Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Flatmate Wanted

Yuuka and Fleur

Hey! We're looking for a calm, considerate, creative, green-minded vegan with NO ANGER AT ALL to share our lovely home which is situated in the heart of the vibrant People's Republic of Stokes Croft. My name is Yuuka (used to be Cathy but I changed it) and I am training to be a psychophonetics counsellor and Fleur is not working at the moment as she has recently tried to kill herself. We are both totally laid back and chilled. We are also quite political (we really hate Tesco and homeless people) so if you're not passionate about these things it might not work out! The room has an AMAZING energy and is really sunny, even though it's north-facing! Weird! can't wait to hear from you!!! Love and peace. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hello, I am looking for a lodger to live in my large town house in Montpelier. I live here alone as my children have all grown up and left me which of course is normal and part of life I work from home most days so the would be best suited to someone who is hardly ever around. I am at home most mornings, most afternoons and most evenings. And most nights. People with partners or who are likely to meet a partner need not apply. Also, if you have friends over, I would be grateful if you could either not have them over, have them over when I am out (but make sure that they leave at least 30 minutes before I am due home) or give me at least 12 hours notice. I know all this sounds quite controlling but it's better to lay down the ground rules from the outset. The room is just off the kitchen on the ground floor (easy access to washing machine) and can fairly easily fit a single bed if you don't mind sleeping with the door open. The rent is £700 pcm, exclusive of bills. If you want to call me about the room, please text me first and then wait for 20 minutes and then call. If I don't answer then I don't know what to suggest.


Looking for a person to live in my house for six months while I try to sell it. Recently divorced. My 12-year-old son comes to stay for half the week and will be sleeping on the bottom bunk in your room so I'm not really sure whether I should be asking for a woman or a man. I guess I'll decide when I meet you. Incidentally, the part of the week that my son comes to stay, I usually have go to London for work. The house is in a bit of a mess but it's not too bad. You can have money off the rent if you do the odd bit of cleaning. Hobbies include: emails, walking round the block and making toast. Call any time. Cheers.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


It wasn't brave
Or confessional
Or nerve touching
Here is why:
Because of hands on eyes
Because of eyes on window
Because of window as bent mirror;
(a spineless, gormless god)
Because to take it back
Was to leave a cavity
Of deafening drums
And because those beautiful, bruised tears
Were just like ink

Thursday, 22 March 2012


L is a 45-year-old woman and lives with her abusive partner. L suffers from a debilitating mood disorder and finds it very difficult to manage her affairs. She is isolated and fearful most of the time. She has no friends to speak of because her partner has forbidden them. Her family live hundreds of miles away and she is estranged from them.

At the moment, L is in receipt of Incapacity Benefit which is a benefit for people who are not well enough to work and who have paid enough national insurance contributions through employment. It is a non means-tested benefit which means that the income of the claimant and other members of his / her household is not taken into account.

L's partner works full time and earns a very good wage. Because L's Incapacity Benefit is non means-tested, her partner's income was not taken into account for the purposes of her benefit claim. This is a convenient arrangement for her as her partner does not share his income with her in any respect. In other words, L would be without an income if it weren't for her Incapacity Benefit.

The government has scrapped Incapacity Benefit and replaced it with a new benefit called Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). Every Incapacity Benefit claimant will, at some point, be told that their benefit will be coming to an end and invited to make a new claim for ESA. Migration onto ESA is by no means automatic and the law around entitlement to it is very different from that of Incapacity Benefit.

When L is migrated onto ESA (assuming she passes the work capability assessment and is awarded the benefit), she will be paid contributory ESA which is non means-tested. This means that, financially, she will be in the same or, at least, a very similar position to the one she is currently in.

However, the new ESA regulations say all Incapacity Benefit claimants who were migrated onto contributory ESA (which is non means-tested) will only be entitled to this for 12 months. After this, claimants can make a claim for income-related ESA which is means-tested.

This will cause L huge problems. When her 12-month period has expired, she will almost certainly not be entitled to income-related ESA as her partner's income will be taken into account, which will take her over the threshold for entitlement. When this happens, she will be without her own income and will have to rely on her partner's. She insists that her partner will refuse to support her financially. 

L has been with her partner for nearly 20 years and says that she cannot leave him because she would not know how. She is reluctant to get legal advice around the domestic violence and, given the changes to legal aid, it is unlikely that L would be entitled to legal aid for this as she would probably not be able to provide the appropriate evidence required to access it.

The likely outcome of L's situation is that she will descend further into isolation and her health problems will become worse. Her lack of autonomy will become more pronounced as she loses her last grain of independence and she will be failed by the government's hostile new legal aid bill if she tries to get help to leave her abuser.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Eavesdrop #8

An elderly couple are walking their dog who is apparently called Skip

Man               Skip! Come back here this instant or you'll be going to prison this evening!

Woman         (to a passer by) Excuse my husband dear. He sounds like a mentalist, doesn't he?