The Flood

The sewage back surge from the flats where l live burst through my bath plug hole, filled my bath, flowed over the edges leaving the remains of someone’s dinner on the side of the bath, and flowed determinedly onwards into my hall, bedroom and kitchen.

The unwell monster that seems to live under my bathroom floorboards, was exploding. Her vomit filled my world. Several of my books, my slippers and the laminate flooring was ruined. No insurance.

Being a council tenant feels very like being a third class citizen. Council housing was a brilliant idea, affordable housing for the workers, those that keep the city running. Makes sense doesn’t it? But now the stocks of council houses have been hugely run down by selling them off to private owners, so you only get one if you are in a very bad situation ( I was in a squat, diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain disease and uncontrolled epilepsy, when a heroin addict smashed up the place). These days buildings like the current one I live in, a 1960’s tower block, are allowed to fall into disrepair and the councils aren’t given money for required maintenance of them. And these days the workers – the cleaners, nurses, teachers – can’t afford to buy housing and can’t get council housing. They either end up getting into huge amounts of debt they can never pay off, live in bad quality shared accommodation or move out of the city. This will of course mean a lack of cleaners, nurses and teachers in a city that desperately needs them. The government bring out various policies to try and attract more nurses or teachers and allow them to afford homes, but surely there was a policy already in practice, that worked, called COUNCIL HOUSING. It has an absurdity that sings like an intro track to The House of Cards.

But then I can’t make any sense of our current politics. A friend asks me why I don’t write about politics much in my blog. Because it makes me miserable. Life essentially is a beautiful thing, difficult and painful sometimes, but at other times just astoundingly beautiful and wondrous. Politics and the News seem to concentrate on the horrid stuff, which gets me down. I don’t know, perhaps I should have more political rants, but then it all seems so absurd and out of control at the moment that it seems more appropriate to draw silly cartoons instead (see below). So I’ll stop with politics there and talk about magic instead.

Magically this last climax of the sewage seems to, and here I cross my fingers, seems to have solved the problem.

No more can I hear groaning and gurgling, no longer does sewage spew into my bath. Hurrah!

And it seems to all be thanks to the hazel trees.

There is a couple of hazel trees in Newington Green. Small things, cropped into bushes underneath a London Plain. I go to talk to them sometimes, when I need someone to share problems with.They don’t respond, obviously, which is often a good thing. Anyway, on the morning in question I’d had enough of the sewage problem. Two months it had been. I was fed up of never being able to shower or bath in my own flat without wading in other people’s shit. I explained this to the hazel trees and asked if please, if possible, could something be done about it.

That evening came the flood. Horrible. But it has meant that Islington council repairs team actually got it together to sort out the problem and now I am sewage free.

Never underestimate a hazel tree.

I’m going to celebrate being sewage free at the Rude Mechanicals gig on the 23rd March.

Yes, I will give out free swamp monster original prints (worth thousands of pounds, obviously) to the first five people who can tell me the name of the monster that lives under my bathroom. Any guesses? Keep it secret and turn up to the gig early to tell me and collect your present.

Below is something like my understanding of current global politics

2 thoughts on “The Flood”

  1. …I have followed your ‘Gertrude’ ordeal and I’m sorry you h ad to go through all that and I’m in total sympathy with your feelings about the housing crisis and wish we had some intelligent politicians with a practical and social outlook. then they might introduce a ‘occupation obligation’ on ownership of houses and flats and a stringent rent and tenancy control on privately owned property and reinstate the social housing programmes of yesteryear, that combined with punitive taxation on real estate transactions might take some of the heat out of the ‘property market’ – there are currently thousands of empty houses in Chelsea alone, many more that there are of ‘Homeless’ and that is a social scandal that not one politician dare to touch!
    Anyway all the best and hopefully ‘Gertrude’ is now at rest for the eternity, if such a thing exist Xx Paul

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