Giving back

Hi,

No midweek post last Wednesday as I was flagging somewhat After the very pleasant break over Xmas, it’s taken me a while to adjust to being in bed before midnight and up before nine. It seems the Jones Collective are quite the night owls 🙂

As much as the mooring sun is beautiful and the dimming greyness of a winter afternoon is a little bleak, then evening is when I switch on. Sure, there’s the post 8pm dip – perhaps due to a late tea – but I have to thing myself and the family, that we need to be up in the morning.

For me to be creative, I need to be more rested than I am. It’s not necessarily down to sleep, but, I think, leaving some mental space free in some way.

Oh, talking of free with the lockdown reducing our travel needs and the lack of a working lunch, what’s happening to those pennies and pounds? Given the fiasco around ensuring kids from poor backgrounds don’t go hungry, how about donating some of what you’d usually spend to a food bank? Go on, make a difference ❤️

Many years ago when the Every Lovely Mrs J and I lived in our first rental, we were fresh out of university and with the 90s rescission on, jobs for folk with little experience were hard to find. I didn’t complete my course, so I was on the back foot. Luckily through Mrs J’s hard work and persistence, we both found employment but it was a tough few years. The Employment Benefit didn’t go very far and a large chunk of that was taken up by the shortfall of Housing Benefit. Going from being a student to being unemployed meant we were used to living inexpensively, but a large fuel bill, car repair, etc caught us, and we’d be knocked back to living week to week.

The first job I was offered (£7k PA) was for less than the combined government benefits, so I couldn’t afford to take it. If I had, we’d have been worse off as we’d need to find the money to pay council tax. Hello poverty trap. 🙂 However, once Mrs J was employed i meant I could take such jobs and we saved every penny to put down a deposit on a house. I should add this was before the insane prices of the 2000s. Our first house was in the mid 30k bracket. Not sure you could buy a garage for that now. 😔 How the next generation will buy, I really don’t know.

So while those cold nights in a chilly flat are long gone, the memory of worrying about being able to keep the heating on, fix the car, and have enough food, have not left me. I feel very lucky (hello privilege) that the odds were not stacked against me as a middle class, white, able bodied, straight, and passing for cis, bloke.

Maybe it’s time to put something back for those who need a little help. It seems our current leaders won’t, so perhaps it’s time to bypass their inaction, fund charities, and start voicing our displeasure. Write, campaign, feedback, and push to make change happen.

L x

6 Comments

  1. Spot on, brava Lynn.
    We had a very similar start to working life. I remember running between the unheated rooms of our flat in winter. Couple that with working through university as a waiter and in retail and it helps remind us to give what we can.

  2. My first attempt at commenting on this post was long and thoughtful, but somehow it got zapped as I was trying to post, leaving nothing but a faint odour of singed electrics. You must have a word with that guardian robot.

    Basically, I’m sorry that the UK that’s supposed to have a fully comprehensive social security system is having to resort to food banks.

    Sue x

    1. Ah, sorry about that. The anti-spam system is mostly okay, however I’ve lost a comment to it as well. It seems care is needed after ticking the box, to not accidentally tap the back button. A ‘you you sure you want to leave this site?’ prompt would’ve been useful. But, it system does cut down on the tide of spam to zero.

      The Welfare State has not been perfect, yet the current incumbents have used Austerity as a cover for, IMO, a War on Benefits. Even before COVID19, people were going without, but as most Middle Englanders are not affected, no action is taken. At Christmas, the UN got involved to feed children in London. You have to ask what is going on when a country line ours, fails to look after its youth.

      There is a growing anger and scorn that the government have the hypocrisy to look ashamed when they continue to vote for measures to either cut or continue to cap money to the needy.

      On the upside, the footballer Marcus Rashford continues to champion the needs of the poor and this seems something that unites many regardless of age, politics, or class. Marcus’s work is incredible.

  3. I think there is an advantage to having experienced some financially tough years in our lives. It enables us to empathise. Yes, living in a cold shed during uni years or having to salvage a disposed of pram from the bay for our soon to arrive first daughter (OK I cleaned it well before she used it) have had a positive side. And while the hard times weren’t permanent, their mark has been.
    Lynn your post about our responsibility to others is timely and wise.
    Was it John Lenon who said “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”?
    Good post.
    Geraldine

  4. Thanks Geraldine. I think having been without leaves a mark. Not in a bad way, but in terms of a shared experience that may help be empathetic. I was reading about Marcus Rashford and he was saying how hard his mum worked to support them. Even with extra jobs, there were days in which it wasn’t enough to put food on the table. Jack Monroe reported similar issues in their interview in this week’s Guardian. All it takes is a large bill, car repair, a season ticket for public transport, or a broken appliance, and anything you’ve saved – assuming you’d been able to – would be wiped out. I think policy makers need to understand the effect their decisions have on people at the sharp end. I feel empathy, compassion, and indeed basic curiosity are lacking in certain leaders.

    Was it John Lennon? I honestly don’t know. It feels like he might have days that. A look online shows this:

    “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver

    I’m not a massive fan of binary statements – who’da thunk when I’m gender fabulous? 😁 – as I feel it reduces an often complex situation to A or B. Life seems more nuanced than that.

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