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August 11, 2013

I need someone to hit me over the head with a very large encyclopedia. I think I’m suffering from balcony guilt.

Regular readers will know that the council had promised Steven a flat to move into on 15th August but at the last minute, they welched on the arrangement, instead they’ve done a dodgy deal with my landlady for us to stay on in the flat temporarily until they find somewhere. Effectively from Thursday, we will be squatting (albeit with the landlady’s consent). There will be no contract or tenancy agreement.

Expecting the move to take place, I’ve ordered all the furniture Steven will need for his flat and booked a delivery date for Thursday. That will still happen but it will have to delivered to our existing flat rather than a new one. Trouble is we live in a furnished flat (such as it is). I’ve written, phoned and text both the council and the landlady asking for her items to be removed on Thursday morning but have been ignored by both of them. The advice I’ve received is if she doesn’t respond, store her belongings on the balcony and notify her that is what I’ve done.

I don’t have a problem with that – the chaos wasn’t caused by me and my main focus has to be on Steven and doing the right thing by him. I don’t want his new furniture to be ruined by having to store it in a garage somewhere (with no idea of the time it will have to stay there). Neither do I want to lose him £3k by cancelling the order.

Today, we measured up the balcony to see if it will hold everything. There is a 1970s 2 seater sofa that sank on the first day we moved in; two broken beds with mattresses with springs poking through; a very cheap dining table and a rickety 1960 wardrobe, standing up by will alone. It will all fit. But I feel guilty that the two dreadful mattresses might get ruined if it rains. How pathetic is that?

Standing on the balcony with my tape measure, a few balcony memories from the past four years came back. Steven has never really liked the balcony – “Dont want a massive bird fly on my head”, “Dont want the bricks to fall down and Steven Neary fall in the road”. But he did enjoy the afternoon the Olympic flame came past last year and we had a grandstand view of the occassion.

For me, the balcony holds poignant memories. Back in 2010, I remember having to take Steven back to the unit after he’d spent Saturday afternoons at home. There were always tears from him, and tears from me once I’d returned. Several Saturday nights, the H Man came and rescued me and we’d go out on the lash. That gave birth to the “Balcony Olympics” where we’d see who could lob a random collection of foodstuffs the furthest. Cubes of lime jelly were my favourite because they bounced and I’d find them basking on the pavement for days afterwards. I hereby apologise to anyone who might have been travelling upstairs on the 607 bus, one night in August 2010 and got a raspberry yoghurt land on their lap. It was great fun but I’d wake up the next day, and after hoovering the balcony, be reminded that I was about to spend another day without Steven.

In four days time, the balcony will resemble Albert Steptoe’s yard. And even if an Olympic procession came past, our view would be blocked by a bed that Harold Steptoe might easily had slept on.


From → Social Care

  1. david permalink

    I wouldn’t feel guilty about the LL’s mattress getting wet. If she chooses to ignore you, that’s her lookout.

  2. anonymous permalink

    Gosh! I am so sorry to hear this, can’t help thinking this rings a bell! Something almost similar happened to my son…..

  3. sparrow permalink

    Hi Mark – if you haven’t already, take photos of the old furniture, with a witness present, before it goes outside, in case there are any arguments about condition from your landlord then that witness should be helpful.

  4. Emily permalink

    Great idea from Sparrow. Throw a couple of large bin bags over the top and staple, tape them as best you can. I can’t believe that she would still want them. How can anyone offer such decrepit furniture in a rental. The whole systems stinks!!!!

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