Within a day of moving in my landlord said I’d made the flat look as if someone lived there. Why else was I paying him rent? I inherited the knack of putting things together from my mother who also had a special gift with colours which I don’t think I share. She had an unfair advantage: a Knightsbridge address and an account at Peter Jones, whereas I’ve had to make do. Anyway, I’ve got better things to do with my mornings, such as doing battle with the builders who act as if the laws of the land were made to be broken. I refer to the ugly face of capitalism.
Despite appearances my flat is a hellhole. The summer was ravaged by a Polish oligarch in the penthouse above me who hired a dodgy threesome of builders to do a total renovation. Even when their hammers and drills had fallen silent, this trio marked its omni-presence in the building with the pungent whiff of sweat and vodka that permeated every nook and cranny. It even accompanied me to bed. Work began without warning early one May morning and continued into the autumn. I’d heard the oligarch had fallen on hard times and was being persued through the courts by the administration whom he owed for a couple of years of missed service charges. The news from the east makes one wonder how any of these poor sods keeps going. However, just before the builders moved in, and much to the general stupification, he made up the shortfall and, to prove the point, shortly after wrote off a top of the range Merc in a show of peek in an argument with a wall in the underground garage. You couldn’t make it up. From May till September, from dawn till dusk power tools pounded every corner of my steel and hardboard domain. The case of champagne I anticipated for my inconvenience failed to materialise. But worse was to follow. Much worse.