The fostering social worker type creature came to see me and the first thing he did was to whinge about how far out I lived.  Absolutely brilliant place to bring up children, especially those who have had a troubled life, taking them out of the anonymous town and giving them a chance to find out who they really are.  But that counts for nothing.  He also left my back door wide open and then complained the house was cold.  I’m sorry, but I really cannot deal with these people.  So, it had already occured to me because of the amount of time it was going to take for them to process the applicaton, that I could get in touch with Torridge to see if I could house any of their homeless so as to give them a chance in life.  I have 3 spare bedrooms and this seems immoral when there are people out there desperate for what I have to offer.  If I had the resources I’d just do this anyway, but I don’t so I have to ask for some payment for the rooms and for the time I would give to them to help them get their lives together.  That would help me pay my mortgage, so everybody’s happy.

I tried to find who to contact on Torridge website but couldn’t.  So I sent an email to the one friendly face in Torridge I knew.  I got an automated reply saying he was out of the office.

In the meantime I kind of got cold feet about the idea.  Left to myself it wouldn’t bother me a jot who I invited into my home, but, thinking about my neighbours – no, it wouldn’t be good to suddenly have a hoard of drug addicts and potential criminals living here.  It wouldn’t be fair on them and nor would it be terribly clever for their children.  I spoke to my mum about it and told her that I’d have to tell Torridge not to send anyone who could be a threat.  My mum wondered if Torridge could be trusted to do that.  With my contact at Torridge as an example of their employees, rather than their management, I believed there was a chance.

But then I got this reply … (names altered to preserve the integrity of the innocent if such a thing exists) … oh, hang on, first of all, the email I sent …


Do you know anything about the homeless side of Torridge.  I’ve got a chap coming round tomorrow about the fostering, but it’s going to take about a year to process.  But I notice that Torridge pays out money to individuals with regard to housing the homeless.  Do you know who I would contact about that?  I’d like to work on a level similar to Young Devon, but they seem completely useless!

Just in the middle of a big tidy up for this chap coming tomorrow.  Took five minutes for a coffee and some late lunch.  Now time to get back to the grind … my washing machine broke. My mum’s dryer broke, but because the washing machine part of it worked, she gave it to me and bought herself a new one.  I plumbed that in yesterday and managed to get the dryer working as well.  But I now have a washing machine sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor.  Well, it’s either that or put it in the front garden and paint a foot high number 9 on my wall in white gloss and pretend I’m a council house tenant!!!

See ya

Must say I am relieved that I didn’t write anything I really shouldn’t have done! … And then the reply.

I have been passed your e-mail of 02.03.11 addressed to Mr X.  I have to inform you
that Mr X no longer deals with your claim for benefit and therefore will no longer be in correspondence with you.

You have raised an issue with regards to a matter dealt with via the Housing team.
I have passed this enquiry to the appropriate officer.  I will forward their response as soon as I receive a reply.  I will also advise you of the contact in the Housing Service depending upon their response.

Kind regards

Blahdie Blahblah

Excuse me??????  Mr X will no longer be in correspondence with me?  This email wasn’t just from his immediate manager, it was from the manager of the entire revenues and benefits department.  That’s a bit overkill don’t you think?  As you can see, all I asked was for contact details and the fact that this guy is no longer dealing with my benefits claim is completely and utterly irrelevant.

What hurt the most, initially, was the betrayal of trust.  But, like I say (actually, no I didn’t – that was said in my reply – below), it was my choice to trust this person.  I made that choice because it is important for me to maintain my innocent desire to see the best in people.  I don’t want to be someone who sees the worst in people just because I’ve been treated badly.  It’s core to my character and everything I am that I want people to be given the best chance possible to know and to show the best of themselves.  If I was wrong in trusting this guy, then I was wrong.  There’s no use blaming him for that.  But the fact is I just don’t know whether this was his choice or whether he had that choice made for him. Either way it’s incredibly childish.  Either it’s a case of “My mum says I’m not allowed to talk to any more.” or “Mu-uuuuum – will YOU tell her?”  And because of that it doesn’t hurt any more because you do have to wonder if these people who work in local government are even from the same planet.

But you also have to have a little laugh at what on earth has been going on in the background. Has this man been told he’s not to have any further contact with me and must report all communication from me to his boss?  I’m sorry, but I’m finding it difficult to find the appropriate words amidst the desire to gaffaw at how seriously these people have made this.

Oh, yes, erm and my reply …

I must withdraw my enquiry.  I had pretty much decided against the idea.  Whilst
I do not mind to whom I open up my home to give a chance in life, I do have to
consider my neighbours; their safety, the safety of their children and their
peace of mind. I would, therefore, be reliant on being able to trust Torridge to
do the right thing in whom they sent, should this plan have been feasible.  But
your gross violation of my trust and privacy has shown you to be devoid of the
necessary integrity to be able to pursue this.

I made the choice to trust in Mr X.  I made the choice to believe he was a man of honour,
integrity and veritas.  If I was wrong, there would be no-one to blame but myself.  Whilst such a man was employed by Torridge, there was hope for Torridge as a whole; that it might not be the vacuous self-serving nonenity the empirical evidence had proven it to be.  On such tiny glimmers of hope we manage to hold out for something better than we are shown by the biological automata who pass for the majority.  Without contact with a figure I considered, erroneously or not, to be a good example of basic human decency, there is no reason told out any hope that Torridge even knows the meaning of the words “honour” “integrity” “truth”.

I chose to consider Mr X as a friend.  I wrote to him as a friend asking for information with regard to his place of work.  Whether Mr X made the decision to behave so dishonourably or whether he was ordered to do so is irrelevant in terms of the behaviour and expectations of Torridge as a whole.

I must inform you that since you have no respect for the privacy of correspondence, I must presume you will have no objection to me publishing this, and your reply in my blog about the waste of public money which is Torridge District Council, which, in my opinion, is far too small, in both mind and demography, to warrant the cost of city hall.

And there we have it.  These people are a subspecies, but unfortunately they are in control of how the rest of us are allowed to live and they now dictate with whom we can and cannot be friends.

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