Monday, 12 April 2010

Black Monday

I am losing the plot. But that's hardly surprising.

I have just chased a delivery boy down the street in order to hand back to him the copy of a Tory party promotion - complete with Mike Freer's ghastly grinning face - which he had foolishly stuck through the Angry family letter box. 'Take this back!' I yelled at the poor deluded Young Conservative youth, 'I don't want it and as far as I am concerned you can stick it ...' and here I lost my nerve, 'In the bin where it belongs!' He looked at my enraged face and gulped: 'Oh. Ok then ...'

Perhaps I should have explained to him that I have spent the evening in tears - yet again - due to the latest twist in the nasty cat and mouse game that Barnet Council have been playing with us over the removal of our neighbours from hell.

On April 1st - oh yes, readers, and I fell for it - we had been assured, on the highest authority, that the Smiths were picking up keys to a new property and were at long last being moved out to a monitored tenancy in council accommodation far away from us. We were assured this, in good faith, by a third party, acting on information from the council itself, both last weekend and the weekend just past. Nothing happened, and Mrs Angry's instinct was that something was wrong. Mrs Angry's instinct is usually right.

For around five weeks now, despite guarantees of weekly updates of information from the Council, we have been told absolutely nothing of any developments, despite several requests. We were given a new named senior officer as a point of contact some time ago: she has not bothered to contact us at all, so first thing today we contacted her, expressing our concerns at the lack of information, reminding her of the vulnerable position we are in, and the recent serving of a notice on Travis Smith after the latest incident of harassment. Late in the evening, she sent an abrupt response of 19 words:

'We are progressing the letting of the property and the Smiths will be moving within the next few weeks.'

And that was it.

The only word in that message which holds any credibility is 'we' and possibly 'the'.

I am not sure what progressing means, other than 'we do not want to tell you exactly what is going on as you will not like it', but in Barnet-speak, 'next few weeks' means nothing and anything: sometime never, somewhere over the rainbow, where happy little bluebirds fly, and safely after an election, and hopefully after the Ombudsman has completed their assessment.

Next few weeks: two weeks? Four weeks? Nine weeks? More? Well, what's that after the sixty five weeks we have already lived like this ... I've spent, what, the last twenty weeks unable to sleep in my own bed, - well, actually unable to sleep properly at all for worrying about this shit you have landed us in, so what's a few more, eh? No hurry. Take your time.

The idea of this new tenancy we were told, belatedly in January, had been agreed upon last November. It will be six months soon since this alleged proposal was put forward. Six bloody months. Do they really not understand what it is like, having to go through all this?

I often wonder which is the more traumatic experience - living next door to the dysfunctional, disruptive, foul mouthed and violent Smiths, or having to do constant battle with the incompetence, tortuous game playing, and machinations of Barnet Council. If I was a less resilient character, I might very well have been driven to some desperate act by now. Ok, I started a blog, which is pretty desperate. But there are other forms of action to explore as well, and this, I suppose, is the way to go now.

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