Well I am here, since 3 weeks now in my new flat. Its all mine small but perfect. I have settled in very well. Disaster did strike though as I managed to pick up a virus from someone and for 2 weeks have felt like rubbish, so kept to the confines of my flat as I don’t want to meet vulnerable people and pass it on.
When i first got here, I drove round the back of the building to my rear patio area in my scooter and parked it right by the side of my flat as I am the last flat I have a lot of space, and all around the edge was a suitable hard-standing which was perfect to park my scooter on although there was a large bush in the way I still had room to park.
Before we had even got into my flat I was accosted by 2 er ladies, who introduced themselves and proceeded to tell me all about all the people who lived there and I was warned of gossips (well that was a laugh coming from them), and also warning me of this particular guy and his wife who thought they owned the place and woe betide if you crossed them. Well that little gem went down well. One thing I cant abide is gossiping I prefer the company of men as from my first job I worked in an all male environment.
Still I listened intently made the right noises in the right places and finally managed to get into the flat.
The second day I decided to go over to the park with my dog Lucy the meeting the day before gone from my mind. This was our routine most days as where I had lived the outside was the same, living right by a park.
I had a large area of paving i could drive on first then i kept to the very edge where the hedge was and on a thick carpet of leaves, because above that was a very dangerous slope and i am not that stupid I would use that to drive on.
I know Mike and I did production car trailing, but I wasn’t about to try it. Besides which i was mindful of driving over grass. So we did the full circumferences mostly on the flat, and I had to only drive a small area on flat grass to the front of the building then find the little path down to the park.
So from the back I drove past the side of the building (back and front flats), to the front to small path which took me to the park.
I quite enjoyed my drive out it was lovely and fresh, and whilst there I watched several trains go by. Not sure why trains make me feel so exhilarated, sure there is an answer to that one……in the deep recesses of my brain…. but it was a passion both Mike and I enjoyed so i find them quite comforting I suppose.
On my way back I drove the same route, and the guy who lived in the end flat came out and walked over to me and started to chat. He seemed friendly enough was ex Army (same as me) and it turned out he had also been stationed in Munster Germany when I was there 1970.
He was living in Hazelwood with his wife who was poorly. I had the impression he was a bit of a KNOW IT ALL. He obviously hadn’t relinquished his clip board from the Army and once I got to know him, my care worker nick named him Colonel Clipboard.
The next day we had the same routine, but this time he came out on the way out. I had a certain chill down my back as I felt he was there to cause me problems. Skirting around the subject he said WE (the royal We not sure who the other people were), are worried for your safety driving slopes as you might have an accident.
Now really what slope? I assured him i had been driving my scooter on grass and bumps and dips for many years with no issues so you don’t have to worry…….and spent a few minutes exchanging pleasantries…
Then I had the visit from the Warden who looked after Hazelwood that day. Her pretence was to introduce herself, and immediately started to talk to me about using my scooter out the back and safety concerns.
I explained to her that on sign up for my flat the lady dealing with housing had clearly said I could have an outside power point to charge my scooter and they would more then likely put me a small hard standing. At the front of the building there was an area where you could charge scooters but only 4 points which were being hogged every day so you had no chance of getting your scooter charged. So I was quite happy with my arrangement and I told her that.
She went off, my next visit was the groundsman manager who had just started at Hazelwood.
Gosh I was getting a lot of attention, we went through the same thing, he said he would check with the main Manager of the areas sheltered accommodation over it and see what could be done. The picture below it looks like the ground is on a level joining the slabbed area, it isn’t its actually quite a big slope downwards (area marked red). It extends quite far. My route is by the side of my flat across the area marked blue so totally safe and flat.
Well upshot of it was the boss wanted to visit me and work out what could be done as it simply wasn’t safe for me to park and drive and against Health & Safety regulations. SIGH really what a load of crock. But still what could I do. I used to write H&S and I knew I was not contravening any H&S issues.
If anything they were. Steps away from my hard standing area is a nasty slope and it wouldn’t take much to actually slip over and down it. (No safety rail tut tut).
Also what was the point of supplying hand rails and an area to drive a wheelchair onto too if you couldn’t get to it?
The mangers name was Linda and well I knew her. Mike and I knew her years back as her parents lived near us, and her father kept the best garden in the area it was beautiful. She knew Mike quite well and we chatted about him (she took time to do that as she was very busy). It was a COMPLAINT they had received about me driving dangerous on the slopes and some of the residents were worried for my safety……
I must admit I laughed and said to her jeez did you ever see Mike and I in our old Skoda doing production car trailing ….. ? (Below in our Skoda going up a very bad hill on one of he hardest courses make your hair curl. We used to have to drive up the Nailsworth Ladder what fun, so driving my scooter on a tiny slope was a piece of cake!
(This video shows you what Mike and I used to get up too. https://youtu.be/5hqctBRhf0k) great fun.
I said it is very kind people are worried about me, but I am never going to act irrationally or dangerously not when I have my dog with me anyway. I took her outside and the manager (groundsman), and showed them where the scooter was parked, and my exact route.
Well she burst out laughing, and said she had been told i was going up and down dangerous slopes to get out. I said well where are the tyre marks? Clearly there none. Realisation dawned on her face and she smiled and said to the manager. Get that bush removed and put a requisition in for an outside power point. We will see if there is another way Zenda can access the park (ideally a gate straight from my flat). So the bush is being removed today weather permitting, so i have a large area to drive onto and I can park outside my kitchen window, and they can spur off an outside power point there.
They were even talking about putting in a concrete path around the side for me to drive on.
She was relieved and said so. I am so sorry she said we have to act on complaints and we were told you were endangering your life. Not only that you had workmen in to build you a hard standing……… you couldn’t make it up could you. I said that hard standing was there when i moved in. I said I know who spoke to you, I had a feeling he would. He is just a busy body with nothing better to do, he probably just doesn’t like me going past his flat. She actually nodding acquiescence to that, so i knew i wasn’t far off the truth.
So its all systems go. I might end up with a gate straight out to the park. However, as I am not contravening any Health & Safety issues I can continue my route. They will make sure i have an outside point as soon as possible. So my flat will now have its own scooter point which is ace and who knows I may end up with my own private exit to the park what a hoot.
I cant wait to see that guys face when he sees the big bush being taken out, and hears about my electric point being fitted, I am one of the privileged few. Its true what that say, its not what you know its WHO YOU KNOW that counts, as her attitude changed completely when she saw me.
For his own reasons this guy wanted to make it difficult for me, I do think it was a privacy issue or even a control issue shame, he needs to put his clipboard away and get a life and not interfere with mine.
You can only feel sorry for people like that really.
When Linda left we were laughing and joking, and she said how lovely I had my flat and wished me well. I knew then i had made a new friend who had been lost over the years.
Its a good idea to have friends in high places……………..
(Since I wrote this the bush has gone. I have been approached by several residents who are putting in a complaint about this guy. They came to tell me they support me. Not only that I have found out that a couple actually DRIVE their scooters inside the complex and park outside their upstairs flat in a recess area) yet I was told I couldn’t bring mine inside and charge it and store it under the stairwell).
I think this place might turn interesting after all…………….watch this space.