We have a new water feature in our house.
Sadly, it's not ornate or particularly Zen-like, or even meant to be there.
When I got home on a rain-whipped Friday night, I found water cascading from the kitchen roof onto the counters and in the upstairs spare bedroom.
There followed several hours of mopping up, movement of possessions and increasingly frantic phone calls to bitch Tory landlady to warn her of the latest addition to the Slum.
It's all too tedious to go into but the end result is waterlogged carpets, holes in the roof where there shouldn't be any and a particular aroma that last assaulted my nostrils when my wet dog rolled in a decomposing fish at Lyall Bay beach.
In the interests of seeing the glass half full, rather than half empty or half full of something I'm allergic to, one thing to come out of a ruined evening and far too much time spent in the presence of the horrid landlady is that we are getting new mattresses, which are long overdue. But even that didn't happen without a fight. As a landlord myself, I would never treat my tenants the way we've been treated – or have the cheek to charge a goodly sum for such a dive – but let's just say that in England, the only criteria you need to be a landlord is a desire to rip people off and treat them like something stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
The Slum, as I have previously mentioned, is, quite simply, the nastiest place I have ever had the misfortune to live. Imagine if you will the most decrepit building you've ever seen, then beat it viciously and frequently with the ugly stick. God only knows how old it is, but suffice to say the place hasn't been redecorated since the builders left.
Even the addition of new Ikea furniture can't disguise the fact that sometimes a sow's ear is just a sow's ear.
If I was to put my Pollyanna hat on again, I'd have to say that it's in a great location and because of its dodgy condition I've been able to send my Martha Stewart tendencies on an indefinite sabbatical. This from a woman who, in a previous life, had her house featured in 'Home & Garden Magazine' and thought nothing of spending all night scrubbing skirting boards and arranging flowers before a dinner party. In some ways, it feels good not to have to care.
Now counting down the days until the end of February when our lease is up and we can find somewhere that isn't reminiscent of the flat from The Young Ones.