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August 17, 2013

Woooooh – what a week. I’m just about coming up for air.

I’ve managed to deal with the mental strain of Hillingdon’s actions for the last year; I’ve learned how to get by on very little sleep and very little food. But the physical exertion of Thursday has left me knocked for six. Three years ago I was lifting very heavy weights in the gym but that feels like an awful long time ago. Humping furniture around for 12 hours had me flat on my back.

Quick news update before the events of Thursday – still no news about the housing benefit appeal. And still no news about the housing for Steven. The housing manager who has been dealing with the case since September went off on leave a week ago. And on Friday, the woman he handed our case over to, has also gone on leave. So, I don’t expect to hear anything until he comes back on 2nd September.

Thanks for all the advice about the hole. I got a builder mate to come and have a look at it – the council couldn’t have been less interested and I reasoned there was no point telling the landlady as she would do nothing as well. My mate reckons it is not as serious as it looks and will hold up until long after we move – and that’s good enough for me. I know how it was caused – two years ago we had a leaking toilet that spread all through the living room ceiling and down the wall. It took the landlady over three months to repair it. Obviously, the filthy water has come through the bathroom wall to my bedroom wall next door and caused the damage. To be honest, I couldn’t give a monkeys – I guess that’s the price you pay as a landlord when you turn a blind eye to urgent repairs.

The support workers turned up at 6am on Thursday and we immediately started to dismantle the flat. The day before, one of them said to me: “Mark, I know we are on duty but could you entertain Steven for an hour. We have a plan”. So, as Steven and I settled down to a double bill of Mr Bean, there was lots of banging and crashing and basically, they cleared the very large cupboard under the stairs. Come thursday, we were able to store a sofa, a mattress, two bed bases and a dining table chair. It was like the wardrobe in Narnia.

Whilst Steven and the guys went swimming I did the weekly shop at Sainsburys and when I got back, I dismantled the other bed frame. The flat was clear by 1pm.

At 2pm, Steven’s new furniture arrived. With Steven it is best to get very sturdy stuff and this stuff weighed a ton. I’d forgotten that I’d ordered a splendid cross between a writing bureau and computer work station, but we just managed to fit it into the living room. I keep sitting at it, feeling like a proper writer.

By 6pm, everything was sorted and apart from a rancid mattress propped up over the hole in my room and the horrible split PVC armchair in the living room, the flat looks great. I can really picture what our new place will look like.

I pulled something in my shoulder in the morning and by evening the pain was agony but it didn’t seem to matter as we had an Abba session reclining on our new sofas. And for the first time in ages, Steven slept for seven hours straight through on his new bed.

And here we stay, for the next week? month? year? until Hillingdon pull their finger out. They are bound to throw a few more hand grenades in because I don’t think they’ve got their pound of flesh yet. But until then, I’ll move between the writing bureau and sorting my DVDs into favourite order on the new shelf unit. Steven will sit on his new sofa and watch Take That on his new TV.

I love the way, Steven picks up the language of the support workers. When the guy who does most of the weekday shifts, leaves on Friday night, Steven always says to him: “Goodnight Alan. Be blessed”.

There’s something about our relationship and the great support I get from all the people (that means YOU) fighting our corner, that despite Hillingdon’s tactics, perhaps Steven and I are blessed.


From → Social Care

  1. sparrow permalink

    Hi – felt so awful for you both from your last 2 posts that I thought whatever I said would sound trite. So pleased your new furniture is in situ and has cheered you both considerably. Let’s hope the enjoyment of that stays with you for a long time indeed, certainly well beyond when the council get their finger out.

  2. You are a proper writer, don’t doubt it for a second (it’ll slow you down unnecessarily)

    Glad to hear some good news for you both. Hope its the beginning of a trend.

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