P.I. Inkbiotic Investigates

 

IMG_20190517_111652

‘Inch by inch, the world fell apart.’ Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

Today me and Mike were loading up the van with a few shrubs we’d cut down, when a man came rushing over all excited.

‘I don’t mean to be rude, but can I have them? I’m getting married on Saturday and they’d look great in the hall, they’re so beautiful!’

We tried to explain about greenfly and viburnum beetle, but he was too happy to listen and we were only going to throw them away, so of course we said yes. Mike tried to charge the guy a fiver, but I gave him a stern look. The groom-to-be kept thanking us, and we congratulated him (actually I said ‘Have a good wedding’ because I have no idea what the etiquette for weddings is).

Five minutes later he returned saying,

‘I’m so sorry, I have to give them back, my van is full of flies now!’

So our kind deed failed, and Mike didn’t even get his fiver.

This afternoon I went to check out the accident down my street, as promised. I had to walk up and down the road looking casual until everyone had gone, and then got a few photos.

IMG_20190517_111711

 

Inspecting closer, I noticed there’s slight skid marks leading towards the smashed up fence. It looks as if someone skidded off the road and drove through the fence, then drove across the garden and out the wall a bit further on. Pausing only to smash out the back windows of two cars. But surely it would take a truck to drive through a wall? Was it a truck? The cars now have bin liners over the window.

Any ideas? I asked what people thought at work and got the following suggestions:

  • A hate crime.
  • A revenge attack.
  • A police raid, where some kind of evidence/ drugs were thought to be in one of the cars.
  • Somebody really drunk got confused where the road was, drove into the garden. They felt very guilty and wanted to write a note to say sorry, but they didn’t have a a pen, so they smashed the rear window of one car, looking for one, but no pen.  Then they smashed the back window of the other car, but no pen. They were then so frustrated by the uselessness of the garden owner, that they drove out in a rage, not noticing that they had made a new path through the wall.

 

Something odd has happened in my street

crash

‘We broke open the grime and found the shiny. The coin, the chrome, the glint of the sun.’

Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

 

Word of the day: smegmatic – like soap; cleansing (if, like me, you love Red Dwarf, this is an unexpected meaning of smegma)

So today Mike visited our messroom-to-be. He said it is too clean and the toilets are small and flimsy. Our boss is excited about it, buying new cutlery and crockery (what we use at the moment is whatever we’ve found in the gardens and cleaned up) and raving about the lack of spiders.

Then when I got home, I went up the road to buy milk, and noticed some POLICE DO NOT CROSS tape fluttering in the wind, attached to a fence. As I got closer, I realised that a large, two-panel section of the fence had been smashed through and the tape had covered this. Further along there was another gap, filled with rubble, and further still, two cars sitting in the drive way with both their back windows smashed out. Anyone have any ideas what could have happened? I assume a car smashed through the fence, but could a car drive through a wall too? And what happened to the two cars? Was it a robbery?

I’ll try to get a photo and a better look tomorrow. Today there were too many people hanging about and I didn’t want to seem nosy.

Have mystical forces kept me away?

peering in 3 - bigless border

‘Oooh eerie mystical doom.’ Kurt Cobain

Word of the day: odology  –  science of the hypothetical mystical force of od (not heard of this before and there doesn’t seem to be much information online. Anybody know about it?)

I haven’t written for a really long time now (it may only be weeks) and I’ve not been sure why. Every time I’ve picked up my still-broken laptop, held together with tape and a rubber band, my mind has been a void. Until now, I put this down to general apathy. Stuff has happened, my life has been fine, but I couldn’t think of a single reason why anyone else would want to read about it.

Then today it came to me, someone must be out to stop me and has put a block on me communicating with you, a spell. There have been clues: odd looks in the street, strange dreams, and I shut my finger in the gate which made the nail turn purple. I’ve seen people in my town (by which I mean the bit of London I live in) handing out cards offering to put spells on people for a reasonable fee, so the means are there.

Not sure about motive though. Was I in danger of stumbling on a truth? Did my seemingly innocuous posts about mowing troubles and landlady drama leave clues to a deeper conspiracy? I agree it’s unlikely, but so many things that happen are unlikely, so let’s not dismiss anything yet.

Anyway, for now the spell appears to have lifted and I’m back.

Other events: Mike has been making demands that we find money for the drinks fund (we use it when we go out drinking together). Since we work around rich people, they often drop tenners in the shrubs without noticing. Until today all I’d found was an out of date fiver, but this morning I was able to present Mike with a crisp twenty rupee note. He didn’t seem pleased.

And management have proudly told us that in a few weeks we will be saying goodbye to the rats and grime and moving into a new messroom [Hooray!] with them in the same building [Shit]. I don’t dislike our management as individuals, but as a group they like to sit around in silence being clean, speaking only when they need to bitch at each other. Gardeners aren’t really like that and I can see there being a clash. Still, we’ll see.

Anyway, sorry for neglecting you all, I’m looking forward to catching up on your blogs…

The dream man gets out

identikit

Word of the day: Bodach – churl; goblin or spectre

Weather: yuk

Mood: well…

 

Got home from work, muddy and soaked. The lounge door was open and I could see Jinjing and Hamoudi hunched over their laptops. Being nosy, I went to try and see what they were doing and they both turned to look at me with haunted eyes.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked, I could see composite faces on each of the screens, like something off Crime Watch.

‘Working with an online identikit program,’ said Hamoudi.

‘My dream,’ said Jinjing darkly, ‘the face in my dream, we’re trying to create it.’

‘The man who stands and stares through your window?’ I asked. With all the trouble with the landlady, I’d forgotten about that.

‘I think he was sitting opposite me on the tube this morning,’ said Hamoudi. I tried not to look too confused, but I must have, because he went on. ‘I knew what he looked like from Jinjing. And there he was, the dark haunting eyes, the grey hood, the pointy nose.’

‘And he was going to work?’ I asked.

‘He wasn’t going anywhere, nobody else could see him,’ said Hamoudi. He paused dramatically, then said, ‘He was dead.’

‘Ah,’ I said, I’d forgotten about Hamoudi’s dead people also. I look at the faces they’ve created, Hamoudi’s has a scar, Jinjing’s has a brooding brow and pouty lips.

‘See? They look the same! That proves it!’ says Hamoudi. ‘I saw the man from Jinjing’s dream.’

I don’t point out that they’re sitting right next to each other, looking at what the other one is doing, so it’s not surprising they’re a little bit similar. I also don’t point out that Jinjing’s has no scar and Hamoudi’s doesn’t have a brooding brow or pouty lips. I don’t want to spoil the drama. I creep out the room and make the most of the empty kitchen to cook some pasta.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

IMG_20190222_080333.jpg

Word of the day: Kapooey – Badly wrong

Weather: soggy

Mood: also soggy

When I arrived this morning I gave the usual cheery good morning to Mike, he growled, which is not like him at all.

‘S’up?’ I asked.

‘What’s up? What’s up? They’ve ruined my fucking lawn, haven’t they? Ruined it!’

It’s seven thirty in the morning, I’m not ready for this yet.

‘Hmm? Who have?’ I say, keeping it vague.

‘Those fucking guys who laid the path! Look!’ he pointed out the window. ‘Looks like they were doing wheelies last night!’

I couldn’t see much out of the window, so with Mateo I went and had a look. Using our cunning detective skills we worked out that, whatever vehicle it was, the driver had tried to turn around on the gravel, somehow missed and landed on the grass. Then panicked and spun round backwards in a large circle, sunk into the soft muddy grass, revved the engine to get out, churning big holes as they went, before finally driving off leaving gullies. It was pretty spectacular really, and I had to feel sorry for the poor bugger. Especially when my manager started ranting that he’d get the driver fired. And this was after not finishing the path yesterday. Luckily managers at my place go more for bark than bite, so I expect the trouble will fizz out before anyone gets in real trouble.

You had one job!

one job

Word of the day: Bodewash – cow dung, bodge, piece of poor or clumsy workmanship

Weather: yep, there was some

Mood: yep, I had some

My title is kind of unfair, since it’s about the contractors my managers got in to lay a path, and it actually looked pretty complicated, but if the meme fits…

Over the last two weeks the builders brought about ten vehicles in, from diggers to tractors to trailers to some kind of Transformer-in-disguise. Today they arrived with a huge truck filled with grit that couldn’t fit through our gates (fascinating to watch them try for twenty minutes though) and a huge bucket on wheels that carried the grit from the huge truck to the path, and a machine that spread it, then one that flattened and rolled it. And there were ten guys who spread it out and tamped it down. The operation took all day, and was hugely impressive. We got to watch an hour of it over lunch, always enjoyable to watch other people working while you eat your sandwiches. Especially if they keep stopping to argue like these guys did. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but there was pointing and one guy threw his rake down.

On a couple occasions Mateo wandered over to tell them they were doing it all wrong, but he chickened out at the last minute. It was a shame to go back to work, to our more familiar machines.

When we returned to base at the end of the day, we saw the path, beautifully laid, flat, sparkly black. Stretching all the way from the managers’ office through the trees to the other managers’ office. Except for the two-foot-wide gap where there wasn’t enough grit to reach the gate, apparently the huge grit truck wasn’t huge enough.

They were all booked up with other work after today, so we’re not sure if they’re coming back.  We’re told they left in quite a hurry, taking their many vehicles with them.

How to be happy?

IMG_20190330_131656

Nothing’s happened for me to write about today, things are calm and quiet, but I have had one thought on what it takes to be happy:

I don’t believe there’s a universal secret to happiness, we’re too varied, one person’s blissful life is another’s miserable cage. So there is no rule book or map to follow, you just have to use trial and error to work out what’s right for you. Experiment, explore, ask questions. And then, when you’ve found the life that gives you peace and meaning, you have to develop the strength of mind to ignore all the people telling you you’re wrong about it.

Hopefully tomorrow there’ll be the usual ridiculousness to write about, I’m not much of a philosopher.

The image is a face sculpted in sand taken next to the Thames.

Turns out Judge Judy hasn’t taught us the law at all

warning

The landlady, Julie, turned up this morning, she brought her dog and a box of Cherry Bakewells and wore shoes she couldn’t properly walk in. We thought we were ready, we were not.

Weather: I’ve not been paying attention

Mood: ditto

Word of the day: Grimgribber – learned gibberish; legal jargon

After dispensing tea, some awkward politeness and staring, Jinjing launched in with our complaint, after all this has been building up for weeks.

‘We rent this flat, it’s ours, you can’t just come round when you feel like it,’ she said.

‘Have you looked at the contract?’ said Julie, and took a good long slurp from her cup. I wasn’t sure about that slurp, it seemed awfully confident for someone who’s been breaking the law.

‘Legally, you can’t come in without twenty four hours’ notice,’ said Jinjing, who’s been watching a lot of Judge Judy recently.

Julie pulled out a copy of the contract, licked her finger, turned the pages, then laid it on the coffee table, smoothing it out as she did so. She pointed at one paragraph with a red nail, and I wonder if she painted her nails for just that purpose.

We crowded around and read, we looked at each other, we looked at her, we looked at each other again, and then I said,

‘What does that mean?’ Really there is no need for contracts to be written in such weird language.

‘You don’t rent the flat,’ she said, ‘you each rent a room. You may use the facilities, but they aren’t in your rented space.’ She tried to stop herself from smiling and failed. ‘The flat is mine. I can visit it whenever I want,’ she finished with a small chuckle.

‘Oh bugger,’ I said. I was deflated. Jinjing wasn’t going down without a scrap.

‘But you still can’t come in our rooms, we do rent them. You need to give us notice, you can’t just come in.’

The landlady’s mouth snapped so tight shut that her painted red lips disappeared.

‘Fine,’ she says, ‘if that’s the way you want it. I was hoping we could be friends, but if you don’t want that…’

‘And you broke my laptop!’ I suddenly blurted out.

‘Oh I don’t think so!’ exclaimed Julie.

I go get the laptop, bring it out and show her. She could just have denied it, but weirdly, she said.

‘That’s just a cheap one though, you’d be getting a new one soon anyway.’

‘No, I wouldn’t!’ To be fair, it is a cheap one, because that’s what I can afford. ‘And you aren’t allowed to just break my stuff!’ She sighed, puffing out her cheeks, then waved her hand at me like I was an annoying fly.

‘Ok, how about I take £200 off this month’s rent?’

So, that is more than the laptop was worth, so suddenly I was happy and said ok! Jinjing gave me a look, but I didn’t care. Two hundred quid!

The rest of the conversation was boring and awkward. She’s promised to give us warning before she visits, but is under no obligation to do so and if she needs to turn up in an emergency, she will. I suspect this means nothing will change. She has promised not to go in our rooms, and we’ll have to see what happens with that.

It’s kind of a resolution. Two hundred quid!

 

For a day, let’s just be happy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weather: pale blue skies filled with sun, alternating dark blue skies filled with rain

Mood: many piles of silly

Word of the day: mabsoot  (Arabic) happy

Things have been hectic and ridiculous recently, but today was proper lovely.  Everyone at work was in a good mood: smiley and chatting about any old bollocks. At one point, me and Jessica were laughing so much by the main gates that a policeman hurried in the garden saying,

‘Now what’s going on? Is that laughter or is somebody crying?’

‘That’s us laughing,’ I explained.

‘That’s alright then, nothing wrong with laughing! Carry on!’ and he left again.

Problems just shrivel up and fall off after a day like that.

Grrrr

grr

Word of the day: hackle – pluck or spirit; to show hackle – to be willing to fight (originates circa 1860)

I used to be quite confrontational, you know? People were scared of me. Sometimes it would be useful to have that power back. I spent a good ten minutes just staring at my phone. Then half an hour straightening out my cupboard. Then ten minutes growling at myself. Then I realised I’d lost the landlady’s number and had to get it off Neville. Then, fuck it, I called her.

For anyone reading who has no clue what I’m on about, I drew the short straw [breadstick] to call the landlady and ask her why she thinks it’s ok to go into our rooms when we aren’t here.

She’s very nice, but she’s one of those people who seems able to use niceness as a tactic of war. Along with guilt. I’ll try to represent this as well as I remember…

Landlady [launching into unstoppable niceness]: Oh hello, how are you doing in your lovely new home? I got it painted freshly for you all, you know? I didn’t want you living in a hovel, and the last tenants left it in such a mess. It nearly broke me when I saw what they’d done.

Me [trying to interrupt]: Yes…well…we won’t do that…

LL: But it’s a lovely flat, isn’t it? I don’t think you could find cheaper in London.

Me: Yes, but we’re a bit concerned…somebody has been coming in our rooms, moving things around, we’re a bit worried.

LL [suddenly quite sharp and shrewd]: Well, did you leave the door unlocked? That’s very dangerous, I don’t want someone breaking in and causing damage. That makes my insurance invalid, you know?

Me [a bit sick of the softly softly]: And Neville said that you’ve been coming round while we’re at work.

LL: Hmm? I need to go in a minute, I have a hospital appointment, I’m a slave to my knees, they say I have to have an operation.

Me [sod the softly softly]: Have you been coming into our rooms?

LL: Only if I need to.

Me: Like when you moved my ketchup?

LL: Well, it should be in the fridge, I’m not sure why you put it your room. You’ll bring in ants!

Me: You shouldn’t have been in my room to know that I had ketchup in there.

LL: Oh you don’t mind me visiting my own flat, do you? The previous tenants didn’t mind.

Me: But-

LL: Well, I’ll come round at the weekend, and we can all discuss it then.

Me: Discuss what?

LL: See you then! Bye!

I was still trying to argue into my phone, but she was gone.

I have no idea how to discuss with someone so blatant about lying and manipulation.