Where were you at 1.50 AM today, Sunday 15 March? Out on the town? In bed, as would be normal at this time of day?
Or living out your blacksmith fantasies in a near derelict council block? Welcome to our world.
Playing only three floors away was the unexpected but eerie sound of serious hammers striking an anvil. Almost like the distorted battering of chapel bells from some off-kilter dream, a hollow shockwave bouncing off your doorstep and the doorstep of every resident trying to get some sleep. It was 1 freaking 50 AM. Didn't people care for the time?
Perhaps it was the perfect time for a murder. Indeed, it was as though someone was trying to beat a gong to death by bashing it repeatedly in the face with a mallet. Nope. It was the Sitex men.
We had forgotten that they were a 24hr service and boy were we being reminded, 20 minutes into their session. Called in to seal up a midnight attempt to open a new squat, it was difficult to determine whether the banging was the work of serious hammers or the workmen being pissed off at having to work a late Saturday night shift.
Either way, it was loud, oppressive and relentless.
Some 40 minutes after, judging by their noisy attempts to yank off the Sitex, the squat openers were back. And within minutes of them came the estate security guards, whom since January had been patrolling the empties, you recognised them immediately by the sound of their manic cranky dogs. Dogs with the kind of starved barking only just too eager to rip open your body, never mind the dogs themselves.
Three floors away might as well have been from inside the hallway.
Pity the squatters confronting them and funnily enough, if it hadn't been for their late night efforts, Sunday morning could just have been that. Pity the rest of us trying to get some sleep.
Am I anti-squatter? Nope, just pro-consideration for other people at all times, and that doesn't change, for anyone.