Carry on Matron

For those of you who haven’t got bored with this saga, I will continue.

I eventually got an appointment to go to the Job Centre. I got the 9am bus to get me there at the back of 10.When I got there ,they had the application I had made that nobody could find previously, but apparently I hadn’t filled it out properly. It wasn’t the same one. I said, “This is not the form I filled on line.” They said , ” “Oh no it isn’t, “the system ” hasn’t accepted it as a rapid reclaim, it’s done a new one.” I’ve heard a lot about “This System.” It seems to power most of the computers at the DWP all by itself, without any human intervention.

I sat and waited while lots of people fiddled with their systems and the Person who interviewed me last time, who can’t spell even with spell check, smiled sweetly and led me to her desk. I noticed that her chair was higher than mine again, so I sat on my rucksack. ( Actually I noticed that all the interviewee chairs are lower than the interviewers!)

She told me that I had missed my appointment, now the person before had said this and that it had been sent by text. I said that as I had no mobile phone this could have been the reason I didn’t get it, she said that she would make a note of that.. The second person said no, it had been sent by text but to my landline. I said well I hadn’t got that one either.

So we went through the rigmorole of looking at my existing claim,” I’ll make sure that I save this one.” says the possibly dyslexic one. I look at her, so what happened to the last one I think, ” I don’t know where I saved it.” she said. Now I am angry, now I am back in my office as a Matron. I ask questions that have been building up for months, everyone looks up from their computers, she gives no proper defence and I am off, just as if I have a load of junior staff who have committed some heinous crime such as poor patient care. I chew her head off and spit it out. Everyone ducks behind their screens. In the work place the result of this rollocking would be repentance and a lesson learned. Here they make soothing noises, agree with me with false smiles, then more or less say that it wasn’t their fault it was “M” at another town.

I get it all reinstated, and feel drained. I have achieved very little. It will keep on happening , it could be a young Mum with small children, or a young single parent Dad for that matter, who go without income for weeks. They may not have wonderful friends like me. I lecture them on changing the system but I know that this huge Government department is poorly run. They don’t help people find work, they behave like a bank for the poor, and enjoy the power. They have jobs and do them badly, not through any fault of their own really but because the attitude of society towards the unemployed is that it is their own fault.

I shall put my soap box and starched cap away now. If I get the job I have applied for at the CAB, you can be sure I’ll do all I can to get folk justice.

Treated myself to a coffee as they refunded my fare, and watched the wind convert the harbour into a boiling cauldron. Then it snowed. I didn’t care. It is over….for the time being.matron

Jim me old mate!

Dear Jim,

Well Jim I have the ‘flu, the drains are blocked again and I haven’t heard from you for a fortnight.

Today I tried ringing some of your employees, my goodness Jim , a majority of them are either none too bright, are fed up with Mrs Angry’s like me , or just don’t give a damn about customer service.

I phoned a young lady who cut me off, I phoned her back and I could hear everyone in the call centre Jim but she wouldn’t speak to me. I knew that she was there Jim. When she thought I was fed up enough Jim ,she cut me off again.

I phoned again , another young lady answered Jim, she said that I had no claim because I hadn’t turned up for my appointment Jim. You naughty boy Jim, you didn’t phone me with one! She said I missed Thursdays, I said, ” But I didn’t have one.”, she said “Oh No, it was Tuesdays.”, I said that I didn’t have one then either. Do you know Jim , she said that it must have been Wednesday then. Oh Jim what a muddle! Both those teenagers gave me another number to ring but they don’t deal with my claim Jim. So I tried again, they got fed up with me Jim and said that they were Income Support, but they would transfer me.

I next spoke to Gary Jim, he couldn’t help much but gave me another number for appointments. I was getting a bit irritated by them Jim and had a bit of a ding dong with the next poor boy, who was very patient and tried to change my appointments that I hadn’t been notified about or turned up for. He tried to change my appointment Jim, but the system said that he wasn’t allowed to change it because it had to come from another office, who had already made me appointments without telling me Jim. Are you still with me Jim?

This young man realised that things were not quite what they should be Jim, so he’s phoning Oban who should ring me by 3pm today Jim, to make the appointment so that I can then go and say the same things to them in person Jim. Apparently I can then get an advance on my benefit, and I can then pay them back for it ,which they owe me anyway. Do you know Jim he didn’t once call me by my christian name, he called me Mrs A. which I thought was very polite but he could hear that I wasn’t pleased Mr James.

You really do have to sort out your department Jim, no one seems to know how it works? Do you Jim?

So why DOES God allow it?

Kids, if you are going to read my blog today, be prepared to be embarrassed, because I am doing the “Sheldon’s Mother” bit.

Someone asked me if it was right that I believed in God ,then why was my life so difficult.

I’ve been a bit wrapped up in my own problems just lately while some pretty horrific things have been going on in the world. People torturing and killing each other, plane crashes and disease.

Why does God allow it ? , my friend asked. She doesn’t believe in God by the way.

There were some things to consider when answering her and this in no way has all the answers. Is He allowing it?

1. Whether you believe that the Universe was created in 7 days or evolved or suddenly burst into being ;it was created. I believe God created it but I’m not speculating on how he did it
here .

2. Would this be the kind of world a loving God wants? Definitely not! So if He created the Garden of Eden with all the wonderful stuff in it and people in His image what went wrong?

3. He gave us free will. This was a chancy thing to do, but if we didn’t have it we would be God’s puppets. Adam and Eve had a great relationship with Him but when they messed up ,and they found themselves alienated from Him.
4. Not only that but the relationship between the pair of them was never the same.

You’ll have to read a few chapters of Genesis to get the whole picture.

We are not living in the world that God wanted. It has all got warped and twisted. We ,as it’s inhabitants have turned it into a violent and selfish place to be.

So is that it? Are we “doomed” as Fraser says in “Dad’s Army”? Thankfully not because God didn’t leave us like it, He gave us a second chance. We of course murdered His son when He came to help us, but God allowed that to happen so that once and for all, Jesus became our “scapegoat “. He died instead of us paying for what we have done.

Jesus rose from the dead, undoing death. The natural order of things were re-ordered. God hasn’t given up on us, although we continue to hurt one another,hoard riches, and are never satisfied with what we have. “Division,pain predation,cruelty, killing, disease and death.” He tells us get out there and love your neighbour, treat others as you would like to be treated, but most of all Love Him, with all your heart, with all your soul, believe that He gave His son to die for you and that He will never leave you. You will have eternal life.

So, bad things happen in my life but God still loves me and never leaves me, He makes sure that I never go without. I may not be rich ,I may only just have enough in the cupboard to cover our needs. But I am never left to fend alone. He sends friends who love Him and because of that also love me. In my life I have seen quite miraculous things.

We are not puppets we have free will, we are able to get out there and change things for people. My life gets difficult at times because of the I can be a right “narna” and make some blooming awful decisions , it isn’t God’s fault but He does help me sort it out when I admit I got it wrong. We can also help each other.

We can share our resources both physical and financial, we can stand up against the evils in this world. We can change things if we want to, and if we have nothing we can love, it’s free. Just remember that if you already know all of this, someone might be suffering right now and yours is the voice that they need to hear, go out and tell them. It’s the only way we can make a difference until of course Jesus returns, but thats another story……

sheldon's mum

Come Lasses and Lads…

A Jobs Fair- what does that word conjure up for you? Hailing from the depths of East Sussex I know what a fair is. I imagine Morris dancers banging sticks together, prancing about on well muscled legs under bellies rounded by Real Ale.

I smell the warmth of grass heated by the sun drenched canvas of a tent. Stalls with all kinds of produce, a juicy hog roast and Maypoles with brightly coloured ribbons.

But a Jobs Fair is nothing so exotic or exciting. A few Tables in front of banners for various businesses from around the area.

I wasn’t sure if I had to go ,as I am in Job Centre limbo. Since I made complaints and did a rapid re-application, the world has gone silent as if Jim has left the Universe. Captains Log 26th March 2015, ” The stress of dealing with Mrs A. too much. Left ship for Centura 5.Laser set to stun if the woman finds me.”

Anyway I registered my presence to “Jim’s People” at the Fair, explaining what Jim had gone and done. They were not surprised and said “Well yes, this happens I’m afraid..” As the place was chock a block with folk I wasn’t able to grab her by the collar and shake her, but apparently we can get together sometime and I can go “digital”. I took this as a technological term and not a gesture that came to mind.I didn’t get the chance to tell her that actually I have always been digital.

Everyday I fill in the little box, I’ve recently tried a bit of sarcasm, and this confirms for me that no advisor ever reads the “Universal Jobmatch” . But, it would have confirmed that I was still very much Job searching when they closed my account, if they had.

I wandered around the room with some other rather confused looking people. There were no jobs! If you were under 25 you could sign up for an apprenticeship with the council,join the Army or the Police Force. A woman that represented care homes said that if I could work towards an NVQ2 I could work there. I said no, I had already been to University and been an RGN and a Matron of Care Homes for many years, an NVQ2 might just be too much for me. She smiled sweetly and I growled.

A group of us oldies, having been around the room, all I imagined having been summoned there by Jim ,looked at each other wearily and signed out. We’d been there less than 10 minutes.

So Jimbo, where ever you are, no one phoned me back in 48 hours, my crisis loan, bless the Council Welfare fund amounted to 45 quid, so I’m of to the “Co” to see how far it will stretch. Looking forward to seeing you when my JSA gets reset, I think we will have an interesting conversaTion Jim……evil laughter…..maypole

You’ve done it this time Jim!

Oh dear Jim, even I can’t raise a laugh this time. What I could do to you is not printable here.

I am not responsible for the actions of Royal Mail, I don’t know what they did with my declaration that I send you dutifully every two weeks. I put a stamp on and put it in the box. You claim that you never received it which equals a missed appointment. So your employees cancelled my claim. Do you realised what this caused Jim. I can hardly say your name James.

It has taken 4 phone calls, to people who have no idea what they are talking about or what to do about it. I have listened to numerous recorded messages and have ended up having to reapply for the whole shabang. That means no money Jim, NO MONEY for at least 6 weeks! What are you going to tell the electricity company or my landlord Jim? How do I pay for food Jim? You don’t care, do you Jim ,and nor do any of the people I have phoned. Nothing can be done except on line, eh Jim?

I have to wait for another Jobcentre interview , prove who I am , write another C.V and attend $$%%^&*! interviews and be humiliated all over again. Do you know what I had to do this afternoon JIm? Apply for a crisis loan! The woman asked if I was addicted to drugs or alcohol Jim. I might be if this carries on I said! Then she asked if I had been in prison, well if I was inclined to violence ,which I am not ,that could happen too Jim, if I could get my hands on you! Only joking Jim, but does anyone really care about the unemployed, low incomed or working their guts out in a really low paid job Jim? Nope.

I’m angry Jim, very angry. Who do I vote for in the forth coming election Jim? Will any of them address the factors that make life very uncomfortable for a lot of folk in this country? If you have any ideas Jim let me know, but don’t post them because I might claim not to have received them.Angry

Sons and Daughters

Last night I had vivid dreams, I was in a night club with a crowd of pilgrims and a donkey. I was relating this to my daughter at breakfast time and she remarked that she had gone to the living room to get something during the night and the walls of her brother’s bedroom were practically pulsating.

The flat had resembled a Youth Hostel at mid-night when I went to bed ,I must admit. As my son and others have secured their places at colleges and Universities they were having a bit of a shin dig. So why didn’t I hear it ? My bed is against the wall joining his room. I did do a 5 miler with the dogs yesterday afternoon, and had spent the evening finishing Tom Moore’s book “Spanish Steps” where he traverses the pilgrim way from the Pyrenees to Santiago Compostela. That is where the donkey came from. My neighbour however did hear it. She was in the garden at the rear of the flats when I returned from the early morning dog walk. I tentatively said that I hoped that she hadn’t been disturbed. “I heard it.” she replied. I apologised and scarpered.

As I contemplate yet another child leaving home, I try to think what it will be like. I am proud of the way he can make a guitar sing, or play a lovely melody but I will not miss having to put sub titles on the TV so that I can work out what’s happening during a programme. I will not miss being awake at some ungodly hour of the morning wondering if he has fallen in the canal, been mugged or beamed up by aliens. I shall worry instead because I won’t know when he goes out or comes in. No one will be battering on the door because they can’t remember which key it is.

I shan’t miss the total devastation in the kitchen just because he made toast and an entire packet of biscuits being snaffled during the night. I won’t miss stocking up on pies only to find that he now wants burgers. I will miss having to listen to the latest song that a band he has just found , has just brought out, and discovering that I like The Killers, Vampire Weekend , The Arctic Monkeys and lesser known bands.

I won’t miss the foetid washing after he has been to a Festival or dosing him up with remedies to cure the ailments caught by lack of sleep and not much to eat.

I shan’t miss being thrown a pair of jeans to launder ,that are needed in the next hour and no others will do.No one could use as many towels in a week as he does. I shall miss him taking the dog for a walk in the pitch dark and depths of Winter when I can’t face the freezing temperatures.

I shan’t miss the derision when I offer advice or my opinion and being told “Shut up, Mum!” as if I was the most ill informed ,gormless idiot on earth. But I’ll miss the discussions on all kinds of interesting topics. (As long as I let him win).

I shall miss him leaping over the “baby gate” which prevents our ancient smelly terrier biting our spaniel. I shall miss him perching “birdlike” on the arm of the sofa, standing on all the furniture and leaving sticky finger prints on the windows when he is bored and watching the world go by.

Most of all I will miss his company, the most difficult ,frustrating of 6 children to drag up, but it was worth all the effort, rows and tears. You are a great kid!

Early Morning Dipping

I usually walk my dogs around 7ish in the morning, this is because we have no garden of our own and they need to relieve themselves , they have trained me well to run along behind them with small black bags. For the past 8 months I have been passing a jogger about my age, who runs with his beautiful little dog, and we have nodded. At that time in the morning ,my family ignore me and I them. We are not “morning” people. We grunt at each other, until we get into gear to start our respective days. The said Jogger has recently been stopping for a chat. I don’t think it will last long, when he thinks about the nonsense with which I reply to his questions. He is bright and perky having jogged along in a t shirt and what I consider rather skimpy shorts for this time of year.  I have just crawled out of bed while the “Today Programme” bombarded my brain with news of senseless violence around the world and the breakdown of moral society, and have pulled on a few layers over my night attire, tried to make my hair stick down and removed last nights mascara from under my eyes.

My brain is still half asleep and I wander along on automatic pilot. Last week, he pointed to my dog who wears a slip lead of very bright colour because it was the cheapest,and asked “Is the dog on the yellow lead nervous?”,  I hear “yellow lead” and my brain computes “Gun dog web site, leads for high visibility.” and I reply “No, it’s so that I don’t lose it.” meaning the lead. Jogger looks confused and says “I mean the dog” , “Oh ” ,I say , “No it just stops him towing me down the path.” There is a way of putting on a slip lead to stop a dog pulling by slipping it over his muzzle. This makes it look as if he is aggressive. Jogger obviously thinks this woman is odd, and jogs off.

This week he tried again, we chat about the weather and how our meetings are now in daylight.It is significantly warmer, but I am still way overdressed because I am covering my PJ’s and he is wearing his sporty stuff. I mention that it is very muddy, my wellies being splashed and dirty , and that the dogs are filthy when they go in doors. “Oh” he says ,”My dog washes in the sea after our run.” I am not able to plan my walk in the morning ,I just stumble along the path until the canines have performed, deposit my bags in the bin and stagger back home. The thought of going to the beach  is far beyond my waking abilities. I try to explain that my largest dog loves the sea but refuses to come out of the water once in. I have stood for over half an hour shouting abuse at him dog walkingor trying to coax him with treats to get him out ,but every time I get near , he smiles a lop sided grin and backs further into the water, knowing I can’t climb over the slippery rocks to get him. The thought of doing this at dawn fills me with horror. I’d rather get in the warm and risk a few muddy marks on the carpet.  Jogger doesn’t seem to understand this, apparently his dog is far better behaved.I  have never been “sporty”, I cannot get my head around running about in the early morning, in the dark and often dreadful weather, let alone taking my dog for a twilight bathe. We part, and it gets me thinking,the weather is improving and it is daylight, should I now consider what to wear over my jammies this summer and whether, perhaps, I should brush my hair and wash my face before I go out. Mind you, the conversation still won’t be much .