Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
Page 162
    • fuddle
    • By fuddle 16th Mar 17, 10:10 AM
    • 5,758 Posts
    • 87,547 Thanks
    fuddle
    What I have found utterly ridiculous is the ability to get into debt with gas and electric without even using it. When my Mam died I found that although she hadn't had the mental capacity or want to heat her house, for one reason or another, she was in £500 worth of debt because in not topping up her pre-payment meter the supplier couldn't take the standing charge. Even if people can't afford to use the gas or electric they are still accruing debt. To me, that's unacceptable.

    Whatever property I've lived has been on a water meter except for the damp house years ago. The water company wanted a 1/3 more than what I knew I used. I got a meter in quick sharpish. My new house though is not metered and the monthly amount required is £10 less a month than I use. Same people using the water supply, just a small house in an area that is predominantly older people I guess. I won't be changing to a meter this time.

    It's funny when thriftwizard talks about her locality because I know of the very same people she talks about, given I lived there for a little while. There does seem to be a scramble to keeps head above others' expectations. Where I live now it's different. People just get on with what they need to do, topping up their prepayment meters, buying a bargain if they can find it, dipping in and out of the charity shops to hopefully get something needed for peanuts (as opposed to a label at a cut price)without caring what others' think, just making ends meet. It's hard for folk here but in comparing the whole, in a completely judgemental way of course, I would say that the pressure isn't as apparent here because people grew up with how to cope and have been coping all their lives really. My disclaimer here is that I'm not talking about the whole of the South but a little pocket that is the little town that I used to live in. It's a bit of an enigma down there and I'm sure thriftwizard will get my gist.
    Success.
    It's not always what you see.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 16th Mar 17, 2:55 PM
    • 2,424 Posts
    • 30,099 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    Indeed I do, Fuddle - sorry, no quotes or bold type, the forum software's being "difficult" in Safari today for some reason - but I do wonder how many other places, particularly across the "wealthy" south & south-west, are like this? A sense of a LOT of people skating on very thin ice, of never letting the cracks show and never letting down your guard? Always got the face on & the best foot forward, but struggling like mad underneath the waterline, if I may mix my metaphors? I'm hearing horror stories from my niece, deputy head of a primary school in a fairly leafy part of the Home Counties, having to take food into work to give to children with no money for breakfast club, no lunchbox, and not much chance of anything more than beans on toast for supper, and I know she's far from alone.
    Angie

    Money's just a substitute for time & talent...
    • jk0
    • By jk0 16th Mar 17, 5:10 PM
    • 1,963 Posts
    • 22,788 Thanks
    jk0
    Friend's son
    My African friend recently regained custody of his 15 year old son. The other son still lives in London with his mum.

    My friend intends to go to Africa next month for two weeks leaving his son home alone. He has asked me to keep an eye on him. I suggested the lad should go and stay with his aunt here in Reading, but my friend won't do this as they took wife's side in separation.

    It doesn't sound like my friend even plans to leave his son more than £20 and some frozen meat to warm up with rice.

    I'm considering going over to cook son a proper meal every evening. What would you guys do?
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 16th Mar 17, 5:21 PM
    • 13,422 Posts
    • 36,574 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Well - definitely make sure that son gets fed properly one way or another - whatever else I might have in mind.

    You're right - there's no way £20 would go anywhere near enough to feed him. All the more so - as his definition of feeding himself would probably equal heading for the nearest takeway left to himself.

    Maybe check out the state of the food cupboards to make sure he's well stocked-up with food for breakfast/lunch/etc and make sure I personally supervised him getting dinner inside him each night one way or another.
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • maryb
    • By maryb 16th Mar 17, 5:24 PM
    • 3,343 Posts
    • 39,669 Thanks
    maryb
    He'll be lucky to retain custody if he does that - 15 is too young to leave them alone overnight, let alone two weeks
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • jk0
    • By jk0 16th Mar 17, 5:30 PM
    • 1,963 Posts
    • 22,788 Thanks
    jk0
    He'll be lucky to retain custody if he does that - 15 is too young to leave them alone overnight, let alone two weeks
    Originally posted by maryb
    I know!

    We've all been sworn to secrecy, so I want to forestall any problems, by doing the best I can.
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 16th Mar 17, 5:39 PM
    • 11,192 Posts
    • 215,506 Thanks
    GreyQueen
    My African friend recently regained custody of his 15 year old son. The other son still lives in London with his mum.

    My friend intends to go to Africa next month for two weeks leaving his son home alone. He has asked me to keep an eye on him. I suggested the lad should go and stay with his aunt here in Reading, but my friend won't do this as they took wife's side in separation.

    It doesn't sound like my friend even plans to leave his son more than £20 and some frozen meat to warm up with rice.

    I'm considering going over to cook son a proper meal every evening. What would you guys do?
    Originally posted by jk0
    Sorry to diss your mate, jk0, but he's an idiot as well as taking real risks with his lad's safety. A 15 y.o. is old enough to get himself into bad company and bring some of that home with him - could end up with the place trashed.

    As to you going over every night to cook for him, I would draw your attention to the potential for unsavoury accusations being levied at a man being alone with a boy not of his own family without parental supervision.

    In my job, and in my volunteer time at the CAB, we were never to be alone with minors without an adult to chaperone us. Not because we were believed to be unwholesome types, but to protect ourselves against any possibility of accusations. Even groundless accusations ruin lives.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • jk0
    • By jk0 16th Mar 17, 5:42 PM
    • 1,963 Posts
    • 22,788 Thanks
    jk0
    Thanks GQ. Sounds like I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't.
    • maryb
    • By maryb 16th Mar 17, 5:50 PM
    • 3,343 Posts
    • 39,669 Thanks
    maryb
    Best thing you can do is persuade him to let the boy go to his aunt. She will probably find out anyway - 15 year olds are only good liars when it comes to their own business - and then I wouldn't be surprised if social services got involved. They would certainly get involved if he gets into any trouble while your friend is away. And if his school finds out, they will phone his next of kin, presumably his mother, and your friend can expect another Family Court appearance
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 16th Mar 17, 5:51 PM
    • 10,903 Posts
    • 151,196 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    If the lad is still at school then the school will need the name and address of a responsible adult to contact in the event of an emergency during that 2 weeks, someone who could sign a hospital consent form if an operation was necessary and if there isn't anyone I suspect Social Services would be called in. A more sensible thing would be for the father to see if a school friends parents would have the lad for the time he's away and that would ensure his safety and that he would be fed and looked after properly.

    As far as I'm aware the legal age for leaving a child at home alone is 12 years old but I'm certain that doesn't mean totally alone for 2 weeks, I think it means for the time you work or have to be out.
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 16th Mar 17, 5:58 PM
    • 11,192 Posts
    • 215,506 Thanks
    GreyQueen
    Sadly so, jk0.

    If your pal thinks this kind of thing is acceptable, it makes me wonder if the family court made the right call on awarding him custody in the first place. I'm pretty sure childrens social services would take an interest and, if he lets this slip anywhere in the hearing of a teacher or another responsible adult, safe-guarding procedures will have to be instigated - it would be a very serious dereliction of duty not to do so.

    Even as a mere customer services person witha job role which involves no direct contact with children, I and all my colleagues have to be trained to be ever-alert to the merest hint of safe-guarding issues for children and for vulnerable adults.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 16th Mar 17, 6:02 PM
    • 7,000 Posts
    • 18,840 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    I'll make a wild leap & presume the son is sort of mobile - bus pass or whatever - I'd be asking who is he doing homework with each night, and inviting him & a pal or pals over for a cauldron of stew &/or a stack of home made pizzas at weekends. Yes one to one is dodgy, but one to several is much safer.
    I suspect he'll end up with auntie anyway but I do hope he stays out of care & with family.
    • jk0
    • By jk0 16th Mar 17, 6:13 PM
    • 1,963 Posts
    • 22,788 Thanks
    jk0
    Thanks DFV.

    Ah, well that's the thing...

    If any schoolmates got to hear the lad was home alone, the house would no doubt be 'party central' for two weeks.

    I tried to warn my friend about this. I said you'll be getting texts over in Africa:

    1.) We see smoke coming from your house.

    2.) Your house is on fire.

    3.) Your house is ashes.

    Didn't cut any ice, I'm afraid.
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 16th Mar 17, 6:26 PM
    • 11,192 Posts
    • 215,506 Thanks
    GreyQueen
    Then your pal is an idiot. He needs to man up and act like the parent he went to court to be; stay home with the lad or take the lad with him.

    Let's assume the best; the lad keeps his lip zipped in front of teachers, ancillary staff and other people's parents that he's home alone. He doesn't tell his pals (improbable) and they don't somehow find out , he comes straight home from school every day and locks the doors behind him amd stays quietly home all evening and at weekends.

    Is he going to be responsible for keeping himself and the family home secure? What's going to happen if he loses a key, or goes off to bed or off to school and leave the door unlocked? Or puts something metallic in the microwave or leaves the gas on? Or spends the princely £20 in the first five days and lives on nothing for the rest of the fortnight? What if Papa's return journey is delayed?

    What if some unsavoury type spots what's going on and tricks his way into the home? The child could end up raped and/ or murdered.

    Even council contractors conducting repairs do NOT go into homes if the only person present is under 18, not even for five minutes to change a tap washer, it's that tough.

    If your friend cannot be made to see sense and does this thing, I would strongly suggest that you do not have this youngster to your home, or visit him in his home. You might even have to have a talk with your own conscience about contacting the auntie.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 16th Mar 17, 6:47 PM
    • 10,903 Posts
    • 151,196 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    Just a shot in the dark as an idea but does your friend and his son attend a church? there might be a great deal of support available from the congregation if they needed it.
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 16th Mar 17, 6:53 PM
    • 12,089 Posts
    • 214,732 Thanks
    greenbee
    jk0 - your friend has put you in a very difficult position, and you need to make that clear to him. You have to consider your own moral and ethical stance on this, and think about what YOU think is the right thing to do for his son, not for him.

    I know what I think... and started to type what I thought you should do - but it's not down to me, so you need to decide for yourself.
    • jk0
    • By jk0 16th Mar 17, 6:55 PM
    • 1,963 Posts
    • 22,788 Thanks
    jk0
    Thanks Mrs L.

    My friend is rather confused about his religion. He told me he was a Muslim for 15 years, until one day he let slip he was baptised as a Mormon.

    I think he goes to Mosque now rather than Temple.

    I think maybe GQ's idea about having a word with auntie is probably the best one.
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 16th Mar 17, 6:56 PM
    • 11,192 Posts
    • 215,506 Thanks
    GreyQueen
    jk0 - your friend has put you in a very difficult position, and you need to make that clear to him. You have to consider your own moral and ethical stance on this, and think about what YOU think is the right thing to do for his son, not for him.

    I know what I think... and started to type what I thought you should do - but it's not down to me, so you need to decide for yourself.
    Originally posted by greenbee
    My thoughts exactly. I know what I feel I would have to do if I was aware of such a situation.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 16th Mar 17, 6:59 PM
    • 13,422 Posts
    • 36,574 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    jko

    You mentioned about a girlfriend of yours a while back. Is she still on the scene?/steady?/gets on okay with children?

    As in - maybe if the pair of you were keeping an eye on him/ensuring he's fed/etc? Then it wouldnt be a man on his own...bearing in mind the 2010s are a very politically correct decade to live in 'tis true.
    If there's "4 tendencies" type of people (Gretchen Rubin) = yep....Questioner type here
    - Meets an expectation only if they believe it's justified and resists anything arbitrary or ineffective
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 16th Mar 17, 7:04 PM
    • 10,903 Posts
    • 151,196 Thanks
    MrsLurcherwalker
    That makes a great deal of sense JKO, you wouldn't forgive yourself if anything happened to the lad, the house or to the father while they were your responsibility, and health care in Africa is not as easily accessed as it is here so Dad becoming poorly and having to delay his return to the UK is not beyond credibility is it? then you would be faced with the task of not only keeping all safe and secure but providing sustenance etc. for the boy until his relatives (if they would) could take responsibility for him. £20 isn't going to do a great deal in 2 weeks, what if that turned into 2 months?
    Go forward with the vision even if no one else can see it!

    No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

99Posts Today

1,688Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Shana tova umetuka - a sweet Jewish New Year to all celebrating. I won't be online the rest of t'week, as I take the time to be with family

  • Dear Steve. Please note doing a poll to ask people's opinion does not in itself imply an opinion! https://t.co/UGvWlMURxy

  • Luciana is on the advisory board of @mmhpi (we have MPs from most parties) https://t.co/n99NAxGAAQ

  • Follow Martin