Posted by: bluefoxy | April 28, 2016

Summon, Switch, Counter, Weather.

Posted by: bluefoxy | March 28, 2016

Job Get, PC Problems and UFOs, oh, my!

I think I’m gonna stick with the chronological order of events to help explain all that’s happened between my last blog post and this blog post. It just works.

Monday 29th February 2016

So Lav and I went to the jobcentre to ask if I can have more time to get the info on Lav’s job.
After some discussion it was agreed that I fill in the form I have with what I can and send it off via the jobcentre’s internal mail system with a note to say Lavinia is due to get a job but she hasn’t been given a start date yet and we don’t know the full details.

They also revealed that if she works more than 24 hours, I lose my claim.
Funnily enough, we do know she happens to be working EXACTLY 24 hours, with potential to be increased to 28 hours somewhere down the line.

The good news is she’s being paid about twice as much for one week’s worth of work than I get paid every two weeks in jobseeker’s allowance, so it’s no big deal that I lose my allowance, she and I will still have money coming in.

Lav contacted the care home, and apparently they want her to go to Stepping Hill hospital to be tested for tuberculosis coz Romania is or was a high-tuberculosis-risk area.
Let’s put it this way, if Lav had tuberculosis, by now she’d probably be dead, I’d probably be dead, and there’d probably be reports on the news of a TB epidemic sweeping Britain and possibly the world, coz that’s how contagious it is.

Tuesday 1st March

So I decided to try and update my external hard drive again today.
Plugged in the powered USB hub, plugged the hard drive into a port on the hub, no dice.
Tried a new cable, tried connecting it to my dad’s laptop, nothing.
Tried it on my old laptop I gave my love, nada.
I think this time the hard drive itself is wasted somehow.

At least I have all my important files saved on outlook OneDrive and my pen drive.

Wednesday 2nd March

This morning I started up my computer and, after the start screen, my monitor displayed Firefox open with a Youtube video I watched yesterday.

Okay, weird…I didn’t even ask for Firefox to be open yet, it was just open by itself…and my Firefox homepage is set to Google.

Then, in the bottom-right corner, a notification telling me I need to restart my computer to fix drive errors. No other information. Oh dear.

So I obidiently hit restart…then it showed the HP logo and white text below it “preparing automatic repair”, followed by “diagnosing your PC”…then it goes to a screen saying “your PC did not start correctly, Press restart to restart your PC, which can sometimes fix the problem. You can also press ‘advanced options’ to try other options to repair your PC”…I hit restart…but it just loops right back round to the same error message.

Lav + I decided to try and see if we can fix the issue ourselves with the help of Reddit, so I don’t have to send it off to Know-how, though I may have to, which means I’ll have to buy another emergency hard-drive to rescue my files. Mostly so I don’t lose the paid-for software I got on my computer.

Kind of strange how my PC went kaphut a day after I tried to connect my external hard drive and it failed.
I can only wonder if that had something to do with it…but how on earth does a failed external hard drive connection cause a drive error?

Lav had her blood test. Apparently it’ll take a week for the results to come through.

While waiting for the bus to Stockport, it snowed briefly!

On our way back through Stockport, we stopped off in Cancer Research UK and I found another awesome fox statuette for my collection, and Lav found lavender oil for 99p!

Thursday 3rd March 2016

I got a phone call from the Jobcentre today, a lady saying I urgently need to set up an appointment for me + Lav to add her to my claim.

So we ring up their helpline to set the appointment up, but first we’re told my girlfriend needs to start her own claim first. So then we rang the helpline to start a new claim, and THEY said to set up an appointment to add her to my claim! WTF? I guess we’ll have to go to the jobcentre tomorrow and get them to explain what we need to do.

Attempts to fix the PC ourselves have so far been fruitless.
We’re thinking to just go ahead and reset it since I got almost everything backed up anyway.

Friday 4th March 2016

It snowed again today. WTF?

We tried a normal keep-my-files reset of my computer to see if it would work, but it didn’t.
Had to do a factory reset, lose everything and start from scratch.

Turns out I didn’t have things backed up as well as I thought I did.

I can’t locate my antivirus disc, I can’t locate my product key for Microsoft Office, the product key I have for video pad doesn’t work and the key recovery is not giving me the key for Sound tap for some reason.

I now kind of regret my decision to nuke my PC, especially considering I didn’t have to…I coulda just sent it off to Know-how and they would have at least been able to rescue my files because I did find out that, whatever the error was, it didn’t seem to have affected my computer’s actual hard drive.

It would have meant no computer for two weeks but I’d have found other ways to entertain myself.

We went to the jobcentre and found out Lav had to apply online for a new claim and include me as her partner. We’re now waiting for contact from the jobcentre to tell us when our appointment is.

Saturday 5th March

Lav got a text message from the jobcentre saying her appointment was next Wednesday at 11:05. Funnily enough, my next sign-on is the same day at 12:30.

I found my MS office product key. I’d hoped it was together with my Kaspersky disc but nope.

No sign of my Kaspersky anywhere. I hope I didn’t bin it. I can’t have. It would have been too important. I must have put it somewhere safe…if only I can remember where.

I really need to keep better track of stuff.

Monday 7th March 2016

I think my eyes suffer from a bit of light sensitivity. Starting at the TV screen I’m using for my computer monitor makes them all red and feel tired. But today, some reflected sunlight off of a window made them extra tired.

Wednesday 9th March 2016

So we went to the jobcentre and told them about Lav having a 24-hour-a-week job just as soon as her blood test comes back, but they still wanted her to sign on same as I do, and job search and everything, and give them a call when she starts working.

It’s a lot of messing about for what’s probably going to amount to nothing.

Thursday 10th March 2016

We contacted the hospital to see if we can get an update on the progress of Lav’s blood test…and the nurse suddenly got the results just as we called!

I swear, we must have some kind of special powers or something, this is getting freaky.

Anyway, the results were clean, no sign of any TB in the blood.

She wants Lav to come in tomorrow to scratch her skin for some kind of allergies test.

Then on Monday Lav’s gonna get the actual TB vaccine.

Then we can call the care home and Lav can start working.

Friday 11th March 2016

So they injected Lav with a really small needle, just underneath the skin of the forearm.

Apparently this is actually a reaction test to see how she might react to the actual vaccine.

The nurse asked me if I had a TB vaccine from school at all.

I don’t really remember getting TB…I remember Meningitis, Tetanus, MMR, the salty oral Polio…

…MAYBE TB was in there somewhere. I think I do vaguely recall a tiny needle like the one they used on Lav being used on me at some point during primary school. That would have been followed up by the actual vaccine a couple days later, I reckon.

Monday 14th March 2016

We returned to Stepping Hill for the results of Lav’s reaction test.
A slightly inflamed rash-like reaction on the injection site told the doc that Lav must’ve had the TB vaccine at some point in her life before, which means she doesn’t need another, she’s already safe for work.

Yay! No more needles!

We rang the care home and gave them the good news. They gave Lav an appointment to see them tomorrow to discuss a start date and work schedule.

Tuesday 15th March 2016

I escorted my love to Brinnington one more time to be sure she finds her way okay, and then let her go into the care home alone since I likely wouldn’t be allowed in anyway.

Lav came out with a rough draft of her schedule and a start date this Thursday.

She’ll be observing for a few days, then doing supervised work for a few months.

We rang the jobcentre to cancel her claim. Apparently I’m to sign-on as normal a week from tomorrow, and it’ll take 10 days for them to process the cancellation for some reason.

Wednesday 16th March 2016

Saw some kinda UFO at around 9:15pm. Took a video of it. Uploaded video to Youtube the next day and shared it with Reddit, and they reckon it’s a cheap consumer-grade drone.
Huh. I have seen videos of drones before but the ones I’ve seen had solid white and/or blue lights, not flashing red ones like I recorded.
However, Reddit showed me a drone that looked like it could indeed make the lights I saw.

Thursday 17th March 2016

After seeing Lav off to her job, I went down Stockport to get us 2 jars of sweetener for our cups of tea as we had run out.

After procuring said sweetener and accepting a carrier bag to carry it in, I randomly decided to get us some soup.

ASDA had 4 cans for £2. Bargain.

I also got a loaf of poppy seed bread for dunking in the soup.

Walking home, I was about 3/4ths of the way there, when the carrier bag disintegrated out of my hand. The sweetener is in glass pots, and one of the pots smashed, sweetener powder everywhere. I was lucky it wasn’t both pots.

Learned a valuable lesson about taking a strong bag with me whenever I go shopping in case I get random urges to buy something other than what I planned.

Luckily a passing Good Samaritan gave me one of her bags for life to carry the rest of the stuff home.

Friday 18th March 2016

I e-mailed the creators of Video pad and Sound tap to see if they can give me a new product key or the version of the product the key I have will work with.

They could only give me the Video pad version the key I have works for, but no luck with Sound tap. Guess I’ll have to cut my losses and buy a new key when I next need Sound tap to record something.

Sunday 20th March 2016

Went shopping with Lav and got her some smart shirts and pants for her work and more pots of sweetener for our tea.

Monday 21st March 2016

I’ve decided to cut my losses, forget Kaspersky because it sucks, and try another anti-virus.
I asked Reddit for some suggestions, but didn’t get much of a reply, only a couple of comments, one suggesting Spybot and Malwarebytes, another saying AVG (my second choice after Kasperky) sucks and I should have either Avast for free or Bitdefender for paid.

I quite like the look of Bitdefender actually.
I might go look in PC World see if they got it on offer or something.

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

I made cups of tea of myself and Lav while Lav was at work. I’m going nuts!
Funnily enough, when I texted her to tell her this, she revealed she was just thinking a cup of tea would be great right about that moment!

She returned home with a booklet and it revealed she will be paid monthly, not weekly.
Since she just started, I guess we’re not likely to see any money until April.

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

This morning Lav and I got a bunch of letters in the post from the jobcentre, obviously saying since Lav is in work now, our joint claim is over, but beyond that it was kind of confusing…they seemed to say I was back on my singles claim and I wasn’t at the same time.

I happened to have my sign-on today anyway so I decided to bring the letters along to see if my advisor can make sense of them.

With some help from a co-worker, she worked out that yes, I’m no longer getting any income from the jobcentre, however I still need to sign on as normal and keep looking for work so the government still pays for my national insurance, and that any gaps in payments to my national insurance will make it so I might not get my full pension amount when I get my pension when I reach, like, 70.

Bottom line is I’m now free to switch banks to Barclays more or less whenever I want without having to worry about losing any money. I still don’t want to do the switch JUST yet…maybe in April, and I can use one of those letters I got this morning as proof of address.

Lav revealed she has to carry some stuff around work and she doesn’t have a good way to do so, but saw one of her co-workers with a fanny pack and figured that was the solution to her problem.
So we went shopping for one after the jobcentre…Primark do them, but for £7…we decided to see if we could find somewhere cheaper, and luckily one of the Stockport charity shops had one for half that price! It’s a bit dirty, but Lav gave it a wash once we got home.

Thursday 24th March 2016

According to Lav’s Schedule she had days off until Saturday, but today she got a phone call from the care home saying she was in today. WTF? She explained her schedule said she wasn’t in, and the care home accepted there must’ve been some kind of mix-up and she was ok to come in on Saturday so they can figure out what went wrong.

Friday 25th March 2016

Lav and I had a curious look at how much it might cost us for a trip to Romania this summer.

Looks like we’d be paying somewhere in the region of £100 per person per flight for plane tickets from London Luton, plus about 60 euros a night for the two of us in a hotel near Bucharest city centre, plus the train tickets to and from Luton, which I remember costing me around £25-£30 on for when I initially went to pick up Lavander.

And that’s not counting the money we’d have to spend on food and travel in Romania.

It’s all more expensive in August because EVERYONE wants to go on holiday in August, obviously, so we’re thinking July instead, coz it’s a BIT cheaper, though not as cheap as June, however we reckon June’s too soon after Lav started work.

Still, I think we’ll be pushing the £1,000 mark for a single trip.

We’ll look more into it when we feel more ready to book the whole thing.

Saturday 26th March 2016

The fanny pack we found still has some kind of sticky dirt residue on the inner lining. No time to clean it off, so Lav sewed on a plastic bag lining to protect the stuff she has to carry.

This may only be a temporary measure until we go looking for somewhere selling brand new fanny packs in Stockport again, or we may permanently stick with this, we’re not sure yet.

Sunday 27th March 2016

Lav + I wanted to go on a bit of an Easter egg hunt today, see if we can find somewhere selling some smallish ones, so we can buy one each…so we agreed to meet up in Stockport after her work shift today.

As I waited for her outside Sainsbury’s some storm clouds rolled in and pretty suddenly absolutely threw down some hail and rain and flashed some lightning as I took cover under the overhang of Sainsbury’s roof.

Lav arrived while the rain was still throwing and we were talking about calling off our little Easter egg hunt when the rain dissipated just as suddenly as it had arrived.

So we decided to take a closer look at the pound shop coz I wasn’t sure if it was open or not…turns out it wasn’t open. Nuts. So we headed home together on the bus…but agreed to first check the co-op near my house to see if it was open…turned out it was!

We got some packets of mini-eggs and some Kinder Joy eggs.

I’ve had Kinder Surprise before but these Kinder Joy ones were made differently…I’ve never seen them done like this before…though Lav says she has. Weird.

Well, it looks like that’s everything I have to tell you about so far.

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | February 28, 2016

The Keys To Almost Success

I kind of like how well posting each occurrence chronologically under the date it occurred worked for conveying all the multitude of things that happened in my last blog post, so I’ve decided to continue it for this blog post, because yeah, a whole load more stuff happened between then and now.

Sunday 31st January 2016;
We were out of tea bags…and being British as I am, that’s red alert right there, so I decided on a mission to go get some more from the local shops.

Passing by the local post office, I spotted someone’s car keys laying on the ground.
I immediately thought of someone with less-than-honorable intentions snapping the keys up, locating the car they belong to, and boom, some car owner’s life is ruined.

Being someone of good intentions, I decide to pick the keys up and, after purchasing the much-needed tea bags, I take them home to examine them for any way to contact the owner.

There’s no ID on the keys, no home address, no phone number, nothing.

My parents return home soon afterwards and I inform them of my find.

My dad grabs them and heads back to the post office and has a quick look round the cars parked there for a car with the logo the key has on it, but, moments later, returned with no luck.

So he decided to scan the keys to his computer and make a “keys found” poster to put up in the window, and later that day, according to my mom, he was able to reunite them with the owner.

My dad’s pretty smart…he probably made sure the person in question proved they were who they said they were.

Monday 1st February 2016;
So we went to the jobcentre to explain the situation with Lavander and to ask if it affects my claim.
They said I should tick the box that says “someone joined the household” and write a letter explaining what’s going on. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Then we went to the police station in Stockport to ask about the DBS check.
They basically confirmed what I was thinking, that it’s weird an employer would ask us to go do one when the employer is supposed to do it.

So we decided to contact the care home and ask them how they want to do it. We failed to get through, though, we’ll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday 2nd February 2016;
Lav managed to get through to the care home…turns out THEY are actually trying to get in contact with Lav’s references from the nursing school, and if the references are satisfactory, then they will invite Lav over for a DBS check with them.

All we can do is wait and hope, and maybe try to contact the school ourselves and explain what’s going on.

We also decided to see how long it takes to get to the care home by bus.
It takes roughly 20 minutes or so, so if Lav is able to set off, like, 40 – 45 minutes before she has to start work, which should give her plenty of time to get there in case the buses are late or something.

Wednesday 3rd February 2016;
Lav found a website for a job agency who has experience with Romanian applicants.
The website says this company works with the nursing school she’s from regularly, so they’ll know how to contact them quickly.
Sounds like an awesome back-up plan in case the care home falls through.

I wrote that letter to the jobcentre explaining the situation with Lav and sent it with the change of circumstance letter. We’ll see what they say.

Sunday 7th February 2016;
Lav and I went to Chadkirk Chapel with my parents.
We saw a couple of buzzards and a kestrel or two!
That’s what we get for not bringing our cameras!

Monday 8th February 2016;
Lav + I were resting and getting cosy, cuddling in bed, when suddenly her phone rang.
It was the care home…Lav’s references checked out!

They booked us in to their head office to set up the DBS check and get that ball rolling this Thursday.

The weird thing is the pair of us were just thinking about the care home, wondering how it was getting on…though we didn’t say anything about this to each other until after the phone call!

More and more we seem to encounter situations where we’re both thinking the same thing…like we have some kind of mind link. It’s crazy.

The references were gonna be our major stumbling block…we weren’t sure if they were going to work, but apparently they did!

Lav hasn’t even had any kind of interaction with the police, so she definitely does not have a criminal record, the DBS check is just standard procedure at this point.

Tuesday 9th February 2016;
We got a bank statement from Barclays for the DBS check and the money to pay for it.

I don’t remember if I mentioned this in my blog a couple of months ago or not, but I was having some issues with my external hard drive. For some reason, when I plugged it into a USB port in my computer, it wouldn’t show up on the list of available drives to store data on.

Well, I voiced my issues on Reddit, and for a while it seemed to just be chalked up to a compatibility issue, until one intrepid user suggested I try a powered USB hub.

We went to Maplins and found a 4-port one that seemed to fit the bill…but we were worried it didn’t have packed with it a plug with the correct jack to slot into the power inlet on the thing, because it didn’t mention one on the packaging, so I asked the staff if they sold one.

The staff member said that the 7-port hub definitely came with the right plug and suggested I buy that instead.

Eh, alright…but we’ll be keeping the receipt safe so if this doesn’t work we can get a refund.

What do you know, it DOES work. My external hard drive came right up on my computer’s available save drives once we connected it via the powered hub.

7 USB ports is way overkill right now, but meh, can’t complain about the results. I’m sure a use for them all will pop up in the future.

Wednesday 10th February 2016;
Jobcenter sign-on. Kind of a normal one…no mention of the issue with my love.

Then my love and I went to Holland and Barrett because we found out they had an offer on Lavender Oil, making it pretty cheap.

Until now, I’d forgotten about Holland and Barrett during our exploits in trying to locate Lavender oil for my love to use.

Still, pity it’s only a temporary offer…it’ll go back to over £5 for a 10ml bottle just like everybody else is selling it for.

Why IS Lavender oil so expensive, anyway?

Thursday 11th February 2016;
So we found the head office for Borough Care where they wanted us to do the DBS check.
We had everything they needed…except…we need a 2nd proof of Lav’s current address.

Crud…we didn’t think we had anything…that was until she went through a list of things we can use.

Utility bill? No.

P-45 or P-60? No.

Letter of confirmation from our GP?
AH! That, we can get. Good job we signed her up to my GP already when we were looking into using her as a reference.

So we finished up what we could with what we had, and the DBS check was on hold while we went to enquire about a letter of confirmation from the GP.

GP’s receptionist says they require a letter of request clearly explaining what we need and why we need it…nothing special, just something for their records.

No problem. We went home, wrote one out, printed it off, and went back to hand it in.
They said to check back Tuesday.

I got a new bank card from Santander in the post today. Weird…I still had, like, 6 months left on my old one…oh, dear, kind of a waste considering my plans to switch to Barclays in the near future.

Friday 12th February 2016;
When checking my online bank statement, I discovered I’d been charged £69.99 for my subscription to Norton!

Goddammit, I thought I didn’t have that anymore!

Plus, I’m using Kaspersky now!

Well, I don’t think there’s a lot I can do about it since the money’s already gone…I deleted the bank details for my Norton account on their website. Not that they’ll be much use by next year anyway coz I won’t be with Santander anymore.

Valentine’s Day 2016;
One of the perks of my relationship with Lav is that I’m doing things with her that I most likely wouldn’t normally be doing by myself.

With her, I’m trying new things that I haven’t tried before, or haven’t done in a long time.

For instance…I haven’t created and eaten home-made pancakes since childhood…yet over the past couple of months or so we’ve been baking some home-made ones using an easy recipe we found on the internet, and it’s awesome!

I also got to try mild cheese slices and German salami…turns out I like both!

Monday 15th February 2016;
We went to the GP to enquire about that confirmation letter.

They say it costs £10. No idea why. Meh, best not question these things.

So we went down Stockport to get some money and do some shopping and then popped in and paid the £10 on our way back.

They told us to ring tomorrow and see if it’s ready.

Tuesday 16th February 2016;
I got an envelope from the jobcentre, it contained a form saying “application for re-assessment”, and on it, a note in pencil saying “Fill in to add your partner”

Now, I’m not sure if it means if they’re asking me “Would you like to add your partner?” in which case, no, because she’s on the cusp of getting some employment, or if they’re telling me I HAVE to add her because it affects my claim in some way.
I’ll have to go ask them.

Lav rang the GP to enquire about the letter, they told her it would be ready Thursday.

I also got a phone call from Grove training. They got my retail certificate.

I wondered what happened with that. I told them I’ll come pick it up on Thursday.

GP letter, Jobcenter, Grove Training, we’ll do all 3 in 1 day on Thursday.

Wednesday 17th February 2016;
Yesterday evening my dad informed me my cousin Joanne is about to give birth to a baby boy.

The kicker? Yeah, the father of the baby’s done a runner.

The way my dad informed me of this seemed to suggest he expected me to do something about it.

The fact he was drunk might have something to do with that.

What does he expect me to do when he informs me of stuff like this in this way?

First of all, I got my own problems to deal with, with the jobcentre breathing down my neck about my girlfriend, plus my plans to switch banks.

Second of all, I don’t think I have even heard a PEEP about Joanne since that time you took me to that house she had just off the main road where she had all those Furbies because that fad was in full swing at the time.

Man…the story of a father doing a runner is the kind of thing you hear on the Jeremy Kyle show all the time, and you never think it’ll happen to your family, yet here we are.

And that’s exactly how I suggested we deal with that fleeing father…get Jeremy Kyle to get him to grow a pair. My parents have their doubts JK can help…I just thought it was worth suggesting.

Apparently Joanne has a full-time job and a load of people are giving her free baby clothes so it seems she’s sorted. I guess she’ll have to decide for herself what she wants to do about the runaway sperm donor.

Thursday 18th February 2016;
We went to the GP and we got our 2nd proof of address. Lav rang the care home and they booked us in for tomorrow to hand it in to them so the DBS check can start.

Then we went to the jobcentre…and they said yeah, I NEED to add Lav using the form they sent me…apparently her income will mean I’ll get a reduced claim amount.

Meh, no biggie, Lav will be bringing in PER WEEK over TWICE the amount of money I get from the jobcentre in a fortnight.

We just gotta wait for this DBS check to go through, and then I expect they’ll give her a copy of some kind of work contract detailing the days she’s working, the hours she’s working, and the money she’s earning. I can make a copy of that to send as evidence to the jobcentre with that form.

Got my retail certificate from Grove Training, and duly updated my CV.

Friday 19th February 2016;
The DBS check ball is now rolling.

Thursday 25th February 2016;
The other day, my mom went to the Virgin Media mobile store for a new phone.

While she was there, they randomly decided to have a look at her account, and it turns out she’s entitles to a FREE upgrade to a new set-top box and modem, as well as free landline calls, for a lower bill price than what we’ve been paying for our old setup.

She’d have been stupid to say no to that!

The stuff came in the mail today, so while my dad did the awkward, time-consuming job of setting the new stuff up, Lav and I had a walk down Reddish Vale, since the weather was nice.

I took my camera with me and snapped a few awesome robin pictures…as if I didn’t have enough of those already…

It was all set up by the time we came back, so now we should have a much better internet connection!

Friday 26th February 2016;
I got another letter from the Jobcenter today saying they hadn’t received anything from me about the annual verification of my claim…

Like hell they haven’t.

…And I have until March 4th to contact them or my payments may stop.

I think this might’ve been sent by their automated systems because they hadn’t updated anything about me on there coz they’re still waiting for this stupid form they sent, and my love and I are still waiting for a call back about this DBS check.

So my love rang the care home to see what’s going on…and, from what we understand, they only SENT the DBS form out on WEDNESDAY!
Say what? We thought they were supposed to send it out IMMEDIATELY.

Apparently they SHOULD have something by this coming Monday, so they told us to call them back then and see what’s up. If they haven’t got anything, they’ll chase it up for us.

This means I’ll have to go to the jobcentre again on Monday and ask if I really do have a time limit on sending this form back…if so, can it be extended?

Even if we have the “all clear” from the DBS check, we still have to see what day they want Lav in to start work, and when, exactly, they’ll be giving her the work contract detailing her shift patterns and her salary for me to forward to the jobcentre.

Also, apparently, when Lav first starts out, she’ll be put on a 3-month probation period, and will only get the money she paid for the DBS check back after that…we’re not sure if that means she won’t be paid any salary during those 3 months or she will be being paid salary during those 3 months.

If she’s not being paid, maybe that’ll mean the jobcentre will give me the joint claims allowance for those 3 months.

If she is being paid, Lav’s bringing in a very reasonable salary each week.
So either way, more money for the pair of us.

Still, all this waiting around to clear up all these issues is very frustrating.

Hopefully we can get all this sorted soon.

Ciao for now,
The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 29, 2016

A Bit Of Luck And Judgement

Oh, man…so much has happened this past month…I think the best way to tell you all of what happened is to go through each important event I wrote down on my diary chronologically, each under the date I wrote it in, and hope it all makes sense.

Wednesday 6th January 2016;
I looked up how to inform my standing orders of a change in banks to Barclays.
Photobucket pretty much said to cancel my subscription with them and start a fresh one once I have my new bank account.
I decided to have a look at the space I used and realized I was still only using the free storage space and none of the paid for space…I was only paying for the unlimited bandwidth for some pictures that were being viewed a lot…I deleted the stuff I didn’t need anymore, and just cancelled the payment. Should be okay.

As for Knowhow…well, for security reasons, I can only inform them of a change in banks via phone call if I want to keep the Care Plan payments going.

Urgh…I hate making phone calls. I don’t know what it is…maybe it’s because I haven’t used them very much in my life anyway combined with my general social awkwardness when it comes to talking with strangers.

Tuesday 12th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Hilltop care home to ask if they had contacted her nursing school for references yet.

Turns out they don’t have an opening for a job yet, and they’ll contact the school for references when something opens up.

We’ve decided there’s no point in waiting around for this one care home to have an opening…at first we thought of going straight to Jobwise…but then we realized we, ourselves, can look around for jobs in other care homes in the Stockport area.

Wednesday 13th January 2016;
I went for my jobcenter sign-on today.
Somehow my file on their system now says I have a girlfriend living with me.
Not sure how that got on there…MAYBE because of the fiasco with the Rusholme jobcenter as we were looking into joint claims? I dunno.
It started a conversation with the adviser anyway, them asking about what my GF was doing pretty much, and me explaining we decided it wasn’t really worth her getting JSA because it’ll only go for 3 months.

Anyway, I asked them about if I can tell them in person of a change in banks and the adviser said yeah, just bring the new bank card in. Perfect.

Also got my haircut + sent the driving license renewal form off in the post. (got the updated license in the post a couple of days later..that’s fast!)

Thursday 14th January 2016;
Lav + I felt scared + depressed about our situation last night.
I decided to be honest with her about a couple of things, like me having a part of me that feels bringing her into my real life the way we did was a bad idea.
Also the fact that I’m not really all that interested in going with her back to Romania to visit her parents in the summer.

She was understandably upset at what I said…she reminded me that if I gave up on her, on us, she would likely start hurting herself again and probably even kill herself, because she really does love me and has never felt love like this for anyone else and she doesn’t want her life to go back to what it was before because life sucked for her in Romania and it would suck way worse if she went back.

We talked it out a bit and honestly I think we both feel a lot better about everything because of it.

I’ll be honest, though, that part of me that thinks bringing her into my real life was a bad idea?
That’s not going to go away until she finds a job, is able to keep that job, earns her own money and is not dependent on me anymore.

Friday 15th January 2016;
Lav + I tried to visit Russel Fox Court care home just a little ways north of us in Reddish and another care home a little further up the road but it looks like they don’t take random visitors.

We learned they are both run by a company called Anchor.
Looked on the Anchor website but they don’t seem to be recruiting right now.

Lav searched for other care homes and came across a company called Borough Care, who apparently specialize in care homes in the Stockport area.

The website says you gotta ring a number for an application pack. Lav’s gonna ring them on Monday.
Fingers crossed for a good answer!

Saturday 16th January 2016;
It snowed today! And the snow is actually covering the ground! Awesome!

Sunday 17th January 2016;
Lav + I managed to build a snowman family.
I’ve never been able to build a proper snowman before, but now I have!

Monday 18th January 2016;
Well, now I’ve seen everything.

A little while ago (I’m not exactly sure when, but it’s at least a week) my love tried to wash some clothes in the washing machine, but it broke down, possibly because she put too much in at once. Honest mistake, she didn’t know, I guess.

Turns out the warranty on the machine had JUST run out recently, too. Typical.
Whether Lav broke the machine by overloading it or whether it was doomed to fail anyway because of the lack of warranty is up for debate. Point is, our washing machine’s busted.

So my parents have to go buy a new one…being short on funds as they are, they find a pretty decent-looking cheap one in a local shop…just a little something to cover clothes washing duty until we can afford a better one.

We’ve only had this washing machine, what? A couple of weeks?

Well, today, it caught fire.


I thought I smelled something burning coming from the vicinity of the washing machine a few days ago, and Lav agreed…we went to tell my parents but, strangely enough, the smell was gone when we came back to the kitchen with them.

First I knew of the fire was the smell of something burning that both Lav and I caught at about the same time as we were lounging in my bedroom…just then my mom called me down to help my dad.

I entered the kitchen and saw the washing machine smoking. Like, billowing tonnes of smoke out the front…but I thought it was JUST smoking and my dad wanted to get it out to find out why.

So as I was helping him get it out the back door, it suddenly dawned on me…

Me: “Hey dad, is it just smoking or is it actually on fire?”
Dad: “It’s actually on fire”

We rolled it upside-down on the back garden patio…sure enough, flames were billowing out the open bottom of the machine.

My parents dumped buckets of water over it and the fire was eventually snuffed out.

Have you ever seen a washing machine on fire? Well, now I have!!

In all the years I’ve lived in this house with my parents, which is like my whole life thus far, never, ever, EVER has ANYTHING caught fire (Not counting the fireplace and the gas cooker because those are controlled fires for warming things up)

Of all things to be the first thing to catch fire.


The fricking washing machine.

By design, it SHOULD NOT be able to catch fire…cos it’s full of water when in use, right?

I could only laugh.

It’s a good job we were all home or that would have been the whole place up in smoke and maybe the whole block of houses with it.

And just to prove Murphy’s Law was in full effect, my dad then says “what else can go wrong?” and IMMEDIATELY his watch strap came loose from its hinges so the whole thing fell off!

My dad made a phone call, and managed to get a free replacement this same day.
Yup, a replacement for the replacement. *INCEPTION HORN*

As the delivery guy was installing the new machine for us, I overheard him talking to my dad about product recalls and said “This is a first for me”

Lav then rang the Borough Care phone number…and the person on the other end directed her to an online application on the website!!

Why the EFF would you have the website saying call a number for an application pack if you take online applications from the website?!?!?

Tuesday 19th January 2016;
We keep noticing the number 69, or a number featuring 69 in its digits, pop up in random places and various contexts in our lives.

House numbers, the price of an object such as a mattress or a car, website links, video game scores / in-game money amounts, the potential weekly salary of one of the jobs Lav applied for on the Borough Care website…the list goes on!

We got a phone call from Borough Care…Lav had been shortlisted for an interview at their Brinnington branch on her birthday, of all days!
How’s that for a birthday present? Your very own job!

I went to Barclays to ask about how to switch to them from another bank.

They want three things;
1) A form of identification such as a passport or driving license. Got a driving license, so that’s sorted.
2) The details of the account you have with the other bank. I got my bank card in my wallet, sorted.
3) A proof of address that’s 3 months old or younger. Don’t have that on me right now.

I was SURE I had a letter from the jobcenter or something back at home…so they booked me an appointment to sort everything out in on Friday.
I searched my paperwork…nothing 3 months old or younger.
Dang…maybe a full bank statement from Santander?

Wednesday 20th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Santander to ask about full statements.
Turns out they don’t print them out in branch like Barclays can, they have to request one to be sent in the post.
Had to go to Barclays and cancel that Friday appointment and wait till I get that full statement in the mail.

Friday 22nd January 2016;
At some point between Tuesday and today, Lav got another phone call from Borough Care saying she got another interview in Offerton on the day BEFORE her birthday.
We both had the same idea. We were going to use the Offerton Interview to give Lav an idea of what to expect so she’s more mentally prepared and confident for the Brinnington Interview.

Monday 25th January 2016;
So we went to Offerton for Lav’s interview there.
I’d never properly been in Offerton town before. I’ve been past it, but not in it.
First time for everything, eh?
It took a while for us to find the place because Lav’s phone maps couldn’t quite locate the EXACT position of the care home itself, and after asking directions from a postman, we discovered it was RIGHT THERE on the roundabout slap-bang in the middle of the town.
Turns out there was a mix-up. The person that sent the e-mails gave out the wrong date.
The interviews were actually on the 26th…my love’s birthday…well, we can’t come to the Offerton one because we got the Brinnington one to go to!
So much for using Offerton to prepare for Brinnington!

Tuesday 26th January 2016;
So I took Lav along the shortcut through Reddish Vale to Brinnington…the really muddy one round the back of where my grandma used to live…at the time, I forgot about the other, less muddy way through the main entrance and round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up a road on the other side.
I only remembered that other route after we had already long committed to this first shortcut.

Anyway, after using a puddle to clean the mud off her shoes, Lav and I soon found the place we were looking for and she was taken in to a private room while I sat and waited by the entrance.

Turns out they have a couple of cats living at this care home. A black one that I saw wandering around the place, and I found out from my love that the other one was a fat, lazy one that was there sleeping in the room she was being interviewed in.

Anyway, the folks that interviewed her seemed to think Lav did quite well in her Interview, but they need her to contact her nursing school to get them to send the Care Home two references.

They also need her to pay for a DBS criminal record check…£44

We put me down as a character reference since we didn’t really have anyone else, and it seems they accept that. They seem to want us to start with sending that first.

Anyway, we got back home, had a rest, and before we really had a chance to do anything, we got a phone call from the care home again.

I’m pretty sure I remember hearing them say “We’d like to offer you another position in the same care home, congratulations!”
Lav tells me she’s pretty sure she heard them say it was the SAME temporary position we applied for but then moving on to a permanent position.

At any rate, they invited her over to have a look around on Thursday afternoon.
We THOUGHT this meant they decided not to bother with references and the DBS check and just gave her a job anyway.

She’s worried it’ll be weird for me to accompany her in the care home again so we agreed I would show her the main entrance way through Reddish Vale and drop her off at the home.

Wednesday 27th January 2016;
I haven’t gotten that full statement from Santander yet.
I think the fact that I got my online account with them set up with “paper-free” ticked so I don’t get paper statements in the mail might have overridden my request in branch.

I had to go signing on today and I was thinking the whole time to ask my adviser if they can give me a letter of some kind for a proof of address but the adviser didn’t really open up the opportunity for a conversation, and my social awkwardness did the rest.

Thursday 28th January 2016;
Holy cow! I got a letter from the jobcenter this morning asking about any changes in my circumstances to make sure I was being paid the right amount for my claim, and I’m to send it back in time to arrive on or before the date it’s due on 19th of February.

This is perfect!

It works as a proof of address for Barclays, and then once I got the details of my new account, I can use this letter to send those details to the jobcenter!
The phrase “Kill two birds with one stone” comes to mind.

The only problem is the Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th. If I can make the switch and get my details before that, great. If not, it may have to wait until afterwards.

So Lav and I agreed I would take her to the Brinnington Care Home for her guided tour, and while she was doing that, I would head over to Barclays in Stockport, find out how long the bank switching process takes, see if it requires an appointment, and have her ring me when she was done so we can see if we have to meet up in Stockport and head home together, or if I’m home already so she can head home by herself using the route we took to the care home.

So we took the shortcut to Brinnington through Reddish Vale using the main entrance, round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up the road the other side, and I dropped her off.

We determine the route takes over an hour, plus it’s really exhausting, and it’s not a good idea to turn up to work exhausted and unable to start work right away.

I should mention also there’s a chance Lav may end up working late until at night, and my parents have voiced concerns that Reddish Vale at night could be dangerous, so they’ve been suggesting just take the bus down from Reddish to Stockport and then the other bus from Stockport to Brinnington, and/or back the return journey.

So with those two facts together, we’ve agreed that taking the bus is best, we just gotta find out how long the bus takes to get there. I think it might just be about half an hour or so.

Anyway, I dropped her off at the care home and I headed to Stockport to talk to Barclays.

Turns out the whole process to change banks can take 7 days, however I’ll likely be getting my Barclays bank card in the mail within 2 or 3 days, so I’d have my bank details pretty quickly.

However, with my next JSA going in this coming Monday, and my Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th, there’s no guarantee I can be ready to phone Knowhow in time for the 7th and be able to actually pay it with my new account.
So how about starting the switch on the 8th?

The process would take through the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and hopefully end on the 15th, leaving just 4 days until the 19th…and normally it takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days for a letter to be sent through the mail in England.

Sorted, right? Well…

I got a sign-on on the 10th and the allowance pay-in for that would go in on the 14th.

There’s no telling if the payment go through or if it’ll get lost in the mire of the bank switch, and starting the switch afterwards would make it too late to send the letter with the new details in time for the 19th.

And the JSA might be notified it didn’t go through, and then I might land in hot water.

Then again, Barclays did say I’d get my bank card in just 2 or 3 days, so I could just send my new details in the letter once I get them and hope it works.

So I have three choices;

1) Go ahead with the bank switch on the 8th and hope the new details will get to the jobcenter before the 14th so they can pay my new account without any issues.

2) Wait until after the March 7th payment of the Care Plan, when all this blows over but it’s still within the 3-month time frame for proof of address, and hand in my new card to the jobcenter in person, though they may think it’s weird that I changed banks so soon after they sent this letter.

3) Cancel my Knowhow Care Plan, and restart it under the new bank account. This, I believe, can all be done online. This would avoid me having to ring them on the phone to inform them of the switch, but it’ll likely delay my computer’s annual health check, that I got as part of the care plan, till February 2017…and that’s the only thing I’m really worried about with that, coz my love and I think my computer might already be pretty unhealthy and have a few things wrong with it after my derping things up with trying to get Microsoft Works off the internet and getting all that adware and giving Kaspersky an impromptu test of virus busting skills.

Personally, because of my awkwardness with phones, I’m very tempted to go with option 3…

I mean, my computer still works okay, with only a few minor cosmetic issues, as far as I can tell.
There’s no real need for a health check right now, I suppose…and if I restart the care plan and my computer goes on the fritz for whatever reason, I can still get a free repair or replacement.

I’ll have to double-check if I can start a new care plan online and see how it works…and if it’s just a simple case of giving them my new bank details along with the details of my computer, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Plus it would allow me to start the bank switch THIS COMING TUESDAY, get it all done before my next sign-on on the 10th, which would allow me to have the letter out in plenty of time before the 19th, and I can re-start the care plan online pretty much any time I like.

Seems like the least complicated and quickest route to take.
I’ll definitely look into it and see what I have to do to get option 3 in motion.

Anyway, as I was talking with Barclays, Lav tried to ring me to tell me she was done…
I couldn’t answer right then. When I was done, I texted her back and she rang me again to say she was done with her tour of the care home in Brinnington.
So meet up in Stockport it is.

I told her to follow the main road that the care home is on downhill…she would come to a big roundabout…I would meet her there.

She asked “Do I follow the bus route?”
Assuming she meant the bus route heading down the main road towards Stockport, I said “yes”.

I get to where we were to meet, she wasn’t there…I waited a while, then I texted her to find out where she was.

SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, she was on one of the side streets round the back of the care home.

I was so confused as to how she got there I didn’t know how to direct her back, so we agreed for me to head back up into Brinnington and meet her back at the care home, and then I show her the way I meant for her to go.

She reckons she was lost in her thoughts, latched onto my “follow the bus route” instruction, and she followed it the wrong way, round the corner where it turns into the residential area of Brinnington, loops round, and eventually heads back to Stockport…but that was obviously the long way around to get back to meeting with me…

Why was she lost in her thoughts?
Because the Brinnington care home STILL wants her to get those references from her nursing school, get the character reference from me, and do a £44 DBS criminal record check.

Yep, we wrongly assumed they wanted to skip that process and just give her the job.

Well, the character reference from me will be very straightforward, the care home seems insistent on Lav getting that done first for some reason…

…we gotta figure out how to get the £44 DBS check done…we looked it up online but can only find the standard £25 one available to do online…the £44 one is a more advanced check, according to, and we can’t find an online application for that.
It’s highly likely the check won’t turn up anything…Lav’s only been here in England a few months, and I don’t know if they’ll bother checking with Romania…the only thing that MIGHT pop up is that fiasco with the rental in Rusholme…MAYBE the Police will object to us finding that replacement tenant after only a couple of months living there when we had a full year’s contract but the landlord seemed to think it’s okay so I don’t know.
Anyway, I mentioned it to my dad, and he says our best bet is probably to do it direct at a police station.

The BIG worry is the nursing school…we’re worried that if we ask THEM to send a couple of references for Lav, they’ll just go “WTF?” and not help us…or, if they do agree to send them, the references they send might contradict something said in the interview or my character reference, so the care come goes “WTF?” and doesn’t accept her.
What I don’t really get is why they’re asking us to get the references rather than go contact the references themselves. Oh well, no big deal. Lav can explain to her school what’s going on and we’d have a better chance of them giving a reference, I guess.

I guess we’ll just have to try our best to sort everything out and hope it all works okay.


Over the course of the month, I’ve been making a little bit of progress on writing my scripts for YouTube…but Lav and I ended up finding a site called Putlocker and have developed a bit of an addiction to watching movies and full episodes of Naruto on there for free…because why not?

I’ll most likely make a lot more progress on my scripts once we deal with the priorities of trying to get Lav her job at Brinnington and me switching banks to Barclays.

With Lav at her job, I’ll be by myself, passing the time each day on my computer, and I know I’ll devote at least some of that time with my YouTube scripts.

Another thing we’re working on through my father is seeing if we can get a metal bed frame before we end up breaking this wooden one. He knows a friend in a local bed shop that might be able to get us a good, cheap deal.

My dad’s been looking at 4-foot-wide beds for us because that would be more room for 2 people, though we feel we’ve got just about enough room with the 3 foot wide provided by the wooden bed.

4-Foot wide would require a 4-foot wide mattress to go with it.
We have a quote for £75 for a 4-foot frame…not too bad…but a £90 mattress to go with it. £165 total. Eeee…

I asked my dad to find cheaper quotes and get quotes on just a 3-foot-wide frame as well so Lav and I can weigh up our options.
I’ll let you know how all this turns out at the end of February.

Until then,
Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

LATER IN THE DAY EDIT: I just had a look at the Knowhow Care Plan online page to see how I go about cancelling. Turns out you gotta cancel over the phone as well, possibly because, again, of security reasons.
So either way I have no choice but to make a EFFing phone call to Knowhow.
Crap. So much for option 3.

Okay so it’s either try on the 8th and hope for the best or wait until March.


…I think I best play it as safe as possible and wait until March and hope the jobcenter doesn’t mind the sudden bank change so soon after they sent the letter.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2016

Happy 2016

Posted by: bluefoxy | November 28, 2015

We’re Foxing it

Man, so much has happened since my last blog post, and I learned so much about all sorts of stuff…I don’t even know where to begin!

I guess we’ll start with Jobseeker’s allowance for my girlfriend, Lav
So during our research into getting her claim started, we discovered a thing called joint allowance for couples.

Individually, I get 70-odd pounds a week, and she would get 50-odd pounds a week since she’s under 25 or whatever the age was.

Joint claims would pay one of us the sum of those allowances combined, so we tried to apply for that.

When we got the interview, it was still before November 21st…we thought we could get the ball rolling a little early, but the Jobcenter weren’t having it.

Not only that, turns out for us to claim joint allowance, we’d need to be living together.

And one more thing, since she’s still classified and an EU national, not a British citizen, she would only be allowed to claim JSA for 3 months, then they’d take her right off it again, and at that point, to quote the adviser we spoke to, they “expect” her to go back to Romania. Nothing and nobody mentioned that limitation up until that point.

We were a bit worried about what the adviser meant by that last part, so we looked it up, and EU nationals have a right to live and work in the UK as long as they like since the UK is technically still part of the EU, even though a good percentage of UK folk ain’t too happy about it.

We’re still concerned the proper authorities won’t know that, though. We’re worried that if Lav starts claiming JSA, they’ll use it to track how long she’s been in the UK, and soon as it’s over, they’ll refer her to border security or something, and BOOM! UK taxpayer money in action all they way back to Romania, where she’ll be facing her parents, who will bombard her with questions and berate her for lying to them, since she’s got them thinking she’s already in a school doing an apprenticeship or something and doing fine.

What’s more, EU nationals can’t claim housing benefit, period. Only British citizens can do that.

To become a British citizen, you have to take some kind of citizenship test. To qualify to take the citizenship test, you have to have lived in the UK for 5 years unmarried, or if you are married to a UK citizen it’s reduced to 3 years.

Clearly our only real hope now is for either her or I or both of us to get a job.

Lav has realized that the graduation diploma from her nursing school in Romania would have pretty much made her equivalent to a qualified nurse, AND it is recognized here in England…but since we were planning on her getting into university or into an apprenticeship when we were planning on her coming here, she decided, in her infinite wisdom, to not bring said diploma, because she felt an English diploma would be better.

So she contacted the school and asked them about the diploma, and basically they want to send it to her legally…fair enough, can’t be too careful about important documents like that.

So we discovered what we need is something that gives her mom “power of attorney”, we believe the English translation is from the Romanian wording.

To get this, we would have to go to a Romanian consulate and ask a Romanian lawyer to sign some Romanian paperwork for us to send to Romania.

The two nearest Romanian consulates were in Leeds and Liverpool…we originally thought of going to Leeds, but then we changed our minds to Liverpool since it was slightly closer and seemed easier to find.

Guess what happened when we found the place? The Liverpool consulate we spoke to did NOT have the legal power to sign the paperwork we needed…and revealed we MIGHT have had better luck with the Leeds one we originally wanted to go to since she was an actually lawyer, while he was more of a humble representative or something, but REALLY our only SURE FIRE method of getting what we need was to go to a full Romanian EMBASSY…and there’s only TWO of those in the UK…one in London, one in Edinburgh. Much too expensive to travel all that way, and there was no guarantee of the Leeds consulate being any help.

So we returned to Manchester and, after a bit more research, we discovered a simple notary was sufficient…and there was one in Manchester that would do the trick.

So, with the help of her mom speaking to some lawyers in Romania, Lav managed to write up a letter for our notary to sign and put his rubber seal to, making it an official legal document.

Then it was a simple case of going to the post office and paying for special postage and tracking for a legal document.

Much cheaper than going all the way to London or Edinburgh. Hopefully it works…as I speak, the tracking says the notary letter is circulating somewhere in the Romanian postage network, so it SHOULD be delivered to her mom’s on Monday.

Moving on…

It was very clear the rental I had Lav in was way too expensive to stay in any longer…we had to get her out, so my parents (who understood our situation since they got their first house as a rental while they had pretty much nothing) agreed she could move and stay with me for just £150 a month out of my pocket for as long as she needs to, so long as she does her fair share of the chores, of course.

They only objected at first because there wasn’t really any room for all of her stuff, HOWEVER, we simply needed to re-arrange my room a bit and add a cupboard…and besides, my room needed an upgrade anyway, as it’s been the same way since pretty much my childhood and I had somewhat outgrown it.

So we agreed my parents would focus on upgrading my room a bit while my girlfriend and I figured out a way to get out of the rental…

There was just one problem…

We informed the landlord we wanted out…and he immediately pointed out that we had signed a contract for a year, and if we left early, we’d have to pay the rest of the year’s outstanding rent THEN and THERE.

We worked that out to be over £2,000.

£2,000 we clearly did not have.

And there was no guarantee my funds could hold out for a full year even with JSA topping up every couple of weeks.

And there was no guarantee either of us could get a job in time to rescue the situation.


Then the landlord offered a solution…find a replacement tenant. Hallelujah!
We had seen a fair few people visit the property quite frequently…it was obviously a very sought-after location…we definitely had a good chance of finding somebody…

We put up ads on rental ad sites…and literally within just a few hours of putting the ads up, we started getting phone calls and messages of interest.

So while my girlfriend arranged viewings, my parents rearranged and upgraded my room as I helped both parties as much as I could between visits to my Jobcenter-sanctioned training course and whatever else I had to do.

Boy, it was a heck of a job getting the new cupboard my parents found up into my room. It wasn’t really heavy, but it was big and awkward…it was quite the battle just to get it round a corner and position it to go up the stairs! We had to remove stuff off the wall and the doors off the cupboard itself to do it, but we eventually managed it!

We also erected a storage shed in the garden to store a load of stuff I don’t use out of the way. I’m also gonna sell a couple of things I definitely am NOT going to use ever again.

After a handful of viewings, we finally managed to palm the rental off to some Italian guy who was “only interested in our room” and was moving straight in since he was flying in to Manchester Airport THAT EVENING.

His name sounded totally made up, though so we were a bit concerned he wasn’t real…we actually stayed at the rental that evening to make sure he showed up…and show up he did! He signed everything, paid the landlord the deposit and the first month’s rent and all is hunky-dory.

All before we had to pay that landlord a single penny more out of our pockets. Pretty sweet.

Moving on…

We also found out at some point that, apparently, Lav can’t actually become a full Nurse in the UK unless she signs up to some online database, which would cost her £50 a month, but ALL the full nursing jobs say they’ll perform a check on that database, so yeah.
However, she CAN get a job as a Care assistant, which does not require this check, plus will give her some much-needed UK work experience in that sector.

Fortunately, my dad has an aunt in a local care home…he used her as an excuse to bring Lav there…turns out they already have a Romanian nurse there, whom Lav spoke to a bit…this Romanian nurse revealed the care assistant job there, quote “only paid £800 – £900 a month, is that okay?”


Then they somehow managed to convince the care home to give Lav an interview.

At the interview, the guy in charge told Lav that they want to give her a fair chance, BUT they need two references…they suggested a jobcenter adviser, and a local GP…

…given the nature of those suggestions, I rather think they’re just a formality.

The jobcenter’s not interested in giving a reference since they don’t know my girlfriend…as for the GP, we’ve been meaning to get her registered to the English health service anyway…so we registered to have my GP as her named GP just yesterday, and on this coming Monday we’ll ask about how to use that GP as a reference.

Then we reckon we can use the nursing school we’re getting the diploma from as a reference as well.

It’s unlikely anyone’s gonna ring Romania, and I think the GP’s just to say to the care home that Lav doesn’t have any diseases that could threaten the health of the people in their care.

Bad-a-bing, bad-a-boom, the perfect start to a prominent nursing career, IF she can get this job at the care home where my dad’s aunt is.

I think we’ll do a few months of her as a humble care assistant at this care home first, so she has some experience and we’ll build up some money, get ourselves a couples rental, get ourselves settled, then we’ll look into where we need to go from there.

Moving on…

It was on Monday 23rd, Lav and I were downtown doing…something, I forget what. We were exiting Stockport Town Center and were taking the shortcut to Penny Lane that takes us past where the River Goyt and the River Tame join to become the River Mersey.

Lav thought the rivers looked nice (despite all the 20-foot-high concrete walls and stuff lining their banks) and was taking pictures…we then walked through under the bridge that supported the motorway…coming out behind Tesco Extra, and that’s when we saw it…

It trotted out from the pedestrian footbridge over the Tame, cool as a cucumber…I just could NOT believe my eyes…

…it just wandered around, marking its territory, wasn’t even phased by our presence, it seems…and we were, like, 20 feet away.

Lav took pictures, but it came out so small on them, you can hardly make it out.

TWO fox sightings in just over ONE month?!?

I’ve NEVER seen them anywhere NEAR this frequently!

And Lav and I were talking about how amazing it would be for us to see a fox together earlier that morning and she LITERALLY said “We’ll see one when we least expect it.”

We both reckon she’s bloody puh-sy-kik or something.

So here’s Lav and I’s to-do list now, in order of importance.

  • get that damn diploma here to us in England
    1a) We’ll most likely need to get it translated to English once it’s here…hopefully that won’t be too expensive.
  • Get the local GP to agree to do a reference.
  • Get a second interview at the care home with the two references in hand.

With any luck, Lav will at least get a trial run to prove what she can do.
She’ll be awesome at the job, and voilá, we have one HECK of an income to play with.

Then we’ll look into some half-decent couples rentals in the area.

I don’t know what my realistic chances are of finding a real life job myself…at any rate, I’ll see if I can use whatever spare time I can get to start work on getting the components I need to, in turn, start work on editing together some YouTube videos. I’ll need at least a fair few fully complete and ready to upload to start off with.

Sacrifices may have to be made…I’m considering sacrificing my ponysona Typhoon’s Tumblr page, possibly to resurrect in the distant future if I find the time.

Foxy business has obviously been long dead, but again, I can probably resurrect it in the distant future if I find the time.

I may do bits of art here and there between sessions of video editing. I haven’t been too active on the artistic front anyway.

All other ideas for things I want to do will also have to lay buried deep within my mind for at least quite some time.

So there you have it. That’s my life now.

Hopefully I will be able to FINALLY realize my life dream of becoming famous. I’ll accept YouTube famous quite happily. A lot of YouTube famous people are actually a lot more famous than a fair few other celebrities from other walks of life.

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | October 27, 2015


In the time between my last blog post and this blog post, at some point I realized I have made a slight miscalculation regarding the rental I’m paying for Lavander to live in at the moment.

You see, when we searched for a place, I calculated that my maximum budget for renting a place is a little over 70 pounds a week, because jobseeker’s allowance pays me a little over 140 pounds a fortnight, right? right.

So we agreed to look at rentals for sale for under that price…preferably 10 or 20 pounds under so i still have some spending money each week.

So the rental Lavander is currently in charges 325 pounds per calendar month.

For some reason, we believed the original ad when it said it was charging 55 pounds per week, which was well within my budget.

But had I actually stopped and thought and took a moment to do a bit of SIMPLE MATH I’d have realized that 70 pounds a week, or 140 pounds per week…adds up to something very much shy of 300 pounds a week, let alone 325, and I’d have been able to set the maximum budget at £300 per month during our searches for a place.

Which means, yup, I’m very much losing money paying for this rental alone…and of course I’m giving Lavander money on top of that to spend on food and drink and bus tickets and stuff.

That’s the bad news…the good news is, the bad news is not all that bad.

According to my calculations, I’m only losing a whisker over £25 per month on the rental, not counting extra money I’m giving Lavander, and since I have plenty of money saved up, we SHOULD be able to AT LEAST get Lavander on jobseeker’s allowance LONG before I run out of money.

She’ll have officially been in this country for 3 months come November 21st, then we’ll see if we can get the JSA and the Housing Benefit balls rolling for her.

They might not be able to make it through all the red tape in December but, with any luck, she SHOULD start getting paid by January 2016.

With any luck the jobcenter will be paying her just as much as they pay me…though I might only be getting what I get because I’ve been on it for so long.

And there’s still the distinct, slight, whisker of a chance she’ll get herself employed or on an apprenticeship before that.

Once she’s got herself some form of income of her own, We’ll start looking for a couples place again…it would be more beneficial for the both of us…we simply can’t keep having to travel between the rental and my house.

My parents are suggesting I should look for somewhere in Stockport, coz it’ll be cheaper…more people will want places close to the city center so it’ll be more expensive. Lav and I will definitely focus on results in Stockport when we look for a place together.

It’s only money anyway. it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, and it’ll all be worth it when we start our life together.

To help lessen my monetary outgoings, I’ve discontinued going to Weight watchers…it’s a waste of money anyway…over 6 pound per week, and all I do there is get myself weighed, when I got a perfectly good set of bathroom scales at home…I feel they’ve helped me change my eating habits enough for me to sustain them on my own. I just gotta remember to keep an eye on my weight. Maybe I should bring back that weekly weight monitoring thing I did with my blog a little while back to make sure I remember.

Speaking of my jobseeker’s, the jobcenter are interfering with my life again…they want me to do SOMETHING looking-for-work-related with my free time, so they’ve enrolled me on a course with Grove training in Hazel Grove…I’ll be headed over there pretty much the second i post this very blog post.
I’ve been meaning to post this blog post sooner but my tendency to get sidetracked has struck again.
Anyway, I guess I’ll be seeing what this Grove Training is all about when I get there.

I saw my 10th real life fox this last Wednesday!
I’d just got off the 203 from Manchester after visiting Lavander, and just as I arrived at the top of the road round the corner from the road I live on, it darted out from a side street to my left, and dived into an alleyway across the road to my right!
Totally wasn’t expecting that!

Well, I think that’s everything.

Ciao for now,
The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | September 30, 2015

The Verdict.

Okay. My jury service is now over as of the 29th of September.

So at first I was told I was only going to be doing it for two weeks…but then I ended up on a three-week-long case which is now over.

I’m still not allowed to reveal any details whatsoever, about ANYTHING to do with the case, to the public, in case there’s a re-trial or they pursue other convictions based on what was revealed in court.

All I can say is, the defendants were found Not Guilty of the specific charge the jury I was in was interested in.

Oh how I WISH I COULD tell all, but I’d get in BIG trouble if I did, and I’d rather keep my criminal record intact at nothing beyond a couple of possible formal warnings, a definite informal warning, and a brief case of mistaken identity.

So I’ll just move on to what me and Lavander are up to.
We decided to wait until she has actually secured an apprenticeship, or at least SOME form of monetary income, before we try and find a couples rental together.
She can’t get Job-seeker’s Allowance or Housing Benefit until she’s lived in the country for at least 3 months. We’re hoping she can get an apprenticeship or a job before then.
We crafted a crude, bare-bones, beginnings of a CV to give to some experts to flesh out but they haven’t sent it her back yet.
Meanwhile, she’s applying to apprenticeships left, right and center in the hopes of securing SOMETHING.
And she only got her National Insurance Number THE OTHER DAY, like, a MONTH after she applied for it.
So I guess the next step is to have her open and bank account. The sooner the better.
And the sooner she starts earning her own money, the better as well. I am able to afford Dave’s rental, but it leaves me with just around £20 a week coming from my Job-seeker’s allowance, which doesn’t last long…but if i manage my spending habits a bit, I should stay afloat long enough to afford it until at least the end of the year…by then, she’ll at least have housing benefit and Job-seeker’s allowance to pay for her rental and food…so for now, we’ll stay focused on getting her that apprenticeship.
Easier said than done…though perhaps the fact she’s an immigrant will work in her favor.

I’ve long since given up hope that I’ll ever find a normal job for myself. But maybe if I use my free time to become YouTube famous, I could possibly eventually make money from that.
Pewdiepie makes millions from it, why shouldn’t I?
I’ll be like “time to go home to my mansion and eat my lobster”

Hey look at that I’m making YouTuber-esque references already.

I’ll get started on that as soon as I can. I just gotta do it my way because OCD.

Ciao For Now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | August 30, 2015


Posted by: bluefoxy | August 26, 2015

The Crazy, Hectic, Whirlwind Of Life Doth Spin.

Holy moly. So much has happened since my last blog post.

Where do I even begin?

Alrighty, then. I’ll start with the work placement.

So I finally got a letter from Learn Direct telling me to turn up at Longsight Park School on Tuesday the 28th of July to start my 4-week work placement.

It said I was going to do Admin, Catering and Regeneration there. I know Admin is computers and Catering is food. I had no idea what Regeneration was.

Admin and Catering at Longsight Park School?

I was imagining myself serving kids food at lunchtime and probably using the computer to order more food.

Then Lavander pointed out it was the summer holidays. No kids. Duh! Silly me!

Anyway, obviously the placement duration was going to overlap with my intercepting Lavander on the 21st of August. Also I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to still show up for my joke shop sign-on on Wednesday the 29th of July and all subsequent sign-ons during the placement.

Luckily the letter provided a phone number to ring for any inquiries. When I rang it the first time, it took me to voicemail, so I left a rather confused mess of a message while trying to explain what I wanted.

A few days passed and obviously I got no reply that first time so I decided to write down a script for a message to leave on this voicemail and also use as a template in case the guy answers.

I rang again and left a much clearer message and he rang me back later that same day.

He explained that yes, I should go to my joke shop sign-ons during the placement duration and also any days off I have to take are perfectly fine.

So I went to the place on Tuesday…and whoever put down the place-name obviously didn’t do their research. It wasn’t Longsight Park School, it was Richmond Park School. The different name would have confused me had a fellow job seeker not appeared before me. He was searching for the same place and already tried a separate school kinda down the road.

Turns out It was actually the community hut right there on the corner we were looking for, so we went in. There was a whole bunch of other guys and apparently we all had to sit round a table and wait for the Learn Direct guy to show up.

He didn’t show up till after lunchtime. Apparently he was very busy. He explained about what everyone was there to do…he also explained he understood how the job center can be on our backs and very unreasonable about this sort of thing, so basically what he’s doing is providing a friendlier, more flexible working environment for us.

He provided a list of different jobs we could do to pick from. Turns out regeneration meant gardening or building work to improve the area.

I decided I didn’t fancy being stuck in stuffy indoors doing boring admin work all day, and I didn’t fancy cooking food either, so I said I wanted to do something outdoors-y.

I ended up on a team responsible for the maintenance of gardens in the area. Clearing rubbish, cutting grass, weeding, etc.

It was something different to do, I guess…kinda fun, but I very quickly knew I didn’t fancy doing it as a permanent job. Too much hard work.

Some strange things happened while I was on the placement though.

Okay so first of all, there’s the guy in charge of the whole operation who I’ll refer to as “Big Boss Man”
He has a female kinda assistant boss, who I’ll refer to as “Big Boss Lady”

The team I’m put on has this guy who’s kinda the leader. Apparently he’s been working there a while. I believe he was there on a placement at first and decided he liked it so stayed on and achieved something akin to supervisor level.
I will henceforth refer to him as “Crazy Boss” for reasons that will become apparent as I tell the stories.

My fellow job seeker who I ran into on day 1 also kinda features in the stories in some capacity. I’ll refer to him as “F.J.S.”

One of the stories features a kinda tall guy with long hair who I’ll refer to as “Corners Guy” for reasons that will become clear as I tell that story.

And finally one more character who will feature in the story I will refer to as “Hermes” because he kinda reminds me of Hermes from Futurama…same hair style, black skinned…only he’s not as fat, and he wears shades.

Speaking of being black skinned…at least half of the people at the location were black. Big Boss Guy was black, Crazy Boss was black, Learn Direct Guy was black…there was a whole bunch of other black dudes as well…

Big Boss Lady, F.J.S and Corners Guy were white though.

Okay so the first story happens pretty early on in the duration of the placement, during lunch time in the community hut…it was me, Big Boss Man, F.J.S and a couple of other guys.

So Big Boss Man, F.J.S and the other guys were joking about how Crazy Boss doesn’t really do any work. And yeah, having worked with him a good few days already at this point, I couldn’t agree more.

So I tried to join in on the joke. I said something along the lines of “He just sits there and tells you to pick up this weed, pick up that weed”…and they immediately all look at me and their faces go all deadpan serious.

And Big Boss Guy says something on the lines off “Are you complaining? If you’re complaining you should talk about it with me”

So I was sat there like “wtf?”

But that wasn’t the end of it. I went to the toilet and, when I came back out, Crazy Guy was there and he says something like “Are you saying I work you too hard, Thom?”

So I says something along the lines of “I was only trying to join in on the joke!” and Big Boss Guy says something along the lines of “We was only turning the joke around on you, but you took it serious.”

W…T…F….how was i supposed to take it anything other than serious with you looking at me with deadpan serious faces like that? So I says “Right that’s the last time I try to joke with you guys.”

So then about halfway through the duration of my placement, Big Boss Guy gathered pretty much everyone together and led us to a small HQ of what I believe is the company that owns the estate to collect some random woman who I believe is HIS boss or something, and then he took the whole lot of us on a random tour of the entire estate.

I get that you want to show her what you’ve been doing, but, what was the point of bringing us? Was it to help us know our way around better and know where all the streets are? Because at this point, I, for one, knew my way around pretty well.

And then immediately after our little tour-de-estate, he sends the team I’m part of to a little front garden that needed some work, only for the woman who lives there to complain she was told we would be there at 10 but we actually arrived at pretty much lunchtime and she had to go take care of a prior engagement, like, NOW. Crazy Boss had to explain Big Boss Man didn’t tell him about her garden until now.

Then one day around-about week 3…Crazy Boss was absent in the morning, so I was put in a team with F.J.S and Hermes.

We work on a small front garden of some old guy and pretty much complete it in one morning. Easy as pie.
Just as we were finishing up for lunch, Crazy Boss shows up and kinda just watches us finish off some last few bits and then we head off to do our meal.

Now because I finished that front garden, I think Corners Guy found out I was finished and he asked me if I fancied helping him out with his job.

Here’s why he’s called Corners Guy; He and a couple of other guys are clearing weeds off some triangle-shaped patches of dirt that sit on the curb corners of a crossroads that’re kinda in the middle of the estate. These patches of green had been given the nickname “The Corners”. If you saw it, you’d know the nickname kinda makes sense.

So I decide “Cool, yeah, I can help corners guy, that front garden’s done. I won’t have anything to do there”

So I help him rake over one of the dirt patches that has already been cleared of weeds, trying to make it smooth…trouble is it’s full of roots and rocks…and our rakes aren’t having much effect.

So Crazy Boss comes over and tells me to go back to the garden I worked on this morning. Says I’m not supposed to work with Corners Guy because he’s my boss.

So, me , being in kinda “Yes, boss” drone mode, march over to the garden, where F.J.S and Hermes are.

F.J.S is like “What’re you doing here? I thought you were working on the corners with [Corners Guy’s name]”
I say something along the lines of “[Crazy boss’s name] told me to come here and help”
F.J.S is like “Help with what? This job is done! There’s nothing for you to do here. Thom. Go back to the corners and help [Corners Guy’s name], don’t listen to [Crazy boss’s name]”

So I head back to the corners and Crazy Boss is talking to this random chick.
He spots me and is like “What you doing, Thom? I told you to go help on that garden!”
And I’m like “There’s nothing for me to do there, there’s something for me to do here”
He’s not having any and keeps insisting I go back and help on the garden.
So I say, word for word, “Shut up, I’m not listening to you anymore.” and get back to raking the patch of dirt.

Now I kinda meant to say it as a kind of joke, but it didn’t really come out that way…and well…here’s why he’s called Crazy Boss…

Next thing I know he’s all hostile with me, threatening to punch me out and make it so nobody finds me, all while effing and blinding every other word.
So in me mind I’m like “Wtf? this guy’s crazy” And I’m trying to calm him down and the other workers on “the corners” are trying to calm him down but he doesn’t seem to want to listen
He gets in me face looking ready to swing a punch at any second. I have a rake in me hands so I kinda try to use it as a shield to keep his hands busy so he doesn’t swing.
And he’s all spitting in me face as he’s talking and I think some of his spit got in my mouth. Yuk.
Anyway eventually we get him to leave and carry on with our job, but I’m looking over me shoulder every couple of minutes because I half-expect him to be charging round the corner looking to uppercut me to the moon
Eventually it gets to home time and I get back to the community center and Big Boss Man tells me he has spies everywhere and says one of them told him there was an altercation.
So I kinda explain Crazy Boss wanted me to work on a job that was already finished while another guy wanted me to help with a job where there was actually something for me to do.
And he just said something like “You’re a valuable worker, Thom, everyone wants you to work for them, but stick with Crazy Boss, he’s in charge of you”
And inside I’m like “wtf? I don’t wanna work with him if he gets enraged so easily”

The day after our altercation, it rained heavily. Rain stops play and work, it seems, so we were there stuck in the community hut and Big Boss Man gives this whole speech basically about how people of different race, gender, culture, etc… are coming here and we have to respect each other and do the job and then dismissed us all for the day.

The altercation was on a Thursday and the speech was on a Friday so we had a whole weekend to cool our jets. When we came back on a Monday, Crazy Boss pulled me to one side and apologized for his actions.

I do realize I kind of said the wrong thing, but he did kind of overreact to it a bit. I’d understand just saying something like “Oi, don’t tell me to shut up, Thom” or something, but getting all violent like that? Yeah, I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable about working with him, even after the apology.

Anyway Big Boss Man decided Crazy Guy had enough workers already for the job he was doing and put me with F.J.S and Hermes on another job because they seemed a man down.

So F.J.S, Hermes and I do a back garden together and pretty much complete the job in that one day, and we get back for home time.
Big Boss Man’s out talking to everybody and he turns to me and says “Who were you with? These two?” Pointing to F.J.S and Hermes.
Me: Yup.
Big Boss Man: Did you like working with these two?”
Me: Yup.
Big Boss Man: Do you want to keep working with these two?
Me (without missing a beat): Yup.


So on my last week I tried to get a spare minute with Big Boss Man to tell him I needed the 21st off to get Lavander, but he was too busy with other people. Eventually at home time on Wednesday the 19th I managed to talk with Big Boss Lady and she gave it the OK and made a note in her diary, saying she would sign me in.

On the last day (Monday 24th August) The Learn Direct Guy was telling me he would word my CV to say my work placement was a retail one rather than gardening by bending the truth a little bit. He says that’s kind of what you have to do to get ahead in the job market. He also warned me they might put me straight onto another 6 month work placement or work program unless I say something like I’m doing voluntary work.
Well I think my Jury Summons might keep ’em from doing that, at least for a while. I’ll get back to that later.

Also on my last day, the Big Boss Lady took me to one side and basically said “You’re really good at talking, Thom. Have you considered a job as a hospital porter? They’re all about talking to patients as well as carting them around the hospital”
How freaky is that? Lavander is studying to become a nurse and she asks me if I fancy being a hospital porter? Maybe I should look into it.

So yeah…what a performance getting Lavander here into the UK was!
So I get to the airport and right to the arrivals lounge, no problem. But then that’s when things go a little pear-shaped.
First I had the place Lav was coming from confused, and thought it was Budapest when it was Bucharest.
As it turns out, the arrival time on plane tickets means the time it would be AT THE DESTINATION, and not the time it would be from where one departed like we, being the silly butts we are, thought.
So as her plane tickets said 2:25, it meant 2:25 here in England, and not 2:25 in Romania, which would be 12:25 here in England…so the fact that I per-ordered my train tickets to and from Milton Keynes Central based on the 12:25 England time, catching a 13:50 train up to Manchester. So obviously that was blown for a start.

Then when Lav’s plane finally DID arrive, she spent another couple of hours in baggage claim waiting for her big suitcase to show up, before airport staff helped her find it.

So obviously I was concerned my train tickets weren’t valid anymore…but lo and behold, they still let us through into the station. Turns out the 13:50 was just referring to a seat reservation on the 13:50 train. No big deal.

So then we make it to Manchester, find our way to the rental…and luckily the rent guy was there waiting for us.

But he was not too happy that we didn’t show up at the time we said we would, which was 4 o clock, and showed up at, like, 8 o clock instead, and didn’t contact him about it…yeah, I don’t blame him, really.

We had no excuse other than we misunderstood the arrival time and getting mixed up in baggage claim.

He told us to go stay somewhere else for a night and come back in the morning, so we had to grab an emergency hotel room in Manchester City Center

Fortunately, he was a lot more reasonable in the morning. He understood we made an honest mistake and sorted everything out with us.

If nothing else, this has been a learning experience. I now know the arrival time of any flight means the time it would be at your arrival destination, and I learned to get the mobile phone number of anybody providing a rental in case things don’t go to plan so you can get in contact with them.

Unfortunately that’s not the end of our rental woes…today, as I type this, apparently one of the other tenants has complained because I keep coming over and spending hours with Lavander and using the kitchen when I’m not paying for it. It’s okay for me to pay short visits, but I can’t stay at their place and use their stuff.

Lavander is very upset about the whole thing.

We just need to get her a National Insurance Number from the Job center, then a bank account, then get her in an apprenticeship so she can start her studies to become a nurse and start earning her own money at the same time, then soon as that’s all done, we’re looking into cheap rentals SPECIFICALLY for couples and we’re getting her the heck out of there.

Yeah, we made a right pig’s ear of things, haven’t we?

Hopefully we’ll get lucky and get all that sorted before the next rent is due.

As for my Jury Summons…I took it to the job center today and they’ve simply excused me from my next signing in the middle of September. They reckon I’ll be done with my jury duty by the time of the sign-on after that at the end of the month.

I’ll keep you all posted with what happens. Fingers crossed all goes well!

Ciao for now,

The Blue Fox Thom.

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