It's been a funny few weeks. Things are still very tight on the money front in our household. My contract finished on 31st December, so I've been unemployed since Jan 1st.
In fact, yesterday I went to the dole office (or iJobCentrePlus 2000, as I believe it is now called) to sign-on for the first time in 22 years.
Actually, it was a very interesting experience. Last time I was "on the social" I had to take a bus from South Woodford to Walthamstow and queue up with a grey, depressed, steaming, packed mass of humanity to eventually be processed in a sisyphean nightmare of bureaucracy which made Terry Gilliam's Brazil look like an edition of the Holiday programme.
This time around, I was dealt with moderately efficiently by a Freephone call-centre before wandering around the corner to the warm, bright, friendly dole office (sorry, can't stop calling it that) where I was given lots of friendly advice.
OK - so there's no way we can live on the money they give us, but the experience is a lot better now than it was 20 years ago. And that can only be a good thing.
Which makes it all the more pleasing that today has been rather more positive. I received a text message earlier asking whether I am still available for work on Monday morning. "CHRIST ON A BIKE, YES!", I screamed. Before composing myself and replying in a more professional manner. This is some work which has been one-and-off-and-on-again since just before Christmas. At the moment it's probably only for 2 or 3 weeks. But that's better than a poke in the eye with a herring and who knows where it will lead.
Also today, I got a note from a Radio 4 producer asking if it was OK for them to link to a post here on this blog from almost a year ago, in order to illustrate an online item on redundancy. I'm sure that coincidence means something big and synchronous and Jungian. Or maybe it's just a coincidence.
So - I'd better get some practice at getting up early and heading off on the train to London. What's the time now? 5pm I'm off to bed!