John Wasn't
Sixty Years


I'm definitely in my grumpy old woman mode. Yesterday I went to the DSS office to find out about my state pension entitlement. There emblazoned in the foyer was the fact that this was where all enquiries regarding all benefits could be made. I joined the queue and stood patiently in line watching numerous people wandering round carrying anonymous folders, eventually two assistants walked up to the counter.They had obviously decided now the queue was long enough to deal with! When it was my turn I was politely informed they were not 'geared up' to deal with enquires and handed a leaflet with a phone number on it and told to make an appointment with someone. This HAD to be during a three hour slot on a Tuesday morning! I duly went home and rang the number then faced an interrogation as to how I had got the number and how did I know that there would be someone at that location on a Tuesday morning! I was then told someone would ring me back to make said appointment - Guess what - yep you've got it still waiting!!! :qwe:

I really needed to know if I had made enough national insurance contribution to qualify for a pension because if not I would ‘make up’ my contributions as the dear old Inland Revenue keep trying to persuade I must do before 2008. So I rang yet another number I had found on the pensions advisory service web site and BINGO I was speaking to a lovely lady who obviously knew her stuff and admitted that no they couldn’t give me a pension forecast at present as ‘the rules’ had changed last week and they were playing catch up. But she could ‘tot’ up my qualifying years and YES I do qualify for a full pension! HALLELULAH. Plus I will be able to get a forecast in 12 – 18 months time!!! But WHY couldn’t someone admit to this months ago? Someone must have known the changes were coming yet I’d made two previous requests which had been totally ignored. I’m now off to work out how to spend my pension!

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Photos & Pension 
Well I now know how to put pictures on this site so be warned - any family member whose photo I have in my possession is at danger of being embarrassed! I've started off with two of my son - his first camping trip and his first radio contact! It could have been his first bath but I'm not that evil.
More will be added soon so keep watching. I'm now off down to the local DSS office to TRY and get a pension forecast from them - they sent me one but it missed a big chunk of working life out. They then acknowledged that I had been working those years but despite asking them twice for another forecast I'm still waiting. (18 months later!).


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Life & Such 
:fgh: Where did those weeks go? I'll tell you - First the server died big time so I couldn't add an entry, then numerous ear infections (Why does it take the doctors so long to admit that YES there are times when antibiotics ARE needed, you think they would admit defeat after 3 courses of ear drops but NO it took 4 courses of drops and numerous weeks before I had one course of antibiotics and guess what - cured)

Then it was off to Northumberland for a holiday & another trip up to Lancashire (I'll expand on that next time!). Then there was my creative writing classes- I am now well into my tale of Jonus Jewel and Ruby Rhubarb. They are two dragons who inhabit a park and have kept a watchful eye over generations of children who play there. Jonus is of Irish descent, leaving Ireland at the height of the potato famine and Ruby is of Spanish descent. They are Faerie Dragons and generally gentle souls unlike the fire breathing dragons who it is rumoured are scheming to get their hands on the faerie dragons fortunes.

I have also written a number of short stories, but like any skill it takes practice so I must become more disciplined and learn to sit down and get the words onto the page! The aim is to write something everyday even if it is only a blog entry so watch this space!

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This week spent in Lancashire has been really relaxing, the sun shone the birds sang and people up here have all had time to be polite and pass the time of day with me. Time is such a strange commodity, sometimes the hours and minutes just crawl by and other times you can seem to blink and miss a whole chunk of it. I had mentally made a list of places to go and people to see and I don't seem to have achieved it all. Having said that I have achieved other things that weren't on the list at all. I could have really done with either a time machine this week or simply another week! The other sad thing about time is that it seems to cost so much these days to just simply sit and do nothing. Car parking, reading the newspaper and having a coffee don't come free! We hit british summertime this weekend and some bright sparks come out with the old pearl 'Ohh the days are getting longer.' NO they aren't there are still only 24 hours to each one!


I detect the grumpy old woman mode coming on so I will wind down go have breakfast and chase another day!


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Lancashire and the old days. 
Well after an uneventful journey up here yesterday I am now in Lancashire. I've lived in Sussex for over thirty years now and visit Lancashire three or four times a year, sometimes more! I always enjoy visiting the old familiar 'haunts' and taking a trip down but memory lane. But something definitely happens with age, as I was motoring north yesterday and caught my first glimpse of Rivington pike and ‘them there hills’, as we jokingly referred to them in my youth, I’ll swear there was a tear in my eye. As we age I’m sure we get more nostalgic and the past is always viewed through rose tinted specs. I can remember my Dad waxing lyrical about the old country and I in my youth used to think ‘barmy old codger’. He used to sit for hours listening to songs about forty shades of green and his poor auld Mammy whilst reading Ireland’s Own magazine. Now I spend many a happy hour listening to Joe Fish country on Radio Lancashire via the internet and buying music by the Houghton Weavers, Fivepenny Piece and new stars like Kate Rushby who sings with a lovely northern accent, albeit Yorkshire! I also find myself saying things like ‘Ohhh the nights are drawing in’ and ‘kids today don’t know their born’. I even listen to Terry Wogan and can relate to the ‘TOGS’ emails. Yes I reckon somewhere deep in the grey matter is a small pea sized node called the reminiscence gland which becomes activated as our hair turns grey and the knees ‘give out’.

Well I’m off with my camera today to Worden Park in Leyland and I’ll take some snaps of the Daffs, hopefully in the sunshine. I’ll probably end up sat on a park bench remembering school cross country runs through there in my youth. No wonder my knees are creaky!


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