Dear Mr Shop Manager

Dear Shop Manager,
When you rushed out from behind your shop counter yesterday brandishing air freshener and swearing like a trooper did you stop to think about the elderly woman you were embarrassing?

Yes she smelt of urine and looked dishevelled and caused your shop to smell but was that any excuse for you to laugh at her and discuss loudly in her presence how someone should tell her how badly she smelt?

You didn’t even have the decency to wait until she’d exited the store before you came out shouting about her to all the other customers.

Did you stop to think that she was perhaps once somebody’s mother or wife? Did you stop to think how you would feel if your elderly mother was no longer able to look after herself?

It seemed from appearances that all you cared about was the inconvenience to yourself and your shop.

I shouldn’t judge you, not being perfect myself, but I couldn’t help but wince at your blasphemy and lack of compassion . Rather ironically you work in a Red Cross charity shop.

All I could think of as I exited your shop in disgust at your attitude was that Jesus would have loved her and spent time with her. He wouldn’t have cared that she smelt. He made a habit of caring for those the rest of society overlook.

I hope that old woman has someone in her life who loves her and makes her feel valued……

No one wants to have to use a Foodbank.

The Guardian newspaper today carries an article on the increased use of Food banks. The article puts this increased use down to benefit sanctions, and stopping of benefits and delays in receiving benefits. This is disputed by the figures in government who claim to have a large pot of money set aside to cover such emergencies.

There may well be such a pot but the hoops people have to jump through before they can prove they are in dire need are despicable.

It is a pity that these government policies seem to be made by people who sit in warm offices and are never likely to experience poverty. They simply do not know what they are talking about.

You only have to look at the upsurge of pawn shops in towns and the proliferation of pay day lenders with exorbitant interest rates to realise we are not living in halcyon days. Many of us are still experiencing recession and struggling to stay afloat.

The government wants you to think they are in touch with the common man and his needs but how can they possibly be given their annual salaries ?
I’m not saying some of them don’t work hard for their money but how dare they say they know how we feel? They simply don’t. They’ve dropped the ball on this one.

Believe me when I say no one wants to have to visit a Foodbank to be able to feed their families. We love our children and want to be able to provide for them.
I have never had cause to visit a Foodbank but have come very close to it.  In almost each circumstance when food was difficult to provide for my children I was blessed to be helped out by friends and strangers.

Some people do not have recourse to that and therefore have to use a Foodbank. We need to take the stigma out of asking for help. There may well be people who will exploit the system but most people are in genuine need. We do not have the extended family branches we had a couple of generations ago so the onus is on all of us to look out for others and to make getting financial help easier.

Most people will only use a Foodbank on a couple of occasions to tide them over. They are not trying to set it up as an ongoing means of providing for their families.

They are simply asking for help and I for one am grateful that the Trussell Trust and Foodbanks have stepped into that breach.

A Great Big Lemon.

Last night, after almost 18 months there was a development in our ongoing family situation. A pretty dreadful development and although I thought I was prepared for the worst, I really wasn’t.

Fortunately for us, this situation doesn’t involve family illness or anything like that. It does however threaten our family situation and perhaps our housing situation depending on the outcome.

Last night I watched as the clock struck every hour. Sleep proved elusive. I just couldn’t stop thinking of the potential ramifications.

I know it’s not true but I feel a little abandoned by God. He doesn’t appear to be helping us.

Truthfully I feel like collapsing into tears but I can’t. I need to stop being selfish and start being strong for my husband and the kids.

In the meantime though, anyone for lemonade?

Erasing the past.

Walking into my friend’s house today I was aware of a different feel to it. An imperceptible change. It took me a second to put my finger on the difference. Her divorce recently came through and there were no longer any apparent photos of her husband on display or pictures of their wedding.

I understand her need to do this, to put her own mark on the house they shared together for so long. She has redecorated and bought some new furniture and it almost feels like a different house.

Towards the end their marriage was pretty acrimonious with both of them seemingly trying to score points in their own favour.

Still, it felt odd. It would be unkind to say I never liked her husband, more accurate to say it hurt me how he treated her and his children but how do you whitewash a whole relationship?

When they bought that house they excitedly planned all the details of it, which rooms would be what and how it would be decorated. Now she is in sole charge. I feel for her. On the surface she is on top of everything and she’s been very fair with regards to custody of the children but she must be hurt by it.

I have been married to my husband for 17 years and I can’t imagine how it would feel to have to start again, to make a new life for yourself, to rewrite your history. I think I would prefer to take to my bed and hope it all went away but of course I wouldn’t be able to because I have children. I’m sure they would be my saving grace, just as they were after my miscarriage and bouts of depression.

I hope she finds companionship again in the future, when it’s the right time.

By the way, that photo? There is still one that she’s kept of her husband and her children together.