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20 Oct 2005: Maelstrom



I give in, I admit defeat, go on, I don't care. It has become clear, despite my best intentions, that the year of 2005 was not meant to go down in history as one of my best years. This was brought home to me, in the most vivid colour, by the events of the last month.

It all started when Aki abandoned me once again, choosing a business trip in Japan over the love and warmth of her husband. While she was in Japan, my friend and confidant David Crouch became a father, but I have been reassured that these two events were not connected in any way. It simply goes to show that good things happen in Japan, the land of daifuku mochi, natto and service, while in the UK the greatest thing you can look forward is receiving a letter warning of your impending eviction.

Oh yes, my sweet dear audience, your hero received a worrying letter three days after his lady left for Japan. It warned that, as part of a legal action by a bank against the landlord, a date of eviction was being sought. All must leave. Make immediate preparations to move out. Seek immediate advice. Death cometh for you sir, maladies and plagues without mercy.

I did what any red-blooded young male would do - simply take it up with the landlord. "Pray tell me the truth," I implored.

The reply was, "'Tis nothing in this, 'tis lies I say, 'twill be dealt with."

I waited approximately, ooh, one day and then decided to phone up the solicitors responsible for the eviction proceedings. They told me, "Eviction, yea, so as it was, so it will be. It doth continue, progress unarrested."

I asked the landlord what was going on, and he was much vexed. "Why such bold moves, pray tell? 'Tis a private matter, I told thee. Let thine own affairs concern thee, I shall tell thee when all is well."

One week later, I received communication from the county court. It bore the frightening legend, "Notice of Eviction." Holy. Cow. Instead of asking the landlord for advice, I turned to a solicitor. The landlord was obviously not the most unbiased source of information in this little drama unfolding around me, I needed someone to tell me what I was supposed to do. The date for eviction was two weeks away - set for 20 October.

The heart of my conundrum was whether to move out or not. Should we wait until 20 October and see what happens? Wait for the bailiffs to come knocking on the door and impound all of our possessions? Or just leave, and then have the landlord demand the rent for the rest of the tenancy agreement? This was a fight between the landlord and his financial counterparties and we were stuck in No Tenants' Land. The first shred of advice from the solicitor was straightforward, unambiguous and to the point. "Make thy preparations to leave thy dwelling."

I never told Aki about all this until she got back home. "My sweet, 'tis been an age since I last gazed upon thy beauty! Oh and before I forget, we're being evicted and have to leave in a week and a half. Did you get me any presents?

Not a single day has gone by in the last few weeks without some surprise happening. Here is a selection of my favourites:

After having only spent around 4 months in the flat, we moved out yesterday. Aki and I are just happy that we still have a roof over our heads.

Last warning for you all, though, and listen good, yeah. We will both lose internet access at home and thus lose access to our personal e-mail accounts for a few weeks, because the internet empire in this country just doesn't work according to human timescales. Any broadband request is measured in ages. "How long did it take you to get broadband?" "Oh, about Jurassic."

Pah. Can anyone in this country even spell the word service? I thought not.