The first-tier Tribunal leaflet

Despite the following information, it is likely your negligent landlord or landlady will attempt to dodge paying for routine maintenance or historical problems. For instance, even if your belongings have been damaged by mould and your children’s health is affected, some landlords will refuse to take any responsibility. You may have to apply to have your costs and damages paid back. Your landlord may be so angry with you because you reported them to the authorities, that they try, and keep trying to make life difficult for you. Most of these bullying landlords will continue to try and evict you and your family. It has to be noted that not ALL landlords are bullies- there are some good ones out there.

Housing leaflet jpegHousing leaflet side 2

 

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Rent

On Thursday morning it rained unexpectedly. The deluge disappointed the daughter. The flamenco top for after school street streeling was all she had clean. She balled it up and stuffed it in her school bag. The mother lay in bed doing her kegels with a full bladder and a heavy period. The daughter made her way down stairs to flitter about the kitchen thinking to line her belly with something. The dog snored and stretched beside the mother. The cat licked the open wound on his neck, scraping his sandpaper tongue along the scratch until it bled. The mother got up to get the salt and witch hazel mix again, but sidetracked by the inviting available bathroom, she relieved herself of fluids unwanted while listening to the daughter managing a bite or two with half a pint of tap water while admiring her reflection in the big mirror. The fact of the rain pissed her off and she was trying not to look like a big sulk when her mother came into the kitchen looking a bit like a dung heap of death. The daughter hated her fugly middle aged mother in that moment, hated the weather and the house and the bus and wanted more than anything to live closer to the action of town, not the stretches of golden sandy beach her nut job parental type deemed more fitting to growing a girl child. The mother blinked sticky eye snot lids, scraped dried drool from her lips and searched for replacement fluids. She managed to fill the kettle and set it boiling but couldn’t find the tin of coffee beans when she realised the daughter was acting fucked up. She watched the daughter trample something into the bottom of her school bag, re-check her image, her screen, her image, her screen, her image, her screen.

I watch dispassionate from the space above my body where overall understanding lies like the wisdoms of my ancestors. I ease into the stars we are inside and call to the atoms of my child to be still and step away from the magic box of wonders to engage brain and sense.

She sees pix of Boyz dix mixed with tests in history and physics. She sees fake rape vids from Porn Hub. The mother sees the violations sweep the daughter as asteroids nearly unsettling her orbit, watches her steady her feet, clawing into her shoes to grab at earth not quite there.The daughter sees the intrusions as disturbances, flicks again her hair to focus on physics dynamics, sees the trash heap of maternal bliss and just shoves her to the floor.

“Look at yourself, listen to yourself, have you seen or heard yourself?” Says the daughter and stomps off to school. I, the mother know the ways of pushing shoving stomping bullyingofearthlingsin pain.

Homelessness has permeated the daughter’s life, ever afore she was born, it’s a legacy of a something quite undefinable which cannot be shook without the aid of strong magic and deep healing of the land here. In other times the mother sees the daughter with bow and arrow, barefoot wild on Scottish Highland hills, whether an age passed and gone or to be had in times to come, the here and now of it is that the daughter desires to be rid of this stinking beach hut, the high maintenance of it and the distance it is from the pool. The mother that is I lies on the floor and knows this. 

Moving home is a thing we do. I pack it up and put it out like lifting the clothes off of the floor. It is second nature. I move along, go, shift as I am bid, taking my daughter, hound and manky badness the cat where we end up. I love my home. I love the beach and the assholes. The more the small men have fenced me in the stronger I have become. The stronger we have become. The mother has packed away and picked up again to place once more the stuff of a lifetime made. The furniture strong enough to dance on, the drawn on tables and chairs, the favourite glass with the little fish, the sheepskin she slept on, free to suck all night, if she wanted, ’til she was three.

They are rootless trees, single mothers with nearly grown daughters. This pair are fucked off with the weather of not knowing where to go next. They are the strongest of trees, this mother and daughter pair. They have withstood with a modicum of grace, the winds of ice from toxic ne’er-do-well’s with agendas of heroic poison. They have danced and burned the stings of betrayal and learned from the lessons. 

The daughter sits in stinking seats with bitchy nonsense dramas making noise on the test practice instructions and the daughter pictures the mother and says to herself “I am not ending up like that” and the mother on the floor hears it, sees it in her mind’s eye and is thankful for evolution, that one generation learns from the mistakes of the previous.

The mother has been shoved to the floor for a long time, in all sorts of interesting ways. Here in this place the shoves came with shouts, often screams of insults and accusations, threats and intimidations. For over a calendar year, all sorts of folks have, for little or no reason become nasty when the mother straightens her back to say no no no no no. The daughter is teaching her how to scream it, yell it, stomp it, dance it, own it. The daughter is the mother’s greatest teacher.

Homelessness is a stress not showing on the daughter’s face but easily visible in her actions of insecurity and anger. Homelessness, the threat of it, the time it takes, the energy involved, the physical actions of it are all written in the mother’s deepening wrinkles. Homelessness, the starting again, finding new work and folk who don’t gossip, drains the senses in a constant subconscious fear nibbling scratching like mice.

The mother gets up from the floor and sits still so still on her fifteen year old meditation cushion, on her magic mat gifted to her by her birth partner as the only tools she needs to get through motherhood. The mother sits in the beans to breathe into the root of her to make her feet grow roots to bury straight through the earth to the heart of Mother. The mother straightens her shoulders to align her chakras the best she can and she sits and she sits and she sits until breath is all there is.

Threats of eviction are the rights of landlords in this country. This mother and daughter are being evicted for reporting repairs. Again. 

This woman, that is this mother, which is I, Orly Boggy, is learning to say no. My daughter does not like it. My daughter does not like change because homelessness has permeated her life like the backdrop of a movie set, it’s a never-ending cycle of evictions, notices to quit, threats of allsorts. I know you look at me and think I must be bringing this on myself, that I must be somehow to blame, or at fault, that I must DO something terribly wrong to be so consistently evicted. The truth is I am boring. I have no debt on this property. I maintain it to the best of my ability. I protect my home in prayer and ceremony each moment I can spare. I am actually, a model tenant. The issue is the law allows the abuse of tenants in this manner.

And those tenants, the length and breadth of Scotland are mothers just like me, with daughters just like mine, experiencing the same life. We need a new law, we need a new law. Landlords should be prosecuted for punishing tenants for reporting repairs. It should be called the Burnett Law.

The mother sits and dreams of nirvana knowing the stress of the threats of homelessness need special care, needs to be handed to the realms where wisdom meets life’s next journey. The daughter endures, just wanting to be held.

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Your Inner Writer. Culture Day.

Culture Day Forres is on Saturday 29th September 2018 in Forres. It is a showcase of sensory heritage, gathered from the planet, located in Moray, Scotland. Brought to you by Findhorn Bay Festival. In amongst the circus and the smells, in the Town Hall, up the dark stairs, in the attic office is a desk and chair waiting for you. There’s a pencil and pages of paper. Enter the writer’s room and try your hand at free-writing the stuff and nonsense in your head….

Sessions start at 11am and run for 30 minutes to one hour until 4pm.

Culture Day Forres

 

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Rope by Orla Broderick

A blue twine noose

hangs empty, for now,

from Carron Works desolate bridge.

A dirty river, bricked, below.

In grey rain I face

all the dead faces

and know,

there but for the grace of Mother, go I.

I was disappeared at fifteen, from all I knew, to a convent in the country. It was a punishment and meant to cure me of my evil. My crime was such it was forbidden in thought or talk. After Inter Cert I stalked the most beautiful girl in Wicklow and was suddenly locked away, far away from home. The fear I carry has roots in this. I stood on a window sill three stories high and desired the jump. At sixteen, terrified to speak the truth of me, I knew I had to lie to live. Or die. A nun found me there, on her way to wake the snoring dormitory. She showed no shock, she offered no comfort. I told her I must have been sleep walking.
I had been removed from friends, neighbours and folk who cared, to an institution deep in the heart of Ireland. Without choice, without voice, without a soul to hear me, I desired death and destruction for myself. But, there was a woman in that school called Mrs. O’Shea and she taught me the love of the written word, of poetry, of putting hard times into words, with feeling. I learned, at seventeen, to write it out. Thirty years later and I am getting the hang of it, both the living and the scribing.

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Autumn Courses

Sept 18 poster jpeg

Sept 18 poster pdf 2

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Valium

There’s a box of diazepam in the bottom of my bag. I carry it around like a weapon, or how I imagine someone might carry a weapon. I have taken only one and yes, it definitely worked.

The problem is the historical child abuse left me with complex PTSD, so that as soon as my anxiety peaks, my immune system crashes.

This week I have suffered from oral thrush, mainly. Oral thrush is a thick brown-yellow discharge which coats your tongue, down into your throat. My glands swelled, my muscles tightened until they became rock like and my hands stopped functioning as hands.

The response my body has to the fear of attack is real and terrible. I was a terrified child, teenager and young woman, scared shitless of my mother and her poison. The doctors all agree that talking therapies will help me. Unfortunately for me, talking therapies are expensive and out of my price range.

Today is the day the landlady thinks I am moving out. Today is the day she normally evicts her tenants (so that she can enjoy her school holidays in a nice Scottish village, rather than a busy German city). It is 9am and I am sweating profusely and have needed inhalers already.

I have seen and spoken to five doctors this past week. I explained I was suffering from the physical manifestation of psychological pain and that I had been dealing with this for as long as I can remember. All they can do is treat the symptoms. All they can do is write down the heightened anxiety and try to medicate the asthma, the psoriasis, the shakes, the diarrhoea etcetera.

In order that the doctors had context and didn’t think I was exaggerating, I brought in some of the witness statements about the attacks I have endured at the hands of the landlady. It is important to be believed, and, for a woman who was never believed when she reported her own child abuse (my mother’s catch-phrase in relation to my child abuse is ”that one has a grand imagination”). Each doctor took time to read the accounts other people gave of their interactions with my landlady. They offered empathy, compassion and whatever help they could, apologising profusely that they couldn’t do more.

The girls are coming. The single mothers and friends. The ones who know what it is like to be moved on, shifted, evicted, at the whim of some property owner. They are bringing their cameras and their kids, and for the next week there will be a sit-in here.

We need a new caveat to the law in Scotland. It is commonplace in other countries, but because of our historical patriarchal land system, we do not. Other countries state in law that landlords must not punish tenants. We need the same respect for our mothers, our women, our young families.

I might take another valium, if I need it. I would prefer, with the help of my friends, to stand firm and grin and begin the process of updating our laws.

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