Last month I received a communication from the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). It contained a couple of sheets of hand-written figures with an accompanying letter telling me this was the calculation of the benefit I was entitled to between May and September 2007. Enclosed was a cheque for £2.08.
There was the usual small print about how to appeal against a decision if you disagreed with it, but this was itself already the result of an appeal, lodged in October 2007, consisting of two closely-typed and closely-argued sheets of A4 and about half a tree’s worth of supporting documentation.
The only thing to do, in such circumstances, is to laugh. Which I duly did, and forgot about it.
Today I received another communication from the DWP. It appears, reading between the lines, that they may have made a mistake. No cheque, of course, but the prospect of some money somewhere down the line. Not much but better than the proverbial poke in the eye and certainly more than £2.08.
I was still digesting this interesting news as we walked back from the station after a lovely day out with A on Hampstead Heath. The local shoe-shop was plastered with big red banner signs saying “Closing Down Sale – Everything Must Go”. I dragged the tired and unwilling spawn across the road to have a quick look.
Oh what a brilliant idea. What excellent luck. Because among the heterogeneous not to say eccentric selection of shoes on offer in an extremely limited range of sizes there was exactly the right model in exactly the right colour and size for each of us. At half price.
FirstSpawn has those rather drunken looking asymmetrical black Converse hi-tops, SecondSpawn has khaki-patterned kids’ Converse hi-tops and, the astute will have already worked out, I have the purple Mary Janes which are actually, and unbelievably to me, Hush Puppies. In my youth this brand was notorious for being, well, a bland. Maybe in the intervening decades they’ve become the hight of fashion. Whatever. I love my little purple-hearted MJs.
We are all very happy and well-shod for summer.