Almost a year ago now, I moved into my dream house. It had a through floor lift, widened doors for my wheelchair, level access bathroom and shower, a garden with pathway so I could spend the evenings in the summer sun. The council had also kindly installed a driveway so I could park safely and close to the door.
I have Multiple Sclerosis https://www.google.co.uk/url?s, diabetes and one or two other quirks for good measure.
The property is semi-detached and on the kind of street that looks every bit the English country idyll; gardens neatly trimmed, cars regularly washed, smiles suitably smeared on and language, viciously bland. Alas, it also harboured festering animosities that all good suburban horror stories exploit.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) does not respond well to stress. The usual relapse rate for a person with MS is two or three a year. Since last August, I’ve had ten visits to the hospital. My crime? Moving into the house.
The property is semi-detached and immediately the neighbours took umbrage to the noise of furniture being moved and nails knocked in to hang paintings. It didn’t occur to me that this would be an issue and I was oblivious for the first few days. Finally, as I was attaching the back of a bookcase with nail tacks, and the exact number of strikes was answered by the reciprocal number in bangs on the wall from next door, I realised there was a problem.
MS being what it is, the initial shock of this sent my body reeling. It sounds peculiar and is hard to explain because, intellectually you can be reasonable, but the bodies autonomic system gets out of whack and you end up in pieces. So, I was subdued; walking with crutch, wheeling, crawling but always on eggshells (whichever mode of transport I could utilise but always the eggshells, damn those eggshells.)
Rather than being too disheartened I thought to make some enquiries as, for all I knew, the neighbour might have had health issues of their own and be strung out by the slightest provocation. Medications can elicit this kind of response.
Now, I’m going to cut nearly a years worth of story short, to save you from having to make a hot drink to get to the end of the thing.
Suffice to say, the neighbours didn’t quit with the banging, and once they found it got to me, did it even more. The elderly couple I thought were friendly, who lived opposite turned out to be cold religious extremists who delighted in furnishing me with tons of “end times” literature. The neighbours on the other side turned out to be locals with kids who decided it was ok to spit gum on my driveway, make lots of alpha male posturing to reinforce the stake claim to being king of the castle… I noticed that no one else on the street seemed to have anything to do with this Bermuda Triangle of Dickensian doom.
The council failed miserably in offering the support they should have provided. I requested recording equipment, which was promised since last October but did not materialise. My Neurologist, GP, Social Worker, Neuro-Social Worker all wrote in support of finding a new home as the stress was killing me. Finally, the council agreed to allow me to start bidding again on properties… that’s the method by which all who apply for social housing in the UK have to proceed.
The final straw was, I came home late from another few days in hospital, was in the house for the typically peaceful first ten minutes and the banging recommenced. I sighed, thought, I’ll either to crazy, commit a vile act, or die. So, I packed a bag of clothes and washing accoutrements, lobbed in a few books, carted out the sleeping bag and drove away.
The adventure began.
This blog is and will be an update platform, room to share my ideas, hopefully a place to connect with human beings and have a bit of fun too. Peace!
It wasn’t as bad as anticipated and the next morning…