Are we sleep walking into being worked to death?

Dear women,

Are we sleep walking into being worked to death?

The Blair/ Brown Government decided that a state pension age fixed at 65 was no longer affordable or sustainable. Blair / Brown government introduced an increase in state Pension age to 66 years with 2007 Pension Act.

Tory / Lib Dem coalition took power and with the Pension Act 2011 accelerated the rise of the state pension age to 66 for both men and women. In 2014 the coalition government AGAIN accelerated the rise in the state pension age to 67.

I have worked mostly fulltime from 1977 to 2018, from 2018 to now I am part time. Also self employed since 2001. I discovered in 2018, when I phoned ‘Work and Pension’ that my state pension was already paid up and I will be entitled to a full state pension and I no longer need to pay a full stamp. However, because of the above I cannot touch my pension. Angry would be an understatement! I am fuming! Where is this money gone? I am not alone here there are thousands upon thousands who are the same age as me and in the same situation. What is this money being used for?

The retirement age in Russia is 63, France 62, Turkey 58, China 50. We talk of mental health, less stress! I am the first woman in my family on my mothers side to work to the age of 67! To me it is immoral for people to work beyond the age of 60!

Tories get away with this because there is no opposition and because of the weak opposition they will continue! The Tories now what to move the age to 68. PS Not all can afford to contribute to a private pension!

One good positive thing reaching the age of 60! I have a bus pass and yes I use it a lot! They talk about the environment and the many cars that are now on our roads, public transport is good. I also get half price train tickets too. On my bus journeys I have met many bus drivers from Somalia and other parts of Africa and we strike up wonderful conversations. All will be told in another blog.

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‘You can tell a lie to some people and make them believe it all the time!’

With time the truth will ultimately come out!

“Julie do not leave me do not turn your back on me”

“Mama I am not I can not visit because of covid 19”

“I do not have it they tested me. I need to see a familiar face Julie!”

“Mam we miss you and want to visit but we are not allowed because we could bring covid 19 to you”

“Julie you know I love you very much”

“I know and I love you”

The telephone conversation ends and I am on the floor sobbing to John.

” I need to get Mama out from there. Please lets bring Mama home to our home we can look after her”

John gives me wisdom and a reality check “Julie we bring your Mam home she could die by just moving her”

This conversation with my mother took place on Sunday afternoon 2pm, 25th July 2020.

Tuesday July 27th 2020 6 30am I am loading the boot of the car with shopping for us and a couple I shop for. My mobile rings it is the Heath hospital a nurse gushes “Julie you need to come your mother is dying” I go in auto pilot, yet I keep screaming “Mama” my inner voice says Julie calm down you, will crash the car, you need to calm down and I do. I leave the shopping with John and the people I shop for.

Mama died four days later. Thursday 30th July 2020 at 4pm. I held her hand until the end and let her spirit free. That evening at 10pm John and I sat in our garden Venus shone like a diamond and we raised a glass to Mama. Then an orange gold orb flew over! It was a meteorite but I knew it was Mama and her feisty spirit!

Only 20 of us could attend my mothers funeral. There were no hymns and my mother loved singing. I read the poem “Blackberries” that I wrote for her. There was no celebration of her life. We all went home to our own homes.

Blackberries

I see the empty jar where the blackberries were.

Idle, on its own, redundant till next time.

Mam is in the kitchen singing while she bakes

I know this is Mam’s favourite room

for she is always happy here.

Her floury hands make clouds of dust,

her nails are encrusted with dough.

Five hungry faces moan

“How much longer must we wait?”

as we sit at the table in Mam’s favourite room.

The oven is opened, the heat flushes

our faces to bright red as we wait to be fed.

The plump purple blackberries smell so sweet

encased in their coat of pastry, good enough to eat.

The juices of the fruit leak out from the tart

as she cuts six slices and pours ‘ideal milk’

from a tin onto our plates which are now licked clean

as we giggle and make fun of each others purple tongues.

Sat in Mam’s favourite room surrounded in warmth,

but most of all LOVE.

Julie Prichard 2006

October 2020 Caerphilly Brough was in a full lock down. I could not leave the area to attend my mother’s internment of her ashes at Barry Crematorium.

March 2020. Life had changed! Where we shared our time over food with family and friends was gone. My work was gone, hugs, kisses and cwtches were no longer. John had TARAGGAN and sudoku, I had walks and books. I cancelled the poetry open night that I run. My book launch of ‘Between Aurora and Twilight’ was cancelled. We would watch all news channels religiously, heart in our mouths, full of fear!

‘You can fool some people all the time and all of the people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.’

I am no Tory, I am a working class woman. I remember the 60’s evil 70’s and 80’s. Three day week, blackouts and Strikes. Boris Johnson came across chummy, your friend, an upper class twit sometimes. He was Mayor of London. He rode a bike, slap you on the back. Lied over Brexit (I voted to remain) He even convinced retired miners up North, to vote Tory! YES retired miners voted Tory, beggars belief. He is no friend to the working class he does not comprehend our way of life. An honest days work. However, bettering yourself is good but to me if you work for a living you are working class! Not middle class, gentry or landowners! Some landowners earned their money on backs of slavery. Bowes Lyons, sugar, white gold, that family made their money from slavery! Boris Johnson is no fool, no friend either he lacks compassion, empathy and morals. He is a walking ego and deluded because he believes in his own lies. Those of you who were manipulated my his lies, what can I say? It was your choice. I have a good memory and I know what is is like to live under a Tory government.

Not all politicians are wise yet wisdom is best. I am 61 years of age worked since the age of 16, even worked while in school. I was made redundant three times, retrained too. Lost half of my family by the age of twenty five. I wear my scars well and proud of my life experiences. I recall the Thatcher years 1980’s. I was living on my own and working full time. I remember all my wages went on my rent and bills! I worked the extra shift, bought second hand, made do and mend and I used my library for books. Today some people do not know what it is like to make do and mend. They do not think of learning from the wise, well experienced elders. Many go at a click of a button or a swipe of a finger, to social media, their confessor, their best friend and bare all and tell the whole world!

The art of listening when someone speaks is to be understood, not to have an your opinion.

We can learn from the Lockdown. Now is the time for humanity to gather, to be more kind, use compassion and empathy. No we repeat history and use the working class as cannon fodder because of another war on the horizon.

Reviews and quotes. my first novel titled ‘Forbidden Love’Prose poetry of my walks ‘Between Aurora and Twilight’ Poetry on abuse, ‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’ Poetry, ‘Healing Garden’ and poetry ‘Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind’

Poems and thoughts from the walking poet

I am the author of three poetry books ‘Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind’ 2014, ‘Healing Garden’ 2016 and ‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’ 2017 and prose poetry ‘Between Aurora and Twilight’ 2020. My first novel titled ‘Forbidden Love’ was published. May 2021

The novel titled ‘Forbidden Love’ is an historical novel covering Ireland and Wales over a hundred years. A true love story of an Irish woman falling in love with a Welsh soldier, (my grandparents) I show and tell how love can conquer, a military rising, 1WW, Irelands war for Independence/ Anglo Irish war, racism, depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Photo of my grandparents on their wedding day, May 1921 and the front cover of the novel.

Review of ‘Forbidden Love’

Review by Poet Ceri Creffield.

“Two families in two cities two young people who will bring division and discord to those they love. Julie Griffin…

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my poem titled ‘Something is Missing’ from my collection titled ‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’

Something is Missing

From a distance everything looks

peaceful, blue and green.

Aura enticing you to the contours of magical mystical

mother earth.

Rounded breathing in and out.

Voyeur, I witness the ménage de trois

of the moon, sun and earth.

Embracing sun’s thrusting fullness

drawn into the breasts and womb.

The rain sucked up by heat rays,

creating haze, to a cascade of euphoric tears.

Stripped bare by the winds of autumn,

feeling the pulse and body

of the fertile soil.

Th rush of spring throws

forward the seed,

unfurling leaves of the new born.

The moon seduces the sea, pulling tides

of orgasmic oceans.

Crushing, crashing, ebbing

flowing to the magnetic force.

Revealing the winter of the soul bare,

bleak, black barren.

Flowers of innocents stunted

before they bloomed,

tangled in the ivy of materialism

envy and jealousy.

We cannot embody our light

without shadow

or disregard sorrow.

Respecting not the false skin

but the beating heart within.

Something is missing in our off spring

something ancient called love.

Poem by Julie Pritchard 2016 taken from my third collection titled ‘Spirit Cracked not Broken’