Yesterday afternoon, I received a visit from a member of the management team. I will call her Alice, though that, of course, is not her real name. I like Alice: she is very lively and chatty and whenever she visits we have a good chinwag about many topics. She examined our drip and explained that if we were being flooded that would be different but for a drip you cannot force entry into people’s homes. I said I understood that but was concerned that the leak might get worse. Prophetic words.
Alice went upstairs and knocked on Silas’ door. No response. I had told her that I was concerned because he had not collected his mail for several days, which was unusual for him. Nor had I seen or heard him lately. Alice returned saying she had had a good sniff but all she could detected was dirt, not the smell of corpses, so my concern that Silas may be lying dead and forgotten have receded somewhat. Alice withdrew to base for consultations, leaving me with the drip of consciousness.
Later Alice phoned to say that they were going to send Silas a letter, giving him a 24-hour notice of their intention to access his property for essential repair work. In view of the fact that he has not been collecting his mail, I assume this is a mere legal formality. A meeting has been arranged for Friday morning at 9:30 am when an attempt will be made to enter Silas’ flat.
Last night we noticed that an ominous brown stain had appeared on the our hall ceiling above the door to the front room. This morning there was a small puddle in the doorway: the invading water has opened a second front. Having mopped up and put a receptacle in place to catch the drips, I phoned Alice. “There’s absolutely nothing I can do,” she said. “Not until Friday.” I replied that I knew this but thought she should be kept informed of developments.
The hall ceiling will have to be repainted. It is such a shame that problems cannot be prevented instead of being expensively repaired after the event. Or at least, they could be repaired immediately before too much damage has been done. That seems out of the question because for every problem there is a due process that has to grind slowly through all its stages. In this case, it is the law that is preventing a simple and speedy resolution.
A citizen’s council flat is his castle, according to the law, a sentiment that I agree with entirely. It is only right that Silas’ rights be protected. On the other hand, these noble ideas enter into conflict with one another when one citizen’s rights and privileges have a negative impact on the rights and privileges of another citizen. This is a well known paradox, of course, and we are not the first to experience it.
In the meantime, the drip continues. I look forward to tomorrow morning when, all being well, the matter will finally be dealt with. Will there be trouble? Will Silas defend his home against the onslaught of strangers or will he meekly allow them to enter? (This seems unlikely as he has never before allowed even council officials into the flat.) Is he even there and if not, where is he? We await Friday 9:30 am with a sense of impending drama.