Monday, April 30, 2007

The Worst Morning of my Life....Ever (2)!

I had the worst morning of my life today - well, apart from that time about 15 yrs ago, maybe, when I woke up to found that my pet Guinea Pig had died in the night.* I can't really go into the details, but it involved 1) being told (effectively) that I was going to have to re-do my entire thesis and 2) being told that it was likely that I was going to get a court summons.

Thankfully, Bad Thing number 1 now no longer looks as bad as it did, after a panicked visit to my main thesis supervisor (who wasn't the person who introduced me to Bad Thing no. 1 this morning). It's more or less sorted out. Although I still feel something like I've just had a near-death experience. Not very good for the confidence however.

Bad Thing number 2 involves non-payment of council tax, me not being able to pay it, me not being eligible to pay the full amount anyway, and me not being able to get the council to alter the bill until information I have no access to is passed to them. I'm the only person on the bill at the moment and in order to get other eligible tenants onto the bill (and therefore the amount I owe reduced and the deadline for payment rolled forward) I have to get them to get me some information so that i can pass it to the council. Strikes me as absurd that a) I have to chase other tenants for stuff for the council (isn't that the council's responsibility?) and b) I get a court summons if my fellow tenants don't get the information in time. What can I do about it? I would pay the full bill and then seek to recoup some of the money, but I simply don't have the amount owing. I went to the Citizens' Advice Bureau about this last week - very helpful, but nothing they suggested seemed to wash with the council. Wheels are now moving, but it's going to be tight if I'm to get this stuff to the council before the court summons is delivered.

Anyway, never mind. It doesn't look so bad now. I was about to do some serious flouncing this lunch-time. I was about to flounce off from my PhD (I'm just not prepared to rewrite it all at this late stage - I thought I was about 2 weeks away from submitting at 10 am this morning, then the bad thing happened and then it got better again and I think I'm close to submitting again, although substantially demoralised) and about to flounce off from the council offices in a theatrical state of dismay. In fact, come to think of it, I did do a little bit of flouncing in the council offices when the lady at one desk told me that I would have to go and see another department with my query since they didn't deal with the matter even though Citizens' Advice had told me something different. In fact the lady at the second desk (after having informed me that 'Computer says no' - sorry, that was below the belt) suggested that I physically threaten my housemates in order to get the information I needed. I think she was joking and remember finding it very very funny indeed - although I was probably half hysterical at that point and would have laughed wildly at just about anything.

I have to admit that I'm not normally very good with stress. This morning, however, was quite the most stressful experience I can remember (especially Bad Thing number 1). I was really considering jumping under one of those advertising billboard tricycle things (jumping under anything heavier would have been far too dangerous - it wasn't quite that bad).

* It was kept in a special hutch in the back garden with two others and we had to keep it in a separate section because the other two kept attacking it quite viciously. I woke up one morning to find that it had died - but what upset me most was that it had crawled to the chicken wire dividing its section of the run from that of the other two so that (I imagine) it could die as close to the other Guinea Pigs as possible. That really got me. I was a sentimental child.


Sunday, April 29, 2007


This Duckworth Lewis fellow has a lot to answer for.


Friday, April 27, 2007

This Country Is Going to the Dogs

I saw a young man, today, in skinny tight jeans, white slip on shoes and luminous pink socks. I'm all for a bit of 80s retro in moderation, but I'm sorry that's just going too far. I suppose it could have been worse - one luminous pink sock, one luminous green. It's best to nip these things in the bud, however, and I shall be writing a letter to the Home Secretary.

On the same going to the dogs theme - did you see that Douglas Murray bloke on Question Time last night? He pretty much out-PeterHitchened Peter Hitchens. I have never seen a more blimpish figure on that panel. He looked like he was on the edge of exploding throughout much of the discussion, spent most of his time scowling, sulking, huffing and exaggeratedly raising his eyebrow at everything in sight. He affected an air of utterly exasperated disdain at just about everything the audience said and he didn't speak so much as sneer his words out of his mouth. The only time he apeared to be enjoying himself was when he suggested that the NHS should be abolished. I hope they invite him back, because I found him very funny. I don't know why, but I find reactionary blimpishness of the Peter Hitchens school highly entertaining.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Is it Spring Already?

I'm still here in case you wondered.

Editing and cutting... panicking slightly... recovering... editing and cutting. Should submit very soon. Planning what I'm going to do when I finish (very little of which I am likely to do).

In place of a substantial post, let me refer you to something interesting elsewhere. If you've not already seen it, Murray Smith's essay published at Socialist Unity Blog is fantastic - a sensitive, sane, measured piece of writing about the state of the Left today.

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