[Ben Reeve Lewis confesses that he is a snob...]
Frazzy and I lost our manky old garden fence in the storm, probably like quite a few of you too.
Fence, roof or shed sir?
I phoned up the agent to report the repair and before I even told her what it was she said “Fence?”, which made me laugh out loud.
Apparently the phone didn’t stop ringing all day. She said it was either fence, roof or shed, a guessing game she had been playing in her head all morning. She also advised not to expect a quick call back, which is fair enough given the circumstances.
Chatting with Irish Mary, the pensioner next door, over what would have been a garden fence but was obviously just space and a few broken pot plants, I mentioned that at least we would both get a new fence out of the storm to which she replied with a twinkle “You see Ben? Every cloud does have a silver lining” Badda Bing Badda Boom….go Mary!
Driving in to work this morning I noticed yet another delicatessen opening in a street normally dominated by kebab shops and ‘Favorit Chicken’ (I can never figure out if that is a brand name or a misspelling that the owners didn’t pick up)
All signs of the growing gentrification of South East London, traditionally the capital’s snot nosed, bed wetting kid brother with a catapult in the back pocket of his short trousers……………playing on a bomb site. Sorry I couldn’t resist that last, extra Crompton-esque flourish to complete the picture for you.
A point on gentrification was amply illustrated by a piece on my ‘Favorit’ housing blog Planet Property.
Foreigners only please
The London Assembly’s Darren Johnson, a man I have much time for, plus he is a local lad, commented on the new tower block “One the elephant” (s’cuse me?) and how there were no social housing units built into the building that was sold to investors in Singapore.
Apparently a council officer said that affordable housing in the block would lower the sale price of the other units, a studio flat selling for £330,000.
“It’s outrageous that developers are trying to force ordinary Londoners to use the door round the back so they can sell luxury flats to rich investors. I’m disappointed that the Mayor refused to clamp down on this trend, which is like something out of Downton Abbey. He is helping rich investors build expensive flats, not Londoners get a home they can afford.”
Way to go Darren I couldn’t agree more…. But only in a sense. Despite my Alf Garnett accent and firmly working class London background (Dad a steel erector, Granddad a Smithfield market porter) I confess to being a bit of a snob.
Ben’s a snob
I like the gentrification. Nobody who ever grew up on South East London’s tower blocks would ever want to go back to that and I prefer being able to walk home at night without having to asses whether or not the bloke I’m walking towards is going to stab me.
I prefer knowing that in passing that stranger staggering out of a pub I am more likely to get hit with a rolled up copy of the Times Literary Supplement or get into an argument about the merits of Brie de Meaux over a ripe Vacherin.
So I agree with Darren…………in principle, but in practice I don’t mind as long as I get to live in one of the nice bits where I can sit in a trendy pub wondering what the poor people are up to tonight. How shallow am I?
Small present for the kid
While Darren seems concerned about the “Downton-ing” of London, American Millionaire John Lavender takes it a stage further and actually built Downton Abbey for his three year old son
Click on >> the link and have a look. Astonishing. “Highlands Castle” in upstate New York is on the market for $14 million. Presumably his 3 year old has outgrown it and now has to bend over in the Baronial Hall……and no that isn’t a euphemism, stop sniggering at the back there.
Who is going to buy it though? A millionaire Dwarf? Maybe he could employ an army of dwarf Londoners as servants, their height handily restricted by years of a poor working class diet consisting exclusively of ‘Favorit Chicken’.
Benefit axe for under 25s?
David Cameron has more plans to turn out a new generation of below-stairs employees in hinting that he is also looking to axe housing benefit to the under 25s
Grania Long of the Chartered Institute of Housing said in Housing Excellence:-
“How do you build the economy without a young, mobile workforce? It would mean that young people would be unwilling to take risks such as moving for work because there would be no safety net for them. It also fails to take into account the reality of many people’s lives – many under 25s will have paid tax and national insurance for several years before needing to claim benefits.”
Make them work in Downton Abbey Grania. Or if you really want to punish them make them WATCH Downton Abbey.
Unfortunately for me, Frazzy is a big fan of the soporific Sunday night turn off. I have pointed out to her that as a West Indian she wouldn’t have gotten further than the scullery, if she even got a job there at all and any dreams of wearing elegant clothes and swanning about in a Rolls Royce are a tad on the optimistic side.
Still it does always guarantee me a decent nights sleep. Sunday roast down, glass of red wine on the floor and I’m snoring before the opening credits have finished.
She recently defended against a tirade of mine about the boring plots by saying with undisguised glee “Someone got raped last week”……charmed I’m sure.
Rouge Landlord Corner
Finally the return of an irregular series “Rouge landlord corner”, the popular mis-spelling . This week’s prize goes to Property Hawk who ran a piece on a landlord producing a bad tenant’s register in response to a bad landlord register set up by Northampton council:-
“It seems perfectly acceptable for councils to set up a Rouge Landlord DB such as the one in Northampton. “
Wahay….thar she blows. Feel free to send in your sightings of the rare, shy and retiring “Rouge Landlords” and we’ll make it a regular feature.
See ya next week.