after me

I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire

Now still your mind.

Double Whammy Days

Today is a double whammy day.

Social workers are descending on my son's school for a "Child in Need" meeting.
I have mentally, emotionally prepared myself for this by putting on some make-up. Well, it is armour of sorts isn't it....

Following this I have Root Canal Visit number 4 at the dentist.
Last Friday's appointment was cancelled because an "emergency" arrived just before I did.

In her book "A diamond in your pocket", Gangaji says we must stop thinking. We must still our minds.

Good idea.

Brilliant idea.

(I wish I was a millionaire)

2011 Census

I've just filled the census I was sent.
Can you believe if we don't do it we're breaking the law and could be strung up to dry with mammoth fines to pay and possible prison sentence. Well, not so sure about that but it does feel so big brothery....

It asked me if I'd looked for work in the past four weeks.
I said yes.
Well, I kind of have.
I've sent emails to people
I even arranged lunch with one but with this and that it failed to take place
I could feel despondent about it all
but of course, when I feel like that I always read my horoscope
If offers were on their way it would be quite pertinent today's offering from Cainer (I chuckle!)

It's one thing to tiptoe through a minefield. It's another to pitch a tent and set up home in the middle of such a volatile environment. The edge of a diving board, by much the same token, is no place to lie down for a peaceful snooze. Either crawl back to a place of safety - or summon your courage and jump! Current events are now highlighting the way in which you have lately been living with uncertainty and indecision. It's time to put yourself in a position where you're less affected by both. You may need to be brave.

You understand why I chuckle...All that talk of bravery given my recent postings!!

Anyway, must remember to send off the census
Must also photocopy all my proof of benefits to send to the electric company which I haven't done yet (why oh why do you have to prove so much???) so I might get some respite from that flipping awful ridiculously high bill they want to send me.

Oh the pocket is empty but the spirit is strong

Repeat after me

I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire

(not allowed to say "wish I was" as I am tempted to do, it might break the spell of powerful belief!)

Monday, 14 March 2011

We won the lottery!!!

Woo hooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
We've won we've won!!!!!
Three numbers!!!
A tenner!!!

I found out last night! From my unique position on the floor I could see the moon out of the living room window so I thanked it! I thanked it very much!!

I told my son this morning. Told him we'd split the winnings. Know what he said?

"It's a shame it wasn't a million pounds mummy because then I'd get... I'd get...I'd get.. five hundred thousand pounds!"

"Ah maybe honey! I'd buy a house with it then we'd split whatever's left!"

One must think abundance. One must leave the day's posting on a positive note.

Repeat after me:

I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire

Dreams of 2012 - Horizon's Armageddon

Back in January, just following the earthquake in Pakistan, I had a dream (a dream? a nightmare?) that the world was ending. The Mayan prediction that in 2012 the world would end crashed into my sleep unconsciousness where I was told, get this, I was told to watch the Hollywood blockbuster "2012"
Why the fuck would I do that? I asked my dream. Earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti, dead birds falling from the sky in America, I do not need to watch some disaster movie.
You need to learn to live in the present moment, said the dream. You have to learn to live now and make the most of every moment.

The next day, coincidentally, Sainsbury's was selling the "2012" dvd for £3 and there was only one copy left. So I bought it. And no, I haven't watched it. With recents events in Japan where a whole town has been wiped out and 10,000 people are missing...

BBC 4 are airing "A Horizon Guide to Armageddon". On Thursday, at 9pm. Well it wasn't to know I suppose. "A depressing kind of greatest hits from Horizon" says the Sunday Times critics choice. "..a guide to the end of the world that will make any little human worries seem trivial," it continues.

Climate change, destruction of the Gulf Stream, asteroids from space, "Supervolcanoes, influenza, nuclear war: the possibilities aren't so much endless as horribly final."

There is comfort apparently; Scientists are busy working on our ensuring our planet's survival.

Having failed to watch 2012, I may tune into this.

Live in this moment. Live NOW. NOW NOW NOW. This second. Arse on a cushion on the floor fingers tapping on the keyboard blue sky visible through the window. Right now I am safe. I hope you are too.

Female suicide attempts being ignored

A cheery post for you this Monday morning! An article in the Camden New Journal which struck me as I read it the same day I wrote about the advantages of misery blogging.

Cries for help from women in the borough are being routinely overlooked according to a report that has come out (Focus on Female Suicides in Camden). "The majority of successful suicide cases were already known by authorities as having tried to take their own life before at least once," says the CNJ (Fears suicide attempts by women are being ignored, Page 21.)

The report used the medical notes of 22 women who took their own lives in the borough between 2006 and 2009. Suicide was ruled out of Jennyfer Spencer's case which makes me think the number of deaths is much higher.

68 per cent of these women had attempted suicide more than once. "Many were enduring domestic abuse, bereavement and financial problems." Six of the women "had visited their GP in the fortnight before their death."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. From my own experience I know I told my a shrink assessor I had suicidal thoughts, but the shrinks they referred me to said I was 'out of their criteria'. Wouldn't it be funny if I'd just killed myself ey? Wouldn't it just!

The journalist who wrote this also wrote about the privatisation of the NHS so I sent a letter, just with a question from my party's manifesto, but I thanked him also for exposing this. Maybe my question should be "will privatising the NHS see people not waiting to die but taking their own lives instead?"

Some stats that came out of the report:
Women are more likely to identify themselves than men. An article in the Metro today that only 1 in 50 guys will go to their GP with depression
The most common method for women was overdose, and in most cases not prescription drugs but paracetamol, aspirin, things people have in their cupboards
Men "predominantly chose 'violent means'" - hanging, shooting, or like Tony at Papier Mache Towers, jumping from a high building.
Camden has the highest rate of suicides in the capital.
In this borough women over 45 are the higher risk group and men under 25.

With these cuts, I'm concerned that the coalition government is going to have a lot of blood on its hands.

I, of course, urge people not to give up on life. Don't give up. I know life is hard but hang on.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Invest in Caring, Not Cuts and killing

Hey reader, I want change. Do you?!

Invest in Caring not Killing petition

"WE DEMAND change, like people everywhere.
We demand recognition and payment for all caring work, a shorter working week for women and for men, pay equity not only between women and men but across the globe, and non-polluting energy and technology so that we and our planet can survive."

issued by

"A prayer of hope"

A beacon of hope

God of light
spark in us the desire
for an end to poverty and injustice,
and let our actions shine like
a beacon of hope
as we reach out in solidarity
to others around the world.

Help us to bring about a world
where all people have the opportunity
to be creative, use their skills
and work in dignity,
growing in confidence
and transforming lives


(Catherine Corman/CAFOD)

I went to church this morning. The Latin service. It was cool actually, sending thoughts out while listening to that beautiful music. A good sermon too, about the "Divided self" and the meaning of Lent.
I can't write any more today, so I leave with the prayer on the back of the Cafod envelope we were all given.
Timely, what with the Japanese earthquake and the Mothers March calling for women, well, not just women, people all over the world to be valued.

War and the Automatic rights to family reunion

Did you know that mothers seeking asylum are not automatically granted the right to family reunion once they have legal status here?

I did not know that.

A mother who spoke out at the Mothers March event yesterday that she had to leave her three children behind when she fled from war in her country ten years ago. It took her eight years to be granted a legal status to remain here. After that she was told she had no automatic right to have her children join her here. She's fighting for that now but legal aid is being cut, cut for everyone so we have no recourse to anything anymore

Many many mothers are in her situation, wanting to be reunited with their children. There is a petition we signed but I didn't have time to pick up the leaflet to put the link on here.

This mother hasn't seen her children for 10 years. Ten years? Can you imagine? I can't imagine not being allowed to see my son for that long.

She, like others who spoke, experienced racism at her detention centre. It seems our asylum seekers are told by staff that they are only here for the benefits.

You've read right wing press, you've read that insinuation.

She said her country was at war. She said it was not easy to flee with her children so she left hoping for sanctuary somewhere safe. When she's told then, that she's only here for the benefits, she gets angry, because if our (by that I mean my) government didn't sell arms to her country's leaders which they then use to oppress people like her, then she might not be here at all, she might be home with her children.

Libya Libya Libya.... (No, she wasn't from there, there's war going on in many, many countries)

I hope she's joined by her children soon.

I'll be honest with you, I don't often pay attention to any news, good or bad, about asylum seekers or immigrants and thinking about it now, it's possibly because I am in competition with them, for housing.

They are entitled to housing, they are entitled to have their children with them.

They are entitled to have their children with them and live somewhere safe.

We need more housing and we need it urgently

We can't abolish legal aid

What a mess. What a flipping mess....


WAR - what is it good for? Absolutely nothing goes the song
Unless it's the organisation set up to support and defend victims of rape
Two women who had been raped told the crowded student union room of their ordeal, one her arm still in a sling, broke down as she spoke so recent was the crime.

If you are a rape victim reading this, do not suffer on your own. Women Against Rape will help you as they helped these two women and are helping countless more.


Speaking Out

Following the Mother's March yesterday, we all assembled into a hall at SOAS to listen to testimonials from women and men. There were so many, I can't mention them all.

The proceedings were started by Father Paul, who I met at a Housing Committee Meeting last year (Don't know if I emailed him or posted the email, but I had a quick chat with him and he told me to email him again!)

He said that "mothers are paying most painfully for the cuts.. legal aid's gone, baby and toddler entitlements, gone.." He said we must look for politicians who will break up this demolition of our society.

It is the time for change. The Tories, he said, threw away the rule book in the 80's, New Labour didn't bother to try and find it, everyone else (in the housing market) "fell asleep" while the 'bubble grew and grew until it burst..."

One woman spoke up about housing, the cuts in benefit, and the increases in homelessness.

There were some monumentally brave women who spoke up yesterday.

I can write (ahem) but I cannot speak

Does that make me any less courageous?

To turn up to these events, do you need courage for that?
Speaking out takes real courage. Real real courage.
These women just blew me away.

A mother's rallying cry!

Who works harder? Bankers or mothers? MOTHERS!
Who deserves bonueses? Bankers or mothers? MOTHERS!
Who needs a holiday? Bankers or mothers? MOTHERS!
Who do we depend on? Bankers or mothers? MOTHERS
Who's on the march? Bankers or mothers? MOTHERS

(Taken from the Mothers March Hymn sheet)

Mothers Marching

Mothers in Palestine We are with you!
Mothers in Haiti We are with you!
Mothers in Congo We are with you!
Mothers in Yarl's Wood We are with you!
Mothers who ARE rape survivors
Mothers with disabilities
Mothers in war zones
Mothers on hunger striker
Marchers in Guyana/Haiti/Italy/India/Peru/
Poland/Venezuela/ We're marching with you!
Marchers in Los Angeles/Philadelphia/ San
Francisco We're marching with you!

(Taken from the hymn sheet at the Mothers March)

The Mothers March

Yesterday, with my son in my heart, I went along to the Mother's March starting in Trafalgar Square.

I'd heard about it, read about it in the local press and figured I'd go. An international event, mothers are marching all over the world!!!!

Banners flying, music playing, whistles blowing, did I feel odd being there on my own? I don't know, I didn't think about it, I was just part of it.

We started to walk, singing along to a band; drums bass, and a woman I later learned was called Red Jen, leading the singing and getting us going, for we all had sheets with the words on:

Invest in caring not killing
Why must we fight for our living
How is it you can't see?
How women globally
Are pushed to slavery

I was walking along, singing along, when a young woman with flaming hair tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I'd mind helping her group hold their banner. Ooh! Ok! What does it say?!

A protest against the planning permission for a children's detention centre near Gatwick Airport. http://london.noborders.org.uk/
Well, it's called a "pre-departure accommodation centre" but we all know it's hardly going to be VIP. I was told locals are very scared people are going to go down and protest against these plans. Not fearfully protesting the detention of asylum seekers, no, protesting the protesters protesting the detention of innocent people... You get all sorts, you really do....

It was so nice to join in the march like that. I didn't expect it. My own mamma friends weren't walking and I hadn't been too sad about that because I didn't have my boy with me. I didn't want to miss him. I chatted away to the girl who's studying politics. Currently doing a module in Middle Eastern politics! I didn't ask her her thoughts on Libya. Silly really. She also volunteers for a charity. (Don't start me on the Tory Big Society...)

I told her I was a full time mother. Why is that never enough? Banners flying with "Every mother is a working mother" and yet I still feel I have to qualify it with something else. I told her I wrote and volunteered, sometimes.

In the event, it was good my son wasn't with me as it meant when the march reached SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies), I could settle down and listen to all the testimonials. There were so many heartwrenching stories and I wondered if there was a Tory MP anywhere in the crowd. Minister for Home Affairs would be good, and she's a woman! Minister for Work and Pensions? Support the women?!

Nah. no minister of any colour there, though a Red one did send a message of support.

Only saying, I'm politically impartial me....

Friday, 11 March 2011


It is customary every morning for my son to finish his breakfast then come up to me where we hug! Something we've been doing before time even started.

I needed a hug this morning, that hug, that post breakfast huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuug.

My son's away this weekend.

I started missing him last night.

Fat tears rolled as soon as my head hit the pillow.

My son my sun my son I love you

Feel it in the thought I send you
from my heart
through the depths
of my very soul

(Jez Alborough)

Pros and Cons of misery blogging

The pros of misery blogging far outweigh the cons, particularly if you are writing under a pseudonym.

The pros

The freedom, to write what you want, how you want, can be terrifying at first but also liberating as you let go of memories or fears or desires or aches and pains.

People may accept you for what you are saying which is a boost. Then again, they may not, but ultimately this too can help you accept yourself.

Your writing can depress you further, but you can also write yourself out of these dark holes. I do this by writing poetry?, messing songs, all sorts. In out in out the flow of life, flowing.

Break out of yourself! Blogspot is brilliant, because you post over what you have just written, a form of moving on, moving forward, what's past is past. That is truly difficult for some of us in Earthspace, so blogging can be very therapeutic.

Dark dark light dark dark light dark dark dark dark light light dark light dark light light

This blog started out as a case study for me. That still remains my purpose. Maybe it's helpful to have a purpose, but I don't think so for that would limit you and the best purpose of misery blogging is its freedom for you to explore yourself, your thoughts and ultimately reach self knowledge!
It's so self indulgent! Some say narcissistic! Who cares? If you don't!
Blogspot won't always let you layout the way you want to, like right now, as I've been back in to edit this post about 100 times to put a space between "knowledge", "self indulgent" and "Cons"
Hmmmm. means what that? Means what!
"Don't be negative" is in the top 10, top 5 and in some cases top 3 tips for successful blogging which ensures you zillions of followers and a possible book deal.

Moment's silence

8.9 earthquake off coast of Japan

Google, as I was about to find David Soul's Don't give up on me (Stigmum), alerted me, you, everyone, of a tsunami alert for 'New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, and others'. An earthquake has hit off the North East coast of Japan at a magnitude of 8.9. Early reports of widespread damage and deaths


New Zealand's recent earthquake




Poverty in Africa

War, Civil, all sorts

You have just been saved a post about how depressing my visits to the dentist are becoming.

Google has told me to put things into perspective.

My thoughts go out to everyone, everywhere.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stinking flat and a sweet miracle!

The mice are clearly dead and decomposing.
An overpowering stench from under the floorboards, behind the fridge freezer.

Metaphorically the flat stinks because we're not allowed to hang anything on the walls, or we could face eviction for wilful destruction of the property (yeah, I know)

Yesterday my son's bike was stolen from the cupboard beneath the stairs - yes, you don't have to live on an estate, maybe it's better if you do; people assume you're poor.
Anyway, dashing out to buy a lottery ticket at 10 to 7, I was walking home when I saw two boys and
"Hey, that's my son's bike!"
Credit to them they handed it straight over (well, what is a 6ft teen going to do with a tiny, second hand, rusting piece of equipment I was so angry at having been stolen a few hours earlier?) and said they 'found it by that fence'. Likely bloody story but I couldn't believe the mini miracle that had just occured so I thanked them.

So yes, I bought a lucky dip and what with the savings on a new bike, as good as won the lottery!

Daily I pray that Zat will be ok. I could keep my bike in this flat but lugging it up stairs, every day...been there, done that, blogged about it...

Daily I pray I will win lots and lots and lots of cash so I can blog about that!
Repeat after me
I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire
I am a millionaire!

Misery blogs - A song

It's my blog, and I will moan if I want to
moan if I want to, moan if I want to
You might moan too if shit happened to you

Nobody knows where my humour has gone
My smile it left the same time
I know I’m feeling so glum
So come to blogspot to whi i ine?

It's my blog, and I will moan if I want to
moan if I want to, moan if I want to
You might moan too if shit happened to you

Writing my records, keep thinking all night
Won’t leave me alone for a while
Folk you can tune out from me,
I give no reason to smi i ile

It's my blog, and I will moan if I want to
moan if I want to, moan if I want to
You might moan too if shit happened to you

Me and myself we just write through our thoughts
Who knows who feels the same way
Out than in is better they say
To keep the blues at ba a ay

It's my blog, and I will moan if I want to
moan if I want to, moan if I want to
You can moan too if shit happens to you

It’s my blog and I’ll moan if I want to
Moan if I want to yeah moan moan moan moan
You can moan too if it makes you feeeeeel
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel

(Lesley Gore featuring Stigmum)

It's my blog, I'll moan if I want to

My confidence, which is no great shakes usually I must admit, has hit the floor.
Geez, why is it so easy? Why can the slightest thing knock you down?
I finished voluteering at the school today. A nest appeared in the playground on Monday morning and the kids have been writing about it, developments that have happened. Great kids, the experience has been fun! Yes fun! FUN!

Only I haven't been. Fun. Shit help in the classroom for the teacher I imagine. I'm quiet where-as I wish I were louder and more congratulatory on the kids' work. Oh I don't know. I couldn't be a school teacher though. This form teacher is brilliant, very natural and fair in her firmness to the cheekier ones or twos!

Oh it's the flipping dentist really isn't it? I know I bang on about it but I really had no idea when I started posting about it that not only would it take so flipping long, but I would flipping feel it too, despite three flipping injections.
Last friday I thought I'd have just one last session, that the next would be better and final. The next, last tuesday, was worse so what am I to expect tomorrow?????????????
"Is it over tomorrow or are you going to try and beat my record?" laughed the guy who runs the coffee shop this morning.
"Oh I fucking hope not..."
I just sat there mutely because I couldn't, I can't, think of anything even remotely cheery to say.

Stiggers encourages me to have the bleakest blog on the block I reckon, so yeah, I'm just riding with it - the path of least resistance for I feel my strength depleting.
Better out than in ey? No-one likes a moaner I was once told and that might be true but you've got to put your moans somewhere don't you?
Where better than cyberspace?

(It's my blog and I'll moan if I want to is a comment I left on Jule's blog, who earlier this year felt the same as I do about the whole thing. Tis good to know one's not alone!)

Tell me something I don't know

Many people asked many interesting questions at the Guardian Q&A session with Mr Shapps, Minister for Housing, yesterday. It was quite tough to keep a track on what he was answering because I not only had to keep refreshing my page (which I didn't expect), I also have a fairly slow computer. What did become apparent though, is that he prefers the easier questions, like this one:

On radio four you spoke to clients of shelter during the interview you complained about too many flats being built and told one person that you were going to build "150,000 new houses" under your affordable rent scheme. Are the 150,000 new homes all going to be "houses"?

Even I knew the answer to that. Semantics mate, ever heard of that? People say house for flat all the time in parlance!

I learnt nothing new, apart from the fact that some people are really clever at writing "you're making no sense" and qualifying how no sense is being made.

Shapps should never be afraid of meeting me. I'm not quick enough, nor sharp enough, nor gifted in the art of rhetoric. I'd be like "eh? Don't get it?" and consequently feel really thick, which I'm not, but my confidence has really hit the floor today.

Joyous oh joy

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

On-air coincidence

Grant Shapps, MP for housing, will be live online at the Guardian answering questions at 3pm today.

Can you believe it?!

I got an email from Defend Council Housing giving me the heads up on it.

A bit of adventure for me! Never joined an online political chat before! And I have a couple of questions for him!!

I shall try to get them in and see if he answers!

(Bollocks Stigs, when exactly should I start my time and labour intensive fish pie? Promised the lad didn't I?! Best stop blogging for the day!)

"You can't walk out of your own story"

Rango!! It's fab!! I don't know who enjoyed it more, me or my son!

It's an animated western starring Johnny Depp as Rango, a chameleon with an identity crisis. Who am I? Who am I?

He gets stranded in the desert where he meets an armidillo who's been run over trying to "get to the other side"!

This sure did tickle my bones! I've told a couple of close friends recently how desperate I am to reach "the other side".. "I want to go... over there.." I say to them pointing, erm, over there.

Rango gets a ride from Bean, a feisty female, into a town called Dirt where he makes up some stories about himself before being hailed as the heroic sheriff. The town is in the middle of a drought, and the bank, where the little remaining water is stored, is robbed. Rango pledges he will get to the bottom of this mystery and bring the water back!

At one point in the film (and I don't want to give too much away but I am about blogging and this is about me...) Rango abandons his new friends and meets the Man with No Name.

"You can't walk out on your own story," says the Man with No Name. "No man can walk out on his own story."

And I was thinking: No mum can walk out on her own story. No Stigmum can walk out on her own story.

Is that why I came back to blogging? I didn't want to as you know but I felt a pull. Almost like the only way I would not abandon the boring most boringest housing issue that's destroying my life and is poised to destroy millions of people's, would be to come back.

Might focus me....

Are me and stigs back on track following our recent problems with one another?

What's the story we have to finish stigs? You know our own housing situation depresses me so much I can't even bid for the affordable security I crave.

Oh I Don't Know! All I know is I can't walk out on my own story. I can't give up. You can't give up. We can't give up.

I've been told to paste the theme song to the film and swap "Rango" for "Stigmum"

Oh ha ha ha stigs!!

I do love the theme tune though! Go see the film!!

Nail the habit


Yesterday (thank goodness yesterday, gone, past, finished) was not the best day ever scheduled what with a social worker visit and part three of seemingly endless root canal work.

I say this because as I walked home from a positive volunteering experience at my son's school, my mind swung to "matyrdom". Me, a martyr, did I want to be a martyr?

The minute I thought that, Jennyfer Spencer came to mind; the disabled woman who left a note for the local paper asking it to investigate her death following her battles with housing.

When the social worker came round I didn't tell him about this. When he said: "We still have concerns about you because when you were going through your eviction you said you had suicidal thoughts. Do you still get those?" I said: "No," because, well what's the point? They're not going to help us get a secure flat are they?

Rrrrraaaaaaaaaaagh. Well at least I'm not crying this time, at least I'm just annoyed with myself I feel this way.

I "meditated" alot on that dentist's chair yesterday. I just surrendered and he was kind, he said it would only hurt for a bit then not hurt anymore as he massaged my gum or jaw or whatever, following my "electric" shocks.

My nail's though. Unconsciously it seems I've been picking at them. I'm trying not to do it now, but I can't help it, bits of skin are poking out, saying pull me pull me. Two nights ago my thumb and cuticles were bleeding. That's when I noticed, then.

To look at me you wouldn't know any of this stuff is going on and that is good, that is very very good (just don't look at my hands).

You know, I'm quite pleased it's Lent today. I'm going to take all my bad habits and try and stop them for a while.

Who knows what joy that could bring me? What inner peace?!



Que sera sera ey Stigs


Today begins the religious festival (festival? We got that right stigs? What's festive about being cast out in the desert denying yourself all the lovely things you like?)

Today begins Lent. Forty days of giving up something you enjoy. Denial of what tempts, "self-sacrifice" I heard some priest say on the telly...

As good excuse as any, says the School of Doris, to change something. A bit like a new year's resolution, but it's only for 40 days, not forever.

Perfect timing for me.

I'm going to give up crisps (esp Mini Cheddars) and biscuits. "Unhealthy snacking".

My son has given up sweets. I have not given up sweets but the dentist yesterday said not to eat anything "hard" because my "tooth might break".

(This is quite scary. When I didn't know I was pregnant my tooth broke on a cracker. This fact may keep me away from sweets, especially toffees...)

I am also comfort eating. Alot. I do not miss cigarettes and my taste for alcohol has kind of vanished aswell. But last night while watching "Neighbourhood Watched" about social housing, I ate half the box of Maltesers I bought for me and my child. On my right side, so as not to break the tooth on the left (which still needs more work oh mamma mia...)

I'm telling myself a Malteser is a biscuit so I don't finish the box right now
Right now
Right this minute
Eat them all up!!
Finish them all off!!

Because I want to
My goodness I so want to.

You see, Lent doesn't have to be about religion but it can be if you want it to be!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

100th International Woman's Day

Hope this slide show works for you, passed to me by a friend!


I owe you one Cainer

The heart beats madly and I read:

Don't be pessimistic. Though you have a lot of problems to solve and a lot of questions that you need to answer, you also have a lot to look forward to. Something is starting to shift. A seemingly impenetrable obstacle has already developed a hairline crack. Sooner than you think, it may collapse under its own weight, leaving you a clear pathway. You are not alone in your desire to accomplish an important goal. Other, highly influential forces are at work behind the scenes. They share your goal.

I hope, I hope...

My son's social worker just came round. I don't want to talk about it if that's ok. Just that I said if they couldn't help us with housing, then they couldn't help us at all. He said he saw no reason why they should still be involved. If you can't help us with housing, then there is no point, indeed.

Dentist in an hour

Don't be pessimistic, don't be pessimistic

Thanks Cainer

Don't be pessimistic
Don't be pessimistic

Thanks stiggers

Angels, please be with me at the dentist

A molar, my dentist told me at last week's appointment, has three canals.

At the end of last week's appointment, the second of three, he said he'd only been able to locate one, and I must come back as soon as possible.


During last week's appointment, following two injections, my dentist sensed that I could feel the work. This frustrated him a little; he said perhaps I should go to a hospital and be sedated because it wasn't normal following two injections. He gave me a third.

I still felt it, like that sensation of icecream on a sensitive tooth maybe, but I told myself that in the past there were no anaesthetics and it could be worse.

I never took my mind off the angels I was visualising.

After last week's appointment I told the dentist that I trusted him and was visualising angels, that I wasn't being deliberately doing whatever I was being.

When he enquired about the angels, I told him we all have a guardian one ("apparently") but what was odd was that since my appointment with him two years ago, I have always seen three in the room with me.

"Do you think it's mine and her's?" he said looking over to his assistant.

"Ooh gosh I don't know!" I said.

Last week I did "see" all three but they weren't grouped together as they usually are. Was one standing by him?!

I hope they are all there today.

It helps me. It really really does help me.

They help me, they really do.

I can but hope the other two canals are found today....

Calm my heart, my heart, calm...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Big Issue and Big issues

Meeting John Bird made me think. Has made me think alot but I don't have time for all of it today. The big thing it made me think of though is this:
Years and years ago John Bird wished to help homeless people get work
I am a little different in that I want to get homeless people a home.

I became very conscious this weekend, that I have all the qualifications to be a Big Issue Vendor.
I am statutorily homeless. I am on state benefits.

Sorry reader but I find that so depressing. I can't do that job. I don't think I could stand out there day after day, rain, shine, snow, blizzard at risk of being mugged for my takings, spat at, kicked at, jeered and leered at.

I think I've known that since the early 90's when I asked the Big Issue for work experience on their magazine.

It takes a very special person to do the job these vendors are doing.

I've said I couldn't do it. Could you?

I might do the sponsored Sleep Out

On Friday night I saw again one of the Wondergirls, the troupe I finished the sponsored walk with a couple of years ago.

"Sue!" She came up to me as I was standing with my son and others.
"How are you?!"
"How are you?!" You know how it is...!

"Who is she mamma?" asked my son.
"The girl I told you we might bump into, who I met on my Big Issue walk.!"
"Are you going to do the Sleep Out?" she asked me.
"I thought about it but I have my son on the night it's on."
"No it's changed! It's in May now! Do it with us, do it with us, I'm getting the troops together!"

You know what reader, I just might!

"I was invited!!" - Big Issue's 20th Birthday Party

It was an extraordinary set of events on Friday night, well for me anyway! I told my son we were going to a special viewing of Hard Times, a series of portraits of Big Issue vendors, for the Big Issue's 20th birthday.

As we walked down the winding stairs of St Martin's in the Field, I saw, I saw with mine eyes, the founder of the Big Issue, John Bird. I couldn't quite believe it! He was standing there with the man I'd met campaigning for the Tories and two others I didn't know.

I whispered to my son: "That's the man who started all this"
"Which one mummy?"
"Hey I hope you don't mind but I'm going to see if I can talk to him quickly!"

Gosh I don't think you know reader my history with this man! I don't think he knew my history with him either!

The man who I'd met campaigning for the Tories suddenly said: "That's the woman I told you about who I met when I was campaigning last year!"

Mr Bird turned to me. "Hello," I might have said. Maybe I said "Hi"..no matter. "Hello Mr Bird, my name is Sue and I've been stalking you since 2005!"

He stood back, as well as he might stand back so I continued: "First I sent you a letter asking you if you'd help me publish my book that will never be published then I emailed asking if you could find me a lawyer and then I emailed again asking if you'd er, simply meet me and your secretary invited me to an art show you were exhibiting your work in so I took my son..."

He looked down at my son, as the recognition dawned of something I was talking about (!): "They were pictures of naked women!"
"Yes! But that's not what my son remembered!"

Oh t'was a blast the evening reader. Did you know Simon Callow of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame is a patron of the Big Issue? No, I didn't either. I was way too star struck to even say 'I admire your work' when I passed him, but it seems he and my son had good fun smiling at one another during the speeches (My son, had wangled our way through the packed room, from the drinks at the back, to the speeches at the front)

Paul Wenham Clarke took the stunning prints portraying Big Issue vendors in their 'homes' be that a car, a caravan, a squat, a hostel, and testimonials of how they got where they did. In some cases you know what happens to the inviduals, in others you don't. He said it had felt like a cliche working with homeless people but that instead it really opened his eyes to how extraordinary these people are. It really is brilliant, go if you get the chance.

It runs until the end of June.

I'll tell you what else was very very cool. When I was chatting to the man who I met campaigning he asked me why I was there. How did I hear about it? Did I just come down off the street?

"No," I said, the relief whooshing through me that I wasn't a stalker, "I was invited!"

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Who to trust on Alternative Voting?

Yes to AV?

Saw a big Tory ad yesterday on the walk back from school. I say Tory, I Don't actually Know, but that party is against the Alternative Voting system so it's a safe assumption. It also has pots of money and the media on its side.

Anyway, I didn't like the ad I saw, of a crying baby and the caption "She needs a maternity unit not an alternative voting system."

Oh how wrong wrong wrong while cuts are being administered, the NHS being reformed so that more maternity units will close under this coalition and those that open be privately run.

Anyway, I Don't Know much but I know I will be voting for an alternative vote.

Why? Because I want change.

Yes, we got change with the coalition but not the change we chose.

The Tories are afraid that if they lose the First Past the Post System they will never have a majority again. They are afraid of change that is not in their control. Fear always stands in the way of change.

Who knows? Who knows anything?

Let's vote for a change in our voting system!

Que sera sera!

Otherwise it's always going to be the same, for all major parties are now the same and the future looks so bleak...

Well, I'm in anyway! When is it? May?

Well, May I'll vote locally but I Don't Know who for yet and I'll vote for the alternative vote because I Know I want to see what that's like!

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/25/no-to-alternative-vote-baby-ad - a guy who didn't like the ad too!)

Champagne and Canapes

My son and I have been invited to a private viewing and a drinks reception to celebrate The Big Issue's 20th birthday!

It is so exciting, for both of us!

My son is going to see a Hard Times photography exhibition; portraits of Big Issue vendors. I can tell him that these are the people to whom his money went when he sponsored me on my walk!

For me it will instil further what my heart holds (whatever that is!). No-one will know that my son and I are statutorily homeless. We are supremely lucky that we avoided hostel accommodation for a third time last autumn.

When I call for more homes, it's not just for me.
When I call for free teeth cleaning that's not just for me either!

Big Issue vendors are working people.

The Big Issue foundation gives homeless people the helping hand they need.

It's a real privilige to be able to go tonight. It's brilliant I can take my son. It's a new moon tomorrow too - "A New Moon represents a new beginning. The end of an old era. The birth of a fresh age"! says Cainer.

Who Knows?! Just wonderfully timely!