Tag Archives: vulnerable

First Day Of My New Job

I had been offered a post which included accommodation in London. We had agreed the terms of ten hours work each week (possible occasional overtime) and I would received £200 per week and free accommodation. It did seem unusual to me as I mentioned in my previous post.

I should write more about what happened in the two days prior to my arrival – it was probably one of the worst departures from my family I could possibly have anticipated. They have no idea to this day what happened after their fond farewell to me. But it was awful for me. On my way back to London – everything that could possibly go wrong with my journey did go wrong and to this day my family have no idea how much so.

leaving home.png

I even ended up sleeping in the long grass of a field not far from a railway station where my connection had been cancelled. This might sound crazy, yes, I actually think it was. But I did not have enough money to go and find a hotel room, I did not have a mobile phone, and I did not want my family to have to drive for hours to come and fetch me. I was not going to tell you that it was an ordeal for me. You might not think that roughing it for one night is that bad, but for me it was dreadful. I was a wreck that night. One year previously I had been lying in long grass whilst a stranger brutally … and left me to die. Even though I faced some awful challenges, I was so afraid of ever having to sleep outside again.

And looking back, I can see that I was an incredibly vulnerable mixed up cookie. I was so determined to get back to London and to get back on my feet. I did not want to be wrapped up in cotton wool by my family. If I had contacted my family they probably would never have allowed me to return to London – which is exactly why I did not contact them.

I moved into the “tied-accommodation” on a Sunday. I was very tired. The owner of the property was pleased I had arrived and offered to take me out to dinner that evening. I expressed my gratitude for his offer, but said I would like to settle and to have an early night because I was very tired after travelling. He went out for dinner to a restaurant and I was in the property all alone for my first evening. I did go to sleep very early.

headacheI was woken by the customary head pain which has been a part of my life since I was attacked. I showered and dressed and went downstairs. Nobody was awake yet. The house was silent. I had brought some cereal with me and so I boiled some water and ate my cereal with a mug of black coffee. I kept on expecting someone to appear, but nobody did. So I thought I would take a look at the cleaning equipment. There were various cleaning sprays and bleach and a couple of scrunched up and stained disposable cloths.

I decided I would need to obtain some decent cleaning equipment and I fetched my laptop to see what I could order online. I ordered a flick duster, microfiber cloths and a buffing cloth and some white vinegar. I had noticed there was lime-scale all over the chrome fittings and glass in the bathroom I was using and all over the kitchen. I intended to go into battle against that lime-scale. I thought I could walk into town later and buy some toothbrushes and sponge scourers for cleaning. I also sent an e-mail which I copied to several members of my family telling them everything was fine and the journey had been smooth. I did not want anyone worrying about me.

laundryThere were some clothes that had been drying on an airer in the utility room. I decided to iron them and fold them neatly. I had noticed the hard floors looked very grubby so I swept the hard floor in the large kitchen dining area and mopped the floor. Of course now that the floor was wet, the owner of the property appeared in his robe, looking half asleep still and asked me what on earth I was doing. It was almost lunch-time by now and I had been waiting for him to appear since about eight o’clock in the morning. I just explained that I had not been sure where to start so I had done what I could see needed doing.

man in robe.jpgIt turned out that the night before when he had gone out for dinner he had eaten and drank rather a lot and arrived home very late. He told me he did not normally sleep in so late. I showed him what I had done and he thanked me and said it was not really necessary and not to wear myself out. He said he wanted me to relax and enjoy myself. I told him I would like to walk into town to by some personal things. He offered to drive me once he was showered and dressed, but I said I would really enjoy the walk. He seemed a little irritated that I wanted to go out on my own, but I knew I had done more than he had expected on my first day and I wanted to buy some useful cleaning equipment.

I was out for a couple of hours. I bought the cleaning equipment I needed and also some food and toiletries in the supermarket. It was June and the weather was delicious. It was really good to be out in the sunshine. I was so glad to be back in London, although this part of London was completely new to me. I felt a bit better now that I had found my way around the town and knew where important shops/services I might need were located.

When I returned the gentleman seemed a little disgruntled that I had taken so long and asked me if I had been all the way to Timbuktu to do my shopping. I apologised. I asked if there was any work he wanted me to do that day. He said I had done more than was needed already. I showed him the cleaning schedule I had drawn up on my laptop that morning while I was waiting for him and asked if he wanted to make any changes. He just laughed and asked what was the matter with me. He told me just to take it easy. He wanted to get to know more about me, after all, we were going to be living in the same property. He said he would stay in and have dinner with me that evening and that he had bought some vegetarian ready-meals from Marks & Spencers for me. He said after dinner he wanted us to sit down and have a chat so he could get to know me better.

So that evening, after a Marks & Spencer vegetarian ready meal, we sat down to chat. He had two sofas either side of a coffee table, so we sat facing each other. He offered me a glass of wine. I declined, but he was rather insistent, so I accepted. I sipped it very slowly. He started with asking me general personal questions about myself and my family and where I had grown up and my goals in life. I tried to ask him the same questions but he didn’t seem very forthcoming with information about himself. He wanted to know more about me. His questions started to become more and more personal and he started talking about sex and asking what I enjoyed.

If you could have seen what was going on inside my head at that moment, it would have been pure rage. Now…I think any employee would feel more than a little uncomfortable with their boss asking these questions on the first day of employment – but I feel I had extra reasons after I had been the victim of a serious crime just a year earlier.

I tried every response. At first I tried to deflect the question, then I out rightly stated that it was a personal subject I did not want to talk about. He told me I needed to loosen up and relax.

He tried to top up my glass. I told him I did not want any more wine. He took my wine glass and poured more wine into it. I looked at him with a stern expression. I suddenly felt very angry with him. But I had to control it. I had very raw emotions that he had triggered, but he did not know what had happened to me, so I could not explode. I had to be able to deal with men who made me feel uncomfortable without treating them as criminals. This was his home after all. I had to learn to be assertive and deal with any unacceptable behaviour in a dignified way.

I stated that I hoped he was going to drink the wine he had just poured because I certainly was not. He told me to drink up. I was very firm. I told him that wine makes me sleepy. One glass was enough.

“I am feeling very tired after the wine I have already had so I am going to sleep now.” I stood up and walked away. He looked very annoyed.

The next morning…

…well, I am going to start a new post with what happened afterwards, because I don’t think you want a post which takes an age to read.



My First Job Back In London

There were six months when I first tried to get back on my feet again in London – which were challenging. I think it is probably a good time to write about the “disaster” that was my attempt to start back at work, after a almost a year long break from work. Wait until you read what I had to deal with!

I had a “situation” I had not really encountered before. When I think back, I have very mixed feelings towards the man involved. I think you will see I have every right to be angry and yet, I still find myself baffled that he does not realize perhaps how inappropriate he was. I honestly believe his conscience excused his actions. In fact, he seemed to think that I had some kind of problem – which in a funny way was true, just not the problem he thought I had. I would welcome your feedback because though I rarely think back on the “situation” I am going to relate to you, I still am not sure what to make of it at times.



As many of you know, I was the victim of a crime in the summer of 2015. On being discharged from hospital, I left London and travelled directly up to the North of England to stay with family. I spent almost a year with various family members in the North of England and Wales. My family were wonderful, but in some respects I was cocooned from the world outside. Once I felt I was ready, I sought to return to London. I knew I was not ready to work full-time, so I searched for accommodation and part-time work. I had been in “tied-accommodation” posts before, (before I moved to London I worked and lived on a beautiful countryside estate which was a wonderful life for me) so I thought this might be the best option for me. That would mean accommodation would be provided and I would have work to do for the owner of the accommodation.

There are many posts in London that offer accommodation. Au pairs, house-keepers, live-in care assistants, butlers…the range of accommodation and the requirements are very diverse. It’s not quite “Downton Abbey” these days, but not a long way from it. I know of “tied-accommodation” posts that as well as beautiful living quarters also offer a £60,000 salary. But in return you would have a massive amount of responsibility. I did not want the responsibility of anybody who was ill, or with children, I was not ready for that. So I was looking at house-keeping roles primarily.

I saw an advert that stated that in return for accommodation, the owner/principle required ten hours work each week and would pay £200 per week. Now in all honesty – that did not sound right at all. £20 per hour for the work required and free accommodation. I thought there must be a mis-print in the advertisement. Nevertheless, I contacted the person advertising the post to make enquiries. I was asked to send my CV and a photograph which I did so. Then I was asked to attend an interview down in London. I travelled down to London (even the journey down was a strange experience that could easily make up another post). The gentleman I had been corresponding with picked me up from the tube station and drove me to the property he lived in.

interviewAs with any interview, I was a little nervous. This was my first interview after a year of recovering from physical injuries and emotional trauma and I was quite shaky to be honest. I was worried about how to reply to any questions about the year long break I had from work. But those questions did not come. The gentleman seemed to want me to relax and tell me about myself. I rambled on about how my parents have always set an example in being hard-working, humble and honest and I try to live by those same qualities. He threw in questions along the lines of did I have a boyfriend? had I been married? did I have children? He also specified that he liked women to be women and to wear skirts or dresses.

Image 12 of 21I tried to clarify the amount of work needed and the arrangements involving accommodation and the rate of pay. He showed me the accommodation he proposed. It was a large double bedroom with a lot of storage space and an en suite bathroom. I asked about the amount of work required. He said there is not a lot to do. He and his son occupied the house. He asked for a couple of hours of cleaning each day from Monday – Friday. He said I could just relax at the weekend, there would be no work to do. He also said he would have some paper work and office work in connection with his business. I mentioned the advert said he would pay £200 per week, and asked was that a mistake. He said it was not a mistake. I mentioned that worked out as a rate of £20 per hour and free accommodation for some cleaning and office work. He affirmed that was the arrangement.

He was aware I had travelled from the North of England to London for the interview. He offered to put me up over night. I had already made other arrangements to stay with friends, so I declined.

Now…I did not feel totally comfortable with the situation. I would be living with two single men. The gentleman who had interviewed me was older than my Dad. His son was a few years younger than me. The accommodation I would be in was quite separate though. I would have my own quarters. He only needed two hours cleaning or other office work a day for five days a week. So many other “tied-accommodation” posts required very long hours and for you to be at the constant beck and call of your principle. This was by far the best arrangement financially, the best accommodation I was likely to obtain, and the easiest introduction back into work.

You may already have your doubts about me being in the accommodation with two single men. I did feel an aversion to the idea of being there myself. If you are reading this and thinking this sounds like trouble ahead, you are right to have those thoughts. But I doubted myself so much at that time. I was frightened of everything.

I was generally uneasy with all men at this point. I thought maybe my aversion to being there, was due to my general distrust and uneasiness around men. I thought I was overanxious and should try to accept that this was the best opportunity that was going to come along. The family member who I was staying with at the time needed me to move into another family member’s house because they were going to have some work done on their home. I thought that was the time to go to London rather than relocate to another county up north. I was desperate to be back in London. It was almost a year that I had been away.

I accepted the offer of work and accommodation and two weeks later I moved down to London with a suitcase with me clothes inside. How did it work out? Well…I don’t want this to be an enormous post. So now that I have set the scene for you, I am going to start another post with what happened once I had moved into the accommodation.

As the week goes on you may feel angrier and angrier and wonder why I was so feeble in dealing with these challenges. But as I have said…I was very vulnerable at this time – more so than I or any of my family realized.

Caramel Learning To Live Again

I have been working on a new series of posts which I am going to publish next week.

I started writing about a subject I that I have kept suppressed within me for a long time. Not the night I was the victim of a crime, not the year I spent with family recovering from my injuries and the trauma of what had happened – but the six months after that. My first six months back in London.

Let me tell you – they were pretty terrible really. I did not realize how much that was the case at the time. As I have been writing about those six months, I have felt rather horrified at how incredibly vulnerable I was at that time.

I am much stronger now. I pity that woman who was trying to get back on her feet but had some horrible challenges to deal with. I am going to publish some of the experiences I had to deal with. When you read them, you might scratch your head at my reaction to the challenges I faced. But please remember that I am relating to you how an extremely vulnerable me acted – not the me I am now.

The two years before I was attacked (during which I was teased, taunted, shunned, essentially bullied and eventually maliciously slandered) had crushed my self-confidence. The year after I was attacked sheltered me from the world outside and I lost a lot of my ability to deal with challenges. I have been reading back the posts I have completed so far and it really is strange to realize the depth of my vulnerability then. But in some ways – I had to get through that awful achey shaky breaky period to develop some strength again.

Starting with my first job back in London, next week I am going to publish one post a day in the series: