Monday 12th November 2012

A friend of mine called me wanting some advice; she asked “was she being too cruel for withholding funds from her kids”….  You see, her children think that she is their unpaid skivvy and they don’t ask for things but demand them.  I have to admit my friend has pandered to their needs for far too long, to the point where just before she goes to bed she asks them if they have everything they require……  Aahh how sweet I hear you say…..  Is she nuts…?  Put it this way, the only reason I had kids was so that I’d have someone to send to the shop.  
 
The severity of my friend withholding money from her kids isn’t the end of the world.  The British on the other hand who will be ending aid to India from 2015 is a different matter.  The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening has announced that help to India will grind to a halt over the next three years and a stop will be made on any new commitments. (BBC News article)  
 
Although India is growing in wealth, the poor are still suffering terribly.  Should England stand by India? Should the fact that the British raped the country of its resources in the past factor into Greenings decision? Or should the Indian government look after it’s people, who can be found begging outside one of its monumental structures The Taj Mahal (the jewel of Muslim art in India), which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during the birth of their 14th child.  To be honest does this structure even still belong to India or have the economic hit-men already claimed it along with other architectural goodies in exchange for a bit of change? This depth of poverty technically shouldn‘t even exist? Humanitarians see it as a level of cruelty to withdraw aid so abruptly.
 
Once my daughter thought I was being cruel because at the time I couldn’t afford to pay for her to go on a school trip, she threatened me with child-line and Esther Rantzen.  I told her to ring Esther who in turn would tell her….  “That’s Life”.  
 

Tuesday 13th November 2012

Three of my work colleagues and I, in the hope of saving some money on petrol which is getting ridiculously high, decided to car share, this meant we could also use the car sharing lane which allows us to avoid traffic jams which is always a winner.  We’ve been doing this for a few months now, but the other day myself and two others in the car sharing pool took some time of work which just left (not naming any names) our colleague Mandy…  Ooops…  Aahh well, I’ve said it now so I’ll continue…  
 
Mandy decided she didn’t want to sit in the normal traffic lanes and rather than taking someone else from work in her car (which would have been logical) so that she that could drive in the car pool lane, she decided to supplement this by putting a couple of blow up dolls in her car (don’t ask).  Unfortunately for Mandy one of the dolls had a puncture, which caused her to pull over and blow more air into the doll so as not to ‘blow’ her cover….  
 
This, my friends, didn’t bode well.  Unfortunately for Mandy the police were monitoring the lanes that day, and caught poor Mandy on camera, bent over and blowing on something that looked quite life-like. Needless to say a very red faced Mandy was cautioned and fined.  Dare I say the situation ‘blew up’ in her face? 
 
I told her it was a pointless exercise, it’s not like the dolls could help her with the petrol cost.  Especially now that George Osborne is talking about putting up the fuel costs by 3p-a-litre which would have come out in next months  Autumn Statement.  Old George is under pressure to hold off on the rise of fuel costs which is scheduled to take place on January 1st 2013.  Labour is trying to encourage conservative back benchers to join forces in the hope of the Chancellor holding off and acting in their favour.
 
If Mr Osborne goes ahead with the planned increase it would mean a whopping 60p in every pound that is spent at the pumps will go to the treasury department, which we all know is daylight robbery.  High fuel prices are a consumer worry, and they are not exactly putting money back into the pockets of ‘we’ the consumers.  
 
The only thing that the government with their (great) ideas seems to be fuelling is our rage, they are making it a very traumatic experience for us to fill our cars with gas (as the Americans would say), but not as traumatic as it was for my friends who shared my car as I filled it up with my gas, fuelled from last nights sprouts.  Taxi…

Wednesday 14th November 2012

I went to visit a friend and as I was walking up her street I could hear a lot of shouting and screaming going on.  As I walked into my friends front garden I had to lightly restrain her as she was bashing a guy over the head with a baguette from her shopping bag.  She was livid….  She told me to look what they’d done to her house.  It appeared that the council had placed metal grids on all of her windows and doors hence locking her out.  I asked her what was going on, she told me that she’d been at work all day and had come back to find she couldn‘t enter her premises.  The city council guy tried to say something and received another baguette bashing for it.
 
After calming my friend down, I spoke to the unfortunate city council guy, who told me he’d had authorisation from his boss and due to lack of rent payment he was to take possession of the house. My friend then started ranting again saying she’d never missed a payment and they need to check their notes again, which the guy did.  He told me to look at the paper work and he said “see I told you everything is in order”.  I told him he was right but he’d boarded up the wrong house, he should have boarded up number 12 but by mistake he’d boarded up number 14.  Needless to say that this statement caused him to receive another baguette bashing. 
 
After things were cleared up and my friend was re-admitted back into the comfort of her home, she told me that she’d never ignore a big issue seller again…  The number of people losing their homes has increased.  Pregnant woman and children now living in bed and breakfast accommodation has grown by 60 per cent in a year.  Families with children have for some reason or another been forced to live in B&Bs and whereas there is usually a six week limit, families are overstaying their welcome and not by choice.
 
Yet properties lie empty for years on end, new housing estates lay dormant as rent prices rise and low income families become homeless.  How is this justified?  Talk of building affordable homes is said to be the only solution even though thousands of properties are vacant.  What is property but mere brick and mortar?  When did we become so materialistic and precious about property? Have we only ourselves to blame for the rise of house prices due to the fact that we’ve allowed them to determine what we pay for when it comes to the combination of cement, dust and water…   surely everyone is entitled to a roof over their heads without the feeling of pressure.  
 
I’d like to think that I would open my home to someone who is homeless….  Obviously there would be stipulations such as, has to be 6 foot 2” tall, dark and handsome… If this fits your description….  The key is under the mat and mi casa es su casa.  Ding dong.
 

Thursday 15th November 2012

It’s coming up to the time of year where I start to say “baa humbug” and get hassled at work by my colleagues for not wanting to take part in their pre Christmas shenanigans.  Every year they try to rope me into their Secret Santa, which I’ve aptly named ‘Secret Crap’ because lets face it….  It’s just extra unwanted baggage that I can do without.  It’s not that I’m being ungrateful and dismissive…..  Yeah OK….  Maybe I am….  Bothered.
 
When Christmas is over, I’m the only one at work who isn’t panicking about paying back the loans borrowed to fund ‘greedmas day’.  The ones desperate enough to borrow from payday lenders are in more of a mess, these lenders are coining in on the vulnerable encouraging people to spend what they don‘t have or might not be able to pay back.  
 
These companies love this time of year because they know that people will go all out to buy gifts for their loved ones.  These lenders are happy to loan the money because they know that the interests rates are impossible at 1.940.5% and some are even as high as 4,248.9%…  Wow…  People might as well get on all fours, stick their backsides in the air and wait for Santa to climb down their chimney…..  Metaphorically speaking.  
 
We need to break the greed cycle, do we really need immaterial material things to make us happy.  If you feel the need to give something, how about the gift of our time, which surely is more precious.  
 
The Office of Fair Trading is investigating these lenders and looking into the accusations of irresponsible lending and rightly so, I know desperate times calls for desperate measures but we need to take responsibility too.  Think long term rather than just that one day.
 
My boss asked me to organise the office Christmas party, I told him that he knows I don’t do Christmas so why was he asking me.  He said that he’d bought me a new Kindle fire and an ipad 3…  I told him I’d get right on it….  What….  It‘s Christmas…..

Friday 16th November 2012

It’s positive Friday, the end of the week.  A time when we can look back and apologise to those we’ve hurt and look forward to new starts.  Forgiveness is a wonderful gift.  There is far too much hate and negativity in the air, so let’s break the cycle and encourage each other and raise each others spirits.  Remember, love is precious and love is kind….  Be love
 
I am just one persons opinion, think for yourselves and spread the love.
 
Citizen Jane ©

Article by Citizen Jane / 16th November 2012

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The Life and Times of Citizen Jane