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!