Those Autumn Leaves … both Red and Gold

Autumn Leaves

Today I am doing what I was dreading … today I did not get up, organised and on a bus … today I am sitting at home with Dog mooching and sniffing … today I am having a sad day!

One of the things I do when I feel a little sad is listen to sad music and songs and Edith Piaf’s classic “Autumn Leaves” has always been a favourite.  However I don’t want to listen to the music today because that reminds me that next month I may not have the money to pay the subscription to my online music service!

So I started looking back through some of my photos and of course this one popped up – just looking at it I know I took it in the arboretum at Ninewells Hospital just after I walked the Labyrinth.  Looking back at the photos helped a little and knowing that my memory is good helps too.

Self Analysis

Why did I not get up and catch the bus today?

  • I still feel a bit under the weather;
  • It was raining really hard when I woke up at the right time;
  • I knew I had some things I didn’t want to do but that I need to do;
  • I would have been wasting a Megarider day; AND
  • I simply do not enjoy that first bus journey like I did (yes I could change to another service but that is not really the solution either).

What have I done about this?

  • I have done one of the things I was dreading – I have claimed Job Seekers Allowance.

Why was I dreading it?

  • It is a comparatively small benefit (£71 a week); and
  • The staff can be very patronising in their approach (at least I didn’t have to have a phone interview to reiterate all the online answers this time)

I totally get that the Government does not wish to encourage someone to become dependent on handouts but does that mean the staff have to be unrealistic?  Last time I had to claim I was asked why I didn’t apply for  a job in Montrose so I explained that I could not get to the venue in time for the working hours; smart@r$e adviser says “oh there is a bus that gets you there” – it took me five minutes to help him understand that whilst there is a bus from Forfar that would arrive in time I stay in Kirriemuir and cannot get a bus from here to arrive in time.  Empathy does not seem to be included in their training.

I am expecting it to be worse this time because I want more flexibility so I can start a business … that is probably frowned upon.

The other reason I am dreading it is that I will have to make tough decisions every week – I don’t mind that but I do mind that in order to claim that money I have to spend £1.65 of it every week on getting to the Job Centre to be patronised!  I also mind very much how intrusive the whole process is; I have  a mortgage so I cannot claim Housing Benefit but the application process requires lots of information about the mortgage they won’t help me with AND I have to take my mortgage agreement along to the Interview … that goes against the grain of all data protection policy – if they are not involved with that aspect they have no need to see the information.

And finally the whole experience is actually counter productive – I will have to agree to make so many applications a week and it becomes a quantitative measurement – how not to apply for a job? by answering the question “why do you want this job” with  “because my Job Seekers Agreement is to apply for X jobs this week whether there are any suitable or not”.  Having worked at recruiting staff I am very well aware that when here are fewer jobs being over skilled/qualified is a s valid a reason for not shortlisting as not having enough skills … afterall why would an employer spend money on recruiting someone who is not going to be committed to their organisation?

Yes I know I am capable of dealing with all the negativity this will generate but not everyone is and it makes me ask “where is the customer service? where is the support? where is the motivation and encouragement?”

I am not looking for sympathy by sharing – this blog is about my serenity remember – and writing down how I am feeling is helpful.  It reminds me to focus on the things I can change rather than get bogged down with the things I cannot.


By the time I go for my initial Claim Interview on Friday I will have applied for at least 7 more jobs (applications currently in progress) so I will meet my criteria this week at least!  Isn’t it strange how I had reached a plateau with no likely jobs appearing and then today there has been a raft of them – all very different but all exciting possibilities.  One particularly heartening moment was as I read a person spec and thought “oh darn” I don’t meet their essential criteria” pausing, doing a quick google and realising that I do infact have that skill – just never thought of it in that generic terminology.

I was hoping that temping would be an alternative to claiming benefit BUT agencies seem to have lots of “immediate start” work but when a CV is submitted the reply is “we have been inundated with applicants and the client does not wish to see more candidate details please check our website for future opportunities” which might work if they hadn’t asked for experience of something like relational databases which the average administrator will never use in their career?  They are also still paying at the same rates I got as a temp 15 years ago.  So Temping used to be a realistic opportunity to keep the wolf from the door but it doesn’t seem like that now.

Not losing focus on my longer term aims of establishing a Social Enterprise.

Avoid doing What-If analysis on all my past career choices – really it is pointless since I have no way of knowing how alternatives would have turned out and I have got a huge amount out of most of the jobs I have had.

Keep having ideas that might earn a little money from my own efforts – I have one up my sleeve now based on the past few week’s activity which wouldn’t make me rich but which would offer health benefits to many at low cost, promote the good use of our valuable public transport; and if I find the right ‘partner’ could be a charity fundraiser which would feel good?  Anyway I cannot tell you anymore about that or I would have to lock you in isolation until I had delivered it …

Keep writing the blog because you know what I feel so much better just from doing this activity.  It also provides me with a source of amusement when I check out the spam to find  yet another ‘comment’ advising my site is slow loading in IE and telling me that IE is the best browser … yeah right? get real – I use the best browser and it is not IE … so if by chance your comment is genuine (which I can tell it isn’t from the previews of your websites) do yourself a favour and kick IE into touch and get a real browser – then you will be able to enjoy my blog too!

Regular readers and friends – remember no worrying please … I am a survivor and in a wee while I will be laughing at how I was feeling now!  Just like, when I took the photograph that I later used to base this painting on, I was feeling sad because someone I cared for did not feel the same … we have both moved on but I learned I could be brave and honest from that and nothing bad happened to me.

Autumn Leaves Painting

I love the sound of Edith Piaf singing Autumn Leaves and especially when she sings the section in French … part of which translates as:

But life separates
Those who love
And the sea erases on the sand
Steps of divided lovers.

Which seems quite fitting for all my beach walks really …


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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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