Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


Squatting stories, or, the alchemist of C____ Road

These people who have the good fortune to live with Lazy are in a sensibly cautious head-space. I'm not in that head-space at all. I throw caution to the winds - throw it to the winds in buckets, in great armfuls. This comparison between us is occasioned by my musings on the strange story of the alchemist of C_____ Rd.

He would like a room here. This well-spoken silver-haired gentleman first appeared from nowhere one morning in the summer, recently returned from 20 years in Italy, accompanied by who turns out to be his brother, both tanned and in straw hats.

-How can we help you? we politely enquired. -Well, actually, I own this house, he said. -No, the council do, we said, and were met with what seemed like genuine incredulity.

The story: this gentleman, Mr _____, did indeed once upon a time own this house, until his estranged son forged a signature in order to sell it during his long absence from the country. The moniker "alchemist of C____ Rd" originates in an anecdote he told. Involved in a property dispute in a county court, he had filled the space on the court forms for "occupation" with "alchemist".

"Alchemist?" enquired the judge - you will have to imagine the accent and the sudden incredulous squint over peery-downy county court judge bifocals yourself.

"Yes, alchemist. I take base metal - ie lead - and convert it into gold - ie money." This by operating the old model soldier shop near the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth.

The alchemist, we believe, is immensely wealthy, at least compared to ourselves. Certainly his portfolio of restored medieval properties in Italy is impressive. Now, he wishes to have a room in our house, our humble squat, in order to be able, as an occupant, to muddy the legal waters and involve the council in a protracted battle over ownership. In return, he will pour any amount of money into this house, which, dear as it is to us, is crumbling and decaying even as I type, and under the shadow of two (or is it three?) magistrate's warrants for London Energy to come and finally disconnect the power...

The cautious, sensible and easily-alarmed ones object. They don't want to let him get involved.

Hahahaa!! What the fuck are you scared of? ____ is going to start showing up with his posh friends and playing loud jazz and drinking red wine at 4am when you need to get up for work?

______ and his posh gang are going to surround you on the stairs and intimidate you, my dear?
"Oh I say, are you a squatter?" (Again, you just have to imagine the accents...)
"_____'s a squatter too, you know..."
"Yes, he's squatting his own house, imagine..." Ho ho ho...
I don't know his motives. Not money. Maybe he has read the stories of squatters keeping multi-million pound properties through adverse possession and thought: I want to try that. He a chancer. He adventurous. He doing it just for the fuck of doing it, for the stories to tell about it later. Like Lazy in that respect. Although I can't know for sure... Perhaps the easily-alarmed ones are right and he has secret plans. So what? You are going to lose this place sooner or later... whether to the council or to the alchemist is somewhat immaterial... So let's go with the alchemist...