I aten't dead! Had a benefits-related wobble yesterday. I have to complete a form every year to confirm if any circumstances (addresses etc) change. They don't. The form takes me ten seconds for me to tick, sign and date. For the last three years the office I send the form into have written back claiming it hasn't reached them: please complete another by x date otherwise your benefits could be stopped. It doesn't help they use business-class second post, which can take a week. This time they sent the letter three weeks after I'd posted the form, despite the DWP texting me to confirm they had received the form.
Ugh. Had to go into my local jobcentre to sort this out and to be fair the lady who dealt with me was nothing but lovely and helpful. Told me to redo the form, offered to send it by internal post, and did me a photocopy just in case. People I can talk to I can deal with. The faceless bureaucracy is what does for me.
In nicer news I had a lovely weekend date with cybermule
. A fairly quiet one, which is what I needed. We meandered through Wooton-under-Edge, which for a sunny Saturday was dead. The charity shops for once didn't yield much. But then she took me for a wander up my first sunken lane, just under the Edge! A canopy of oaks high overhead: steep earth banks. Knotted ivyboughs snaking up the trunks. The air cooled by quite a few degrees as you went in. A storm had grazed that part of the country just a few nights before and H pointed out where some trees had fallen since her last walk there. There was something poignant about the scatter of acorns and branches on the lane. A good pub at the base of this walk with a vineyard behind it in a little bowl of land, though I didn't do myself any favours by mistaking the tender of the vines for a scarecrow. They were burning what I think were laurel branches at the edge of the car park: little flame but a lot of sweet smoke. We also watched the documentary Being Alan Bennett
(2009). There's something wrong (but hilarious) about watching AB sing Larkin's They fuck you up, your mum and dad
to the tune of Last of the Summer Wine.
I miss H badly.
I'm rereading a lot of Caitlin Kiernan's short stories as background to an article (just a short overview rather than an essay) I'm writing on her work. I rediscovered a couple of albums I thought I'd lost, radio sessions by Tunng, Scott Walker's Scott V
which was a present from Joel and a wounder to mislay. Today was too cool to count as Indian summer but the trees along the Stratford Road were brittling into green-gold. A cloud like ginkgo leaves up in the blue.