I am leaving Dolphin Square and I am leaving London, both as places of habitation. An easier way to put the later: I will never live in London after March 9, 2017. I will visit but I will not live here. It is just too hard, even for tough me.
I find it difficult to grasp this fact but at the very beginning of January I was contemplating living at Dolphin Square for the rest of my unnatural days. London is an exciting place, Dolphin Square is wonderfully situated, its facilities are many and convenient, it is not terribly expensive and there are many wonderful people around and about. Dolphin Square is atrociously managed but everyone knows that and somehow lives with it. “If they can do it, I can do it.” I stalwartly said. But it was not to be, because on the morning of January 7, 2017 I opened my mail and found an eviction notice. No warning, no reason, no nothing, Just get out by March 9, 2017. On paper I look helpless, I am old, a woman, who lives on her own in a huge city. That did not appear to influence whoever sent that notice. Whoever that was did not seem to think of the effect it would have on a person whose whole life would be turned upside down. The letting office is twenty-eight giant steps away. One would think that a meeting might be scheduled, some warning might be given, some alternatives presented. But no.
The immediate question was how can this be? I had violated no lease provisions, I had paid my rent on time. What was the reason for this? I will never know. On the face of it it seemed retaliatory and there are laws governing this, even here. I had been vociferous in my complaints to management about the inefficiencies, the lack of procedures and the unsafe conditions that exist on this property. For reasons that are beyond my comprehension Brits don’t complain. Stiff upper lip and all of that. So I would complain for them. In retrospect, not such a good idea. But victimhood is not my thing and to endure sometimes appalling conditions is reprehensible in my eyes. It may be true that management does not listen, as indeed I did find, but that is because only one person is complaining. If everyone complained then something would be done. It seems simple to me, but not to this group of people. But let the record reflect, I do learn from my mistakes. There is an amusing card which reads. “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes…I’m thinking of making a few more.” This should, and I guess is, my motto. Yesterday someone asked me to write to upper management in order to get a machine that would get moisture out of bathing suits. I used to take up such causes. “No, I said, “I am leaving here. It is your problem.” The person fainted from shock.
But to get back to the morning of January 7, 2017. I did what any lawyer would do, I hired a lawyer. Between the two of us, we figured it out, sort of. There is an eight month break away clause hidden in the lease that is exercisable by the landlord. Logic, humanity and good business practices would dictate that the landlord would not exercise that clause particularly since there are multiple vacant apartments in this neighborhood. But apparently, yet again, such traits do not exist in the management of this complex. There could be a case for retaliatory eviction but the law is embryonic, only a year old. Can you believe that? The laws in this country are ridiculously primitive and do not ever serve the interests of the underclass, in theory or in practice. I am appalled, but more about the laws of this country in another post. Moreover, the courts are clogged and it would take forever. Need I remind any of you that I am 73 and where in the world would I live as the case ground through the court system? Someone foolishly suggested the Barbican – how barbaric, it would be the same scene. So despite an active and strong sense of justice and a motive of revenge I decided to leave Dolphin Square. Not entirely with a whimper. I tell many and all of the injustice of it all and people are on my side. Those who support me through email when I first got the notice got the following missile:
“I am attaching this pdf to all of you who have metaphorically held my hand during this last crisis. The last crisis being, and in fact still is, the EVICTION. I have seen the lawyer, she is absolutely wonderful, I am in good hands and not freaked. Well sort of not freaked. The thought of homelessness is not reassuring, particularly not in this weather. But even if worse comes to worse – it will not be until March. At which time the weather might improve. You cannot believe the incredible support I have received from residents here. Holy cow. Today someone helpfully said that I could pitch a tent on the lawn. And, as you have seen in pictures – it is a big lawn. And please remember it is March when the big event will occur. There is a grocery store in Dolphin Square manned by a wonderful man. He said I could just sleep in the grocery store, He would put a bed there and he was sure that it would increase business. I am truthful about all of this. Then today someone else said that they were going to organize a parade with signs that said: LET ALEXIS STAY!! A stranger at the Car Boot Sale across the street said: “We will march to the f***ing Parliament Buildings” For those not in the know, it is not that far. Others at the car boot sale suggested that those in control in this country are all pedophiles and referred me to a YouTube that had proof. For those of you not in the know Dolphin Square was known for scandalous activities involving pedophilia and other such delights. (that was extreme sarcasm). I tried to perform some sort of scandalous behavior but have not been successful up to now. And my days are numbered. Sodden thought: Perhaps I am being evicted because I did not perform a scandalous activity.
So it is not the people, it is the management. My message of the day to all: Concentration camps show more humanity than the management of Dolphin Square shows towards its residents (and parenthetically its staff). I can do and say what I please because..hey, they have evicted me already. I am like teflon. I called the manner in which I was given notice as cold blooded, cretinous and cruel. It is a lethal combination – being a lawyer and an author. Although this place is habited by many who are wonderful there are a lot of creeps, People who did not make it in the world. From somewhere I found this.The smaller the cheese the more savage the mice.” Such is the fate of the losers who live here, never quite rising above their humble station in life.
But here are more funnies. Across the hallway live two handsome young men. When they heard of my eviction they laughed and said: OMG management got it wrong. It was us they were trying to evict for our wild drunken parties and our drug dealing. (They were joking of course, Anyway I was never invited or dealt) They invited me in, fed me tea. I had not met one of the lads before, he offered me his Dad, saying he might be just the thing for me (Immigration issues). He did not, as yet, offer to introduce us. But, as I said, I have until March. But others are so kind. The Lord’s cousin said: “It is unforgivable what they have done to you.” Unfortunately though the Lord and the cousin are not speaking and I cannot find him. Although Lord knows I am looking (I sort of had my eye on the Lord, but being a Lady is probably out of the question).
The responses I got to that email were wondrous. Jennifer W. suggested: “I really enjoyed reading this. I think the bed in the store in the best bet! You’re close to food and drink and other essentials you may need. I have a friend who sleeps in a hammock instead of a bed and swears by it — and it’s portable! You could sleep in different places in London every night! Between telephone poles or parked cars–just string it up and rock yourself to sleep! I wonder if there are places in the underground to put it! Oh, the possibilities are endless!
My wondrous cousin Carol-Ann said in a reassuring way: “Alexis, you will be OK. You are like a cat, you always land on your feet.” I remember showing Funny Man a photo taken from my window when I first leased the flat in Dolphin Square. He opined: “It looks like an institution.” I immediately quipped: “I need one.” How prophetic that proved to be. But I do not need one now.
Yesterday a sweet young man asked me where I might be moving, intimating that it would be around the block, where there are many apartments that are cheaper, bigger, better furnished etc. etc. He was a little shocked when I said: “Canada”. “Canada?” “Well, yes. It is a big country and actually sparsely populated.” More about my plans in a later blog. I know that you are sitting at the edge of your seats and it will keep you reading and praying it will not be in an area near you.
By the way, I talked to my lawyer yesterday. He told me not to name people in the rants on my blog but generally refer to “practices” or the “management,” or in the case of my dreadful school, “the school”. He said if I was cautious I would not get in trouble with slander or defamation. I said: “But truth is an absolute defense.” But probably not in this country. Please note the restraint I did use. Thanks lawyer (note I did not name him either).
You’re shockingly good!
Sorry to hear you leaving but keep writing! I’ve read it all tonight and I’m a new fan of your blog.