When you Find a Hole – Keep Digging…

Well my dear, you’d have thought that, by now, I’d know to keep my thoughts to myself!  Oh no, I share them with you, and you seem to agree that it’s a good idea.  So knowing that, do I leave the idea to meander along slowly?  Well… come on now, you certainly know me better than that!!

So then what on earth to do?  Perhaps a combination of students and retired folk living in close proximity to each other isn’t such a mad idea.  However I don’t like the idea of everyone being under a shared roof as many folk seem to want/need their own space, particularly the older generation.  I think the suggestion of a few separate buildings and shared leisure facilities may be the way ahead.  I also think that it may be advantageous to have a small café/coffee shop etc on site. 

I have had a conversation with Alex who thinks that it’s a good idea in principle; however it’s the small print which may prove more complicated.  Isn’t it always the case!!  Anyway, I’ll leave it to the experts at the moment – Alex has asked some questions and no doubt, we’ll have the answers in due course.  Whether the results are what we need is anybody’s guess.

In the meantime both of the knitting groups at the library are still proving very popular.  I still don’t seem to have found anyone to take over the running of them – everyone is more than happy to attend, as long as they don’t need to be responsible for anything! 

Mrs. M and I went to the Roasted Bean for what is becoming our habitual Monday lunch.  We only have a snack but after being out all morning with all the noise of twelve or so women talking over each other, it’s nice to sit down quietly and just have a little chat whilst enjoying a poached egg or cheese on toast.

I think that we now have everything sorted for the wedding.  Georgie and I have had a conversation about the couple of items I had overlooked – hair and make-up and we’ve decided we’re quite happy to do our own.  I don’t wear make-up and Georgie just wears a little lippy and a pale eye shadow, when she remembers, so there’s no point in spending money on things which we don’t normally concern ourselves.

Oh yes, developments here at Lavinia Court – yes, you may well laugh – there hasn’t been any progress at all.  It’s hardly a revelation as there aren’t any workmen in evidence.  The only workmen to be heard are those completing the building work at the site around the corner.  I understand that most of the activity there is now on the inside of the buildings, so from our point of view that’s a bonus, as it’s much quieter for the majority of each day.

I’ve seen both Teddy and Giselle in the past couple of days which has been lovely.  Teddy is absolutely swamped with work – she always is.  She brought Harry with her – he’s a delight and I always love seeing him.  Teddy had to rush away to an incident not far away so she left Harry with me for a couple of hours.  He is such a good boy and no trouble at all.

Giselle came yesterday for a cup of tea.  I always enjoy seeing her as she invariably makes me laugh at one thing or another.  She tells the most outrageous stories sometimes – but it’s always in good humour.  She never bad-mouths anyone, and I’m sure she keeps some of her tales for specific people who she knows won’t pass them on – what – no, I’m not going to tell you!!

So my dear, that’s the current situation.  There’s not really very much to report, but little snippets of news which may be of interest to you.  I’ll obviously update you once I have more information.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx 

Should I Leave Well Alone…..

Good afternoon my dear – I have a little thought that I want to chat with you about immediately, before it goes out of my mind and I completely forget it.  Please bear with me.  This isn’t one of the usual conversations I have with you.  It’s been bubbling around in my head for some time, but I’m now ready to voice it, so need to garner an opinion from you.

I know that sounds a rather silly thing to say – that I could have some news, or an idea, and then forget it.   The problem is that once I think I’ve mentioned it to you then I just let go of it – and it’s gone – possibly for a few days, but on other occasions it could be for a month or even longer.

However, I really must tell you about this now.  I’m sure you remember that there is a university not too far from here and they – as many universities do, have halls of residence on campus, where first year students can choose to stay.  Some universities have accommodation blocks where students can live through most of their course – possibly three years or more.  Having said that, most folk like to move out after their first year and find somewhere local to rent, together with a group of their friends.  I’m aware that residential student accommodation is hard to come by and quite expensive.

Now I know you’re thinking, “what the heck is she rambling on about today” which is a really valid question.  Yes, I do have a possible answer, but it isn’t straightforward so you’re going to have to bear with me.

The first point is that our local university has been looking for extra accommodation which isn’t within the “halls” system, but where they know that students will be in a safe and secure environment.

The second part of this is that having students who rent large houses and live together, doesn’t necessarily give the best outcome.  There really needs to be a blend of age groups in order for students to integrate themselves in any community.

I’ve been aware that the university has been looking for a solution to their growing accommodation problems, and have been listening to their ideas with some considerable interest.  My understanding is that they would like students to live in a community situation with other folk close by, and want them to get involved with people in all age groups.  This is where it becomes very complicated.  How do you mix the various ages so that everyone benefits?  Is it something that would be acceptable and practical, or would there be resistance from various factions?

 

I’ve been giving it some thought, and there may be an answer – however, it will be expensive.  I’ll come back to cost implications at another time, but for now I’m wondering whether something could be achieved so that young and old could live under one roof?  Alternatively could they live together in reasonable harmony, albeit it not within one building but in close proximity?

What do you think?  Is this a silly idea of mine – something completely off the wall, which shouldn’t even be considered?  I really would appreciate your comments on this rather thorny dilemma.  Perhaps it’s none of my business and I should leave it to others who are much better qualified than me. 

So my dear – should I leave well alone, or do you think my idea has “legs” and worth taking to the next level?    So back to the title – Should I leave well alone?…   Nah, that’s not me!!   As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

There’s a Lot Going on Over Here…

Good morning my dear and how are you today?  I know it isn’t long since we last spoke but I appear to be having a busy week and if I don’t keep you up to date with what is going on, then you’ll grumble if I forget to tell you something.  Yes, you do moan at me!   I’ve known you long enough to understand the way your mind works, and you’ll think that I’ve deliberately kept something a secret from you if I don’t go into enough detail.

However, there isn’t anything to be concerned about – it’s just that my time appears to be rather limited at the moment.  Right let’s start off by telling you that we had a lovely Knit and Natter morning at the library on Monday.  We had a full house of attendees and a couple of people even managed to do a bit of knitting! 

Giselle came and had a cup of tea with me the other afternoon – I forget which day it was, as they all tend to run into each other and it doesn’t really matter anyway.  She brought some scones and a few macarons with her.  They were, as usual, absolutely gorgeous.  She told me that Jane has had several conversations with her and they have now decided how they are going to organise themselves before the wedding.  As far as I understand it – although G was a little giddy and very enthusiastic about everything – Jane will be arriving on the Thursday before the wedding.  I’ve booked her into the hotel/motel near to the new village hall where we are holding the reception so that they will have a couple of days to prepare everything before the event.

I thought you may be interested to know that Alex has been to see our solicitor this week, but apart from a very quick call from him, I don’t have any details as yet.  I think it may be the weekend before I find out what was said.  I’m happier now that I know we’ve taken legal advice, regardless of the result.  I’m sure that nothing will be straightforward, but very few things are!

Oh yes, I’ve also had lunch with Mrs. M this week.  We both went to Knit and Natter and then afterwards we went to the Roasted Bean for a snack.  It’s becoming something of a habit now, but it is convenient after spending the morning at the library.  It gives us a bit of a chance to have a little natter on our own, as when you’re together as part of the whole group it’s impossible to have a proper conversation with one person.  We both had poached eggs on toast, which is something that we enjoy and then Mrs. M had a scone and I had a piece of chocolate brownie.

It was about 2pm when we arrived back, so Mrs. M went directly back to her apartment and left me here.  By the time I had a little read and did a spot more knitting it was time for me to make my tea.  The day had simply disappeared, as do all my days just at the moment.

Hold on for just a minute!  I knew that I had something else to tell you.  It seems that both Georgie and I now have a second outfit – the one for the reception.  I found something very smart for Georgie and a rather comfortable long skirt and top for me.  If the weather is very cold I will be able to wear a pair of leggings under the skirt.  I like to be prepared for all eventualities!

Well, I’m sorry – this was only going to be a quick update – it’s a little shorter than my usual posts, but not quite as brief as I anticipated.  Mind you, I ramble on all the time – you know that, so you shouldn’t be surprised.

Right then, I better get on with today before it goes the way of all the others this week.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

How Many Days Left!…

Good Evening, my dear, and I’m really pleased to have your company again.  I’ve just been tying myself up in knots when I realised how few days are left before the Wedding of the Year.  Yes, less than thirty days and all of a sudden I feel completely unprepared.

I know I’m being really silly and in fact, have managed to organise practically everything – but now, of course, I’m at the point of wondering whether I’ve completely forgotten about an item, which hasn’t even made it as far as the “to-do” list.  That sounds very convoluted, but I’m sure you understand me.  If you don’t by now, you really don’t have any business to be getting involved!

However, be that as it may, I thought I probably should let you know the current situation.  The first and major thing is that by Georgie and I have – by pure luck – managed to find an outfit that we are happy with – and even more pertinent, fits us and we are comfortable wearing.  That’s the good news – the not quite so ideal point is that we both need a second outfit to wear for the reception.  I had planned on wearing the same as for the wedding, but Georgie has persuaded me that it wouldn’t look right as they are being held on different days.

I’m still not sure why it matters – but apparently it does, and as we have managed to travel this far along the way without either of us raising our voices at all, it seems to be a tad churlish on my part to create a problem which isn’t necessary.

The other thing is that I can purchase something slightly more casual and comfortable to wear for the reception – which seems as if it will continue for hours.  I really don’t like the idea of spending cash when it isn’t needed, but on this occasion I feel inclined to bite my tongue.

So, we both have an outfit for the actual wedding and Georgie will wear it for the remainder of that day, whereas I will be travelling back here on the Friday afternoon and will have reverted to leggings and a jumper for sitting in the car.  I’m probably going to a couple of reunions later in the year, so will be able to wear my “posh” outfit to one of them.

Mrs. M asked me to look for suit or dress and jacket for her.  I’ve shown her details of a couple that I think are suitable but I don’t think she was convinced by either of them.  I didn’t want to get annoyed with her, so I suggested she had a look online and let me know if she wanted my opinion.

I’ve been quite busy over the past couple of days and have had a steady stream of visitors which has been lovely.  Alex came to see me yesterday afternoon – he came alone as we had several matters to discuss, and I’m sure you will understand when I say that trying to talk about anything when you have a small child and a toddler running around, is completely impossible.  Even with Chrissie trying to keep their attention anything approaching a sensible conversation is quite difficult.  So, on this occasion we decided that it would be easier for Alex to come alone.

It was lovely to see him again and we did manage to make some progress.  – Alex will be speaking to his solicitor this week – we both use the same firm, which is convenient – with a view to establishing what is legal regarding the situation at Lavinia Court, and what we need to “suck it and see”.  I’m certainly not getting myself involved with anything illegal, even though we may have the moral high-ground.

However, we both feel that the current situation is untenable, so our solicitor will be asking the legal representatives for Lavinia Court how they plan on dealing with all of the outstanding work.  I don’t expect them to respond, certainly not with anything meaningful, but at least they will realise that we’re not going to ignore the situation.

I had a short visit from Teddy and Harry earlier today which was lovely.  Teddy rang and asked if it would be convenient for them to call in for a coffee – well, her, not Harry – although it wouldn’t surprise me if he enjoyed a bowl of coffee!  Anyway, it was great to see them.  Teddy is extremely busy at work – she always is, though so that wasn’t unexpected to hear.  We had a chat about the wedding and of course she will be attending the reception, but without Harry.  It wouldn’t be fair for him to come as there will be far too many young children chasing around and I’m sure it would be too much for him.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m expecting to see Giselle later this week as she and Jane have now discussed the menu and know what they are both making ahead of time.  G has also managed for find some students who will help with clearing the tables and serving the wine etc – just to make things run more smoothly.  Hazel has also been in touch with her ideas for keeping the children entertained.  It all sounds wonderful, and it’s good to know that it’s another thing I won’t need to worry about.

Right then my dear, I think that brings us up to date.  I hope that you are keeping well and that could haven’t caught this awful bug which is doing the rounds.  I’ll be in touch again in a couple of days to let you know whether I’m making any progress with Head Office – somehow I doubt it.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx  

And Another one Bites the Dust…

Well, my dear, what can I say – it’s really not a good way to start the day.  I suppose I better go back to the start of this story, otherwise you’ll be thinking that I’m spouting even more rubbish than usual.

You’ll remember, no doubt, that I had mentioned previously that we were down to having just one workman here.  He was the only one of the contractors who returned after the Christmas break.  I grumbled about it at the time, and I think that one or two of my friends thought I was being a little harsh.  After all, they said, at least the work is continuing, albeit at a rather slower pace than would have been expected.

However, my fears weren’t unfounded and on Monday when the one remaining contractor wasn’t to be found anywhere in the building, I rang Head Office.  I left it till mid-afternoon just in case he had been delayed for one reason or another, but when there wasn’t any sign of him, I decided I would let Head Office know, just in case they weren’t aware.  Of course, he may have succumbed to this dreadful bug which has been floating round for some weeks.

To cut a very long story short, I couldn’t find anyone who could, or would, tell me anything.  However, I was told that someone would call me back.  Eventually on Tuesday afternoon I received a call, saying that they were only ringing me because they knew I’d keep calling them otherwise, but the message from Mr…… (the name was mumbled so I couldn’t hear it) was to say that the contractor wouldn’t be returning as it had been decided to put future upgrading works on hold for a short time!

I tried to ask some questions, but I was told very firmly, that Head Office knew what they were doing and would I please let them get on with it.  Well I would, but I can’t actually see that they are getting on with anything!!  To say I was annoyed was an understatement.  I’m sure you can imagine!  They put the phone down at that point so I was talking to myself – I know that happens quite regularly – but I was furious.  However, apparently there isn’t anything I can do about it.

This has just made the contingency that I had been considering, all the more vital.  You can’t treat people in this way. These flats aren’t a cheap option for retired folk.  If the management aren’t taking our safety and wellbeing seriously, then an alternative will need to be found.  As I said, I do – well, probably – have an alternative plan to follow-up, but at this precise time there isn’t anything I can say or do – well not in a professional way – just at the moment.  It must be presented properly with all the loopholes having been considered in advance..  I’m not being bounced into acting without thinking it through properly.  I’m sure you can understand.

I’m really sorry to have had this little rant and I’m sure you realise that it’s not directed at you.  I don’t want to worry anyone here unnecessarily, but I’m sure that my neighbours will be starting to realise that something isn’t right.  I know that the majority of them just take life as it comes, but even the most unobservant soul will eventually notice that several jobs have been abandoned before they were completed.  Even worse, tools and materials have just been left lying around.

I need to give this some serious thought and I’ve called Alex and asked him to visit me this weekend.  I’ve also sent him an email with a list of things that I’d like him to find out for me.  This will need some considerable research but fortunately, Alex has volunteered to help me as much as he can.

I do have other things to tell you – about our wedding outfits and a couple of other bits, but today I’m rather consumed with the problems here, so with your permission, I’ll leave them until we chat again.  I hope you appreciate why I’m so disappointed with the management here, and why I must take action to rectify matters, in one way or another.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx 

A Little Bit of This and That…

Well I don’t know where this week has disappeared to – one minute it’s Monday morning and I’m on my way to Knit and Natter, and just two minutes later it’s Friday afternoon and I’m getting ready to go to Knit and Natter again!  It’s no wonder that I get confused!

In all fairness I’m not going to continue to go to the Friday afternoon group on a regular basis.  I’m just making an appearance until the ladies are organised enough to manage themselves.   The problem is that no-one seems to be capable of taking the lead, even though it’s perfectly straightforward!!  Just for the record I like to keep a little register – the easiest way is to pass the notebook round and ask everyone to sign themselves in.  In that way, no-one needs to keep saying their name loudly or having to spell it several times.  I’ve asked if anyone could help me by doing that – but the answer seems to be that they want me to be there and the silence is deafening!

I’m not sure how to resolve it – although I enjoy going to the groups, they effectively take up the major part of Monday and Friday.   I certainly lose all Monday morning and Friday afternoon which although I don’t have a problem with it, is rather restrictive.  The other point is that I’m planning on starting another group at the new village hall after Easter.  I had thought that Wednesday would be quite good – but now I’ve been asked if I can start an evening group as well.

I’m so sorry that I sound really negative.  I’m not meaning to, it’s just that I have a vision of my week disappearing in a haze of knitting groups!  Don’t get me wrong – you know that I thoroughly enjoy my knitting but one of the problems is that at the groups I can’t actually manage to do any – there are just too many interruptions.

Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want to hear me banging on about knitting groups for the rest of this post.  Right, so what else can I tell you?  Oh yes, the work here has completely ground to a halt.  I haven’t gleaned much information as yet, but there is certainly something strange afoot.

As you will remember, after the Christmas break only one workman returned and when I quizzed him about it, he told me that everyone else had been diverted to work on other complexes.  I knew that it didn’t feel right, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.   I just hoped that it was a temporary situation, and there was an emergency elsewhere which necessitated “all hands to the pump”.  However, it would appear that the contractors won’t be returning to our complex.  It is definitely a worrying situation – and once some of the more elderly and vulnerable residents realise that all of the upgrading works have been abandoned permanently they will start to feel very concerned.  I need to find out what’s going on, so at least I can tell any neighbours if I am asked.  I’m not going to get myself involved as I can’t take on head office on my own.  I had a feeling that something like this could happen, but had hoped that I would be proved wrong.  How far this inactivity will extend is pure guesswork.

I do have a contingency plan which I’ve been considering for some time.  No, I’m not going to tell you just yet!  I need to be sure that everything will work for me.  No point in deciding on a solution, without considering all the ramifications first.  However, the situation here may change in a few days – you really don’t know what is happening from one week to the next.

One thing that certainly isn’t progressing at all is the new buildings manager we were promised shortly after Gordon’s death.  The current position is that a relief manager who covers several complexes in the north-west pops in once or twice a week – when he’s passing, so we don’t actually know when he’s going to be in attendance!  Of course, from his point of view that works very well as we can’t make an appointment to sit down with him to discuss problems or ongoing issues.

It really isn’t satisfactory for anyone.  I believe he purely comes as a necessity for “health and safety” reasons as otherwise there could be problems with their insurance.  If by any chance you happen to see him whilst he’s running around and you ask for a couple of minutes of his time the response is always “you’ll have to take it up with head office.  I don’t know anything about it.”  Not helpful in the least, so now everyone just keeps out of his way.  I don’t think he’s been here for longer than an hour on any visit, so what can you expect him to do in that length of time?

I do sound like a grumbling old biddy today.  I really must apologise, but I am incensed by the manner in which head office are treating us all.  Although some residents own the flat they live in, the vast majority of us rent them, at a not inconsiderable figure and nearly £200 from our rent every month is for a service charge.  Those residents who own their flat also pay the service charge too.  There are the gardeners and window cleaners, security, lighting and the cleaning of the communal areas.  I’m almost certain that the salary of the building’s manager is paid from the service charge too.

I know I’m just a miserable old woman who got out of bed on the wrong side today.  It happens to us all from time to time.  However, it’s when you just start thinking about one thing, which then leads on to another thing etc etc.

I think I better love you and leave you before I manage to depress you completely.  That wasn’t my intention, but one thing has been followed by another.  There really isn’t anything for you to be concerned about.  I have just had various things going on in my mind for a couple of days and it got to the point where I had to say something, and you happened to be there at the time.

No, please don’t worry about me – I’ll be absolutely fine.  Yes, it would be lovely to have a coffee on Saturday and we’ll speak later to confirm it.  In the meantime I’m going to make a pan of soup, some of which I’ll thoroughly enjoy later, and there will be enough left for three more meals next week.  I do love my homemade soup.  As Always –

With Love – Jan  xx

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