Friday, 10 August 2007

What Katie did next...

I've had a trying week this week, helping my friend move out of her luxurious house into a slightly poky, very smelly flat on the fifth floor of a council block in Rotherhithe. Her landlord (if you can call him that) makes a habit of buying up cheap council properties, "doing them up" (lick of paint and a dado rail or two) and then renting them to poor desperate people who need a place to lay their heads and park their yukkas quickly. He's got, to the best of my friend Katie's knowledge, six of these properties across London. He, of course, lives in shameful luxury in Malaga.

Anyway. The reason that Katie has had to move out of aforementioned glorious house in Beckenham was because her husband has seen fit to start a grubby little affair with his Sexy PA and move her in to a house that was left to him by "Great Granny, so you've got no claim on it". It's no wonder that most of my friends are single when they see my married friends fall by the wayside like this. She decided to go with her dignity, along with a monthly allowance "if she goes quietly". Needless to say, Katie is Robert's third wife (and former PA, can you see a theme developing?) and, even at this stage, she's waiting for Sexy PA to fall foul to a "conniving tart with a shoe size higher than her IQ". "It'll happen" she said through gritted teeth. She should know. Katie ousted Wife Number 2 just by the strategic use of an uplift bra and the suggestive way she took shorthand. "I tell you where I went wrong" she seethed as she tottered across to the tower block in strappy heels "I didn't make him employ an old bag."

I first knew about this on Sunday evening when I got a phone call from what sounded like a wounded hyena. I haven't spoken to Katie since April and haven't seen her since Christmas but now, it seems, I was the only person in the world she could turn to. Her husband had given her "til Wednesday" to leave before Sexy PA was moving in. I was toying with the idea of lending her our spare room for a bit but David quashed that idea immediately. "Katie? Isn't she the one who spent our Christmas party hoovering up the Sauvignon, scraping her colossally high heels on the woodblock and sidling up to Giles From the Office and scaring him?" That would be a yes. "Don't even think about inviting her over - not even for a coffee". That would be a no.

Within eight hours of her phone call, she had been fixed up with this flat by a "friend of a friend of a cousin of Tel's" and phoned me on Monday morning to instruct me when I should pick her and her belongings up. I ummed and aahed a bit but David was keen to have me off the premises in case she should turn up on the doorstep looking for me. I went, shifted a few boxes, ineffectually patted her heaving shoulders, wiped her kitchen floor (chipping off dried on gunk where necessary) and opened every single window in the place to rid it of the whiff of dead something or other.

On Tuesday she rang to ask if she could "borrow the car" to take some stuff into storage. Because she had a day off, and was bored, Saskia agreed to come with me. It was only when I turned into leafy Beckenham that I realised that she and Katie do not get on. My heart sunk even further when I spotted the smug look on Saskia's face. But all went well. We had loaded some boxes into the car and A Man With A Van (you can hire them you know, it was such a learning experience) arrived to cart the rest of her stuff off to the storage facility. Saskia suggested we have lunch at MacDonalds because "let's face it Katie, it'll be your restaurant of choice now that you're only on an allowance".

On Wednesday I dropped off my Dyson on the premise that I would return to pick it up later. Katie looked at it and started wailing for Mrs Peters. Her cleaner. I hoovered (I emptied the cylinder six times and have been sneezing ever since) and showed her how to get smears off of glass and windows. More wailing about Mrs Peters. As she slumped down onto the sofa, dust plumes rose into the air. Classy.

Thursday saw me dropping off an old TV set (we couldn't get the 46 inch out of the house as Robert was guarding it with his life) and a couple of air fresheners. The whiff of dead something or other was still in evidence. She'd aged ten years and revealed that she hadn't slept a wink since the weekend, especially as the mattress in the flat wasn't air sprung.

Today I took over some magazines, a potted plant and a bathroom mat set. She seemed pleased but it was hard to tell. She was white and shaking having just been out onto her balcony for the first time and saw how far away she was from the ground. She asked me pitifully, as I was leaving, if she would see me over the weekend. What could I say? I vaguely mentioned something about Sunday and lunch and now I've got a horrid feeling that she thinks she's invited for roast beef and all the trimmings when I meant that I'd pop over after Sunday lunch. She certainly seemed quite chipper as I left.

Does everyone get themselves into situations like this or is it just me?


Kelly said...

Just you at this point. None of our friend have been married long enough to be on wife number 2....still it makes you grateful for what you have.

Gwen said...

That's pretty scary. None of my friends have got to that point yet either. When they do I will be ready.

Natural Blonde said...

Grrr....she does have a right to the house, he married her and that means that anything he owns she can lay claim to. tell her not to go quietly, there's no dignity in letting a man like that just move on from one PA to another. Don't let her do it!!!!

Tell her at least to go and see a solicitor to she what she's entitled to.

I am speaking as one who had to make a payment to my ex when we divorced, and he contributed practically nothing! But it was his right!

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I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.