Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Long Day

Paying for it or otherwise, I absolutely had to go into town today to do some banking. The council are supposed to be able to make housing benefit payments directly into an individual's bank account, and I added on my forms that due to my mobility problems and no local bank, it would be really awkward if they insisted on paying me by paper cheques. But, it seems that their preference is to ignore the facility and my request to credit my account directly and instead rely on good old Royal Mail to get a cheque to me each month, get a few days lieu while I wait for a day when I can travel to the bank, and then let me wait for the money to clear through to my account. Because heaven knows I wouldn't want to be planning my finances or budgeting or anything like that.

I've considered making a fuss, but it took them until two months ago to actually agree on what was the correct amount of housing benefit to pay for me. For the eight months before that, directly after I formally left my job (July - I had been off long term sick for a couple of months before that, managers don't like employees passing out several times a day), I was only getting half of what I was entitled to and having to find the other half out of the money that the government says I need to live on. It was a pretty drastic situation to be in, and not to put too fine a point on it, after the amount of incompetence they showed I'm now loath to try and get them to alter things any more than is absolutely necessary.

Rant over. But be aware that I may have more rants about Waveney District Council in the future.

Having done the banking thing, I met up with Pip and the Littlun, who is seriously getting cuter by the day. Trouble is the little monster knows it and is starting to play on it. Still, doesn't bother me - I'm not his mum, I don't have to administer discipline, I'm just auntie Mary who loves getting Big Grins :)

His not-so-cute-but-we-love-him Daddy on the other hand had got it into his head that today would be a good day to buy a new jacket. And not just any jacket. No, he wants a warm, weatherproof jacket, like my winter one, with plenty of quilting inside and nice fuzzy warmness around the collar and the cuffs and so on.

Pip, mate, it is mid May. The shops are gearing up with their summer selections, we are hoping for warmer weather. Space heaters have been swapped for electric fans, Christmas decorations for barbecue equipment, hot water bottles for ice cube trays... and the closest you'll get to a weatherproof winter coat is a Kag In A Bag with a few jumpers and a fleece underneath. I'm sorry.

Luckily I was rescued from trying to achieve this impossible shopping task by Davina, who was having a very boring afternoon that was interrupted by some possibly hopeful news about a different job she'd been looking at. There could only be one response. We popped into Marks and Spencers, bought CAKE, got into Pip's car and went to the place where she works and, true enough, two staff members (including her, and she was managing), and no customers. So we had a little cake-based celebration for ten minutes and then hung about and chatted until a customer *did* turn up.

Knackered again now of course, even despite sleep... but have had CAKE. Mmm, cake.

Nice People today:
- the woman I met at the bus stop and had a chat with, who is incidentally the same woman from last week.
- Member of staff in Poundstretcher who got me a couple of photo-frames from upstairs (I can't manage their stairs, they are too steep and don't have bannisters).
- Ket Fraser at SukoThai, who I haven't seen in a good year or so but still remembered how I like my special fried rice.


Anonymous said...

Did you get the 8 months backpayments yet?

Mary said...

yes, albeit grudgingly, in several parts and once I knew the system better than they did and was able to quote their own criteria and rules at them. You should see some of the phenomenons in my file... it's amazing that people that incompetent have any kind of jobs, let alone ones where they are responsible for roofs over heads of vulnerable adults.

Of course by the time I got the final and biggest lump of backpay, I'd got so used to scraping by on the minimum I could that the sum took me over the amount of money that a person on benefits is actually allowed in their bank account. So I had to suddenly blow a few hundred quid, rather than using the money for living a reasonable life and eating a reasonable diet over the preceding months, or keeping it aside for an even rainier day...