This was the word that was glaring out over a noticeboard in the Citizen’s Advice bureau. The thing that was most peculiar about it was that it took me at least thirty seconds to realise that there was actually only wrong letter. It had obviously been there for a while but it just added an extra edge of surrealism to the morning. At the least, today was the day when I took on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Turnpike Lane, and won!
Determined to get in, I got out of bed at 6am, set off at just past 6.50, and arrived at the Bureau at 7.10. Even then, I was number 8 on the list, and after just under three hours of waiting, it turned into a bit of a scramble, with people taking the “why queue, when you can argue?” strategy, but I quietly worked my way inside, and waited. And waited. And waited. And then I waited some more. All I could think of, while I was in there waiting for my number to be called, was the waiting room in BEETLEJUICE, and I really hope the afterlife isn’t like that. I’ve done enough sitting around as it is. Anyhow, after over two hours, I was called in for the assessment interview and- shock of shocks- got an appointment this afternoon, which meant a bleary trip back home for urgently required food, and then– more waiting. This time, it was only forty five minutes, and then I got seen by a very nice black guy called Thomas.
(I couldn’t help noticing- Black men really do have the right bone structure to be able to get away with shaving their head, or being bald. No matter what, they have a rightness about them- whereas white guys tend to look either ridiculous, camp, or like a neo-nazi. Just one of the thoughts rushing through my beleagured consciousness this afternoon…)
The news about the flat situation was an interesting mix of positive, interesting, and stuff that we’d kinda suspected. Basically- legally speaking, we are bound by the tenancy agreement, and we would be liable for the rent and the bills if we just suddenly moved out, or if replacements hadn’t been found by the time we did. However, I did also find out that the landlord wouldn’t be able to just let it stand empty for ages and not bother about getting people in- if he wanted to actually take legal action to get the money we owe him, he’d need to prove that he’d tried to mitigate his losses. Also, I was told that whatever the refurbishment situation is, it’s nothing to do with us- there’s no mention of it on the tenancy agreement, and he can’t use it as a way of making getting replacements more difficult. Basically, whatever happens there will be risks involved. What we’re going to try and do is arrange to actually set up a meeting with him, rather than the usual ‘let’s nip downstairs to the stationers and see if he’s free’ strategy which tends to be the only way of getting things to happen at the moment. We are going to attempt to negotiate, and see if we can work out some form of a compromise. It might not be possible, but it’s worth a try.