March 6th, 2005

breaking bad


My grandmother was born in 1908. She lives in a council house - for non-Brits this is subsidised public housing. I grew up in her house. which is a two-up-two down. In those days we used to have a single coal fire. When the clean air act came in she got a gas fire. That's all she's got still.

She won't let us install central heating for her, because the house is rented from the council; she says - I've paid rent to them for fifty years, and they'll take this house back when I'm dead, I don't want you to spend your money to benefit them. The local housing officer won't install central heating. He says 'She agreed to the condition of the house when she moved in' - 'But that was in 1951!', 'We are under no legal obligation to blah blah..'

This has been going on for many years. Last week my brother emailed the chief executive of the city council. The title of the email was '96 year old freezing' and the body of the email said, we will be forwarding this email to the national press in ten days if she doesn't have central heating by then. Clock starts now.

The council are installing central heating on Monday.