Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Staff in Two Day Strike.

with 64 comments

Image result for universal credit strike PCS

PCS Strike in Universal Credit Service Centres.

At a meeting held by the Trades Council some months ago we heard a speaker from the PCS tell us about the many faults of Unviersal cerdit.

He also underlined that many people employed by the DWP were unhappy at their working conditions and pay.

The number of phone calls they had to take was a particular gripe.

There had been walk outs.

Now there is an official strike.


Universal credit staff to launch two-day strike over workload and low recruitment

The Independent reports:

Union boss says members cannot stand by while ministers make their job ‘impossible’

Staff at two sites dealing with the universal credit benefits system will launch a two-day strike on Tuesday in a dispute over workloads and staff recruitment.

It will be the second stoppage by members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union at Wolverhampton and Walsall.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members who work to support some of the most vulnerable members of society will not put up with DWP management ignoring their real concerns over staffing and underinvestment

“This strike will be part of sustained campaign of action which could spread to other parts of universal credit, if the government doesn’t meet union negotiators to discuss workers’ concerns.

“Our members care passionately about the work they do and the people they support.”

He added: “However, they cannot stand idly by while ministers make the job of supporting claimants impossible.”

PCS members are demanding the recruitment of 5,000 more staff, permanent contracts for fixed-term employees and a limit to the number of phone calls required per case manager.

Here is the Union statement:

PCS members in the UC Service Centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton will take two more days strike action on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 May, in their campaign for more staff and improved working conditions

Despite two well supported days of action in March, which had a knock-on effect across the whole UC network, the DWP has refused to meet the demands of members.

A recent announcement that Wolverhampton will become a national telephony site has further inflamed the situation. DWP management have also refused PCS’s request to make staff on fixed term appointments permanent, review the decision on Wolverhampton and properly engage with PCS about improving the staffing situation in Universal Credit.

The 5 key demands from PCS members working in UC are:

  • 5,000 new staff, permanency for fixed term staff
  • Limit the number of phone calls per case manager
  • Limit the size of the national telephony hub
  • Improve consultation
  • A quality-focused approach – no more management by statistics.

Action may spread

PCS has held members’ meetings in other UC Service Centres, and members in affected jobcentres are also being consulted.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members who work to support some of the most vulnerable members of society will not put up with DWP management ignoring their real concerns over staffing and under investment.

“This strike will be part of sustained campaign of action which could spread to other parts of Universal Credit, if the government doesn’t meet union negotiators to discuss workers’ concerns.

“Our members care passionately about the work they do and the people they support. However, they cannot stand idly by while ministers make the job of supporting claimants impossible.”

PCS full-time official Ian Bartholomew said: “Unless DWP takes action to increase staffing in UC, and reduce the pressure that our members are working under, it is likely that we will see more sites calling for strike action.”

Please send messages of support to leeds@pcs.org.uk

Written by Andrew Coates

May 28, 2019 at 12:01 pm

64 Responses

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  1. This is long overdue from the PCS. But better late than never. And it causes embarassment to the DWP, which must be a good thing. Universal Credit is a nasty, vindictive system. Claimants are sick of it, and so are many of the people who have to administer it, as this strike now shows. It’ll take more than Zac & Sara to sort this one out. Over to you, Amber…

    Jeff Smith

    May 28, 2019 at 2:29 pm

  2. Messages of support? I should cocoa…


    May 28, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    • Cocoa is pretty expensive these days, I note in passing.

      £15.99 for this:

      Click to open expanded view
      Cacao Barry Amber Cocoa Powder Extra Brute 1kg
      To see more, visit the Hot Chocolate Store.

      by Cacoa Barry
      4.7 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews | 16 answered questions
      Price: £15.99 FREE delivery.
      11 new from £15.99
      Cacao Barry
      Made with 100% Cocoa Powder and with a cocoa fat content of 22.5%
      Reckoned to be the best general purpose cocoa powder in the world


      Andrew Coates

      May 28, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    • For future reference:


      May 31, 2019 at 10:40 am

      • I always greet the spring with a cup of Woodman’s tea.

        Ray Mears

        May 31, 2019 at 2:27 pm

  3. We should have a Naked Claimant Strike in support of the PCS. For two days, claimants all over the UK, turn up to sign-on stark naked. Symbolic of the way they have been stripped bare by this government.

    Terry H.

    May 28, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    • And not without effect!

      Holyrood confronts damage done to mental health by Universal Credit

      THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT will today [28 May] consider evidence that Universal Credit has caused significant hardship and emotional distress to those experiencing mental health problems, following a report from the Scottish Association for Mental Health, which called on the UK Government not to transfer anyone to UC until its problems have been addressed.



      May 28, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    • The DWP would make the staff work naked, and the G4S guards too. Just to spoil the strike.
      Can you imagine signing on and seeing your Work Coach stark naked ?

      David B.

      May 29, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      • You would have to be very careful reaching for the pen to sign on with….that’s for sure !

        Burt Gradley

        May 29, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      • No thanks


        May 30, 2019 at 1:54 pm

  4. “Our members who work to support some of the most vulnerable members of society will not put up with DWP management ignoring their real concerns over staffing and under investment.

    Its looking after his members’ is what he’s interest in,worried in case they join the rest of use.Meanwhile.

    Universal Credit branded a ‘jaw dropping failure’ as investigation shows its toll in Yorkshire

    The Government’s flagship benefit reforms are still pushing tens of thousands into financial crisis just weeks ahead of the second half of its introduction in Yorkshire.



    May 28, 2019 at 7:46 pm

  5. Universal Credit was always meant to be hard and difficult for claimants. In order to make them take low-paid, poor quality work, instead of staying unemployed. This is the harsh logic of the Department for Working Poverty.

    Andrew F.

    May 28, 2019 at 8:31 pm

  6. All workers at the DWP, Job Centres & Work Coaches are on Universal Credit & they all have to see their Work Coaches. Even the Work Coaches have to see their Work Coach. The 2 day strike falls at the same time as BBC 2 three part documentary on the DWP & Universal Credit so the BBC would want their commission money back.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 29, 2019 at 8:30 am

  7. Amber Rudd is too busy taking the United Nations to court for slander of the Tories & poverty.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 29, 2019 at 8:33 am

  8. The Tories built Universal Credit up in secret. Going to the High Court for 4 years to prevent the publication of their own reports on just how crap it was. Which would have killed it altogether in 2013.

    Bonson Depiffle Johanson

    May 29, 2019 at 1:53 pm

  9. A dog walks into a Jobcentre, and asks about a job. ‘Wow, a talking dog,’ says the Work Coach. ‘With your talent I’m sure we can find you a job in the circus.’ ‘The circus?’ says the dog. ‘What does a circus want with a plumber?’

    Sandy Attic

    May 29, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    • That dog wasn’t called Esther McVey by any chance was it?

      Barbara Woodehouse

      May 30, 2019 at 6:01 pm

  10. It is lunchtime, und ze Senior Adviser at ze Department of Work and Pensions gets up from his desk in Caxton House, and goes to a nearby park to eat his lunchtime sandwich.
    It is Tuna und onion. He has been eating ze same sandwich every Wednesday for the last twenty years. He goes out into the London traffic und ze summer sunshine.
    At ze park he sees a children’s seesaw, und in a moment of nostalgia, sits down on one end
    to eat his lunch. He remembers when he vas young. How all ze boys wanted to be train drivers, astronauts, explorers. But he always vanted to be a civil servant in ze DWP.
    Suddenly a Gorilla runs into ze park, and jumps onto the other end of the seesaw.
    It has just escaped from ze local zoo.
    A large male gorilla weighs approximately 500 lbs, und ze huge weight propels ze DWP advisor upwards, until ze seesaw is nearly vertical, und he is hanging on for dear life.
    The gorilla looks upwards und sees ze small human shouting und waving his hand, enjoying his ride on ze seesaw. He seems to be shouting about doing something.
    Suddenly a loud siren sounds , und a police car, und a large truck appear on ze road nearby. Then two policemen, three more men in overalls with ze words ‘zoo staff’ on them, and a man with a rifle in his hands.
    One of the zoo men approaches ze Gorilla carrying a banana.
    Now zis is ze most favourite food of tze Gorilla. At this point ze Gorilla has two choices. Take ze banana und go quietly, or be shot in ze arse with ze anaesthetic dart.
    Wisely, the Gorilla runs forward to grab ze banana, und as he does so ze weight comes away
    from ze end of ze seesaw, ze force of gravity takes over, und ze Senior Advisor crashes down to earth.
    Perhaps not before time, as some might say.
    He tries to get the police to arrest the Gorilla, but they explain that they cannot, as he is just an animal. They cannot sanction him either, because he is not claiming any benefits.
    But what do we see in this situation ?
    Obviously, an escaped Gorilla has been successfully recaptured. But look more closely from the point of view of the Senior Advisor. He believes that his shouting at ze Gorilla caused it to move off ze seesaw. But we know this is not correct. It was ze banana. Here we see ze parallel reality of ze DWP. On ze same basis, ze Senior Advisor believes Universal Credit is a wonderful thing. Where as we know for a scientific fact that it has been proved to be a cruel and heartless system. Und here we see also tze unfortunate reality of Inherent spite Syndrome,(Inhärentes Trotz-Syndrom), which has now become a chronic infection within Caxton House.
    Yet what can we do ? for as ze English say, you can take a goat to water, but you cannot make it drink.

    Doktor R. Heinkel

    May 29, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    • A useful story Docktor Heinkel, but what happened to the Gorilla ?

      Tom Cavendish

      May 29, 2019 at 11:26 pm

      • Oh, he vas fine. The zoo built him ein whole new play area, mit some truck tires and ropes to swing on. And they brought in ze female gorilla, to give him some extra company. So ein gut result for ze gorilla.
        Which is more zan you can say for the Department of Work and Pensions.

        Doktor R. Heinkel

        May 29, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    • Die Abteilung Arbeit und Rente wird gefickt!

      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Massiver Hahn

      May 30, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      • Ja, und es ist in ihrem Fall gut verdient. Elendes Schwein !!

        Doktor R. Heinkel

        May 30, 2019 at 3:49 pm

  11. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


    May 29, 2019 at 3:28 pm

  12. There seem to more g4s staff at the job centre I go to (thankfully 95% of the time my advisor just phones me up for a chat, so I don’t have to step into the arena of the job centre)


    May 29, 2019 at 4:05 pm

  13. What a lot of moaning from the Job Centre & DWP staff about their Zero Hour Contracts with death & blood on their hands. Now they want us to feel sorry for them as victims. Seems you are all on Universal Credit with Work Coaches. Hypocrites.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 29, 2019 at 4:50 pm

  14. Scottish councils count the cost of Universal Credit as tenants struggle to pay rent

    Councils north of the Border are owed a combined total of £21,900,988 in rent arrears, from more than 34,000 tenants who rely on Universal Credit.

    The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information, cover 24 of 32 local authorities which still directly manage social housing in their area.



    May 29, 2019 at 7:31 pm

  15. Universal Credit: Two million calls to the Government’s helpline have been abandoned
    ‘People should not have to repeatedly face barriers to receiving support

    More than two million calls to the Government’s Universal Credit helpline have been abandoned as people struggle to get assistance in claiming the controversial benefit.



    May 29, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    • I noticed as well that many people found the ‘all online” demand was a major obstacle.

      I cannot imagine just how stupid you have to be not to have foreseen that.

      Or be named Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb, David Gauke, Esther McVey, and Amber Rudd.

      Andrew Coates

      May 30, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      • It is complete madness, totally bonkers, utter nuts. You really need a desktop or laptop computer to access this universal crap. You are talking like shelling out £hundreds just for a basic model, then you got all the peripherals like monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer. Then you have to keep it operational. Computers are computers, i.e complex beasts. It is a massive steep learning curve for someone who as never owned one.
        And it might break down after the years warranty expires and you are back out to shelling again. Whoever came up with this crazy digital-only universal credit is completely deranged!

        Intel Core

        May 30, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      • Oh, and then you have the cost internet access on top. And all just to claim a social security benefit! Ridiculous!

        Intel Core

        May 30, 2019 at 5:23 pm

      • Or be so cruel and vindictive, that they knew people would be unable to use the system. And so would be discouraged from claiming altogether.

        Jeff Smith

        May 30, 2019 at 5:40 pm

      • You forgot to mention Damian Green – the little twerp who came between IDS and Crabb, no pun intended there you understand – who had porn on his personal government owned computer in his office at the House of Commons. Were you to call Green a wanker you would be both literal literal, historical and insulting all at the same time!

        Toss Spotter

        May 30, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      • I missed that one!

        Happy days they were too…

        Now who the fuck was he?

        Andrew Coates

        June 1, 2019 at 11:57 am

  16. Official complaint made over DWP’s controversial Universal Credit adverts

    Charity takes issue with department’s campaign – calling it ‘propaganda’

    An official complaint has been made about the Department of Work and Pensions’ controversial ‘Universal Credit Uncovered’ adverts which are currently running in the Metro newspaper.



    May 29, 2019 at 10:45 pm

  17. Brexshit bullshit:Boris Johnson ordered to appear in court over £350m claim.



    May 30, 2019 at 12:34 pm

  18. Universal Credit secret cuts hit-list revealed as DWP claws back benefits with penalties


    May 30, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    • I just posted that and seen yours Superted apologies.


      May 30, 2019 at 8:33 pm

  19. In the end the Tories will have to admit what Universal Credit really is. A right-wing fantasy come true, where they control and repress the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

    Leveller Tom

    May 30, 2019 at 5:53 pm

  20. Newspaper ignores concerns over DWP’s universal credit ads

    DNS – 30th May 2019

    A national newspaper has ignored concerns about a series of “misleading” Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) adverts that are set to air-brush its “toxic” universal credit (UC) benefit system.

    The Metro newspaper – run by the company that owns the Daily Mail – sparked outrage last week over its decision to take hundreds of thousands of pounds from DWP in exchange for a major nine-week series of advertising features.

    It led to activists from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) promising to target the newspaper with a direct action campaign aimed at preventing copies of the Metro from being read when the advertising campaign began.

    Following the concerns raised about the campaign, Metro and DWP brought forward the publication date and launched it yesterday (Wednesday).

    It was launched on the same day that the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights published a report that was deeply critical of UC (see separate story), which he said had caused severe hardship and had “built a digital barrier that obstructs access to benefits”.

    The Metro adverts are part of a nationwide DWP campaign to “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”.

    Disabled activists have repeatedly warned that UC – which combines six income-related benefits into one – is “toxic” and “rotten to the core”, with “soaring” rates of sanctions and foodbank use in areas where it has been introduced, and repeated warnings about its impact on disabled people.

    But a leaked memo – seen by Disability News Service – says a series of Metro advertising features will be part of a wider campaign “to tackle misconceptions and improve the reputation of UC” by persuading newspapers and other media to run more positive stories about it.

    It also admitted that DWP will deliberately not be using its logos on the advertising features, intentionally disguising their origin, which appears to be a breach of advertising guidelines.

    Read More:

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 30, 2019 at 6:14 pm

  21. Universal Credit secret cuts hit-list revealed as DWP claws back benefits with penalties

    Government insists debt deductions are done in a way that protects vulnerable claimants

    An astonishing Universal Credit benefit cuts hit-list has been revealed.

    The debt management guide – shown to Birmingham Live by the DWP and detailed below – indicates how the Department for Work and Pensions has made clawing back cash through sanctions its No 1 priority.



    May 30, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    • they got 1 and 2 the wrong way round pmsl the more a work coach gets sanctions raised and compleated goes towards there performance bonus each year, or did.

      now it is a team effort.!


      May 30, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      • “””Members who are not in a team moving to the team approach in April, will still stop using individual performance ratings, and start using the One-to-One Wheel. There will be no mid-year or end of year review for 2019-20. Members will have regular conversations with their line managers supported by the One-to-One Wheel.

        A team-based guide for people performance will available in March 2019 which will include instructional information on how to set the team purpose, team commitment, team objectives and healthy team indicators. It will also give guidance on defining a team and how to have a successful team talk.

        The One-to-One Wheel will help managers have better One-to-One conversations that focus on the whole person, including their development, wellbeing, performance and aspiration to progress in their career.

        I searched on Google to find out what One-to-One Wheel means & it is a motorized skateboard & unicycle. Also when broken down the whole thing means if one work is slacking all the other working get sanctions at the DWP & Job Centres. Which will help healthy team indicators.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 31, 2019 at 9:28 am

  22. ”Are you an effective team ?” – Mission Control to Jack Harper, the drone repairman, in the movie Oblivion 2013

    Tower 49

    May 30, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    • ” Yes Sally, we are an effective team..”


      May 31, 2019 at 10:38 am

  23. Esther McVey squirms when asked about misleading Parliament over Universal Credit
    Ms McVey had claimed the National Audit Office had called for the Universal Credit rollout to be accelerated when they had said the opposite

    When you are running to be Prime Minister, there is a lot of scrutiny, let’s talk about honesty.

    As Work and Pensions Secretary, Ms McVey faced calls to resign and had to apologise to the House of Commons.
    Ms McVey had claimed the National Audit Office had called for the Universal Credit rollout to be accelerated.



    May 31, 2019 at 7:27 am

    • When I’m prime minister it’ll be boss. I scran chip butties and talk common with a pudlian accent same as the great unwashed. Peeps will vote for a Tory party lead by me ’cause I’m as common as muck and compulsive liar just like a scouser is s’pposed ta be. Arigh’ then whack? The future is goin’ ta be proper west an then some.

      Esther McVey (Spinster of the Parish)

      May 31, 2019 at 2:25 pm

      • Thank the Lord you never had children, Esther.

        Nature's Discretion

        June 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm

  24. David Cameron takes job with US artificial intelligence firm

    Former UK prime minister to chair advisory board of Washington-based Afiniti

    The Guardian – 31st May 2019

    David Cameron has taken a job as chair of a US artificial intelligence firm’s advisory board, it was announced on Friday.

    The former prime minister “will be responsible for curating and overseeing the strategic guidance” the board provides to Afiniti, the company said in a statement.

    The position represents one of Cameron’s most prominent appointments since he stood down as prime minister in 2016. He has previously taken a number of roles at not-for-profit organisations and has a memoir, For the Record, due out later this year.

    Cameron said he was “delighted” to take the job working on “transforming the future of customer service and interpersonal communications”.

    More details soon…


    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm

  25. It is not true that Sara and I wrote those information pieces in the Metro.

    Zac & Sara

    May 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm

  26. ‘More than half a million people are having their Universal Credit payments cut to pay off old debts – even when the debt wasn’t their fault.
    The row erupted over thousands of people shunted from old-style Tax Credits to the new six-in-one benefit.
    The claimants were moved without transition payments because they had a “change in circumstances”, like moving house or a break-up.
    Now the DWP has admitted 570,000 of them – more than a quarter of all UC claimants – are still having Tax Credit overpayments deducted from their benefit, as of April 30.’

    As Dr.Heinkel would say, Schweinhund !

    Tom Tarpley

    May 31, 2019 at 2:13 pm

  27. Pimp My Politician. Ban all politicians off Twitter. Soon Twitter will be charging to use its platform. Will the politicians put using Twitter on their expenses !!! Of course they will because it is part of promoting propaganda. Propaganda expenses is all part of Pimp My Politician & is the modern way of appealing to the public like getting vetted for an appeal. What is the use of having Politicians if you can’t Pimp The Politicians !!!!! Since the politicians are pimping the voters it only seems correct that the politicians get pimped. Once all the politicians are banned off Twitter the pimping ends.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    • Esther “Porn Star” McVey
      Rory “I’m a teenager in a suit” Stewart
      Dominic “Double A Star Plus” Raab
      Boris “We need an interprituer” Johnson
      James “Not so clever” Cleavery
      Mark “Failed DWP Minister”Harper
      Jeremy “Cunts” Hunt
      Michael “I’m scared of teachers” Gove
      Sajid “Autistic Murdering Home Office” Javid
      Matt “Hand Job” Hancock
      Andrea “Goes To Waitrosel” Leadsom
      Kit “Banned from Liverpool” Malthouse

      All getting ready for the Eurovision Brexit Song Contest.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

  28. Amber’s been to her seaside today:

    Andrew Coates

    May 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    • You might as well stay there & jump off Beachy Head & take Michael “I’m Scared Of Teachers” Gove with you.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 31, 2019 at 4:40 pm

  29. I’ll tell you what being in work in damned expensive. You got the canteen for starters – no doubt the jobcentre tell you lot to take a packed lunch and eat in in the broom cupboard like that girl in the German film on the other page but that is just ‘odd’ and ‘weird’, employers want extroverts NOT introverts which means being part of the team. Talking of which, we have all go to the pub on a Friday – that’s another £50 down the swanny. And why is someone always having a baby, anniversary or something. I must have forked out over £2,000 in the past year on these damned collections. Then there is ‘Secret Santa’ at Christmas. I also have to run a dammed car to get to the place. I also have to look presentable which means popping into the hairdressers often at £50 a pop. getting manicures, cosmetic dentistry, clothes on and on these expenses go, even having to go to bloody funerals and weddings. I could on for ever but I’ll stop now. Better off in work, yeah sure! Thanks for listening.


    June 1, 2019 at 12:06 am

    • as far as em bogus jokecenta betta off in work calculations goes as long as your take home pay minus wot u get on benefits is at least one penny u are betta of in work. jokecenta don’t even take travel expenses into account neva mind gettin ur teef fixed.


      June 1, 2019 at 7:27 am

  30. New Job Centre & DWP Workers Rules

    You need a One-to-One Wheel to have One-to-One Wheel Conversation which helps the healthy team indicators.

    Nobody understands a word of the new rules& that is why the strikes at the Job Centres & DWP are going to spread across the country. No Universal Credit payments will be made & people will be in more debt & homeless. The nail in the Universal Credit coffin.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    June 1, 2019 at 8:22 am

  31. Andrew Coates

    June 1, 2019 at 11:56 am

  32. They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”
    But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot to piss in” & were the lowest of the low. The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.


    June 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

  33. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

    Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . …… . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

    Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”

    Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof… Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

    There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

    The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a threshold.

    In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

    Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

    Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

    England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive… So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.


    June 1, 2019 at 1:45 pm

  34. Jobseekers Allowance was like being a free-range chicken.
    You pecked around in the dirt, there wasn’t much to eat,
    And maybe you had to watch out for the occasional fox.
    But Universal Credit is like those geese being force-fed to make pate.
    You get strung up, and people keep shoving stuff down your throat.

    Farmer Giles

    June 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

  35. So summer is here my Russian Hat
    Another year together
    With you Ushanka upon my head
    In any inclement weather

    What walks we’ve had this winter past
    Through fields spread white with snow
    In shady woods and secret paths
    Where lovers often go

    And now I lay you down again
    Back in your lace-lined drawer
    Until Summers heat is done
    And I can wear you once more

    Norman Farnley

    June 1, 2019 at 2:29 pm

  36. unaversl cridit is badd ann shud bee gotn ridd ov.

    Captain Pugwash

    June 1, 2019 at 3:17 pm

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