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RETURN OF THE SLATZ – PART 1: YOU’VE GOT TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT

Slatz returns to Sick Chirpse with more stupid stories about his stupid life.


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“Always leave them wanting more,” the vaguely anti-semetic Walt Disney once allegedly opined.  Unfortunately I have only stayed true to the first three words of that idiom.

For five long months I barely wrote for Sick Chirpse for a range of reasons – none of which are particularly interesting or probably valid. But I am here today to tell you that Slatz is back. And he’s here to stay.

I signed off last time with my tales of woe when trying to attain a driving licence, well some readers will be pleased to know that I have now been granted road-legal status by the DVLA. Those users with a vehicle currently insured on the British road network will undoubtedly be worried.

After failing twice at the test centre in Mill Hill, my third test was to be at the nearly Hendon test centre. Unlike the pint-sized stern bloke I’d had twice before, I arrived on the day to find that my examiner for the day was a podgy Scotsman.

But the fact that I had avoided my nemesis who had thus far done everything in his path to prevent me being allowed on the roads didn’t cheer me up. The air was thick with rain and the wipers seemed to be juddering as quickly as my nerves.

As I made my war cautiously out of the test centre and began my trip around Barnet’s highways and byways, the inclement weather began to ease off. I neglected however, to turn off my wipers from maximum velocity. “Can you turn those things off – they’re driving me crazy!” my examiner said.

Midway through the drive, all was going smoothly (barring a stall) and the examiner appeared relaxed and care-free. This was examplified by him getting a Tracker bar out of his pocket, scoffing most of it and then winding down the window and flinging the remains out onto the pavement.

As we parked up back at the test centre, I was racking my brains to think if I’d made any serious mistakes throughout the forty minute drive. I turned off the engine and the Scotchman said in a stern tone “That’s the end of the test.”

He paused almost purposefully before saying “And I’m pleased to say you’ve passed.”  I breathed a sigh of relief. While he did chide me on being overly hesitant when moving off, I had done enough to get the little green plastic card.

My test had come in a big week for me as I was moving to a new house, far away from the Counterstrike-playing Romanian mentioned in my previous blog posts. Why, you ask, would I want to leave such a level headed individual?

I had been told by the niece of my landlady that her aunt needed a room in the house and that in the past, she had typically taken mine. We hadn’t signed a tenancy agreement as despite my frequent reminders, no contract was ever produced despite it being promised on numerous occasions.

I was told I had two weeks to move out – but I was reluctant to agree to this. I told the landlady’s niece that I would look at properties and if I found somewhere suitable,  I would leave. If not;  we would have to talk again.

To show her intent, the landlady began sleeping on the sofa downstairs at night. I found out later that the vital reason she needed my room was because she was renovating her house for £15,000 and the work would take just under two months.

Most people who aren’t dickheads might think that if they had £15,000 to spare on doing up their home – no doubt to plug a hole of a failed marriage – they might decide to rent an appartment or stay with a friend rather than kick out a tenant. But those were cards I was dealt and so I was forced to look for pastures new.

Let me just say this – people are weird. Especially landlords. I’m reminded of Groucho Marx’s famous maxim that “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member.” Did I want to live in a house of a landlord who would have me as a tenant?

First; those looking for lodgers. These are families or couples who are so desperate for cash they will allow you to enter their household and share their things. I had just finally moved out of a family home – did I really want to be sharing a home with a family that weren’t even mine?

Sure they were all perfectly nice but would they be equally happy with me getting back late, playing loud progressive metal music or stocking the fridge with Slatzfood?

Plus when you live with a childless couple, you almost feel like you are either being the trial run for a child or the stand-in for a family that never was. No one wants to be an extra in that movie.

So once I’d sidestepped these types of households, I was left with the lodger/tenant hybrid. This means you still live with a homeowner but also with other renting housemates. A possibility. But not if the homeowner is a crazy bitch.

A single middle-aged Asian woman (widowed? divorced? lesbian?) opened the door for me and made me a nice cup of tea. So far so good. We made small talk and covered some of the basics – rent, facilities etc. – but then I asked about having friends round.

First she said that I couldn’t have “people” stay the night as she didn’t like that sort of thing happening in her house. In other words, she was putting an embargo on tenant $ex at the property. This was rather a surprising assertion but I let it slide.

A crazy Indian woman - not the one I met

She went on to say that I could however have friends stay over as long as they made a financial contribution as “they might use the toilet or toaster when in the house”. In other words, I would have to charge friends by the Andrex sheets they used and start a stopwatch every time they used an electrical item.

Suddenly she stopped. She peered to the window. “Oh look, there’s my friend.” I looked out into the garden but saw nothing. “Where?” I enquired. “There,” she pointed, gesturing at a bird in a tree. “He’s my friend, I talk to him.”

By this stage, I really didn’t see any way that I would consider taking this house. Nonetheless, I thought I would check out the room, there was a chance in a million that it might be incredible.

“I can’t show you the room,” she replied. “Someone is still using it and I wouldn’t want to violate their privacy. I would never want someone to see the inside of my room.” I wasn’t surprised!

I did however need to use the toilet before I left, so she told me where it was and I went upstairs to find it. At the top of the stairs was a massive picture of Jesus Christ, stigmata and all. After using the lavatory, I quickly made my excuses and left.

I would have to find somewhere else stay. But if I thought my trials and tribulations with houses were over, I was deeply wrong. They were only just beginning.

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