Milking the dole

I ran out of milk. The store cupboard yielded UHT Almond milk but it just didn’t hit the comfort spot in my new-found porridge routine. I’ve had it in the past in my endless cups of coffee, and its been okay. My coffee habit actually serves to keeps my hands warm and as a displacement activity to stop me feeling blue. (On an economic point of view got to offset cost electricity to heat water in kettle vs cost loo paper,bathroom light + wall heater,soap ad three minutes of my life I won’t get back as it invariably comes out the other end).
I managed to scrape the cost of 4 pints of milk from the corner shop from the silver coins in my piggy bank. I was mortified that it’d gone up to £1.65 – 10p more. Good job I’d taken some extra coinage and avoided the walk of shame home. The same volume of milk costs £1 from the supermarket (Nearest supermarket is 45 minutes round trip walk). It’s chuffing cold out there, my legs hurt and cuts into my job search time, so I was forced to pay it. Sixty five pence I can ill afford -(out of £71/week) but less than cost of driving there!(if i had a car), and when you’re on a limited budget you tend to notice and resent paying more for what most people take for granted.

I hate the throwaway comment that only ‘poor people’ use the bus. In my experience(and I avoid the bus at all cost stressful and panic attacks)-It is NOT cheap to use the bus.
In my last job, once a week I had to get the bus – it’d take 15 minutes by car – it costed me £4:00 for a Wirral return. This was cheaper than two singles and certain bus companies didn’t accept passes/return tickets,(thankfully two companies had the sense to work together). Still a long way off an integrated transport system despite it being the 21st century. Also had a 20+ minute wait per bus to get home as the services became more erratic. good job I had no evening classes to attend or even a social life!
By contrast a straightforward 25 min train journey cost £3:60 return.

oh, Despite, not exactly being offered the job, but a one-off 7 hour training session and a distant starting date in March, I’ve still got to apply for jobs. Failure to do so would breach my job search agreement, and I wouldn’t get my contributions based JSA. Yes,the DWP are preventing me claim back what I’ve paid into the system via tax and NI, for such crisis. Fair? Hardly. Being a non-person without a job isn’t fair either, they take away your voice too. Starve or be sanctioned.
So, I’m left half heartedly applying for jobs, still keeping an eye open -just in case my dream job turns up before March. The job I’m getting has no long-term prospects. Thankfully there’s a stakeholders pension (if the pot is not emptied by subsequent governments raiding it),even a meal is provided – but only after working 5 hours for it, and its relatively easy to get to and enough hours to claim WTC -if I can fill out the form.
I just hope the catering company don’t screw up how the bistro used to be – and loved for. The customers are educated people -self and formerly educated-within the arts/creative sector, plus the odd bod from the Uni with middle class aspirations ie it’s not a fried egg and chip brigade, which was the standard at the canteen they ran at my last job (I took my own sandwiches).

The dog for the second time has decided to sleep on a cushion on the table besides me, as I fill out my job applications. Bit of moral support greatly appreciated.

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