Wednesday, May 16, 2007


To those of you who commented and emailed me about my post "A few more grey hairs"; I had many words of support, many words of good advice and much sharing of your own stories about your own "rides on the the DHSS merry-go-round"; I thank you for that. To the one (I stress one) emailer who said my post was (I quote);

"Nothing more than an online begging letter"

well I doubt if you'll be visiting my blog again and reading this so I won't waste my breath on you. For the rest of you this is how things possibly stand at the moment;

I have received a letter re: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. On the assumption that I will receive £87.30 Bereavement Allowance (this has yet to be confirmed) this means that I will have an excess income (above what the Government thinks I should live on) of £28.15. Therefore any Housing Benefit I could receive has to reduced by 65% of £28.15 and any Council Tax Benefit I could receive has to be reduced by has to be reduced by 20% of £28.15. (are you with me so far?)......

This means that out of the £28.15 excess I have to pay £18.30 plus £5.63 meaning that my total income will be £87.30 less £23.93.......using fingers and toes and a calculator I reckon this means I have £63.37 per week left to live on. A fortune to many in some parts of the world I know but as my.......
Water £10.00p.w.
Telephone £12.00p.w. (this could be higher due to the countless calls to the DHSS)
Electric £10.00p.w. (this could possibly reduce now that I don't have the electric bed and hoist)
Gas £20.00p.w. (this could reduce during the Summer and I now don't need to keep the house warm for Mick)........

comes to a total of £52.00 a week before I even start paying for my mobile phone (this I think will have to go), credit card bills (I've had to use these a lot the last couple of years) and unimportant things like food and clothing I think things are going to get tough. I certainly have to find a job.......of course then I imagine I will lose all benefits and have to pay full rent and council tax. I've made a rough guesstimation that in order to pay my bills I need to bring home (after tax) £250.00 per week.......if I want to eat, clothe myself, need transport costs to get to work and buy Christmas/Birthday presents etc I'll need more. As I'd like to at least EAT I'm thinking I shall need a "take home" wage of at least £300.00 per week..

The Minimum Wage as set by the Government is currently £5.05 per hour (before tax) I can't see me getting a job as a Brain Surgeon or an Astronaut and knowing how poor the job market is around here I can't see me getting a job that earns more than the minimum wage; plus I have my age (55) against me.

I worked out that this means I need a job that will allow me to work over 54 hours a week (this will increase depending how much Tax I have to pay).

flying pigs And pigs may fly!
This seems a good time to post The Prayer For The Stressed that WildlifeGardener left in my comment box a few days ago.........

A Prayer For The Stressed.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I
cannot change,
The courage to change the things I cannot accept,
And the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill today
because they got on my nerves.
And also, help me to be careful of the toes I tread on today
as they may be connected to the feet I may have to kiss tomorrow.
Help me always to give 100% at work...
12% Monday,23% Tuesday, 40% Wednesday,
20% Thursday, and 5% Friday.
And help me to remember...
When I'm having a bad day and it seems that people are trying to wind me up,
it takes 42 muscles to frown,
28 to smile and only 4 to extend my arm and smack
someone in the mouth!

The author wishes to state that no begging was implied in this post, though next weeks winning Lottery numbers would be nice!

13 visitors have commented:

Stewart said...

Dearest Ruth, how my heart goes out to you.
How I wish & wish & wish.
I have read the nuts & bolts of it all, remember how a few months ago, you worried about all the implications that lay in wait ahead.
Here, I have to say this following, because we have been "together" through so much that is really traumatic, not just stressful and you know some of my story, especially the recent, from the time we "found" each other [I've long forgotten how that happened, but remember its initial impact].
The best way that I can express my solidarity is to do with Ana. Take what have you have described here, the sums. Now think of a person same age as you, but here in "Paradise-Portugal...until something goes wrong".
Think of that person suffering a massive heart attack, that ended her professsional life.
Think of her having to care for an ailing mother, the 2 of them eventually living on Mum's pension after the (pitifully small, compared to the UK)Soc. Security Unemployment stopped - money that couldn't even cover the medicines they needed when the fixed pension got overtaken by inflation, etc.
Think of the time, less than a year ago, when Ana thought about how the inevitable passing away would stop that pension & open the way for the landlord to set a new contract on the flat (up 330% since March).
And think of how it all looked to Ana when Leonor did pass away last Sept 4th & she had not one penny to pay the funeral.
That's enough to think about. Now just think about me - and what I have done, with those 4 moves in 10 months, until I arrived in the flat.....Now do you understand why I am here, with no alternative?
As long as I have strength & work.....
And now do you understand why I was probably the first those months ago to understand & feel what your preoccupations for the future were about? And today?
How my heart goes out to you.
I wish & wish & wish.....
"An online begging letter"? I hope the heartless, gutless bean-brain who bothered to write that does return here, and can feel eternally ashamed of themselves. This is called the REAL WORLD, Bean-Brain. No place for the likes of you. it gets so dirty, it stinks; it's so mean, it hurts; it's so egocentric, it can make you vomit.
And yet, you know something? There are people in this world like Ruth. You can't see it, but this woman is worth about 10 million of your kind. And there would be so much more space for those who ask for nothing more than they are entitled to, but give 1,000 times more than they may feel obliged to.
Heart, Bean-Brain...Try putting your ear to your wallet. You might just hear yours flickering.
With all my love, Ruth my friend.

Sylvia said...

I hope things will begin to work out for you and as for the inconsiderate person who left that rude comment, GO FLY A KITE AND FALL OFF A CLIFF. The poem made me laugh today.

CG said...

Oh I wish I could just wave a magic wand and find you a job!!

RUTH said...

I think the reason I lay my soul/life bare the way I do in my blogs is because I know from emails that I receive that there are so many others like you and I Stewart who have been through/going through so much but they keep their story hidden. I want them to know they are not alone. Many lives are much worse than mine(how my heart aches for Ana); I try to always acknowledge that; my health is reasonably good, I have good family support and I will never have to fear where my next meal is coming from. If my story can touch one life and make them feel less alone in the way that the support I have received from all of my blog friends makes me feel less alone, then a few heartless anonymous words won't hurt me.

Stewart said...

And that's why we love you so much!
I've never dealt well with seeing those I care about in trouble, other than doing all I can to put it right. We know when it's not enough & it makes you feel impotent to to be able to do more. But injustice, whether it's moral or legal, is something else. It gets me mad.
However, there's always a way. With adaptation, sure, but a way.

Now, you put the kettle on & I'll carry on slaving over this pc with the whole of Lisbon's municipal accounts to earn a few €€€s! SXXX

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm so sad to read all this, Ruth, after reading how content you were in your post ystrdy re home sweet home. I feel there no one at the Citizens Advice Bureau who could suggest alternative avenues to getting everything you should be getting vis a vis entitlements. They can't expect you to starve.

RUTH said...

I do intend making an appointment with the CAB about various things; I doubt much can be done re actual income as "benefits" are set in stone.

Akelamalu said...

First of all I would like to say two words to the imbecile who said your post was a begging letter - the second word is OFF!

Benefits are not set in stone, you get the CAB on your case and keep fighting your corner.

I wish you all the luck in the world Ruth, especially with the lottery. x

Mauigirl said...

Dear Ruth, I know you will find a way to get what you need to live on - and even go to the Bahamas (or Hawaii!) at some point! Along with everyone else, I am sending positive thoughts your way. If you do indeed have to do something to earn money I suggest you do something that is related to writing and/or gardening. Perhaps there is a way to make money with your many talents, and not at minimum wage, either! Is there a gardening publication you could work for? You must know a lot about all the plants you raise and how they should be coddled and cared for, and which ones do well where, etc. Perhaps the newspaper needs a gardening columnist, or the local garden store could use a very knowledgeable manager! Or perhaps there are ways to make money with your blogs. I have full faith that you can do something that you will enjoy and yet still bring you income, if it comes to needing that.

Sheila said...

As far as the person who wrote
"Nothing more than an online begging letter"..what a waste of space they are..!It never entered my head for a second that you were doing anything but stating the facts, and if that person had been visiting here long enough they would know that.
I second Akelamalu's comment..!
Without trying to be funny, perhaps you should apply for a position with local have had enough training, listening to them witter on..!
Oh, no sorry, you don't have a heart..!

Claire said...

I am sending nice vibes through the ear junk and trying not to have a fit of rage over that email you got.

Pat said...

Hi Ruth...

Just trying to get caught up with my posting in the various blogs. It's been awhile as life has been so hectic for me in many ways...

My thoughts and prayers go out to you this evening.

And lots of {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

My PAD and
Guelph Daily Photo

Jenny said...

I find it so strange that there are people in the world that take the time to write nastly comments on people's blogs. Are they trolling around looking for people to kick when they're down? I just can't understand it. However, I've recently learned one useful thing: they have no power - they can't hurt you if you choose not to be hurt by their words! The only person they are making unhappy is themselves! Hugs to you, Ruth!