Boris Said We Could. 12th 13th May

Lockdown Pickup mooring

On Tuesday we moved Oleanna to the Lockdown Pickup mooring, well almost, we stopped a few boat lengths away from the busy road to moor for the night. Then mid afternoon Mick cycled into Crewe where he picked up a hire car. Enterprise did a socially distanced hand over and they have cleaning regulations that they follow. So on Wednesday morning the alarm went off and we were setting off in the car at 9am for a day out.

Oleanna left in good paws

Back on the 16th of April I wrote about what a crap day we’d had, but not mentioned why. Well a few days before hand we’d heard from our lovely next door neighbour in Scarborough that our tenant looked like she was subletting as there were new faces around the house. Another neighbour from across the road thought she’d seen lights on in the rooms at the top of the house, this is where we store our possessions and it is kept locked up. She’d also been making note of a car driving up the road several times a day and transactions taking place. This was all hearsay, but if Andy thought it was worth calling us then he believed it, we suggested that the lady across the way should call the police if she suspected drugs were involved.

Satnav set for Scarborough

Then we heard more over the Easter weekend. Three people had been sat on the roof of our bay window drinking from the early morning. Someone on the street called the police who arrived mob handed. Then a few hours later the police returned even more mob handed I believe with sirens etc. They were at the house for quite a while.

Messages were left for the agents who look after the house. They tried calling our tenant, but got no response.

Then on the 16th we heard more. I could say ‘the shit hit the fan’ but a more accurate description would be ‘the TV hit the bench and then the bay window’. Although we have conflicting reports as to whether it was a TV, Computer Monitor or a Hifi. But what we do know is that an item had been thrown out from a window, bouncing off our garden bench and smashing into the bay window. this is why the police were called out the second time.

We tried calling the police but due to data protection they couldn’t give us any information, we would have to ask our tenants! As if they’d tell us anything.

Instantly we were both of the same opinion, we’d heard enough. Our hand had been forced, we instructed the agents to give our tenant notice as soon as possible. Who knew what was happening in our house. Who knew what was happening to our possessions, mostly things of great sentimental value.

Easy going on the M62 today

Our agents advised us that normally we would have to give two months notice, but due to the pandemic this would be three months. Then they doubted that they would leave. We’d have to get a court order which post pandemic would take sometime and then it would likely take until bailiffs arrived on the doorstep to actually get rid of them. We felt sick.

Over the last few weeks our agents in Scarborough have done their best to contact our tenant and somehow she decided to make a move before her next months rent was due. Last Thursday we heard that there was a van and cars clearing things from the house. Then there was peace and quiet and four wide open windows.

Barbie left behind

The following day, VE day, the street had a party to celebrate. We suspect our end of the road were celebrating more than the 75th anniversary. Andy managed to push closed the windows for us, but we still had to wait to hear that the house was empty. This came through on Saturday, a big relief. We set about arranging an essential visit to the house.

The agents took photos on Monday. The tenant had said she’d not had time to finish clearing the house and would pay for it’s clearance when she could afford to. The window had been mended and she signed the bond over to us straight away as she was already in arrears.

Life left behind

With the announcement from Mr Johnson on Sunday, which by Monday had more clarity, we knew we could go on a day trip to somewhere, the seaside even, just so long as we didn’t stay overnight. I have to say we would not have been doing this trip if the circumstances had been different, but for our own mental health we had to go.

The M62 was the quietest it’s ever been, mostly lorries and we didn’t get held up going past Leeds, a straight 70 mph apart from through road works. Just under three hours later we called in at the agents to pick up keys and for a chat. Scarborough was busy, just like normal.

Pink cupboard

Everyone stood at a distance. Their impression of our tenant had been good when she first moved in, smartly presented, five kids. But lockdown has affected people in different ways. Yes we’ve all found it hard, but some more than others. She’d also got a new fella in her life, which we suspect was the main catalyst.

The house looked like they had been given half an hour to leave. Things left where they’d been dropped. A guitar, half an eaten pot of chocolate ice cream, the residue from a hamster or rabbits cage. Coats, shoes, pants, socks, food, a freezer full. Bikes, barbecues. Toys, cupboards full of the kids possessions. A mattress on the floor that had been slept in and just left. I’m so glad we’d seen the photos before hand so that we could detach ourselves.

ooo, tasty
Shoes galore

Mick headed straight up the stairs to the attic door which showed no forced entry, but cracks in the paintwork suggested the lock had been removed. We already knew from one of the photographs that someone had been upstairs upstairs, I would never have left my gramophone open and certainly wouldn’t have had a go at playing a 45 on it!

Give away sign

We checked round the piles of our possessions. Things had certainly been looked through. As far as we could tell everything was still there, we’ll know more when we come to empty the attic. What a huge relief!

Stuff stuff and more stuff

Our furniture needed sorting from everything else, which we did leaving labels on ordered piles. All food items that could go off were bagged and added to the already filled wheelie bins. The rest will be cleared by someone else.

Rabbits or guinea pigs

We’d taken with us a picnic, under Mr Johnson’s guidance and sat out on the front garden wall to eat it in the sunshine, the blue bells that border our lawn still evident just not in quite the number we used to have. The house was starting to feel like ours again.

The local boss eyes cat

Time to acquaint and reacquaint ourselves with the neighbours. First up was Shoes, an ever so friendly cat who seems to like ham. He wouldn’t tell us if his brother Yoda (or Shithead) was still around, we kind of hope not.

Give me some!!!

Andy was out in his garden with the kids so we got to have a good chin wag with him. Then we went and knocked on the other neighbours door to introduce ourselves. Damian guessed who we were and came for a chat too. He was the one who’d called the police the second time, a lovely chap who knows old work colleagues of mine.

Who is this on our table?

Another new neighbour had to be shooed out the front door, a ginger white pawed cat. Nobody knows it’s name. Then I disturbed Alan lazing in the sun on a table in our back yard. He apologised for having a Patsy look as I’d just woken him up.

Just Alan, one of next doors cats

Most of the locks are now changed and that will be finished tomorrow. We arrived feeling detached from the house but left feeling like it was still ours.

Scarbados in the sunshine

A drive up onto Southcliff to see the sea, castle and lighthouse was needed, otherwise we couldn’t say we’d been to the seaside for the day. I miss that view. Then we called in at Frank’s house to wish him a distanced Happy Birthday, he was out, but we had a chat on the phone instead. It took him quite a while before he asked how come we were in Scarborough. Word passed on quickly as we got a message from Duncan (see you get another mention!) asking about our visit.

Open for take aways

The trip back was just as easy and we decided to head into Nantwich to get a takeaway curry before heading back to Tilly and the boat. All was in order, she’d looked after Oleanna very well for the day. It was nice to be back home.

0 locks, 4 locks changed, 0 miles, 322.8 miles by road, 1 day trip, 1 hire car, 1 bottle of disinfectant, 1 bag of keys, 1 serious mess of a house, 1 family evaporated, 1 chip pan of oil spread across the kitchen, 1 broken wardrobe, 2 boaters possessions still there (we think), 1 new window, 2 much stuff, 2 lovely neighbours, 1 calm quiet street again, 1 house to be cleared, 1 house to be cleaned, 1 house to ? 2 many decisions, 2 poppadoms, 2 currys, 1 side dish, 4 glasses of well earned wine, 2 relieved boaters.

16 thoughts on “Boris Said We Could. 12th 13th May

  1. Mike Todd

    Oh dear, how awful. Not had to deal with anything like that with a property we own (so not felt the emotional ties) but have had do be involved in houses rented by another organisation. Amazing what some people will do to a property and impressions made when the tenants are first encountered is no guide to what may happen layer. I trust that you will be able to re-build confidence and be in a position to resume cruising in confidence very soon.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thank you Mike. We will start moving when we have to, but we may not go too far as yet. We’ve sorted our new normal here and would rather stay put until the number of cases drops considerably. Hope Alchemy is being looked after at Droitwich.

  2. joamungoanddog

    Well, I can’t imagine the emotion you felt as you walked into your home .. I had enough of my own just reading about it. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you have your house back without the fight you had expected. My thoughts are also with the mum of 5 children though who has perhaps made some questionable choices and is now paying the price for it (along with her children). Such a shame all round, but so happy to read that you think everything is still in the loft. Must have been a very emotional journey, but deep breathe now and onwards.
    Take care!
    Joa and the fur mafia

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Joa. Apparently the kids were picked up last week by each of their dads. I so hope that life improves for them all. Pip

  3. happystitches

    Glad that you were able to visit your house and that you will be able to move on. There are so many sad and difficult situations amplified by the current situation.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thank you Lucy. Glad to see you are keeping busy as usual. I’ve been wondering where abouts the boat you were going to take out is moored, somewhere near Nantwich? Take care and stay bright. Pip

  4. adrian2013

    Hi both Ive been wondering what was going on ever since you made that post. Trying to see if there was a hint of anything in your following posts. But here we are D day! So glad it worked out ok for you and your belongings. Tough trip but thank goodness you have good neighbours there.
    At least the journey to and from was easy.
    Take care both.

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Ade. We are relived that our tenant decided and could move so quickly. The thought of not knowing for another two months or even longer was really depressing.
      We are lucky to have good neighbours who have had to put up with alsorts from our tenants.

  5. Anonymous

    Our sympathy
    We have also experienced the perils of renting. Two tenants who did nothing but complain and cost us so much in “maintenance”. One who never complained and skipped leaving the house in an expensive mess. Our current tenants seem OK (we hope!). It’s a minefield which I wish we didn’t have.

    Tom & Jan

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Tom and Jan.
      Over the last six years we’ve had a mixed bag of tenants. We are taking a break from being landlords.
      A year ago today you came to meet us on the T&M. Sadly the sun isn’t out today like it was then.

  6. Ali Fowler

    Oh Pip, Mick…..what a nightmare for you both. I, too, had a similar experience – although not as bad – but it’s the emotional impact that is enormous. The mess and grime can be put right. I now really try and treat the property as just a house and not ‘my home’. I’m glad you got things sorted and are now back ‘home’. Take care. Love Ali F x

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Thanks Ali.
      Sorry to hear you had problems with tenants too. Hope life in Malvern is okay at the moment and that you are all keeping well. X

  7. Dimitrios Theologitis

    What a story! Must have been quite a scare. Thankfully it seems that you were not robbed. But what a mess… And now you also have to search for a new tenant. Ouf, don’t you sometimes feel like wanting to shut out the world outside the boat…
    Keep well!

  8. jennie230

    Only just seen this Pip – what a terrible situation for you both, but I am glad to hear that you have your house back and that your own belongings appear to be intact. I am sure it is a relief to know the house is yours once again. Take care and stay safe. Jennie

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