RHP, 8 Waldegrave Road
I haven’t smelt cat shit from your gravel garden and I live here. That, however, is nothing to do with me. It’s between you and the owner, though, if you make a vast litter tray of a garden, you must expect it to be used as such by an animal (you did know was being kept by a tenant here) since gravel’s easier to scrape than grass. Shouldn’t you have kept the grass to preclude the problem you yourself have created?
You’ve visited? You didn’t introduce yourself to me and I am the longest standing tenant. If not to me, you wouldn’t have talked to any of the other tenants – Have you? – apart from the two with the leaseholder at the outside door, if that was you I saw with them. Of the nine here, these three are the only ones you, collectively, confer with. I have never seen any of you talk to anybody else.
The works to the garden weren’t carried out to make it more pleasant for all since you consulted no one outside the three about what might please, if indeed making the garden pleasant was your primary consideration. If it was, you failed. It isn’t pleasant. It’s gravel with pots on the gravel. It isn’t green and soothing. It’s brown. It’s ugly and when visitors see it they laugh because it’s ridiculous. A majority of the residents wouldn’t have favoured removing the grass. No resident outwith the three you do confer with would have been in a position to agree to maintain the upkeep of the gravel since your talk was exclusively with them, as is shown by the fact only two residents potter about the garden, two from the three you confer with, the leaseholder and his sidekick from upstairs. Don’t you in any case employ gardeners? How untidy can gravel be? Let’s not make a fetish of tidiness for a garden, especially that garden!
How can food I throw to the cat which comes when I call and eats it be a mess to a path and attract vermin? Because of the cat, and cats, and I was housed here with one in 1982, there hasn’t been so much as a mouse. Do you mean the fox as vermin? Your agreement was I throw to the cat when it’s there. I didn’t when your gardener, the leaseholder, was in the garden because as I told him, and you in my preceding letter, the cat won’t come if he’s there. I kept to our agreement. So should you. I do put it in the cat’s bowl if it doesn’t come. When I was feeding the cat when its mistress wasn’t here, of course I put the food out in bowl and plates. Didn’t your gardener say? Your objection is specious since demonstrably there’s no mess on the path attracting vermin. Who put that idea in your mind?
You don’t need to ask me to remove the plants outside my home since your feeling there’s a health and safety issue – always your fall-back excuse! – is false since there’s no health and safety issue. Who is going to walk on gravel, which gives underfoot, under balcony boxes when there’s a path under the protection of the balcony? The only danger for the past thirty-two years was when a pot fell from Mr Patterson’s onto a path beneath. He’s a member of your claque here. If it were a health and safety issue, wouldn’t you be requiring the people you confer with to remove theirs? That substantiates my contention in the preceding letter you are lending yourself as a cat’s-paw to the clique here in acting against me as I anticipated you would be from the evidence I’ve cited in the preceding letter about your collusion with the leaseholder and his cabal you conferred exclusively with to change the paint on the stair railings to suit him exactly, down to the colour of the vinyl covering for the stairs, and as he had told me he wanted after the railings were first painted in a colour he didn’t like. Then there’s the garden you consulted nobody else about and have an exclusive agreement with him about. And now there’s this personal attack on me through my plants on the pretext my boxes are a health and safety issue but theirs not and that my one plant makes for cleaning difficulty but their several don’t. The caretaker hasn’t complained to me about the difficulty the plant on the sill in the stairwell makes for his cleaning and he would. Did you make that one up or did somebody else you conferred with make it up for you?
You haven’t referred to his and Mrs Cole’s concerted attempt to intimidate me on the stairs. Didn’t Olivia record my complaint? I want it on record anyway and can give details from my diary. Since you can’t be trusted to protect me from bullying since you are bullying yourself and are protective of the bullies, I won’t come to you if there’s a repeat of the intimidation on your encouragement of them by removing my plants.
Your excuses for removing the plants I’ve proven to be specious. What your letter in the completest bad faith shows is that you’re not just a cat’s-paw for the leaseholder and his sidekicks but a willing one because of some covert, exclusive agreement with them over the garden. Since I’ve done nothing against you or him, I don’t understand why you’re unleashing this personal attack on me on his behalf unless it is because he hates the cat in his garden and hates me for feeding it.
Your regards for me are not kindly.
Your photos, taken without the courtesy of talking to me, show a trough secured by being put on its side, the operative word being ‘secured’, a small pot of cacti to be given away and one of the magnificent spider plant that graces the stairwell. None substantiates your pretexts as true and they may be too implausible for even an ombudsman to accept as valid. Consider this my initial appeal against your decision, however futile that system has proved itself to be from the tenant’s perspective.
When you take the plants, I don’t want them returned except for the rosemary where I hide my duplicate keys.