Hello, people. I am in a rather murky mood at the mo so apologies if this is a bit gloomy. I have a mouth ulcer like a volcanic crater in my gum and it seems to be bad enough to convince my neck glands to swell and ear to throb.
We had a visit from a builder this week. What we had hoped was a fairly minor repair job uncovered serious problems with our roof. Builders did some patching that should see us through the winter but it looks like we’ll need a new roof in the spring. Someone, at some point in the history of this house, cut out the purlins (horizontal beams) from the loft space. Though there was a later attempt to shore the roof up with some bits of timber, these weren’t secured properly, so the roof has sagged. It has sagged so far that the shape is quite distorted and the tiles no longer make a proper seal. Water has been getting in, running down the rafters and pooling at the front and back of the house. It was this water damage that we noticed in an upstairs bedroom. It is going to be a major job to have a whole new roof, involving big scaffolding and waterproofing over it and all that... Yes, it will be as expensive as it sounds!
I have also been feeling a bit gloomy since the kids and I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a woman in the street. We live near a shopping area that is suffering from the closure of local shops and the problems associated with a sizeable population of people with drug and alcohol problems – some of whom are dossing in the derelict shops and around the place. On Monday, we were waiting for the bus near a doorway, in which a woman was sitting with her bags, drinking a can of something. I had noticed her but, when my glance identified her as a woman, I wasn’t sufficiently bothered to move us along to the next bus stop. I do do that kind of thing fairly readily if there is a group of people drinking or they have dogs – just because fights break out so frequently. Unfortunately, I made the wrong assessment and suddenly (with no warning) she came roaring out of the doorway, screaming and pointing into my face. She believed that I had insulted her (obviously I hadn’t!) and wasn’t going to be appeased by my assurances that I hadn’t. No doubt she was paranoid, either because of drugs or mental illness. Luckily, we walked away and she did not come after us. But it was scary for the kids and Leo, in particular, was frightened by her. I was as re-assuring as I could be but the truth is that she was clearly ill and unpredictable and my kids need to learn to be on the look-out for people in that state, round here.
This was reinforced a couple of days later when I was waiting for my bus to work. There was a couple in the shelter (it was raining) and they were both drinking. The woman was on the phone talking about rehab. Two guys appeared to see her boyfriend (this involved things being passed between hands) and then (out of nowhere) two plain clothed police officers appeared and started searching all four people. I just got on my bus to work!
According to the local paper (and it seems likely) the problem is that people addicted to heroin can pick up their methadone from a clinic place near here and then they sell that and buy heroin. Drug dealing is really quite easy to spot once you know it’s going on. It all seems so pointless. There must be a better way... I suppose I should be pleased if there are police doing searches as, from a selfish point of view, it might move the dealing a bit further from here. But I don’t suppose it solves anyone’s problems really. It scares me a little that teenagers I know are offered drugs almost every time they go into the town – day and night.