preparing to leave

I love being on holiday. Time with no expectations, space to muddle along  and let life just happen.

Preparing to go on holiday, however, is a different thing.

X days = Y outfits.

Is there a washing machine?

Don’t forget the underwear and the pyjamas and the wetsuits and the body boards and the skateboards.

Shampoo, people. And oodles of conditioner.

Of course you need to bring a coat.

Warm things.

Picnic bag.

Did anybody pack the swimsuits?

Doggy bed, doggy food, doggy medicine.


It starts off sensibly and before we know it, there’s no room in the car. Nothing seems superfluous, but there’s only 4 of us. Spurs Fan packs the car. It’s like a 3D jigsaw, a Krypton Factor puzzle. He manages to leave enough room for the last minute make up bag/ hair straighteners/ cuddly toy, but if you want something else bulky, you have to sit on it.

There’s only one thing that keeps him sane in the process. The holiday playlist/ CD/ mixtape.

There’s nothing haphazard about these- they are themed. There’s a Scotland CD, so that we come off the boat to Simple Minds and by the time we get to East Lothian, we can see Sunshine on Leith. We were in Co Clare, so we had west coast songs.



Clare is a beautiful county, busy in the summer months with holiday makers and tour coaches. Narrow roads, wide buses, wrapped up visitors.

Because of our holiday music we ended up doing a little tour guide performance every time we saw a bus. It never got old.

“On the left, we have stone walls. And if you look to your right, you’ll see that the grass is green.”

We are easily amused.


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.

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found at:

*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.