Too young for a pension

I’ll come to the point about the pension later…

First, I take back what I said about PCWorld, more or less. After a long phone call, they had agreed to replace my computer and do the changeover themselves, but then they asked me to hang on because a techie guy wanted a word… He showed me another way to see how big my hard drive is, and it’s all there, the full 500Gb, but they had forgotten to set up the second partition. It took only a few minutes to do this, and voila! All done; my laptop is as it should be. Now, if only someone had thought of this when I made my first phone call… but never mind; at least it’s all sorted now, and without too much hassle. Monday was pretty much all phone calls, including an accidental one with my first boyfriend – he’d called me by mistake, but we had a chat anyway. I did some prep for a meeting on Tuesday, and finished the rather difficult adjudication for the play I saw last Friday.

On Tuesday I was involved in a meeting that ran from 9:30 (should have been 9, but we were held up in traffic) until 4 pm. This is too long for any meeting, in my view, but we covered a lot of ground. In the evening we went to see The Descendants. This was a very good movie, but it was ruined for me by the intolerant old couple sitting next to me. When they arrived (quite late) they had asked people in my row to move round so that they could sit together, which was a little unusual. The man, who was sitting next to me, was sniffing so much at the start of the film that I nearly offered him a tissue, but I thought that this would be rude, so I didn’t; anyway, I do sniff a bit myself, so I could live and let live. After a while, the woman leaned over and said, “Do you think you could hurry up and finish? You’re ruining the film!” We were eating popcorn, quite quietly, I might add; as were the people the other side of them and a good few others in the cinema – it’s kind of traditional, isn’t it? So I said “Sssh!” “Don’t you shush me!” she replied, and then the bloke chimed in with, “If you stopped eating popcorn and sniffing, you would enjoy the film much more.” He proceeded to sniff and cough and gurgle through the rest of the film. But how rude! And how intolerant! I’m well-behaved in cinemas; I don’t talk, and I try not to rustle, but really… If I ever become as intolerant as these people, I’ll stop going to the cinema.

Wednesday was end of month, with the various accounting and reports that means, and oh! wasn’t it cold! I was wearing 6 layers of clothing, and still didn’t really get warm. I did loads of prep for the prison and the GP surgery group, and wrote the report I have to do every three months about my prison work.

On Thursday I was in the prison, with the usual great work from my group, and a lot of time spent finding addresses of ex-prisoners so that I could send certificates on to them. Everything takes twice as long in prisons. The guys in the group were quite excited at the thought that some of their work might be heard on prison radio, but in the evening I found that in fact nothing written by VPs (vulnerable prisoners, i.e. mostly sex offenders) can be broadcast, so that was that. I’ll have to tell them this week. I can see good reasons for special restrictions on VPs, but this seems extreme to me… but I won’t get started, or I’ll go on for ages.

I did a lot of Poetry on Loan stuff on Friday, and spent time trying to sort out some missing Koestler award prize money; My little GP surgery group went really well – I think they are astounding themselves by what they have been writing – and I typed up some prison work, went to the TADS rehearsal, and did some more office tidying. Tidying my office is a bit like doing things the prison – it takes much longer than I think it should.

And on Saturday I got round to going through my mail. And that’s when I found notification that the pension from United Biscuits, who I worked for from 1974 – 1988, is due to be paid to me from June this year. It’s not very much. It should have been more, but for quite a bit of this time I was working part-time because my children were very young, and in those days you couldn’t keep contributing to the pension scheme if you worked part-time; nowadays this would be considered sexual discrimination, and wouldn’t be allowed, but of course there’s nothing I can do or could ever have done about it. But still, a pension. I feel much too young to have a pension! I don’t know whether to feel pleased or old; I guess pleased is better.

Anyway, I had a lazy weekend, with just some work on the hospital book. At my age, I deserve to take things easy, don’t you think?

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