The Sighs of a Mouse


The Sighs of a Mouse

Where are the Footsies of yesteryear?

One day, in the desert, I came across a man lying on the sand. He was unable to speak. He looked into my eyes and begged me silently for water. I gave him some money to buy himself a drink and continued on my way, feeling virtuous.

Since this is the last thing I will ever post I have been thinking for a while about what I might say. At first I was going to make it the final Wizards piece but my heart isn’t really in it. As I begin I have no plan at all. Hopefully something will come to me. I am just here to say goodbye.

I lasted far longer than I expected but it all ended for me in the only way it could. The proximate cause is that the Halifax Bank is in desperate need of money for its shareholders and wants to sell my house to get some. You can see their point. Their shareholders have been walking around without shoes and socks all winter, freezing in doorways and begging for scraps, while I have been warm and comfortable in my undeserved house. It isn’t fair and it couldn’t last.

If the government had paid as little towards my mortgage as it could find an excuse for, and they are exceedingly good at finding excuses not to pay, I would have been left with a shortfall of a few hundred pounds a month. I must say it makes me a little sad that my life isn’t worth that much but I’m not here to complain that the world has done me wrong. In fact, the government has not yet paid me anything at all. I wrote to Sara:

“As for the housing benefits forms, they must be the best-travelled forms in existence. They have been submitted to the benefits agency, Norman has had them, Shelter solicitor has had them, the Jedwards have had them, and now you want to bring them back to me. They have been circulating for a year and a half. The ineffectual help industry – that’s exactly what I was talking about. An hour’s work for somebody to get the information from the bank and fill them in, but the help industry would rather just pass them around.”

The forms were finally filled in on April 17th, when I was due to be evicted in six days time. Some might think that a little late.

There is money to be made from my house and I am getting in the way of people making it. The proper authorities, in the form of the Halifax bank, the court and the bailiffs, want me to store my body somewhere else and have every intention of making sure I do. If I have to be removed from my house as a corpse, well that’s unfortunate, but business is business and the law is the law. And after all, nobody is making me end my life. It’s my choice, isn’t it?

I was musing earlier today on the fact that the law recognises constructive dismissal – an employer making your life at work so intolerable that you are forced to end it – but not constructive murder – somebody making your life in general so intolerable that you are forced to end it. If I was still around maybe I would have written an amusing article about it. How we would have laughed!


One day, in the desert, I came across a man lying on the sand. He was unable to speak. He looked into my eyes and begged me silently for water. I asked him why he didn’t dig a well. Some people have no interest in helping themselves, they expect others to do everything for them.

There was a time, I believe, when applying for benefits didn’t condemn you to a two-year battle to get what you were entitled to. The rather quaint custom in those days was just to give it to you. There was no help industry then, and not much need for one. However did the flocks of fairies earn a living? But a single income was enough to support a family in the olden days, the workforce was half the size, so the problem didn’t arise. These days you have to both deny some people money and find something to keep a lot of other people occupied. It all fits together rather neatly.

For the past year the help industry has been crawling over my life like flies on roadkill. Recently their activities have intensified. They have been doing ever more of what they do best: referring me to one another.

Gwalia referred me to the Aspirins for Cancer team, as I have come to think of them, at Maindiff Court Hospital. I had a visit from a community nurse, Pat, and a social worker. They suggested that I might benefit from walking a dog. If I didn’t want to keep one of my own I could walk somebody else’s. Naturally I would have to be referred to a dog walking team, but luckily the Hiway project had just such a thing. Maindiff would refer me to Mind, Mind would refer me to Hiway, Hiway would refer me to the Dog Walking Team, I would walk a dog, and everything would be tickety-boo.

It could be that this would have brought about a miracle cure where all else had failed, but somehow I doubted it. When Hiway contacted me I asked whether they had anything other than dogs to offer. They didn’t reply so I took that as a ‘no’

. My doctor referred me, on a couple of occasions, to the very same people at Maindiff. Professionalettes do love their referring! ‘I referred him to the mental health team.’ How important does that sound? How doctor-ish! How appropriate! How professional! I have been down that road so many times and it has always led to dog walking. Once it was called cognitive behavioural therapy. It was dog walking. I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect of more of it…