Helpful Partner went off to earn his keep. Shopping and paying the water bill. (Remember – the water bill can’t be paid in the village bank.)
So while he’s in the water office, the guy in front was trying to explain – not unreasonably – that he didn’t want his water cut off. The account wasn’t yet in his name and it seemed like the previous occupant hadn’t paid up.
Apparently he had received a letter saying the water company would be cutting off the water. Mañana, muy temprano. Yes Saturday. People work on Saturdays here. A lot of our neighbours work every day.
The woman rang the Cutting Off Department, and it was agreed that if Guy In Front brought in his title deeds and provided the number of the meter – today – then the cutting off would be cancelled.
Guy In Front sent his teenage son, who had accompanied him, back home to find the deeds and meter number. On the motor bike. Son promptly left skid lid on counter and went off, leaving Guy In Front sitting patiently in the office.
Don’t know what happened then because Helpful Partner paid and cleared off too. But we have some empathy with this.
When we bought GibFlat, our blond hairdressing vendor (who, according to our estate agent had suffered a disastrous encounter with a peroxide monster) didn’t seem to think (us) paying over the money and signing the papers (all of us) meant that she had to move out of the flat. Well, not for a few days anyway. Just until she had got herself sorted.
Lawyers command vast sums for conveyancing in Gib, but as part of that service, it seems to include ensuring all the bills are up-to-date and there is a straightforward handover. Her lawyer asked if she had done the transfer of bills stuff. “No,” she said. Actually it was “Non.” She rolled her pretty eyes helplessly. Underneath the mass of blond hair.
“OK,” he said patiently. And to his colleague, “Can you give her forms 123XYZ?”
“Yes. Er, no. I don’t seem to have them. I’ll need to get them from the office.” (We were sitting in a formal boardroom sort-of-place for the Official Signing and Handover of Keys – Hah!).
As an aside, had my lawyer been asking for the last few weeks if this had been done? Yes. Had it? No.
So once we’re finally in our flat and had our first night in there, the entryphone rang early the next morning.
Well obviously it was a mistake because we didn’t know anyone. But I answered anyway. Couldn’t hear because I had ringing in my ears so I let them in and then went down to confront Gibraltar’s major criminals gaining false entry to flats. Or so my paranoid British mind ran.
It was the electricity board. They looked pretty straight. GibElec and not GibCrims. They wanted to cut off our electricity. The previous owner had given notice to stop the service – not transfer – so here they were, prompt and efficient.
I said – after a very long pause – that cutting off the electricity wasn’t exactly what we had expected. And we had only bought the flat the day before.
Apparently if I ran down to the electricity office – immediately – clutching ID and some money for a deposit for the connection, this might be avoided. I went. And fast. Just as I finished averting the cut-off, the woman’s parting shot was…”Have you been to the water office yet? They will cut you off too.”
Well, the good thing about living in central Gib is that everything is near. So, next stop, water office. I don’t like lifts, climbed the millions of stairs, and dutifully waited. Only to find I needed my title deeds (in the Land Registry), or at the least, a photocopy with a signed letter on headed paper from my lawyer. Oh, and the cut-off was scheduled. She didn’t know if she could avoid it. But she would try.
Next stop the lawyer’s office. Only three flights of stairs. Letter and photocopy in hand I again climbed the millions of stairs to the water office. I tried to avoid the chairs which are nastily positioned near horrible floor-length glass windows on this far-too-high floor.
My turn. The same efficient woman took my papers. Photocopied everything. Keyed in the details. Rang the Cutting Off Department. Yes, it could be cancelled. I nearly kissed her feet. Except they were under the desk and I couldn’t see them. I was a bit hot and sweaty too from the hike up the stairs so I don’t think it would have helped.
I did nothing for the rest of the day. Why are people such shitheads that they make life difficult when you buy their property? So we felt for the guy in town today in the water office today. Because we have been there too.
And you can see why my legs are in great shape after a few days in Gib.