Friday, 2 March 2012

Eye of the storm

Well it's been a funny old week this one has.

Even before a tenant has moved in to one of the flats they threatened legal action and demanded a 50% cut in the rent until a kitchen cabinet was replaced ( the old one is fine, but is being replaced by a new one for  aesthetic reasons, a new one is on order and will be fitted within a week)

The previous tenant has accused me of ripping them off and is also threatening legal action because I want to make deductions from their deposit.  Of course I regard them as legitimate, and the whole rental market is so highly regulated that there is no way I can rip her off.  There's an established dispute procedure through the tenancy deposit scheme, so that is where it will go.  I'm completely relaxed about fact I welcome it as it makes it all proper and above board.

It's interesting that in both cases the people involved are well-educated professionals yet their response to the situation has been aggressive, emotional and uncontrolled. I wonder if successive Government's attempts to de-humanise every aspect of our lives is creating a more basic response to modern living.

Tuesday I was out at a seminar on The BRIC countries and doing business there (sorry, I find these things fascinating even if I don't plan on venturing east of Tilbury or west of Slough).  All I will say is that China did itself justice, India did itself justice whilst Brazil exemplified every possible stereotype you can imagine.  The most oft heard thing at the drinks afterwards was 'Were they still at the Carnival?'  Russia wasn't on the agenda, but then they have an election coming up and I am sneakily pleased that my look-alike will be swept back to least you know where you stand with a former KGB officer.

On Wednesday we were due to have an old boys reunion drink...this had been postponed several times as the whole concept of making a commitment and putting a date in a diary seems to be a challenge for a bunch of middle-aged men.  The date had been in the diary for a couple of months and had been chosen to avoid family commitments, etc, etc.  Yet come the day one by one people dropped out 'Got to see my children', 'Wednesdays are always difficult for me' 'My seventeen year old has a cold and I need to look after him', 'My car had to go into the garage for repair'.  In the end four of us materialised  and had a jolly good time, helped along by a goodly portion of red wine and no food.  But it does make me wonder about the reason the others didn't make it.  Did they not want to come in the first place, but are unable just to say, 'No' all felt like the old 'The dog's eaten my homework excuse'  Sad really.

I was really sad about the death of Davy Jones.  Any death is sad.  In this case, I remember watching The Monkees as a child and always enjoyed the TV show.  They were the epitome of young and fun, and the music was brilliant too.  So it felt like a part of my childhood died with him.  The Cat's Mother was lucky enough to have seen them perform live last year.

Another truly sad death was that of PC David Rathband.  Although he killed himself, ultimately he was effectively murdered by Raoul Moat.  Since he was blinded he has gone through unimaginable emotional and physical trauma.  He had set up the charity The Blue Lamp Foundation, and I'd encourage everyone to make a donation.

Last night we went off to The Royal Opera House.  When I say we went to the RoH, what I actually mean is that we went to Grays, near Thurrock, a rather desolate town on the Thames Estuary which saw better days when the Thames was the thriving gateway for ship-borne cargo some fifty years ago.  I'm guessing that as part of the deal which secures them public funding there is an outreach programme to bring culture to the masses.  So there we were to watch an 'Insight' session about the current production of Alice In Wonderland...we got to hear the director and choreographer, the costume maker and watch the rehearsal of a couple of scenes.  The audience, which was certainly made up of people that would never go to the RoH itself and included many children who were transfixed.  As were The Cat's Mother and I.  It was truly fascinating and it has whet our appetite - we haven't been able to get tickets for this year, but it will be back next year, and will be shown live in the cinema as well...can't wait.

Glad the weekend is beckoning.....