Monday, 12 July 2010

It's been a while.

Well, that's the World Cup over for another four years. Or two years if you count the qualifiers. Spain won, as I had tipped from before the start of the tournament (not fishing for compliments, almost everyone did).

For the last month I have done precious little else. Not only Dodophobia but all my other online activities have been neglected, well other than my online grocery shopping, which has suddenly stopped being neglected and been restored to its previous prominent place in my life, on a temporary basis. I have seen lots of football matches and heard many a vuvuzela, while supporting ABE, or in other words Anyone But England. And ABE in fact won the World Cup a good fortnight ago when Germany took England to the cleaners and left the English moaning about the unfairness of not being given a goal when the ball crossed the line. Well, a little bit of delayed justice there as they were given a goal when the ball didn't cross the line in 1966, which led more or less directly to them lifting the trophy.

SOME other stuff has happened, though, mostly (I'm sure to no one's great surprise) involving Susan. My niece, Karrie, is over in New York City right now visiting Susan for her summer holidays. And today, they went to church (!), along with my other niece, Cheri, to listen to some gospel music. A damn good excuse, I feel. Karrie has had her first reuben sandwich, at the Edison Hotel. The reubens are truly vast in there, so they ordered one and halved it, and Karrie ate her entire half, which as she has the appetite of an unhungry mouse tells its own story.

Susan recently found something online which suggested to her that she could not get a marriage visa if I was receiving benefits. As I am, that would mean we would be unable to get married. So I headed to the local Citizens' Advice Bureau to ask them about it. They cleared things up very quickly: she cannot stay permanently IF she causes any FURTHER reliance on state funds. In other words, we may not claim any benefit for her or because of her. That will mean a couple of phone calls once she is living here, because I have to tell them about any change in my circumstances, such as having a wife live with me, and that would normally lead to an increase in benefits. So I will have to call them to sort that out somehow, so that they know she is here but don't give us any more money. She is not allowed to work for the first six months-- logical and rational they ain't-- but once she is she can get a job and we can stop claiming benefits at all, other than my Disability Living Allowance which is not income related. And as my total benefit amount is just marginally below what I was earning in my last job, there is no doubt that we can live on it for those six months without any difficulty.

My wee nephew Robbie had his seventh birthday today. I was delighted to learn that on their recent holiday in France, he declared himself to be "feeling creative" and worked a bit on the book he is writing, which it turns out is about five cheeky monkeys. He's a bit of a wordsmith, that lad, loves language, bought a French phrasebook before they travelled out there. For the last two Christmases, my present to him has been a thesaurus. When he received the first one, he was astounded and amazed to discover there could be a book about words and it rapidly became his favourite book, which he would take to bed with him and read before going to sleep. Not your average five, six or seven year old, our Robbie. He's a normal wee boy other than his love for and ability with words, his wonderful level of vocabulary; he's not being hothoused or anything. He has the attention span of his age group, for instance, had difficulty staying with it for very long when I played him at Scrabble recently (might well have had something to do with the fact I was ahead of him-- just barely, to stretch him a bit) but his behaviour was totally normal for such a young 'un. He adores his language, though, adores words. And his uncle couldn't be prouder of that.


  1. And I thought us Yanks were the only ones with morons for government. Sue and I have not gotten a cost of living allowance this year and will not get one next year either. (We are both on Disability...) The Cost of living increase is tied to inflation supposedly, and as inflation didn't go up.. we didn't get the raise. But the A-holes in Congress sure as hell voted themselves one!

  2. I'm sure my girl has had a BALL there and a mine-full of experiences! WOT a way to celebrate bein 21!
    Ta for your comments on my wee big 7 year old!

  3. Mike, I have to say I think the way they have that is reasonable (and very similar to the US set-up, thinking back to my previous experience with that). No one wants foreigners coming in and gobbling up state resources before they've unpacked their cases. Got to say, though, not allowing her to work for the first six months seems totally irrational: "we want you to pay your own way, so we won't allow you to earn money and pay taxes".