[Ben Reeve Lewis is bored. Dead bored ...]
Do you remember that mid-summer torpor when you were a kid, where you so craved the summer holidays in those last few weeks of the term but within days you were kicking your heels, getting under your mum’s feet because all your mates were on family holidays and saying to her “I’m boooooored”.
That’s exactly how I feel this week. Not that there hasn’t been plenty going on you understand.
A hive of activity (yawn)
My co-TRO has been off for a week leaving me on my own scrabbling around trying to deal with the problems of 30,000 private tenants on housing benefit alone, without counting those who are working, plus the usual round of people facing mortgage repossessions.
Went to court twice to stop warrants of eviction being executed with just minutes to spare, dealt with a brace of illegal evictions and yet another bloody cannabis factory in a flat.
Had to duck someone who took a swing at me after he had spat at another staff member and attended a delightful property where a tenant with mental health problems had been crapping on his own floor.
It may sound strange and interesting to many of you but for me it’s just another day at the coalface.
Training has also gone quiet lately as people take time off to look after their bored kids in the school holidays. It’s always like that around this time of year.
For Frazzy too who is a self employed travel agent as all her clients are corporate business types travelling to meetings across the globe, so they are off with their kids as well and she is twiddling her thumbs.
They call it the silly season
Most of the news stories this week also seem to be in the same mid summer doldrums, rehashing old issues about the ticking time bomb of the Help to Buy scheme, benefit caps, bedroom tax, housing crisis on the way up, housing crisis on the way down.
All singularly uninspiring and enough to send the reader into a hypnotic trance of tedium.
24 dash gave us the headline “Tenants warned over untidy gardens” (Yawn)….. and treated us to the stirring news that residents of Eastbourne have just received some successful training (Well fan my brow).
Over on Inside Housing, the fount of all knowledge, we learned that consultation over council powers in converting shops into homes has been published (You can feel your eyes getting heavier and heavier) …..
And we learned that a timber framed house in Peckham was responsible for the spread of a fire (and when I count to 3 you will be under).
I remember when I first moved from South East London to Taunton and I was thrilled to read in the local papers how little was actually going on compared to the usual round of stabbings in Deptford and New Cross.
Sheep story shocker
The first headline I remember concerned the problem of nuisance on an estate where children stayed up after dark “Practising their skateboards and swearing”.
One headline, and I’m not joking, ran “Dead sheep found in lay-by”. All very amusing but when the novelty wears off you get to realise that the sheep probably killed himself out of boredom.
So where are the inspiring stories this week in housing world? I don’t want to be the unfortunate suicidal sheep.
Hunting for stories
In desperation I turn to the normally excellent source of all things slightly odd Rat & Mouse, only to find that the author Ben Brandt is on holiday, so nothing happening there.
Planet Property is always a good place to start for some inspiration but even they have gone a bit quiet, the main stories being the sale of 1940s Hollywood Star George Sanders house in West Sussex [but that lets me use a nice picture of Maralyn Monroe, who visited it - that should cheer you up - Ed].
Plus the story of unimaginative bureaucrats in Pembrokeshire Council who have told a couple to knock down their eco style Hobbit house.
Start preparing the lay-by for me now……
Giles and David over at Nearly Legal have only managed to trawl up some court cases on Leasehold Valuation Tribunals, a subject I know nothing about and have about as much interest in learning as I do golf, a game that I personally believe was invented solely so that stamp collectors would have someone to look down on.
I can only presume, looking around at the various articles that most of the authors pre-prepared them and are in fact on holiday themselves or are at least sitting at their keyboards dreaming that they were. As am I.
Mild excitement over a fan
The only thing I have seen this week that impressed me is James Dyson’s latest invention the hot and cold fan. If like me you have been sleeping with the fan on the past two weeks you might be intrigued by this strange design that blows cold in the summer and hot in the winter.
Not a propeller in sight though. He seems to have found a way of adapting those airblade fan dryers you get in motorway service station toilets.
Sorry but that’s the best I can muster this week.
My mates are on holiday, there’s nothing on TV, I’ve got my felt tip pens out but I can’t think what to draw and I’m bored.
Even disgruntled tenants trying to punch me out can’t pull me out of the lethargy. I’m too hot to get angry about bedroom tax again and I’m tired of reading about how house price rises might just be the first sign of a recovering economy.
I shall lay my fatigued body down in the lay-by of tedium and prepare to end it all……….how exactly would a sheep commit suicide anyway? Maybe drown themselves in a vat of mint sauce.