I am grateful for: People who understand.

I had a wonderful experience yesterday, despite us being in limbo waiting for the situation at Husband’s workplace to be resolved.

We need to start genuinely considering what we are doing next, as Husband is not sure even if this gets resolved that he wants to go back to this job. And having just the one part-time job (less than 10 hours a week) is not enough for us to live on and pay off the mortgage and our debts.

Husband’s mother suggested to us that now that Husband’s got a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, he would be eligible for more help and support in finding and maintaining employment, or accessing training and further education, mainly from JobCentrePlus and their Disability Employment Advisors. They were very supportive of Husband’s sister which is why she recommended it.

Husband was not very keen at all; we have been through the system many, many times since he left college and had numerous encounters with the JobCentre and Jobseeker’s Allowance, all of which have been bad. But he realises we have to at least try, so I rang the hotline to get some information about it and how Husband could access this.

We were off to a bad start immediately as the lady answering my call a) wasn’t quite sure what I was asking and b) did not seem very interested. I had a bit of time yesterday before going to do my voice work, so decided to swing by our local JobCentre myself to spare Husband the stress, and just ask what was available and how Husband could access it. I realized I might not get to see somebody as you are supposed to have an appointment but went to the Information Desk (it was empty) and waited for someone to come over.

A security guard came over and asked if I needed help and I explained why I was there. He asked me to wait and then went to fetch a lady who is one of the DEA workers there. She asked me to come round and sit at her desk and tell her what I wanted to ask about.

What a change! When Husband was previously on JSA he couldn’t speak to anyone unless he had an appointment and here I was just being invited in.

I explained our situation briefly and that Husband was having a hard time at work, as he has a zero hour contract and hasn’t been given any hours now for three weeks. And how soul-destroying it is and how it is wrecking his self confidence at the moment.

She was very understanding and seemed to understand how hard it would have been for Husband prior to being diagnosed as he would have had to come up with coping strategies to be able to cope with work and things. She also said that if we were to access the services she would like to speak to him as Aspergers and ASD is such a spectrum and as such, people who are in different places on the spectrum require different kinds of support at work.

She gave me the names and numbers of three different support groups and Remploy, and said that there is different support available for Husband, but that he has to decide what he wants to do next. Once he does, she said to come back and we can take it from there.

Above all, she was interested in what I had to say and Husband and his story.

So: I am grateful for people who understand. It’s like balm for the soul to not have to explain everything in great detail, because people understand. What a difference it makes. Despite everything that is going on in our lives as the moment, that really made my day and I for now think that things can get better as this support will be available to Husband.

 

 

Current mood: In limbo.

These last two weeks have been spent trying to keep Husband distracted as his mood has been quite low.

Since his boss left at the end of July, Husband has not been given any hours at all. Suspect that now that Deputy Manager is in charge, this will be a staple as she has been quite mean to Husband in the past and is know for gossiping about other members of staff.

One of the things Husband was marked down for on his appraisal was for not being available as he ‘took so much holiday’. The last three breaks he has been available almost the whole time and he has not been called in at all. It’s like he can’t win.

Husband is feeling very low now. Part of it is because he feels like they are wasting his time; he said to me the other night that if he had known he would not have been called in at all, he would have suggested we go away somewhere.

The other part of it is of course that he doesn’t feel wanted. Not being called in is really eroding his self-belief and he’s told me that he felt like he had a purpose there when he was at work. He really feels like he is the odd one out and that he isn’t liked.

He says to me that it is constantly churning at the back of his mind.

To make things worse, Husband went in at the beginning of August with his July timesheet. To find that there were two new members of staff there. We don’t know, of course, if they are volunteers or paid staff as the workplace often take on volunteers. But nevertheless, that means hours that Husband could have had are given to other people. This smells like constructive dismissal to me, on top of the discrimination and bullying husband has had to face at work, but we’ll see what the union rep says.

We are still waiting to have the meeting with the employer with the union present. This week was suggested but we have not heard anything at all.

So we are in limbo effectively while we are waiting.

Husband is unsure what to do now. We have spoken about it and he understand he will inevitably have to find something else to do, but is unsure if that means new job or going back to college. Both of which he finds daunting as he is so paranoid nobody is going to like him and he is going to ‘mess things up.’

I am not going to lie, I am worried he is becoming depressed again. It is ‘ok’ for now as I am at home but I am concerned what will happen when I have to go back to work at the end of the summer.

Still haven’t heard anything regarding husband’s PIP assessment either. The form was sent off in the start of June and Capita has sent us a letter to say they are processing it, but it will be a month since that letter at the end of the week. So need to chase that.

Part of me wonders why it has to be so hard for some people to just be nice, and treat someone with a bit of dignity.

Our visit to Green’s Windmill and Science Centre in Nottingham.

Despite having lived in Nottingham since 2009, I hadn’t visited the Windmill here until last Sunday when husband and I went.

It’s free to visit (donations encouraged) and there is also a community garden next door you can go and look around. There is free car parking, or you can take the red 43 bus there.

Green’s Windmill is a working windmill; it grinds grain and you can buy flour made at the mill on the souvenir shop. The Science Centre has some cool activities which deal with magnets, power and illusions.

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The Windmill
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One of the sails. We were lucky enough to see the windmill in action; they can slow down the speed the sails are turning at, by opening the shutters on them.
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The view from the top of the windmill.
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This is the chute where the grain sacks come up. The sacks have to be hauled to the top floor so the power of the wind is used to pull the sacks up to the top floor. How clever is that?
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Millstone, grinding grain.
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The finished product.
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The community garden next door. Hard to believe this is in the centre of Nottingham.
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The community garden next door.

Fly by, July!

Whew, where did July go?

July has been a good-ish month for us.

  • We came in at £133 for groceries which, while it’s good, is not £130! Must get this together for August!
  • Travelling to Wales to see husband’s sister and husband for the weekend was lovely. Very relaxing which is just what husband needed.
  • Our anniversary is on the 31st of July so we went out for breakfast and dinner as my mother sent us some money.
  • We were gifted a lovely garden seat!
  • College finished in the start of the month and as the uni job is largely finished for the summer I’ve had this month off. I’ve been doing self employed work, caught up on eBaying, doing surveys, and jobs around the house I’ve had to put off as I just haven’t had the time to do it until now.
  • We enjoyed going to the foodshare event in our local community.

Things that have not been good about July include:

  • Husband had a cold which he gave to me. It hit me much harder and I spent a little over a week in the house feeling really rubbish and drained of energy.
  • Husband’s workplace are still being mean. Manager has left now and since then Deputy has been running the show; Husband was not given any hours at all last week. When he went by with the time sheet for July so it could be processed, they had two new members of staff in. Looks like the meeting regarding the grievance will be held in August. Husband is very anxious about this and doesn’t want to talk about it, and alternates between being cross and sad about the whole thing.
  • Husband’s younger sister who has a learning disability has been exploited by someone she trusted by asking her for money under all kinds of pretexts. She was not supposed to be able to access her account but can transfer money out via the banking app and she’s been defrauded of £4000, her savings account is now empty. Bank have said they can’t help but we have contacted the police who are considering it to be fraud. Will challenge the bank via the Financial Ombudsman Service – how was she able to transfer the money out of her account if there are two people named on the account (her and her mother who is her financial guardian), without the other person’s authorization?

To end on a more positive note, here are some pictures from the garden.

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Our lovely garden seat. Just need the weather to warm up now that I’m better to actually sit out there and enjoy it.
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The nasturtiums are really growing well now and we’ve used their leaves in our salad for dinner on several nights. If I can grow this, maybe I can grow salad next year?
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Aaaah! We have a solitary tomato! Just hoping it’ll grow now!
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The Cat enjoys Husband’s lap.

Our trip to Wales.

We visited husband’s sister and husband this weekend. They live in Newtown Powys, Wales.

During our weekend away we visited the Corris craft centre and also drove along Dinas Mawddwy and Lake Vyrnwy.

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Up in the mountains. Could not believe how quiet it was. We expected birdsong etc. but it was very still.

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Wales is probably the place in the UK I have visited that reminds me most of home (Norway) because it’s so wooded and hilly.
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Juvenile Robin.
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A piece of Bakewell cake.

Sunday we visited the Mid Wales Arts Centre; they have several pieces there and is a gallery, cafe and B & B owned and run by Cathy Knapp, widow of Stefan Knapp.

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Our welcoming committee. Insisted on fetching several sticks and a ball but to never surrender them. Maybe that was part of the game after all, having the silly humans chase after him to get him to give us the things?
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One of Stefan Knapp’s works. We spent a while looking at this, husband said they were dancing and enjoying themselves, but I looked at the man standing on the woman in the right corner. To me that looks like subjugation
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Several of the sculptures are outside in and around the main building.
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Piece # 24 ‘Sharktooth’.
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We initially thought these were penguins, but according to the programme, they are elephants.
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A lot of the sculptures are placed in the back garden, where I found this enormous thistle plant. One bulb easily filled my hand.
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This piece is aptly named ‘Life study.’

 

The goals of this year’s staycation.

I’m done working at the college and the university for the summer (apart from the odd Saturday 10am to 2pm) as I work term-time. Won’t be back at work now until the 28th of August now, and not back full time (six days a week) until the 1st of October.

Part of me wants to bask in this. You’ve worked SO had and this year has brought out feelings you didn’t even know you possessed, you DESERVE a rest!

But not going to lie, it feels super weird to not be at work. It’s quite unsettling, the lack of routine. It’s been about two weeks now and I feel ready to come back!

Because of husband’s work and the grievance we have decided to pursue, I feel a bit in limbo at the moment as I don’t feel we can go anywhere until this has been settled. We are due to travel home to Norway in the end of August for a week to see my family but that’s everything we are doing travelling wise.

Husband’s workplace have received our grievance and confirmed that they have received it so we will see what they do with it. They have to investigate it and respond in a timely manner, they cannot legally ignore it according to our union, so we’ll see what happens with that. Work itself has been very calm and nobody has mentioned the grievance at all. However the quite frankly infuriating way husband has been treated at work this year is not diminished or excused by this period of apparent calmness. I don’t trust them and am very interested to see what they come back with once they have investigated our allegations, as the burden of evidence is on the employer, it is THEIR responsibility to prove husband has not been discriminated against.

Anyway. Yes, Staycation this year. So in an attempt to make it more structured, I sat down and wrote a list when the staycation started, naming some things I want to do this summer.

I have added to it though as I’ve completed things. I know, I know, I need to relax! But let’s face it, as I work six days a week from September to June, WHEN will I have time to do things like:

  • Visit the Windmill. We have a working windmill that’s open to visitors and in all my years of living in Nottingham I have never been to visit it.
  • Clean the whole kitchen. Cupboards, inside and out. Sort them. Doors. On top of cupboards. Clean oven. Clean outside of oven. Pull oven out and clean behind it. Done! YASS!
  • Clean the windows and windowsills I can reach. Done.
  • Visit husband’s sister and husband in Wales. We are going, this weekend!
  • Write a review a week. Since finishing at work I have written two. I write and publish my reviews here.
  • Go through our clothes upstairs and my clothes in the bedroom to sort and donate/sell/give away stuff not used.
  • Dust the blinds downstairs. Done
  • Visit the park up the street, bring food.
  • Go to Wollaton Hall and walk around the lake.
  • Tidy, wipe down and sort the shelf by the bathroom. Done.
  • Copy down all my reviews and store them somewhere safe.
  • Do our tax returns. Done.
  • Get a will written?
  • Take our duvets and pillows to the launderette. Done.
  • Do 30 minutes on the exercise bike every day. Pahahaha. Not even done this once yet. I am so bad at this whole healthy lifestyle thing:(
  • Clean the covers of the two Poang armchairs. Done.
  • Defrost and clean the fridge freezer.

What about you? Do you have anything you’d like to do this summer? Are you having a staycation?

Going exploring in your own garden.

After having lived in our house for a year we’ve been talking about what we want to do with the garden space we have, especially the front garden, which has been a mess.

We decided to tidy it up a bit more one Saturday as the weather was ok and we had time. Husband’s family have very generously helped us with trimming the hedge and cutting back plants (we had some shears here that frankly look like a prop from a horror film, that’s how rusty they are).

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Before we started. Looking a bit drab.

While I raked the ground and weeded between the slabs, husband swept all the dirt out to neaten the front up a bit.

I was surprised at what I found while raking; found a honeysuckle among the ivy which I’m hoping will bloom as it smells heavenly, I also found these guys:

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There were quite a few of these, I wonder what they are?
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And what are these?

Who would have thought you could go exploring in your own garden?

I finished off by putting some weed-killer down so hopefully that will keep the weeds at bay. Knowing me I think I’ll just have to keep pulling the weeds up, though.

Husband’s parents and a family friend visited the day after and mother-inlaw has taken some of our pots back as they are moving plants and she has said she’ll gift us plants for the garden, which is very generous of them. I was able to use some nasturtium leaves in the salad we had which was awesome. It’s quite strong so use sparingly; I think it tastes similar to watercress.

The front garden looks much tidier now.

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Looking much tidier now.

My mother in law suggested potting up the tomato plants and the pepper plant as they need the space to grow, and I think they like it here. Thank goodness for people’s gardening advice though as I feel anything we’ve managed to do has been out of sheer dumb luck so far.

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Everything seems to be growing nicely, even the nasturtiums are starting to take off. The leaves are delicious.
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Aah! Look what’s coming out!
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Sweet peas are bouncing back but have discovered there are still aphids on them so will spray them again.