on being poor

Today’s theme was prompted wen I referred to something as ‘new-to-me’, correspondent had not heard that particular euphemism before, she referred to ‘previously owned’ or was it ‘loved’. Looking about me, the only two ‘things’ that I have had from new are the iPhone which is nearly 2 years old and the electric fire, bought for me when I moved into this flat January 2006 – almost five years ago –  the gas central  heating did not work – but I was so relieved to be in my own home after six years that I didn’t care. Happily the weather was  unseasonably warm and because of the sheltered housing status, Mendip Housing soon sent a man to fix it. When I first moved in I was on quarterly billing but soon had to switch to pre-payment meters because had no experience of budgeting or many years or any kind of fiscal management for years  and even then I was making enough money to not worry about bills. Never thought I’d end up living in a ouuncil flat but hey ho, that’s what social housing is for.

Surrounded by so much clutter, it’s hard to remember that this was once an empty flat. My daughter provided much of the stuff as she was merging her Surrey household into that she’d inherited from her Mum. No need for sentiment, I was very pleased to be able to continue to make good use of the things she grown up with. Looking around, almost every thing here  is “pre-loved” as Loot and Freecycle users euphemise what to many others might be just old junk. Perhaps being a baby-boomer growing up in post-war England. Who could have predicted that tinkering with old wireless sets would stand me in good stead for living life in straightened times in 21st century Britain. I can light a fire, mend a bicycle and even a motor car  but still know a little about the workings of computers. Fettling stuff is something i’me been doing all my life and I don’t usually need Swarfega after I’ve gone into a computer’s innards. I drwa the limit at making Christmas cards and have just bought enough. with stamps fot those I need to send to by snail mail. Sudden thought on the whole Crimble business; rather than send a round robin letter of what I’ve been up to, I’ll use http://warriet.com/ to post some sort of Christmas/New Year message (disappears momentarily to check Filezilla). Hurrah, it works and I can remember the password and stuff so perhaps I’ll start working on it tomorrow. Of course another consequence of a make do and mend mentality is that rather than curse an inadequate PC, I crawl around until I find software that brings out the best in whatever hardware is to hand. Although deprecated by the true Linux person (whatever he/she/it might be). Ubuntu 10.10 is definitely fit for my purpose especially since it enables me to run VirtualBox without having to go all geeky and start fixing things in root.. The point of mentioning is that such software is legitimately free – why pay money on an unfinished, insecure and hopelessly inefficient product that demands evermore expensive for its effective use? Perhaps Windows 8 will in time to save the day but meanwhile there is literally tonnes of perfectly good hardware going to landfill every day when it could be revitalized in an hour so. Which reminds me of something my daughter suggested a few weeks ago, nameky to create a local PC refurbishment outfit from which the increasingly dispossessed could get their first step to (re)connect to the rest of society.[mental note to go and see Furnequip next week]


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8 Responses to on being poor

  1. John Blackburn says:

    Agree heartily with Becca’s suggestion. That would be a very good use of your huge skill base…’From each according to their means’, etc etc.

  2. titflasher says:

    Me too – think it is a great idea! Go, David, go!

    Pre-loved was the expression although I am tickled pink still by “new-to-me”. It’s funny, I grew up with no money, fell into having loads, now back to none at all, but even when I had money, I never spent it on things or clothes … my TV was “pre-loved”, as was my video, my DVD player (now dead) was new – that should tell me something – and I can still make a meal out of a few bits of green and lots in tins or freezer – thank goodness for those early lessons … would be okay provided I knew where next month’s money comes from, but truly, if you have worked all of your life and have your own home, you are stuffed in terms of benefits. If I had sat on my arse all my life, I would have a dwelling of some kind, everything paid and have my jobseekers … seems wrong somehow but my mortgage insurance does not cover being out of work (critical illness or death only) and I need to keep everything going because without some form of income (even borrowings) above and beyond this, I lose the house, cats etc .. so for my own sanity .. oh well, back to the job hoping tomorrow!

    • warriet says:

      me too (grew up poor, discovered the knack for making money but none of it stuck – some losses down enemy action but mostly the predicable consequence of my intemperance). Early and hard learnt skills are quite handy – if there was a sudden total power/infrastructure failure for example, the number of people who know how to light a fire, handle paraffin heaters and lamps 7c Bad news about your mortgage insurance, were you mis-sold? Have you spoken to your mortgagor about rescheduling/going interest only/whatever? Despite what the Daily Fail would have you believe, you would not qualify for the apparent largesse that comes with social housing. Are you on http://www.linkedin.com/? That might be a useful way of stretching your network of contacts. Time for bed methinks last couple have bee awake nearly all nighters. Will their be a MadUP tomorrow? If there is and if you go please give my apologies for not making this one either, perhaps next month. Hoping your carpets are cleaner, Goodnight David :-)))

  3. titflasher says:

    I don’t think growing up poor (rather than destitute) does anyone any harm at all. Makes you appreciate what do you manage to achieve. Would love to say that most of my money went on great experiences and wanton behaviour, but as I needed security, most of it went on the house. Oh and cats :-)). Mortagor not interested in helping me as I owe a very small amount so it would benefit them to repossess. Yes, have been on LinkedIn for years! Sorry, did not see your message until now – did not make a Madup sadly but hoping the next one will see me solvent! Carpets are nearly done – house now smells of wet dog for some reason (you’d thin it would smell of soggy moggy), perhaps the foxes have visited without me knowing :-).

    • warriet says:

      No harm at all and the honest silver spoons now this too and often have a “there but the grace of…” attitude. Much of my money went into a house called Home Cottage and its 3.5 acres. Was burnt down by a local arsonist called David Brain, the rebuild cost was nearly 150k against a sum assured of 42k as advised by the Halifax. Do the sums! I successfully sued BT for my losses but after five years all I achieved was the the recovery of the monies paid out by my insurers and their lawyers. The actual settlement to me was less than my debts so I took advice from a City firm of insolvency advisers and dispersed what I did get into arrears and ahead maintenance fro my daughter, cleared my slate with the Inland revenue and the rest on 18 months advance rent on a rather nice flat in Rotherhithe – all legitimate priority creditors. You can imagine the raw pleasure I took from telling an American Express debt collector to ***off and that I would call the police if he dared to ring me again when i got back to the office form going bankrupt. (The TV crews on the pavement were for the Maxwell sons who were engaged in the same process at the time)

      Chunter chunter, well done for doing so much carpet – perhaps the soggy doggy aroma will discourage the cats?I think you would have noticed fox aroma, it is very distinctive.

      Will have to write on being poor ii asap, I intended it to be a paean to the virtues of make do and mend mindset and as long as I have a roof over my head and food in my belly, everything else is luxury. Hope there is a MadUp early next year, I intend being ready for an adventure grander than just local excursions. :-)))

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