Before anything else today, I was really saddened for a short while, but then had a phalanx of happy memories, from one of the great comic actors of my time. Rik Mayall made me laugh for hundreds of hours and will continue to do so even after his passing today.
Quite simply, he was and is a funny man, and below is a little clip of how he envisaged the way he’d spring his mortal coil. I defy you not to giggle!
Agnostic though I am, if there is one about, God bless you, Rik, and thank you.
It’s no use to hide otherwise. I’m finding life very difficult to get through again. Nowhere near the point of where suicide was planned as well as contemplated, but enough to make me wonder why I bother.
The futile job search I can put up with. It’s frustrating that I have so much to offer someone, yet nobody is prepared to take a chance with the most menial of opportunities. Despite what politicians and the media may tell you, times are still hard for a lot of people, and that includes small firms. Why take me on, when a teenage or under 21 minimum wage, or apprenticeship rate, is that much less than an normal minimum wage?
What is sapping my soul today, however, are those that, far from struggling, have exploited times of austerity to create a captive market, and in doing so left poor people poorer. Or dead.
Yep, it’s those energy companies again. It’s been a long running saga and it’s just got to the point where I want to scream, shout, flail at someone who sees fit to bully and harass people unable to defend themselves against their practices. Those of us living in fuel poverty, a prisoner to their greed.
I’m not alone in this. In a way I’m lucky. Last winter 31,000 died in Britain as a direct consequence of not being able to afford to put the heating on. 350 people for every winter’s day perished for not being able to pay towards a multi-national conglomerate’s shareholders profits. The sad thing is that this is the fatal tip of an enormous fuel poverty iceberg.
It’s estimated, depending on what calculations you use, that between 3.5m and 4.5m UK households live in permanent fuel poverty. That is, using so much of your income on energy bills that other essentials in your life has to be cut back. Food or heating? It’s a choice that anything up to ten million British people have to face every winter.
The anguish it brings to mind and spirit is incalculable, living under a cloud of outstanding bills, regular harassment, and frozen evenings in the cold weather. It’s no wonder it gets to me, even in the warmth of today.
My disputes are twofold. I won’t mention the first energy firm’s name. It’s taking eons to sort out though. It’s simple. Nobody knows where my gas meter is located. They have promised, then lied about, sending a rep round to locate and read it, and also stated I would have to pay them what amounted to 75% of my monthly income to them or face the consequences.
Why? They are trying to charge just under £800, a hysterically overestimated bill. All I want, though, is the actual amount due and then sort out a way to pay it. It’s not that difficult in this day and age, is it? Yet, two months on from raising the dispute with them, and with the Citizens Advice Bureau intervening, they have sat on their backsides and done nothing except demand.
The other dispute, who again I won’t mention the company name, is much smaller, n to the power of 0.1 I’d say, but just as annoying when they are just as unhelpful at the same time. I moved out last year, was the best part of £200 in credit, but they are refusing to pay back so much as a penny of it.
After weeks of e-mails, letters, phone calls, I’m still no nearer resolution with either of them. And today, of course, when I returned from a fruitless job search, I was met with more intransigence from them. They genuinely don’t care how they affect people, or maybe even who dies, because of what they do.
The effect is how I feel today. Upset, worried, angry, even feeling worthless. Nobody and no corporation has the right to make anyone feel like that. But they do, without a care in the world, as pensioners die and their profits pile up.
I know this sounds like a consumer rant, but it really does have an effect on me. After months of haggling, I’m worn down, worn out, and can’t take it any more. Sort it out, energy companies, and I can sort myself out.
Then say sorry to the families of those you killed in the name of profit. That, however, is like my chances of getting this resolved before the year is out.
A forlorn hope.