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I am officially at war. Never wanted it to come to this but my Claims Advisor has gone too far. After inspiring me to apoplexy the week before, she made sure there were no independent witnesses in the office and attempted to provoke an incident, one which presumably would have me escorted off the premises and quite probably to a waiting police car outside. Sorry, I'm not falling for that one. As I look for work, I record each step I make, and I mean fairly exhaustively. That list has satisfied claims advisors since I started it in 2010. For some time now I've been copying that information onto a government website to record my jobsearching activity for all to see. Last week I mentioned this to my Claims Advisor, telling her that the records were available. She dismissed it. No use to her at all. Okay. I won't bother posting it then. Less work for me, although I still keep the list up to date. The next week she asked why the government website hadn't been updated. I reminded her we'd discussed that point previously., but she insisted she needed the information to know what I had been up to. Okay. Would she like a printed copy of the latest information? No, she tells me, it might just be typed up, an argument I found odd because I was only going to copy and paste the same information anyway. So she was demanded information she had already dismissed and then dismissed it again. And so on. Finally I gave up after a barrage of demands to account for some discrepancy in her investigation of my activity. I told her I'd had enough of this circus, threw my signing book on the desk, and told her to close my Jobseekers Benefit claim. Which she obviously hasn't, in order to portray me as reneging on my Jobseekers Agreement, which I haven't. So a little advice to all those unfortunate souls who have by chance found themselves in the dustbin of the employment marketplace. It makes no difference how diligent you are. It makes no difference how honest you are. It makes no difference how much jobsearching you do. When a Claims Advisor wants her bonus for christmas, she is going to find a reason to justify it, at your expense of course. Kiss your reputation goodbye, because as of now you're a dole cheat. Gulty until proven innocent. Of course if you're sitting on your backside because you don't want to work, that's your problem. I really don't care what happens to you. Pouring Cold Water On It The weather lately has been fairly wet. Hey, this is Britain you know. Yesterday I had to walk across town to attend a course at the local college (intended to improve my marketability in employment). With all the rain, there was a lot of standing water by the roadside. So I got splashed by a passing car. Then a line of three or four cars splashed me one after the other. Needless to say I vented my frustration loudly. Wasn't much else I could do. But you know, it has changed my mind. All those police video programs you see on television are blatant propaganda, however well intentioned. When do you actually come across a police officer so gentlemanly and fair minded? I'm no longer botjhered by this. Car dribers - or drivers of any other vehicle on the road - if you get caught, it's your own fault. I couldn't care less what hapens to you. Pilot Of The Week There I was this morning, diligently searching for work and making job applications at the Support Centre, when I heard one of their administrators mention to his boss "Hey, you've got a pilot on your case load". You've got one in the room too, I added. I mean me, if anyone hasn't come across my flying escapades on this blog. Not that it actually mattered as such, but I got to chat up a pretty young lady as a result. Oh yes. Those magnificent men...
The good news for all you people out there earning a living is that finally you're getting your own way. I'm shortly to be placed on a 'More Intensive Regime' concerning my endless quest for gainful employment. Basically that means I have to turn up every day at the Job Centre and explain why I'm not out there looking for work, which of course I would be if I wasn't too busy explaining my presence to my claims advisor. The thing is, I'm also supposed to be attending a Support Centre every day. Unfortunately they've changed premises and forgot to tell anyone who knew who to set up their internet access. For the last two weeks I've been turning up to an empty office full of inactive computers. The Support Centre staff have even resorted to telling claimants not to bother coming in. Yesterday I did, and asked if I could use a computer "What for?" The Office guy asked, looking perplexed that anyone was trying to use the Support Centre for the purpose intended. Oh you know.. Switch it on.. Do stuff... Please bear in mind that all you hard working people out there are paying for this. This morning they locked the door and didn't let anyone in. Don't worry - I'll explain it to my claims advisor. Blonde Moment By chance I happened to catch a televised session by Blondie at the Maida Vale recording studio. They say you should never revisit your past. Time, it must be said, hasn't been entirely kind to Deborah Harry. I don't want to be cruel, these days she looks like a pub landlady. And sings like one too. Sorry Debs, I love the stuff you did back in the day, but I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy a ticket any time soon. Mind you, looking in the mirror, Jeez, what happened to me? Foxhunt Of The Week It's been a while since I spotted the local wildlife nosing around outside at night. The Old College site had been quite a game reserve but a network of steel girders in battleship grey and rust has gradually filled in the big empty space gouged into the side of the hill. Other girders lay in neat rows waiting to be bolted into place among the cranes and telescopic forklifts parked up until the start of the next mornings shift. Not much room left for urban foxes to mooch around then. Just when I thought they'd all been gassed or something, the other night I spotted a young fox nosing around the parapet overlooking the site. There's a steep drop on one side of thirty feet or so which clearly didn't bother the fox. He was only there a few minutes before he vanished, quite wisely, as a late night dog-walker meandered over to where the fox had been, beer can in hand. Foxes are animals naturally selected to survive chases from packs of hounds and horsemen. Somehow I doubt the fox was in any danger. Eventually I heard the beer can being crushed and responsibly deposited at random, and the sozzled dog-walker ambled back across the car park, where he no doubt spent most of the night trying to remember which house he got the dog from.
I was watching one of those Police 'fly on the wall' programs recently. Not sure which, there's quite a few of them. Police Patience On Patrol? Motorway Mental Cases? Worlds Wildest Policewoman? Don't know. Anyway, this particular program featured Police action from my own home town. It was a little wierd watching them chase a joyrider outside my home. Given the date and time of night, I was undoubtedly at home, playing Grand Theft Auto into the wee small hours, tutting about yet another police siren whizzing up and down the street. Such is life. Nonetheless crime does go on around us. Just last night I was woken by something, suddenly aware that the diesel generator powering the array of amber and turquoise lights in the Old College site had gone silent. A distant command "Stop!" was clearly audible. Sadly life isn't quite the same as television or film, so there was no "You'll never take me alive copper!" and whatever drama took place, it was done largely silently. You never know, I might see the drama replayed with exciting commentary on television next year. It does appear however that for someone life did get a bit more dramatic. This morning I left the library having completed my job searching for the day, and saw two police cars parked in the square. You do see policemen at the library sometimes, and once I watched a troublemaker manhandled out of the building. No-one seemed to know what trouble he had actually caused, but since he was definitely a bit irate, shouting at the policemen to let him go with references to their parentage, then by the rules of television documentaries he was guilty as charged. But today there was no action. Just those police vehicles, but I couldn't help thinking that something more sinister than a tantrum had occurred. Then I saw the constable on guard duty outside a bookies. So something had gone down. A van labelled as belonging to the forensic team turned up to show what a serious incident had taken place. Journalists milled around outside with oversized cameras and busy phone calls. People like me stood around waiting for something to happen. Of course, it already had. The Case Of The Missing Eunos Cabriolet Nope. Still no leads on the fate of my stolen car. Not even after watching a documentary about police action in my area. But at least I know the first names of several police officers and their favourite make of car. You never know, could be valuable information in my enquiry. Issue of the Week This has to be the huge concerns of subsidence in my area given the huge chunk of the hillside recently removed by building contractors. My home is, and I quote, "right on the firing line". Rather worringly I have noticed a few new cracks in the wall though not so serious as the 1885 Baptist Chapel at the other end of the alleyway, which is no longer fit for use and has a huge great steel support bolted on the side to stop it falling over. Currently disused? I'm suprised no-one round here has thought of nicking it.
The Old College site still looms large in our local concerns. Even now, they're still trucking huge lumps of hillside away to some infill site somewhere. The sandy soil has now gone so they're digging up dark grey clay, thick lumpy soil that forms steep sided piles. The rain hasn't helped of course. looking down onto the site it got quite messy down there for a while - they've had to lay down a level of rubble to make the surface usable. The other day I was passing the site with my shopping, noticing that the roadway they'd dug up had flooded. Quite an impressive puddle it was too, although I don't think the civil engineer I spoke to was too impressed with my sense of humour. Worse still, subsidence has reared its ugly head. There's a meeting at our local civic offices for citizens none too imopressed with cracks in the walls of their homes. Meanwhile, Back At The Job Centre My claims advisor is not impressed. This time however it isn;t me. It seems the usual protocol of queuing until spoken to has not been taught to a younger generation, who clearly have more important things to do with their time than attend the Job Centre when required. Energy Bill Of The Week Back in October I had a bit of an argument with my gas supplier. They wanted to add a standing charge to my tariff which would more than double the cost of gas over winter. It's okay though, because David Cameron says there's no cost of living crisis. So, in an event to prove our glorious leader is infallible, I basically told the gas company to close my contract. Don't want your stupid gas any more. You wouldn't believe the excuses they came out with to avoid doing that. Apparently cancelling a gas supply is illegal or something like that. Don't care. Cancel it. So they wrote to me telliing me that gas supply is the basis of all civilisation. So I wrote to them cancelling my contract officially. Good riddance. Imagine then my alarm this week, three months after I had forgotten the existence of natural gas, when I received a gas bill for using no gas whatsoever. Are they serious? Do they really believe that I'm going to pay? Guys - The contract is cancelled! It's been cancelled for three months! Deal with it!