Listening to: Lady Coca Cola – Metal Urbain

Isn’t this a lovely idea? July was poetry month at Guildford Library in Surrey, and every day a poem was read over the intercom.

Right. So I keep writing half-posts and abandoning them with the intention of coming back later, and now I find I have 36 drafts and haven’t actually posted anything in a week. And just this afternoon I was going to link to this cool jewellery I found through Evany Thomas’s blog, and in the space of 2 hours the website’s disappeared! So let that be a lesson to me – stop dithering. Anyway, here‘s the original blog link to a lovely retainer necklace (the actual website it’s from had rings made of keys, which I thought was cool).

You may remember me lamenting the dearth of migration resources recently – I went to Borders over the weekend and found a couple, and now I’m depressed. They’re all aimed at people in the finance sector, or backpackers. Living and working in London basically says that anyone who tries to rent in the UK will be screwed over by the unregulated system, and suggests that the reader buys a place instead. Yes! As if anyone coming from outside the UK could afford to buy a packet of chips, let alone a dwelling. I found very little practical advice: they tell you that it’s almost impossible to open a bank account, which you would think creates a gap in the market for some sort of step-by-step guide for getting around the system, but no – this sort of important, practical stuff takes up about 20 pages at the start of the book, and the other 400 are all “the best shopping areas in London are Knightsbridge and Oxford Street!”. I want a book that says “wait, don’t sell your kidney for a Tube ticket yet – try this instead”.

I actually have such a book, but it was published in 1974:

Alternative London (1978 reprint)

It includes a handy price/distance chart comparing different modes of transport for getting around London, advice on where to find free haircuts and VD clinics, how to claim social security, how to make a lampshade out of a balloon, how to fix common faults in gas geysers and how to rig up electricity to your squat.

So anyway, I was feeling a bit down about the whole thing – it was starting to look too frightening to actually be any fun at all – and then I found my National Insurance Number* in a drawer, so now I’m feeling a bit better about the whole thing. I mean, that’s one enormous hassle that’s already taken care of, so…it won’t be so bad, right? Also, CILIP has lots of useful links on job-hunting and confirms that they will recognise any qualifications that ALIA does, and there are, of course, lots of useful threads on Ask Metafilter.

I would just really like to have all of this stuff in one handy volume that I can carry around with me. Hmph.

Also, I promise I will write about something else again one day. Here, have another picture:

This is at the bottom of our garden, and, as soon as I finish unpacking, it will be my sewing room! (Also, does anyone have any tips for removing the smell of damp from carpet? I’ve tried incense and the liberal application of Febreeze, to not much avail.)

* I’ve just looked at that link more closely, and under the question “Do you need to know if my circumstances change?”, it says:

If you are a woman you should tell us if you get married or become divorced or widowed.

Why on earth would they only need to know this about women?

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