But you promised

4/29/2008 03:10:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 6 Comments

The covenant is broken.

In this so called war on terror there are many victims, but few so hidden as us. Those who love those who fight. So quietly it seems few have noticed, lives are being destroyed, people fall by the wayside as yet more promises are broken. In a forgotten war, happening only on flickering screens in corners of rooms, diluting, distancing. Sanitising.

The covenant is broken.

To fight in this war means constant danger. Danger impossible to understand by those of us safe and sound. Those they protect. Those they believe in. Those they love. Those they are kept from by never ending pressures in faraway places with faraway names

The covenant is broken.

Danger with no end. Sights seen, so impossibly real they return. Over. over. over again. Haunting both day and night. I trace the scars. Flesh, once so perfect and unmarred. Raised and pitted as it heals. A round entry wound. Marks a moment I cannot kiss better. No matter how I try.

The covenant is broken.

Pain wracks me. Sobs so powerful I cannot suppress them bend me in double. Never knowing if he is alive or dead.

The covenant is broken.

Today, tomorrow? News reports I cannot bear to watch. Can't bear not to. Real, brutal, horrifying. No safety screen when a moment's edit may reveal the face of those you love. Amongst broken bodies of proud men and women no-one wants to remember.

The covenant is broken.

I can still smell his scent on the pillow. Sheets still marked with the pattern of our love making. The familiar, comforting aroma of tobacco lingers. By the time that disappears he will be long since gone. An empty place in the fabric of daily life. Gone but not forgotten. Absence marked by all manner of trivial daily events. The empty chair at every meal.

The covenant is broken.

I hope, one day he will be home. I hope I can help him. For who else will?

The covenant is broken.


Thank you

4/25/2008 11:42:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 6 Comments

so much to everyone for your comments and support. I decided to take a little time away from blogging, initially to think about how I felt after Toes searching for it, but then just to give myself a break. I'll be back and blogging as normal sometime in the next few days


Just good friends

4/17/2008 06:55:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 28 Comments

There is a reason I blog anonymously. One which is very important to me. I'm not ashamed of anything I write about and have nothing to hide. But. And it is a significant but. I blog anonymously to give me the freedom to talk about issues affecting my life in a way I don't feel able to in my 'real life'

Which is why I haven't blogged much in the past week.

Despite being asked not to, Toes, having seen my benefit scrounging email address went ahead and googled the blog. Then, to rub salt into the wound, after telling me he had done so, ensuring I knew it was of no interest to him whatsoever, boring and not filled with vitriolic conspiracy theories about the NHS as he had hoped it would be, he opted to call himself Princess Fairy Toes on msn.

If I'm fully honest with myself I am far more upset and angry about this than I would usually be. The reason being that Toes insists he needed to 'check' to find out the truth. Very conspiracy theory indeed. Some time ago Toes had some serious work related problems. So serious that had the accusations against him been proved he would have lost his job and been unable to get another. The police would also have been involved. A stressful situation, but not one (I imagine) that usually leads to accusing your friends, and in my case turning up at my house accompanied by another of his friends to accuse and interrogate me one Sunday morning. After which Toes went on to phone round various friends, some mutual, some not so mutual, to try and find the proof he wanted. He even got in touch with the Sexy Irishman of all people. He was insistent that I must be the person who had reported him (anonymously) to his employers.

Now, I have no idea who reported Toes, or why, but I do know there was a great deal of truth in the accusations made. I also don't react well to being accused of any kind of lie or falsehood. That's my issue which dates back to the time before I was diagnosed. At the time Toes was suspended and screaming and shouting about how it must have been me who did it, I deliberately did not blog about any of it. His work, his issues, his privacy to respect. Whoever the anonymous accuser was they didn't provide enough evidence for Toes to lose his job, and eventually Toes was absolutely 100% convinced he knew who this person was. Apart from still thinking it was me that is. And now having found out it wasn't the other person he thinks it was probably me again.

The sad, sordid and pathetic little backstory isn't why I'm upset though. Ultimately that is because someone I considered a friend broke my trust and deliberately went ahead to do something I'd asked them not to.

Now I'm left not sure how I feel about this blog. I hope that having (sort of) had it out with Toes I will start to feel better about it in a few days. Right now all I feel is raw and exposed.


4/12/2008 06:03:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 6 Comments

Hello and welcome to all those coming to read here after today's BOM article on job brokers. Here are links to some of the posts you may find of interest, hope they are helpful and enjoyable to you.

Part 1- The jobs fair

Part 2- Getting there

Part 3- The job broker

No special treatment- The practical response

I see your true colours

A question of chance

Missing out

Bendy Girl


Bend me, shape me...

4/11/2008 08:26:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 15 Comments

Apparently there is too much talk of sex, drugs and lady parts in this blog. Ahem. To correct that I thought I'd post some photos. Apologies for the quality, it turns out taking pictures of yourself on a mobile phone whilst contorting into odd shapes is a bit tricky!


Web Accessibility

4/11/2008 10:01:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 2 Comments

Thanks to Matt Wardman who is taking very seriously the issue of accessibility to his site The Wardman Wire.
As for the new Politics Home, well, I know very little about web accessibility (other than it being an issue for many) but, even without vision problems past those of your typical mole, I can't even look at the site without my eyes putting up an Olympic style protest. Shame as I hear it might be quite interesting.


Because I got high

4/09/2008 03:40:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 14 Comments

The thing about using cannabis as a form of medicine is that, unlike something prescribed by a doctor, you have no idea of the dosage you should take. Over time, anyone experienced in this drug knows roughly how much to smoke in any one go, but of course that varies wildly according to individual tolerance, the strength and quality of the particular cannabis used and the desired effect of that particular strain, some sedating, some more uplifting. Throughout the years I've noticed that cannabis tends to have a different effect on me than it does to my friends who use it purely socially. It tends to take me longer to reach a point where I'm stoned, and I'm able to consume far more overall if I so choose. It's so noticeable that one friend claims to judge the quality of any given smoke by what it does to me. If I get so hugely floppy that I can't stand, aided by my laughing at myself til I fall over anyway, then that's good weed.

With no regulation or quality control indicating strength it's easy to get it slightly wrong. Which would be how I realised, only moments into today's death walk that I was in fact completely and totally fucked. What I'd judged a sufficient amount to provide pain control but no more, was in fact enough to make me wasted. The kind of stoned that involves that mysterious, almost involuntary giggling. At anything and everything.

I imagine I make quite the sight at the best of times staggering along these death walks. I know I must do because it's rare I can get through one without someone stopping and asking if I need help. Usually sprightly old ladies who speed past me then turn round. This afternoon I was staggering like a loose limbed, drunk, porn star. After a world record attempt for shagging the most men in one session ever.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is hugely affected by hormones most noteably oestrogen and progesterone which rise and fall during a woman's menstrual cycle. Oestrogen tends to have a stabilising effect on collagen, but progestogens loosen it. Consequently at the times in the menstrual cycle that progesterone exceeds oestrogen females notice increased joint hypermobility and associated symptoms such as clumsiness and poor proprioception. It's worse in those who's hypermobility is caused by their collagen structure as opposed to caused by abnormalities in the actual joint structure itself. I have marked laxity at the best of times, but around the time of the month that I ovulate and in the run up to my period this is hugely increased.

Saturday should have given me warning I was going to be laxer than normal, but of course I ignored it. As usual. I wanted something from the cupboard under the sink. Simple enough but my proprioception was so off I smacked my head on the sink. Forwards and down. I was at least 6 inches out. And not a man's six inches. Red, on the other end of the phone said all she heard was that hollow thunk you get when bone hits inanimate object and an 'ow, fuck!' Immediately followed by a huge crash as I knocked the washing up over. She did raise the idea of concussion at the time, but I poo-poohed it. Until waking up from where I'd passed out on the sofa in a shivering heap. Then I conceded she could be on to something.

Today as I was walking I realised that I was so lax that each side of my pelvis was happily doing its own thing. Whilst a multi directional pelvis makes me a wow in the bedroom, it does little for my ability to stay upright. Throw the wrong amount of cannabis into the equation and not only am I having a spack attack, I'm finding the idea incredibly funny. I kept bursting into fits of giggles, worsened by my stoned minds ability to visualise how I must look to other people making me giggle even more.

The highlight was the horrifying moment the police community patrol car coming towards me slowed down so much I thought they were going to stop and how I was so blatantly stoned I would be able to do nothing but giggle. Which of course set me off again. Luckily the police have far better things to do that investigate a small, staggering, swaying, stoned person giggling like a fool on the side of the road in the middle of the afternoon.

I now have another two weeks of this to look forward to.


Let them eat cake

4/07/2008 03:58:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 14 Comments

When the 10% income tax rate was abolished last year it sent shivers down the spines of many low paid workers. I had a (lengthy and futile) conversation with Ziggy in which we attempted to work out how this would affect him. Our only solid conclusion was that he would be dramatically worse off.

Ziggy is at 22 pretty much the primary wage earner in his household. He lives with his mother and younger brother who is still at school. For some complicated reason I've never been fully able to ascertain his mother is not entitled to tax credits. It's something to do with past overpayment, attachment of earnings that made them dramatically worse off and the odd council tax and water rates debt. Whatever the causes, the end result is that mum is not entitled to claim tax credits to top up her (sporadically attended) part time jobs at a local supermarket and youth group.

That leaves the family completely reliant on Ziggy's wage. Approximately £14, 000 before tax. He hands over the majority of his earnings to his mother either in 'keep' when he first has his wages or usually throughout the week/month to pay for basics like food, gas and electric when mum has run out of money.

Ziggy at 22, with no disabilities or children is not entitled to claim tax credits even in his position as main wage earner. The family are also liable for full council tax as there are two adults in the property.

The only practical conclusion for this family on the loss of 10% tax (which will affect mum too) is as Ziggy suggested to go 'off the books' and start to receive wages cash in hand. How many will feel they have to take this option whilst politicians in Westminster continue to whine about how reversing the policy would be 'less fair' ?


Think Twice

4/03/2008 08:18:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 15 Comments

Plugged in to my headphones, music blasting in my ears, teeth gritted, I was focused on keeping upright, putting one foot in front of the other. I was walking along the Coronation Street style alleyway, conscious that despite the safety of the area it possibly wasn't the best idea to do so alone at dusk. Particularly not with headphones on. But doing it anyway.

I felt their presence before I heard them. I was sure there was someone coming up behind me. My right hip feeling as though it was on fire with acid hot pain I knew my gait was particularly poor but could only concentrate on keeping going.

The first time I looked over my shoulder I couldn't see anyone. I assumed my instincts were playing tricks on me and went back to concentrating on moving. Thinking about the chocolate reward at the end of it all.

So when I saw the two lads, faces obscured by their hoods I felt a moment of fear. I'd ignored my instincts that there had been someone there and my body was announcing how stupid that was with a rush of adrenaline.

Still unable to hear I fumbled with clumsy hands to pull out my headphones. The boys wearing hoods had passed me and were now turning round to face me. My heart plummeted.

Then, ever so politely a voice came from the closer of the hood wearing teenagers. And asked me if I was alright.