Friday, 16 December 2011

Fresh Start? - Part 2.

Registering as unemployed was a bit of an ordeal. Completing an online questionnaire to apply for job seekers allowance (JSA) took the best part of 45 minutes. I found the questions quite upsetting in that you had to provide the most personal of details. Whether it was just me being over sensitive i don't know, but i read into the questions an underlying sense of blame from the authorities for my predicament. I felt as if i was on trial, guilty until i could prove my innocence as it were, that everyone who was applying for JSA was trying to cheat the system. I know it's silly, but that is how i felt. I felt demeaned. This after working full time since i was 18. and having taken nothing from the system in all that time.
After completing the forms i got a telephone call with an appointment to meet with my "personal adviser" at my local JobCentre Plus office. In the few days between completing the online application and the appointment at the job centre i had picked myself up a bit to the point where i regarded my redundancy as an opportunity to make a fresh start, possibly change careers (although i have no idea what i could do) and be excited about where my future may lead. I went to the adviser interview with a positive attitude.

It wasn't as bad as i had anticipated after getting past the initial embarrassment of being signed in by a suited gentleman that looked like a bouncer and being sent upstairs, then ushered through  a locked door to another large office and told to wait until my name was called.
The assessment with my "personal adviser" went ok. She went to auto-pilot asking me questions about what had happened, what i wanted to do and what sort of employment i was looking for. I had to sign a declaration that i was actively seeking work and was given a booklet into which i had to enter everything that i was doing in my attempt to find work. Where i was looking, what web sites i was looking at and registering on, newspapers and magazines,employment applications,responses and follow-ups with results. I was to bring this for scrutiny at the jobcentre every two weeks. I was told that i had been accepted for Job Seekers allowance and that i would receive £67.50 a week paid fortnightly. Goodbye Mr. Wissy and good luck.

To be continued....... 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Fresh Start? - Part 1.

I haven't blogged since October so many apologies for that, but i do have an excuse. The last quarter of 2011 has not been kind to me.

First of all i developed a really intense pain in my back and buttock which continued down my lower left leg and into my  foot. My foot and toes were numb on the top but very painful underneath. The closest that i can describe the pain was like when i had a tooth abcess a few years ago. Almost unbearable at it's worst.

I went to the Doctors who said that i almost certainly had sciatica. She prescribed painkillers and said that it would almost likely clear up on its own accord. I could walk only a short distance and the condition made me walk with a limp. I was unable to drive so was unable to work. I felt weak and feeble. It was impossible to get comfortable whether i was sitting, standing or sleeping.

Then the second bad bit of news.. My company closed and i was made redundant at the beginning of October. I had worked for this company for over 34 years. Although i guessed that redundancy was a possibility, when it came, it was a still a shock to the system. At the age of 56 i found myself unemployed and feeling really rough due to the sciatica which was not improving.

For the first time in my life i found myself hobbling into the JobCentre to sign on for jobseekers allowance. I had become a statistic of the recession.
To be continued.....

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The sleeping sand maiden.

We were walking along the South Bank in London the other week and came across by chance this sand artist sculpting a sleeping woman in the sand on the banks of the Thames. I thought it was very clever and beautiful. When we returned a couple of hours later the artist's efforts had been washed away with the next tide. Such a shame.



Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Molly takes over!

I would like to introduce you to Molly the latest addition to our family. She is just over six weeks old and is no bigger than my hand. For one so small she creates a large amount of mayhem as her aim in life is to play play and play! We love her to bits! Ever since we lost Kenzo we have wanted to get another cat to be company for Kenzo's brother Bailey. The time never felt right until now. I'll let you know how Molly and Bailey get on in another post. It might be love at first sight or fireworks!


We were thinking of calling her Dell ....

.... or shrub!



What a poser!

Always ready for a game.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Water Meadows and Mill Pond.

Over the Easter weekend we went down to Salisbury to see my son and his partner. The weather for April was glorious with a lovely deep blue sky and very warm temperatures. We decided to walk over the water meadows and have lunch at The Old Mill Hotel which is in West Harnham a small village to the south of Salisbury. Here are a few photographs of our walk.
Wonderful views of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance.
Circled by the rivers Nadder and Avon the water meadows are a designated site of scientific interest and are home to beautiful marsh flowers and a great variety of wildlife including otters. The water meadows were a favourite of the famous painter John Constable who painted many of his paintings of Salisbury Cathedral from here.
Local inhabitants!

Meadow grasses which made a lovely rustling noise in the breeze.

We ate at the Old Mill House which is a 16th century Tudor buiding built as England's first papermill later becoming a popular coaching inn. It was so warm that children were playing and paddling in the water. No health and safety here thank goodness!
Paddling in the mill pond.

From the mill pond to the cathedral.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ "Daffodil Meadow"

Important news flash from the BBC.

I was driving into work this morning listening to a very interesting discussion about the troubles in Libya on BBC radio when the announcer interrupted with a "News Flash". Oh dear i thought, not another tsunami or maybe the nuclear reactor in Japan has exploded putting the world at risk.

No, Ed Miliband has announced that he is to marry his long term partner Justine Thornton.  (For those of you not in the know, Ed Miliband is the UK opposition Labour Party leader).

I'm so grateful that the BBC thinks that is should suspend everything and make us immediately aware of this most important news. I'm so glad the our national broadcaster is getting it's priorities right. Pathetic.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Friday, 18 February 2011

Save Our Forests. We won..... I think.

Further to my previous post regarding the government's proposed sell off of some of our ancient woodland and forests I was very pleased with their decision to shelve the sell off and even stop the proposed "consultation period" which was just a typical political blatant delaying tactic.
I applaud the government for listening to the people for once (who said petitions don't work?) and owning up and saying that they got it wrong and saying sorry. Maybe i'm being naive, but however much the opposition parties are trying to make political points from this turn around, it is refreshing that the present leaders have listened to the experts and public opinion (unlike the previous government - remember Home Information Packs) and changed their minds.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Olympic Cycling Road Race

Great news received this week that the mens and womens olympic cycling road race route will be in my county of Surrey and that part of the route will take the riders through my home town of Woking. What an opportunity to watch an Olympic event for free on my own doorstep! I feel so priviledged and proud that this is happening. Who would have thought!
The men's and women's events will take place in late July 2012 with a test event due to take place in mid August this year. The men's race distance is 250 km (156 miles) and the women's race is 140km (87 miles). The Mall near Buckingham Palace is the start and finish point and the course will pas through six London boroughs before heading into Surrey. The route is very scenic taking in the glorious Box Hill and some of the best Surrey countryside. Honestly, i can't wait.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Proposed cuts to the National Health Service.

The British Medical Association has weighed in on the new Prime Minister David Cameron's health care proposals.

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.
The Gastroenterologists had a sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all labouring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea short-sighted.

Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Paediatricians said, "Oh, Grow up!"
The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

The Surgeons were fed up with the cuts and decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.
The ENT specialists didn't swallow it, and just wouldn’t hear of it.

The Pharmacologists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter...."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
The Anaesthetists thought the whole idea was a gas, but the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the arseholes in London .

Friday, 28 January 2011

Save Our Forests - sign the petition.


The British government plan to sell off hundreds of square miles of publicly owned forests in England to landowners and companies on 150 year leases.I don't want to get into politics. I'm apolitical but this subject is close to my heart. The government is being very clever. They are using spin and a charm offensive to say only commercial woodland not ancient woodland is being sold off to private commercial concerns.

The worry is that the proposed sales would be unregulated and that the sold woods and forests would not remain open to walkers and riders or that the new owners would be able to charge for access or even turn some into housing estates. What is interesting is that the proposals only affects England, not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Funny that.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Running again - almost.

I have finally started running/jogging/shuffling/walking again after almost six months having had a minor foot injury. I still don't know what the problem was except that i had shooting pains in my foot and ankle when i ran. I could walk ok, as proved during our holiday in Cornwall where i walked miles and miles with only the odd "twinge", but the moment i tried to run ....ow!

Anyway, as i said i've started again allbeit slowly, but this time i'm determined to build up to the point where i can at least run 5K without too much trouble. My goal is 10K but that is some time off. I find it hard to motivate myself to get up and run in the mornings because it is still darkish and cold. However the reward once i'm out there is running around our local lake. Beautiful even in winter.