All the love here

Cadmus Harmonia Evelyn de MorganI never expected the letter. I thought it would say the opposite. With four pages of tedious verbiage, starting with skirting round the issue, I had to go over it a few times before I realised. Then I paced the floor and babbled for a bit, looking back and forward. Then in the evening, meditating, I had to check the letter again- it could not say that, could it?

But- an extra £28 a week does not mean that I get an extra £28 a week. Down comes the once-so-familiar Welfare Benefits Handbook. Mmm. On last year’s rules, my housing benefit personal allowance would rise by the same amount. So I would keep it. But then, on last year’s rules, I would have got housing benefit for my whole rent for nine months before it reduced to the “Local Housing Allowance,” rather than three months as this year. That is, the benefit changes this year reduced my benefits by £500. Might they also have taken away that £28 a week?

At meeting, Liz ministered about missing Terry, and how here in the Meeting house there is so much love and care. It seemed to me that there is so much love, and that, as if I had a chlorophyll deficiency, I am unable to feel it properly. I am like a cur expecting a kick: I get good news, and I think of ways in which it is not good. I get to keep ESA. I told ATOS about the psychiatrist, and the endocrinologist, and what they are doing, and I got to keep ESA. I hope that means I have more money. I will check. Rather than thinking of the possibilities this opens for me, I think of ways in which it could be not good news really.

I need to be more open to the even breaks. Liz was one of two women who taught me that: I need a lot of practice.

When my housing benefit went down, I really should have moved into Swanston. Services would be in more easy reach, and I could get a flat closer to the amount housing benefit would pay. My flat would not be as lovely, nor in such a lovely location, but the course of action is clear and obvious. Snakes 2Rather than doing the sensible thing, I hunkered down, trying to live on £50 a week, rarely putting the heating on, and mostly not thinking about when I would be obviously found fit for work and have to sign on and get benefit sanctioned and not get any money and

you get the idea.

This is really good, though I will still check that I do get to keep the £28.

6 thoughts on “All the love here

  1. 50? How exactly does that work? And how does housing benefit work? Can you choose any home? Do they choose for you? Is it the same thing as a council house?
    We’ve only heated part of the house this year and that was by keeping a single fire going- which was also charming. It gives us something to do in the evenings, and I love the flickering. Of course this year was mild, there was no frost, which made it easier. Don’t think you’re alone. I know people living in a country house (or 10) who aren’t heating often either. If we heated the whole house all through the winter, it would cost us in the high 6 figures. Rather a waste of money.
    I think you’re much too smart to not be using your mind to generate a comfortable living… I don’t see how it’s possible that you wouldn’t be successful. 50 a week is like some sort of cruel punishment. I mean, what sort of wine are you buying? Lidl’s got some decent under 5’s, but still.


    • The UK stoked the housing market as badly as Ireland did, but while Ireland took the hit, house prices crashed, and everyone but the most recent buyers benefited, British policy has been that house prices must never go down, even though this skews the economy and investment. Housing benefit is based on a maximum amount for the size of household, and then that maximum amount is reduced if your income is above a certain level; and there is a housing benefit cap, an absolute maximum, which means that housing benefit will not pay rents in growing parts of London. Until 2012 HB was based on the local rents, but now it is steadily reducing, with increases limited well below the rate of inflation.

      I acclimatise. 16° becomes comfortable, and I knew a man slightly who set his thermostat to come on with temperatures below 13°.

      And who needs wine when you can get extra strong lager?


  2. Hurray for good news, for not looking behind it at the cracks in logic, to find the bad news concealed. Let us look boldly at good news and not take our eyes from it. Bless you, for such a lovely, intimate post, and for reminding us of the beauty of women with snakes.

    XXX :-)))


  3. This is indeed an endearingly intimate post, and I agree with Fran completely. I need to follow her advice as well, because it’s true. Keep your eye on the prize, not the chances of losing. And living on little is hard but … as you proved, doable. That’s rather noble, I think. I’m impressed.


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