I don't want to live my life like the Littlest Hobo. I don't like moving house. I would have stayed in my last place until the zombie apocalypse, or until I froze to death, whichever came first, if I hadn't wanted to leave Leamington.
And my house now is alright. It feels pretty much like home. And by that I mean it's covered in cat hair and knickers and hasn't been 'thoroughly cleaned' (my mum's emphasis) since I moved in. Her version of 'thoroughly cleaned' is washing down skirting boards and the like. Ridiculous. Next, she'll be intimating that I really should buy an iron.
But my eagle-eyed friend spotted something at the weekend that has caused great consternation at Chateau Hender-Fatman. A suspicious damp patch has appeared on an inner wall.
Now normally this would be an annoyance but not something that would overly bother me. I have been living in rented accommodation for long enough to know that wherever you go and whatever condition the house/flat/hovel appears to be in, a couple of months later a damp patch will just appear somewhere. If you're lucky, it's minimal and can be covered up with a handy picture. I favour kitschy catholic saints for this purpose. If you're unlucky then, just like me a few years back when I lived underneath the worst landlords known to man or beast (26 Portland Street, Leamington Spa, in case anyone's interested - horrible, horrible people), then you'll open a cupboard and everything you own is covered in green mould.
But this suspicious damp patch is situated around an electric socket. Which can't be good.
I put a call in to my letting agents first thing on Saturday morning. There was no response. I chased twice today and finally got a lady on the phone who said, and yes, I'm quoting: "The landlord knows about it and isn't going to do anything about it."
"Er, that's not really satisfactory Julie," said I.
"Well, what do you want me to do about it," says she.
"I'm sorry, I was under the impression that I was the tenant here. And as I'm paying the princely sum of £695 a month to live in this house and, furthermore, lady, every time you bastards send me an email I get charged for 'letting fees', I'd suggest that you do something as I'm not convinced that it's ok to have damp in an ELECTRIC SOCKET."
I paraphrase there for speed. I don't want to bore you all with my petty stories. Oh, hang on...
She begrudgingly suggests that maybe she could ask an electrician if it is, in fact, totally fine to have damp in the same area as a live socket.
In the meantime I swiftly consult my lawyer (a Mr Google, very reasonable) who informs me that, nah, it's not OK to have damp in electricalness and that, nah, it's not OK for a landlord to just refuse to do something about it. One call to a surprisingly helpful Environmental Health team at York City Council later and I'm just in time to receive an email from Julie saying:
"Both the landlord and our electrician say that it's fine so we won't be taking any further action."
Once again with feeling.
"Julie, can you explain to me why it is that suddenly water and electricity do mix, to the extent that you are advising me to stick a plug in a fucking damp socket? Can you just explain to me how this has occurred? CAN YOU JULIE, CAN YOU?"
I screamed this in my head as I informed her that according to every other source known to fucking man, that it isn't safe and that my landlord is legally obliged to sort it the fuck out.
These are the reasons why I hate mankind. It's not war, religion or poverty.
It's fucking stupid fucking jobsworths who constantly take money from people and don't see why that means they should fulfill their contractual and legal obligations. It's people who try and convince you that, in the face of all known scientific evidence, that because they can't be fucking ARSED to sort out a problem, that black is white, night is day and water doesn't conduct electricity.
Well, fuck you Julie. I'm coming for you.
And in the meantime, I will have to look for somewhere else to live.