Operation Moneypit: Status Report.
Time: Zero plus thirty hours
Location: : Eyrie One
Mission Status : Yellow/incomplete
I'm pretending to suddenly remember something, so I stop in my tracks and make a great show of consulting a piece of paper. The skein in question is actually a badly photocopied plan of a bathroom design that the Red Haired Boffin is keen to install in the smaller bathroom of the still-occupied derelict that is 90 degrees from me across the street, lights blazing from every bedroom. Canadians might label the relation between my current position and the future site of Large Villas as 'kitty corner', but I prefer to say 'opposite'. Risking further eyestrain, I pretend to check items from this mythical shopping list while actually staring sideways at pile, reading aloud from the fantasy list, tapping the paper impatiently as if I've forgotten to include an item and am trying to remember it.
My plan is that if I'm casually observed by a recalcitrant tenant (who will doubtless be on full alert now that they've blatantly ignored the repossession order and are, de facto, squatting in said property and are thus expectant of a visit from Bailiffs accompanied by a crew of Hull's finest), the aforementioned tenant, if they notice me at all, will simply think to themselves "Oh, there's that chap who happens to forget something/tie his shoelace/be interested in our neighbours roof molding every evening at approximately the same time every evening walking down the street again. Still, no bailiffs, so I'll carry on cutting pornography out of this magazine and wallpapering with it."
Events, however, dictate that I may have to amend my Mission Parameters, assuming, that is, that I want to maintain the Mission as a Black OP.
"Still aint moved out have they?"
I'm startled "I'm sorry?"
The addresser is an elderly gentleman wearing very thick spectacles. He emerges from the house immediately adjacent to Eyrie One.
"You buying it then? I do'nt expect they've looked after it much." He nods in the direction of Target Alpha, future site of Large Villas.
"...erm, no, well we were looking at , erm, erm, next door..."
This is my cover story as the house next-door-but-one has been up for sale.
"I just thought you might be from the landlords, they've been trying to get them out for months and you were here last night were'nt thee? They've been using next door's skip."
I'm stunned. Eyrie One, my forward observation post has been compromised.
"Oh, no, just going the shops." I offer weakly, "I must be going. See you."
I proceed to the end of the street, 25 yards, check the pensioner has finished putting out his garbage, then re-trace my steps. Obviously, I'll have to relocate Eyrie One, because I do'nt want an encounter with the residents. Since last weekend, a wiry looking man has arrived on the scene. His face is severely pockmarked, and he dresses in combat fatigues, and is always accompanied by the two chest-beating, teenage youths of the house, lads who obviously go the gym a lot and focus entirely on their biceps during workout. There's lots of testosterone when they're all out on the street together, and loud, harsh shouting.
The mystery is why these people have not just vacated the premises. When I first looked at the house, six months ago, the tenants were 3 months in arrears in rent, and were very unpopular with the landlords and the neighbours. Six months on, they are now nine months in arrears, have ignored, in order, their legal notice to quit form their landlords, a court order to quit, a visit from Large/Nickson, another court order, and are £3000 in debt because of court costs. They appear to have removed all their valuables from the property (thus last weekend optimistci post), but now appear to have barricaded themselves in, possibly (and this is my febrile imagination only) in expectation of a Wacko style confrontation with Bailiffs.
An e-mail. received today, confirms that the landlords have now applied for a Bailiff's notice. In the UK, this means that within days Bailiffs will appear, gain entry to the property, throw any remaining possessions into the street and change the locks. If the tenants are at home at this time, and resist this action, the police will be called and arrests could follow.
Why anyone living in the UK would choose to embark on this course of action (if 'not moving out' can be called action) is a mystery. If, and it is a big if, these people have no income at all, there is in Hull, a supply of public housing, which, while by no means luxury accomodation, is much better than the derelict of Ella Street. The Honda people carrier, the televisions, the fashionable clothes of the teenagers all point to an income, as do the British army fatigues of the wiry man who is a recent addition to the scene. Speculation runs rife in Nickson Towers in respect of the motivation of these guys. We ourselves have been required, when living in Leicester, to move due to a transfer of ownership, and the process was relatively painless. These guys seem to be building up for 'one last stand', perhaps a Custer moment. While modern day England is no workers paradise, there is still a safety net if these guys are in serious need.My own 'read' on the situation (given the overly macho beahiour of the male residents that I have observed) is that they are, for some reason, digging their heels in,and have moved the 'men' of the house in, and have removed the young children. I'm glad that the five and six year olds we met when viewing the place will not be subjected to any unpleasantness, if it comes to that. Daily viewing of their older brother's porn has probably had an effect already.
While all this has been happening, our court case in Canada has been resolved. For me this represents victory , where victory means getting paid a substantial proportion of the amount we were owed. The Red Haired Boffin, I suspect, views things slightly differntly. I suspect that Nel would view victory as the complete annihilation of our adversaries, with their bones ground into powder and salt sewn into the earth beneath them. I hope I never have to evict her.