My Poor Home!

On July 8, 2013 by admin

Diary List of Events in pdf DIARISED LIST OF EVENTS


No 84  St Helens Rd, Hastings, East Sussex. TN 34 2LJ  is a very attractive late Victorian period property. It was built at the height of Victorian prosperity and accomplishment.  Our Victorian forefathers felt they had the right and duty to build and create a new society with beautiful buildings and solid foundations. New construction materials were found such as steel, and the new fathers and innovators of industry, science and commerce could not wait to put their knowledge and new powers to good use to build a  new Jerusalem, to build new towns, and cities and parks, and show off their skills, in monuments, buildings, houses, churches and civic halls which would show off their skills.

The area of Blacklands and St Helens woodland in Hastings, East Sussex were bought and set apart for this purpose.

Originally the area was rural land owned by the Frewen Family, known as the Blacklands Farm Estate.The land was almost entirely rural and with Kite’s Nest Farm, Ore Valley Fields and a large wooded area known as St Helen’s Park.

Charles Frewen (MP for East Sussex 1846-1857) started selling off plots of this land for development in the 1870’s.

Blacklands became a Parish in 1881 when Christ Church was consecrated.

The intensive development of the Blacklands Estate as a middle class residential area during the 1880’s led to it becoming know in Hastings as “the paradise”. It was beautiful, and the aim was for it to be a “little bit if Eden.” Everyone who was anyone wanted to move there and live there.  It was salubrious and highly desired.  In 1904 there was a question as to how a large debt had been passed for large wooden slabs for paving for the area. The suggestion being that rich councilors where looking after their own backyard and there may be a bit of self interest “Some 8 or 10 councillors, added Cllr Pelham, lived in the vicinity of St Helens Road.” he said pointedly, questioning the sum and the extravagance of the council in passing it.  It was a much loved place, and one greatly invested and indulged in to make it a “bit of Eden” in England.

No 84 stands in a row of about ten similar houses opposite a large and beautiful park, called Alexander Park.  This started as a nursery, then expanded into St Andrew’s Pleasure Gardens. The whole place has been developed and loved, by those who love developing and making beautiful their town and surroundings and enhancing their environments with good property. Pity this generation of wide boy developer and jumped up “estate” agents want to ruin it. Best be careful which organisation they are allowed to join, They are not master builders or in any way grand architects. They are the opposite, the wreckers and destroyers of our buildings, standards and communities.


THE BEGINNING. A Home Wanted.A Home Found. A Home Loved.

It took sometime, and a tantrum in the middle of a letting agent to get the key to this flat and be allowed to view it. I had been quick and gone round all the letting agencies asap and told them my requirements and left it to them to find suitable viewings. This is much better than just looking in their window or picking flats to let out of the paper. The agent can see you. You can clearly view what you are looking for and you can leave it to them to find places, offer them and arrange viewings for you.

I knew what I was looking for and I knew it was “out there.” I had an instinct that there was a home for me out there with my name on it.

The offerings the agents suggested and I viewed were just not suitable. Too big, Too tatty Yuck!! You must be joking and in areas or buildings clearly dodgy and not where I wanted to live. They missed the point that I knew most of the town, most of the areas, who lived there and what type of people and so they could not convince me or fob me off with anything.

This flat had come up as a suggestion right at the beginning. I told the girl in the agency Vints, that I needed a decent place to live, I was qualified, had a decent wage and wanted a decent home. I told her clear that I needed to have found somewhere and be out in 4 weeks. To be honest I had wrangled the 4 weeks notice as as a lodger I was not entitled to any notice or time at all. See how good I am? Convinced people of what I needed, time, space and opportunity to look properly. Not what they wished or wanted to impose on me.


The girl told me of this “ideal” flat for me. In a lovely Victorian coverted house opposite the park, with a balcony, period features and my own garden at the back to go with it. OK. Get me the keys and lets arrange a viewing. Well, she kept going on everytime I went in about this property and how I needed to view it. Kept promising she would get the keys off the landlord. and everytime had not and was still going to do it. I actually, went in and arranged to come in and view the place 3-4 times. each time a lovely fob off by the girl. I was prepared to say yes and move to other properties. But we were now in the last week and I had to move out by Friday.

So again, the girl explained what a lovely property it was and how I needed to see it. I asked if she had got the keys. She had not. I reminded her that I needed to be out by Friday and had already gone through the 4 weeks notice, She was completely oblivious and asked and recommended that I go back to my deceased landlady’s relatives and try and get another 4 weeks notice. I went balistic, lost my temper and said something about “Stupid, Inconceivable, Idiot, Useless, Unprofessional, and how dare she waste my time.” kind of speech.  At this the senior partner of the agents came down stairs and asked what the hullabaloo was about. I explained the situation, and the promises of seeing a property and the girl promising to get the keys and arrange viewing 4 times. The senior partner got cross at the girl, who then said she did not really want to do estate agency work and really wanted to work with children and become a child psychologist. God Save Us, I pity the children.

The senior partner took to taking charge, Got the girl to immediately phone up the landlord, it was the first time he had heard of the possible viewing, He was probably wondering why nobody was viewing it or wanting the keys. The keys were ready to be picked up immediately. The girl even protested whether she needed to do this or not, or be able to do it at the weekend or later that day. Thinking that as she had already done so much work ringing up and asking for the key she needed at least half an afternoon or rest of week of to recover. The senior partner commanded and insisted she “Get on with it!!” and she went off immediately, muttering that she would be glad when she was back at university, and the senior partner who turned out to be her elder sister saying that she would be glad and could not wait too.

I got to view the property early that afternoon. Up stone steps to a white stone building 5 storeys high.

With a small front garden and a balcony on the first floor. The First Floor Flat. The flat I had come to see. A mid 1900s Victorian large terrace, with period features, high ceiling, a back garden, large floor to ceiling bay windows and a beautiful view over the park. It was small, and compact and bijou. Not the largest flat I had seen so far at all. The Autumn sun came in at the windows and warmed the room. The trees outside where in their multi-coloured patchwork of Autumn crisp colours. It was beautiful. I loved it immediately. I walked in and walked around the rooms and the whole place said a soft, warm “Hello…” It was mine, and I knew it. I had only to the weekend to move out and move in and said I would take it at once. One

problem. My prospective new landlord Mr Hills wanted 3 references. Not 2. But 3 references. HELP!! YIKES!! 3 references within a few days. the landlord to approve and me to move in on Friday. Crikey!! and it was late Monday afternoon.

So phoned round quick. Got landlady’s ex boyfriend to write me a reference as past recent landlord. Well he was, joint with her, and he owed me favours for standing up to her family who also wanted him out and attending the funeral with him. Him, me against the pack of family who did not want to know their mother, never visited her and yet turned up and wanted her home and everything off her at the end, and him out and nothing and no recognition. Even the vicar did not acknowledge him, but only referred to him as the deceased womans’ good friend who had chosen to care for her in the last days. LAST DAYS!! He was only her dedicated partner for 15 years and committed carer for the last 7 years before she died a terrible wasting death. he only stuck by her thick and thin. Committing himself to her and putting up with her tempers, frustration and despair and she became more and more ill and incapacitated. Mentioned as just a last minute passing “friend” and no acknowledgement or respect from family except to get him out the house asap and get it back to sell it and share the profits. OK, so I got one from him as previous landlord. I got another one from a fellow professional and another from my immediate senior change nurse. Had to drive round and pick them up myself and deliver them on Wednesday. Awaiting landlord’s decision – who said he was not so sure. Looked at me and reminded me like an older fatherly figure in a quiet Tony Soprano come Marlon Brando Godfather warning voice “This is a “quiet” house here. I choose my tenants very, very carefully.” I managed to convince him that I was a quiet professional person. Did not have parties, did not drink or take drugs and actually preferred cool soft jazz and classical music rather than rock and pop and grunge garage punk. He looked at me in a unbelieving quizzical look. Then said. “OK. You can have it. But you are on the 6 month probation… and even then……” I shook his hand, took the keys and arranged to have all my belongings from lodgings and lock up to be collected on Saturday and move in. And with help with friends I did. PHEW!!

I loved it. It was my home. I decorated and planned it and built it up slowly. We did the garden from scratch. The tenant before was an elderly ex headmistress in her 90s who could not cope and had left it for over 10 years. It was a jungle and we could not even get out of the backdoor without having to push it against the overgrown branches of trees and several shrubs which had fallen and grown in the pathway. A sycamore and two budelias. I did the whole thing myself. and indulged in making a “Peace Garden.” I always liked “Peace Gardens” and gardens of reflection and delights of textures, colours and smells. It was an indulgence. The garden would never be fully mine. It belonged to the house and to the landlord. But I indulged to make something beautiful. And did.

Put fencing up. Tressled fencing, a tressled arch where climbing and rambling roses grew. One called Compassion. Because I liked the idea of people walking under the Rose of Compassion Archway into the Peace Garden. There were all sorts of areas in this very small garden. A wild shaded area which was raised and banked up with backs of old washing machines and fridges and chicken wire I made into a wild wood and flower area. It was under a over hanging witch hazel tree and ash, with a small female holly shrub. Which grew as a single stick. Until I clipped it and encouraged it to grow a few more interesting twigs. It contested my encouragement to be more shapely and interesting and gave in. But it never did

Why Does Someone have to Destroy Another Person’s Peace?

Why Does Someone have to Destroy Another Person’s Peace?

give me any flower or buds or Holly berries. It remained a virgin without flower or berry.

I put in wisteria from a twig, an almond tree, trained a morello cherry against the back wall. That spans out like a fan and is a favorite for birds in the summer when the fruits are ripe. An apple and pear were kept clipped and short and trained against the fencing. I got some good apples and some very sweet pears off it. I alternated between flowers, shrubs and various veg for the plots and raised beds. Sometimes I had a very good year, sometimes I would have bad. I grew giant marrows, courgettes and other veg which it was a battle and a struggle who got to them first. The animals, birds and insects or me. And I got a big fat squirrel that got even fatter with my nuts and berries. He sat on mounds of earth and behind the fountain head and laughed at me. I swear. At others times and always herbs, lavendar and baby greens. I was into wood and natural. I used wood to bank up raised beds and sliding earth slopes. I got woodsmen to find me interesting twisted bark and treet roots. They are very fantastic and fascinating. Work better and lighter than stone rock gardens. It is a living garden, and the wood changed, grew lichen and fungi, curled strips of bark until it disintegrated and went back into the earth. In the last few years and now I grew roses. trailing, climbing, tea and floribunda.

Only in the last few years I put in a solar powered fountain on a bed of pebbles and a surround of purple slate wall and ferns. I cadged the purple slate off a roofer. A little stone statue of a rabbit stood at the side, where underneath lay my beloved Brian. A giant French lop eared rabbit. A foundling and a loving mischeivous companion for a few years of his life and mine.

Miss U. R.I.P. Brian

Miss U. R.I.P. Brian

I was very happy and I worked hard at it. Building it up to be a good home and a comfortable place to be. At the end of the day, a home is the most precious thing in anyone’s life. Even the simplest and lowest animal or bird seeks first to find a home, and build a home. And all have come from some home that some woman, a female of the species has built. Even if it is the home of her own back or the home of her own belly. Everyone wants to return to the home, build a home and make somewhere something to come home to and be in safety and security and comfort. The home is the most important place in anyone’s life. And it is the most important place in any woman’s life. It is her soul and the centre of her life. And to threaten a woman in her own home, or destroy it or smash it up is to smash up that woman and destroy her security and any sense of safety. It would be sure to make any woman ill, and has done so. This is the story of my battle between myself and my landlord and the incompetence of my local council borough housing officers.

There is only one way, and that is to let it be known and hopefully expose it and help change it. I hope that you are all safe in your homes and that your home is your most precious safest place. Let’s make that for all. Expose the abusive exploitative rogue landlords and shame the councils and their incompetence and their negligence. It cost everyone a lot. But it cost me the most.


1. A Beautiful House Overlooking the Park. A Balcony, A Garden, A Giant Rabbit – and Me.

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