Friday, 16 November 2018

The end of an era

Sometimes it’s wise not to let your guard down too much. I have had a really wonderful time of late. I’ve had great reviews. Great successes. Good health.

On Monday afternoon, I went to Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street to toast the success of 100 Faces with a pain au chocolat and a cup of tea. I actually wanted a cream tea, but they’d run out of scones and the pastry they gave me instead was miserably stale. Nevertheless, I was very much looking forward to having a relaxed natter, knowing the pressure was finally off.

Nathan called from America in a complete tizzy, “we’ve been evicted!” That’s about all I could hear. My mobile phone (like my computer) is broken, so I can’t hear what anyone is saying unless I put the call on loud speaker, press the phone right to my ear and find an entirely quiet corner.

After a while I ascertained that we were losing our flat. We’ve been given two months to get out. After everything the landlord has put us through whilst simultaneously promising that our long-term tenancy was assured, we are out on our ear. We’ve endured floods. Rats. Broken windows. Black mould all over the ceiling. Promises to fix kitchen cabinets which turned into someone tying all of our draws together with bits of string. We’ve put up with all of that because we knew our rent was low, and we wanted to be no-fuss tenants. And just as we finally find ourselves living in a dry house with a proper roof, we’ve been evicted.

To make matters worse, we have to live out our tenancy in a house covered in dust, with filthy carpets, a wrecked loo and no paint on the walls.

The greatest sadness to me is that our leaving Highgate signifies our being forced to leave London. There’s no way on earth we can afford to stay. Obviously there’s lots to think about. We have discussed the possible idea of going to Hove which feels like the lesser of all evils. It’s horrifying, really, because I feel like a Londoner, and can’t imagine living anywhere else, but this country is going to hell in a hand basket at the moment. We cannot rely on a steady income, and have nothing spare right now to spend on rent. Nathan’s burgeoning career as a knitting guru is hugely dependent on his being able to teach in European countries, and I know we won’t be able to rely on that income stream post-Brexit, particularly after yesterday’s news.

So the situation is bleak, and I am terribly depressed. I feel an emptiness creeping into my body.

As a result of all of this, I won’t be writing this blog for a while. I need to feel upbeat to write, and I don’t much want to be one of those people who does nothing but whinge about the world. We’re all suffering enough at the moment.

Stay safe everyone. We’re in for a rocky ride. Those who voted Brexit now have a particular responsibility to look after people in trouble, so keep your eyes peeled and get those food parcels ready.

Lots of love, and many thanks for reading. It’s been quite the ride, hasn’t it?

Love Benjamin

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