Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2019

Happy 2019

Oh boy the catching up I gotta do with this blog.

So…in my last post I said I was gonna sell my precious desktop computer for some much-needed funds.

Well…it didn’t work out as well as I hoped.

I could only get £150 for it…money which was whittled down on food and other essentials for a couple of weeks while the JSA made my bank account a bit healthier again.

So we were pretty much back where we started. Selling my computer did little more than delay things briefly, I suppose.

We were out of options, so we agreed to contact my parents and let them know how bad of a situation we were in.

They suggested and we agreed that Lav and I needed to get out of that old flat and into a better place as soon as possible.

So, my mom offered us £800 from a savings account of hers so we could move to a new place.

There was a bit of a catch…we couldn’t move out of the Salford area because if we did, not only would we no longer have our extremely helpful Jobcenter advisor, but also the Jobcenter would force us onto Universal Credit for switching Jobcenter locations, and from what we’ve heard of Universal Credit, we do not want to be on Universal Credit right now.

There was only one place in the area accepting people on benefits that we could find…a block of flats closer to the middle of the Salford area where it’s easier to shop to get the things we need and also much closer to the jobcenter.

So we attended a viewing…and as luck would have it the flat we viewed was being newly renovated!

It’s on the 12th floor so we have a decent view of the city too.

We put our names down and were soon accepted as the new tenants, set to move in the day after they finished laying the new carpet as the last thing of their renovations!

We were pretty excited because the place was definitely an improvement to what we had.

However, it was unfurnished. So we had to go looking for some cheap furniture to populate the place with.

And then my parents found us a bed, table, couch and fridge for way cheaper than we were finding anywhere around.

They had to hire a van to deliver it all to the place, and my dad and I got it all set up while my mom and Lav packed all our things from our old place to take over as well.

At the end of it all, Lav and I had a nice clean new living abode…although I do have to pay my mom back everything she spent on our move…so I owe her nearly a thousand quid to be paid once we get our finances going with some jobs.

We needed to get ourselves a means to cook meals. There was no real way around it but to just buy a brand new cooker ourselves.

We ended up getting one from Brighthouse on weekly payment over the subsequent year. It came with free fitting from a qualified electrician, which is required by law coz apparently electric cookers are hooked up to a special socket that has to be wired in, they can’t be done with a standard plug into a standard socket.

The renovations weren’t 100% completed when we moved in…the agency still needed to hook the toilet up to the main water supply rather than it being tank fed, which gave us a weak flush.

A plumber came and sorted that out pretty quickly no problem.

And then there was our shower.

It hadn’t been hooked up with electricity yet, and our new rental agents have contracts with certain service providers so we had to wait for them to send an electrician along.

We ended up waiting over a month for one to show up…and we kept pestering the rental agency asking when it was gonna happen and we kept reminding them to have the electrician company call us and set a time to come round so we can be ready for them.

What ended up happening was an electrician from the company showed up at our door out of nowhere when we were not at all ready for them.

So we informed that engineer that no-one told us they were coming and they should have someone call ahead to schedule a new visit.

They seemed very understanding and were already leaving when we shut the door.

Later that day we get a phone call from a lady from the rental agency saying we got a complaint from the engineer that we were rude and slammed the door in their face.

What. The actual. Frig.

The lady on the phone was very aggressive about it, too, saying either we could argue all day about it, or accept things…and unfortunately it was Lav who had answered the phone and she’s quite timid and unconfrontational, so she just said “okay”…if it was me I would have said “I do not accept that” and see where that got me.

The weird thing when they actually called and booked a visit and we were able to accommodate, the same electrician came round, and when we asked them about it they said they never made any complaint.

Doesn’t matter, though, because apparently because of this “complaint” the rental agency has a note on our account and they said they will not be renewing our contract when the year we’re contracted for is up.

Fan. Frigging. Tastic.

Another incident that happened was the rental agency called us asking for rent, and because we were low on money, we asked them if we could postpone payment until we get our next JSA. But they weren’t having any of it. They said everyone on housing benefit is paid on a specific date of the month, so we should have ours the day they called.

What’s more, they said if we had spent any of our housing benefit on anything other than rent, that’s fraud. We barely had enough money to pay for the rent at that moment, but with Lav’s health issue causing such a strain on our finances, I am worried we will not be so lucky next time.

We relayed what happened to our very helpful jobcenter advisor and she said actually, it’s not fraud. Our new rental agency is just bullying us for money.

Great. No wonder they had such mixed reviews from previous tenants when we looked them up while we were looking into moving here.

The place is friggin freezing in winter too. It’s got these huge windows right across the front room and bedroom that are really drafty.

The heating does nothing and is much too expensive to keep running. It eats £10 of credit in just a couple of days, while the same amount of credit lasts us a good week or so otherwise.

Our helpful jobcenter advisor told us about covering the windows with plastic sheeting and tape to keep the draft out.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere around here selling any plastic sheeting, so we decided to make do by taping on some 50 litre black trash bags…and as you can imagine, it doesn’t make much of an improvement if any at all.

Lav’s health problem seems to have worsened now. Every time she goes to the toilet takes at least an hour.

She went to a specialist who did a test, but they didn’t find anything unusual because of course they didn’t. So we still don’t have an explanation for Lav’s health issues.

We’re still having to use the bathtub as an extra-large trash bin because Lav’s making so much trash.

It doesn’t help that the trash chute this block of flats has can only fit carrier bag sized trash bags, so we have to use tiny trash bins that fill up very quickly. It’s really hard to keep on top of it all. We often find ourselves with no room for any more trash because we’ve left so much of it sitting there already. It’s a mess.

It’s really difficult to live our lives and do anything now because when she’s not in the toilet she’s too exhausted from using the toilet to do anything other than sit at the computer all day.

She spoke to the GP and they said there is one more test they want to do, but it’s one we’re not sure how to get done. However, it seems we have no choice but to try to figure it out.

This block of flats has its own laundromat for tenants. I was kind of expecting/hoping that it was free to use and the cost of running it was covered by everyone’s rent.

Nope. You have to feed the machines pound coins to operate them. £2 for the washers, £1 for the driers.

Lav’s health issue tends to create a lot of laundry pretty frequently if she’s not careful, and careful is kind of difficult when the health issue makes her worn out all the time and she has a lot of things to be careful about.

And she doesn’t like the idea of me carrying the laundry down by myself because she doesn’t want hands that have touched dirty laundry to touch any door handles or lift buttons…and the carrying handles of the bags we are using have definitely been touched by the dirty laundry directly so they’re most certainly tainted.

But I feel pretty confident I can manage by myself if I can just carry the bag in one hand and open the doors with the other. I’ll need a separate trip to come back and collect the laundry powder but it all should work fine long as I’m careful.

Another thing that happened is our very helpful jobcenter advisor put us on something called the work and health programme.

We were told they would have a bunch of physical and mental health specialists and it sounded like there’s a chance we could speak to someone about what Lav’s issues could be and also get help to get our heads in the right place.

Nope. Turns out it’s just more cognitive behavioral therapy as far as I can tell. I spoke to my main key worker, then I spoke to a supposed mental health specialist, and she wanted to put me onto some mental health group sessions and also sign me up to Silvercloud.

At the time when she revealed she wanted to put me forward to Silvercloud, I did remember doing it with Lav a few months ago back at the old place, but what I didn’t remember at the time was I was also signed up to Silvercloud and did it for myself as well as help Lav with hers, which was the part I did remember and told them.

So now I’ll have to somehow tell them of my mistake and tell them Silvercloud didn’t really do anything for me.

We kind of feel moving to this new place was a bad idea. We reckon we were kind of getting a proverbial handle on things at the old place, and moving to the new place made us lose that handle and made everything worse.

It feels like we get punished for ever feeling the slightest bit positive, too. Whenever we’re actually feeling kind of relaxed or even go so far as having fun, we get slapped in the face with something extra horrible happening.

Considering everything that’s happening, Lav is very worried our very lives are at risk. She worries she could die of stress or some complication from her health issue and she worries I could die from my health issue, or from getting an infection during surgery because I’m not able to shower beforehand to make things as sanitary as possible.

Speaking of which, I do have a date for surgery to get rid of my issue. January 10th. I’m still quite nervous about going under general anaesthetic and the surgery itself, but I’d rather not die from this wound if I can help it. I just hope we can do something about having a clean place and being able to shower by then.

Another thing that happened was a couple of people came to our door. I answered coz Lav was in the bathroom. I thought it might be agents from our rental agency with another complaint or something.

Nope. It was a couple of salespeople telling me about how electricity provider companies buy electricity off the national grid and then sell it on to consumers and telling me how I could be overcharged by my current provider.

They smooth talked me into agreeing to switch providers to a provider I never even heard of before I really realised what I was agreeing to.

Dammit, that’s the second time I was smooth talked into agreeing to switch providers by salespeople. It happened once already at the old place.

I had no idea I was so susceptible to smooth talking salespeople.

Now I gotta cancel the provider switch before the grace period to cancel runs out.

They picked just before the christmas break to reel me in, those sneaky so and sos, so I have to call to cancel as soon as they open in the New Year when half the grace period to cancel is already over.

Note to self; to any random unexpected visitors, immediately say “if you’re selling anything, I’m not interested.”

Let’s see…what else?

There’s a little bit of hope that Brexit is going to be cancelled one way or another. Meresa Tay can’t seem to agree on any kind of deal with the EU that anybody likes, and according to polls, the majority of the public support remaining in the EU, and that support keeps steadily growing.

Here’s hoping the government will finally see sense and at least hold off Brexit to maybe do a second public referendum to say like “are you sure?”

I think that just about covers everything I need to update this blog on for now.

Until next post, whenever that is.

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.


Wow. It’s been a minute since I last updated this blog. I never really had a reason to…until now.

So…uh…I guess I’ll just get right into the story.

It all started shortly after when Lav and I moved into our rental at the start of 2017.

Kind of out of nowhere, Lav developed this…health issue, a health issue that soon started to take away her time and energy for each day and started to cause a whole bunch of other problems too. I don’t want to go into any more detail than that, it’s a bit embarrassing to actually say what, exactly, it is and what, exactly, it’s doing.

For the first few months, Lav didn’t want to go to the doctor to get it checked out because she was scared. But eventually, it was decided there was no other choice.

We have been working with the doctor to try to manage the issue…unfortunatley, it’s one of those illnesses that you’re born with and can flare up at any time in life without prior indications and you’re stuck with it for life, as you can’t really cure it outright.
It’s not anything really life threatening, though, you just have to lessen the symptoms so you can lead an otherwise normal life.

The issue is not so much the illness itself but what it has caused…looking after oneself and one’s unwell partner is rather…difficult.

Things just started piling up.

Mainly with the trash. See, the council only picks up trash from the outdoor bins once every three weeks, which we feel is nowhere near frequent enough for how much those outside bins fill up from us and the other three flats of people living here. We know at least one of them is a family that has kids.

What’s more, we’re not allowed to just leave trash bags out in the yard. They have to be inside those outdoor bins, so when there’s no more room for anything, we’re kind of screwed as there’s nowhere for our trash to go, so it ends up piling up into a trash mountain around our indoor trash bin, as well as a pile of mostly tissues and wet wipes Lav makes on top of a coffee table next to her.

We haven’t cleaned our place in several months, there’s dirt everywhere. Floors, counters, you name it.

We haven’t been able to use the shower to clean ourselves in several months either. We’ve been using our bathtub as a makeshift bin for bathroom trash and we’d need to clean it before we can use it again, and there’s a couple of things in there that we’re not sure how to dispose of. In order to explain those, I must first explain this;

Our bathroom sink is not draining properly…basically if the water is on, the sink fills up, and once we turn the water off it takes some time for it all to drain, if it drains at all. We tried over-the-counter unblockers…they made it better than it was, but don’t seem to be clearing it outright.

In our attempts to find a solution, one thing we thought we could try was removing the metal plughole thingy that turns one big hole into 6 smaller holes so we can poke something solid down there more easily and dislodge the blockage…we used a detachable part from a clothes airer we had which had hooks on it to try to hook under it but that didn’t work, and then we tried a clothes hanger that had a metal hook but that was no good either.

And here’s the thing…apparently if you got standing water on a sink (not in the sink, but on it, like, splashes of it around the taps and stuff) or at least on our bathroom sink, if it’s left there, it turns into this yellow-ish slime. We have learned that this slime is to do with some nasty bacteria that rears it’s ugly head in this standing water if it’s left too long.

This bacterial slime was present while we were attempting to hook the metal plughole thingy I mentioned earlier.

So we now have a nasty bacteria covered clothes airer part sitting in our bathtub (we managed to throw away the clothes hanger in a trash bag) and we have no idea how to remove it safely, though one idea we have is to try scrubbing it with bleach and then we can at least remove it from the bathtub so we can then shower.

Anyway, we called a plumber for our bathroom sink, but then we realised we don’t want anyone to see all this trash and dirt everywhere and cancelled. In the meantime, we’re forced to use our kitchen sink to clean ourselves up.

What’s more, due to a combination of not showering and an admittedly far-too-sedentry lifestyle, now I’VE developed a rather nasty medical ailment of my own since a little over half a year now. It doesn’t affect me as bad as my SO’s affects hers, but…it’s gonna need surgical treatment at a hospital, let’s put it like that. I’m now waiting to hear from my nearest hospital on when they’re able to see me to treat me.

And to cap it all off…we’re very much struggling financially. We’re on benefits at the moment because we’re unemployed, and over half of the amount we get each month has to cover a month’s rent for the flat we’re renting, and the rest has to cover electricity, gas, water, internet, food and drink, and whatever other expenses come up…and let me tell you, it adds up REAL fast and we’re having trouble making ends meet.

We’re trying to get help in real life, but…it’s taking a lot of time…maybe even too much time. We kind of need a LOT of help A.S.A.NOW.

We tried getting in contact with Social Services but when they called us and Lav tried to explain the situation, apparently the way she explained it somehow suggested to them that we were handling it ourselves when no, no we were not. We were told by the people who referred us they would send someone around to assess the situation and get us the help we need. That is NOT what happened and we are NOT happy about it. We’ve been re-refferred but it’s been 3 or 4 months since the re-referral now and we haven’t heard anything.

In the meantime, we’ve tried some other agencies, but so far they’re all about psychological help with changing our thinking and getting motivated and whatnot and really what we need right now is actual, PHYSICAL help.

However, as far as we or anyone can find, nobody’s willing to pick up our trash or clean our place for us for free, and we have no money spare to pay for someone to help.

And you know why we haven’t put much effort in to try to fix these problems ourselves? I’ll tell you why, because we’ve been addicted to our computers, that’s why.

So much so that apparently we’d rather be on our computers than do pretty much ANYTHING else.

And quite frankly, we’ve gotten pretty sick of getting nowhere in life.

And we’re pretty sure our laziness costs us more money than not being lazy does.

Plus, if we don’t do something soon, with all this dirt and trash everywhere and the fact that we’re unsanitary ourselves, we may well get even more health issues that could potentially be life threatening.


So…we’ve decided to sell our computers.

We talked about doing so a number of times before, though I guess we didn’t really mean it those times, but now, we really do mean it…because we don’t really have any other choice.

We need money and we need to get rid of the big distraction from real life responsibilities. Two birds, one stone and all that.

Of course this means that, for the forseeable future, we may not have access to the internet as much as we used to, but it is a sacrifice that needs to be made if we want to get anywhere with our lives.

With our computers gone, we’ll have to pass the time by doing chores and getting this place straightened out instead, and we should hopefully not be spending as much money on the things we need by going to cheaper shops further afield.

Once we get this place clean, ourselves clean, and have sorted out our health issues, we’ll then work on getting ourselves some jobs.

With jobs comes more money, which we can then use to rent a better place to live, and then get internet and much better computers than we had.

So yeah…that’s the plan.

It may take some time to execute this plan to it’s fullest.

I honestly don’t know when my next blog update will be. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do my annual new year’s post anymore.

In other words, this blog is going to be on hiatus until further notice.

So until that further notice comes,

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2018

Happy 2018

Posted by: bluefoxy | December 1, 2017

Keep It In Neutral

So I’ve had a handful more interviews since my last post.

The first one was with an up and coming energy company that was looking to expand and make a name for itself.

The interviewer had a copy of my CV in front of him and mostly asked me questions to get more info about my employment history, I was able to answer him easy enough.

It just so happened they had ordered some pizzas for themselves when I came so I actually got to have a couple of slices of pizza with the team of people that already worked there.

We talked about football and video games and stuff. They all seemed quite cool and they semed to like me. I was definitely thinking I’d fit right in there.

A few days later I sent them an e-mail asking if they’d take me any further. The reply I got was something along the lines of “You were great, but someone else was better”.

Oh come on, you don’t just share pizza and get all buddy-buddy with a prospective employee and then turn them down, now, do ya? That’s just a big fat tease.

Welp. Good to have some positive feedback at least. Helps me know I’m on the right track.

The next one was with Co-operative insurance. And again, they had a copy of my CV and mostly asked me questions I had answers ready for. They also had me do a test where I navigated some of their in-house software to get answers to a quiz. I was the fastest one of the group of interviewees to finish that.

And again, I got positive feedback along the lines of “you were good, but someone else was better”

Now, the third interview I had was kind of set up in the meantime of those other two. Basically, my jobcenter advisor wanted to put me forward to a course to become a bus driver.

Now, the thing is, I have a full driving license, but I haven’t driven a car in over a decade. I wouldn’t mind a driving job, especially in public transportation, since

7zkig and trams and buses.

But all driving jobs require you to have been driving regularly for the last year or two, and this course was no different.

However, I figured it was worth a shot, on the basis of, there’s drving a car, and then there’s driving a bus…it’s a whole different beast.

My jobcenter advisor kind of had a similar idea…she got me in based on the fact that it’s a bit much to expect people on JSA to be driving because there’s no way they can afford a car on benefits.

Plus they were actually be training folks to drive a bus during the course, so there’s that.

The course providers conceded she had a good point, so I was in.

Turns out, before they can let you behind the wheel of a bus, they were first going to have you behind the wheel of a van to test your level of driving skill.

Oh, and they’re not looking to give you driving lessons all over again. It’s to apply your driving experience to a bus. Experience I did not have.

I ticked all the other boxes, but they simply couldn’t put me forward on the basis that I hadn’t driven anything in over a decade.

Darn. Well, it was worth a shot.

Then a couple of days ago I got a phone call out of the blue…from Jobwise in Stockport. They found my CV and want to put me forward to an opportunity.

So yesterday I got to visit Stockport after being away from there for almost a year.

They had me fill in a couple of forms so they can register me with them and put me forward to this opportunity they had and also let me know of any other opportunities they think I’m good for in the future.

Then I had a sort of interview with one of their agents. I wasn’t expecting an interview so I hadn’t dressed smartly and I guess I didn’t show myself as particularly confident because the interviewer said I still have some work to do on how I come across in an interview.

I explained how I’ve been getting positive reviews lately and how I’m using each interview to prepare me more for the next, and they said that’s good.

The interview turned into more of an explanation of what Jobwise does…they pre-interview candidates for employers and make sure they’re the best candidates for the role. Employers invest time and money into advertising a vacancy and you have to show you’re worth that time and money. Jobwise and other agencies are there to do that job for them, especially useful for busy employers who can’t spare the time.

Then they noticed I mentioned my computer literacy in my CV and wanted me to prove my capabilities. They had me do three tests. One was a typing speed test to see how many words per hour I could do and how accurately I could do it. I got over 5000. Close to 6000 even, I think.

The other two was some basic Microsoft Word and Excel tests to show I know how to operate those two…and aside from a couple of things I found I’d forgotten, like how to do double line spacing in word, and how to do a sum function…(Which the Excel itself later reminded me of how to do when doing another function question and I tried to select multiple boxes and it showed I had to open parenthesis after “=sum” )…I did perfectly alright.

So fingers crossed for something to come outta registering with Jobwise.

Alright, time to get really serious here.

You guys remember SOPA and PIPA, and all the outrage surrounding them that got them swept under the proverbial carpet?

Well, it seems the powers that be haven’t learned their lesson.

In just a couple of week’s time, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will vote on a bill that, if passed, will basically allow internet providers across the states to control what we see and do online.

And by control, I mean slow to almost an absolute standstill unless you pay exorbatant fees.

You know the bull manure that EA gets up to with it’s games, all just to milk gamers of their money? Try to imagine EA not just as your internet provider, but EVERY INTERNET PROVIDER ON THE PLANET. That’s what this bill is going to allow to happen.

If you’re not from America, don’t think for a SECOND that it won’t affect you.

For one thing, that’s where a vast majority of internet servers are, and for another thing, IF this bill gets passed, the anti-net neutrality monster will very likely set it’s sights on England next. Heck, there’s already rumours that Meresa Tay is looking into it…but apparently there’s an EU legislation that prevents the removal of Net Neutrality. Guess what we’re losing thanks to Brexit? Urgh.

Then the rest of Europe will probably follow suit after that anyway…then Russia and Australia…and the rest of the world.

Websites will dissapear left and right. Only the sites of highly wealthy mega-corporations will remain, as they can afford the fee for normal speed internet.

It MUST be stopped in America NOW, or we might as well consider the Internet GONE.

Posts advertising this outrage have flooded Reddit…and I feel I must spread the word. And you must too. The more word spreads around the internet, the better, allowing more people to be aware of the issue and join their voice to the thousands upon thousands who protest this already.

We need that number to be in the millions if we can get it there.

There’s some online petitions going around for you to sign all asking to keep net neutrality alive…feel free to add your name to them, but I found one that not only asks to keep net neutrality, it ALSO calls for them to give the head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, the boot.

So you should definitely add yourself to this.

Let’s see…anything else?

Oh yeah…to help us with money, my GF and I have come up with the idea to sell the electronics I have here that I’m not using and not likely to be using anytime soon, starting with my stills camera and my digital camcorder with their bags, and then a TV screen I have but am not using coz at some point we got me a proper computer monitor that I’m now using instead, and finally my PS2 and PS3.

There’s a store called Cash Converters that buys stuff from folks and then sells that stuff on for a profit. We had a look on their website to see how much they sell the camera and digital camcorder I have for.

It seems they sell my stills camera with its bag for north of £100. Not too shabby. as for my camcorder, they don’t have my specific make and model, but similar models are being sold for north of £200.

So with any luck they’ll give me at least £75 for the stills camera and £175 for the camcorder. So that’s at least a good £250 off the bat.

Then I’ll see what make and model TV screen I have and see what prices they have for that or anything similar.

I doubt I’ll get much for my playstations, especially the PS2, now that the PS4 has long since been released, but every little helps.

We just gotta get around to doing it already…it’s just other things keep getting in the way, and then we get worn out from those other things and need to rest.

Being a responsible adult is not easy.

We’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Oh yeah, we also got me a cheap computer chair from Argos yesterday. The wooden chair I’ve been using is all but fallen apart…it’s not exactly been the most comfortable thing to sit on anyway. We just gotta get around to assembling the new chair at some point.

Okay I think that’s about everything for this blog update.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox.


Posted by: bluefoxy | October 19, 2017

Job Hunting Jamboree

Halp wrote:
Where are you bluefox? We need our hero back

I’m…a hero?

Well they do say you’re the hero of your own story…so you should try to act like a hero you’d look up to.

I’m just having a bit of trouble figuring out how to go about doing that at the moment.

As for where I’ve been…I’ve been kinda busy working as hard as I can to try and find paid employment already since my work expereince placement at Poundland.



to getting a job…I can practically taste it. I plan to continue getting even closer as much as I can.

I just gotta be careful with the jobs I pick…on JSA and Housing benefit, we’re making somewhere between £800 and £900 a month and we’re barely able to scrape by with rent, bills and food…my GF and I worked out I’d have to be working AT LEAST 30 hours to roughly break even with that income…

…but then there’s also the fact that council tax will spike up to the full amount of over £200 so I gotta factor that into the equasion and bump it up to around at least 32 hours a week of work, I reckon.

That means no part-time work.

Which kind of sucks coz part-time work is a good entryway into employment.

But then so is temporary Xmas work, which CAN still be full-time.

Yesterday I went to an interview at Argos not too far from where I live for a temporary xmas role.

I made it clear I was looking for at least 30 hours a week.

The manager says the contract is for 10 to 15 hours, but he is looking to keep someone on for longer than that. Full day shifts where possible.

So that’s a big tick for me right there. Why hire two seperate people for two seperate 15 hour roles when you can hire one person to cover both and even more time, eh?

One thing I did fail with is he asked if I was available from 8am, and I thought at the time that 8 am sounded too early…but I agreed I can manage a 9am start.

When relaying this to my GF, she explained that actually, 8am is perfectly fine.


When we both relayed the same story to my jobcenter advisor, who we happened to be seeing the same day, she said 8am is more than fine coz I’d miss the bulk of the rush hour traffic between 8:30 and 9 when everyone else is trying to get to work, so I should be proactive and contact the manager however I can.

Fortunately the invite to the interview was via e-mail and it has what appears to be the manager’s e-mail address on it, so I sent a message explaining I am available from 8am.

However, while writing this blog post, I checked my e-mails and just got one from the Argos recruitment team saying they’re not taking my application further. Bummer.

Well, in that case…my advisor told me to wait until a decision is made to ask for feedback…so I guess I can send another e-mail asking for feedback now.

At least I know about the 8am thing in case it comes up in future interviews.

I got a new advisor at Work Solutions…and in my first meeting with him it was clear there was not much else they could do other than try and help me get into work.

Apparently there’s a couple of employment referrers that my new advisor wants to put me forward for sometime soon…meanwhile, he had me do a quick course called “positive futures” to give me some more helpful tips.

The course gave me a bit of a window into the minds of the recruiters.

They’re NOT looking to hire you…they’re looking for any excuse to cast you aside form the application process. Only the best applicant gets to go through to an interview…only the best interviewee gets to go through to employment.

They also told us that european companies like Aldi and Lidl are all about profit and don’t necessarily care so much about customer satisfaction like most other retail stores do, so you should modify your application accordingly.

But when I relayed this to my jobcenter advisor, she said Aldi would not agree with that, it suggested to her that whoever was running the course was someone from Tesco or some other big supermarket company that wants Aldi out of the picture…Aldi looks after it’s employees and pays the best salary of anybody in the retail sector while also being the lowest priced large store around…so how does them being all about profit make any sense?

Goes to show you need to see all sides of a story before jumping to conclusions.

Now I know what you’re thinking…”Well, what about you and your GF both getting jobs? you’d only need 16 hours each, so part time’s still viable!”

Well, for one thing, there’s no guarantee we’ll both be able to get a 16 hour part time job at the same time, and for another thing, the jobcenter has identified some barriers she needs to work on first.

I won’t specify what those barriers are, just that if we don’t address them first, they’ll cause her to lose any job she gets vey quickly.

They’ve referred her to “Working Well”, which is actually under the same umbrella company as Work Solutions, just a different branch that can help with different issues such as some of the barriers she has.

The ones they can’t help with are ones we have the responsibility of dealing with ourselves. So we’re working on that.

In other news…prompted by her parents, my GF had to check her Romanian ID…it expires in January. She needs a fresh one. That means having to go back to Romania. By January.

And she kind of needs a valid, non-expired ID in order to get a job.

Her parents don’t know about her barriers to work…and she doesn’t want to tell them… it’ll only make them worry…they’re kind of overbearing asking her about if she got a job yet or not as it is. The news about these barriers will just open up the floodgates for even more questions…and she doesn’t want that.

So yeah, there’s that as well.

Let’s see…what else?

7 Days to die has kind of lost it’s sparkle…once your base is set up, you’re basically doing the same things over and over again to maintasin and defend it and look after your character’s needs and it gets tedius after a while.

We might get back into it if they add more features to play with.

I found a new game I want to play. It’s called Transport Fever.

I don’t know if I ever directly mentioned on my blog before how much I LOVE games that let you build stuff and be creative. Especially when there’s a set goal to it.

Anyway, Transport Fever is all about building a functioning and profitable transport empire. Planes, trains, trucks, boats…all are at your disposal to transport passengers and goods from A to B to C to all the other letters of the alphabet.

And you really have to think about how to lay out your lines to make the most profit.

You have to get a product to a production facility and then distribute the result to the towns.

For example, you have to get crude oil to a refinery, and then distribute the resulting fuel to the towns.

But it’s not profitable to have one vehicle bringing crude oil and then seperate vehicles distributing the fuel…you got to try and do both with the same vehicle/s…have them bring the crude, then distribute the fuel to towns on the way back to grabbing the crude again.

And there’s no free sandbox mode to it…EVERYTHING costs in-game money, so you have to make sure you’re making enough money to afford building a new rail track or road and then for buying the vehicles to run on that track or road.

Not only that, you also have to think about whether or not whatever you want to build is going to make you more money. It has to be cost effective.

I’ve been watching a big bunch of youtube vidoes of people playing it and it looks amazing when they got a whole load of different distribution lines set up getting a whole load of different products to a whole load of different places.

Ooooh I want to play it so bad…but right now I don’t have the money spare to buy it…I’d need to earn the money from a job first.

So yeah…to boil all of that information down to one simple statement, I need a job, A.S.A.NOW!

I’m trying. By god, I’m trying.
But I’m going wrong somewhere…I just need to identify where, and fast.

I’ll get there. I just gotta keep riding this wave of momentum towards getting a job.

Keep sending me waves of good luck, everyone!

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox Thom.

Posted by: bluefoxy | July 5, 2017

9 Weeks To Post

It’s been over 2 months since my last post. High time to get y’all up to speed on what’s going on.

So if you remember in my last post I talked about how Work Solutions were having me do a skills health check to help me know what jobs I can go for…originally it was scheduled to be finished the Thursday after that post but my advisor phoned me saying he couldn’t see me then, so he re-scheduled for the end of May.

The end of May came, I finished my assessment, and we printed off the results. I have a copy with me right here. I haven’t read it in detail yet though I did get a glimpse at one or two of the results when I first got it.

What it says will be in black text, my responses and other comments will be in my signature blue text.

Alright, let’s see here…

Your results – Skill Areas

The Skill areas questionnaire measures nine ‘skill areas’ or types of activities you feel that you are able to do. Each area is related to the world of work.

Your results are listed from the skill areas you feel you are most able to do, through to the skill areas you feel you do less well. This means you may find a skill area towards the end of the list that you feel you are fairly able to do, because there are many other areas you feel you are more able to do.

There are some suggestions for those skill areas that you feel most able to do to help you when applying for jobs.

To help you develop the skills you feel are less strong, there are some activity suggestions if you want to improve them.

Sometimes no extra information will appear. This means that your view of your abilities seems to be evenly balanced.

1 Convincing and communicating
Convinces others and deals well with conflict.
Expresses self-clarity when speaking and writing.
2 Creative Thinking
Comes up with new ideas and different ways for approaching issues.
3 Handling Change and Pressure
Adapts to changed, remains calm and reacts positively to challenges.
4 Learning and Technology
Easily learns new information and quickly learns how to use new technologies.
5 Working with Others
Works well with people by listening, understanding and helping others.
6 Planning and Focusing on Detail
Plans own tasks and uses time effectively to produce high quality work.
7 Solving Problems
Spots problems and gathers information, making judgements based on facts.
8 Showing Energy and Drive
Shows Energy and enthusiasm for meeting difficult goals and taking on new tasks.
9 Taking Responsibility
Takes responsibility for own actions and for leading others.

Oh, so is that list in order from what I’m best at to what I’m worst at? Coz if so, I really feel “Showing Energy and Drive” should be dead last. I often feel I have no Energy and Drive to show.

Your strengths

Convincing and Communicating.

Convincing and Communicating is a skill area that you feel you are most able to do. This is about being able to convince others, deal with conflict between people and express yourself clearly when speaking and writing,

And then it talks about thinking about times I’ve had to persuade other people, communicate clearly or resolve arguments.

That’s not at all surprising. I already knew I’m good at communicating with others. What’s next?

Your areas for development

Taking Responsibility

Taking Responsibility is a skill area that you feel you can do less well. This is about being able to take responsibility for your own actions, take control of situations and lead others.

If you would like to improve this skill, the following development suggestions might be useful;

Think of a time when you took responsibility for getting something done.
Look at what went well and make a point of taking responsibility more often

Next time you are in a situation which is unclear, be open about what you think. Clearly explain what you think should be done and why. Explain what you would like other people to do

Mmmm. That doesn’t surprise me either. I have a fair few life experiences that show I’m not too good at taking responsibility for my actions…specifically the negative ones…the mistakes…and, in one case, my blindness to something I was doing wrong for a very long time.

This is something I’m already trying to work on to improve, at least mentally. I’m now definitely more aware of my actions and their consequences.

What next?

Your results – Interest

Doing what you are interested in can be very important to job satisfaction.

The interest questionnaire measures eleven interest areas to help you find out which types of work activity appeal to you most.

The profile below shows how appealing you find each of the eleven interest areas. You will also see ‘related job families’ which you can explore to find jobs that appeal to you.

Remember that interests can and do change with time.

Strength Of Interest Interest Area Interest Area Definition Related Job Families
Moderately Interested in: Creative Using art skills, having new ideas and producing imaginative and original work. Arts, Crafts and Design.
Performing Arts.
Broadcast and Media.

Definitely no surprises there. I am pretty good at drawing stuff, after all.

Broadcast and media…well, I would say I’m more than moderately interested in that.

I mean…my dream job is to be a TV presenter for a nature program like Springwatch or something.

I want to be the next Chris Packham. I’d love that.

And then there’s my second choice of Radio presenter…and I’ve done quite a bit to pursue that.
I got a certificate from Radio Regen…I did that stint in Pure 107.8 that didn’t really work out…

Maybe I should try looking into ways to pursue that career path again.

A little interested in: Influencing Working with people and helping change their views and choices Marketing, Selling and Advertising.
Retail Sales and Customer service.

Huh. “Working with people and helping change their views and choices” sounds a lot more like Psychiatry or something like that to me, not so much Marketing, Selling, Advertising and Customer service…I mean…I guess you want to make people want to buy stuff, but…changing their views and choices? That’s a bit deeper than I think retail really has any business going.

A little interested in: Number-Focused Working with figures, numbers and data. Financial services, Information Technology and Information Management.

Information Technology? Isn’t that more like “Working with computers-focused” rather than “Number-Focused”?
At any rate, I’m not really that interested in working with numbers too much…sure, I’m pretty good at it on a fairly basic level…but nothing too advanced, really.

A little interested in: Reading and writing focused Researching information, editing and writing Performing Arts.
Broadcast and Media.
Publishing and Journalism.

There’s Broadcast and Media again. And hey, Publishing and Journalism. Sure, I wouldn’t mind working for a newspaper if given the opportunity. Though I’ve learned Newspapers tend to use political bias to sell more papers…so I’ll probably have to agree with a certain paper’s bias to work for them. So maybe not so much. I’m more into pursuing the real truth of the matter rather than spinning a story to make money.

Not at all interested in: Scientific Doing Scientific activities to find out facts about the world. Animals, Plants and Land.
Environmental Sciences.
Medical Technology.
Science and Research.

Okay, I’m going to have to call pure cow manure on this result. Especially the animals, plant and environment part. I love nature. And I guess I’m pretty into science-y stuff in general. Not enough to be some kind of chemical professor or something but…certain aspects of science do interest me.

Not at all interested in: Storage and Transport Being involved with the movement of goods and people. Storage, Dispatching and Delivery transport.

Ehhhh, I’m a bit iffy on this result too. I wouldn’t mind being, like, a driver moving stuff around for a company. Especially a public transportation driver moving people around.

Did I mention…


Trams, too.

I recently discovered I’m actually fonder of buses than I realised, too.

Not at all interested in: Engineering Working step by step to design, build, maintain or repair structures or equipment. Construction.
Service and Repair.
Manufacturing and Engineering.

Ehhhh…I wouldn’t say I’m not AT ALL interested in this stuff…I can say I’m a little interested, I guess. Depends on what’s being engineered/built/whatever.

Not at all interested in: Leisure Providing a service to people in restaurants, bars, hotels, when they are learning new sports or when on holiday. Catering Services.
Leisure And Tourism.

Eeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh…again, I wouldn’t say I’m not AT ALL interested in this stuff…again, it depends on the specifics.
DEFINITELY not interested in sporty stuff. I am not athletic at all.
But providing a service at a bar or a hotel? Or helping people book a holiday? That’s technically customer service right there.

Not at all interested in: Organising Planning activities, keeping records, checking detail and following set ways of doing things. Administrative and Clerical.
Legal Services.
Management And Planning.

Okay, I’m definitely calling cow manure on this one.
I absolutely AM interested in having things planned out and having a set ways of doing things…
…though I can still go with the flow because…you know…procrastination tendencies…it’s less effort.

Not at all interested in: Taking Charge Working in difficult situations or tough environments, giving clear orders and following commands. Security and Uniformed Services.

Okay, yeah, I’ll give it this one. I’d say I’m a tiny bit interested in being a security guard or a cop, but I’m too scared of being killed by some random thug somehow and leaving Lav alone and very upset.

Not at all interested in: Caring Using social skills to teach, support, care for and help others. Alternative Therapies.
Education and Training.
Medicine and Nursing Services.

Yeah, alright, I’ll give it this one, too.
I absolutely don’t want to work in medicine or nursing. Especially not in a care home.
Education and training? I don’t feel there’s much I can really teach anybody…
Alternative therapies? Mmmm…there’s some specific stuff I’m interested in there…but…well…like I said, specific stuff. You’ll have to ask about specific jobs here to see if I’m interested or not.

Alright, that was a bit hit and miss. What’s next?

Your results – Personal Style and your approach to looking for a job

Your personal style may affect the way you look for work and how you explore your job options

Some aspects of looking for a job may be well matched to your personal style.

Other aspects of looking for a job may not be such a good match, and you may tend to avoid or put them off.

What comes naturally to you when looking for a job

You are more likely to do the things that come most naturally. Make the most of this and focus on using these qualities when you are looking for a job.

  • You are likely to feel calm under pressure. This may help you to appear confident in interviews or selection events.
  • You are likely to take a well organised approach looking for work. This can be especially helpful when filling in application forms or keeping track of applications
  • You are likely to enjoy spending time with other people. This may help you come across as friendly and sociable in assessment situations.
  • You may sometimes try to understand other people’s behaviour. This could help you relate well to others in interviews.

What comes less naturally to you when looking for a job

Some of these things may not come so naturally to you. However, you can work around these and make sure they do not hold you back when you are looking for a job. Some ideas for how to do this are shown below.

  • You are less likely to enjoy looking at facts and figures. You may need to challenge yourself to look at data, as such information can be helpful when researching jobs.

TIP: List the three job options you are most interested in. For each of these find as much information based on facts as you can – for example, from employer websites.

  • You may not enjoy persuading others. This means you may have to make an effort to convince potential employers that you have the skills needed to do the job.

TIP: Practice talking about your key strengths to a person you know. Ask them to question what you are saying and try to answer their questions.

  • You are likely to prefer taking things steady and not being very busy. This means you may need to make an effort to take a more energetic, enthusiastic approach to looking for work.

TIP: Set yourself specific goals for each day followed by a reward (for example “today I will search three websites for jobs and make 5 applications before 5 ‘o’ clock and then I can relax this evening). This should help you keep going and allow you to achieve more in a shorter space of time.

  • You are likely to be less open to new ways of doing things. This means you may need to make an effort to try different approaches when looking for work.

Tip: Try to use different ways of looking for work. You could use newspapers, magazines and a range of job websites, as well as people you know or your local jobcentre.

This whole bit is very accurate. Though maybe saying “I can relax” as a reward isn’t going to work very well because my procrastination makes me like “I can relax” all the time.

Your results – Motivations

This section looks at seven areas of ‘motivation’. These describe the kinds of work environment that are most important to you. The more you are motivated by your work environment the more job satisfaction you are likely to have.

Your motivations are listed in the chart below. Number one in the chart is the most important to you, then number two and so on. A satisfying environment for you might require a combination of characteristics rather than just one.

Remember that motivations do sometimes change over time.

There’s some bar charts displaying a representation of how much of each motivation I have. I think I’ll just do marks out of 10 instead because they have 10 sectors on the bar charts.

So 1 is not motivated at all and 10 is, like, the most motivated a person possibly be about something.

I’ve rounded the scores to the nearest .5 for simplicity’s sake. The bars didn’t actually adhere to full sectors or half sectors.

  1. Ordered Environment – 6.5 / 10
    This type of environment is structured, predictable and with very clear requirements. It can be found in areas like administration and book-keeping where the emphasis is on order and high standards.
  2. People Focused Environment – 5.5 / 10
    This is a social and caring environment, where people can get on well together. They co-operate and help each other. It is found in caring professions, charities and public services. It can also be present in companies, for example customer service departments.
  3. Creative Environment – 5.0/10
    This type of environment is creative and open to new ways of doing things. People who value this type of environment are likely to enjoy roles which are free of much of the conventions to do with work, e.g. how you look, how you behave, etc.
  4. Productive Environment – 4.5 / 10
    This environment values “doers”: people who work hard and who enjoy having something to show for their efforts. These values tend to be reflected in work that is practical.
  5. Money Focused Environment – 4.0 / 10
    This is an environment where the focus is on making money. Money is also given as a reward for doing well. It is typically found in commercial businesses rather than public sector or charity work.
  6. Lively Environment – 4.0 / 10
    This type of environment is competitive and lively, with an element of risk taking. People are valued for their ability to press for results and to achieve. It can often be found in sales roles.
  7. Specialist Environment – 3.5 / 10
    This environment is focused on specialist expertise. It suggests a role in a technical environment where people gain respect and reward based on their expertise.

Hmmm…I would have expected Creative Environment to be top of the list with a much higher score, since I’m such a creative person.
I also expected People Focused Environment would be second with a higher score than it has.
And then an Ordered Environment…possibly with roughly the same score it has…
I’m not so fussed about the rest of the results after that.

Alright, up next is a bunch of pages showing my results on some tests on working with numbers, written information, information checking, solving mechanical problems solving, shapes and abstract problems. There’s way too much stuff to copy down here, so I’ll just give a brief overview.

I got a perfect score or one point short of a perfect score on all except the abstract problems, where I got it mostly right but not as close to perfect as the rest.

Okay, we’re onto the last three pages of this thing now…and…here we have a page of job family suggestions…now I’m not sure if this is based purely on the test results I just mentioned, or on the Skills Health Check as a whole, but here’s what it says…

Job suggestions – best match for your skills.

Based on how you answered the skills areas questionnaire, these job families may be a good match for you.

Sport, Leisure and Tourism.
These jobs typically involve showing energy and drive, gathering information and spotting problems, and planning tasks effectively.

One activity that is sometimes part of this kind of job is checking information. Refer to the activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.

Legal Services.
These jobs typically involve coming up with new ideas, taking responsibility and leading others, and working well with others.

One activity that is often part of this kind of job is reasoning and using verbal information. Refer to the working with written information activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.

Other job families you may be interested in

Performing Arts, Broadcast and Media.

These jobs typically involve planning tasks effectively, working well with others, and learning new information and using technology.

One activity that is sometimes part of this kind of job is reasoning and using verbal information. Refer to the working with written information activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.

Okay…I’m guessing this is based purely on those tests because why the heck is it suddenly having sports, leisure and tourism and legal services as the top two suggestions?

But hey there’s Broadcast and Media again, so that’s good.

Your next steps

The job families listed above are just a starting point.

To explore the jobs you would find within the job families, looking them up online is a good place to start for more information.

You can also find out more from;

  • Reference materials in libraries or your carers service
  • Talking to someone who works in the area that interests you
  • Professional bodies and associations
  • Job shadowing to see how the job is done in a real workplace.

After seeing which jobs interest you the most, think about specific issues which could make a job more or less suitable for you (e.g. any health issues you may have, the hours you would be required to work, the location of work.)

Next, look at possible employers, possibilities for further training and job opportunities in your area.

We hope you are finding the skills health check useful!

And then there’s just a brief overview that repeats all that stuff about finding what interests me and what matches my skills.

So do I think this has helped me get a better idea of what jobs I can go for? Hmmm…maybe.

I don’t know if my Work Solutions Advisor is going to do anything with the info in this Skills Health Check in future appointments. Maybe they can hook me up with a radio station or two so I can capitalise on my certificate and my interest in becoming a radio DJ? I don’t know.

At the latest appointment they had a look at my CV and pointed out a couple of flaws I didn’t notice until they were pointed out. Those flaws have been ironed out. I’ll definitely take the changes they made into account but I’d like to make a few changes of my own to get my CV just right.

I told them I’d like some help with preparing for job interviews.
I hardly ever had any feedback on applications, let alone interviews, so I have no idea what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. Some help with that would be brilliant.
So that’s what we’ll be doing in the future.

Right, so how about my work experience placement at Poundland?

Well, turns out it was 8 weeks long rather than 6 weeks like my previous ones.

Oh, and they couldn’t include any till work because their insurance doesn’t cover it…which is fair enough, you never know when some new guy might try pocketing some loose change here and there.

So it was pure putting stock out, making it look neat and helping customers find stuff.

Nothing too exciting, but hey, it was something other than being stuck in front of a computer screen all day.

There were a few co-workers I liked. I tried to make friends with them but I don’t think giving some contact details on a piece of paper works too well. Dang. I guess I’m not too good at this “making new friends” thing.

So Lav and I have found this new game we like.

It’s called 7 Days to Die.

It’s literally Minecraft, only it’s not blocky, it has way more stuff, and is quite a bit more challenging.

Like, hostile mobs can still detect and try to attack you even if you’re in your house. So there’s reason to put up some defences around it.

It’s funny, really, I’d been seeing YouTube let’s play videos of 7 Days to die popping up but I never watched them…I thought I wouldn’t like it coz it looked like a straight up horror game.

But then Lav suggested I give the vids a watch and hey, we liked what we saw.

The game is still in development but it’s pretty great so far.

We’re having a go with it now…we were kind of n008s at first but we soon got the hang of things.

It’ll be cool to check out all the things we can do with it. There’s electricity stuff to play with…I really want to make auto-turrets and watch them shoot enemies for us!

I think that about covers everything so far.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox Thom.

Posted by: bluefoxy | May 7, 2017

In For A Penny, In For A Poundland

Alright, time for an update methinks.

So we’re still getting JSA…they decided to let us off for now. Phew. Dodged a heck of a bullet there.
Jobcentre’s now booked Lav into some course that’s supposed to help her with her job search…that’ll be coming up on the 22nd of this month. Hope it helps.

I had another interview on 9th April at a PC world in the Trafford Centre. I think it went quite well, but there was a whole group of other people for them to interview and, while I was talking with this group of people, one guy there said he has actually worked for PC World before, so he already knows what’s what…I’d bet anything they hired him.

Work Solutions transferred me to their Salford Branch and I’ve already been to a few appointments there.

We went over what they’d done with me at Stockport and where I was up to, and I also explained about the interviews I’d been getting lately.

It’s quite clear I’m very work-ready, and it was agreed all I need is some nice, recent work experience under my belt, plus some help figuring out what kinds of jobs I can look for beyond just retail and customer service.

With regard to expanding my job search parameters, they’re having me do an online test devised by the National Careers Service called the Skills Health Check…it’s testing me on a number of parameters to see what I’m interested in and what I’m good at…it has a lot of sections and usually takes a few hours to complete so we agreed for me to break it up into a few bits at a time at Work Solutions.

I did about one-third of it at one appointment and another third of it at another appointment, so I reckon I’ll be able to finish up the last third at my next appointment this coming Thursday.

As for work experience, they had me meet with their work experience officer.

He said that they’re well aware that, unfortunately, a lot of places only offer work experience just so they can get some free labour.

However, he already had something great waiting in the pipeline. Salford’s Poundland was looking for some staff. He assured me that the manager there was amazing…he was someone that genuinely wanted to help struggling jobseekers like me and is genuinely excited for them to find paid work.

Like, apparently there was this one girl that was gonna do a placement there, but then ended up getting a offer for some paid work somewhere else, and this Poundland manager was thrilled about it when he heard.

Sounded great to me, so they arranged an interview…which I then went to…turned out to be more of a meet-and-greet…didn’t really talk about much. Manager said then and there they can start me as soon as the following day, though knew that the work experience officer needed to set it up so Work Solutions has some paperwork to show to the government for their funding.

I rang my new Work Solutions advisor to tell him what’s going on, he rang the work experience officer, and the work experience officer set me up to start the following day.

Wasn’t really expecting a next day start, but oh well.

I started my first day on Thursday the 27th of April, then did the following Saturday and Sunday coz they need me to do three days a week, then I started my actual schedule, which is every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 6 PM.

I don’t know for sure how long this placement is for…previous work experience placements I’ve been on all lasted 6 weeks, though there’s this other guy who’s there on a placement at the same time as me, also through Work Solutions, and he told me he thinks it’s gonna be for 8 weeks. I really need to remember to ask at some point.

At any rate I believe I’m 3 weeks in now.

All they’ve been having me do so far is take stock from the stock room and put it out, and then tidy up around the store. Though they don’t want me to just randomly wander round and tidy up whatever I find, they want me to do it meticulously aisle by aisle with another, more experienced worker.

I hope they’re gonna show me how to use the tills soon so I can help with that and add a bit of recent till work to my CV.
I really need to ask one of the managers if they plan to do that at some point.

At any rate, it’s something to do with my time other than sitting staring at a computer screen all day.

A rather unusual thing that happened the other day is the bus I was taking to work suddenly broke down quite close to Salford Shopping Centre, so I had to walk the rest of the way to Poundland…which wasn’t far at all at that point, just more or less on the other end of said shopping centre.

And then yesterday I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers as we were working together tidying the store…I mentioned I was worried about how Brexit was gonna affect my girlfriend, Lav, and he said he believed Brexit was actually a good thing, he wanted to see more British people get employed in Britain, and that was what Brexit was mainly gonna do.
I made the argument that we’re still going to get immigrants and that a lot of them weren’t even from the EU, it was mostly places like India and refugees from those terrorist countries that everybody’s trying to blow up, but he kind of just brushed that argument off and changed the subject to how Donald Trump is basically an idiot who has no idea what he’s doing.
I can agree with that…I told him I heard all the companies that Donald Trump started had gone bankrupt…the co-worker went one further and said Trump himself was bankrupt.
And not only that, but Trump’s a total hypocrite. He says he wants to get all the immigrants out of the US, but apparently he has an immigrant wife who used to, or still does, pose for nude photoshoots for porn sites and the like.

Well, then.

Oh, and Theresa May announced a snap general election out of the blue. It’s an obvious strategy to bolster the Tories’ position, as right now there’s no real opposition.
Labour’s in disarray coz they have no real leader,
The Lib Dems are generally keeping quiet as far as I can tell,
UKIP’s a total joke since Farage’s “No idea where that 350 mil came from” line,
And all signs point to a total Brexit disaster with Theresa at the helm because she’s being stubborn and unco-operative with negotiations.

We’re up the political creek with no paddle, here, people.

Lav and I would get the heck out of dodge and go somewhere safer if we could, but there’s no way we have enough money to sustain us for long wherever we go, plus there’s no guarantee we could find a way to make more money wherever we end up.
Also there’s the whole question of how long they’ll let us stay since she or I or both of us aren’t citizens of whatever country we go to.

Our only hope is to get married at the registrar’s office and get her British citizenship A.S.A.P, but it would mean quite a bit of paperwork and financial cost with having to tell everyone she has my last name now.

I suppose doing it now would save way more paperwork and financial cost in the long run with having to do it all after having a proper wedding when we have the money later in life.

I guess that about covers everything.

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox

Posted by: bluefoxy | March 24, 2017

Discomfort, Distration And General Dissatisfaction

Alright, let’s get right into this train wreck.

So in an attempt to help Lav find work, the jobcentre asked her about what she might be interested in doing…now, since Lav did a one-day thing where she worked in a warehouse, and tried to get a job in another warehouse, she made that her first choice. She felt warehouse work was something she could do.

She had Office Assistant / Admin / IT as her second choice but that’s not important right now.

The advisor then revealed there was a warehouse course being set up…though warned Lav that warehouse tends to be a very male dominated industry, as it tends to involve lots of heavy lifting.

Lav said she’d be okay with that, so got put into a slot for the open day at Manchester Town Hall, where they’re supposed to interview her.

She goes to Manchester Town Hall, she meets the guy running it, and pretty much all he does is ask “are you able to come to the course?” Lav tells him yes, and he just signs her up then and there, no further questions asked!

Once the jobcentre learned of this, it was now mandatory for Lav to attend… “Failure to attend could result in a loss of benefit” was their wording. Standard stuff.

Lav goes to the first day of the course, she gets to the room, and sees nothing but men there…around 20 of them. And they all seemed to be giving her weird looks.

She felt very uncomfortable about this, and decided she wanted to cancel the course and leave.

We went straight to the jobcentre and told them of this…and were informed that it will be put down as a failure to attend, and will have to go to an independent decision maker…and if they decide this affects our claim, we will get sanctioned, and our claim will, at the very least, be suspended…for a month.

Now, here’s the thing…before the course started we both VERY CLEARLY remember being told on a number of occasions that we could cancel the course at any point, for any good reason…just tell the jobcentre right away if we do.

At no point did anybody specify that cancelling the course after she had been signed up for it would mean our claim would be affected by that decision.

We both assumed failure to attend meant simply, you’re on the course, but you didn’t physically attend it, and you didn’t inform anyone you weren’t attending, and then the people running the course ring the jobcentre and say “so-and-so wasn’t here” and you get in trouble for that.

The advisor that saw us gave us a chance to put forward our case to the independent decision makers, we did our best to try and explain Lav’s decision as best we could, although, at the time, we didn’t really have a chance to think of how to put it as articulately as I described above.

The messages that were sent simply explained that Lav felt uncomfortable, we feel we were told by jobcentre staff that we could cancel without any issues, oh and this is the first time Lav has had something brought to the attention of a decision maker.

We’re hoping that feeling uncomfortable is a good enough reason to not want to attend…after all, at an actual job, when you feel uncomfortable, there’s measures in place that you can take so your employers have to help you feel more comfortable. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

I’ll get back to that whole situation in a minute, as there’s another aspect of our current situation I need to address.

So you remember in my last post how I was talking about how we were trying to move internet providers from Sky to Virgin Media so we could get good internet for a decent price?

Virgin Media kept delaying our installation date due to a “construction issue”…week after week for almost a MONTH we waited for them to come get us set up, and they kept rescheduling.

In the meantime, we were puttering along on a mobile Wi-Fi device we got from Vodafone just so we could have some semblance of internet.

We finally decided Virgin Media sucked…their customer service is completely rubbish…oh, and we found Vodafone has an even better broadband internet speed for an even cheaper price…so we cancelled Virgin Media and went ahead with Vodafone.

Vodafone’s customer service is so much better. Like, after we ordered the Vodafone router, the agent we spoke to asked us how much internet we had left on our mobile Wi-Fi…at this point we’d used all but around 2 gigabytes.

So…he sent us a 50 gig sim card for our Wi-fi device for free…he said they don’t normally do that, but since we’re getting broadband he decided to be generous and give us something to keep us going till our router arrives.

The 50 gig sim card arrives in the mail a couple of days later…guess what? There’s nothing on it.
No credit, no data, nothing!

Well, crap. I had to pay for some extra data on the mobile Wi-Fi sim card we already had just to keep us going while we waited for the router to arrive.

Soon as the router arrived, we put in the request for the two mobile Wi-Fi sim cards to have their service discontinued.

However, the other day we looked at our Vodafone bill…and it came to ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY FIVE POUNDS!!

With the threat of no JSA looming, I called my mom to loan me the money to cover the bill.

She agreed, so long as I can pay it back afterwards.

Then we called Vodafone to see if anything can be done…from the way the guy was talking, it sounds like nothing CAN be done until both mobile Wi-Fi contracts officially end on April 10th.

Then he was saying stuff that sounded to me like, since we didn’t use the mobile Wi-Fi in all the time since we called for it to be cancelled, we will automatically be reimbursed the money we paid for something we didn’t use.

He then started talking about us needing to send back the mobile Wi-Fi device or we’ll be charged a fee for keeping it. He was talking about trying to get us through to the returns department when the call got dropped for some reason…signal got lost I think.

So yeah I gotta call them again at some point and ask for the returns department and ask them if it’s okay if I use a returns envelope I happen to already have…it came with the router, and is obviously too big length and width wise for the Wi-Fi device, even with the device in its box, but…

…hmmm, actually, now that I think about it, I can probably just cut off the address label and the prepaid stamp and stick them on the box.

It’s best I ask them first, though. Maybe they have a specific procedure, or need to send me the correct size returns envelope, or it needs to be sent to a different returns centre than the router, or something.

I should also mention another thing I like about Vodafone’s customer service…when they put you on hold, their hold music is not the usual classical music you get with most companies, it’s like pretty groovy pop songs. I dunno what the songs are called, but it’s a nice change from hearing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or something for the umpteenth time.

Anyway, it seems like I still have to pay that £145 bill…fortunately it’s just this one time.

Also fortunately, it turns out the Jobcentre’s decision maker hadn’t made a decision by the time Lav had to come in for her sign-on, which means we’re at least getting one more payment of JSA, more than enough to cover the Vodafone bill, and still leave us with a bit of money for other things.

Also rather fortunately, we found that we don’t have to pay council tax until the end of April…
Apparently the first payment we made covered from when we started the tenancy agreement through March…according to the letters about it, anyway.

I was just about to e-mail my mom and say I didn’t need her loan after all but she had already paid it in. So I gotta send it back to her. I’ll go do that right after posting this.

With any luck, the jobcentre’s decision maker will be lenient and let Lav off with a warning to not let it happen again…which we won’t, now that we’ve learned from our mistake here to be careful what we sign up for.

But there’s still the genuine prospect for work thing to worry about…my advisor warned me that Lav is not very likely to pass that unless she pretty much had a job already lined up by the time it comes about. The course was supposed to help her do that…now she’s turned it down, which doesn’t look good.

She’s gonna keep poking a couple of agencies she’s signed up with, see if anything crops up, and of course generally search for herself.

But even if Lav is considered no longer eligible for JSA, we’re pretty sure I can still claim for myself…we’d only get around half of what we’re getting now, but as long as there’s no more unexpected gigantic bills, we should be able to manage what little money we’ll have until at least one of us gets a job and a nice tasty salary starts coming in.

Speaking of jobs…I managed to get another interview since my last blog post…nothing came of it, but the fact that I’ve had 3 interviews in around 2 months means I’m taking steps in the right direction.
With a little bit more help, and more perseverance, and a bit of luck, MAYBE I’ll snag something.

Hey, I almost did with that RSJ Global job, but like I said before, I need something with a guaranteed income now that I’m responsible for rent and bills.

Work Solutions called me up and said they’re transferring me to their Salford branch. Brill, I’d been meaning to pay that branch a visit anyway. There’s also another Jobs fair at the Salford Civic centre.
I wanted to go to that anyway, but my advisor needed to officially book me in.
She couldn’t get a hold of the organisers while I was at my last sign on but she said she’ll keep trying and will call me and send me a letter when she’s booked me in. She said to have some printed CVs ready and come in my interview clothes.
I saw a computer room at the local community centre. They should have a printer I can use there.
I’ll need to wash my smart clothes, though. I’ve already worn all of them at least once at this point.

So what else have I been up to?

Well, there’s this I suppose;


Just a little something I’d been working on these past few months amidst all the chaos of having to move out of my parent’s place and into a place of our own.

Lav and I have also gotten back into playing Second Life…we need SOMETHING to pass the time while we’re at home with not much else to do…then again, we’re not finding much to do on SL either.

There’s also Minecraft if we don’t feel like SL, or we just each do our own thing if we don’t feel like SL or Minecraft.

Although we are very much letting ourselves get too distracted by our computers to do important things in real life like cleaning the filth off the kitchen counters, cleaning the outside of the washing machine, cleaning the fridge, cleaning the floors, doing the laundry and generally keeping this place neat and tidy.

Yeah…we’re gonna be sitting around in our own filth if we don’t start getting our act together.

Wish us luck!

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | February 10, 2017

Fix Everything

So on Monday 30th we had a different engineer come in than the guy that visited us before, and he just straight up replaced our heater’s timer with a brand new one…that got everything working as it should be!
He ran a few tests to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong with the boiler and was on his merry way.
That first engineer must not have known what he was doing.

We rang the letting agency to let them know the heating problem was fixed and then explained our money woes, and just like the housing advisor I spoke to said, they were fine with us paying what we can until the housing benefit came in.

Then on Tuesday 31st we remembered that we still had to pay one more exam fee to that dental nurse course Lav had to leave…with our funds drained as they are, we decided to ring and ask them if we can spread out the payment and lessen the blow while we build up our funds again.
Turns out she wasn’t supposed to pay all those exam fees in the first place! It was just the course fee that was non-refundable, the exam fees were a completely separate matter!
So she’s due a refund of what she already paid, and they said they were going to cancel the third payment.

Of course, a couple of days later we check our bank accounts and find they took the third exam fee anyway, taking Lav’s account into overdraft. Fortunately it seemed to happen on the day we checked so I just gave her some money to put her back into the black and hopefully the bank shouldn’t charge her for being overdraft for, like, a couple of hours.

We called the nurse course again to complain and they said they’d chase it up for us.

It’s all good now. She got an e-mail yesterday saying they were processing the refund and she should get her money back sometime on the day I type this.

In the meantime, we got some letters in the mail…from Salford City Council!
Our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim went through! YES!!!
Now we only have to pay 10% what we would’ve paid for council tax, and the housing benefit covers most of our rent…we barely have to scratch our jobseeker’s allowance to cover the rest. Pretty sweet. We don’t have to worry about money as much now, but it would still be good to watch what we spend from now on.
We still got gas, electric, water and internet bills to pay, our mouths to feed, cleaning products to keep our place clean and bathroom toiletries to keep ourselves clean.

Anything other than all that can wait until we’re more financially comfortable for it.

On Friday 3rd, I went out to go get something from the local corner shop…only to realise after I closed the door behind me that I failed to bring my keys with me, and our door had a deadlock that locks itself when you close the door, so I was locked out!
No big deal, Lav was still inside, she can let me back in, so I knock on the window.
But when she went to rescue me, she let our flat door close behind her and she didn’t grab the keys either!
Oh, bugger, now we were both stuck outside our flat…our phones were inside, too, so we couldn’t ring for help.
The landlords weren’t in their office…they’re off on Fridays for some reason…
I asked around the corner shops if they knew of any locksmiths in the area I could ring to unlock our door for us…first place I asked didn’t know any, the second place came up with a couple of numbers, though.
So then I went to a payphone to ring the numbers…but then the payphone ate my coins and didn’t give me any credit to call with!
I was out of options…so I called the police.
I thought the police had some kind of skeleton key they could use to unlock any door.
Turns out that’s not the case…not in England, anyway.
The operator said all the police could do was break in for us, or we could break in ourselves…either way we’d be liable for the damages.
We were our of ideas…fortunately a guy from one of the other flats came along, and I asked him if he had any ideas. He went and grabbed a crowbar and levered the door open with that…and it worked!
So yeah, the deadlock’s broken off…which is fine, because obviously we were bound to accidentally lock ourselves out with that thing sooner or later.
We’ll keep it off and use the normal door lock and lock ourselves both from the outside when leaving the flat and on the inside when we’re in for security reasons…can’t have someone just barging in at any time.
That way, we’d HAVE to bring our keys to let ourselves out, and even if we do manage to go out the door without our keys, it’d be impossible to lock the door from the outside and we’d have to go back in and get them then.
We’ll have a guy come fix the deadlock when we wanna leave our flat for someplace better.
Oh, and from now on, no more frigging deadlocks for us!
If a place has one, we’re removing that straight away!
We’re NOT making the same mistake twice!

On Monday 6th, we realised Lav was lagging like crazy whenever we tried to play together on the same Minecraft world. We reckon the cheap internet from Sky is to blame.

The next level up on internet speed with Sky is quite a bit more expensive.

Virgin Media has a much better internet speed than Sky’s next level up for a much cheaper price than what Sky’s next level up would cost us.

So, it was agreed we should upgrade to Virgin Media.

The engineer will even put a new line in our front room for free, which is brill coz the existing lines are in the bedroom and our computers are in the front room…we can still connect via wi-fi but it’s not as reliable or as strong as being connected via ethernet.

Don’t get us wrong, getting Sky first wasn’t a waste of money…it was good for when we were starting our here and sorting out our finances, but now that we got Housing Benefit coming in we can definitely afford something much better.

So Virgin Media will be coming on the 21st…coincidentally the same day Sky will be cancelling our subscription to them, so there should be no signal conflicts.

On Wednesday 8th, my new jobcentre advisor was reviewing the changes to my CV she suggested I make, and she asked me why I’ve been out of paid work for over 10 years.
I explained I’ve applied to countless vacancies, but been getting little to no reply, and the few replies I do get are either the auto-replies from bigger companies thanking me for my application, or replies telling me they won’t be taking my application any further.

Then she asked me what happened with my last paid job, why did I leave?
I told her I was fired, and the reason the manager gave me was “I was too loud to the customers”
She asked me if I agreed with that, and I said no, that I felt my voice was normal.
She then revealed that actually she felt I had a very loud kind of voice and that I naturally project my voice very well. Not ideal in a close, one-on-one situation like our interview, but it wouldn’t be out of place in, like, a theater or something.
Nobody’s ever told me that before!
I mean, Lav’s sometimes pointed out I need to use a more whispery voice sometimes when we’re cuddling in the evening and we don’t want to disturb anybody, but other than that…

She then suggested I make a cover letter explaining both my reason for being out of work so long and my tendency to have a loud voice and send it to her to review.
I tought that sounded like a good idea…no more awkward explanations at interviews about my lack of paid work history, employers will know up front what they’re dealing with, and they have a fair warning of my loud voice!

My advisor then asked me how the job’s fair went, and I told her about how I lost that leaflet for that Asda product promotion job I was interested in. She made a phone call, and got the e-mail for me. Sweet!

She then asked me to take screenshots of some of the applications I make to show her what I do to apply to jobs. No problemo, I’ll save up a folder of a few to send to her before my next sign-on with her.

In all the years I’ve been at the jobcentre, I’ve never encountered anyone helping me as much as this new advisor is trying to!
That really brings up questions about what a lot of advisors are even doing to help jobseekers…

That’s their job, they’re supposed to help us…but while at Stockport the most they’ve done to help me is lump me off to some skills course agency or a work experience placement…that’s SOMETHING but…I mean…why did nobody tell me until now I had a loud kind of voice? I coulda probably used knowing something like that a LOT sooner.
Jobs that required you to have a loud voice coulda used a natural like me.

With the dental nurse course exam fee refund around the corner and another JSA payment looming, too, Lav and I agreed to order a nice coffee table we found from Argos…we needed one to put in front of the couch so Lav had somewhere to put her cups of tea and plates of food while on her laptop and somewhere to put her laptop away when she was done with it.

So we’re in a lot more comfortable position now than we were before, and things are definitely looking more promising for my employment prospects.

Fingers crossed!

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 27, 2017

Time To Face The Strange…


Oh, boy…where to begin. Where. To. Be. Gin.

So as I’m getting dressed for work at RSJ Global on Monday the 9th I get a phone call.

You guys remember in my last post how I mentioned a property in Salford that Lav and I viewed?

They accepted us. They were ready for us to move in as soon as the next morning.

I was stood there just stunned for a moment, while my mom was jumping up and down next to me going “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” enthusiatically and I looked at Lav and she was like “Yes!” in a we-need-to-take-this kind of voice.

So I accepted and arranged to meet the agent at 10 o clock the next morning to sign the tenancy agreement.

Unfortunately Lav was doing her induction at that picker and packer job that Temps hooked her up with, so I had to go it alone.

The agent was quite understanding and said to just have her come sign her half either before 5pm when the agency closed or, failing that, the next morning.

Lav wasn’t able to make it to the rental before 5pm but when she did make it she immediately wanted to clean everything because the place was in an absolute STATE.

So we had to go on a shopping spree for cleaning products around the local Asda and Tesco.

Clearly the previous tenants either didn’t know how to clean up after themselves or just couldn’t be bothered. Just about every surface in the place was covered in some sort of dirt or dust.
In fact, we think the previous tenant might’ve been a bear because we kept finding hairs EVERYWHERE and they seemed to be magic hairs or something coz they seemed to appear on surfaces we’d already cleaned.

It took pretty much our whole first week but eventually we got pretty much everything we could cleaned up.

Lav did most of it, though, because she’s OCD about cleaning and wanted to do it a certain way, and I’m pretty confident my cleaning skills aren’t up to good standards.

In the meantime, we quickly discovered our central heating was non-operational.
We had hot water, but for some reason the radiators weren’t being activated.

We had to have the agency call in the engineers as they have a contract and it was still under warrenty. While we waited, the agency gave us some electric heaters, but those things ate through the credit on our electricity meter like crazy!

The engineer came a first time…I dunno what he did but he got the heating working…somewhat…it worked sproadically, off one day, on the next, and at seemingly random times. So we had him called in again and, so far as we know, all he did was press the reset button on the timer, and it worked perfectly…but we already tried pressing the reset button, and agents from the rental agency already tried it too…I think he must’ve done something else…or used some kind of secret engineer magic we don’t know about.

Whatever he did, it didn’t stick…soon as we switched off the boiler to conserve gas, and then switched it back on again later, boom, the heating wouldn’t work again. At all.
This time the agency had us ring the manufacturer directly to see if they can have us fix it over the phone…nope, no dice. So we got the engineer coming again this coming Monday. So we gotta use electric heaters again over the weekend. Urgh.

We also checked the brand of the boiler online for help…turns out a lot of other people with the same brand report having the same or similar problems…and it all seems to boil down to this particular brand being a cheap, poorly made hunk of junk with a complicated and temperamental timer system.

I had to can my job at RSJ Global…during the course of thier induction, I learned their pay was commission based rather than a regular salery.

My advisor from Work Solutions contacted me to ask about how the job is going, and when I mentioned the pay situation to her, she immediately raised concerns that it’s not a guaranteed income…and she’s had plenty of other people who’ve done the same kind of job working their butts off and having nothing to show for it.

She recommended I bow out right then and there as I technically hadn’t done any work yet.

I agreed. I need a job with a guaranteed income given my current situation.

She had a contact from Salford that had something that may help.

It led to an interview to be a ticket checker at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station!


It ended up being another fill in a form and then see the interviewer deal.

When it asked for my work history, I had no choice but to be honest and say I’d been on JSA for over a decade…this, again, raised a concern from the interviewer. I used my whole “Work placements, voluntary work and courses” shpeil Caroline advised me on but I don’t think it worked. The interviewer explained he had to answer to his boss and then said he would let Work Solutions know of the outcome.
I haven’t heard anything since. I don’t think they did either. I’m gonna have to poke my advisor again.

Oh yeah and Lav wasn’t shortlisted to work at that Picker and Packer job.

So we had to do something called a “live switch” with the jobcenter to be able to sign on at the Salford one rather than have to go all the way to Stockport each time, and also let them know of our new address.

My new advisor was actually pretty helpful…first she gave me some tips on how to alter my CV…said I had to seperate unpaid work expereince from paid employment history so employers can see I’m willing to give my time and work for free…makes sense…she also said to include the months I worked rather than just the years…hmmm…well, originally I thought the short work placements might put employers off…but seen as we’re making the distinction between paid and unpaid work it might work alright.

Then she signed me up to a skills course at the Trafford Centre which she said included two week’s experience working in a placement and a guaranteed interview at the end.  She also told me of a jobsfair happening in the Salford Civic Centre for me to check out.

Guess what? The Skills course? Working towards a qualification I already had, only worded a different way…oh and there was no work experience or guaranteed interview.

There were a couple of promising stalls at the jobsfair…but I managed to lose the leaflet for one of them while just getting off the bus back home…it had an e-mail I was gonna e-mail my CV to for a decent job opportunity I think I woulda liked.
The other one was a couple of representatives from Reed. They’re gonna e-mail me with some opportunities they felt I might be interested in. We’ll see what they come up with.

We had a bit of bother with getting some internet into our new humble abode…

So we decided to get Sky since they’re the cheapest while still seeming to provide a decent service for our needs.
First, on the 18th, we missed the postman delivering our Sky Hub because our doorbell doesn’t work.
So I had to walk all the way to the post office, only to be told it won’t arrive there until the next day, which just so happened to be the day the Sky Engineer was supposed to come in.

So I had to go a second time early in the morning to arrive just as the post office opened.
So then the engineer came and tested our phone line…and said it cut off somewhere at the telephone pole…so he went to the telephone pole, and when he came back he said there was some 6-foot-tall brambles at the bottom and he needed to “make it safe” so he was gonna call landscaping or something to cut down the brambles and then call us back.
He didn’t call us back.

So we booked another appointment with Sky, and they didn’t have a slot until the 25th…the 25th eventually came, this time we got a different engineer and, after we told him our expereince with the first engineer, he assured us he would not leave until he got us sorted. He got one of his buddies to hold the ladder while he went up the pole and fixed the issue with the phone line, then helped us set up our Sky Hub…and hey, presto, our internet was working! Yay!

So…our rental doesn’t have a freezer. It has a fridge. So we can only buy fridge foods…which only stay fresh a few days…so we can only buy a little bit of food at a time.

So between all the cleaning products we had to buy, all the food we had to buy, having to pay for gas and electricity about every week at £10 a pop, having to pay for bus tickets, buying some stuff to help improve our home like a bedside stack of shelves from a furniture British Heart Foundation, a laundry basket of sorts, double bed matress covers before discovering our bed was king size and having to get THAT size matress cover, cutlery, plates, bowls, as well as having to top up our phones once in a while so we’d at least have some semblance of internet connection because we needed it for certain things like looking stuff up….yeah…all that money adds up…and it added up a little too quickly.

As I type this now…we actually don’t have enough money to pay for the next rent instalment…especially with having to pay for the gas, electricity, water, council tax and internet seperately.

What happened to claiming housing benefit?

Oh, we put a claim in for housing benefit and a council tax reduction…but after not hearing anything about our claim I phoned them up…turns out it can take anything between 8 and 10 weeks for a claim to go through because there tends to be so many to process.


I went to a housing advice centre and asked for…well, some advice, and they said landlords and agencies that accept housing benefit should be well aware of how long it takes and should be very understanding and helpful and patient.

An idea I’ve had is to maybe ask the agency if we can pay a little bit of our due rent around the due date for now and pay the rest later when we’ve got a couple of jobseeker’s allowances lining our pockets.

And then from now on we watch our spending a bit better. Having internet now will help. It was difficult to keep an eye on our available funds without it.

Although I should really have warned Lav sooner about watching what we spend. Like…right from the beginning.

Oh we needed the food, for sure…but perhaps not all those sweets we bought…oh and maybe some of the cleaning stuff could’ve waited a bit…oh and why is it when you buy something you almost ALWAYS find it cheaper somewhere else later?!?

Man, I used to be so careful with my money for the most part…but moving to our own place has been such a big and sudden change that we’d eaten all our savings before we realised what was happening.

We’ll see if we can get some help from wherever we can.

Lav’s mom sez she’s gonna give Lav some money for her birthday after her grandfather’s funeral…don’t know if that’s gonna be much, but every little bit helps.

We read something in a leaflet with our water bill that we can have our water bill paid for us if we’re having money troubles. That should also help a little bit.

My parents plan to sell most of the stuff I don’t want or need at a tabletop sale…but they don’t have any official plans for that yet…I hope they do it soon…the money from that unwanted stuff can really help out, too.

We’ll figure something out.

Hopefully I don’t freeze to death or anything before my next update.

Until next time,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Older Posts »