Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Peeing in the bath - Urinary Tract Infections

After giving birth naturally, it's a relief to pee in the bath, because it fucking stings.
With a urinary infection, you can't. I tried. It hurts big time.

Peeing with a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) which is not the same as a torn vaginal passage was a new sensation for me, and because I don't know if I've got a UTI, I don't know what I've got, I don't know if what I'm about to tell you is what a UTI feels like. (Comments from other women, or even men who have had UTI's, would be handy here, but hey, if you don't want to, you don't want to, that's fine)

The peeing itself is not bad. It's the end of the peeing experience which is bad. The end when the last drops are dripping. It did make me feel like I did at the end of giving birth when I was pushing my son's head out. It's not a burning sensation exactly (which my son was I think) but flip, lucky we girls sit, I could bang my feet together as the intensity got bigger and bigger and more and painful as though it might explode down there.

You need to go to the loo so often but you'll be scared so drink LOADS of water so at least your passing through something instead of hardly anything. Subconciously it helps and physically water is the best thing for you anyway.

I'm laughing at a memory

He Who Said I Was Hot told me he'd taken the morning after pill before. "Really?" I said, laughing. "Have you? I took the morning after pill with the Foca and bled for two weeks."
"That's too much information," he replied at which I laughed even louder. "You're not squeamish are you?!"

Oh fuck, another memory, not so funny.
I told him one night stand's were easy.
"This is easy isn't it? No-one gets hurt."
Oh yeah? Oh yeah??????
Easy for who?

I comfortably and easily release the old and welcome the new in my life. I am safe.

(Louise.L.Hay You Can Heal Your Life under Cystitis see Bladder Problems)

The bladder cancer tale I told the Cannie Doctor

I phoned for the released appointments early Friday morning, was fortunate to get one, but not my usual doctor. Had a choice though. The female one who said "you will be found fit for work you know" or the male one? Hard to make a canny choice when you don't know.

What follows is in quotation marks but is paraphrased. You know about the I Don't Know Party for example, I don't have to explain it to you. I did speak quickly, barely stopping for breath.

I also think this may be a very long post, because I don't want to break it up, and highlight what the Tories might feed on like vultures.

This is hard for me. Here goes:

"I went from 0 to 60 last night," I told the young man. "I couldn't phone my mum, my sister, family, no-one because when my dad had blood in his urine it was bladder cancer. I couldn't worry them like that. I've just got myself really scared because I was peeing blood, not this morning though.
My dad had urine infections which were fobbed off for months with antibiotics followed by antibiotics. Even when blood started appearing, "it's a urinary infection," until my mum got so fed up she took him to A & E and they discovered he had advanced bladder cancer. He was lucky, he was really lucky. When he gave up smoking, he put the money he was saving into a medical insurance, so when he got his cancer, they operated on him really quickly. He's alive, my dad's alive, he's got dementia now but he's alive.
After that, I went on a date with this guy, I was online dating at the time, and he said 'oh sorry, I'm not feeling good, my friend's just died," and I said "I'm sorry, what of?" "Oh cancer." "Oh shit, do you mind me asking what kind?" "Oh it's really stupid." "Tell me," "Bladder cancer. They diagnosed it but she had to wait three months for the operation." She was 36 and then I read of an ex factor contestant who'd died of bladder cancer too and she was really young aswell and I've got this I don't know party and my key question is Do People have to wait to die because they can't afford to live? Will I have to wait to die because I haven't got a medical insurance? I set up my party during during Labour and now we've got a coalition and are more people going to die?????"

The Cannie doctor listened, comprehension flooding his face at the mention of politics. He asked me what it felt like and after I asked if he'd ever had a urinary infection I tried to explain it was almost like giving birth again, that last bit, when the baby's head is about to explode through. "But really I don't know."

Two things now, medical insurance and bladder cancer. I could write two separate posts but I want to contain it. Contain it.

According to Bladder cancer statistics-UK, more men, older men like my dad get bladder cancer than women, but I don't know about that because all subsequent examples in my life have been young; young, young, women.

In 2008, 10,335 people in the UK were diagnosed with bladder cancer.
5,011 people in the UK died from bladder cancer in 2009.

That is a 50% survival rate.
That's shocking.
My dad with his medical insurance, survived
The two women I mention (half his age) died. There is no need to die with this cancer. My dad has a colostomy bag. OK, it's not sexy, but he is alive. Caught earlier, he might not need a colostomy bag at all and these women definitely would be alive.

Years ago, on another date, telling a man about the I Don't Know Party, he said I should tell my dad story, because it made my NHS question make more sense. I told him I was too scared. The NHS question is also, coincidentally, the example I gave my one night stand, my Tory voting one night stand. Why oh why I now wonder...He changed the conversation pretty fast, as you might imagine, well it's depressing post coital chat really isn't it...?

Last January I chatted to a single mum who had given up her £100 a week smoking habit. I said to her, she should put some of it in a medical insurance, my father had done that. She said she couldn't afford it, which she couldn't, actually, nor could my dad, you may not believe, though little you know often, I know, often.

You have to understand addiction to understand her. People who don't have insurance shouldn't be punished. People who smoke or drink who don't have insurance, shouldn't be punished. Neither my dad, nor this mother could afford their addictions but you don't think about that while you hurt yourself.

"I smoked rollies so I didn't spend that much," I told the Cannie doctor, smiling a surrendered smile, "but I've used the money to pay Kung Fu lessons for my son."

The Cannie doctor smiled back.

Don't lick your lips Tory Government at the though of all those profits. Profits over People. Don't go the American way.


Like I said, I won't give you the results of my pee test. It's not a journey me or stigmum are prepared to go on and taking you means we have to think about it, think about what we'll write, how we'll write it. NO. You want to read about cancer then I saw a book

You must fight though. You must fight not to be fobbed off.


Look after yourself, be you man, be you woman.

I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myself.
(Louise.L.Hay You Can Heal Your Life under Cancer)


What Betty Smith said, aged 93

You are so young!

"I thought about what you said,."

"I thought about what you said," the American girl who worked in the coffee shop told me last Friday morning as I walked in with my wee problem (you must read that with a Scottish accent by the way, it's how I'm dealing with it anyway, trying to minimise the fear)

"What I said? What did I say?!"

A week or so earlier, she told me she was leaving the UK as the Home Office wouldn't renew her visa and she was really sad about leaving.

Be glad you're sad, I'd said. I'd had a breakdown in Japan and when I rose from it, declared to friends I would leave the country in seven months. Why wait that long, friends had asked, if I was so unhappy, and I said I wanted to give myself a chance of liking the country, so that I might leave with good memories.

"I thought about what you said and you were right," said the American girl. "Why leave with bad memories of a place. I went and made up with that dick I told you about. No point in hating him, we're friends now, not that it matters, but I leave thinking good things, you know?"

Yeah, I know...

I can't tell you how it feels, how it felt, to know that I had transformed someone's way of thinking about themselves and their experience in a positive way. No-one listens to me!!

My blog is here though. If someone has walked away from it taking some knowledge with them, well, that is the greatest compliment you can make me. The American girl paid me a huge compliment saying what she did, but I couldn't tell her.

I will really miss her. So will The Estimator. So will others in the coffee shop. So will her boss actually given what she bought to her job, writing positive quotes about coffee on the chalk board for potential customers walking past. She has an amazing energy. Ha ha, I'm just remembering what she said yesterday, her last day, sad to leave us all, when I told her she wouldn't have stayed in this coffee shop for long. "That's true, I can keep doing these bum jobs but I've got a masters, I may as well use it," Yeah, me too...

It's not her choice to go. She had two jobs but they wouldn't renew her visa because she didn't earn enough (*shakes head*)

I wish her well on her journey
I wish you well on yours
I wish me well on mine
of course
Do you wish yourself well on yours? Ever?

Struggles..the light on the dark side of you...

If I had time, I'd mess up the lyrics, a line that came from this Seal song, yesterday morning.
I have to blog dark feelings. It's not healthy to dwell on dark feelings, I have discovered. And it's certainly not easy writing this label.
I have to hold on to the light side of me
or I might drown in my cauldron of fire

You are the light on the dark side of yourself

Stigmum is my power, my pleasure, my pain
Or me, I am my power, my pleaure, my pain
I can't actually tell us apart
We are Bat Girl
No, we are Bat Mum
No, we are who we are

Enjoy the vid!

Oh, I'd just like to add, at no point did I think of this track in relation to my One Night. It popped into my head when I thought about blogging. I mentioned it To the Estimator yesterday saying I had to write my dark side and mentioned this song. He was not impressed to say the least and I felt myself slip in his estimation, but given that I'm not that high in it, I didn't fall that far ha ha boom boom!


Monday, 30 January 2012

Our new television!

I wanted to tell you I have a new television but didn't know how as I've written about television before

My new tv is a 19 inch digital widescreen tv/dvd combo with built in freeview, so bye bye iplayer, I can watch channel 5 now!

My brother gave it to me for my birthday last year. It belonged to his son but the DVD bit of it broke so it's been passed on to me. It wouldn't work with any aerial I bought but finally, just before Christmas, an electrician came round and said I needed to tune it. Ta daa! Posh telly!

So when you read articles or watch programmes about people on benefits being able to afford state of art tv's and this that and the other, well, don't make assumptions, that's all I'm saying.

Don't make assumptions about yourself either
That's just as bad


Thank God for Trash TV (Sorry CBB, you're not trash...) "a passive source of experience when all else fails."
(Mihaly R Csikszentmihalyi, Eugene Halton. Meaning of things. Domestic symbols and the self)

I comfortably and easily release the old and welcome the new into my life. I am safe
(Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life under Bladder Problems)

Children know when there's something wrong

"This is for you mamma," my son says.

He comes into the kitchen with a ring he's fashioned out of pink card, with a love heart stuck on it.

"Oh baby, thank you, that's so lovely," and I put it on and disappear back into my head.

Later we are watching Earthflight on telly. I've said he can stay up.
I can't stop the tears from falling
"Mummy look at that!" my son says turning to me
and sees that I'm crying
and says nothing
turns back to the tv
Keeping his hand in mine

Rivers running
Like lava
down the bones of my face
While birds take flight

The child says nothing

Who to blame for this wee problem?

Do I have cystitis?
Do I?
Is it because I had sex with a stranger that I have this?
Please God, no.
No, that's not fair.
Is it his fault?
Did he give me this?
I'm not allergic to condoms, am I?
We weren't without anything for long
that third time
we weren't..
Stop I said, you're a nice guy but I don't want your baby!
"I'm a slut," he said, watching me from the bathroom door.
I smiled thinking "I wish I was
no I don't
Isn't slut our word?
It's my fault isn't it?
for fucking myself the day I met him
oh fuck,
oh my God I did didn't I?
The day I met him and today
Today today too
Fucking myself
I didn't wash my hands...
Sex therapists tell you to do it..
It's how you heal
It's how you heal
Sex is good
Sex is natural
Sex is
Fascinating Aida and I'd shag me if I could oh god I'd be

I don't love me enough
That' why.
This is my fault
It's not him. It's not me having sex with me or him.

It's a wake up call
oh...want that beer in the fridge

It is time

Accept who you are

I release the pattern in my conciousness that created this condition. I AM WILLING TO CHANGE. I love and approve of myself
(Louise L Hay - You Can Heal Your Life under Urinary Infections)

(Taken from notebook 27th January 2012)

Golden moments

It always takes something to make you really see what you saw.
You don't know that life is about to throw you something and challenge the very depths of you.

Last Thursday I blogged. My eyes were hurting, words were swimming, I stopped. I went into the bathroom to wash my face and saw myself in the mirror and thought "You are beautiful...why do you always think you're not..." and slipped my hand down my jeans and my finger into my pants looking at myself the whole time. I felt..I felt. Go with this moment.

I wanted to tidy the living room afterwards but I didn't feel right. I figured I'd lie down for twenty minutes, putting on my Janis Joplin cd and setting my alarm.

Sun was streaming through the window when I opened my eyes and as I got up I thanked the wooden painted crucifix on top of the door, for allowing me to rest. I have never done that before and it felt good.

The sun was out and the rain was spitting when I got outside. There must be a rainbow somewhere, I thought.

I walked to the main road, up towards my son's school, and there it was, massive, beautiful. I tried to alert passers by to it but they looked at me suspiciously apart from one man, who turned and said "Wow, thank you!" before taking a picture of it on his smart phone. "Amazing isn't it?" I beamed. "Rainbows mean hope don't they? Hope in the world!" I went on my way.

I picked up my son and he says: "Mummy, I know all the words to the song now, I'll sing it to you!

"Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
and smile smile smile
While you lucify to to light your fag, smile boys that's the style
What's the use in worrying, it never was worthwhile
so pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and
smile smile smile

Corners up, corners up (I asked him to sing louder as I leaned down to listen)
Give the world a grin, a great big cheesy one, oh
Corners up, point them to the sky
Show the world you win, it's really not that bad
So head up high, just keep it in the air just smile
the 'hole' world will smile if you're happy
Corners up, corners up
everyone looks better with a smile so give us a grin!"

"Will you write that down for me," I said, as I felt my stomach lurch and a strong desire to wee.

It hurt when I went, then I needed to go again moments later and each time I went it hurt even more, oh no... what's happening...What' happening? then I saw blood on the paper, then more and then more

and I was really glad my son had a kung fu class, really really glad as I tried to focus on rainbows and beauty and life and on him

I want to live
I want to live

Before I begin.....

Before I begin writing on this label, I'd just like to say I wish I wasn't writing it, I wish I was writing about other things.
I'm an instinctive writer. I'm being told to leave politics and bank bonuses and homeless sunday's spoken about in church and write whatever it is I'm going to be writing. I'm scared and I feel sick but the journey I am taking you on won't last long.

Don't judge me
Judge yourself
then stop judging
and be
just be

Now breathe

Saturday, 28 January 2012

One Night

This new label, One Night, refers to last Thursday night when I bought my son home from school and I really needed a wee. I went, barely anything, but pain, then five minutes later, the need to go again and within half an hour, not wanting to go, for fear of that pain and then


of all kinds of things

and anger

at all kinds of things

but most of all

the cruel coincidence

that I'd had sex for the first time in fucking ages (don't forgive the pun) and it couldn't be just the good, clean, positive, fun that it was could it?? No.

It's going to be a big label. I think. I don't know.
I was so scared that Thursday night, I felt I had no-one to talk to, felt I had no-one to call and of course, things just rush rush rush into your head that makes you THANK GOD for TRASH TV (Sorry 'benders, you're not trash)

I thought I had cystitus...maybe I do...never had anything like anything before so no idea. Anyway, this thought made me think of sex and the past of course, LOVES to rear it's head. Pissed off are you Rape label that I won't put anything about me on you again? This post definitely the last, definitely, where rape associates with my experience OK?

See, the search for blame...you look everywhere...and the search got really dark after I saw my water was pink and my paper was clotted and it wasn't my period.

My one night stand was just a night, and a morning too. THIS LABEL IS NOT ABOUT THAT, though I will write about it (Hey, ye Who Said I Was Hot, you could be anyone, just like me, so don't sweat it, I just regret writing that I told you I wrote a blog but you didn't ask for the link so guessed you were alright with me writing about you. I wasn't going to write about you anymore than I did. I wasn't. Now who knows when I'll stop. Your fault for being a positive experience.)

This label is about being alone. Being alone with thoughts you can't share with anyone. It's all retrospective of course now, but not really. As I write this, nothing is clear, so writing some things will be really difficult. It's out there. Are they self fulfilling prophecies? What am I creating? I've got to turn that fear which is beneath everything at the moment, into something positive.

This label is about Thursday night which led to Friday morning, where I went to the doctor, which I have to post about, which I don't want to, but what you resist persists God said in those Conversations.

The label has to end on a good note. I've too much blogging experience now to know that it's dangerous to take people on a journey with you... be it to a council flat or to the dentist, although I did take you on my stop smoking journey and it's a year tomorrow that I stopped - Yippee!! Shall I celebrate with you Nico Teen? Awfully hard writing all this...NO! No I shan't! Al Cohol....?

Can't. I'm on antibiotics for a week, my pee sample's been sent to the lab. I will know the result, but you won't, reader. It's an opportunity for me

An opportunity for me to do what stigs?

Well we don't know, do we, self elected leaders of the party that we are.

We just know that things we wanted to write that aren't part of the label will come under the label and that you will know it's over when I write REPENT.

Sunday after the Friday before...The day I asked the angel cards what I can do and the card I got back was from Angel Gabriel, saying he was with me, and to follow the signs... I did that and was told to REPENT.

You lead Gabes, I'll follow...

(and look out for signs!)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

If I had a sledgehammer

This is the song from Peter Paul and Mary that I posted on facebook the night before yesterday's Lobby. I'd told my facebook friends that a long long time ago, I'd been booed off the stage singing Janis Joplin at a Canary Island karaoke night much to the embarrassment of my super yacht colleagues but had got up again and sung this and a woman from the audience got up and sang with me and we got a really big round of applause!

It's been a tough couple of days joining the lobby front but I'm glad I have joined them. A tough couple of days fighting the welfare reform bill against government rhetoric dividing the poorest sections of our society. The working poor against the welfare poor and the working poor are falling for it. Hook, line and sinker.

Who knew multi millionaires could be so clever?

Confessions to the Reverend

At Monday's lobby and again, yesterday's lobby, I met the Reverend who I've met a few times.

Yesterday, of course, he remembered me straight away and came up to say hello.

I told him that on Tuesday I'd done some sums regarding the £26000 cap. How it effects me and how it effects another single mother but who lives in a council flat.

He asked me if I'd send him the figures and I said sure, but please don't say it's me who lives in the private flat. He said he wouldn't.

"Oh Father," I continued. "Working it out was so depressing that I just got really drunk!"

"Oh you mustn't do that," he said.

"I couldn't help it Father. So many people find life so hard at the moment and you need some form of escape..."

"I understand but it's also very expensive,"

"Oh no Father, the supermarket's know how we're feeling and doing some great deals at the moment. You can get a whole pack of beers for £3.50!"

He shook his head, his eyes brimming with sorrow saying "Try, and do send me those figures so I can lobby with them."

"I will Father, today!"

He's replied this morning. "Thankyou very, very, much."

My pleasure Father. Thank YOU.

My absolute pleasure Father given the former Archbishop of Canterbury has sided with the government on welfare handouts, saying bishops "cannot lay claim to the moral highground":

"The sheer scale of our public debt, which hit £1trillion yesterday, is the greatest moral scandal facing Britain today.
If we can’t get the deficit under control and begin paying back this debt, we will be mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren.
In order to do this, we desperately need to reform our welfare system."

Reform our welfare system, not our banking system? You too, are with punishing the poor as you side with the rich Lord Carey?

His own father worked and his mother STAYED AT HOME. "Hard-working people." I am not a person?

He says Duncan Smith "has come to realise that we have betrayed the poorest and most vulnerable by merely throwing money at them, be it income support or housing benefit, with no strings attached."

No, we've been betrayed by a lack of affordable housing, low wages which don't rise with inflation and now beating everyone with a stick as companies sack people by the hundreds. The construction industry alone will lose 45,000 jobs this year.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jan/25/construction-industry-lose-45000-jobs-2012) Why no mention of any of this in these articles???

Oh Lord Carey, your fellow bishops aren't wrong. You, like so many others, just can't see the bigger picture. Or don't want to see it.

Yesterday's Evening Standard actually led me to this story. I've tried reading other commentator's in the Daily Mail this morning but it's hurting my eyes too much.

I was blind you see, like them, I admit it, but now I see things in ways I never could before I lost everything at a click of a finger.

That's all it takes

It's that quick

From there you must rise against ever rising obstacles.

The futures of our children and grandchildren indeed.

Preserving hope is easy to say when one is rich hey former Archbishop Lord Carey?

Once again Reverend, thank you very much.

Abuses on the Lobby front line...Cheers Dave

The Prime Minister has done a very good job, hasn't he, of pitting the people of this country against one another.

"Divide and Rule!! Divide and Rule!!

There were about a dozen of us who turned up to lobby against the Governnment's Welfare Reform Bill yesterday. Not many, but the Single Mother's Self Defence group and the Global Women's Strike Group and Winvisible, had big banners, and anyway, we were there, standing up for the rights of millions of people.

A man drives past in a van that says "Thrifty" on it. My first assumption is that he's a worker and probably doesn't earn much, then before I can think anything else, he's given us a one fingered salute.

I was so shocked, I walked forward with my own one fingered salute and shouted "Fuck you too!" That's not like me, to be honest, and this morning my anger became clear.

Yes, we were only 12, but one woman in a wheelchair, one woman with a baby in a pram, one young black girl, one young white girl who was also there on Monday and might be one of the organisers, one married mother with a daughter my son's age, one male pensioner, one priest. A pretty wholesome demographic of people. How dare Mr Thrifty stick his finger up at them when they are standing there for his benefit too.

"7 out of 8 housing benefit claimants are in work" shouts one banner.

Anyway, not long after Mr Thrifty's gone, two wealthy looking gentleman walk by and one, the older, balding one, comes up to me and says, in his cut glass accent with venom in it's delivery:

"You should all get a job!"

"Do you have a job?" I ask politely.

"Yes, I've worked all my life. Many years ago I went to Canada when it was freezing cold..."

"Well I'm glad you haven't been made redundant," I interrupt him.


"I said I'm glad you haven't been made redundant and are competiting with hundreds of other people for one job."

Bluster bluster then: "I met an Indian lady with two children living in Hampstead! Hampstead! It's disgraceful, these people living in places...."

"Well if there was more social housing, perhaps it wouldn't be such a big problem now would it?" I feel the anger bubbling beneath my surface.

"Where are the father's? Where are the fathers? I have lots of children and I look after them all, where are they!"

After quoting Michael Gove saying pregnancy is a male problem, "a male problem, a MALE PROBLEM Mr Gove the Tory said," I said:

"And how many times have you been unfaithful to your wife?"

He stepped back and smirked, shocked then gaffawed, and I was about to sneer "hypocrite" when the pensioner intervened, saying money shouldn't be taken from the needy but taken away from fuelling wars such as in Afghanistan... and they were off..shouting, I couldn't kkep up...The Jews, more protestants that catholics leaving Ireland back during the potato famine... I could'n't keep up, I don't know enough.

The row was broken up and the odious blue-eyed baldy smiled at me skulking off to rejoin his friend who, as I eyeballed the Fascist, didn't look quite so odious, had not come up to us and joined in, kept his distance and so well he might, if he too had nothing good to say)

Some members of the group came up to me afterwards and asked me if I was alright, which was really kind, because you don't really expect that, when the level of abuse you've just received, is what you receive all the time if you read right wing papers. So nothing out of the ordinary really; I shouldn't have been so shocked myself.

I know I shouldn't be at the lobby. I know that I am the Great British Problem. I know that I am universally hated by greater numbers of British society today than ever before (Thanks Dave).

I'm a single mother. I'm 'unemployed' I 'live in a flat hardworking people can't afford' and what none of my fellow lobbyists know, am in reciept of a sickness benefit, so 'disabled' (I do not see myself as disabled but depression is a disease and it's no higher payment than income support, where I could hide my 'disease')

Perhaps for all these reasons it's my duty to be there, so I can stand on behalf of all the men, women and children who cannot be there.

Hit me baby ONE MORE TIME?
I will defend myself
I will defend you

Our first duty is to ourselves.
Without ourselves what hope for our children?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sex in the 21st Century

Last Friday night I had a one night stand.

I'm telling you this because as I accepted the experience for what it was and felt no guilt or shame or anything I thought I might feel, yet nonetheless wondered how should I feel, because, well, I'm two hundred years old and I don't know, there happened to be quite a bit about sex in our mainstream media.

First, Nicola from Big Brother, who used to be a page three girl, told us all, while in the Diary Room with Twins who used to be Playboy Playmates, that she'd only ever slept with three people.
Why are you telling me that? I thought, as the playmates said nothing, which why would they?

Then, in the Daily Mirror, a woman who works on Loose Women, told us how she'd only ever slept with two men and married them both and now was a single mother who was "ashamed" her marriage had failed and had written a book: "Confessions of a Good Girl."

Eh? Good because you've only slept with two people and married them? Good is being a page three girl who has to justify a low number of shags for..what reason?

On Sunday I phone my mum who tells me the priest had given a sermon on sex a couple of sundays back! You have to know my mum to understand why it took her two weeks to tell me that and understand our relationship to understand why I didn't say "Really mum! Do you know I had sex just yesterday morning! With someone I didn't know! What a coincidence!" She couldn't really remember what he'd said however. Darn!

As my mind began to boggle, I fell upon Mariella Fostrups column in the Observer magazine where a 19 year old girl asks her if it's ok to shag the friend she does drama with, if she doesn't want a relationship with him, will he respect her ( 19! Shit, I'm 200 and feel younger than her! shit, I've got to go a lobbying, where's my mag for Mariella's quote??)

"I'm quite concerned this remains a concern for women 50 years after "free love" and the pill radically altered our sexual mores....In a society where sex is regarded as another currency, women should have the same right to squander it as men. If the female of the species still can't enjoy their lives without being judged by such Victorian values, then just what has changed in terms of gender equality?"

Hear Hear Mariella! She then goes on to say what we all know, that sex is much better, more enhanced with someone you love, but it's up to our own "personal predilection" (p52, Observer mag, 22/01)

What I find interesting from ALL of this and what I've been thinking is women are perceived as an anomaly, we are somehow, unknown and therefore dangerous. Is that why we have to say we haven't had sex/only had one partner/two/three don't think bad of me?

Single women are dangerous, single mothers are the most dangerous of all.

Are we really surprised therefore that the government has directed it's fiercest cuts to our children?

The Man Who Said I Was Hot was a Tory
"I bet you vote Labour," he said.
"I don't as it happens," I replied, "I am the leader of my own party. The I Don't Know Party!"
"What?" he laughs. "How can you have policies with I Don't Know?! ha ha ha!"
"I don't know, we don't have policies, just a manifesto, with questions like..."

The Tory party hates me. Hates Stigmums. Well, Lord Freud did say, didn't he, if there weren't children, there wouldn't be the need for cuts...

Fortunately not all Tories are the same, mustn't generalise too much; some are on our side.


As for me, I've always said, always

Don't call me Good

No chance of that now though is there?

"You have no self esteem"

On Friday night I had a one night stand.

I'm telling you this because the man I had the one night stand with told me, in three different ways, that I had no self esteem.

"You told me last night that you thought the men inside the club were being paid to talk to you."

"Yeah..heh heh, not just me, other women too."

"Wow, you must have really low self esteem."

"What? No I don't. Do I?

"You seriously think that club has men on their payroll to go out and sleep with women?"


"Why would they do that? You must have no self esteem."

"Er, well, why wouldn't a club, er..."

"Men have to be paid to talk to you? You're fucked, you have no self esteem."

"You know, I think you might be right (say I, thinking of my life, of battles lost, job applications rejected), but I have something..."

"You're really untidy." he says looking around, as if to get his bearings.

"Well, I wasn't exactly expecting you. However, you see I have nothing to hide..."

You know the most extraordinary thing about this quite extraordinary experience (because it was an extraordinary experience)?

He knew my friend Jo. Finding out where I used to work, he said he worked there too and there we made the connection. "She's a legend!" he said. "Yes, she is!" I replied.

Had lunch with Jo yesterday. Fancy that! He said to her, but not to me.

"You're moving forward," said Jo.

"Yeah I know. I may not have self esteem, but I've got some self worth."

Thank you my one night stand. I shall throw away the fags you left behind (instead of smoking them myself/giving them to someone else) becuase, well, because I wish you well.

And you reader, if I talk about this experience again, I will refer to him simply as The Man Who Said I Was Hot.
He didn't exactly say I was hot, he said I was "the hottest woman in the bar."


I don't know how to label this, reluctant to file it under Rape (to indicate how far I've come) I wish I'd never set up that label but it has to exist I guess.
This can be the last ever post under it.
I draw a line.
My thoughts on men now will file under relationships or men and women, I don't know.
I just know my thoughts, on anything, aren't over.

(Oh and I told The Man Who Said I Was Hot that I wrote a blog. He said "What's that," and I said "a kind of online diary," and he said "oh" without asking more, so I guess he's cool with me using our experience if I want to)

Dreams of Big Fish

I was at some kind of party, there were lots of people there chatting to one another but I wasn't talking to any of them, I was just, there.

As I walked through them to the back of the room, I aaw a window and through the window, the enormous eye of an enormous orange, shimmering, fish.

It was staring at me, with its big round eye, which I found quite unnerving. So I turned, and opened a door and found myself on the deck of a boat. There were people there. I turned, to make sure the fish had gone, I imagined it, but it had climbed through the window and was in the room, still staring at me, coming towards me, walking tall, so very big, on its tail fins.

I walked down the deck, very quickly, my heart pounding inside me, and could sense the Big Fish, I turned so I could see what I was running away from, and I saw the other people, none of whom were afraid of this Big Fish, and all of whom were at ease, touching it, smiling at it, as the Big Fish continued to stare at me.

Then I woke up, breathing hard and thought

I have no self esteem

Why am I so afraid when there's nothing to be afraid of?

I told my son about my 'wierd' dream.

"Why didn't you let it carry on mummy?"
"Because I woke up!"
"I had that dream two nights ago that you were dead."
I remembered, he'd come to me at around 10pm crying.
"I told you death means life in dreams didn't I? Maybe it means mummy's got a new life coming to her and my dream is telling me not to be afraid."
"Am I there mummy?"
"You are in me. You are always there even if I can't see you."

"Hug mamma, hug."

Fisherwoman's Friends

It was too much, too much yesterday, thinking about welfare reforms, my life, where I am. I needed something, something...a drink...Janis Joplin...so I got beer from the fridge and turned the music up really loud then went to get my son at Kung Fu.
Saw The Estimator, who was picking up his son, and told him I'd been having a little party at my house, celebrating my life and he said, laughing, be careful, he could smell it on my breath and offered me a Fisherman's Friend.

Later, I cracked open more beers..the supermarket's got some well cheap deals on at the moment! Oh they know how we're feeling!

Then I went off and got drunk, on Facebook of all places, but as it happened, the best place to be. My friend Jo was there, "swigging" the same as me, so we "clinked" our bottles! Kelly was there, saying she watches Celebrity Big Brother too and lots of my friends, like me, liked Janis
So here you are, as I prepare to go lobbying again this afternoon...

Freedom's just another word...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Rent and Universal Credit capped at £26000

There are Tory spies out there, I know. That whole cabinet is going to say thanks Stigmum, now we know how to hurt you and hurt all those other families! Woo hooooooo!

Remember, before I give these figures, how hard I have fought for a council flat, how often I have bidded for some box on some estate you wouldn't choose if you were rich and been unsuccessful.

Subject: The £26,000 cap
Who: Two single mothers
Rent example: One in Private versus one in Council housing

Rent £350 per week =18,200 a year
- 18200
= 7800 a year to live on

My friend
Rent £140 per week = £7280 a year

I worked out that I currently get £7449, excluding council tax
Doubt my friend gets £18700 with her three kids.

You might think £7749 is a lot
All this Tory shouting it's not fair people live in places you hard working people can't afford! Me and my friend live really close to one another, that's how we're friends.

Shockingly, including my rent and council tax, I get £13 more than the proposed £500 weekly cap. Yearly therefore I looked like I'm better off but weekly I'm worse off by £13. Above the proposed cap with £26689. I shall go back to the draw board with this

What's newly frightened me of course, is if I get a job that pays £35,000 a year which means I go home with £26000 after tax (what I read Dave tell Asda) is I only have £7800 to feed (at school too) and clothe and heat and I don't get to see my child at all because I've had to pay someone else to look after him. Who's going to pay me that anyway?

My friend on the other hand, on the same salary, might be able to afford a holiday, in a tent, in Devon (or somewhere). Then again, maybe not, price of rail travel these days.


Not on displacing children
Not removing them from good schools
Not watching their parents so stressed and frightened about an unclear future.

It's not 'workless' parents that ruin their future (if you read the Mail or any other right wing commentator), it's a government that fails to understand the meaning of secure affordable housing because they take their own for granted.

Welfare Reform has been proven to save very little money, an article yesterday in the Guardian saying "The £275m savings as a proportion of the £192bn spent on welfare payments in 2010 is tiny." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/23/duncan-smith-benefit-cap-poverty?intcmp=239) but this ideologically driven government does not care.

Do you care Tory spy?

I'm off to be sick.

Wrecking amendments - children's lives first

I managed to get out and lobby yesterday with the Single Mother's Self Defence crew outside Parliament. There I spoke to the priest I've met a few times, a fierce campaigner of people in debt, and a Lord.

The Lord came out to tell us that they were going vote on two issues

1)Homeless households be exempt from the cuts
2) Child benefit be excluded from the caps.

The Lords were defeated on the former (so fabulous news for my child) but the Government are up in arms at being defeated on the second (truly fabulous news for all children)

To be honest,I feel SO SICK. The cap takes no account of rent, never mind living costs as a parent. You read the papers (don't don't!) and Tory ministers, like Dave, going to Asda and asking workers "Is it fair that people earn benefits of £26,000? (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2090750/Welfare-reform-Labour-bishops-Lib-Dem-peers-derail-benefits-cap-plan.html)

They like to chuck around numbers to get ordinary people really riled up.

Lord Freud, the welfare reform minister, said the Labour amendments were a 'wrecking amendment.' Wrecking their wrecking plans you mean. According to Inside Housing he said:

"It is very easy to see that any local authorities could consider people threatened with homelessness or priority need as any household with children.

‘In practical terms this is the same as not having a cap at all." (http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/defeat-for-government-on-welfare-reform-bill/6520086.article)

Laid bare for you...The caps are directed at CHILDREN. The caps are directed at families with CHILDREN. Tory wrecking amendments to children's lives as if their lives aren't already hard enough.

My child, evicted again, risks to his education flare up again and for what? Security? No! No, it's for nothing because his mother can't handle it either.

And I really wish they'd stop banging on about "a culture of worklessness" during a fucking recession where thousands are losing their jobs and hundreds are in competition with one another for one position.

This was not what I was going to write about this morning.

I will go out and lobby again tomorrow. I don't care if I'm nervous, I don't care if I'm shy. It's the Year of the Dragon and that must mean something. Roar...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Message of hope from Lorna Bryne

Got this in my inbox this morning.
Sometimes things are really timely.
You get things at the right time, or at the time you need them.
Even if you don't believe in angels, just suspend your disbelief
One thing's for sure, believing in them can't hurt but can comfort

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Year of the Dragon!
(Whatever that means!)
More to the point,
A New Year!!!
An opportunity to start again with something, anything,
It also coincides today with a
New Moon

My advice, is take it easy
listen to your instincts
Don't lose hope
Start by being kind to yourself
Try and believe that everything will be OK
Just believe that
believe it
believe it
believe it

(I know, quite funny coming from me, but there you go! Happy New Year!)

In which direction do I go?

Blogging is reflecting my life.

I want to concentrate on healing myself but then go off and read stuff about housing and feel myself get so angry (Clegg saying this weekend he supports the benefits cap.. I take it personally, he met me, he took my details, he said he would help but I can't see how kicking me and other parents, disabled, elderly, in the teeth is helping

I want to concentrate on healing myself and blog about that. Thousands of other people feel like shit about all kinds of thing, maybe something I might say might make them feel better. Oh I don't know...

I'm obsessed with housing though. I can't help reading about it now there's so much coverage in the press with all these reform bills going through. As you know though, I find it depressing. It hurts. I feel I'm being attacked and I am, benefit recipients are being hit really hard, those in work and those not.

On Sunday, yesterday, I woke up so, so...I don't know, stuck.

I've got angel cards on my bedside table so picked them up and shuffled them. "What can I do? What can I do?

The card I picked was Angel Gabriel, telling me he was with me and to follow the signs.

Signs? What signs?

I continue to blog by instinct then?
I give blogging a rest?
I blog about love?
I blog about housing?
I blog about benefits as a form of defence for others on benefits?
I blog about positive things ONLY
but then where do I put the outside things that drag me down?

At the time the sign was to get out of bed, and given how I feel, that's a mighty good start.
For anyone, not just me.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Healing processes

No-one ever said a healing process was easy

(Taken from notebook 20th November 2011)

No-one said a healing process was quick either

Time for a Regime Change

Regime change is the replacement of one regime with another - usually understood within a political context, it would be nice to change the Tory coalition - they are all Tory, no libdems - Tory PM, Tory Chancellor, Tory Housing minister, Tory Work and Pensions guy, Tory Transport..oh every position Tory as our country goes from bad to worse...but I Don't Know what replace it with.

However, I am not talking of political regime change
I am talking Franglais
In French, regime means diet
I have to Change my Regime.

My son called me a liar this morning, moments before saying I was fat. Simply because I might have told him last night that I was thinking that when he gets up at 7.30 on the sound of his alarm, I might not hit my own snooze button but instead get up and do some 10 minute exercises.

This morning I hit the snooze button twice and he got really angry with me. I know! Called me a liar! "You said you'd get up and do exercise!" Then said that I was fat! "You're the same as those women in that book before they lost weight," he said. "What book???????" I asked. "That [Paul McKenna's] I Can Make You Thin book." "Where did you find that????? Oh never mind. I never said I would do it, just that I was thinking of doing it...I walk you to school don't I...?"

It's always tomorrow. I go to bed with great intentions for the next day then, somehow...

It's because I'm unhappy. It's comforting to stuff myself. I remembered a box of chocolates I was given for my birthday this morning and 3/4 of it is gone already.

You don't want it but still you eat. eat. eat. eat. eat. binge. eat. binge binge oh lovely oh no.

You've got all the books, all the meditiation cd's, all the free diet advice in newspapers which you read and makes you hungry even though you're not hungry, not for food anyway but for for for

Regime Change
It starts with YOU
Buy nuts don't be nuts

Oh do what you like.

It's your body/happiness/friendlife/lovelife/fitinjeanslife/internalorganslife/feelawakelife/feelawakelife?/feelawakeforwhatlife?/povertylife?/shittyjoblife?/runaroundintheparkplayingfootballlife?/passthebiscuits



London Occupy Camp appeal eviction order

It won't be long before the London Occupy protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral will be removed by force.

Today protesters are appealing against an eviction order from the City of London corporation, the big financiers who have no idea how us, the 99% struggle with our lives. Of course with the full backing of the Tory party, whose interests lie within that square mile. They can't stand the symbolic images of church and country, side by side, making the news and reminding people daily of the unfair inequality, educating people daily, that there is an alternative.

I for one am gutted because the Occupy Village is a kind of utopia. One of the times I went there I wondered why there were no charities being vocal about homelessness (that being my thing) and was about to leave when I saw a sign ontop of some tents...HELP THE FORGOTTEN HOMELESS.

I got chatting to one of the guys who'd said he lived on the streets and he'd arrived the night before and had been given a tent. Another had just arrived and made the poster. I'd seen it, come over, been offered a cup of tea by a neighbour and pretty soon we were all chatting.

Imagine this community, where no-one is excluded, everyone has access to shelter, first aid, food and education.

Silly me, perhaps you live in a community which has shelter, first aid, food and education, but if you do it's because it is exclusive, groups excluded. Westminster is desperately trying to rid itself of homeless people so it can pretend the problem does not exist.

There is no homeless problem in the Occupy London camp; what people want is a better world for everyone so now they are going to be evicted.

This global movement for greater equality will continue; don't lose sight of it even if the media tries hard to blind you.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Unable to lobby when lobbying's needed

I missed it yesterday; the single mothers self defence corp lobbying parliament against welfare reforms
I'm missing it tonight; Defend council housing against the 8% rise in tenants' rents.
I am a single mother
I am not a tenant
I am against rent rises everywhere
and against pay freezes

I am not a tenant.

Between you and me, existing tenants enjoy really good affordable rents. I don't think they know, or maybe they do of course, it's why they're lobbying.

What I mean therefore, is, for example, two bed properties that I bid on are around £120 a week. The cheapest are around £118, not much lower.

Existing tenants, their rent might be £84 a week for the same thing. I know!! Fabulous isn't it?!

I'm not not going to the lobby because I'm not a tenant.

In many ways I'm grateful there are more people to shout out against expensive rents. I'm hoarse after begging and begging for 8 years for affordable rents. Only you, reader, hear me, I could hug my followers for not switching off.

I'm not going to the lobby because

well, the fight's not in me at the moment

all I can do is eat
crisps and chocolate mostly

Iceland are doing good deals on them at the moment

My son didn't even know I'd bought a six pack of cheese and onion crisps for £1 because I'd eaten them all before he got home!

The exclamation mark is because I've realised that's quite an achievement!

Actually that doesn't need an exclamation mark
Achievement would be making it to a lobby
Thank you all of those who go.

No rest for the loopy

It's just an observation, that's all.
I had my mental breakdown thing when, November?
Less than a month later I received a questionnaire asking me to state why I wasn't fit for work.
Aaaargh, let me sort my head out please...
Then letters from Department of work and pensions saying 'your medical certificate is running out, get another,' and not being able to get an appointment in time then getting a sick note for two weeks then getting another letter saying 'your medical certificate is running out, get another one or your benefits will be affected..'
and you want to say 'go away go away go away'
"Send us another medical certificate (by the day after tomorrow) if you are still sick and cannot work."

I don't want to be sick ok. You are making me sick ok. Just leave me alone.

Then this morning Jobs in Mind phone to make an appointment and no, just go away
Then I read my emails and see a response from the House of Commons saying my job application has been unsuccessful and
actually that's quite funny
I applied to be a tour guide in the House of Commons
back when I was feeling so down about policy that comes out of that place
Me, showing your kids around, extolling the virtues and values of our political system
I find that quite funny
I do recall laughing when I showed my support worker the application form and being told I shouldn't write "Leader of the I Don't Know Party" under "Anything else you'd like to tell us"
Why not?!

Funniest job application I've ever filled in

Ha ha
ha ha ha

I can't go back on JSA, I can't
Politicians have the last laugh I know, oh and private enterprises who get the jobless for free

The perks were good with that job though
Part time, term time, paid...

Best go phone doc. I won't get the letter in time though...

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, let me sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

You're havin' a laugh....

I got a call from the local newpaper late last week asking if I wanted to write an article on the area's nightlife.
"You're havin' a laugh aren't you?" I said to Ed. "I never go out! I'll rise to the challenge though! Thanks!"

I blagged my way into free comedy at the Oxford pub on Saturday. It was good, and I was glad that I wasn't there on my own, surrounded by couples and groups of friends; I was with my 'profession'. I was there as 'reviewer'.

The newspaper deadline was yesterday. My winter wipeout medical questionnaire deadline was yesterday too.

I am REALLY PISSED OFF with myself this morning.

It's fun writing about nightlife, writing for money. Let's enjoy the moment!

Oh bugger, I have to write why I can't do things on this questionnaire. I can at the moment. OH shit, let me think about housing, the job market, let me think myself into a depression. Oh, let me think myself out of it again...

Let me think what pubs you can get pissed in!
Let me think how sometimes I can't communicate.
Let me think what pubs you can watch theatre in!
Let me think how my behaviour upsets people.

I sent one article to the editor
I sent one questionnaire to a machine.

Why didn't I think I might get really depressed today and saved the questionnaire til now instead of puncturing positive thoughts with punitive ones yesterday?

Same reason that when a comedian asked how many parents there were in the room on Saturday night (just me) I didn't stick my hand up.

No, I don't know what that reason is.
You're havin' a laugh aren't you....

Monday, 16 January 2012

Winter Wipeout

It's a telly programme I think. Caught some of it at the weekend. Constants have to get across this really difficult assault course and the winner is he or she who does it in the quickest time.

The atos questionnaire I have to fill in to ascertain how fit I am for work feels like the winter wipeout assault course. Anything you write, you think these people who have been commissioned by the government, will knock you straight back into the water. Only there's no swimming to safety with this government game. You have to climb back on to be knocked back down. Careful you don't drown now...

It's how it feels anyway.
Is that how you feel?
I'm exhausted
Wiped Out
"I'm so tired of this shit," I want to write on my form.
Don't give a shit, they'll say.

I'll let you know how they rubber stamp me, bash me, kick me, thrash me.
Just need to get to the end of the form then sign and send it off.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday 13th - Lucky for me!

I won two tickets to go and see La Soiree at Camden's Roundhouse this evening.
How lucky, how lucky how lucky am I?
I entered a competition on the I love camden website just before Christmas.
It couldn't come at a better time, this escape escape from my life.
Cabaret! Woo hoo!!! I was desperate to go but couldn't afford it!!
I'm taking my friend Em with me, to say thanks for bailing me out financially when we went out before Christmas. I'm cooking her dinner before we go out (pasta poor girl!)
Thanks so much I Love Camden. So so so so so so so so much!

Also means I can now add a third win to my 'competition winnings' label! Let's hope it grows as long as my 'housing government and council' label - still no luck with happy endings there but live in hope that Camelot might rescue me from that.

Still, Friday 13th, lucky for some, lucky for me with this ticket!

Oh yeah baby, bring it on!

Go Write!!!

At my son's school this morning, a literacy workshop for parents and children: "Go, Write!"
Really interesting, informative, great. How they encourage these kids to build their vocabulary and write creative sentences, exemplary.

I get home and there's the ASOS people telling me I haven't sent back the questionnaire about my mental health and my benefits may be affected if I don't return it by next Friday. Go WRITE...

I know you won't believe me but I can't do it.

Yes, yes, I know I've written about four posts this morning and I write articles and letters but I can't write what they are asking me to write.

They are asking me to write an essay describing my illness.

I can write "I feel suicidal" but they won't give a shit about that. Who gives a shit about that? Besides, that's not an essay, it's a sentence. "I had a mental breakdown, I need time to heal so it doesn't happen again" won't wash with them either.

My doctor told me to get Citizen's Advice to help me with it after her colleague told me I'd be found fit for work.

I'm actually ashamed to say I can't do it. Ashamed I can't write the essays. Ashamed to go to Citizen's Advice and say 'help me'.

There are about three essays to write, the thought of which is totally depressing.


I just thought I'd tell you because I am somebody who can read and write so imagine how hard again it must be for someone who can't.

"Go Write!" kids.

I hope you don't find yourself where I am when you grow up.

The new "affordable" social housing

I figured while I'm already down, I may as well go into to bid for properties, seeing as I usually can't do it as it drops my mood into a big black hole.

I bid on three out of ten (Lucky bids on all of them and with her 900 + points has turned down all the properties she's been shortlisted for apart from the garden properties where she's been number 2 or 3 on the list so has missed out. I tend to bid for what I don't want to turn down, though in truth, I wouldn't want to live on any of the estates I bid on today. Still, my post isn't about that, so onward...)

I had a glimpse at one bed properties (because I've been advised to bid on one of those...oh don't make me angrier...) and well, I was quite surprised:

1 bedroom affordable rent flat on a small estate. Comprising one good size double bedroom, living room with period feature windows, fully fitted kitchen and bathroom with white suite. 4th floor. No lift. Full central heating. The estate is only a few minutes walk from Russell Square tube station and numerous buses. The successful candidate will benefit from an initial 1 year Introductory AST tenancy and on successful completion of their tenancy conditions, they will be issued with a 5 year fixed term AST tenancy. The rental charge for this property is £226.00 per week which equates to approximately £979.33 per month. Ward: King’s Cross. Approx rent: £226 pw. (Housing Association) "Affordable" ?

Compared to:

1 bedroom flat (single) on an individual block. Open plan living room and kitchen. 1st floor with lift access. The successful candidate will need to demonstrate a strong tie to the Covent Garden area. Sensitive Let. Housing Co-operative. Council Tax Band: D. Ward: Holborn and Covent Garden. Approx rent: £87 pw.

1 bedroom flat (double) in an individual block. 3rd floor with lift access and 1 external step. District heating. Landlord: Camden Council. Council Tax Band: D.
District: Holborn. Ward: Bloomsbury. Approx rent: £126 pw.

1 bedroom flat (double) on a large estate. 3rd floor with lift access. Full central heating. Sensitive Let.Landlord: Camden Council. Council Tax Band: B.
District: Holborn. Ward: King’s Cross. Approx rent: £95 pw

Compared to:
2 bedroom flat (1 double 1 single) in an individual block.
4th floor with 36 external steps. Lift access. No adaptations.
No right to acquire. No Pets. Electric storage heating.
Landlord: (Housing Association). Ward: Holborn and Covent Garden. Approx rent: £145 pw.

or what I bid on

2 bedroom flat (doubles) on a small estate. 3rd floor with lift access. District heating. Landlord: Camden Council. Council Tax Band: B. District: Kentish Town. Ward: Kentish Town.
Approx rent: £121 pw.

Watch all rents and all tenancies shoot up to that first one I listed, which touts itself as 'affordable' at £226 per week.

That word "affordable"...I think it's being written out of the dictionary, same with the word "secure"

The fight's not over. I hope I'm wrong.

(and a quick maths test for you... on two I bid for I'm 60th out of 230 and on the third 64th out of 221...work it out!)

Consultations nobody knows anything about

I'm wondering if the 22,000 people on Camden's housing waiting list, or the 5 million people on waiting lists around the UK, know the housing minister has issued a consultation on the allocation of social housing and wants their input?

I found out because I follow the minister on twitter...the people I know who are affected by new housing laws/are in council flats/temporary accommodation do not follow the minister (not that he tweets and retweets and retweets this consultation process, no not at all)

I ask because apparently we're consulted on lots of things but I can't recall being consulted on anything that might matter, like the destruction of the NHS or the implementation of a high speed rail network which sees my place on the waiting list slip ever lower as existing council tenants have their homes bulldozed and have to be found alternative like for like accommodation.

I am also now suitably cynical having marched against a war that went ahead to know that it doesn't matter whether we're consulted or not, the government will go ahead with what it wants to go ahead with even if the Lords step in and defeat their amendments.

At my volunteering yesterday, a person there who works within housing at the council did not know there's a national consultation going on.

This consultation is for us:
This consultation, says the minister, is aimed primarily at local authorities. Housing associations, social housing tenants, and waiting list applicants, as well as voluntary and community organisations representing tenants and applicants are also expected to have an interest

Next week (oh really stiggers? really?? can't we just get it over with now?) I'll see how new policies hurt me and my son. From what I've read already, the minister likes to hurt me and my son. What hurts us hurts millions and I can best demonstrate how I feel about it if I write about how I feel about it because I wouldn't be surprised if others felt the same way as me.

Here it is for you. It's 70 pages long but you can skim it:


(Oh Stigs, why can't we put links up anymore that highlight and lead people straight there?)

A message from your GP - R.I.P

I'm going to copy out a flyer that was at my doctor's surgery. I'm going to copy it out after reading in the Mirror on wednesday of an ex X factor contestant who died of bladder cancer. Someone very close to me had bladder cancer but because that person was very fortunate to have private insurance, that person was seen and dealt with very quickly and as a result is still alive.

Meanwhile, the flyer also mentions the rail service. The rail service! What might that have in common with the NHS?!
Rather alot currently with the High Speed rail plan that the posh don't want because it'll ruin the countryside and the poor don't want because they won't be able to afford it, after they've lost their homes in a bulldozing exercise that is.



As GPs we are extremely concerned about the negative effects this re-organisation of the NHS would have on our patients.

The NHS currently includes the 'Providers' of care (hospitals and GPs) and the Administrators. Administrators monitor the quality of services. They also "commission" services from the 'Providers' that means they decide what sort of services the Hospitals and GPs should provide so that the whole population is best served within the limits of the NHS budget.
As a proportion of the UK budget the NHS costs about 8% - this is less that the average for most develped countries like France or Spain.


The governments [sic] proposed changes would de-nationalise the NHS so that in the long run all hospitals would essentially become private and the only role of the NHS would be to buy services with a limited pot of money. This is similar to our national rail service which is expensive even though it gets huge government subsidy every year and still leaves many users dissatisfied.

(Then there is a picture of a tombstone with the engraving:)
1948 - 2011

We don't think the NHS is perfect, but we do think it is very good considering what it costs the taxpayer. Another large reorganisation is the last thing the NHS needs. The NHS was improving in many ways until recently and patient satisfaction has been improving.

Reorganisations cost a lot of money and lead to chaos fro some years. We think that this reorganisation would cost the taxpayer more for a worse service as profits would go to shareholders or large companies.

The End (ok, it doesn't say The End, that's just for you, so you know that it's back me writing)

The government had no mandate for the total destruction of the NHS service
There is no proper consultation on the billion pound highspeed rail service most people don't want but the government is going ahead with it anyway.

It's the new doctor's consortium which has written this flyer.
I think they are actually saying R.I.P to us, the patients.

I've known it for years and now you do too.

Do people have to wait to die because they can't afford to live?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Jobs in Mind...

It wasn't the mental health charity Mind I had an appointment with yesterday, it was another charity called Jobs in Mind.

My interview ran over which I won't go into here apart from suffice to say, this self elected leader of the I Don't Know party kept saying "I don't know if I want to work, yes I do want to work, no I don't want to work, I do want to do a job that I love that suits my life, I don't want to be forced into looking..."

This charity, I was able to see objectively after about 15 minutes, is amazing actually. They support you back into work. They help with your cv, they help with application forms, they can do mock interviews with you.

For the long term unemployed (and it doesn't take six months to get depressed about it really, so imagine what it's done to me) something like this is a godsend because jobseeking for so many, is soooooooo depressing. To have someone support you without pressurising you into anything, well, I imagine you might pick up some self worth on the way but also have someone who understands your anger and frustration when it's another job you haven't got, another company you haven't heard from.

Sounds great don't you think?

One problem.

In order to access this service you have to have a mental health problem.
In order to access this service you have to be referred by a support worker or social worker.
Apart of me was depressed to even be there.

"I don't want to be like them," I said to the woman.
"Like who?" she answered.
"Like all those depressed people, all those people who can't see a way out, all those people who just feel hopeless about their lives, all those people, well, that feel like I do."


I am lucky.

I am really lucky. 2.7 million unemployed people do not have access to this service although the charity would love to extend its service to 2.7 million people. Funding though ey....

She said she'd be in touch in a couple of days then must have seen my eyebrows shoot up or something because then she said "A couple of weeks" and I breathed closing my eyes.

In an ideal world, I would go from ESA straight into a job. Not from ESA to JSA back to the Big Black Hole which is what I'm frightened will happen now.

Well done Spartacus Report people for getting the Lords to triple defeat the government on timelimiting ESA and benefit rights for disabled people. People I know are very much worse off than me.

Typical this know nothing clueless care-less Government are vowing to overturn it:

No idea, none that there is a ton of blood not to mention increasing mental illness attributable to them and their ideological tearing apart of the fabric of our society.

Rising crime is the only way you'll know our country's sinking if politically you stand to the Right. Will those papers report the rest?

I hope so.

When volunteering is not good for your health

Steering group meeting today with the group of volunteers I volunteer with.
It's often brilliant to see these people because they are brilliant people
Many of the parents that I volunteer with are already in part time paid employment or like the (founder?) of the Grandparent's Association, campaign voluntarily elsewhere.

We discussed lots of things in the meeting but one of the things we discussed was our next workshop day which is going to focus on, of all things, housing. rrrrrargh 0 to -60 instantaneously as my whole body tenses.

I've got a pukka job at these workshops, as volunteer journo, but I came out of the meeting today in my automatic default suicide position and then finding myself there and reminding myself I have a child so get with it for fucks sake

800 families privately renting and claiming housing benefit in Camden are going to have to move as a direct result of benefit caps, I heard, in the meeting.

One of workshops (there tend to be three) on our workshop day, is going to advise people about the rent caps. We're going to try and wheel in a councillor to talk to the group and advise people about what they can do.

So pointless. So totally utterly pointless. I'm sat there shaking my head and holding the sick feeling in my throat as though the action might remove my head from my shoulders and I can be GONE.

However, I must remember that maybe some of these 800 families have never faced eviction before, or twice before, or thrice before and therefore won't know how utterly pointless any advice is from a local councillor (or minister for that matter).

You know, I did actually make some people laugh at the meeting. Not about housing, no, ha ha ha how could you think that?! No, just about something I read in the Guardian where charities are too afraid to speak out in support of the people they are registered to help incase their funding gets reduced. Yeah Yeah, what a charity said to me...needing to remain 'impartial.'
One woman's sister might lose her job for querying some reforms being tabled at the local prison. The advice is for her to keep her mouth shut or she'll be claiming JSA with 2 million other people.

How did I make people laugh. Well I sang didn't I, Olivia Newton John:

Let's get cynical cynical
We gotta get cynical
Let us hear these Bodies talk, these Bodies talk...!

As the group laughed I could hear my son in my deep subconscious shout "Be quiet mummeeeeeee" and me shouting back "I can do what I like in MY OWN BEDROOM SON"

I'm so cynical cynical
don't wanna be cynica-a-al
can you hear my feelings talk
my feelings balk
Can you hear my feelings talk?
OHHHHHH I'm so cynical, are you cynica -a-alllllllllll
Can you hear your feelings talk?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Too depressed to write today

It's too much. Too much too much too much

I shouldn't read, even good articles like George Monbiot's Making Democracy Safe for Business:

or one's delivering avoidable news like this one:

or the articulation that the attack is on all sides and only the Lords can save us: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/10/welfare-reform-lords-blows-poor-disabled?CMP=twt_gu

Then tomorrow Single Mother's Self Defence are protesting the welfare reform bill outside parliament. I want to go. I so want to go:

Women are coming to us very distressed about the Welfare Reform Bill and how it will affect them. They are terrified by total insecurity -- from the cuts to housing benefit and the benefit cap, to impossible jobseeking, work and childcare conditions, under the threat of sanctions applied to unwaged and low earner alike. They fear their benefits will be cut off and they and their families will be forced into unbearably overcrowded homes, or they will be made homeless, destitute and even end up on the street.

Women, who have the first responsibility for families and are often keeping an eye on elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people in our communities, are already exhausted and overworked. They feel desperate. Living costs are soaring and they can’t afford to put the heating on. Food banks have become a reality for many women who have recently lost their jobs. Vital local services are disappearing – afterschool clubs, homecare, day centres – at the same time as they will be forced away from loved ones by compulsory back-to-work schemes, and the housing benefit and overall benefit caps. The Bill will have life-threatening consequences, many more than hit the headlines.

I wanted to go, be with people like me, feel some strength through empathy and understanding.

I can't go though.

I have an appointment with Mind.

It was made for me, to help me fill in job application forms, I didn't make it myself.

I've a mind not to go. I'm sure they help lots of people, infact they do.


I want to curl up and pretend I'm a billionaire and that all human's have bad days and hey, look on the bright side, Cameron's going to scrap my 50p tax rate and make me richer.

Maybe I should blog about other things

Maybe I shouldn't blog at all


There is a flame that burns within me after all

Don't tell me what I can and cannot do.

What I should and should not do.

Leave me alone

Monday, 9 January 2012

Shapps says housing allocation unfair, but for wrong reasons

For once it seems me and the housing minister agree when he says that the housing allocation system is unfair but this little report, as I glance with mine eyes, is flawed beyond belief and kicks me into an early grave...

Flexible tenancies for all which you know I'm against

"a new 'Affordable Rent' tenancy will be offered by housing associations to some new tenants of social housing from April 2011. Affordable Rent properties will offer fixed term tenancies at a rent higher than social rent - with landlords able to set rents at up to 80 per cent of local market rents. How can affordable rent be higher rent? Ey?? EY??????

As for the likes of statorily homeless like me:

"Currently some homeless families are turning down the decent private rented accommodation they've been offered as a settled home, and demanding to be provided with expensive temporary accommodation, at huge cost to the taxpayer, until a social home becomes available."

Demanding? Where did he get that?

Private renting not expensive? PRIVATE RENTING NOT EXPENSIVE? So why the cap? Why are thousands going to lose their homes? Fortunately statutorily homeless are exempt from this, so that's why they want everyone to go private, so no-one is exempt from punitive legislation and insecure housing.

A two bedroom private flat near me is £450 a week according to local estate agent office which is £100 dearer than me here in temporary.

Here's the bloody awful article which I stupidly read, then wept:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/ - oops, it's dated 2010 - fuck - after I sent ministers my Diary of an Election Eviction which I'm thinking more and more they used as a template for cuts...

This is the article where he says people play the system. I left a comment on it, because I no longer have words, apart from it's all shit, all shit what spouts out of this coalition.


or the original diatribe of total lack of understanding: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/housing/2060990

You have to ask yourself if any politician cares

It was a dream I had, to write to the chancellor. "Oh go away nightmare!" I screamed but it wouldn't. The image of the chancellors face floated before me with the words "God forsaking coalition" and the voice saying "write to him". It's hearing the benefit review hadn't gone through yet just after the new year which spurred me to action....

5th January 2012

Dear Right Honourable [Chancellor of the Exchequer],

Tell me, please, is everyone blind to the country’s housing crisis in this God forsaking coalition?
I am writing to you because I am hoping you are not. I am hoping you can communicate a level of understanding of where our country is amongst your peers.
I have enclosed two pieces of writing I had published last month which I am hoping you will find time to read. One is a viewpoint in the Ham & High; the other a letter in the Camden New Journal. My fear is that they are timeless pieces no matter which Party is in power. I hope I am wrong.
Sir, capping benefits, lowering housing allowances, are not the answer to the catastrophe in front of us. Replacing a focus on refurbishing empty properties and building affordable housing is. Not what’s affordable to you and your cabinet but affordable to me and my fellow country men and women.
Rent should be kept out of the Universal Credit equation the coalition is intent on pushing through. It may all sound great in theory but in practice it will only devastate more lives. Crime is already increasing.
I have never written to a chancellor before. I didn’t think a chancellor could do anything but of course they can; of course you can. Do you care for our country and all the people within it?
Mr [Chancellor], our country needs you.
I hold faith that your influence can help heal the problems that have accumulated over decades in the housing sector.
Watch It’s a Wonderful Life Mr [Chancellor]. It is sadly a timeless film where today people actually are hurling themselves over bridges (Archway Bridge near me).
Don’t be a Potter Government Sir. Not now, not anymore.
I look forward to hearing good news and soon. There is time to review the legislation that sees our country suffering no end. Your country is mine but we are not in it together.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you can see what I’m saying.
Yours sincerely,
Sue de Nim

I wish I'd written:
P.S: Is parenting a job?
P.P.S: Please don't charge me to access my son's maintenance. We're in enough debt as it is.

Missed opportunities ey but let's hope, let's hope that this cabinet aren't all in it together and that one has a flipping conscience and the brain in his head to bring about positive change for the masses not the few.

How the Duke depressed me on Christmas Eve

Oh how chance, I believed, might favour me in the days before Christmas when I heard a grand old Duke (not of Cambridge, he's a young one)patron of a homeless charity (again not the young one who also is) would be present at a carol service.

Here's the letter I handed to him, which he put in his breast pocket and said he'd read later. Which he did, and responded to straight away, which was great as no-one ever does that. However, he wrote there was nothing he could do, no-one he could influence, but "every success" with my lobbying. Oh the rage, I could only see black. So I wrote a response in my Black Notebook but haven't sent it. Should I? I feel my blood boiling again...

(Oh and Google told me how to address him because in truth, I had no idea)

20 December 2011

To Your Grace, the [Grand Old] Duke of [X],

If I have hand delivered you my article, then my prayers have been answered. If this letter and my article in the Ham & High have been passed to you, my prayers have also been answered because I was very nervous of approaching you at the Church of the Immaculate Conception’s carol service reception.
In short, Your Grace, I am asking you to help me help our country.
What the Government is about to do in regards to housing will destroy the lives or indeed life chances of so many people.
As you many know, the coalition wishes to abolish council housing, end life time tenancies, increase social rent to market share, and amongst other things, re-introduce the Right to Buy which got us into this mess in the first place where there is not now enough affordable housing for ordinary men, women and children.
I have appealed to Government ministers many times, to no avail. Articles I have written in the Ham & High and other papers, have gone unnoticed.
You have connections your Grace. Please, on behalf of everybody I mention in the article, see what you can do in order to halt this catastrophe. Or make those with power understand what they are unleashing.
Thankyou Your Grace. It was a coincidence I was at the carol service at all. My local church is elsewhere but on Sunday came to Farm Street to thank God for everything that I’ve got. The music is so stunning, it’s a beautiful service.
I do hope you can help me. I’ll put my details at the bottom of the page should you wish to contact me.
I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and all the best in 2012.

Yours faithfully,

Sue de Nim

A dream's reality just beyond reach

How do I write this without getting bogged in detail? My dream of yonder night, where I was pregnant in some kind of execution quad and two Asian people appeared before me.

Saturday..I take my son to Kung Fu. The centre is near Papier Mache Towers where I used to live. I decide that I will go there as my doctor sent a letter there - tell the new occupants of the flat to forward any post that comes in (there is more to this but that's what I mean about getting bogged down)

I pop into the my old Hairdresser first to wish SuperMario a happy new year and settle down with a cup of coffee. I read page 15 of Thursday's Daily Express - ooh the day I wrote to the Chancellor - Somalians claiming £2000 a week in rent. The trotted line of people living in luxury flats hardworking people can't afford. No balance in the article about the need for more social housing.

Pick up my son, go to Papier Mache Towers. New occupants aren't in but the neighbours - the couple who got the flat I bid on and didn't get - are there. Flip, just this little story is too massive actually... I give you bones ok?

She tells me she was two years waiting. "Refuse temporary". I refused temporary too..I didn't get a flat. She, her husband and child viewed SEVEN flats. In the same time frame, I viewed NONE. I wish her and her family well though, and I leave.


My dream! In 2010, I mentioned this family in my CNJ article. One of two shortlisted that day. How 500 points after 2 years when my son and I were 350 after 7?

If, if if if if if, they agree to give me the breakdown of their points, a lawyer might take my case for discrimination. Take my case that the system is flawed, unfair.

Oh my heart!

I recall the film documentary maker who bumped into me on Friday morning. I turned down the chance to be in a programme later aired as "Pramface" but he took down my number again anyway.

What if if if if.

Wow. With this couple's help, I can take on the local council and with the documentary maker's input, we turn the story into a national one, which it is, and keep social housing high in the political eye.

I feel sick with desire, feel sick with hope.

I drop my son off at a party. I go back to the Hairdresser, tear out the Daily Express article. Go back to the couple at Papier Mache Towers.

The mother invites me in. I speak slowly to be understood, and she does, she does understand. "Don't be frightened I say, you won't lose your home." "Council no happy," she says. "I will protect you," I answer.

She says her husband is at work, he makes the decisions. "Talk to him," I say. "You don't have to decide now. I will go to the law centre, get advice. You know, I don't plan these things. Three days ago a lawyer's card fell out of a box when I was cleaning and I throw it away! Please help me, please. You will be helping everyone."

Later I got really depressed. Really, Really Down. Don't think that they won't help, don't think that they won't help they won't help they won't help don't think they won't help they will help they will help

I didn't help myself though..well I did..helped myself to Al Cohol but that isn't exactly what sees us through

Is it?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Pregnant standing in the Killing Fields - a dream

I was pregnant in my dream last night. Quite heavily so, standing in a courtyard.
I could hear people being executed. I could hear gun shots.
Around the corner of a concrete building walked two people, two Asian people; a man and a woman in army green prisoners fatigues.
I wanted to look away, I didn't want to see them get shot but they simply stood there looking at me and as I recognised them I woke up.

I didn't/don't know what it means really though I when I was little my dream job was to go to places like Cambodia and inform people what was happening there. I would report injustice. I didn't do that though did I? I did a whole load of different jobs but not that one.

Google's just told me my being pregnant is a good sign

Dreams about pregnancy often symbolize creativity, new ideas, projects or relationships. (http://www.luciddreaminghowto.org/dreams-of-being-pregnant.html)

I hope so I hope so I hope so

For all those caught in wars right now, globally, everywhere, my thoughts are with you.

Now, what am I going to do with my life?

I want to kill myself

The very fact that I am quite open about the desire to kill myself means that I will never do it.

I am open about it on this blog so you may understand the mindsets of people who aren't open about it, who never mention it, but of course, just one day do it.

I could have told the doctor this morning I wanted to kill myself but she would have ignored it as it's on record that I've said I want to but will never do it. (ha ha ha the sardonic chuckle)

The welfare system now, as it's been "reformed", does not manage people's problems as it did in the past, but just makes them worse.
(I've pinched that line from Public Enemies, the bbc drama about a probation officer and an ex offender who doesn't "comply" with his parole..says he was innocent of his crime..so put as 'high risk' and punished accordingly..ends tonight)

It makes me sad you know, the rise we will see in suicides. Crime is rising; muggings, burglaries, stabbings, that kind of thing.

A cheery thought though (for me admittedly). I read in this month's Soul and Spirit magazine an article by the Barefoot Doctor who said whether the world ends this year or not, we should live as though it is and make the most of it.

"So," he says. "if this really were your last year on Earth, what would you like to make happen that would truly fulfil you and make you feel as if you've had your money's worth this time around? Again, I'm not talking about external things, such as a car, house, relationship, baby, job, etc but, more importantly, the inner feelings that would make your entire system hum: a new resolve, discipline, enlightenment, self-confidence, creativity, passion, awareness and the enjoyment you wish to feel.......Remember, as the great writer Bernard Shaw once said, 'life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself, so think about what you'd like more of, and go for it."

Create yourself don't kill yourself Create yourself don't kill yourself Create yourself don't kill yourself Create...

"You know you will be seen fit for work don't you?"

There are many tentacles to this crushing, suffocating system I'm trapped in and call me weak but I often feel crushed and suffocated by it.

Take the letter I got yesterday saying I needed to send a new medical certificate by Monday or my payments would be stopped.

My doctor's appointment wasn't until Tuesday. I couldn't get an earlier one when I booked a month ago. So I had to make an emergency one and 'luckily' some other doctor had a cancellation this morning.

Doctors too, especially now since the government has clamped down on sickos, are a tentacle to this crushing, suffocating system.

This one had never met me, just read a few notes on the computer, clearly thought I "looked" fine and said: "You know you will be seen fit for work don't you?"

Oh I wanted to hit her. Not her..the System. RRRARGH. "I know," I said. "I've got a questionaire to fill in which I can't bring myself to do at the moment."

The questionnaire is twenty pages long...

No I don't have a community psychiatric nurse
No, I'm not waiting for chemotherapy
Yes I can move 50 metres before I have to stop
Yes, I can move 200 metres too...school run is further than that you know..
I can go up and down two steps
I can move from one seat to another without help
I can sit in one place for an hour without help (though who can stand, really, apart from the Queen's Guards?)
I can pick up a 2 pint carton of milk
And the number of times we've been evicted, yes, an empty cardboard box

(I must take a break here and mention that I am aware of how lucky I am, much luckier than someone who can go up two ateps but not five and much luckier than someone waiting for any kind of hospital appointment)

But hang on, I'm a mental case not a physical one
Can I start and finish daily tasks?
There are coping with change questions, going out questions, coping with social situation questions.

In the multiple choice of answers of whether I can do any of them there is "No" "Yes" and "It varies" then write an essay on why my behaviour upsets people and how often.

You know what?

How can a single mother say she is not "fit for work"

She has to be "fit for work" or she'll be done for neglect and her child be taken into care.
She has to be "fit for work" or she'll be sectioned under the mental health act and her child will be taken into care.

Of course I'm fucking fit for fucking work
I'm just not fit for the kind of fucking work you want me to do right now ok.
Just because you tell me I am fit doesn't mean I am. LEAVE ME ALONE.

It's a patronising crushing suffocating system and I wish the doctor had just kept her mouth shut and told me to focus on getting better instead.

She's given me two weeks

Better than a kick in the teeth I guess

If only there was a way of not thinking of any of this shit

That's what gets people down



Don't think about it