Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy New Year!

Dear Lord, today has been absolutely the pits. This morning had an upsetting phone call from Son, who was furious beyond belief that the bastard Landlord has actually had the nerve to withold £200 from their deposit. Given that they lived for 12 months in a dangerously damp environment, with black spot, mould and mildew growing in cupboards and up the walls, and that the flat was declared a Category 1 Health Hazard by the Environment Agency, Department of Community Protection, it's astonishing that he isn't in prison. How he can sleep at night I don't know. And if I get within a mile of him, he'll never sleep again. It's a scandal that both Agents and Landlords can get away with treating young tenants in this way. They are charged exorbitant rents, and deposits, for the most crappy living spaces that are in the most appalling condition. Son and his friend not only lived with this damp problem, but had to endure supposedly remedial works (which involved stripping the interior walls of plaster, and creating unimaginable dust and dirt but did nothing to solve the problem), and were then expected to both leave the heating on and open the windows to 'help the drying process'! Never mind the expense - or the security problems! And they also lived without electricity in the bathroom - they bathed by candlelight! And the washing machine remained unrepaired for a month - so they had the extra expense of having to use a launderette. And their bread and fruit all went mouldy in a couple of days. And their clothes never dried! I could go on and on. This man deserves to rot in hell. And the Agents who 'represent' him, but refuse to take any actual responsibility, deserve to rot in hell too.

I spoke to our Solicitor, who has given advice, but it was a very upsetting day all round. Here are two young men who have behaved with integrity, and paid their rent in full through all these problems, in the belief that everything would be sorted. Sadly, the truth is that the rotten Landlord was only interested in getting his filthy hands on their money. There is no doubt that I would kill for my children!

I heard on Terry Wogan this morning that it's the beginning of the Jewish New Year. I do wonder if I might be Jewish, because I have always felt that the New Year started in September, when the new school term starts. It just seems more logical to me. My father had mysterious parentage, so it could be so. He was born to my grandmother when she was forty, and unmarried. (She had her first child when she was 25, and also unmarried.) She was a cook in a castle in Wales at the time (this was in 1915), and was apparently sworn to secrecy about who the father was. The price for her silence was a private boarding-school education for my father, and a secure future for her. She called my father Jasper Stanley, and absolutely adored him, but she died without telling him who his father was! I have always thought that quite amazing - to keep such a secret even on your death bed, is worthy of the darkest drama. Of course she was a true Victorian. She was born in 1875, so she was 26 already when Queen Victoria died. And she was always suspicious of the telephone. She only married for the first time when she was 70, and then she married her sister's husband after her sister died. Dear old Martha, she lived to be 95, and was a tough old bird. Her Summer Pudding was the best thing I ever tasted.

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