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.

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!

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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.

 

 

D’oh!

ride on

Weather: pretty good

Mood: not bad

Word of the day: Bufflehead – a duck, an idiot (I feel this is rude to ducks)

I was out on the ride-on mowing the lawn again. I think I said before how much I love that, whizzing about making lovely straight lines (straightish, anyway). When I’d finished I had to clean out the mower, that means getting a blower out to clean off the grass, putting the huge bucket at the back up into the air to clean inside it. So I blew away all the grass and left it all sparkly and new in its cheery green and drove it into the shed.

The shed is only just larger than the mower, so you have to edge in around shelves full of junk and step ladders. But once I’d got the front end in, it stalled. I’ve not known it stall before. I started the engine again, there was a grinding noise, and I stalled again. I started to panic, tried one more time, it felt like I was stuck. Something beneath the wheels maybe? So I got out, walked out of the shed and realised the huge bucket was still up and had been in the process of ripping the roof off the shed. It hadn’t succeeded though, and no one had seen. So I put the bucket down and drove in, then crept away. All fine. There will be a point I get caught fucking up.

I also chickened out of calling the landlady today, and then hid and ate popcorn in my room, so I didn’t have to face the others. Still not sure how to play this.

Time to draw straws/breadsticks

breadstick

Day of reckoning: Who is going to speak to the landlady? We agreed to each pick a breadstick, whoever got the short breadstick (we didn’t have straws) contacts the landlady to ask why she’s visiting while we’re out.

Weather: bit nippy

Mood: foul

Word of the day: Jigamaree – a thingamajig; a cunning manoeuvre

Yep. I fucking lost. I thought I had method – I thought the wobbly breadstick was the short one, so I avoided that one. But now I’m thinking Jinjing also had method, and she made the long breadsticks wobble to catch out smart arses like me.

In other news: At work the shorts competition (who can wear shorts from now until winter) is getting tense between Dan and Mike. I was going to work with Dan out in a garden and Mike pulled me aside before I left.

‘It’s cold this morning, make sure that Dan doesn’t change into trousers while he’s out, won’t you?’

‘How would he even do that?’

‘Just make sure, I’m trusting you,’ said Mike.

‘But I don’t care,’ I tried to explain.

Half an hour later I was digging up some ground elder, when Mike called my phone, ‘Is Dan still wearing shorts?’

‘I don’t know, he’s on the other side of the garden,’ I said.

‘Go and check! Go and check! He might have changed!’

‘But I still don’t care,’ I said. Mike wasn’t listening. He wouldn’t get off the phone until I’d made sure Dan was still wearing shorts.

Someone has been in my room (again?)

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Trouble is following me around, it’s keeping to the shadows, but it’s there, its long fingernails tapping against the walls.

Weather: sunny sunny sunny

Mood: wary

Word of the day: philodox – one who loves his own opinions; a dogmatic person

We were all out today. Jinjing and Hamoudi were out being sociable with friends, and I was wandering about enjoying my own company. When I got back to my room I found the shiny pink foil of a Quality Street chocolate sitting on the floor. I don’t have any Quality Street. It was over by my desk, a good ten feet from the door. Someone has been in my room, and eaten chocolate, and not left me any. I don’t know which of these events I’m more angry about.

When Jinjing and Hamoudi got home, I told them about the sweetie wrapper I found. Jinjing claimed to have found dog hairs on her duvet.

‘This is proof! Neville has been coming into our rooms.’

‘But Neville doesn’t have a dog,’ I said.

‘I’ll bet he does! Maybe that’s why he’s cooking up all that meat. For a dog. A secret dog.’

‘Not in the flat though.’

‘It doesn’t have to be in the flat. Maybe he keeps the dog in the shed. Or at a friend’s house. He has a dog.’

‘But that doesn’t explain why he’s coming into our rooms.’

‘Because he’s evil!’ said Jinjing. And I think she might be losing all reason in the search for a villain. Neville is annoying, but he isn’t evil, and I’m not convinced he’s coming into our rooms, what would be the point? Although I don’t understand about the missing ketchup and the quality street. Or how my laptop got broken. This is all getting very odd.

And the competition has begun!

 “Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing.”

―Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

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Weather: apparently it’s summer now

Mood: everything is great

Word of the day: Cuniculous – full of holes and tunnels; full of rabbits (not a relevant word, this one. Just great.)

Me and Dan were both wearing shorts today, so Mike declared we had now joined the competition.

‘And I’ve got a day on you, so whenever I stop wearing shorts, you have to wear them the next day too,’ he said.

‘Ok,’ said Dan, ‘it’s on!’

‘What? No it’s not,’ said I. ‘I’m just going to wear shorts until it’s cold again.’

‘No, you’ve got to be in the competition,’ said Mike.

‘I really haven’t,’ I explained. Mike looked at me sad and bewildered so I felt guilty. But not so guilty I’m going to freeze my knees for weeks on end.

When I got home Neville was in the kitchen, I wondered if I should mention the plate full of bacon STILL sitting on the counter, but he was being so cheery and nice, I didn’t want to hassle him. And I was sort of wary it would turn into a monologue about food storage, so I grabbed a bag of Doritos and hid in my room.

Annoyingly the tomato ketchup I keep in my room seems to have vanished, so I couldn’t have sauce on my crisps. Which is odd, isn’t it? How could I have lost a bottle of ketchup?

(Update on the star tomorrow!)

It seems we are competing.

sun

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  ― George Orwell, 1984

Weather: beautiful day to be a gardener

Mood: sitting pretty singing a ditty

Word of the day: Eutropic – turning to face the sun

The sun was bursting out today. Mike was worried and squirted some sun cream onto a tissue (it’s attached to the wall) and brought it round to all of us so we wouldn’t burn. That’s why I love this place.

Mike was in shorts, and at break Dan mentioned he might do the same tomorrow.

‘Ok, but once you’ve put shorts on you’ve got to wear them until December!’ said Mike.

‘Why’s that then?’ I asked, confused.

‘That’s the way it is. You put shorts on, you’ve got to keep them on until winter. It’s a competition, see who can wear them longest.’

‘Alright,’ said Dan, and I boggled a bit, what if it gets cold? That’s just making life unpleasant. If they want competition, can’t they play poker or something?

Another update: For those concerned, I’ve posted a question on a forum about the black star on the tube. Maybe someone knows what I’m talking about. I also travelled on the Jubilee line today, no star. And no star at the other end of the Bakerloo train. So it may just be the last carriage of the Bakerloo trains.

More trouble?

So just how did my laptop get broken then?

confused
Image from here

Weather: little fluffy clouds

Mood: little fluffy brain

Word of the day: mizmaze – labyrinth; bewilderment

Jinjing and Hamoudi were in the kitchen this morning and I needed to wash up the collection of crockery that’s been building up in my room, it’s beginning to totter. Jinjing looked slightly disapprovingly as I walked in with my pile of bowls and glasses, carefully balanced in a tower, but she was half-way through telling Hamoudi about a dream she had, so I got away with it. Our kitchen is small, and we had to do some shifting around so I could get to the sink.

Jinjing’s dream sounded disturbing, she dreamt someone was staring in the window at her. Just standing outside looking in, which is bad because we’re on the first floor. I suggested the BFG, and Hamoudi got excited about this.

‘He’s great! He can tell us stories!’ Then Hamoudi asked me how I was doing and I mentioned about my laptop being broken and how I wasn’t sure how that happened. Then Jinjing said, ‘I knew it! Didn’t I say I knew it?’ Hamoudi nodded, she had said that.

‘Knew what?’ I asked, feeling out of the loop.

‘Somebody’s been in my room, and now it sounds like someone’s been in yours,’ said Jinjing. ‘I’ll bet that’s why I had that dream, it’s a warning!’

‘Why do you think someone was in your room? Was something missing?’ I asked.

‘No, but I know. I’m very sensitive to these things. I know when someone’s been in my room.’

‘Ah,’ I said.

‘I bet it’s him,’ said Jinjing in a whisper, pointing her chin towards Neville’s room. ‘He’s a creep. I mean who cooks that much meat?’ I didn’t feel this was damning evidence, so I remained vague.

What is going on in this flat though?