The Proof is in the Pudding …

I was taking pictures of the roof with those lovely patterns form the snow on the tiles (not as proper slate roof that one!) and every time I clicked the shutter a small bird was either flying past or joined the flock on the roof – so I was prompted to frame this little sweetie sitting on its own in the rising sun.

Our day started off fairly normally – with the exception of Pup taking a wee tumble in the snow – he is in touch with his sensitive side … in other words he makes a huge fuss when he hurts – he hobbled around holding his leg up and squeaking so I was thinking we would be off to the vet!  Amazingly as soon as I felt down both back legs together gently and told him it seemed okay he stopped the fuss and ran off.  He seems slightly bruised as the day has gone on so we will see how he is tomorrow.

Then after breakfast and preparing for my visit to the Job Centre I did some housework and tidying for out guest … not helped by Pup who decided he wasn’t sleepy today and kept arriving to help.  Mid morning he needed to pop outside so off we went and got a wonderful surprise – a large bird flapped across in front of us chased by a crow … I dashed for my camera and managed to get three shots before it disappeared:

I am fairly certain it was a buzzard (too big to be a sparrowhawk I am sure).  Many folk think there are too many buzzards but I love all raptors and to see one this close is magical for me.  The third picture was of it in a tree just before it disappeared – and all you could see was it’s tail!

As I set off to Forfar I was chatting with a neighbour at the bus stop when someone passed who knew him and offered us a lift.  That combined with delays to my daughters train meant I had plenty of timer to get milk and butter, wait for her to arrive and then go to my appointment.  I was really pleased while I waited to see one of the drivers who I had been told had been sacked and I got a cheerful wave.

When the bus I was waiting for arrived a gentleman got off and found  he had missed a connecting bus – the bus was only a few minutes late and should have waited.  I ended up with his contact details to submit to the bus company since he was visiting and not able to complain directly.  He needed a cane to walk due to a leg injury and he had an hour to wait in the cold because a driver thought getting back for his tea break was more important!

I arrived at the job centre and was told my daughter could not wait there so even though it was below freezing, and she had travelled from Lancashire, she had to go wait in the cold.  My appointment altogether lasted around an hour.  The man apologised later on and explained that she might over hear confidential discussions because it is an open plan office.  Well so might I or the security guard who is paid to stand there all day.  The open plan and inefficient office is their issue not mine and I am disgusted.

Next I got on the computer to print out the proof that I am using their new site since I refuse to give them access to my account.    I was given no help as to that machine and it took several minutes to work out why I couldn’t get started and then because they use a second rate browser I tried five times before I could log in to Universal Jobmatch.  I printed off the pages of my activity history that prove that the site does not do what my advisor has insisted it does do.  I printed off the search I have saved and I printed off a sample of jobs that I have added status updates to because the activity log does not record them as it is supposed to.

I got to my signing appointment and explained the flaws in the system.  But before I got started the man tried to tell me how to print the information without the guff on the first page – he was wrong it is not possible to do what he advised from a browser page – but there we go.  He agreed that the system was not working and the flaws I had highlighted were known and causing them issues.  That was the pudding I proved – an inefficient system that does not do what the Government wanted it to do.  The Minister who is promoting this system needs handing his P45 and sent to queue up and find out about it for himself – it is a disgrace and a huge WASTE of public money … money that I have paid in taxes during my working life so I can be treated like a piece of nothing now.

And it got better … she lied!  Next I had a ‘one to one’ to explain to me the process of claiming JSA.  The man used a powerpoint that was printed out; half of it was not applicable since I have already had my Adviser Interview and given what I have just shared with you about their job search system the other half was insulting.  There were statements about the common courtesy of letting them know if an appointment couldn’t be kept because many people don’t let them know – back full circle to the timing issue at my first appointment.  The five minute discussion was impersonal and patronising just so another civil servant can tick a box and claim their salary.

Having sorted that all out I caught up with my wee girl who had done a bit of shopping and we came home to meet Pup and Dog.  Pup was so excited to have a visitor and Dog was so thrilled to see her that pandemonium broke out in our small hamlet for a good hour.  After a tea of macaroni cheese (us not the pooches) and exchange of Christmas presents (mine was Bagpuss – see below) we sat down to watch a DVD.  I don’t watch TV at all so Pup has never seen a screen with moving images on – he was hilariously funny watching with widening eyes and then sticking his head round the back of the laptop screen to look for the people and horses.

Not sure how many of you know about Bagpuss but I blogged previously about Weather Guru suggesting I was like Mr Benn.  Bagpuss was another children’s programme from the same era and I loved it.  Click on his picture and it will take you to the wiukipedia entry about the programme.

This was the bit that I really related to:

Even Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep, was just an old, saggy cloth cat, Baggy, and a bit loose at the seams,But Emily loved him

My Bagpuss is not so loose in the seams and he smells divine since he is a lavender stuffed cat that can be warmed in the microwave … but I love him.  A most unexpected gift but just perfect.

To complete my serenity return this evening I will leave you with a couple more pictures from this morning’s sunrise:

Love the sun shining on the ice/snow on those branches


The orange strand is not a string of fairy lights – it is the sunlit snow encasing the telephone line coming to our houses.


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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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