CAMBRIDGE COURT CHRONICLES

being a true account of life in a sheltered housing complex in Ringsend Dublin

Tag: ireland

OBSCENE

DSC00044This might seem like an innocent photograph but nothing is as it seems or should be in Cambridge Court. It’s bingo night and the tea has been set out……but not of course for the tenants. Most of them die without ever having tea in the common room. Tea is reserved for the bullies and their bully friends. It is nothing less than obscene.

This is supposed to be sheltered housing……..

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SUMMER WITH THE BULLIES

Summer has arrive in Cambridge Court but that is not a good thing. Tonight the bingo crowd will be in and as the weather is nice they will sit out in the garden area swearing and shouting in between their games of bingo. Sunny weather simply means that more and more people will be hanging around the place…..the pub crowd across the road will hang around later into the night…..Last night I was bombarded with noise from the flat above me and the one next door. It was horrific and there will probably be more noise tonight. But none of this will bother the bingo crowd. They will leave their homes and come down to Cambridge Court to have a good time while tenants as usual will be stuck in their one room flats. I wish I had somewhere else to go….somewhere I could just relax. I would literally swap my ‘home’ for a shed. A shed , a quiet shed where I could relax and not feel tense all the time would be heaven for me.

I will be 70 in August. I’m not able to cope with this anymore. Yes , tonight the cups and saucers will be laid out for the bingo bullies and a good night will be had by one and all. Another tenants died last week- I never saw her have a cup of tea in the common room. Now she’s gone and forgotten….That’s the story of life in Cambridge Court.

There are some tenants here who will tell you that no one is bullying THEM…….but you won’t see them having a morning coffee while they read their paper in the common room – they know their place regardless of what they might say….

FLAT WANTED

Last night I placed and advert on Gumtree looking for a flat. I’m not holding out much hope as I could only afford to offer 450 euros a month. If I was to get a flat I would still have to pay for my flat here at Cambridge Court as there is no protection for tenants under Irish law and I could be evicted at any moment……I would only have 45 euros a week left to live on but it would be worth it .

As I write this there is a choir group in the common room enjoying themselves ……..tenants , as usual , are stuck in their flats….In a couple of hours time the pub across the road will start blaring out it’s noise. Same old same old.

TIRED

I have , of late , being finding it quite difficult to write my blog. I’m constantly on edge , tense – I cannot relax and don’t feel well. I’m tired , but not in a healthy way…….I keep thinking that in a few months I will be 70 years of age and I feel every minute of it. They say that people live longer today but that really applies to middle class people who have comfortable or moderately comfortable lives. I often wonder just how I lasted this long but looking at it objectively it is reasonable to think that I may not be around for much longer. No one knows exactly when they are going to die but once you get to my age you begin to realise that you are running out of time and the pressure I’ve been under these last few years would be enough to kill a horse. And there is no way out…..there is no way out of this nightmare.

By the way , I don’t mean to sound like a misery guts but if I kept all this to myself I would have gone mad or killed myself a long time ago. One strange thing that I don’t understand – I seem to be the only person on the internet who has a blog chronicling bullying of any sort. I have looked wide and hard and I cannot find one , not one blog by anyone anywhere who is being bullied. I seem to be the only person in Ireland , UK or indeed the whole of the english speaking blogosphere who is telling their story of what life with bullies is really like. Perhaps they are all to intimidated …… but it is strange …..Nothing new has happened in the last few weeks and months -just more of the misery that went before.

It is just coming up to 1:00 am and the noise is pumping from the pub across the road , just as it was last night and probably as it will tomorrow night. There is a lot I would like to write but I’m just too worn out to concentrate……

WAITING FOR DEATH

One of the disadvantages of living in a sheltered housing complex for older people is that you are constantly reminded of death. You just cannot get away from it. One by one your neighbours die. I’ve seen more people die in the last 7 years than in the whole of my previous life. This is obviously not good for ones mental health and when there are aggravating circumstances such as a bullying and intimidating atmosphere the combination can be lethal………

I think about death every day. This is , under the circumstance , quite normal. Death is the only thing that will rescue me from this living nightmare.  I have done everything possible – I have notified Dublin City Council , I have written hundreds of words in various blogs about the bullying , I have told everyone who will listen and have even put a poster up in my window with the legend , ” I do not want to grow old with bullies” and in spite of all this and more not one person has ever knocked on my door to see if I am alright. Short of taking an ad out in the local press I cannot think of what else I can possible do. So why do I even bother ?  Well , there is one good reason why I bother – One very good reason. No one is ever going to be able to say that they didn’t know what was going on. This is , after all what they always say…..This is the classic ‘get out of jail’ card that is used with great success by those in positions of  responsibility when the proverbial you know what hits the fan.

Every day of the week I see people stop to read the poster I have in my window. I see mothers taking their children to school stop and read , I see social and healthcare workers park their cars outside my window and do a double take when they see the poster -I have literally seen hundreds of people read that poster and yet not one has ever asked me if there was a problem. There is a conspiracy of silence at work here.  A lot of people don’t like the stance I’m taking but they don’t complain because to do so would be a recognition of sorts , however negative , of my situation. It is not that people don’t believe me ……..that’s one thing that victims often get wrong -they often feel that no one believes them but of course the real problem is that they DO believe them.

This system works well…..it is the default option. It always works. It always has worked. It always will work.

 

I’m not dead yet

It is over two months or so since I last posted anything here. Nothing has changed …….the bullies are still running the place. No one cares.  I am , I suppose , wasting my time but what else is there to do ? Is there anyone out there actually reading the blog ?

DOING TIME WITH THE BULLIES

It is exactly 6 years and 6 months since I first moved into Cambridge Court. I doubt if I will live for another 6 years…….. It is two weeks since I was offered a transfer out of Cambridge Court to a place that was probably no better and perhaps a lot worse. I don’t have time on my side. I’m not going to live forever. I’m getting older by the minute……..and I do feel old. And so , that question that Lenin asked , “What is to be done”. Do I just give up , let the bullies have their way and resign myself to spending my last few years ( or months)  living a life that’s not worth living. That’s a rhetorical question. Such an option is no option. So , what IS to be done ?

Every day I think of the bullies. Every minute of every day I think of those bullies. I will think of them right up to the very second that I die. And I think of the thugs in Dublin City Council who willfully and deliberately  support those bullies in each and every act of bullying and intimidation. I have nothing else to do but think. I am not going away. I’m not giving up.  I’m watching……..

DEATH SENTENCE

A few days ago I got yet another letter from Dublin City Council. I did not read it as I’m sure it’s not a letter of apology on their part for the years of intimidation that tenants in Cambridge Court have had to suffer. But it seems likely that they will evict me. I don’t know how long this will take but I imagine it will be a couple of months or so. At my age being evicted would be tantamount to a death sentence. It is quite impossible to get an affordable flat in Dublin just now and if your old and working class then it is probably pointless to even try to find somewhere. There are of course homeless shelters and hostels but these are not the sort of place that any normal person would want to live in. So if I was evicted it would just mean that I would have to live on the street. At my age and in my state of health I would not last very long -perhaps a couple of weeks but not much more than that.

Funnily enough none of this is any surprise to me. When I first made an official complaint of bullying to Dublin City Council about a year  ago I knew that eventually it would come down to this. Every victim of institutional  type bullying  fully understands  that if they push the issue then it’s only a matter of time before they are turned on by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them. Most victims  just suffer in silence and die before their time. Obliviously  I’m not happy about this situation that I am in but there are worst things than dying…..and we are all going to die at some point so it might as well be now as any other time. Fear is a very potent weapon and bullies and their protectors thrive on it. As a weapon it works very well …..unless that is , you overplay your hand and push people too far. And if you do push people too far have they  a moral right to hit back ? Have they a legal right to hit back ? This is a perfectly legitimate question. It is a perfectly reasonable question to ask and the fact that some people may not be happy that  this  question is being asked does not alter anything. This was one of the questions raised by the Nuremberg trials.

It is Friday afternoon here in Dublin and it is a wet miserable day. I am sitting in my flat while the bullies are in the Common Room enjoying themselves. No one else is there but that is not unusual. They seem particularly  brazen these last few weeks and are , I would imagine , enjoying this whole situation. But I would hate to be living inside their heads……

COMMUNITY POLICING AND SHELTERED HOUSING

For several years now the local community Gardai have been visiting the bullies who run Cambridge Court. I have never know them in all that time to actually call on tenants and so I can honestly say that they have been calling down to see the bullies but in the last few weeks this has changed. Now they are calling to see me. I did not invite them. I did not ask them to call and I would rather they didn’t……….

One of them called on me today and asked if there had been any more trouble. He was referring to the fact that a couple of weeks ago I took the lock off a door in Cambridge Court so that tenants could use the kitchen. The implication  of his  question was of course that I had caused trouble. The trouble was actually caused by the retired matron who for years has refused to let tenants use the place and the Gardai who responded to her phone call instead of simply saying that it was a private matter and nothing to do with them. There has been trouble in Cambridge Court for years but it only became trouble to the Gardai when , after six years of extreme patience and restraint on my part I felt it had just gone on far too long. The Gardai are not calling on this retired matron to tell her she must not prevent tenants using the kitchen nor are they calling on Dublin City Council to advise them to put an end to this situation – they are only calling on me. This is quite intimidating and the message I am getting is very clear……

There is , as I have said , trouble in Cambridge Court every day of the week and big trouble at that but that’s not a matter that the Gardai or DCC are interested in. They only become interested if a tenant  decides he/she has  had enough. None of this is in any way in the interest of tenants but who cares about the tenants. They presumably should be grateful they have a roof over their heads and leave it at that. Not only is it not in the interest of tenants it is positively harmful to tenants. Tenants who for years have lived without hope now have the message driven home that it is pointless  to even try to change things. Is this what community police is all about ? Bullying is a serious offense and there  is evidence of it in abundance in Cambridge Court for anyone who cares to open their eyes but obviously no one is even remotely interested. At no point in the last few weeks has any Garda or detective  Garda  expressed any interest in investing the matter. It is just not that important. It may well , as the evidence suggests , shorten the life of it’s victims and do them appalling damage but that is not even an issue with the authorities.

Meanwhile , back in the real world , the nasty intimidating world of sheltered housing the bullying and intimidation goes on unchallenged. The victims are on their own. Not only are they abandoned and alone but the Gardai are there to make sure it stays that way. As I keep repeating over and over again on this blog – the bullies are not the problem , it is the people who protect them  that are the problem.

 

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN SHELTERED HOUSING

It is 2:30 in the afternoon and I am sitting in my flat like most tenants. The Day Centre/Common Room is empty so in theory I could go in there but for what purpose ? There are computers in there that no one uses ( apart from the bullies that is ). There is a large snooker table which is likewise used by the bullies or their friends and various other people who don’t live here and there are several bingo tables which are used exclusively by even more people who also don’t live in Cambridge Court. Apart from all that the place  is just not nice to be in at any time. ‘Just another day in sheltered housing. Another empty miserable day with nothing for tenants to do. And if some tenants were  pushed too far , decided to change all that ……..well , they would very soon be put in their place.  The Gardai and Dubllin City Council  are there to see that things stay just as they are. It may not suit the tenants -it might not be in the interest of tenants but what has that got to do with it ?

Tomorrow night the kitchen in the Day Centre will be opened , the cups laid out , the tea prepared but not for tenants. No the tenants will be in their flats while yet another gang of people who don’t live here take over the place for the night. This is sheltered housing. The tenants will be one day older and one day closer to their graves , one more empty miserable meaningless day but not to worry this suits the powers that be. They are more than happy as are the bullies. The non-tenants who take full advantage of this  situation are also quite happy. This kind of thing is happening every day of the week in sheltered housing units and old peoples homes but  as  long as everyone is happy who cares.

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