The day started painfully! I overslept and by the time I woke up there was only five minutes to get myself down to Holloway for my first interview at the job centre. Fortunately, Nathan was prepared to be late for his own job, and drove me down the hill so speedily that I only ended up ten minutes late. I had, however, not had my breakfast, and after one round of form-filling started to get the shakes. It turns out there's a bewildering amount of information which I'll need to bring in for them to see. Accounts. Proof of work over the last twelve months... It's all a little intimidating.
I sat with a bunch of people, all of us signing on for the first time. I'd like to point out that not a single person with me was an immigrant. I feel that's an important thing to know if you're thinking of voting UKIP. All of the spongers there were home-grown. Apart from an Irish bloke.
We were ushered into a room where a woman talked to us about claiming for the first time. The Irish bloke, who was maybe my age, said he didn't know how to use the internet, which surprised me a little. An unbelievable stench of dope was coming off someone else in the room. I can't imagine why pot heads don't think the stench of drugs sticks to them like glue. Imagine going to a job interview stinking of pot?! Imagine interviewing someone who smelt of pot? You just wouldn't offer the job would you? Unless they had MS.
My one-on-one interview turned out to be somewhat hopeless. The man behind the desk was absolutely lovely, and vowed to leave me alone to find my own jobs, but it does look like, as a result of being married, I might struggle to get any benefits at all. The problem with the benefits system is that everyone's jobs are so specific that no one understands the bigger picture. When I asked whether my marital status was a problem, the only answer I received was that my information would be sent off for someone else to make that decision. But sadly, all the evidence suggests that, until I find a job, Nathan's pitiful salary may well have to serve us both, which seems criminal. Can any one tell me why, in this country, until we pop our clogs, there are no financial incentives whatsoever for getting married? There are no tax benefits, just huge gaping holes to fall into.
I went into Highgate in the mid afternoon to meet Philippa in cafe Nero. Except we went to Costa instead, which was full of school girls in brown uniforms screaming posh words. I decided to go there en route to the gym, so made the futile decision to drive up. I went round and round in circles until I was forced to acknowledge that the nearest parking space to Highgate Village was actually the one outside my house which I'd just vacated! So I re-parked the car and walked back up the hill!
It was lovely to see Philippa. She'd had dentistry in the village, so looked like a stroke victim and was dribbling out of the corner of her mouth. I think there was sympathy in my laughter. We did some writing sitting opposite one another, although actually what we did was gossip. I drove her down to Gospel Oak in time for her to get a train to Dalston. She applied make up in the car, as we bounced our way over the sleeping policemen on Highgate West Hill, and then wondered why she felt car sick!
For the rest of the day, I worked on a synopsis for a new stage musical. It's going rather well. I'd really like to get the chance to write this one in full.