Yesterday was exhausting. I'm coming to dread Wednesdays as that's the day I sign on. It's not that I mind visiting the job centre, the staff at the Liskeard branch are friendly and helpful, but although they do their best to fit my appointment around the limited bus service available to me I'm often out all day for the sake of a ten minute sign on. It's very frustrating. Yesterday my appointment time was after the last bus back so I had to catch a bus to a nearby village and walk the last 3 1/2 miles. I don't usually mind the walk but I'd got shopping to bring home, it was particularly cold and my hip has been causing me some pain for the last few days so the walk took much longer than usual. I was a bit fed up when I finally got in, a whole 7 hours after I'd left home.
So what does the future hold? Obviously I'm job hunting - which isn't easy when one lives in a tiny village with a pretty lousy bus service, but also talking with my employment adviser about other options. That's partly why I'm coming back to blogging.
Last week the job centre sent me on a course that, lets be honest here, I really didn't want to do. It seemed a bit of a waste of time to me, especially as the lack of buses meant they were paying for a taxi home for me each day. It was a bit disheartening to know JC+ were spending more on my travel than I actually get to live on for a week. To add insult to injury the course was to include subjects like 'managing your money' and 'cooking on a budget'. FFS! I can do that! But you know what? I loved it. Dammit!I wanted to be able to complain about the waste of resources and how my time would have been better spent actually looking for a job but, thanks to the fabulous guys at Active Plus who ran the course, I finished the week feeling more optimistic than I have in a long time.
We had advice from ECCABI (East Cornwall Citizens Advice Bureau Initiative) on budgeting and banking, which was far more interesting than I imagined, and spending a morning in the kitchen with Sanjay from the School of Cornish Sardines, even though gnocchi and smoked mackerel aren't entirely to my taste, was fun and got the creative juices flowing. It made me realise I actually miss writing my blog. It's great coming up with new recipes and stretching my budget yet still eating well, but if I keep that to myself it loses something. I was shocked at some of the figures ECCABI gave us, on the numbers of children living in poverty in Cornwall, of how many parents go hungry so their children can eat, and most disturbingly of all how many teachers report children fainting during the day from hunger!
It is possible to eat well on a small budget and if the things I write encourage even one person then I've achieved something. This is 2016, none of us should be going hungry.