Wednesday, 30 November 2011

So not everyone agrees with this strike do they, me for one that's sure!

OK let me play devil’s advocate here & put another angle on the public sector strikes. This is a scenario for a not un-typical man who's a small time builder, the sort of chap who most people will only see vaguely on a site building houses. This will happen to lots of people who are not public sector workers:

I am a builder aged 58, I am self-employed,  I do not run my own company but trade as a sole trader, so I have no income at all if a) I don’t work b) I am sick for a time (self-employed people cannot get statutory sick pay like employed people, they can only get employment support allowance which takes time to get & has to be applied for in the same way that unemployment benefit has to be applied for, so unless they are long term sick or unemployed,  no work no income).  If I’ve got the flu, unlike a teacher or refuse collector, I can’t just lie in bed for a week & still get paid. 

I have no work now because of the down turn in the economy. Yes there were a few good years back a while ago & I, like the whole of the western world took advantage of getting more & more credit to enjoy my life & taking out a bigger mortgage so that my family could live as comfortably as everyone else. 

My accountant advised me that unless I saved for a private pension I wouldn’t have any money after the age of 65 except for the State pension but I didn’t bother to take one out of course I was cocky & thought that I could save up enough not to bother with those money grabbing thieves at the pension companies who weren’t going to give me back anything like I paid in unless I lived until I was too old to care. Now like everyone else I will have to work until I’m 66 before I get state pension, OK that’s fair enough, but I have no work, nor do I have any savings left as I’ve been living on them for the last few years. I take the small jobs where I can, like repairing someone’s front wall, which I can hardly make any money out of because the work that I can get is so competitive that other people are undercutting me all the time. The money I get for the job barely covers my materials & the diesel I have to put in my van. 

So where do I go from here?  I’m finding it hard now to do the work that I did even 10 years ago. I’ve had a few accidents in my life & my joints are stiffening, it’s getting harder to get out of bed no matter what the season. My missus has a little job at the supermarket which keeps us in food & helps pay the bills but she’s 57 & won’t get her state pension until she’s just about 66. 

I don’t know how I’m going manage to work even if I can get a decent job, what with getting older & slower, when you have all these fit young lads who can shimmy up a ladder & not think about it. I can’t rely on anything at the moment so even if I had been able to afford to buy a private pension I’d have to have stopped paying into it a few years ago, so my pension would be worth b* all by now anyway.

This is why those of us who aren’t employed by the state have a problem with the strike, many of us don’t get anything except basic state pension unless we pay a very large amount for it, & while I, a woman, sitting at my desk & working can manage another 6 years or so if I have to, there are very many people out there who will physically be unable to carry on & never having had the benefit of being in state employment, won’t get any fat pension at the end of their working lives. 

Another thing that really amuses me is that many of these people who are striking would claim to be good citizens, caring about those less fortunate than themselves, many would also probably claim to be socialists as well, yet they don't give a rat's arse about the fact that it's all of the UK tax paying world who actually have to pay the rest of the contributions for these pensions. I see no problem with the public sector employees paying a higher percentage of their earnings if they want a decent amount for their retirement. I see many of my friends who have been teachers retire early, because they have had such inflated salaries compared to many in the private sector, that they have huge savings stashed away & can afford to travel off to all sorts of exotic countries, play golf & generally enjoy themselves & still expect us the public to pay them a grand pension. And if another teacher tells me how stressed their job is I think I'll wring their necks. Do they not think that people working in the private sector have to cope with stress? Once when we had to ask our solicitor for advice on an ex client who was being thoroughly nasty & offensive & threatening to sue us for nothing we'd done wrong, his comment was 'wouldn't life be wonderful without clients to deal with'! Even though I'm my own boss, boy do I get some awful times, after all I have to cope with public sector workers regularly & let me tell you I'd like to take them out & give some of them a good shaking down. Yes I know that very often their hands are tied with work practices that are sent down from above, but the people who sit on high are also public sector & IT'S ME WHO PAYS THEIR WAGES!!!! They are supposed to be PUBLIC SERVANTS, but do they ever consider that? Do they hell!

So that's why I'm afraid I have no sympathy with this strike. Get on with it, knuckle down & do the work like the rest of us have to to earn our money & just be grateful that you have a very well paid job & can live in comfort unlike those people who do not. Or retire early & live on your humungus savings & let some of the young people or those who have been made redundant & would kill for your jobs have them

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I've been ignoring my blog

I've been so busy lately that I've not had spare time to put anything on my blog. Life was hectic in the run-up to Fibre-East, but it went brilliantly in the end after all the worry. Much praise to the main organiser Janet who put in hours of work on getting everything to run smoothly & keep traders informed and up to date. There were things that could have gone a bit more smoothly and some misinformation and we needed better signs, but it was the first festival, so hopefully they will be ironed out for next year. Also much praise to Camilla who worked very hard with the publicity, without her I don't think nearly so many people would have come through the gates. Most people seem to have had a great time at the show, and it looks like there are traders who couldn't make it in 2011 who want to book for 2012, so obviously there's a market in the East/Midlands for another fibre festival.

Ruby's Ripple blanket
I've still be spinning & knitting as well as recently finished a crocheted ripple blanket for baby Ruby. Despite trying to do the starting chain loosely it was a bit tight at the edge. I really should have used a bigger hook. It was made in Sirdar Juicy, a bamboo & cotton blend, ideal for a summer baby. Now of course I wish I'd used something else to make it in, summer has really gone with all these storms coming in. Anyway it should still be warm enough to use for a while yet. I've now got to knit or crochet another blanket for her cousin who's expected in a couple of months time so I'd better get myself sorted out with some yarn. Trouble is I don't want to make exactly the same blanket, but I'm a bit stumped what to make. It does work out very expensive buying so much yarn, I got this lot from a seller on Ebay so wasn't too bad & I still have some left which I'll probably use for weaving a scarf or something, but it's proving hard to get anything reasonable for the new baby, I'll probably go for wool, so will have to get round to looking for yarn soon.

Just finished spinning up some wool for socks for the shearer who was at Fibre-East. He gave me a CharrolaisX fleece & I said I'd spin & knit him some socks. I started knitting them last week but then realised they were going to be far too wide, so frogged them & started again with fewer stitches, just not used to knitting men's socks so it looks like these may take some time to get finished especially as I've just had a delivery of some Marble Chunky to knit for Xmas and a ball of 4ply to knit a scarf for my niece who lost the last one I made for her.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A long time

Well it's 6 months since I last posted here, then autumn, now spring is on it's way. No excuses really, just being busy with getting on with life. Work has been very quiet the last couple of months but that's quite usual for this time of year, it will all start to go mad again once we get into April & the new tax year.

I've been doing my fair share of knitting & spinning & have even taken up the crochet hook again to make a blanket out of granny afghan squares. Even taught someone at Guild how to crochet properly & it seems she can't put her hook down now! Always good to pass skills on to other people, so much is in danger of getting lost.

On the knitting front I've made a lovely chunky jacket out of James Brett Marble Chunky in the sort of blue/turquoise/purple colourway. I even had a compliment from a lady on the doctor's surgery today to say how lovely it is! Always good to get compliments about your handiwork. I've also made the inevitable couple of pairs of new socks, some of my old ones have just about become unwearable, although they're fine under old boots for walking. I'm knitting a Traveliing Woman shawl at the moment out of some sock yarn in burgundy/pink colours as I wanted to try the pattern out before using it for some handspun which I spun for the sole purpose of making this shawl. It is an easy feather & fan type pattern, but I don't know if I want to make more of an effort to use a more difficult lace pattern for my own handspun. I will have to think on it some more. The advantage is that it's an easy to remember pattern though.

I'm crocheting a blanket out of bits & pieces, had some yarn that I'd bought to make a cardigan for my Great niece, but I really didn't like the colours so put them together with some other bits & pieces that I had & it's going to make a really cozy blanket.

Spinning wise I've been doing a mix of merino & alpaca which is coming out a lovely mottled heathery effect chestnut & cream. I'm hoping to get enough out of it to make a waistcoat for me. I've also got some merino on my Bee. I'm a bit disappointed with that little wheel which keeps having bits come loose & despite spending ages cleaning it, as I think the previous owner must have used the wrong sort of oil, it is still hard to get the tension from slipping & needs far more TLC than my Lendrum which I really do still love to spin on. I can sit & spin on that almost all day without really thinking about it, I feel so lucky to have got it.

Going back to the doctor's surgery bit, I've got cellulitis again in my leg, which is an infection in the cells, I think this time it's from insect bites. My leg started to hurt & swell up Sunday week ago & by the Monday night it was really hot, swollen & sore, so I went to see the clinic nurse & she put me on antibiotics. Went back Friday & then again today & it's still not gone, so back onto another course for another week. This isn't the first time I've had problems like this, seems I'm rather prone to it, I don't know if this sort of thing runs in families but I know both my Brother & Cousins have had problems with this type of infection as well.