Hope you are all OK out there and that life is treating you kindly, I've had a lovely week this week just pottering around at my own pace, I've mostly been painting - the Farrow and Ball 'Pointing' eggshell paint has been put to good use on an old kitchen chair and glazed corner unit for the summer house. (Photo's to follow).
I picked up a double bed valence from the charity shop the other day for the princely sum of £2.50 in the old Marks and Spenser Rosebud pattern (from the 1980's) unused - which is going to make some cushion covers and bunting for the summer house. (Another job to add to the list for rainy days!).
I had one day this week when I thought I'm going to listen to the Archers whilst I'm sitting here painting. So I put the catch up edition on the computer and it was like stepping back in time, when the music came on, as my Nan used to whistle along to the theme tune when I was a child and for a second she was there with me again whistling along - I still don't know know who's who in the Archers but I intend to carry on listening to it when I can.
I did a posting recently whereby I said I would happily cast adrift some of our more radical residents of this county and when I wrote it I thought that some people may think me cold hearted and heartless. To a point I am - I don't suffer fools (or these people) lightly and a lot of it is due to the knocks I've had through life and to the jobs I had to do to earning my living and pay my mortgage.
Throughout the 90's I worked for a local authority as a rent officer, at the same time I had been left a single parent with 3 teenagers, still at school, to keep and a mortgage to pay and at that time I did 3 jobs ( one full time and 2 part time on the evenings) to keep a roof above our heads (as the prat I was married to and trying to divorce wouldn't pay out either to help keep the children or towards the roof over their heads).
As a rents officer I heard every excuse going why the tenants couldn't pay their rent that week. I once interviewed one who said that she couldn't pay her rent because the T.V. was a 'pay as you watch' and it was costing her so much money - she was quite promptly told to join the library and start reading books instead of watching the T.V. and I expected her rent to be paid without fail in future or else she would be evicted and where would the pay as you watch T.V. go then! - as I told her this my colleague, sitting beside me was choking with laughter.
Then there was the lady who came in telling me that she couldn't pay the rent as her husband just didn't give her enough money - when I went through what her husband earned against their expenses it was quite apparent that he was holding a lot of money back for himself, when I asked her where this money went she explained that he went fishing a lot and his money was spent on that (better than booze I suppose) I asked her to bring him in and promised her that I wouldn't tell him that I knew where his money was going.
She duly brought him into this office and we went through his income and expenditure and he agreed that there was a considerable sum left over each week - it took some time for him to admit that he was spending it on his fishing and the competitions he entered (it took so long it was like extracting teeth!) I asked what was more important to him the roof over his and his children's head or his fishing competitions - I held my breath as I asked this question, luckily he realised and said the roof - I breathed a sigh of relief and his rent was always paid after that.
Then there was the single middle aged lady who never and I mean never paid her rent - she didn't work - claimed benefits, but was always dressed up to the nine's, she'd come in the office to tell me she couldn't possible pay her rent that week because of a,b, and c and all the time the make-up and the hair would be perfect along with the attire but what used to rile me was the leather handbags she always had (this was at the time when my handbags came off the local market stall for no more that £5.00 each and only one at a time when the last one had broke and I was working day and night!)........(Thank God those days have gone and I am now on par with her - only took me another 10 years of working to get there!). Every time I went for eviction on her - she would miraculously find the money to stave it off till the next time.
There were some cases that we didn't win and I remember one day in the mid 90's when the bailiff and myself ran around one area doing 9 evictions - it never bothered me doing an eviction - they had the same chances as me - they were capable of getting up off their backsides and getting a job to keep the roof over their heads - if they couldn't be bothered then they didn't deserve to have the roof as far as I was concerned.
I've had calendars thrown at me and once a chair - when I told him that the warrant that he'd ignored was going to be executed that morning and that he was going be evicted in just over an hours time. When we got there to do the eviction he was still throwing items in his car which he promptly mounted the kerb to drive at us as he left.
So if I am cynical and a little cold hearted it's because I've heard a lot of excuses and seen a lot of crocodile tears in my time - I also heard the genuine reasons why someone couldn't pay and those people were the ones that I always had time for and the ones that I did anything I could to get them the help that they deserved. like the OAP's who saw that claiming benefits was charity and then lived on next to nothing so that they'd be first in the queue on a Monday morning to pay their rent.
They were good days (if only for me and not the ones I evicted!)
I have lots of stories and tales of those days - I'll tell you more another time.