Tuesday 11 May 2010

Mrs Angry and a bucketload of crap

Well, we live in interesting times, don't we? (Fill in your own stuff about coalition governments, minority governments, PR, AV, Liblab , Condem-nation etc, I can't face anymore).

I no longer care who runs the country, and would even suggests that the fact that the world has not come to an end since last Thursday indicates that we probably don't need any government at all, and the country could probably run on its own perfectly well. And think of all the expenses we would save on.

Anyway, I am too busy obssessing about a bucket full of dirt and fag ends sitting in my back garden to worry about political events. Why is this, you may ask?

It's now nearly two weeks since Mrs Smith and all the Smith family, and her toyboy, and the weed enthusiast lodgers, who looked pretty three dimensional but apparently were a figment of our imagination, disappeared over the horizon on their way to a new life on a certain council estate, where no doubt they are endearing themselves to a new set of neighbours. You might think that Mrs Angry is now Mrs Happy, and has drawn a neat line under the whole affair. Not quite. After the initial euphoria, there are still too many unresolved issues.

I tried explaining this to a friend: that it was like someone had been banging your head against the wall for a long time and when they stop, at first you can only feel grateful that your head is no longer being bashed about, but pretty soon you begin to get extremely angry about the fact that someone has been bashing your head against a wall in the first place. In our case, we worry that soon someone else will be grabbing hold of the head, as it were: Barnet Council has refused to say it will prevent the owners of the property from having more Homechoice tenants, despite the negligent and irresponsible behaviour of the owners and the state of the property. I know this seems incredible, but that is how Barnet works. And some fools out there have just voted this caring, compassionate Conservative administration back into power. Well done.

If more tenants arrive, we will be obliged to sell our house and move. We don't want to move: we just can't risk another experience like this. Yet, if we are forced to sell, we will have to disclose the details of the 'dispute' that we have been through, not exactly something that prospective buyers will want to hear, and even if we manage to find a buyer, the value of our house is highly likely to be affected.

Since writing the blog, and publicising in various places what happened to us, I've heard from even more people in the borough who have had similar experiences with Barnet. Unless there is a radical change of housing policy, and a drastically improved committment to addressing antisocial behaviour, there will inevitably be an increasing number of cases like ours. You can't say you haven't been warned.

We are hoping that the landlords of the neighbouring property will sell the house. But who knows what they will do. There have been no signs of estate agents, and what they will do next is anybody's guess. Last week for two days running my heart stopped when I saw male members of the family who own the house turn up and inspect the place. Luckily the harpy sisters did not accompany them, but still I felt myself panicking at the very thought of one of them turning up on our doorstep and screaming abuse at us again.

The thing which really, really bugs me, though, is the petty and completely irrational obsessive thought that somewhere across the borough Tracey Smith is sitting smugly in her new apartment, believing her self to have been so rewarded for all the appalling behaviour presented by herself and her wretched household. Worst of all is the fact that - and I am ashamed of admitting that this bothers me - she has had the last laugh, contemptuously dumping that pile of crap on my doorstep in the middle of the night, and getting away scot free. You might think that was an act of harassment, or intimidation, but as far as we know, nothing will ever be done about it. Does it matter? They've gone, haven't they? Yes, it bloody well does matter to me - it symbolises how we have been completely screwed by these people, and nothing has ever really happened as a result, except a move which they were happy with anyway. Tracey Smith doesn't care that her new tenancy is supposedly subject to supervision and 'support': she enjoys the attention, and knows how to pull the wool over social workers and other authority figures, manipulating the system for her own ends.

Yesterday, for the first time in over a year, I actually pottered about in the garden, and finally swept up the last few roaches and other bits of rubbish the Smiths had kindly chucked out of their windows, or over the fence. And then I opened up the bag of stuff they left on the doorstep again and peered at it malevolently and thought: this is justice, is it, for people like us: a heap of dirt and a pile of fag ends, and an uncertain future? I have a horrible suspicion, you know, that that is exactly how it is, and always will be, for the foreseeable future, here in Broken Barnet.

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