Tag Archives: chaos

unexpected news

For those of you who remember my huffing and puffing, worrying and moaning, and huge anxiety about the need to re-engage with the social security/ benefits process…

my application was successful.

To my great surprise the letter from social security gave me the news that nothing is changing.

Bloggy buddies, the relief is incredible. I was split open, vulnerable, exposed- and they saw, listened, heard. They believed me.

your illness or disability restricts the possibility of working

At my best I’m haphazardly enthusiastic. Generally I’m sore, disorganised and unreliable. Often I’m miserable, immobile and incoherent. My family flow round me, keeping me buoyed and moving forward.

I was fearful of the impact of any other decision- my anxiety would rocket, the demands on me would increase as my confidence collapsed. There would have been a financial hit too- the amount less significant than the psychological loss of my contribution.

I am fortunate. Overwhelmingly, unbelievably fortunate. Many thousands of people have not been so lucky.

Employment and support allowance is the most bewildering, unfair and badly designed benefit since the abolition of the workhouse.

The claim form is long, complex and often confusing.

The medical is carried out using a computer.  It’s often rushed and it may not even be a doctor that assesses you.

The appeal system is deeply confusing, not least because employment and support allowance procedures and regulations are extremely complex and generate a huge amount of paperwork.

And because employment and support allowance is so complicated there is very little reliable information on the internet.

Jobcentre Plus offices frequently give incorrect advice. And advice agencies just don’t have enough staff to deal with everyone who needs help.

From Benefits and Work

To be heard and believed is the best gift.

found at: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/293437731941509063/
found at: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/293437731941509063/

*I have lost the comments facility. I don’t know where it has gone, or how to find it. Please email if you can help…*


They tell me I’m not going to win at the water gun battle if I keep my eyes closed and my head down. (This is, presumably, true for any sort of battle.)

There were thoughts about how confrontational we became with guns in our hands.

There was team work, screaming and an awful lot of sogginess. Giggling.

I love the giggling.

A swingball tournament awaits

I’m not going to win that either…

a question of organising

I’ve been blogging for around 2 years now. I wasn’t sure I’d last a month.

Maybe it’s time to give the blog some structure? A filing system, rather than a muddle of 600-odd posts just sitting there, a toppling pile of incoherence.


After reading Elspeth’s post …and if the head is in the sand? I got to thinking a bit more about what I blog about. Is what I think I blog about, actually what comes across to the reader? To my great surprise, I realised that I don’t just have topics- I have themes too, and even methods! Who knew? Ah, you probably did…

My curiosity is really piqued now.

Tell me dear reader, when you think of this blog what springs to mind? When you see an email, a tweet, a Facebook update, or my avatar in your reader, what sort of things do you expect to see?

I’m really curious to see if that’s what I thought I was writing about.

our Billy

Andra’s recent titles have had me singing along…


Today we bury Billy. Eighty six years of a full, active, loved life. Nearly sixty of those years have been spent with Eileen. Now deceptively frail, she spent all those years by his side, and took up residence in an uncomfortable hospital chair for his last few days. She didn’t leave him, knowing that he was about to leave her. Strength, love and togetherness- that elusive something special that we hear about, that we all hope for: they had it in spades.

See that cherubic curly haired chap? That’s Billy in about 1929- can’t you tell he’s full of mischief? While his sisters are scared of the photographers toys, and his parents and elder brother are posing, Billy is enjoying the moment.


That’s the only picture of Billy with a full head of hair I’ve ever seen. By the time the family expanded and a picture of all the boys was taken, Billy (on the left) was his adult self.


Many years later, a crowd of happy brothers and sisters at a wedding (Herself on the right, Billy second from right at the back).


Billy was with both of his parents when they died. He lost a daughter, and six siblings. He raised seven children and had the love of many grandchildren. When he died, he was with Eileen, his children, some grandchildren and some of his brothers and sisters.

When we were little, we’d look forward to seeing Billy, the way people look forward to roller coasters or the dodgems. He’d come into the family home and chase all the nephews and nieces for kisses or tickles, for the sheer fun of us all squealing in delight. Last week at the hospital, we were queuing up to kiss him, and tease him that we were taking advantage now, getting our revenge in, 40 years later.

He’d find the fun anywhere and he knew everyone. Like so many of his siblings, he enjoyed a good arguement. Black was white, if he so decreed. When he and Nora (anxious with a bear in the top picture, on the left in the bottom one) got together to argue opposing positions, nobody else got a word in, and they had a great time.

Billy was the boss. Our patriarch. Gentle and determined. Modelling all that is good in people.

Bye, Billy.