Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Got an hour to myself while Bear takes Tots off for 'Parents Evening'.

Dunno why we still call her Tots - she's actually a young teenager - her aunt called her Totty Wormcake when she was naught but a tiddler, and, but for a brief rebellion when she reached ten, when she spent a couple of weeks refusing to answer to the label, the name stuck. Even her local mates call her 'Totty' now :)

By the way, I'm not here, honest. I'm the other end of the room with my feet up - as ordered.

They forgot about the Lappy. Ha!

Seriously tho', I've had a rough few days, but I've no-one to blame but myself. I have enough trouble standing at the best of times, and walk with a wobble. So what did I do? Had a few beers, that's what. Pure pig-headed rebellion. I drank, relaxed, forgot to concentrate - which is second nature to me normally - and awoke the following morning covered in quite alarming bruises. In places I didn't think were possible.

Apparently, some idiot moved the floor closer, narrowed the door ways and hallway, and moved my safety rails and inch or two to the left. Needless to say, I ache. Good news. I don't get hangovers. Never had one. Bad news. I really wish I did...... then I'd have an excuse to sulk.

So...I'm under orders - feet up, shut up, rest, no net. So y'see, I'm not here. Any minute now, one of those neighbours is going to knock and walk in with a "No, no, Bear didn't ask me to check, just wondered....."

Yeah, right :) Forgive me if you read this and I owe you an email - there may be a slight delay.

Gotta go - I'm getting a nervous twitch...

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Dad, have y'got.....

My lad, in his twenties, and his girlfriend are off the Disney Land Florida in a month. It's costing them over £900 each. It was the Dominican Republic last year. Good for them - you're only young once. However....

She's pointed out to him, since he pays his board monthly, that he really shouldn't pay anything towards his keep for the two weeks their away. She's also complaining he isn't saving fast enough to raise the £1000 'pocket' money their taking each.

Hmmm. Interesting logic.

My lad's on a reasonable wage. After paying his board, he's left with about £750 per month pocket money. She's a student on a student grant. Lives with her parents. They don't ask their young people to contribute. Don't need the money, apparently. She and her brother have cars, and their parents contribute towards the running costs.

My lad tells me they have discussed getting a place together, but they can't afford it.

Ahuh. I'll bet.

I was refilling the fridge the other day, thinking how magical it must all seem. The home cooked Tikka wraps and chocolate and crisps that appear ready for work in the morning. The fridge that refills itself. How those clothes magically disappear from the bedroom floor, and reappear, fresh, folded and pressed in the drawer. A bed that makes itself, and the plates, dishes and cups that disappear from the lads bedroom, and sit gleaming in the pot rack. And meals on the table when he gets home tired from work. As for the toilet roll holder... shazzam!

I was reading a survey that said something like 82% of 20 - 34 year old's are staying with parents because they just can't afford to live anywhere else. Mortgages are hard to come by, rents are high. Food and fuel prices creep up. We worked out that though we used 25% less gas and electricity than the same time last year, we are paying at least 25% more.

But there's more to it than cost. There's responsibility. Responsibility for your family, your home, yourself. I left home quite young, and dropped myself into it headfirst. My Bear left home to live with me, and learned from and with me. Then came the kids. Only, two of them aren't 'kids' any longer. And I charge them board - a fixed percentage of any income. When they've been unemployed, they've paid nothing.

I'd be daft to say the money doesn't come in handy. 'Course it does. It's absolutly peanuts though compared to the amount they'd have to dish out if they had their own places. I had considered, like my lads girlfriend's parents, not asking for anything. The world wouldn't have stopped.

There'd be food on the table, clean clothes, and a magic fridge freezer, as there has been for 20-odd years, because we love our kids, and once you get into the habit of being a parent it's hard to stop. But I decided by at least charging a small amount of 'board' I've be giving them a foretaste of what the real worlds like. You have to pay your way. If you don't pay for it, you don't get it - it's hardley rocket science. If you don't wash up, pots stop in the sink until you do. Unwashed, unironed clothes crease and stink. Unmade beds and unhoovered carpets stop that way. Unless you can afford to pay someone to do it for you.

And if your off to Florida, you can't say to the landlord or the mortgage company, water rates, council tax, gas and electricity company "I'm off to stop in a posh hotel in the sunshine for a couple of weeks, so I'm deducting the cost of all that from what I pay you, seeing as I won't be using the place, ok?"

Or there might not be a lot to come back to :)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

By 'eck

Don't think I've eaten a straight forward meal in my life. Just can't do it. I have to twiddle. My sauces and gravies can be real witches brews. No complaints yet tho.....

Something I picked up from my dad I think, who said he'd die before he gave me his recipe for steak and kidney pie, or the pastry recipe for his meat and potato pie. He was right y'know. He never did, and it took me years to reverse engineer the memories into reality :)

Lets just say, if you know your pastry and your sauces, he was a big man, who wasn't into healthy eating, and that's what got him in the end :)

Always anxious for new ideas, I like to doodle around the net for ideas.

Came across this site, which is fun to use, particularly if you're a bit cash strapped.

Oh No Not Beans Again

Enjoy !

Thursday, 9 April 2009

What is DLA?

DLA is Disability Living Allowance.

I've explained this before, but a brief recap.....

Disability Living Allowance is a UK Government benefit available to people who as result of injury, accident, or illness need temporary or permanent help with care and/or mobility.

There are various levels of help available.

It isn't the scope of this article to offer a full range of the implications of the benefit.

DLA, as I've already mentioned, provides extra financial help for people who need help with their care and/or their mobility. It doesn't matter if you're married, single, have lots of mates or a close family who are willing to help - if you, or those around you feel a little extra will help pay for extra care, or, f'rinstance you need to be accompanied or transported - or even to pay for transport? This is for you.

The first thing worth mentioning is that if you don't have the support of your GP, it's very difficult to get. For instance, your hospital consultant or the social services may feel that you should benefit from help, and your GP may not agree. More, and most unlikely, no-one will agree.

It's still worth applying. But there's a caveat. That is that you will have to attend an independent assessment by a panel to which you will have to produce evidence to support your claim. This may happen even if your GP, hospital, social services all agree. This may happen at any time even if your claim is successful. More, you may be checked for fraud at any time, and you have to report to the Department of Work and Pensions any change in your circumstances or health.

To make life more interesting, there are a number of levels of DLA.

Care. Higher, Middle, Lower rate

Mobility. High. Low Rate.

These may be awarded in any combination. The financial help you may receive depends on the opinion of the Department of Work and Pensions based on the information you provide when you fill in the extensive forms that need to filled in. Tip:- Don't fill it in yourself. Get help from an Advice Centre.

The purpose of the benefit is to pay for care and mobility. It ain't pocket money, or bill money.

It may change at any time. You may be 'called in' for a re-assessment at any time by a panel of independent experts. For example, I was on higher rate care, lower rate mobility, despite that I use a wheelchair. I had to reclaim every two years. At my last reclaim, I was offered middle rate care, lower rate mobility, but 'indefinitely'. After a lot of careful thought, and discussions with my local advice centre, family and other carers, I decided not to oppose the change.

Simple upsides :- DLA isn't means tested. You can get it whatever your income, as long as the work you do doesn't disagree with the way you describe your claim. Pretty obvious really. If you are on your feet all day at work but claim mobility, your a fraud. If you work alone for long periods, but claim you aren't allowed out alone, likewise.

I've had my home adapted with extra banisters, front and rear door rails, bathroom and toilet grips, and bathroom adaptations. These are on loan for as long as I need them and free from the social services. I don't have a social worker, but their their if I need them. I can also get respite care, for myself, or I can go into respite to give my family a rest.

Secondly, if you are awarded middle or higher rate care, if you nominate someone as your carer, they can claim up to about £55 per week Carers Allowance, as long as they care for you at least 35 hours a week and they are allowed to work the rest up to £90 per week plus reasonable allowances (meals, bus fares) on top of that. Be warned though, that if you are on income support, Carers allowance is 'means tested'. So you'll get about £27 per week for 35 hours care.

A home help here costs £14 per hour. But as a carer you may only get £27 per week. that's 74 pence an hour. Disgusting.