To mangle and conflate two separate curses: “When the fates wish to punish writers, they grant us interesting times to live in and write about.”
Before I moved to Dovecot Towers, I was largely ignorant about both the enigmatic world of urban newbuild flats and the harrowing effect of mass buy-to-let. Like many others, I had even walked by Dovecots blithely believing them to be comfortable, even vaguely glamorous, upmarket apartments. Now I know better.
The very first weekend I lived there, I heard a truly horrific domestic assault in one of the flats below. I was the only resident to call the police, who had trouble locating the building. There was plenty more to come.
Many memories will haunt me forever. Davey’s death is the worst thing I’ve ever seen anywhere, and afterwards I found it very hard to live here. I hope Sarah escapes the horror of that night, that she finds peace of mind and happiness in the future. Imagine how she’ll feel if she sees Dovecot Towers in the distance through the window of a speeding train, or is inadvertently driven past. The flowers on Davey’s shrine were never stolen (somebody tidied the wilting memorial and left fresh blooms.) New tenants moved in to the flat last week. I wonder if they know what happened there. I hope nobody tells them.
Elsewhere, the ‘murder’ mystery is still unsolved, but police eventually described the flat as containing a crime scene with forensic evidence but no body. They suspect (or rather, have concluded) that something terrible happened. Meanwhile the incident file on Dovecot Towers gets bigger every day.
I always thought that when I left, I’d have my revenge on Dovecot Towers (especially its more irksome inhabitants.) Thumping Techno Boy beat me to the door. Many nights were spent watching my breakables and crystal dancing to the sonic impact of his tunage. I planned to visit at 5am, and press on his doorbell to wish him a cheery goodbye. I also wanted to install a powerful sound-system underneath Georgie the posh 24 Hour Party Girl, and serenade her with recordings of bagpipes or wolves howling for an entire weekend. Unfortunately she left before I did.
Sadly, in the previous few weeks, several friendly tenants moved in, people who would chat and pass the time of day. One couple even had a baby (this might seem strange, but hearing the baby crying was a welcome taste of humanity.) Then there was Yuri and Lev, the affable, upbeat Eastern Europeans who skilfully negotiated their rent down with their landlord when he tried to increase it, as living here was so, well, challenging.
As for my landlord, William, well he’s incommunicado, and never gave me a reference, never even told me when or whether the bailiffs were due. Mending my credit rating and retrieving the money stolen from my bank account is the next task in hand. Something as simple as a block of flats has devastated us both.
Moving out was easy. I was already packed, and didn’t have the flat professionally cleaned (it’s being repossessed; the bank can pay.) Despite my best efforts, the bathroom still looked filthy as mould was rapidly colonizing the walls. Tiles were put up from top to bottom, instead of the usual (i.e. non-cowboy) practice, from bottom to top. Consequently the tiling crumbled and collapsed, providing a handy gap for damp and spores. The day before I left, every light bulb in the kitchen/diner/lounge died in unison, which could have been a sign. I turned off my music, and listened to the building for one last time. Silence. Now there’s a first.
I sincerely hope the management company from hell keep their promises. They assured me there would be improvements, and I hope they keep the occupants of Dovecot Towers happy and safe, a hope which diminishes with every passing day.
The night before I moved out, the people staying below me (in a hotel apartment) sang rugby songs until 5am. I closed the door and drove away, without looking back. I dreamed I dwelt in Dovecot Towers. It was a nightmare.