10th August 2015
8 Waldegrave Road
Dear Jay Mistry
The Citizens Advisor said I’d been before if not where they were now. “I can’t remember!” It must’ve been when the leaseholder and Mrs Cole were intimidating me on the stairs. “He stopped when I was behind him and left no room to pass in order to have me submit. She pushed in front to go slowly upstairs, taking up all the room, to hold me up.” The advisor suggested you must have a way to resolve differences between tenants. “That must be why Olivia wanted us to sit down in the same room but I wasn’t going to do that, condoning what they’d done, nor have Olivia as arbiter after she’d colluded with them to give him what he wanted for railings and stairs, though I didn’t say that! – They send a letter out at the last minute about what they’re going to do. I always answer it. They depend on inertia and indifference and can say three were for, only one person was against. The council do that too – She’d’ve exonerated them and I’d have had to accept it. I wasn’t having that. She stopped it.” “How many are in the block?” “Nine.” Ten, if you include Sally, Mr Patterson’s live-in friend.
The advisor thought your letter tactful and that I should have answered it unemotionally, spelling out that your letter was part of the pattern of his pinprick harassment. I had decided not to.
“I could deny it if I wanted.” I hadn’t put pieces of chicken in a communal area. I called the cat and threw down skin from the chicken I’d roasted for meat-eaters on my birthday. There was too much for the cat to eat in one go so, when I went out, I kicked what was left into touch under plants for the cat to come back to later, or the fox. “I peeled off the skin of a trout fillet and threw it down. It was hot. The cat waited till it cooled and scarpered off with it, never to be seen again. I timed It. It took eight minutes and there was no sign the skin had ever been there, no mess.” Less than a minute if cold.
I’d brought all the correspondence since February. She wanted to know what the tenancy agreement said with respect to animals and cleanliness of communal areas. “I hadn’t thought to bring it!” It’s not my cat. It says nothing about not making a mess in a communal area. It says nothing about my not having balcony boxes either.
She was incredulous I’d been there thirty-three years. “I’m the longest-standing tenant.” She was also puzzled why after so long you should want my balcony boxes removed, one of which I’d inherited. “They expropriated them! I thought of going to the police.” “What were their grounds for removal?” “The grounds shifted as they tried justifying what they wanted. The last on the stickers before their removal was that the boxes were a fire hazard, a cause of tripping and of fuming plants, patently ridiculous, especially since they were on the other side of the balcony ledge. Before that it was that they had been left on their property, also absurd, since a tenant is entitled to use the landlord’s property – to get out and in, if nothing else! Six years ago they were cleared of being a fire hazard.” “What’s changed?” “They’re frightened of the cost of defending themselves against litigation in the infinitesimal likelihood of a box falling on somebody standing in a gravel garden when there’s a path under the balcony.” The boxes haven’t impaired the structure one iota either. “They’re a little bit insane.”
By the expropriation of my balcony boxes, you have degraded my environment and confined me to my hutch without reason but in irrational fear, taking illusion of danger for reality. Give me them back.