The weather keeps teasing us with glimpses of spring doesn't it? Sunshine and showers here today.
We spent a lovely morning yesterday with our 2 grandchildren I and E at Attingham Park - a national trust property which is quite close to us, we go regularly, the walled garden is our favourite area, such a peaceful but productive place. We've joined the National Trust this year and I will be taking my older grandchildren there during the Easter holidays as the playground is brilliant for their age group.
Returning to my days spent as an ASB Officer, we were responsible for going out to dirty properties and telling the customers to get a grip and clean them up. This was usually after one of our work men had refused to undertake a repair in a property. One Thursday morning we'd had a call from one of the workmen to say that they were at a property and were unable to get the scaffolding up for the amount of rubbish in the garden. One of my Housing Advisors H went out and told them to get the garden cleaned up by the following Monday morning so that we could get the scaffolding put up and whilst she was there she undertook a property inspection and the internals were as bad as the garden - they were literally told to get off their backsides (both dole dossers, nothing wrong with their health and neither of them working) and to get and clean the house as well and that we'd be back to inspect the following week.
On the Friday morning I received a phone call from this couple who said that they wanted to come in to the office to complain about how they'd been told to get and clean the property up so I booked them in to see me the following Tuesday morning - I totally trusted H's opinion and that if she'd said that the property was a dirty tip then it was a dirty tip, so they were going to get short shrift from me on any complaint that they thought that they were going to make!
On the Monday morning the garden had been cleared and the scaffolding went up. About mid morning an old lady came into the office with some photo's on her phone of someone fly tipping rubbish in the lane to the rear of her bungalow........guess who it was? yes the above customers. We asked the lady if we could print off the photo's and she agreed - I then sent another officer up to go through the fly tipped rubbish to see if there was anything in it that would give their address and lo and behold we found one of her bank statements in the rubbish!
They came in on the Tuesday morning, all fired up and ready to complain.... I let them go on and then told them that I trusted H's opinion and that if she'd said that they were living in a tip then I believed that they were living in a tip. She tried to say that she had 3 children and that it was difficult to keep the house tidy - I informed that I had 3 children and worked full time however my house wasn't a tip!
I then asked what they'd done with the rubbish from the garden and he said 'Oh we had it took away' so I said 'Really?' and then proceeded to put the photographs slowly down in front of him - all of them of him, fly tipping this rubbish and then with flourish I followed with her bank statement. I said ' That is your car isn't it? and that is you dumping that rubbish in Pear Tree Lane and I think you'll find that this is your bank statement, isn't it?..........You have until 4pm this afternoon to remove that rubbish to the tip or I will have it removed and you will be charged £250.
He didn't say a word - just stood up and pushed his chair backwards so hard it landed on the floor and walked out of the office she got up to follow him and said 'we came here to make a complaint' so I replied 'Yes you did - but you know what they say about people who live in glass houses?' She went to go through the door then came back and said 'Can I have my bank statement back please?' So I said 'Yes with pleasure but please ensure that you dispose of it this time in the right manner!'
The rubbish was removed by 4pm and wasn't found dumped anywhere else.
I'm sure that by now you now that I don't have much time for immigrants - the ones that come here and work and pay into the system are fine but the ones who come and think that can fleece the system makes me so angry. I do believe that immigrants shouldn't get any NHS care, any benefit payment whatsoever and no council housing until they have paid in at least 20 years worth of NI and full tax contributions. That would stop the idle ones from coming here.
We had housed a Romanian family into a 3 bed house, I was reliable informed that they weren't living in the property and had been given another social housing property in Birmingham. I knew they were on benefits because their rent was being paid by Housing Benefits. So one Thursday morning I went a walk over to the property and found the lady of the property there and hardly any furniture in the house.
It looked like they were in the process of moving out. It was winter and there was no heat in there, she told me that they were waiting for furniture to be delivered (they'd been there a number of months) when I asked why the property was so cold - she told me that the gas board had cut them off because they owed over £1,000 to them - it was obvious that it wasn't their main residence, so I left and went back to the office to prepare a notice as their tenancy agreement states that it should be their main residence.
Whilst I was doing this, the police phoned saying they'd picked up 2 Romanian pickpockets and they wanted to be bailed to this address - did I as the land lords representative agree? The answer was No I don't - they are not to be bailed to that address. Could you have imagined what the neighbours would have had to put up with if I'd allowed that.
On the Friday morning I walked over to the property and served the notice to quit - on the Friday afternoon Mr and Mrs Romanian arrived in the office. He was little, with jet black, slicked back hair which had a widows peak and wore his mac on his shoulders which blew out at the sides, as he walked in.
For all the world he just looked like Dracula striding in there as fast as his little legs would carry him.
I took them into an interview room that was adjacent to the front desk area, the reception area was packed and it was the only one free - trouble was it meant that everyone sitting in reception heard all the conversation. He asked what the notice was and I explained that I'd had reliable information plus I'd seen for myself that they weren't using this house as they're main residence. He said 'You no throw me out' and I said 'Yes we are' He then looked at me and had the check to say 'This country do nuthin for me - Nuthin!' I thought you cheeky bugger, I knew that everyone in reception would be able to hear so I said very loudly - 'This country has given you a 3 bedroomed house, benefits, health care and education for your children, plus a thousand pounds worth of gas that you've failed to pay for! - (then I practically yelled) This country has given you plenty!.
He stood up, (all 5ft of him) still looking like a miniature Dracula and said 'I see you in court' so I said 'I'll be there' He then stepped out into the packed reception area and the great British public sitting there had their say as he tried to make his way out - he went to the tune of 'Bugger off - we don't want your sort here!' and 'Coming here claiming our benefits!'
I put my head round the office door to the reception area to make sure that he'd left the office to comments of 'You throw him out love' ' You go to court and throw him out' I smiled at them and said 'I will'
I went to court - Dracula didn't - I got possession of the property back and when I did the eviction they'd gone.
See you next time.
- I'm 57 years old, working full time, wife, mother and grand mother, wishing that I wasn't working full time! I love and enjoy our children and grandchildren, our dogs and cat, our garden and allotment. I love crafts - knitting, sewing, crocheting, patchwork and restoring old furniture. I love to go to country auctions and love thinking that I've got my self a bargain!
Thursday, 19 March 2015
It's a beautiful afternoon here - can we at last believe that spring isn't too far away now? I hope so - I know that I say the same thing each year but this winter does seem to have dragged on and on.
Haven't been around for a while - when retired people say that they don't know how they found time to go to work, I now know what they mean - life's been busy and hectic around here for the last few weeks. My DIL has returned to work so we now have our Grandchildren for one day each week. the new allotment and the garden have all been taking up our time too.
Plus I have been busy learning how to crochet new stitches and making crocheted baskets etc., ........all these tasks though are so much nicer to undertake now without the pressure of working 5 days a week and doing the commute - I'm still at the stage where I think that I am so lucky to be finished and able to stay at home.
I talked last time about working on customer service in housing and the people I'd come across - I was on front desk one day and a young gentleman came in and said that he wanted to register for housing, I said fine that I'd need to book him in for an interview and asked for his surname - he replied 'Reaper' which I wrote down and then asked for his first name and he said 'Grim' - my head shot up and I said Grim Reaper? he said yes I changed my name by deed poll! I looked at him and yes it all fell together - he was a goth so his name suited his appearance.
So I can say that I've interviewed the Grim Reaper and lived to tell the tale!
After customer service I moved on to dealing with anti-social behaviour - it was a difficult and hard role to undertake - ASB officers earn well above the national average and earn every penny of it. Nowadays they don't just go into areas and properties where filth, druggies, pushers, organised crime are rife but now into areas that are classed as high alert areas for terrorism. I did 4 years in this role, in a low income, run down area before I was able to get out and move onto something else and I hated it.
It was about this time when I got into reading blogs - I used to come home and read blogs written by ladies who stayed at home and crafted and had no idea of the sort of world that I had to deal with each day. Reading those blogs helped keep me sane!!
In ASB you'd have customers come in who wanted to complain about their neighbours - you'd get the pathetic ones come in - we used to have one lady (she always wore last nights tea down her jumper) who'd lived in her house for 30 years and had always had an old lady living next door to her - the old lady had passed away and we'd moved a young family in who had a young baby and a 4 year old son and she came in a number of times to complain because the 4 year old had made a noise going up to bed and then she'd sit there sobbing because a 4 year old had made a noise!
We investigated but it was just a 4 year old being a 4 year old. On the third interview just as she started to blubber again about this 4 year old I said to her 'Look - cut the tears - they have no effect on this situation, all you're doing is making yourself feel ill - he is a 4 year old and 4 year olds make a noise sometimes - if you're not happy with having this little chap living next door to you then you can either register to move and give up that house to a family and move into a 2 bed low rise flat or give us notice and go and live somewhere else'. She declined the offer of registering to move and learnt to live with little chap next door.
Then you have really nice decent customers come in whose lives are being wrecked by a low life family that we've housed next door to them and my heart used to go out to these people. We used to have a really nice lady come into us - she lived alone with her daughter and we had put a right family in next door to her - this family lived their lives in the front garden - they drank in the front garden, they argued in the front garden, they had sex in the front garden, they disciplined their offspring in the front garden and both of them had gobs on them like the Mersey Tunnel, so everyone round there heard what they were doing. This nice customer just wanted to bring her daughter up in peace with out her child being subjected to this awful behaviour on a daily basis.
I'd interviewed them a couple of times, and they'd sit there and say all pathetically in a whining voice 'Oh, we didn't realise we were making a noise' and I used to think you didn't realise that you were making a noise with your big gobs! But I'd had no effect on their behaviour and they'd just carried on so this time I called them and then left them to sit and wait for me in the reception area for half an hour and then when I went into see them I told them that I'd received more complaints about their behaviour and the whining voices started off again but I stopped them dead and said ' Not interested! while you've been sitting in reception I've had 4 covert cameras put up and there all trained on your front garden - you as much as breath in that front garden and I'll have it all on tape, which I shall use to serve you with a notice and then go for your eviction - So you as much as breath in that front garden and you may as well start packing your belongings!
I hadn't had any cameras put up - but they didn't know that - it went quiet after that - sometimes you had to go down 'different' avenues to get results! I moved office about 2 months later and we hadn't had any further complaints in that 2 months. I wonder how long it took them to revert back to their normal behaviour, because people like that just can't be decent even if they're whole lives depended on it.
Back with more tales another day - Enjoy the sunshine and have a nice day