Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coronation Street weekly update, February 27 2012

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week the update wonders who's going to kill off freaky Frank Foster.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gypsy Boy on the Run by Mikey Walsh

Almost two years ago I read one of the most harrowing yet uplifting real-life stories ever, Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

Forget Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and everything you know about gypsy life from TV. 

Read Mikey Walsh's book for the real gypsy story, for the truth about growing up as a gypsy boy, a gay gypsy boy.

Today I finished reading Mikey Walsh's follow-up book, Gypsy Boy on the Run. In fact, I've just finished it, about 5 minutes ago. I still have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ships that pass

I've become the sort of person that I don't understand. And I know I've become the sort of person that I don't understand because I've bought a picture for the living room that's got a ship on it.

Up until the age of about 30, whenever I went to anyone's house where there was a picture in the living room with ships on it, I'd wonder to myself where the joy of that was, where the beauty of a sea scene was, and came to the conclusion that you had to be a fuddy-duddy to want to have a picture with ships on your wall.

And now I've gone and done it. Not just one, but two. Mind you, these aren't just any old ships. These are pictures of ships in my favourite place of Scarborough, painted by a famous artist in whose house I have stayed.

So if you're under 30 and you come to visit, don't judge me by the ships. I'm not an old fuddy-duddy, not yet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coronation Street weekly update, February 20 2012

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week the update comes with a whole French stick.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life cycle

I was always on my bike as a kid. And never on my own, there was always a gang of us, always on our bikes. Always, every single day no matter what the weather or the time of year.

Or maybe it just feels that way.

What I do remember is being on my bike a lot in the school holidays, in a gang with other kids from our street, riding around the estates, across the fields, freewheeling down hills and standing up on the pedals to get the oomph needed to get up the banks. 

And over the last few weeks, that child-like exhileration, the joy of cycling, has come back into my life. Slowly, tentatively, carefully, and this time wearing a helmet and cycling with gears, I'm getting back into the saddle. And loving it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New! Coronation Street unofficial Weekly Updates for Kindle


Unofficial Coronation Street weekly updates from 1995.
17 years in 17 lovely fan written e-books.
All the wit and warmth of Weatherfield, none of the waffle.

Written by Coronation Street Blog editor, Flaming Nora.

Available from and

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NEW! Flaming Nora's Poetry Book

It's made its way from a book in the back of my sock drawer and is set to be an internet publishing sensation. Well, maybe.  There's no harm in trying, is there?

Please buy my lovely little book full of smashing poems and dotty ditties. If you like your poems short and brief and guaranteed to put a smile on your face, or if you just enjoy this blog, you'll love this poetry book.

Buy it for Kindle from Amazon here.

This book doesn't contain any sex, drugs or rock and roll but I am hoping those tag words bring some readers into the blog to see what the fuss is about.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coronation Street weekly update, February 13 2012

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week the update comes with a lorra, lorra Valentine's love.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

DWP, JSA and a right load of crap

Not normally one for swearing in a blog post so please accept my apologies for that, but needs must. And if I don't blog this and get it off my chest and out of my head, I just might, well go mad with the rolling pin.

Here's what's gone on.

In summer 2011 I was jobhunting and claimed Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). When I got a temporary job with an agency I signed off. I sent the form to the Jobcentre to tell them I was starting work. 

Fast foward to December 2011 and I get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Debt Management Centre saying I owe almost £500 as I was overpaid JSA because I hadn't told the Jobcentre I was starting work. 

I called the number on the DWP letter but each time I called them, it rang and rang and rang. So I wrote to them instead, asking for clarification of how they thought I had been overpaid and explaining that I had told the Jobcentre I was starting work.

They replied to say they were the Debt Management Centre only, had no details they could pass on to me other than that, according to their records, I owed almost £500 and they wanted it back as soon as possible.

Another letter arrived, threatening debt collectors if I didn't pay up.

In the meantime, I'm trying to speak to someone at the DWP for some help and advice and I call the number on the letter but it rings and rings and rings.  I write to them again. All I want, I tell them, is a breakdown of the JSA payments made and dates they all covered so I could see where and why the overpayment had happened.

And also, I pointed out, that as I told the Jobcentre I was starting work, then this overpyament surely isn't my fault?  DirectGov website says if that's the case, the debt doesn't have to be repaid. If the Jobcentre kept on paying me JSA during those 7 weeks of temping for an agency, why were they doing so when I wasn't signing on? 

Of course I'll repay it if I have to. I just need to know for sure what they're chasing me for and why the Jobcentre isn't being blamed for this cock-up instead of me? And why is it up to me to obtain details to get clarification in order to clear up what they say is my fault?

The situation at the moment is that the DWP sent me another letter saying I needed to call my local Jobcentre to get the dates and amounts of JSA paid during 2011.  I called the number on their letter. It wasn't the Jobcentre. I was given another number. The Jobcentre told me they couldn't help and referred me to the Benefits Agency who were, actually, helpful. Nice lady there said she'd send me the archived file but it would take three weeks.  That's two weeks longer than the DWP is allowing me to have and they have forced me into making an appeal, which I've had to do today. 

If making the appeal halts the debt collection threat, then it was the right move to make. If it makes someone, somewhere, in the DWP take note and halt proceedings, it'll have been worth it.  And if it makes someone at the Jobecentre admit they made a mistake in paying me money when they were told I wasn't entitled to receive it, all the better still.

DirectGov? DirectCrap.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Coronation Street weekly update, February 6 2012

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week little Simon Barlow had me in tears.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The belly-flip road

There's a B-road in the village where I grew up that's got a dip in it. It's the sort of dip that when driven over at speed makes your belly turn over, giving you the same feeling that you get on a fairground ride. The sort of feeling where you think you've left your belly behind you and then it catches up with you just a milli-second later. 

When we were kids, the dip in the road was more fierce - or as we used to call it then fun. My dad had a Triumph Herald back then. I can't remember much about it except that it was purple and we called the car Little Plum. It fit us three kids in the back, squashed together but happy. Happier still when we urged dad on to go drive over the belly-flip road at speed.

But the council put a stop to this fierceness fun in a pique of Health and Safety some time in the late 70s when they put more tarmac on the road or something. Whatever they did, it made the dip in the road less dippy, less fierce, less fun.  The fun is still there now, only just, but it's definitely there.

And the reason I'm blogging this is because I visited my mam today. She still lives in the village. I went on the bus and the bus took the route home via the belly-flip road.  It took it at speed and my belly did flip. It made me smile and think of dad, and of all the happy family times we had with Little Plum.

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