The consolations of poverty

I was moved by Bob Holman's article ("At the hard end, poverty lives", 15 May). I live alone on £86.05 disability allowance a week, after spending nearly a third of my life in and out of hospital with manic depression. But I consider myself fortunate. My dad, a working-class man, ensured I stayed on at school till 18; as a result, I spend most of my week reading (I read nearly all of the New Statesman), and listening to music and Radio 4. I have a fair collection of religious books (among others) that console me. I am no doubt "badly clothed", and have no real social life (although I know quite a few local people to talk to); but, never having had much, I don't want much - I am extremely thankful not to be sleeping in a cardboard box, like many former mental patients.

George Cowley
Worcester, Worcestershire

This article first appeared in the 22 May 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Hacking their way to a fortune