Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

What goes up…

…must come down. Me included. Yesterday I blogged about how life seems to be on the cusp of improving, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all. That’s still true but this evening we’ve been reminded that life can still throw boulders in your path when you least expect it.

We had a visit from a TV Licence enforcement officer. Apparently we haven’t been paying for a licence since April and it seems that letters they’ve sent us have gone astray as we haven’t received them. This was a huge shock as we’ve always been diligent about paying bills like this. The reason for the lapse seems to be that a while back DH’s direct debits were stopped then restarted; apparently the TV Licence debit doesn’t automatically restart.

Now it gets scary. The enforcement officer (who was lovely, very kind and sympathetic) has recorded our explanation and it will be submitted to a magistrate. The penalty could anything from a £50 to a £1000 fine, which is a vast sum of money for us. We probably won’t hear what the decision is for 2-3 months.

In the meantime we have to pay for a full year’s licence within 20 days. That’s £145. Which is laughable when you consider that, thanks to DH finally finding work, his JSA payments have stopped so after bills we have £130 to last until the end of the month. That’s for food, petrol (including a 200 mile round trip to a family wedding next weekend), DH’s commute, nappies and any unexpected costs. We can borrow the £145, although we both hate having to stoop to that, but that’s not the point.

The point is that as far as we knew this bill was being paid. And now we may be facing a four figure fine because of our assumptions. So if you just skim your bank statement for unusual debits, as we do, instead of checking that everything’s gone out that should have – check it. Check that your bills are being paid. Right now I feel tearful, trembling and as though the sword of Damocles is hanging over us. I don’t want anyone else to be in the same position.


Comments on: "What goes up…" (3)

  1. That sucks. Breathe deep and hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Considering your circumstances, you can talk to the court who will arrange for any fine to be paid at a reasonable rate. In some circumstances, that’s single figures per week.

    Have you looked at the A Girl Named Jack blog? If you post her your budget and a list of what’s in your cupboards, she may help you get through the month. She is the reason why the husband is now regularly fed chickpeas! You’ve survived worse. Xx

    • Oh yes, a lot of our meals come from her blog! Most recently the spiced chicken and mandarin tagine, which was heavenly. I think I’d cope better with this if it was sorted straight away, either way. It’s the waiting I can’t bear.

  2. Oh gosh, really hope they don’t penalise you. That’s really harsh expecting you to pay the whole thing in less than three weeks when you’ve been expecting to be able to spread it over a year! x

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