Well, that's the bathroom gutted and put back together again and all I can say is never again! The floor was taken up and re-laid and the dust from it all has been awful. Now we've moved onto the kitchen and the smell of fresh paint is everywhere and nothing is in the right place - Well I suppose we'll get there in the end.
Returning to my last days as an Housing Team Leader on arrears. I once had a young man who never paid a penny in rent he ignored all the warning letters - didn't bother turning up to court and then defaulted on his court order, so I requested an eviction through the courts and the date was set - still he failed to make contact or come in and see us.
On the day of the eviction at about 10 o'clock he finally came into the office - he was being evicted at 12 noon. I took him into a private room - he was het up and aggressive and kept yelling at me that he wasn't going to be evicted, that we couldn't evict him - I tried to explain that it was too late in the day and that the eviction would now go ahead regardless. I had him wagging his finger in my face and yelling into my face that he wasn't going to be evicted. Then he turned around and walked out of the interview room and headed towards the office door - I followed and started to walk down the office towards our desks - When suddenly I heard him yell 'You ain't evicting me' I turned back just as a chair that he had picked up came flying down the office - I was younger, slimmer and quicker in those days and just managed to dodge the chair in time. He then left the office, thank goodness.
I rang the police to see if they would be able to accompany me to the eviction but got the usual 'we haven't got enough resources' (normal response, if there's likely to be someone kicking off - don't want to end up arresting someone and having too much paper work to do!). So I rang the bailiffs office to let them know that we were in for a bumpy ride on this eviction and that the police weren't interested. The bailiff just said 'Ok love, don't worry about it'. I then rang the manager of the safety tec's and locksmiths who accompany us on evictions and warned him. I got another 'no problem'
I went out to the eviction about 11.50am and when I got there couldn't find anywhere to park, and ended up a few hundred yards away from the flat in question because every bailiff in the borough had turned up, plus every gas and electric safety technician along with their manager - there must have been about 8 bailiffs and about the same amount of gas and electric tecs.
The young man was frantically running up and down the stairs throwing his belongings into his car - and the bailiff said to me - 'I think there's a few too many of us for him to start again don't you' . We stood to the side of the young mans car, in a group and he finally got in it, revved it up and then shot off and aimed the damn thing as us! we scattered like skittles, to get out of the way then he headed for the road and was gone.
I did another eviction with the same bailiff at a high rise block of flats, the locksmith finally got the door open and as we walked in - 3 steps in and on each step, we'd stepped onto needles - it had obviously been a drug den and the place was covered in used sharps. we back tracked and I had to get a specialist firm into sweep the place of all the used syringes. Over the years I've had needles cleared away from all sorts of places, from the canopies of high rise blocks, backs of baths, communal entrance doorways, flatted stairwells, sheds, all places - we went through a period where the druggies where pushing the sharps into the sides of the lift buttons in the flats so as you pushed the floor number you wanted then you could end up with a needle prick injury - another favourite place was to tape a used needle to the underside of the banisters in the high rise flats so as you held onto the bannister, you'd get caught on the finger. Some druggies don't give a damn whether a young child picks up a used needle and of course if you do sustain a needle prick injury it would result in a worrying 3 months whilst tests were undertaken for Hepatitis and HIV.
I never evicted any one that was ill or disabled - I had one lady come in one day who hadn't paid a penny against her court order - I explained that as she was so far behind that eviction was inevitable. At this she keeled over! I ran out to Ian and said 'Hit the 9's - she's keeled over in there we need an ambulance' Ian said - You haven't killed her have you?' I replied I don't think I have!.
It turned out that she'd just been diagnosed with Angina, the paramedics came out, gave her a little pill and she was as right as rain after she'd had that. She wasn't bad enough to go to hospital so I bundled her in the car and took her home afterwards. But she came in every week after that and paid something - sometimes it was just a £1 - she always came into see me after she'd paid to show me that she had paid and she'd say I can only afford a pound this week and I'd say no matter it's a pound less that you owe. We got to know each other by first name terms in the end.......not bad considering I thought I'd killed her off at one point!
That's pretty much it for the 9 years on arrears - after all those years I realised that it was all changing and that it was all going to be automated - it was time to move on so I did a short stint on Customer Services. I'll tell you about the fun and games on that section another time.
It's still bitterly cold isn't it? too cold here for snow - keep safe and warm.