Showing posts from September, 2017

The minutiae of married life

Some years ago, on a visit to see my in-laws, we bought some plates in Norwich.  They are very nice plates - plain, simple, functional.  I remember that they weighed a ton and were given to us in a number of plastic bags so that we could get them back to the car via the park and ride.  I carried them through the streets of the city as if they were the finest porcelain.  They weren't but you get the idea. When we married, we were given some very generous gifts from friends and family, the kind of functional stuff married couples hope for to kit out the new home.  It's a bit silly these days given that we generally live with our partners before getting married and thus we have most of the essentials a house needs: nevertheless, we were extremely grateful for the various gifts and for the vouchers  which allowed us to buy a range of additional items which you wouldn't really get for a wedding present.  We bought a pedal bin - a much loved (by me) item which I refuse to get

The benefit claim - or what Tony Hancock would have done next

Having been made redundant in July, I decided that I would recoup some of my lifetime investment in UKPLC and submit a claim Jobseeker's Allowance. This is something I have had to do occasionally in my life and I take the view that I have contributed at a high rate for many years, so why not? The process of claiming remains one of the most Kafkaesque, pointless exercises I have ever undertaken. The starting point for any such claim is that the government hates you and does not want to give you anything since you are a wretched individual with no demonstrable worth to society at all.   However (big sigh and much huffing & puffing), if you must claim, you must fill in a form and provide evidence of everything you have ever done and everything you might do – information the government can trawl through to find anything which might enable them to stop paying you your few coppers each week. Knowing this all from bitter previous experience, I still foolishly embarked on what

Wash to do?

When my daughter was born, like many people we saturated her life with pink stuff: pink clothes, pink bedding, pink toys.  This, of course, was more for us that for the girl and would make a psychoanalyst wince, I'm sure.  Tough: we did it and the girl appears to be a normal, well-balanced individual with a wide range of interests, from fairies and princesses to history, The Beano and just about any book she can get her hands on. When I met my brother in law shortly after the birth I joked to him that I'd be introducing a pink wash to avoid all the other clothes in the house becoming slowly rose-tinted.  It turns out that modern clothing is generally very well made so my fears were unfounded.  These days I merrily throw in a pair of pink jeans with a yellow top on a 30 degree wash with the kind of 'devil may care' attitude a young Roger Moore would be proud of. Instead of colours being my main concern, these days the problem has shifted almost entirely, for now the

The silence in my life

The library – remember them?   We’ve still got one in Witney and I rather enjoy visiting it but opportunities to do so have been rare.   Now I have some enforced free time I thought I would take myself off there to catch up on various job searches, look for opportunities in the local paper (there were none) and generally get away from the house for a few hours to experience some noise.   The library’s proximity to Greggs wasn’t even in the top five reasons for going there. Libraries aren’t like they once were.   There is a bit more noise, more activity, with kids – horror upon horror - enjoying themselves reading and looking at books, various groups meeting and people working on projects from history searches to college work. After a quick wander round to look at the various new book and DVD displays, I found myself a table and got established, undertaking the student ritual of unpacking everything from my satchel-like bag and setting it all out on the table in the style of a cha


The first day of real life has arrived, with both children back to school and the very useful excuse of 'taking the Summer off to regroup' no longer available for me to hide behind.  It was up at 7.30 to bid them goodbye with a smile and an inaudible cheer, followed by breakfast, ablutions, then work. For work it must be as the day will be spent with the wife, who WORKS. In silence. I was subjected to a lecture yesterday as we both stared into the abyss of being forced together for the first time since we were younger and newly in love.  I was led to understand that she WORKS during the day.  She doesn't talk, she stops briefly to refuel around 1pm but otherwise she WORKS and if I dare to threaten this monastic approach, I will suffer in ways I can barely conceive. Don't get me wrong: we like each other and on those all too rare occasions when we get a night out we actually talk to each other, which is lovely.  But rare.  We now face the prospect of days, weeks,