Grow your own

6/29/2008 08:12:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 11 Comments

This post from Bonetired about the lack of taste in supermarket food has reminded me to take some photos of the plants outside my home.

I don't have a garden, just a tiny yard which only g
ets direct sunlight between the hours of 1-3pm...just enough for me to sunbathe, that is when it's not raining. It's a good job I'm so petite as I doubt anyone over about 5'4 would have enough room to lie out there!

Such limited space is no barrier to growing food though, and as a result I have plants in pots growing outside the front of the house as well as a
t the back. Alongside the flowers are tomato plants, carrots and lettuce sown deliberately to produce a constant supply of baby leaves rather than full plants.

Inside on a window sill there are chilli's and peppers, and in the back more tomatoes, various herbs and some garlic.

The taste is incredible, and all for just a few pounds for all the seeds and very little effort (other people do the lifting, which to them is not heavy!). I wonder how popular growing your own food in this way will become as food prices continue to rise?


10 years ago...

6/25/2008 08:51:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 13 Comments

Recently a couple of people have tagged me to complete various me-me's. As half the blogosphere has already completed them I don't want to bore people by reading similar posts everywhere, so I thought I'd bore you all with something else instead. One of the me-me's starts with a question about what the responder was doing 10 years ago, which coincides nicely with some posts I've been planning for a while.

I'd been plagued with minor illnesses during my final year at university, various infections meaning I'd missed almost the whole academic year by the time I sat my exams. I was so unwell during the exam period I hallucinated all the way through one paper. It had been a difficult and unpleasant year, but I believed what I was repeatedly told by family, friends and medical professionals. That there was nothing wrong with me and I was just weak and lazy. I had no reason not to believe them, it was what I had been told my whole life.

A GP had happily declared me as fit and well for the required medical, supplied me with a course of antibiotics 'just in case' and a flea in my ear about the dangers of 'unnecessary' tonsillectomies, so as soon as my exams were finished I flew out to the USA to work as a camp counselor for the summer. Despite having been babysitting for as long as I could remember, as well as having experience teaching swimming and army cadets, the prospect of being responsible for the welfare and entertainment of teenagers for a whole summer was a daunting one!

The summer started with a week long course before any children arrived, at the end of which we would all be fully qualified open water lifeguards and able to instruct in a variety of watersports.
The weather was unusually cold for the time of year, so swimming in a deep lake, learning how to do tasks such as deep water spinal boarding was physically incredibly demanding. Tasks made more difficult by the general standard of swimming being too low to meet the demands of the course. I was one of the stronger swimmers so despite struggling with the cold I found the course easier than many. It was a week of long days and long evenings sat around campfires under the stars as we all tried to get to know each other and how to work together.

I had only been there a few days when I had my first accident*. We had been cleaning the toilet and showers and I had picked up what I thought was a generic version of some sort of bathroom cleaning spray. It was in amongst all the other cleaning products so I thought nothing of it when I picked it up. I set to covering all the areas to be cleaned with spray before starting to wash them down.

After a few moments I felt a little strange, and thinking I'd been
a bit daft to stand inside a shower cubicle spraying a cleaning product I headed outside to get a breath of fresh air and have a smoke before continuing. By the time I reached the outdoor deck I was coughing and spluttering. Trying to take deep breaths only made the situation worse and I rapidly found myself in a terrifying situation where I couldn't breathe properly and just choked and gagged every time I tried. My throat felt as though it was on fire all the way to my lungs and people had started to gather around me.

Very few of us were completely familiar with the camp and it's layout, so someone decided to walk me up to the medical centre, about 1/2 a kilometer away. I was finding it harder to breathe and ended up being half carried half dragged by two of the lads whilst someone ran ahead to find a nurse. By the time the nursing staff reached us we'd pretty much made it to the medical centre where someone phoned poison control to find out what was in the cleaner I'd been using. Meanwhile I was coughing and choking and generally feeling worse by the second.

The advice came back that the product I'd used should only be used with proper protective clothing in a well ventilated area, not an enclosed shower cubicle as I'd stupidly done. It turned out to be a product used for sterilising operating theatres, and I was later told no-one knew how or why it had got into the bathroom cleaning cupboard.

By this point I was pretty scared, partly I think by the delay in seeking medical help. The camp was miles away from anywhere, so instead of an ambulance being called, I was bundled into a van and driven to the ER. It took a good 15 minutes to get to the nearest medical facility, a tiny little emergency room with only a couple of staff. The drive was bumpy and despite the efforts of the others in the van, not being very heavy I got thrown all over the place-just what I needed when breathing was such hard work!

I vaguely remember being carried from the van into the emergency room, and through to a cubicle. Being British and aware there was no NHS I was terrified and through coughing attempted to give insurance details. Funnily enough they were not required until later, when I gave details of my own insurance as instructed by one of the camp's senior staff. There was subsequently an almighty row about why Worker's Comp** had not been contacted.

I was put on a nebuliser, and given a variety of medicines whilst the medical staff ran their own checks on the cleaning product. After a period of time I was able to breathe more easily, although I would still be coughing and feeling the effects by the time camp had finished all together.

A few hours in the emergency room were enough to get my breathing safely settled and I was taken back to camp to stay in the medical center. The following day I was taken to the pediatrician the camp used for all their staff and prescribed inhalers and some sort of codeine containing cough linctus. I was back doing my lifeguard course that afternoon, although it took a few days before I was able to go back into the water. It wasn't until the water had properly warmed up weeks later that I was able to get in without a massive coughing fit, despite which there were times I would be the only lifeguard in charge of the children.

* Is anyone surprised there were many more to come?!
**Worker's Compensation as I understood it was a form of medical insurance covering injuries in the workplace.


Big Strong Boys

6/25/2008 11:56:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 6 Comments

Bollinger Byrd has written a powerful post about the lack of psychological support available to our armed forces, a subject close to my heart. Whatever views may be held about the current wars we are fighting these are our troops and in need of our support.
Please go and read it here


You know it's a bad day...

6/21/2008 03:48:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 16 Comments

When after only being awake a few hours you're ready to go back to bed. Having been given evil looks by some old bloke for parking with a blue badge, then a defiant rather than embarrassed look when they see you limp off. Into a shop in which you trip over a table and accidentally punch the glass cabinets you're too uncoordinated to judge the distance of.

I think I'd better go back to bed before I destroy anything else!


Let's hear it for the boys...

6/19/2008 10:41:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 12 Comments

currently in my bedroom playing with power tools. No, I’m not having a threesome. I’m far too dull and blogging the event instead. Even if power tools are involved!


These Boots Were Made For Walking

6/17/2008 06:01:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 22 Comments

I try not to be resentful about the situation I'm in and how it limits my life. There doesn't seem much point really, as the only person damaged by such resentment would be myself.

However, regardless of how much I may tell myself not to be, there are just a few situations I cannot seem to accept. Shoes being near top of that list.

I really do resent not being able to wear the same beautiful, strappy, high heeled shoes my friends do, and have always wished my feet were just a size bigger and able to fit into a the smallest standard women's size in the UK, a size 3.

Unfortunately, designer shoes are something I can only dream about. I have typical EDS feet. They look as though they have a perfect, high arch, and they do. Until I want to use them for the purpose they were intended rather than decoration and try to stand up. Then, as you can see in the photo, lax ligaments mean I just roll over to the side, ankle nearly touching the floor. It has to be said that the level of hypermobility in my feet is far less than I have seen in others, although their ability to turn blue almost instantly is all mine. The colouring in this photo is just what happens when I stand up, sometimes more quickly than others, and if left unattended I end up with what resembles rather fetching dark blue/purple over the knee socks. And a headache. Then if I really leave it too long a face full of floor.

So I was really happy to find these Timberland boots on ebay, in near perfect condition for only £4.50. It's one of the few advantages of having child sized feet, along with no VAT. If I must wear supportive shoes, they can at least be pink!


The Great Toy Review

6/15/2008 09:24:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 15 Comments

Thanks to Lovehoney's generosity in giving vibrators away, I actually ended up with four toys to try and an enormous cardboard box. Kitty #2 got the box to play with in an attempt to keep her from jumping on my head whilst I was road testing the toys. Unfortunately she was not fooled by my paper based bribes and throughout the entire experiment jumped on and off the bed yowling her displeasure.

I'm glad someone did. Express their annoyance that is, as everyone else involved in the experiment (limited to humans only) seemed to be having a great time. The rabbit I'd ordered for the friend who'd never seen, let alone used a vibrator clearly went down a storm as I received a text long before bedtime just saying "Fantastic! TY". At that time I was still too busy trying to break into all the packaging and wondering exactly what the bin men were going to think of me when they found it all. Good job I removed that red lightbulb really.

Having listened to all the advice you kindly gave, I then completely ignored it and got carried away by Lovehoney's free offers. I was tempted by the fun factory toys as I love my existing one, but unfortunately they all seemed to have the same snap shut cover for the batteries and that's the only problem with the one I have, my hands aren't big enough or strong enough to work the squeeze and pull mechanism. No matter how great the toy, if it doesn't have a simple twist off battery cover it's not going to be any good for me. It's not the best way to choose a vibrator though.

I settled on the tulip wand as Ms Cake speaks so highly of hers, and the silicone bendy,which as someone previously commented must've been made for me! The other toys came free.

The only issue with batteries was the mountain I needed to power this little lot. Thank goodness for rechargeables! I settled myself down for an early night surrounded by sex toys, tubes of lube and dirty photos of the captain.

When I saw the gecko (one of the free toys) I thought it looked quite promising. Similar principle to the rabbit, but much more sensibly proportioned. Touching it wasn't quite so promising though as although the edges weren't sharp as such, they were harsh and a bit hard to the touch. The best I can say about this toy is that it was uncomfortable to use.

The silicon bendy was next. It turned out to be quite a basic toy, the attraction being that it's both bendy and waterproof. It wasn't quite bendy enough for my liking, but I admit my standards of bendable may not be the same as others. All in all I think this would be an excellent toy for couple play, but as a solo it wasn't quite up to the task.

The tulip
was a different matter! Now I know why Ms Cake loves hers so much. It's deceptive looking as it packs a considerable punch, so much so that at first I found the lowest setting a little too much. It's easy to get used to though, and it's length takes any strain off your hands. I'd think it would be particularly good for anyone who has an issue with reach, and I suspect you could even use it with a wrist or hand strap quite easily.

I'm in the minority of women who require some sort of penetration to orgasm, so although the tulip was wonderful, I needed to use it alongside another toy. The Sue Johanson G-spot toy worked brilliantly in this situation. Where the rabbit had been an issue size wise, this combination was great as it left the positioning down to me, and without a rotating shaft I wasn't worrying about internal bruising.

The G-spot toy was particularly good as the shape meant it would stay in place on it's own, leaving the hands free to manipulate the tulip. I suddenly realised just why so many women rave about their rabbits when I was able to work both together-like the text said, Fantastic!


Mind the Gap

6/11/2008 04:05:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 15 Comments

I highly recommend this post by Mary as an insight into the stupidity and failings of the benefits system for those disabled people who are doing exactly as the government dictates and attempting to work.

Once again, stupid is as stupid does.

PS: I don't mean Mary is stupid. Obviously. Anyone who can navigate the benefits mess must have at least double the IQ of your average politician.

PPS: I don't mean Mary is only twice as clever as your average politician, for starters she can write in full sentences


Forever Friends

6/10/2008 11:44:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 19 Comments

Aside from helpfully selling any personal data you may have recklessly uploaded, there seems one other main feature to facebook. Reconnecting you with all those people at school you didn't like enough to keep in contact with when you left.

I went to what was, and still is considered an excellent school. A highly academic girl's grammar school. So academic that one of their first tasks was to ensure we could all spell 'grammar' properly. Oh, and to remind us on a regular basis that [we] 'were the top 2% girls'. And don't you ever forget it!

Other things considered most important were that we all had regulation colour socks, and to the point of teachers searching through the cloakrooms obsessively, the correct colour coats. Woe betide any girl unlucky enough not to have wealthy parents, a non regulation coat (navy blue only) would reward a girl with daily lectures until they broke and put constant, hysterical pressure on their cash strapped parent to replace their existing, perfectly acceptable but not navy blue coat.

Such care and attention to detail over appearance made it rather easy on occasion to get drunk, smoke fags and the occasional spliff on school time. We learnt very early on that such transgressions would be ignored in favour of a lecture about wearing earrings. Along with the music teacher's interesting ideas about 'gels' not being able to sing with jumpers on, or without sitting on desks so legs were visible along with the view up our skirts, or the numerous odd reported assault.

Bullying was the order of the day, you either sunk or swam, the idea of reporting such problems to a teacher being as laughable as the idea they might give a damn about it. The only things the teacher's were really interested in were ensuring the police attended rapidly to remove the pre pubescent little boys hanging around outside the school before they "carried us off and did unspeakable things" Thus successfully planting the hope in our boy crazed heads that we might just find out what those things were. The vast majority of course having done so long before 16th birthdays came around.

Fortunately the years of uniform obsession are long cosigned to the past, the only clues remaining my constant fear of 'scruffiness'. Oh and the regulation house gym knickers which were almost as big on me at 18 as they were at 11. Until facebook.

So last night I went to meet up with a girl I'd not seen since leaving school. We were never the closest of friends, both just trying to survive the school experience the best we could. I'd had to cancel a previous arrangement last week as my hips were bad, and I was a little nervous about seeing someone from school now I'm cripped up.

I shouldn't have worried, it was a lovely night. We caught up on the events in our adult lives, and reminisced about the horrors of a school interested in nothing but appearance and results.

Perhaps in another 15 years or so a few more of us 'top 2% girls' will have managed to achieve the level of career success our peers from the local secondary modern have done.


6/06/2008 12:17:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 17 Comments

Maybe I've been overdoing it of late. Maybe there's no maybe in that at all. I have been doing far too much of late. A combination of frustration, boredom, the good weather and having more of a life than at any time in the past 5 years have sent me sailing forth into summer. Where I appear to have left several body parts somewhere I can no longer find them. Mostly my right hip. Could be my pelvis though. It doesn't really matter what's caused it (too much death walking might feature high on the list) as the end result is pain and stiffness so severe I can't straighten up properly.

Initially I thought my right hip had wandered off and didn't want to go back. Having heard the thunky pop it produced earlier this morning I no longer think that's the (sole) cause, it has to be a combination of pelvic, hip and spinal movement/instability.

A few people have mumbled about A&E but I laugh in the face of such suggestions. As if anything A&E could do would persuade my wayward body to behave. Instead I'm planning on 'fixing' it with the heat of the sun and copious amounts of drugs. Legal and otherwise. This is a plan I've had for a good week or so and despite all evidence to the contrary I'm sticking with it...Unless of course I get a better offer-sex being fantastic for rearranging my pelvis!


Power Prices

6/03/2008 01:32:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 18 Comments

Ouch, ouch, ouch! I've just had to increase my direct debit for gas and electricity from £80 a month to £110 And no, the increase is not caused by my toy addiction. They are all battery powered!

Anyone else made that painful call yet?


Bog Off!

6/01/2008 11:41:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 16 Comments

I'm a bad blogger. A whole week since my last post. I should be ashamed. But it's me, so I'm not. Instead I thought I'd bring you something just a little bit special. Yes indeed. The esteemed sex bloggers give you regular half nekkid photos, and I thought about it. Really I did. But, apart from the fact I couldn't be arsed to shave my legs, I couldn't be arsed to take (anymore) naked pictures of myself either. So I thought and thought. And came up with this. Drum roll please.

Ta da. Welcome to Bog off! (TM to Benefit Scrounger. Support my hope of not being one!) Yes, this is like the whole Half Nekkid Thursday thing. There's just a few essential differences. It's not Thursday, it won't happen weekly, oh and there's no naked people either. I feel your interest wane already.

But, in
the interest of plumbing new depths (groan) Bog Off! is 'the' place on t'internet to post your photos of the skankiest disabled loo's. Tired of toilets used as store rooms, without locks, dirty, neglected and mirror less? Always bloody mirrorless. What about my lip gloss dammit?

This is the place to dish the dirt. Next time you're in a disabled loo, take a look a
round. Mind out for the people using it for a quick shag and take in the full ambiance of the place. Then take out your mobile phone. Photograph the evidence, and send it to me. I promise to post it here in Bog Off! Anonymity will be protected if you so wish, and place names volunteered by the really brave.

Next time, I'm taking the champagne. Which is not on offer as a prize for Bog Off! toilet skank. Obviously. It's not Cristal.