I’m no union man

When I was made redundant, quite a few years ago, I naturally dropped my membership of the union that did sweet FA to stop me being made redundant.

Actually it wasn’t a bad deal. The pay was frozen for three years and redundancy was three years’ pay and a ‘get lost’ note. So my options were either work for them for three years with no pay rises or take three years’ pay right then and go and do something else. Not a difficult choice.

The union phoned afterwards to ask why I had dropped my membership. Slightly confused, I replied that as I was now self-employed and didn’t work there any more, there really wasn’t anything they could do for me. They seemed to think there was.

Since they did bugger all when I was employed, I really couldn’t see how they could help me as self-employed so I fairly politely declined their offer of taking money from me. They never phoned again.

I’m still self-employed as well as employed so my tax code is split 50/50 between the two. I get a small retainer every three months from a company that occasionally phones for advice. Also the books… they make a bit of whisky money, no more, but they count as self-employed. I still fill out a tax form every year and for the past few years I’ve had a decent rebate. It’s time to do it again.

It seems Moribund has been castigated for not sending his election lies to the self-employed. As if any of us are likely to vote for a union puppet anyway. He’s just being sensible really. It would be a waste of a hell of a lot of paper.

But one leading self-employed businessman said: ‘Labour depends on union subscriptions for funding and in reality, few of the self-employed are union members. This is not so much a slap in the face to the self-employed as a left hook.’

Really? Not having to put a bit of paper with crap written all over it into the bin is some kind of mortal insult? I put it all in there. From every party. Unread. Since no election promise is binding, it is an utter waste of time to read any of them. I’ll make up my own mind, thanks. Without bothering to read any lies or slanderous remarks about other candidates.

Now if they had to deliver on promises within a set timeframe or it would trigger another election, those bits of paper would be worth reading. As it is, they are too smooth and slippery to wipe your arse with and are therefore of no value whatsoever. Like the politicians pictured in most of them.

Those leaflets are all a waste of money. Espeically those targeted where there is no hope of a vote. Moribund, if he had a brain, would be saying that.

He isn’t. None of them are.

I’d vote for the first one who did.

The strange world of Local Shop

I fell asleep before blogging last night. The strange shift hours took their toll but I’m re-adapting now. One little chair is upholstered, needs trim added and finishing touches. Soon the final instalment will be ready.

I did manage to glue my fingers to one of them for half an hour but that’s for another time. I’d have taken a photo but I had glue on the other hand too and having a camera stuck to that hand would not have improved the situation.

Local Shop gets weirder by the day. And Cafe Girl gets more violent. I have considered not provoking her but I don’t think I can help it. She’s just so damn easy to wind up.

Today she was in my way while cleaning. I was wiping the tray runners, she was at the front of the cafe getting food for her break. I merely said, quite politely, “Get out of the way. You’re not a proper customer.” and she kicked me! It didn’t hurt but I felt violated and repressed. I must learn not to provoke her when in striking distance.

So I told Boss I had been violently assaulted by a vicious Cafe Girl (exaggeration mode had kicked in by then) and was she going to put up with her staff being physically attacked like that? She just said “Well you probably deserved it”. I get no support at all from Boss. It’s shameful.

Although she did give me a free cake later so maybe she felt a bit guilty about letting Cafe Girl beat me to a bloody pulp on a daily basis (I should turn off exaggeration mode now).

There are new staff. There always are. Most of them don’t seem to last long. Can’t imagine why.

One is a lad who looks about 12. He is built like an anorexic stick insect and wiggles his hips when he walks in a way that the girls would love to be able to do. He sounds like Julian Clary and is more camp than a tent convention. I hope he has a good sense of humour. He’s going to need it.

Another one ‘came out’ as gay recently. The surprise meter barely flickered. We all knew. Even Gullible Girl had sussed that one out. Still, he’s much happier now he’s not keeping a secret we all knew anyway so that must be a good thing,

Someone has been entertaining Mrs. Palm and her five lovely daughters in the staff gents. Boss found the evidence on her shift. She was appalled. I have been asking all the girls which of them he might be thinking about while he does it. Well one of them is turning a young man’s head to handyman thoughts. Speculation, laced with ‘Ewww’, is rife.

Management put up signs in the gents saying ‘Please leave these toilets as you would like to find them’. I suggested ‘No wanking, but if you have to, use a fucking tissue you filthy bastard’ but it was turned down. I suppose it might be seen as anti-wanker discrimination.

Or a sign. I could design a sign. It’s already been vetoed by Boss with a loud and wide eyed ‘NO!’

There are others I haven’t mentioned before. Banjo Girl, who looks like her brother was in ‘Deliverance’ and who always starts that tune in my head when I see her. Boss says she never smiles but she has a nice smile. Unless she shows her tooth. Boss says there are others who don’t smile but they do. She just scares them.

Maybe I mentioned Obelix before. He works in the stores, in the menhir department, and is only missing the horned hat and the moustache. Also in there is Small-eyes Stooped Guy, who is the reason stores are not asked to run tills any more. Yes, they had a tormentor before I arrived. I merely upped the game.

There is Blonde Manager who really does perpetuate the stereotype. She’s pretty and curvy and has a voice like a children’s TV presenter and is ditzy in a way that is cute.. at first. Until you realise that she is pretty much oblivious to the world around her and has an uncanny knack of being in the way pretty much all the time. One day I’ll just pick her up and put her down out of the way. She probably won’t even notice. I can still pick up women, you know. Just… small ones.

There is Smug Git too. The young lad who goes to private school and thinks this cleaner is beneath him. The games to play….

So  many.

No wonder they vote for idiots.

A dysfunctional election

I have tried, I really have tried to ignore the outpourings of pomposity and fabrications from the current band of sad little losers who claim the right to tell us how to live.

I stayed away from the newspapers and never watch TV anyway. But then bits of paper come through the door, covered in obvious lies and promises nobody in their right mind could believe. With smug little faces attached, showing the sort of smile I’d happily extract every tooth from using only pliers and a sharpened spoon handle. One. By. One.

Then I’d put them all back in using a staple gun (Aldi have an electric staple gun on sale but in a rare flash of common sense I didn’t buy one. I bought the 135W combi tool instead). I’d put those teeth back in the wrong order too.

Let’s see them look smug with a smile from the very backwaters of ‘Deliverance’.

Every hour, like some demented sentinel of doom, the radio at work has news about the latest idiotic babblings of the mindless oafs who someone, somehow, thought were the ideal people to run their lives for them. Not the country. They don’t run the country any more. They just run the lives of the idiots who voted for them and if that was all they did it would be fine.

But no. They run the lives of those of us who didn’t vote for them too. That’s just wrong. Voting should be like a contract in which you agree to have your life controlled by an imbecile. No vote, no contract, no control. I think that would be a much better way to run things. If it was done that way, I bet nobody would vote Green twice.

The BBC give the Greens more airtime than that bunch of mediaeval communist tyrants warrant. Anyone would think they were serious contenders for government. People actually vote for them. Why? What kind of thought process goes into putting a X in that box? Vote for them and you’ll live in a mud hut and tug your forelock at your Green masters as they pass in their solar powered Rolls Royces. People want that? Only the sort of trendy cretins who name their daughters Cystitis and Enema and parade them around in unisex onesies.

All this talk on the radio about “How will they afford tax cuts and all these projects? Where is the money coming from?” Nobody has thought to suggest actually not spending quite so much on nonsense and nannying. The wasted money going through this country’s government is staggering and all they can think to say is “We’ll tax the rich harder until they say ‘screw this’ and leave, then we’ll tax the poor harder so they can’t afford the things we don’t want to let them have”.

That’s not what they say. They’ll never say that. Not unless you inject them with a truth drug. Which should be compulsory every time they give any kind of interview.

Well, it’s unavoidable. I am going to be enraged by the coming election. There is no escape.

Expect more on this distateful subject in the future. I’m off to write a truly horrible short story to get this sneer off my face.

The Vaccy Baccy experiment

I think I can conclude this one. The cheap vac-bags from Poundland were pretty good but imperfectly sealed. Leaves are starting to dry out but they have lasted a good few months more than they otherwise might have.

Freezing is no improvement. Leaks in the bags mean the leaves freeze-dried anyway.

The cardboard box will work if you have the right place for it. Mine went too dry, but then the heating’s been on a lot in the last few months. Dry leaves can be revived and at least they won’t go mouldy, but they don’t age further when dry.

The sample I had from TL4U in the sealed bag is still pliable. I have now opened the bag and the leaves are in perfect condition.

The answer, then, is buy it vac-packed and don’t open it until you want to use it. For homegrown, Poundland vac-bags will make it last longer or a simple cardboard box will work if you can find the ideal place for it. For long term storage, I think the industrial vac-packed leaves are the best bet. I’d better order some more.

My week of 8:30 am starts is over and I am now fully recovered. Some of you do that every day. I think you’re completely bonkers. It’s a hellish time to be awake. How do you manage on four hours of sleep a night? It must be knackering.

Back to normal now. 3 pm starts this week. Much more civilised. No more falling asleep at the computer and going to work like a zombie, and no more missed blog nights.

Cafe Girl must have noticed my torpor and picked the perfect time for her prank. I will have my revenge.

Cafe Girl’s Revenge

Well, she did it. Cafe Girl finally took revenge on her tormentor. It was quick and simple and I didn’t see it coming at all. A brilliantly executed maneouvre.

The simplicity was breathtaking. All she did was get one of the other girls to shout ‘Hey, Legiron. I missed you!’ across the cafe at me.

Doesn’t sound like much until I tell you that the girl in question is 17. People looked at me as if I was Jimmy Savile. There was no answer I could give and no way out of it. No wonder she’d been smiling so wide. It was genius.

Oh I am going to have to think up something really big now.

I hurt myself today (The Broken Girl)

A guest post by the Broken Girl.

I have been depressed. I’ve felt guilty. I’ve felt desolated and I’ve bowed my head having been almost broken by life.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started. Darkness is a coward who’ll sneak up on you and slowly grow in your soul until you can’t breath.

I read somewhere that being depressed is fashionable. Sitting in the corner of my kitchen, curled up trying to hold myself together as I was swallowed by emptiness and crying my heart out doesn’t seem all that fashionable to me. Cutting yourself in the girls’ bathroom at boarding school because you are filled up with self hate and such a sadness that you can’t keep it in doesn’t seem fashionable to me.

I was around 15 when I started to realize that I wanted to die. Not that death felt like a good thing but it would be an end to all the pain. I was however too scared to die, but also too scarred to live. I was stuck in limbo. once in a while trying to gather the courage to move on.

Once drunk at a party at 16 my friends had to pull me down from the railing on a motorway bridge. It wasn’t until early 20’s I really took the plunge. A big kitchen knife slicing up the arm and under water to keep the blood flowing. I was set on succeeding. Somehow I didn’t. My parents got me admitted to the local psychiatric hospital and that’s where I spent the next 3 months. Are we nearing fashionable yet?

I used to label myself as dark and twisted. I would warn people not to get too close. Those who did I’d push away. I truly was a broken girl.

It took me a year of therapy to get me somewhat functional again. It took me years to discover that it’s okay to be happy. Over years I got antidepressants starting out with bad ones, switching to okay ones and then getting the ones that almost restored me to the girl I was before life happened.

I wasn’t just cured, snap of the fingers, poof magic! It took a lot of hard work and I still have some way to go. I still have bad days where I cry myself to sleep and feel alone and lost. I very seldom have days where I walk through my flat and wonder “where would the best place be to hang the rope?”

The good days are slowly moving in to stay. And what I cherish most is that I can now say that I have days where I’m pretty happy and that’s okay.

The Broken Girl

Little chairs – part 4

Last early shift tomorrow, and then the blog can get back to normal and so can I.

I have been told often that if there is an easy way to do something, I just won’t do it that way. It was Roobeedoo who said most recently something along the lines of ‘If it was easy, it wouldn’t be yours’.

It’s not deliberate, it just happens that way. Halfway through assembling these chairs out of wood I cut from my plum tree, seasoned for two years, stripped the bark, selected shapes and appropriate curves, I realised I could have just gone to B&Q and bought a thin strip of harwood for a couple of pounds…

But I’m happy with the result so far. They are not IKEA-perfect clones but they were never meant to be. They were intended to look like something Rustic Rat put together in his shed out of logs he found lying around. They are close but not exactly alike, they have imperfections but they do look like something Rustic Rat might have made. The imperfections are perfectly reproduced.

Both chairs sit perfectly square on a flat surface. No wobble at all. I will not have to make a scale model book to stick under a leg. I am most content with that part.

So, to continue the saga for those who aren’t utterly sick of it by now….

Drilling and pinning every joint took time. I had to do them in pairs and wait for each pair to set before moving on. Since I was using Araldite which really needs to be left alone overnight, this took a few days to complete. Finally it was complete apart from the pins holding the armrests to the front legs. All the other pins so far will be hidden by upholstery but those will not so I drilled the holes but left the pins out.

14_CHAIRSUsing a small file to flatten the armrests took ages . So…

15_chairsBig brother took over. Aside from flattening the tops of the armrests, there were sharp edges to take off and bits to round off. Don’t want them gradually working their way through the coverings.16_chairs Then a dose of coarse followed by fine sandpaper to end up with quite strong chair frames  It’s worth noting that by this time I have used a tiny bit in a big drill to make 24 holes and not one of them was in me. If that’s part of a life change, I’ll take it. But the drilling isn’t over yet.

18_chairsThe chairs now have three coats of dark mahogany varnish so the frames are complete. The armrest pins are in place, untouched by varnish. They will rermain visible. I varnished the bits that will never be seen again too, to help preserve the wood.

Next is upholstery. I have never done this before and have no idea how to proceed but that’s never stopped me before and won’t now.

Tomorrow, after the horrible early shift, I start stitching.