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Walking possession

  Sun 2nd December 2012

I composed myself into reasonable middle class person slightly surprised at this affront to my dignity, and rang the bailiffs.

He relented only as far as offering me an unaffordable instalment plan of £114 per month, which, even I were able to agree to it, would be prefaced by a Walking Possession order, in which they enter the house and make a list of the things they'll remove if you fall behind on the payments.

"Can you agree to that now?" he said. "I don't know--obviously I'm just talking off the top of my head now..." "Well, I'll put it on hold till Friday and you can ring me then."

Kirsty came back from her weekend away and saw the letter above. I was, to my shame, wondering if she'd put it on her credit card and I could pay her back over a period of time. I didn't even obliquely suggest she could do this, hoping she might offer, but her sympathy, perfectly reasonably, fell short of offering a dissolute former boyfriend several hundred pounds to get himself out of a hole of his own making.

I had a look through the plentiful forums dealing with this issue. Thousands of people have these things hanging over their heads tonight. I've very little of value that they could take. I've no car, TV, or jewellery, and my mobile phone doesn't have a camera on it. I do have several hundred vinyl records, a greater number of books, and a hifi system (Copland hybrid transistor-valve amp, Musical Fidelity X Pre preamp, Systemdek XII turntable and Rega RB300 arm, Cambridge Audio tuner... er, and so on--we're losing the girls now) that cost £3000 when I assembled it bit by bit fifteen years ago. My worry about losing my records and my hifi is only exceeded by the excruciating embarrassment of introducing the bailiff to the lodgers, and asking them to lie that everything in their rooms is theirs. My sangfroid about financial matters is being tested by this.

Nil desperandum. A suggestion on the forums is that you ask the Council to take back the debt and make a proposal for its repayment. Councils are more reasonable than bailiffs, so that's my job for tomorrow morning. And my hope.

Just to dispel any twinges of sympathy my heart-tugging tale might have provoked, I will say that after my persuasive talk down the Town Hall, I will be off to meet Trina on the boat. With Trina's firm Welsh hand on the tiller, we will steer it to the poo station, where we will connect a big sucking machine which will deliver our shit and piss into Morecambe Bay eventually. We also have to fill the diesel tank up almost to the top, because you don't want condensation in your diesel tank, apparently, so I will have to struggle stick insectly with five gallons of diesel.

Then we can settle down to a nice evening of a blazing fire, problems-forgetting, wine drinking, dancing and friskiness.


There was high drama on Kirsty's street the other day. You might remember that a month or so ago I was walking to hers with a bottle of wine, in a sunny mood on a sunny day, and simply looked across at the man washing his car who lives to the back of her house. "What the fuck are you looking at?" he said. You don't belong here, I thought. It's not that kind of area.

A friend of my girls said that three police cars drew up the other day, retrieved a gun from his car, and started dusting it down for drugs. Wish I'd made more of an effort with him now.

7 comments

Sorry, but twinges of sympathy when reading about a predicament like this is part and parcel of being a decent, caring human being. It’s not something that can be switched on and off like a light. The language they use is so disturbingly polite, isn’t it?

Mon 3rd December 2012 @ 12:02
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks–that’s very kind of you. As in many ways I lead quite a charmed life, which depends in some important areas, most notably my housing situation, on the generosity of friends, I shouldn’t expect any sympathy when something like this occurs. But I thank you for it not one iota the less.

Re the language–I like the use of the word “convenient” to describe the appointment at which they will come in and lay claim to my possessions :)

Mon 3rd December 2012 @ 12:13
Comment from: [Member]

really? they can come in and take your posessions to sell when you’re not at home? oh, i think we wrote out those sorts of seizures when we did our constitution. here in Amerkay, they would just throw you in jail - which costs the government a tremendous amount of money -where you’d never have any hope of paying off such a debt.

Tue 4th December 2012 @ 03:53
Comment from: Kolley Kibber [Visitor]

They won’t bother with your vinyl, but you might want to dismantle and disperse the sound system, especially if you’re fond of it. What a pain.

Tue 4th December 2012 @ 17:13
Comment from: [Member]

DF: You have to be in and they have to make what is known as a “peaceable entry". I’m just worried about getting the other people in the house involved. It would be a catastrophic annulment of my social status, which might make them wonder what they’re doing living in a near-bankrupt’s house.

Kolley: Thanks–I’m going to take the hifi round to Kirsty’s.

Wed 5th December 2012 @ 22:41
Comment from: Hannah Joy Curious [Visitor]

Ach, the rabid politeness of British officialdom… So sorry you are going through this. I was going to ask if you had considered filing for personal bankruptcy, but that’s only a good option for those who own nothing, no house, no car… That’s what I did in the mid noughties (I owned nothing of value, I still don’t FYI) after years of trying to keep creditors happy and it gave me my life back in the form of a clean slate. If you have a car, put it in someone else’s name and stash your valuables at mates’ houses then what are they going to take? The curtain rods? The toilet brush? Good luck… x
PS/ Your comment form hates my blog and keeps telling me URL not allowed so leaving it blank…

Fri 7th December 2012 @ 14:52
Comment from: [Member]

Hello Hannah–very nice to see you here. I’m sorry the blog URL won’t be accepted–it’s a somewhat idiosyncratic platform at times. If anyone would like to read Hannah’s tales of island life, it’s at The Ideal Wife Giveaway

I was thinking about bankruptcy but it costs over £700 nowadays, and I haven’t got that. The best option for me is a Debt Relief Order, which costs £90.

I haven’t got a car or anything worth selling, apart from the hifi, and I’ve squirreled that away.

Sat 8th December 2012 @ 12:18


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