Saturday, 9 July 2011

Kicking and shaking

It might be the impact of joining a kickboxing group. Or perhaps enough is enough. Whatever! I’m in a kick-ass frame of mind, and there will be no more crap magnetism for me.

Since emailing the world and his wife, well in this small part of London anyways, I’ve had: one auto-response from my MP saying if I haven’t had a reply within two weeks, write again, using snail mail; one helpful response from my local counsellor; and a list of excuses from the new head of our safer neighbourhood team. His email ended ‘working with you to make our city safer’. I assume to work with me, he might want to speak with me: I can’t speak to him because his phones are broken.

I replied, in hindsight, rather sharply. But I’m not accepting that more cannot be done about the troublesome tribe. In his defence, I suppose it was an improvement on previous responses from his team and he has, at least, acknowledged me. Which is more than can be said for the local Council, or the local Chief Super: who’s not proved quite so super this week. I’m feeling kind today so am assuming they are all either sick or on holiday. For this week.

02 also got a real positive response from me after sending a bill for over £800 for their screw up: their fee for their cancellation of my contract. Teen girl tried a strop when I wouldn’t hand over a concert ticket until some crucial paperwork was completed. She caved, realising I mean what I say and, desperate for her ticket, completing a bit of her own paperwork isn’t really that big a deal.

Every cloud and all that: the dustbin lids have clocked the turning tide and my zero tolerance approach. And, helpfulness has been in far greater abundance at home than I’ve ever known. By Friday all their bedrooms were hoovered and tidied, without prompting. Dinner was cleared without any nagging on my part thrice this week. It’s the weekend so I’m ignoring their ignorance of dust. But demonstrations of what to do with a wet cloth followed by a dry cloth will be coming to bedrooms near them very very soon.

The highlight of the week was going to Wembley and the Take That concert. I’ll skip over all that sitting on my own, being ‘chirped’ by a 23 year old break-dancing safety officer for more than an hour, and both the designer and my forensic friend, moaning about the seats when they did eventually arrive. As for the concert: it was big, it was mad, it was loud, it was fun, there were Mexican waves, and I love those!. In short: it was brill. Yes it was a bit wet, yet even the largest human weeble woman in the world landing next to us didn’t dampen the spirits. The Teengirls gave up their position in the mosh pit, due to the shocking behaviour of ‘old M&S women’. These Teengirls are mosh pit veterans. I later establish they were referring to women, roughly my age, wearing M&S cardys, like the ones I wear, desperately trying to get as near to our boys as possible. I would have said something about the lack of tenacity and perseverance in today’s youth, but I was far too busy shaking my ass. Thankfully, I restrained myself from joining the girls who got their tits out for the Pet Shop Boys.

Looking around the stadium, I’d say there were more than 60,000 women of a similar age to me, mostly wearing cardys. The other 25,000 spectators were groups of younger gals, the odd teen, a gaggle of gay men plus a few more husbands and boyfriends with admirable levels of loyalty and bravery. I’ve never seen so many women, past the first flush of youth, close to flushes of another kind, collectively and enthusiastically,‘going for it’. But what the hell!

It was Wembley. It was Take That. It was one of the greatest days.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Just Another Manic Monday

I’ve been a little like Mrs Pee’d off from Pissy Street recently and I wondered whether my chi is so out of sorts that I’ve become a magnet for crap. But that’s only on the dark days. Like yesterday. That was one manic Monday.

My day started earlier than usual as the kitchen was to be out of bounds from 8am. Due to the arrival of the plasterer. Due to the kitchen ceiling inexplicably falling down in the early hours of Saturday morning. That was a joyful moment, especially after I’d spent Friday in a rare cleaning frenzy.

Saturday was spent filling rubble sacks and hovering and wiping away the black dust accumulated in the ceiling over a hundred years. I cleaned outside and inside kitchen cupboards, every utensil, surface, picture, mirror and the large collection of odds and sods on the entire ground floor. (If I’m honest a large proportion of odds and sods actually went in the bin as that was how the moment took me).

As a respite I put in a couple of hours at the shopping festival walking the length and breadth of the town on the treasure hunt with the littleun whilst handing out leaflets for Sunday’s Palmers Green Festival. Then the littleun and I spent a few joyous hours being sociable with the girl’s rugby group, minus my own rugby girl (but that’s another story and luckily it doesn’t involve A&E this time). And Sunday’s Festival, in the park, though tiring, was a real fun success.

But I digress. Finishing the Monday morning clearout would certainly pay off later in reducing the volume of what would need to be cleared of pink plaster dust.

Though contributing to the laundry backlog, the littleuns sports morning was another excuse to escape the hell at home. For a while anyways and my regular readers know just how much I love a laundry backlog.

Managed to catch the Littleun’s big moment in the relay race after my own dash back to pay the plasterer and survey the volume of pink dust. The Sports Day low point was the kid that stacked over the finishing line and seeing his hand hanging at a completely unnatural angle from his arm. At least he won the race though, and I heard his operation went well this morning.

Hanging around a hot sports field without any trees for shade is not in anyway exhausting and doesn’t make you feel like you just want to lay down in a cool dark room with your eyes closed for a very long time.

Teengirl and I headed home to clean, hoover, scrape and start the first kitchen wash down of the day. She soon announced she was taking me out to lunch. That’s a first and I was shocked but I think she saw my bad mood pout and decided a change of scenery was as good as a rest. Alongwith an overwhelming desire to not have to clean anything. Ever. Again.

She was right. Lunch cheered me. It didn’t last.

Arriving home, more pink plaster dust had settled, making the ground floor look as though we hadn’t yet started. After the third mop of the floors I gave up and resolved to spend my last half hour before the evening frenzy enjoying the sunshine in the garden.

I’m blessed with some brilliant neighbours. Then there are others. Whilst one bad apple doesn’t make the whole bunch bad a tiny bit of manure in a bucket of spring water spoils the lot. Those others have been behaving anti-socially and are driving all the decent folks to distraction. I only lasted 5 minutes in the garden before the troublesome tribe drove me indoors.

Then Teenboy walked in with his hand over his nose, with blood pouring everywhere. I took a few deep breaths before establishing he had simply sneezed as he got off the bus starting the most massive nosebleed. Ever! He assured me that being so tall, no-one could actually reach his nose to punch him. So we cleaned him up and stopped the bleed before throwing another bucket of water over the front step, where a large amount of his blood had spilled. I had already thrown lots of water over the plaster dust on the front step. Isn’t it just great when you have to do the same dull ole domestic chores again and again and again?

I ran around with the mop for the fourth time, though half hour later I wondered why I bleeding bothered.

As I waited for the littleun to be dropped home I asked the troublesome tribe whether it was really necessary to rev their clapped out engine for half an hour? They tried the ‘no english’ trick. Perhaps it was the heat, or perhaps it was all that mopping but I really wasn’t in the mood for that ole chestnut and by the end of our little convo they were left in no doubt that I wasn’t buying it.

After that things went a bit Pete Tong. I kicked my three dustbin lids into the garden to play to give me space for one last mopping before I started supper. What followed is kind of unbelievable but it involved the troublesome tribe, threats to kill, mention of guns, a 999 call, a stabbing and the entire boundary of my property, front and back, becoming a crime scene. Luckily we were all on the safe side of the wall. But can you see where I’m coming from with the crap magnet thang?

Cooking dinner as witness statements were written at my kitchen table was kinda surreal. Once victim and perpetrator were carted off I chatted with the neighbours about a plan of action. Because we’ve had enough. And we’re reclaiming our street.

We are agreed that the volume of males hanging about, drinking alcohol, revving their cars, playing their truly awful music at an unbearable volume, the wads of cash changing hands, and the volume of bed linen being laundered are probably indicative of a brothel. I’m less convinced than others that drugs are also being dealt, but perhaps I’m just in denial.

Then I remembered I had some unresolved issues with my other son, which is how I now see my fave nephew. So we sat and had a quiet chat in the garden, to the accompaniment of another row amongst the tribe outside our wall.

Teengirl and I saw in the wee small hours with the first draft of her uni personal statement whilst I sewed up Teenboy’s school trousers. I don’t know what that boy gets up to at school but I spend more time than I like sewing his uniform back up. I managed one laundry load, just to bring me back from the brink of laundry backlog hell.

A bit more noise from the neighbours led me to bed resolving that someone, somewhere would be dealing with a woman with a mission in the morning.

And that was my manic Monday.

Today was a different saucepan of saucy stuff and was in actual fact a terrific Tuesday. I sent a three page email cataloguing recent events with the troublesome tribe and the ineffectiveness of our safer neighbourhood team. The subject was simply 'HELP'. I sent it to my local counsellor and the safer neighbourhood team which appear incapable of making the neighbourhood any safer. Most of their time seems to be spent convincing people that it's really not worth bothering complaining as they can't do anything anyway. And I'm not buying that.

‘In for a penny’ and all that and I copied the email to my MP and the local police Chief Super. If I could have wasted any more work time on tracking down email addresses for anyone with a job title in the borough I would have. But I actually had to do some work in the office. How inconvenient was that?

As we sat down to tea tonight I was happy with the rain as it keeps the troublesome tribe behind closed doors. Then, I received an email reply from my local counsellor. He’s definitely got my vote. As I read his email out the dustbin lids and I agreed we are all in love with Bambos Charalambos. Not only is he the only one who actually bothered replying to my ranting email today, he’s already got a five point action plan in place to ‘start’ dealing with the troublesome tribe.

The only low point to the day was hearing the littleun retell her show and tell monologue. She’d shared the fear and excitement of living in a crime scene, with all the gruesome details of last nights 999 event. I’m hoping she edited out the bad language (mine included), alongwith an explanation of what a brothel is. I’m a little bit heartbroken that not only did she experience it but she shared it with the other littleuns in her class. I don’t know how her teacher handled it, but I really would rather she didn’t have to. And I’m even more resolved that it’s the last time she will.

Tonight I started rallying the neighbours: hardly a difficult task as I discovered they have all contacted the safer neighbourhood teams: some have been taking photographs, some car registrations, and we’ve all got Bambos on our side.

My broken ceiling has been replaced and not that much more dust has settled in the kitchen. Ok so the laundry situation is still dire, but hey, you can't have everything.

And, tomorrow is going to be a Wow Wednesday as I’m on the road to Wembley to see Take That and Party!

It could be the greatest day!