It’s Been a While…

18.02.15 (Day 422)

08.42

“…since I gone and fucked things up, just like I always do…”

Everything seems to be starting to go right and I can’t help but wonder when to expect a curve ball.

I’ve been quiet on the blogging front because so many things are going right and I’ve been busy dealing with those very things.

I “passed” my ESA assessment and am now in the Support Group: roughly translated, I am genuinely unfit for work and am signed off almost indefinitely, or at least until the rules change or someone changes their mind. I no longer have to get monthly sick notes from the doctor as I am long term ill. As a result my ESA payment has increased and was back dated, so I got a fairly nice lump sum award. The next assessment is for PIP and if I “pass” that as well, there’ll be more money and my priority for local authority housing will increase.

Local authority housing is my preference over private renting as with the latter, I’d be at the whim of a private landlord. I’d have to fork out for a deposit and most private landlords won’t accept housing benefit tenants. Ahead of the PIP assessment I have a meeting with the council housing office this Friday, during which I will lay it on thick. Whatever situation I find myself in will be preferable to the one I currently occupy.

The safe house has many benefits and wonderful hosts but after fourteen months of being homeless, I really want a place of my own. I’m not picky. I can’t afford to be. Just a modest bedsit in an undesirable area which few on the housing list are likely to bid on would suffice. I just want somewhere I can call my own and which will allow me the freedom to do as I please when I want. Luxuries I’m looking forward to are being able to lie in some mornings – when my body clock allows – and not have to worry about clamouring for the bathroom with three others. Being able to buy my own food, cooking it and eating it without feeling guilty about taking something which isn’t mine. Having people round. Ultimately, my kids.

There is movement in a positive direction on the children front but I shan’t speak in detail of that here for legal reasons. I’ve not seen much of my adopted children as it’s half term, one has a boyfriend, another might and two are forbidden from seeing me. It’s something to do with me and kids.

So I’ve been keeping myself busy with my four pass times, one of which I’m making money from, another which is costing me money and the other two are jobs with little or no reward. Since finding myself on more of an even keel over the last week or so, social practical engagements aside, I’ve been dividing my day up into working for little reward, then working for even less reward, followed by spending money on one pursuit before finally making money on the other.

Once official appointments are out of the way, my day is spent mainly writing. Having suffered a severe case of writer’s block for the bet part of the last week, my second novel is back on track and has direction. The first is still being well received by the readers I gave free copies to but sales are modest at best. If only people would take a leap of faith – one of the subjects dealt with in The Paradoxicon – and spend two quid, they’d get a good read. And if only my free readers would put their positive comments into writing, maybe more people would buy the book.

After a roughly nine to five working day of writing, I’ll do some cooking if it’s my turn in the kitchen. There is no financial gain from this at the moment, only the knowledge that I’ve fed people. Last night there was not only no financial gain but no food for me either. I’d cooked pancakes for the host family and ran out of batter mix when I got to mine as they had three each. So I simply didn’t eat. There’s a potential opening on the catering front in the local pub but I obviously have to check things out with DWP now that I’m in the Support Group for ESA. I believe I’m permitted to work up to a certain number of hours per week but I fear that running a pub kitchen may entail working more than those permitted hours. So there’s talk of a job share with another chef.

It’s a fledgling enterprise as the pub is under new management and lost a lot of custom to the previous incumbents. But there’s potential: there’s a huge kitchen there, sitting unused. I’m in negotiations with the landlord. Simple fayre at first but once word starts to be spread by happy diners, business could increase; a bit like sales of my book. I just need those reviews from readers who have finished it.

After cooking I’ve been playing a bit of pool, practising for the Wednesday night matches with the pub team. We have a game tonight and I’m beating all comers in the local, so hopefully that will transfer to the away venue. Then back to the safe house to finish the day with a bit of poker online. I’m winning and my bankroll is headed in the right direction as a result.

I’ve had a bit of a financial splurge with my increased bankroll. I’ve not treated myself for over a year, so I’m trying not to feel too guilty. As well as the pool cue and the watch, I’ve acquired some other things, including a Bad Mother Fucker wallet and four holes in my face. I decided to have some piercings and am now sporting a scaffold in my left ear and a bar in my right eyebrow.

So things are going well. It’s about time I had a change of fortune. If everything continues along this route, I should be moving on and out in around a month. I had a very pleasant conversation with my ex-fiance yesterday. She’s been looking after my things for the last year and we did have a bit of a bad patch but yesterday we spoke like old friends. I’m looking forward to seeing her when I move my stuff out of our old flat but it will be a metaphorical end of chapter. It will be with mixed emotions that I leave here, possibly for somewhere local but in all likelihood some distance away. I shall miss my hosts and many of the friends I’ve made around here.

There’s one in particular whose been keeping me sane lately and I shall miss that one more than most others.

“…But all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you…”

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