Oh lovely Cardiff. Home to the BBC’s Dr Who and Merlin, the Millennium Centre…Bute Park, the Republic of Roath, the Open University, my German language group at Baar Bar, Tiger Bay and some truly wonderful people I’m privileged to call friends.
Before you all rush to Cardiff for a glimpse of such cultural riches, I should also mention that Cardiff is “blessed” with people like the Grunters. Who are the Grunters? Well you might ask. I never even caught a glimpse of them…but they made their presence felt in oh so many unpleasant ways.
Starting with their arrival at 5.00 am one morning a couple of months ago, when they ran up the stairs, tried to break into my flat first, then changed their minds and went into their own flat instead, they pretty much made our lives a misery. Apparently, they had picked up the key from the lettings agents the day before…now it was time to move in at the crack of dawn – they had been partying in town, so what better way to finish off a fun evening than to continue partying in an empty flat. Three…four…five…six of them? It’s a small one bed attic flat that was supposed to have been let to one young man from L. – not a herd of wildebiest from Cardiff’s drinking dens.
Apart from arriving at all hours during the night, chain-smoking in the communal hallway, having fights and smashing in the front door, ringing my doorbell night and day, hammering, jumping up and down that the floorboards nearly gave way, swearing at the top of their voices, throwing rubbish out of the top floor windows at the front and the rear of the building, the Grunters also liked to have noisy sex in every room of their not very well sound insulated flat…which is how they got their name…their mating calls being heard throughout the building…during the day, when the nursery children are here.
On the ground floor of this building is a nursery for babies and toddlers. Every day the children get their milk delivered in the early morning hours, the milk bottles being left in a small communal hallway. Every day the Grunters stole one or two pints…until last Thursday, when they decided to walk off with about ten two pint bottles of milk…leaving no milk at all for the children, without a care in the world and in full sight of the stunned nursery staff.
Thanks to the noise that went on every night, I spent the last month sleeping in my kitchen, a large room built above the nursery that doesn’t have an “upstairs” and therefore noisy Grunters above it. Thinking that no number of complaints from me would prompt the lettings agents to throw out these partying, grunting, stomping, swearing, violent, state benefit receiving Grunters, I was astonished to find a representative of the agents knocking at my door last Friday to say the Grunters were no more…thrown out, vamoosed, finished…auf Wiedersehen and Good Riddance. Seems the kids had the power of persuasion the adults did not possess – when the agents heard about the milk incident, it was the last straw.
Now the nursery staff and I are left with bags and bags full of rubbish piled up outside together with bits of carpet, stuff left over from the Grunter’s failed woodwork experiments and squashed empty cardboard boxes. The Grunters may be gone…but we have a new menace to deal with…the people the Grunters owe money to…oh yes, they ring our doorbell and ask where the hell the Grunters have got to, they haven’t paid for the new carpets and fridge, yet.
Isn’t the benefits culture great? People who have lost their jobs and are genuinely looking for work get next to nothing; people like myself, who lose their job when they are diagnosed with cancer, get nothing at all, not even job seekers’ allowance; people who are genuinely disabled, have their benefits cut to pittance.
…but the Grunters of this world, who know how to milk the system to their advantage, they get their rent paid and money on top to go out partying every night.
I apologise for a middle-aged grumpy woman’s rant after too many sleep-deprived nights…and I shall go and look at the pictures of all the wonderful people I’ve met since I moved here to remind myself the Grunters are in the minority…I hope.