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I've just heard today that I've been granted the Disability Living Allowance higher mobility component, or whatever.  I'm obviously very pleased as the extra money will be very gratefully received, and will make a huge difference to my finances, but I feel a little strange giving a cheer, because ideally I wouldn't be disabled at all and I would happily forgo the extra money to be able to walk anywhere I wanted.

It's been backdated to the day I made the claim, that is, about 2 months.  I should really have been claiming it for 18 months before that if I weren't such an idiot.  I didn't do so because I've always felt that I might get better really soon, but now it seems I'm stuck with the condition, I finally applied.  Sister Lilian of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit was horrified that I hadn't been claiming it and if it hadn't been for her, I would probably never have done so.  If I had left it until after I turn 65 in February I wouldn't have been eligible at all, but as I managed to slip under the wire I have it more or less permanently unless my condition improves.  I can't imagine why people over 65 aren't able to claim it;  it seems most unfair to me.

It has actually arrived just in the nick of time, because I'm so hard up that I was thinking that I would have to declare a No Christmas Year  this year, apart from Christmas Dinner.  I already have a lovely rich, ripe, Christmas pudding left from last year which Charles states he is going to eat no matter what;  he doesn't want a Gluten Free pudding.  It probably won't do him much harm as it has very little flour in it and even he can only eat a small portion after Christmas and Boxing Day dinners.  He's also said that we must have our normal mince pies not made with GF flour, but he does eat a lot of them, so I think I shall do a small trial batch with GF flour and see how he likes them.  If they're OK, I'm sure we'll all be happy to eat them rather than the usual ones.  I can still make them with orange pastry, I'm sure.

It seems that I may also be eligible for a reduction in car-tax, but I have to apply for an exemption form and I think I should have the grace to wait at least until I've had my backlog of payments before I start asking for something else.  It's also possible that it may make us eligible for a reduction in Council Tax, which would be very welcome,  since that makes a huge hole in my income every month, but I'm not holding my breath!  John is looking into that!

It's possible that once I've got my finances straighter, I might be able to save most of it for a second-hand all-terrain buggy so that I could go anywhere I want at Kielder or on the various beaches and other places we like to visit.  That would be great!! I could even take it on holiday to Scotland!!  Although I took the scooter to Lindisfarne earlier this year, I couldn't take it quite as far as I would have liked because it was just too excruciating bouncing about over the cobbles.  The AT scooters have more ground clearance and fatter tyres.  Not that I'm not grateful for Libby, she has changed my life and I wouldn't want to take an AT scooter round the shops, galleries and so forth in the city centre;  even the scooters supplied by ShopMobility at Eldon Square and the MetroCentre are far more difficult to control than my wonderful little Libby!  I shouldn't care to try to take an AT scooter into some of the lifts I use with Libby!

The news has cheered me up enormously.  I've been feeling very depressed and worried about money for the past few weeks, but now I can have the heating on a bit more to save my aching knees from the cold.  Although, having said that, it's been extraordinarily warm here for the past few days.  I can't think why, because it's been cold outside, but here in the house it's been much warmer than it was a few weeks ago.  I can only conclude that the wind is coming from a different direction and is unable to seep through all the little nooks and crannies.  It's a good thing, of course, because any savings we can make on gas and electricity will make a difference to our bills.

The Methodist Church room we hire for our writing group is going to cost us 40% more from the beginning of next term, simply because of rising fuel costs, although the room is always  Far Too Hot and we have to have the windows open as long as we can stand the traffic noise.  I thought I was going to faint in there yesterday because it was so hot!

Oh dear!!  John and Charles are lurking by the back gate hoping to catch the little swine who threw stones through our office window on Tuesday and yesterday about this time.  They tried for our next-door neighbour's windows on Wednesday but couldn't reach them because the nearest ones are considerably further back than ours.  The police came round on Tuesday and again yesterday evening, but, frankly, they're as much use as a chocolate tea-pot.  Oh dear!  I hope Charles doesn't do anything silly.  I don't suppose they'll be stupid enough to do it again today anyway, at least I hope not.  John has taken his camera to photograph the little hooters if they are stupid enough to try again.

I'm very glad we hadn't had the window replaced and had only temporarily boarded it up before they struck again yesterday, because we have a £50 excess on our insurance policy, so that would have been £100!  I'm almost tempted to have that window properly boarded up and keep it like that until John has tidied the room and moved all his DIY stuff somewhere else and I'm able to use it again.

It's very fortunate that no-one is able to use it at the moment, because I would otherwise have been in there, possibly with some of the cats, and the glass went a very long way;  one or all of us would almost certainly have been cut.

The dibbles say that someone has already complained that there is a lot of bad behaviour from children walking from the bus stop to the nearby housing estate along the back alley after spending all day at the gummint's new whizzy Excelsior community college or whatever they call it.  Excelsior!  That's a laugh!  It's only been open a few weeks.  Although I think the illiterate council may be spelling it without the "C";  probably just as well!

I've been limiting my Internet use quite a bit lately, since I've a new-found enthusiasm for my fantasy novel and have spent hours writing, editing and revising and even more hours adding data to the characteristics list I've drawn up for the dramatis personae and the setting.  I've even done a sort of map so that I can keep everything clear in my head. I'm really beginning to motor now and on a good day I can get two or three thousand words done;  even so it's hardly started.

Oh well!  Cottage pie tonight, so I'd better go down and peel the potatoes and whizz the meat in the food processor.  We finally found the mincer, but it's pretty useless, even when Charles uses it with his large strong hands.

John's just come back indoors.  No kids have appeared and it's 30 minutes or so later than when they came before.  Thank God!


Sep. 26th, 2008 10:38 pm
blackberry444: (Default)
Well, the Nice Man™ from the Pensions People came today to advise me on benefits and to help me with the form to apply for DLA.

As I thought, we are not eligible for pension credits;  I was quite surprised to find out exactly how much John gets from his private pensions, and even more amazed at the amount of money he is paying in tax on them!!  I reckon he must be eligible for a tax refund.

The Nice Man™ suggested that we just ring up the council to ask whether we might be eligible for a council tax rebate (I bet we're not!), but was very helpful in filling in the DLA application form for me.  I was really grateful because he got it all done in less than an hour, and I cannot begin to imagine how long it would have taken me unaided.

I have no idea whether I shall get the allowance or not, although John says that he thought the man appeared to  think that I probably would get it, but I'm not very good at reading officials, and to be honest, I don't think John is, either.  I can't allow myself to speculate about it, because if I got used to the idea of another £46+ a week, I would be terribly disappointed if they then decided I'm not eligible.

As usual, it will take several weeks before we find out if I'm eligible, but he promised to keep chasing it up and to let me know how it's progressing.

Today we had to go an buy yet another Freeview box.  This is to replace the oldest one we had, which is well over its guarantee period.  Charles says that it originally cost more than £50, but its replacement was just £17.99.   I felt rather guilty at buying it when we're supposed to be so broke and economising, but I've rationalised it by pointing out to myself that apart from John's Old Boys' Nights out, we spend no money on entertainment at all, apart from maybe a small case of beer every 6 weeks.  I hardly drink anything nowadays and Charles no longer drinks at all.

I feel particularly guilty because next Thursday I have to find £90 for my writing class and only last week John ducked out of a planned few days away with his TA mates because we were so broke.  I just can't help how selfish it is, I have to go to my classes. I am so mean!  It is the only thing, apart from the Lit & Phil subscription that I spend money on for myself, though.  John has his Boys' Night Out each week, and Charles smokes like a chimney, so I'm trying not to beat myself up about it too much.  Mind you, we shall have to be very careful for the next fortnight, because I have to start paying the Council tax again in a couple of days.

Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!  I've just remembered that I have to pay for my car insurance next month!  I hope to God someone pays John some of the money they owe him, or I shall have to declare my car SORN and beg to park it in David's driveway till I can afford to insure it!  I suppose I could do it by Direct Debit, but I'm trying very hard to reduce the number of Direct Debits we have on my bank account, owing to the problems I've been having with the Bank,specially now that I know I can't rely on the Direct Debits being taken out on the same date each month.

Charles enjoyed his course again this week and said that he has already learned some new stuff he didn't already know, so that looks really encouraging!

I haven't been very well this week.  I had some sort of odd stomach problem which confined itself to quite painful stomach ache with no other symptoms, but I've also been more breathless.  I didn't go to cardiac rehab because I didn't feel well enough, and although I feel a lot better today, I'm still more breathless.  I'm seeing my Lovely Lady Doctor on Tuesday, so maybe she can adjust my medication or something.

It was a glorious day today, probably the best day we've had since May, only then there was a freezing cold easterly wind.  The weather forecast seems to be for more of the same for a couple of days, which will be great if it turns out to be true.  I'm already making plans for supervising a yard and garden clear-up, so probably it won't be nice after all!


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