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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's me in a high place!

And there were a lot of rabbits there. In fact I saw more rabbits than people, so Fiver knew what he was talking about.

As for fivers of the other kind, well I'm pleased to say I've got my money. And it only took 24 hours of torture, pain and hassle. But hey, the good thing about being unemployed is that you have nothing better to do than sit in the jobcentre for 35 minutes on a Monday morning waiting for them to find the time to see you. Fortunately, when my name was called, I got to meet a lovely young lady who looked up my details, then politely turned the computer screen around and pointed out to me that I did receive a payment on March 13th. I pointed out to her that she was looking at February, she went "Oh yeah...", and we started again.

Ten minutes and one phone call to 'Payments' later, and the lady confirmed that I haven't been paid for a month (I already knew that), and that although they have processed everything correctly (I believe them), "it doesn't seem to be triggering payments". Why, I hear you ask? Well, here's the official explanation from the bloke in 'Payments', via the woman on 'The Signing Team', delivered at a desk in 'Enquiries':

"I think it's caused by some kind of problem with the tax year or something."

So that's cleared that one up. As luck would have it, they confirmed that the likelihood of me getting my next fortnight's payment (due today) was zero, so the nice lady said she'd ask 'Payments' to issue me with a instant giro. She said they were going to ring her back to confirm that they could. I asked "When?". She said "I don't know".

So it was back to the waiting area, where I had plenty of time to consider how much of that giro I could afford to spend on sharp implements with which to run amok more effectively. When 'Payments' did ring back, the news was good. They'd agreed to issue me with a giro so that I could get the cash from my local post office. And all I had to do was go back to the Jobcentre at 2:30pm to pick it up. Like I say, the unemployed have nothing better to do.

So I trudged the 15 minute walk home, considered what would happen if I didn't turn up, then thought sod it, I'll go to the Jobcentre when it suits me. At which point I jumped in my car and fled town, stopping only at Sainsburys in Portslade to buy Lisa an Easter egg and do my bit for the environment by pumping up my tyres.

My destination was Cissbury Ring, an Iron Age hill-fort three miles north of Worthing near the village of Findon. Which is so called because it's hard to findon a map. Apparently it dates from 3000BC, so it's about as old as I feel, and is also a haven for Fairy Shrimps. [Insert your own line about Wayne Sleep here].

Watership Down. Kind of.Anyhoo, I spent a calming two hours wandering amongst the rabbit holes and sheep (who are let loose onto Cissbury Ring for one month a year to keep the grass down), and trying to take a decent photo of myself with the timer on my camera. I just missed a rabbit disappearing down the hole on the right, failed to get up close and personal with a sheep, and nearly twisted my ankle in warren central, but overall it was very relaxing.

From there I headed back to the peaceful serenity of the Jobcentre. Where I had the pleasure of waiting another 15 minutes in a locked room (security's tight when they're handing out giros) before eventually getting mine at 4:15pm. Meaning that by the time I'd got out of the car park and picked up Lisa from work, it was too late to go to the post office.

So it was back out this morning to walk down the road and exchange my giro for cash. All I need to do now is walk the 40-minute round trip to the bank to pay it in. Another half a day and I'll have it all sorted. Thank god I'm unemployed, or I'd never find the time.