Cold, hungry, no heating & ate my last decent food, which was a packet of 25p noodles this afternoon, it will be Thursday when I get Job Seekers Allowance (access to money) so a few days to go, however I have a little bit of oats (porridge) so I do have food, I don’t drink cows milk anyway but would normally use soya milk for such things but I don’t have any so it will be with water when I get really hungry. It will consist of oats and water, I’ve eaten this before, many times, it’s not that bad but it’s not something you can look forward to.
This month has been the worst, I paid my phone bill of £100 for three months, which covers me until December, that’s basically land line rental and unlimited internet (not calls, I don’t make any phone calls) with BT Basic, which is a low cost option for people on benefits. They don’t tell you, you have to find out, see here if you could qualify. BT BASIC
So paying £100 out of £130 (two weeks benefit £65 per week – I have attachment of benefit with non payment of council tax previously so I don’t get the full £72 per week). So, I got £130 into my bank, it was the last day I had to pay my BT bill or I would incur a late payment fee and then be put on restriction of service and incoming calls only, which having been there before know you have to pay a fee to reconnect to full service again so you’re charged a lot more than people who can pay, financial penalties on the poor.
I then had £30 left to cover two weeks living.
I had no electric so £20 (£10 a week) went on that, which barely covers it and I have to be on electric rations because £3.65 per week is taken out of the pre-payment meter on arrears, on what I owe in electric from non payment of electric bill previously, so the £10 per week doesn’t cover my electric debt along with the 24p per day standing charge and actual electric I use. So scraping by on electric rations, which often run out and I’m left in the dark as well as the cold. I then had £10 for two weeks. I somehow managed, I’ve lost weight but at least I’ve eaten, that was my diet of humous and reduced out of date bread/foods which came in at an average of £1.35 per day and 1200 calories. That post of everything that went into my digestive system is here in a glorious spreadsheet. That was then, two more weeks have passed since then.
Because of paying all that money on my phone bill I couldn’t pay my usual £27 per week mortgage, so the next time I got JSA benefit I had to pay £100 mortgage catch up, which again left just £30 for electric and food (I’m aware I’m suppose to pay council tax, debts and other things out of that, but there’s no way I can, it doesn’t stretch that far, I’m in survival) so again with £30 for two weeks I put in £20 electric (the meter having just .29p left on emergency credit) and had £10 left, which I thought would spend £5 per week on food. It’s been really tough these weeks though as I had to pay £4.50 out on something else so it’s been bleak at £5.50 for two weeks.. It’s been very hard trying to make £2.25 but a whole weeks food. There isn’t anywhere I can get money, I haven’t had parents since being a teenager, I don’t have friends or family except for two children, now aged 20 and 22 who no longer live with me. My daughter bought me a chocolate bar, which I saved as a weekend treat. She will also bring me a few spoonfuls of coffee and a toilet roll now and then when I ask her nicely from the house she’s living in, those things make a huge difference to my quality of life when I have none. I appreciate food, I don’t take it for granted. I like food, I miss cooking food since I haven’t afforded gas for a long time. I have to buy reduced food that requires no cooking or just ‘add boiling water’ or microwave (but again these methods of cooking – kettle and microwave consume electric and being on rations have to watch every single unit I use. It makes me sad that I’ve lost that enjoyment too. Food has no real interest to me at the moment, it’s not the same if you have to eat things you don’t like, meals are no longer pleasurable but a chore and not a very pleasant one.
I’d bought an average size (400g) jar of tomato pasta sauce for £1 which I though would do 4 meals, I had some cheap pasta already in the cupboard so I ate that for two days (nothing else) I had to cook the pasta by adding boiling water then leaving to soften (have no gas for the cooker) then I microwaved it for a few minutes only, the pasta (either because it was cheap or because it was wholegrain or because of the unconventional way I cooked it was all gluttonous and horrible, it was vile. I felt like I identified with African tribes or really skinny people who get no taste pleasure from eating, just something they HAVE to do to stay alive, gain nutrition and energy. It becomes a dilemma, where hunger pangs are more tolerable than the horrible food you have to eat. So you put it off for a long as possible.
It’s so interesting to observe things. My appetite has certainly changed, my enjoyment of food has also changed, I loved food, it was the highlight of my day, my week and one of my few pleasures left. I love salad and I love vegetables and I love crisp and chocolate and and and ooo too many things but that was then, those things (perhaps because I can’t have them – I don’t know the reason) have no appeal to me anymore. Sadly, I’m only too aware of how my simplest of pleasures, one of the few I have left has dropped out of my life one by one because of money, I once had a car (to get to work), I could once upon a time put the fire on or turn the boiler on for heating, I once had hot water, I once bought a pie from a shop or a new pair of shoes (no more), I’ve never had a holiday in my life. I’m in my 40’s and I’ve never been on holiday. I’ve never had a birthday celebration, never been out on my birthday or had a birthday party. I’m sure a large percent of the population never have a holiday or a birthday party in their entire lives, I’m no different. I once had ability to cook food with gas though, like home made pizza in the oven, or make a homemade pie.. All these things have gone, I’m not sure I’ll ever have any of them again.
Today, like yesterday and the day before I have 6 layers on; a vest top, a long sleeve cotton t-shirt, a polar neck polyester jumper, a lambswool jumper, an acrylic jumper and finally a padded bodywarmer (gillet).. My legs are cold and I have 3 layers on them; a pair of leggings, a pair of polyester jog bottoms and a pair of linen trousers, it’s 13 degrees, I’m fully aware of temperature and it’s 13 degrees, I’m dreading winter, it was hell surviving through temperatures of 8-11 degrees last year with no means of heating, I honestly wanted to die at times as my fingers were unable to move, my knees ceased up and coughing constantly from breathing in freezing cold air 24/7. I’ve done everything to get work, convinced I’d rather be dead than live though another winter in complete isolation, cold and hungry with no where to go and nothing to do except job seek and apply for 60+ hours a week, wrapped up in layer after layer with hot water bottle on your lap and a duvet wrapped around you as you trawl though indeed and other job sites hour after hour, week, on week and the weeks turn into months and then years.. I use to think there was a way out with effort, intelligence, talent or trying, trying, trying, but now at the age that I am and also facing ageism from employers I’m convinced there isn’t a way out, if I take a look at the eastern block or Russia or the average person anywhere in lower economic class that’s what I feel my life is like here now, there’s no opportunities. I once had delusion, delusions I could escape the poverty, with hard work, with talent, with education, with trying, but I realise now they were just delusions. You’re trapped. There’s no social mobility and life is grim. I’m not surprised people have delusions, I think I preferred my life with delusions, they are motivators, they motivate you to try, to work hard, to gain knowledge, thinking these things are keys to escape poverty but these things don’t open doors to opportunities, they are futile. I also think while I’m under no delusions anymore and the harsh dystopian realities hit home some time ago, I think I have replaced my delusions with mysticism, something I can switch on and off at will and when I switch it on, I can actually feel my brain feels better, my existence feels better, my world view changes and it’s a better world view, a world view where society is irrelevant and conditioning falls away and you’re at one with the natural laws of the universe.
I actually feel ill today, I usually have energy and I’m hoping I’m just a bit under the weather, I ran out of coffee a few days ago so perhaps that might have something to do with it too, caffeine withdrawl. I love my coffee, learned to have it black, no sugar, a long time ago after not affording added extras and it’s really a great thing is that, to consume natural products in their natural form and appreciate and enjoy it. I think milk and sugar in tea and coffee is consumer conditioning where were encouraged to consume anything and everything to keep the economy going. Anyhow I just feel no energy, no motivation and that’s unlike me, it might be the cold or (the cold I have -running nose and sore throat and sneezing every few seconds – this might be polyps in my nose, I don’t know but about 3 pints of liquid has left my nose this morning and I can’t stop sneezing, perhaps the dust is something to do with that, these again have a knock on effect because I have no materials to blow my nose, I’ve used up all the old t-shirts of my children for such purpose and I need to keep my old clothes to wear, the clothes I have on now are over 10 years old, a £3 polyester jumper from Primark, an £8 lambswool jumper from TK Max which is hideous to look at with the design but well worth the money to keep warm, I look at the fabrics on clothes, not really what they look like, they have to be practical and for purpose, not for aesthetics, I’m not superficial. Anyway I digress..
I do feel beaten, like I’ve just given in, thrown in the towel. I don’t know, I just want Thursday to come, the cats wont eat much tomorrow either, when I say I had £10 for two weeks, that’s included £2.49 spent on cat food.. But there’s little left of that. I’m trying to think of Thursday when I can go and buy something for us to eat, that’s something to look forward to, the only thing in the future to look forward to, it means I can actually leave the house, go somewhere, I like being out or if I have to be in, be creative, but being in the house 24/7 for eternity one can get cabin fever, I do go walking when the weather is nice, I’m lucky in that the countryside is not far so I will go for a forage see what foods I can find. Berries, mushrooms and the likes, plus I enjoy being on my own in the wild, observing plants and animals I come upon and feeling at one with nature and the universe, it’s a great feeling being the only person on the moors with the sun shining on you, not a man made object in sight, it’s a quite a spiritual experience.
I’m making mental lists of essentials, like coffee ready for Thursday because I have to plan the wisest of spending, I think it’s essential I get cup of soups in, I use to get them from Tesco’s at 4 for 20p which works out at 5p each cup of soup, with a slice of bread that is a very cheap meal ( was working near to Tesco’s and use to pop in to buy them, then doing quite a skilled job that required a lot of experience and I was on the minimum wage. My job required a university degree and experience, so it wasn’t just a unskilled manual job I was doing for 15k at my age, this is the reality that most people who’ve been in the same job for 20+ years have no idea of how things have changed. I’m not near a Tesco’s now but the cheapest cup a soups I’ve found work out at 12p each. I use to love Ristorante pizza, that was always a treat to look forward to, often reduced to £1.25 that was a nice weekend treat when I had gas to cook one. Not last summer but the summer before Ristorante had free pizza’s with a token on the box and I can honestly say they actually kept me alive over summer that year with free food. I’ll never forget that. But now I have no gas to cook and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat a Ristorante pizza ever again. My favourite the mushroom one. Which reminds me, I know I’m rambling but I watched youtube video on how to cook a potato in a fire so I have some old wood from an old fence of the neighbours and a fire pit and some bills I need to burn so I might get some potatoes and tin foil and cook a whole batch in the back yard then put them in my ice box in the fridge and defrost when required, then it’s just a matter of a few minutes in the microwave to heat up. I do have to plan and prepare food a lot of the time in advance to save money and fuel and having ready meals in your fridge you prepared earlier is of course convenient.Win Win..
I don’t have miss ‘food’ like veg, fruit and salad. I’ve never been a fan of processed food but understand it’s convenient and isn’t perishable. On the plus side, I’ve not had digestive problems since I’ve been on food rations, I have suffered IBS a lot, to the point of despair, I’ve avoided fructose and in the last years, which I thought helped (thinking I might have fructose malabsorbtion) and the rare occassions I had money would buy HCL (hydrocloric adic – digest enzyme) available from health food stores which also seemed to help (for low stomach acid – which was unable to digest the bulk of foods in my system), I can only think my digestive system is OK currently because it has little work to do, there’s barely anything in there for it to digest. So that’s a positive. I’m not saying I’m cured by eating a lot less because I’m not, it’s still noisy and grumbles immediately when something enters my digestive system, which is fermentation I guess of digestive problems but it’s still much better than it was, I was at times disabled by it, by the swelling and the lethargy and the pressure put upon my other organs when my girth would expand by 12 inches of bloating from say, a small glass of orange juice. I only drink water and black coffee these days, even tea, seems to have a horrible effect on me, like I’ve been poisoned and need to lie on the floor from exhaustion after just one cup of ear grey tea.
Well like I said I hope today is just a run down day, I have so much I want to do but no energy to do any of it, I’ve spend a few days of late updating my profile on sites to find work in an industry I have experience in, I realised on there I might be able to get work as a motion graphics animator if I equip myself with the skills, so I’ve been practicing a bit more with youtube tutorials and I know when I use my brain a lot it gets tired, mental activity can be as exhausting as physical activity so I’m hopeful there’s a good reason I feel so crap today and hope tomorrow I will be able to do something. I’m just gonna sit and watch tv now to turn my brain off and get under a cover because I’m bloody freezing. Yesturday I taped bubble wrap around me as an extra layer to protect me from the cold in my house. I then put the hair drying on it thinking it might warm up the air in the bubbles and keep me warm for a while, but it wasn’t the most warmest or most comfortably thing and the sleeves I’ve fashioned from a sheet kept falling down. I’m sure there must be some technology that can heat a house up without consuming traditional fuel, or costing money. I’ve used the candle plant pots several times and was totally dependent upon them until one started to smoke black and the aluminum tea light actually caught fire and I could easily have died of carbon monoxide poisoning (black smoke) or fire, it was REALLY FUCKING SCARY and I am very lucky, I must remind all people who use these of the dangers, ALWAYS keep a bucket of water close to the candle/plant pot heater to drench the flame should it get out of control, and they can get out of control, however ingenious they are.