Not much has changed since my hero wrote this book. When the wheels fell off my van, as it were, I travelled back to my roots to rebuild my life and career, but to do so I needed help from the State. I documented my signing on with some humour and compliments to the service provided, but once again Big Mouth Struck Again…
I’m sure I’ll go into more detail next week but today I can’t really be bothered to write at length – I just don’t feel like it because the black dog is back in the room.
In brief, they (meaning the State) said the change of care-of address would be seamless, it wouldn’t disrupt my claim at all. But after a fortnight with nothing paid I used a friend’s landline to speak to them… after being on hold for what felt like more than a fortnight. Turned out the signing-on day I’d been given was wrong, so I’ll have to wait another week before the system can pay me any money. My plea that I haven’t got so much as the price of a cup of tea, and I need to travel to Manchester for important potential work meetings, and this administrative error was not my fault, met with sympathy, I admit, but there was nothing the lady on the phone could do in terms of any emergency payment. Nothing for it but to sit tight and wait. Or starve.
So what does one do to get a cup of tea? Well I guess I am one of the lucky ones in that I have very good and kind friends. People like homeless James, to whom my readers may remember I gave a bed in the Ottermobile for a night, and others I’ve met on my travels, are less fortunate. I have, among others, my brother Podge and my friends Gary, Janet and their lovely family. For days now I’ve “stealth-camped” in their drive and they’ve fed me and given me wine to keep me going. What on earth I’d do without them I don’t know, because the black dog has been scratching at the door and threatening to chew me up. There is nothing in the State system, no boxes to tick, to process that particular claim.