I wonder if this absolutely true story will make you as cross as it made me?
I’d been shopping and was, for once, in a very chirpy frame of mind. The bus was on time, the bus driver was smiling – all was well in my world. I settled into my seat, an elderly couple sat behind me and an older lady with lots of bags (who I shall refer to as A) sat a couple of seats behind them. On the other side of the aisle a lady (who I shall refer to as B) sat in the front seat.
As we pulled away, there was some ‘Hello, how are you?’ sort of chit chat. Then A asked B how her son was – B answered that he was fine, she’d just left him ‘in that caff’ with his girlfriend. A replied ‘That’s nice. I like her. How’s her baby – must be growing up now?’
B launched into a story about how he wasn’t with that girl now, and she’d been told by ‘the social’ that she had to get a job now her baby was full time at school. No way was she going to work – she didn’t have time – so was going to have another baby instead! (I swear this is true!) No, he wasn’t still living at home, he’d got a council flat! She said he’d gone to the council with ‘his mate’s girl’ and her two children and told the council they were a family and homeless – it only took six months and he got a flat!
The others on the bus were a bit dumb-struck by this and new people got on and were also riveted by the revelations.
A asked if B was still living in the same place. Yes she was, in her four bedroom house, which was lovely because it had a dining room and a nice kitchen that the council had renewed at the end of last year for her. B asked if having such a large house just for her meant her benefits had been cut because of the empty bedrooms! Much laughter from B. No, of course not. When they told her they were coming round, she got her brother, who owned his own ‘gaff’ in Copnor, to come up with some clothes and pretend he was in one room, and her lad came back and said another room was his, and she said the third empty room was her other son’s but he was in hospital (not to mention totally fictitious).
As she pointed out, ‘the council’ was always in a hurry and as long as you spread some clothes about the place, they ticked it off on their list!
She found the stairs wore her out these days so she’d spoke to a ‘really nice young girl’ ‘up the office’ and they were going to put a stair lift in for her too.
The lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder and whispered ‘how does she get away with it?’ Well I don’t know how she gets away with it, but I know who pays for it all and it is each and every one of us who pays our taxes!
When B is enjoying herself in Turkey in June, I bet she doesn’t give a thought to where the money comes from!
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There are a lot of things in life that I am a bit scared of – most of which would make me sound like an idiot! However, I really value my books, read voraciously and enjoy my ability to write – one of my bigger fears is losing this ability.
On Thursday I went for a check up at the opticians. I have one good eye and one which is quite feeble, meaning I’ve worn glasses since I was a small child and which has never got any better. However, as the proud possessor of three pairs of glasses at the moment, I manage.
Imagine my shock to be told I have cataracts! One in each eye but the one in my good eye is worse. The optician told me this in a cheerful voice last heard when my dentist told me my teeth were fine and I didn’t need any work!! What? What do you mean? What can I do about it? Answers came there none except the reassurance that it is to be expected in people ‘of my age’. Apparently it’s still small but is still the reason why I keep complaining that words are blurry and sometimes covered with a grey splodge. I have to go back in another year when it will be measured again to see if it has got any worse. I think I might know before they bother with that!
I’m really not enjoying this ‘getting old’ lark.
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This will probably only mean something to those of you familiar with our local ‘super hospital’ known as the QA.
The Main Man had an appointment this week at quarter to eight in the evening! We gave ourselves plenty of time to find somewhere to park, as this is always the biggest issue there – but there were several ‘disabled’ places to choose from. We strolled in past a group of patients in various stages of undress, some in wheelchairs and one with a bag of some sort of fluid on a stand, all chatting away as they smoked outside the door, totally ignoring the huge signs telling you NOT to smoke!
Along the quiet, empty corridors to the department where all was business as usual. There were about a dozen or so people there, coming and going. The Main Man was soon called and vanished but I was talking to a lady in a wheelchair who comes every three months for a check. She lives at Gosport and has to have a taxi which costs her £14 each way – this is an agreed price and not on the meter because the traffic jams on the single road would bump it up. There used to be a couple of hospitals at Gosport she could have gone to but the NHS decided the Super-hospital would serve the whole area and the others were closed as being uneconomic.
Long before I finished the first chapter of my book, the Main Man was back, finished and we were on our way. Now we have to wait until 15 June for the results!
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The Senior Girl is, as I may have mentioned (cough, cough) a teacher. She asked if I would ring the surgery and make her an appointment for sometime in May to see the doctor either before or after school or on Saturday. Nothing urgent at all but she needed it to be before 24th , when she has another medical appointment that requires the results of her visit to the GP.
No chance of that! No appointments before 8.30 or after 4.00 except with the nurse. Only one Saturday morning a month and that is fully booked. The receptionist could only suggest that she take a morning off and have an appointment mid-morning – but she feels that she can’t just abandon her class for something that isn’t particularly urgent but that she needs to be sorted before another appointment elsewhere.
I know it’s not their fault – they are a bit understaffed with one doctor off on maternity leave and have several locums in and out but it is so frustrating. They used to have at least one evening a week when they opened for appointments until 7.30 pm so that people who were working but had a non urgent reason for seeing the doctor could do so, but not now.
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I hope the sun shines for you over this Bank Holiday weekend and that you enjoy whatever you may be doing. Take care and stay well.