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

Published by Jan

I'm retired, disabled and after sudden death of wonderful husband, have moved closer to my son, daughter-in-law and baby, Charlie. I live in sheltered housing at the bottom end of the scale called Independent Living. I had been in an online Knit and Natter group for a couple of years before Ian died and the members of the group were and still are a wonderful support to me. Since moving here I have now got my own little Facebook group where the members are now my friends and extended family. It was suggested that I write a blog - so here we are!!

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8 Comments

  1. Hello Jan, lovely to hear from you, and I don’t think you’re moaning at all. I think that the way head office are behaving regarding the running of the complex, especially with a barely visible manage is totally out of order, and that needs addressing along with the failure to complete the work that needs finishing. £200 a month service charge is a considerable amount to pay, and you’re entitled to value for money.
    I’m sorry that you’re not getting any support with the Knit and natter groups. Maybe you could make a point of talking to them all once they’re all settled with their tea and knitting and explain that you cannot attend every meeting every week, and unless someone is willing to help, the group won’t be able to continue. I’m sure you will say it rather more diplomatically than that, but you know what I mean.
    I hope you can get all these problems sorted quickly. Look forward to seeing you soon. X

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    1. Frances – I’m sure you know exactly how I feel. One thing can irritate slightly, but you manage to ignore it. However, when there are several bees buzzing around it becomes a problem!
      The “Natter and Natter More” groups are a point in question. You think everyone is settled down with their drink and toasted teacake, but they don’t pick up their knitting. It comes out of their bags when folk arrive and stays firmly on the table till they’re ready to go home – and then they all say – “We’ve got on ever so well this week” – well yes, with their nattering but not a stitch. Yet I know that they all do knit. Just not at the group meetings.
      Regarding the lack of progress here with the various work outstanding – I feel it may continue in this state for months. I will have to do something eventually. We are all wasting money each month paying for services which aren’t provided. I need to talk with Alex – he has a sensible head on his shoulders. Thank you for talking it through with me. See you soon xx

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  2. Would it be possible to bring the local media into the loop about the stopping of work and lack of building manager. Sometimes outside pressure is more effective. I certainly understand about your knitting group. I’m at our library every Wed evening from 6 to 8pm and many people indicated they were interested but preferred a time during the day. I started coming every Thurs afternoon between 1 and 3pm. Not one of those interested people have attended since I started in October. It’s a bit discouraging but I do accomplish a fair amount in my 2 hours there!

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    1. HI Karen – it’s nice to speak with you again. Often the people who make the most noise are those who then dither around not doing anything. They want this and that, but the minute you arrange it, they start to back off with a couple of feeble excuses. However, that’s just the way with some people, and it would be very boring if we were all the same. I’m not too happy about contacting the local press as it could backfire on people, and although you hope the journalist will print the story correctly, things can often get confused! At the moment, I’ll just keep a watching brief. xx

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  3. Hi Jan – thank you for another episode of life at Lavinia Court. I do think that when you pay a service charge of approximately £200 per month you are within your rights to have communal jobs completed properly and be left high and dry. The same with the Manager – why can’t he allocate a couple of mornings or afternoons (the same days each week) so residents can speak to him when they need to. So ridiculous him popping in when he thinks he will – what good is that?
    The Knit n’ Natter seems to have been a big success in getting people together, but not for the purpose it was organised for. Jan, you can’t possibly be expected to attend all the meetings they want. If they want these extra Knit n’ Natter groups then one of them must undertake to be in charge – it’s hardly a lot to ask.
    Any more news about the wedding outfits? How is Mrs M’s wrist healing?
    Take care Jan and don’t overdo it. Xx

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    1. Hi Maggie – it’s lovely to hear from you. Mrs. M’s wrist appears to be progressing nicely. I think that the cast will be taken off at the beginning of next week – assuming that the fracture has healed properly. Had more outfits in the post – still not quite right, but we are getting closer. I should be able to tell you more next week. Knitter and Natter is wonderful – just rather time-consuming at the moment. I will sort it out soon. xx

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  4. I wouldn’t normally suggest such a thing, but I’m wondering whether it might be an idea to withhold payment of the service charge for a while to encourage the powers that be to take some action? As long as the money is still put to one side by residents it might be worth a try. On a positive note, it’s lovely that you’re in so much demand for your organisational skills! As I’ve said before, the ability to say no is a something I’ve learned over the years and people don’t think any the worse of me (I hope!) – you could always try a similar tactic xx

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    1. Jane – it’s lovely to hear from you. It’s a difficult situation – I think I need legal advice regarding the situation about the service charge. Part of the services are being provided, so I think we may be legally obliged to pay. First I need to find out what the charge actually covers before going in “all guns blazing”.
      I’m sure that once the knitting groups settle down they will be able to run themselves – I certainly hope so. xx

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