About Me

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I'm 57 years old, working full time, wife, mother and grand mother, wishing that I wasn't working full time! I love and enjoy our children and grandchildren, our dogs and cat, our garden and allotment. I love crafts - knitting, sewing, crocheting, patchwork and restoring old furniture. I love to go to country auctions and love thinking that I've got my self a bargain!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Leather Handbags!

Hi there

Hope you are all OK out there and that life is treating you kindly, I've had a lovely week this week just pottering around at my own pace, I've mostly been painting - the Farrow and Ball 'Pointing' eggshell paint has been put to good use on an old kitchen chair and glazed corner unit for the summer house. (Photo's to follow).

I picked up a double bed valence from the charity shop the other day for the princely sum of £2.50 in the old Marks and Spenser Rosebud pattern (from the 1980's) unused  - which is going to make some cushion covers and bunting for the summer house. (Another job to add to the list for rainy days!).

I had one day this week when I thought I'm going to listen to the Archers whilst I'm sitting here painting.  So I put the catch up edition on the computer and  it was like stepping back in time, when the music came on, as my Nan used to whistle along to the theme tune when I was a child and for a second she was there with me again whistling along - I still don't know know who's who in the Archers but I intend to carry on listening to it when I can.

I did a posting recently whereby I said I would happily cast adrift some of our more radical residents of this county and when I wrote it I thought that some people may think me cold hearted and heartless. To a point I am - I don't suffer fools (or these people) lightly and a lot of it is due to the knocks I've had through life and to the jobs I had to do to earning my living and pay my mortgage.

Throughout the 90's I worked for a local authority as a rent officer, at the same time I had been left a single parent with 3 teenagers, still at school, to keep and a mortgage to pay and at that time I did 3 jobs ( one full time and 2 part time on the evenings) to keep a roof above our heads (as the prat I was married to and trying to divorce wouldn't pay out either to help keep the children or towards the roof over their heads).

As a rents officer I heard every excuse going why the tenants couldn't pay their rent that week. I once interviewed one who said that she couldn't pay her rent because the T.V. was a 'pay as you watch' and it was costing her so much money - she was quite promptly told to join the library and start reading books instead of watching the T.V. and I expected her rent to be paid without fail in future or else she would be evicted and where would the pay as you watch T.V. go then! - as I told her this my colleague, sitting beside me was choking with laughter.

Then there was the lady who came in telling me that she couldn't pay the rent as her husband just didn't give her enough money - when I went through what her husband earned against their expenses it was quite apparent that he was holding a lot of money back for himself, when I asked her where this money went she explained that he went fishing a lot and his money was spent on that (better than booze I suppose) I asked her to bring him in and promised her that I wouldn't tell him that I knew where his money was going.

She duly brought him into this office and we went through his income and expenditure and he agreed that there was a considerable sum left over each week - it took some time for him to admit that he was spending it on his fishing and the competitions he entered (it took so long it was like extracting teeth!) I asked what was more important to him the roof over his and his children's  head or his fishing competitions - I held my breath as I asked this question, luckily he realised and said the roof - I breathed a sigh of relief and his rent was always paid after that.

Then there was the single middle aged lady who never and I mean never paid her rent - she didn't work - claimed benefits, but was always dressed up to the nine's, she'd come in the office to tell me she couldn't possible pay her rent that week because of a,b, and c and all the time the make-up and the hair would be perfect along with the attire but what used to rile me was the leather handbags she always had (this was at the time when my handbags came off the local market stall for no more that £5.00 each and only one at a time when the last one had broke and I was working day and night!)........(Thank God those days have gone and I am now on par with her - only took me another 10 years of working to get there!). Every time I went for eviction on her  - she would miraculously find the money to stave it off till the next time.

There were some cases that we didn't win and I remember one day in the mid 90's when the bailiff and myself ran around one area doing 9 evictions - it never bothered me doing an eviction - they had the same chances as me - they were capable of getting up off their backsides and getting a job to keep the roof over their heads - if  they couldn't be bothered then they didn't deserve to have the roof as far as I was concerned.

I've had calendars thrown at me and once a chair - when I told him that the warrant that he'd ignored was going to be executed that morning and that  he was going  be evicted in just over an hours time. When we got there to do the eviction he was still throwing items in his car which he promptly mounted the kerb to drive at us as he left.

So if I am cynical and a little cold hearted it's because I've heard a lot of excuses and seen a lot of crocodile tears  in my time - I also heard the genuine reasons why someone couldn't pay and those people were the ones that I always had time for and the ones that I did anything I could to get them the help that they deserved. like the OAP's who saw that claiming benefits was charity and then lived on next to nothing so that they'd be first in the queue on a Monday morning to pay their rent.

They were good days (if only for me and not the ones I evicted!)

I have lots of stories and tales of those days - I'll tell you more another time.



  1. Gosh, what a hard job. I wouldn`t have had the guts to confront people like you did. That does take courage and a lot of guts! Well done for sticking at three jobs to support your kids. That deserves a medal! We all have some stories to tell. I went through a divorce in the eighties, re-married in the nineties, then having to split from that relationship after finding he had been sexually abusing my daughter for nearly 6 years, behind my back. I then brought up my three kids on my own. You are right though. After a while it makes you quite abrasive towards the slackers and the undesireables of society.

    1. Gosh Sarina - I thought that I'd had a rough time but what you went through was far worse - I think that I would have been tempted to go for him with the kitchen knife right where it would have brought tears to his eyes! That must have been so hard.
      It cost me 40k to get rid of the prat and I lost my nice house and had to move to this little cottage and that's the reason why I still work and commute up and down the motorway each day. But he lost much more - non of my children have had anything to do with him and he's missed the weddings and the grandchildren - he was a silly man - Thank goodness I met and finally married my hubby - he helped to restore my faith in people xx

  2. That's very much my attitude...everything hubby and I have is through our own hard work. We have sacrificed much to be where we are now.We have always paid our own way, we paid for our wedding (I was 21 hubby was 23)and everything else before and after. It makes me angry when people expect everything for nothing, and feel hard done too all the time.
    Bravo to you!
    Jane x

    1. Hi Jane,
      I so agree with all that you've said - I could tell you so many tales of when I've stood on front desk and had to listen to people moaning about the house that they lived in rent free because they got H.B. and then when we had to go out and do a property inspection you would not believe how some of them lived - so dirty and untidy but always a 50 inch TV in the corner of the living room and the very newest mobile phone in their hand, whilst they moaned about all that hadn't been handed to them on a plate.
      All at a time when I was working so hard to feed my kids and pay my bills - I can't tell you how many times I've had to bite my tongue and not say what I think just to keep my job xxx

  3. Lovely to hear from you, it seems ages...
    Very interesting post and something to mull over.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. You have my utmost admiration.Within 3 years of meeting, J and I had saved the deposit for a house, carpeted and furnished it, despite him not having a job for 2 of those years( it was the early 80s and he was made redundant twice in 4 months). When he did get a job we sometimes worked 60 or 70 hour weeks to save the money- always a minimum of 50.We didn't expect anything to be given to us - we knew we had to work hard for what we wanted. That's why it annoyed me so much a few months ago when a woman on over 26k of benefits whined that she might have to move house because with the new levels being introduced she wouldn't be able to afford the rent in the nice area she lived in. I can only live in a nice area because I've made sacrifices since I was 16, something I'm still doing.

    1. Oh Scarlet I remember the recession of the 1980's - it was hard then, there was so many redundancies weren't there?
      I've watched families that are now into the 3rd generation of non workers - We're so lucky that we have our benefit system as a safety net for people when life goes wrong but I'm sure that it wasn't meant to be abused to the point it is today.
      The only thing I can say for all of us is that we can hold our heads up with pride for what we've achieved - Hope you're feeling better today xxx