Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page
So, the Lovely J turned 18 this year… took her A Levels, passed her A Levels, she’s an adult. Some of her friends have headed off for uni, some are doing retakes, some are working. Jo has moved down to London (up to London?) to live-in as a nanny with an old school friend of mine, until she gets an application for Au Pair America sorted.
So here’s the thing: child number one turns 18, Child Benefit ceases for her. Child Tax Credit ceases for her. Working Tax Credit drops as she is an adult and I have one less dependent.
Have my household bills decreased? Gas, electric, food? No. Added to which I am now liable for full Council Tax as I am no longer a lone adult in the household… but hang on, she doesn’t live here, she’s not generating waste, using the local amenities… and yet, in order to continue to pay single person rate of Council Tax, I will have to give her forwarding address and she will no longer be resident here. She will have to register to vote, change her doctor, dentist, driving licence to an address where she may only be for a matter of months. If she were at university, this would not be the case. So I face a dilemma… pay £25 a month for amenities and services she is not using (at a time when I can scarcely make ends meet- childcare now costs me £70 a week as the child Curly Boy used to come home from school with has moved up to senior school) – or simply say to my fledgling, “sorry, you don’t live here anymore.”
So, having limped along thus far, I find myself stumbling at this particular hurdle. I have coped with the re-banding of the system which caused free prescriptions to cease, free dental care, free eye tests and help towards cost of lenses. Tall Boy has accepted that EMA no longer exists, he has found himself a part-time job. I have increased my working hours and taken on any freelance work I can lay my hands on. But now I find I am around £300 a month worse off than 2 months ago, because one of my children is no longer a child.
Summer is finally over, Curly Boy’s first day back at school today. New teacher, new uniform, except the trousers are too small and I shall have to go and change them today, sending him in an old pair. He has shot up over the summer and I realise what a different body type he is from my other lanky two.
I am planning on blitzing the writing now, just two weeks before I start back at work, losing my precious day off as the grip of finances tightens… hopefully teaching one night a week, if the bookings start rolling in- Nottingham Trent University are running a series of Creative Short Courses out of their Art & Design Department and I pitched to do a ten week course on creative writing: Writing the Right Writing (yes, clumsy title I know). I aim to take a tour through blogging, poetry, stage, screen, novel, short story, non fiction- I’ll be asking participants to try each genre and explore what mode of writing suits their topic. I have realised that sometimes I may sit down to write a poem and discover that actually this story needs to be told a different way. All I have to do now is write my lesson plans… no pressure!