After another fire, everyone in the crumbling building received their notice to quit.
Blame was attached to bedsit ten for cooking something that wasn't for eating.
'All rooms to be vacated by the 31st...assistance and help with packing will be offered...'
Meaning...the landlord plans to send in thick necked escorts with large hands more inclined towards free dental work who will guide anyone remaining towards the exits, open or closed.
It was the incentive needed with the outstanding rent owing.
Time to move on with haste and depart my eight by six box and move on to greater things, a larger bedsit perhaps with en-suite facilities.
Packing took three minutes.
Another six to walk the silent twisting passageways that would confuse a sniffer dog and out on to the main street.
A moments pause to reflect...no more listening to phlegm filled hacking coughs, the sighs and cries, wild screams, demented laughter and tears that seeped through the thin walls .
Where to now?
Eduardo had a kitchen porter job going in the cafe.
Charlie with maintenance in the arcade and Patsy offering work in the laundrette with extra benefits thrown in.
' ...hey, I need a good man around to fix the machines , you can help me with my... dirty washing for starters...?'
' I'll be back in a few months!' knowing
I'm unlikely to return.
Her offer tempts me, but I need to remain detached.
Don't let anyone get too close, no emotional involvement, no complications, no regrets.
At the bus terminus sleek luxury black glass hi liners glide in and hiss to a stop spilling out tourists for their expensive cultural fix in the 12th century cathedral and its network of subterranean catacombs.
Within an hour they will be transported away, oblivious to the festering 21st century bedsit squalor with its rabbit warren of underground rooms that lie hidden away amongst the exotic palm trees.
The occupants seeking a different kind of fix.
Older less luxurious buses park up further away next to a partly demolished factory.
Subtle coach apartheid in operation holding the lost souls clutching bags full of dreams in the search of that elusive fresh start in a new town.
I check my found Rover ticket with 24 hour free travel remaining.
I consider an overnight for warmth and a kip and consult a blurred laminated timetable for options.
Bournemouth or Brighton, try Margate back to Dover and a ferry over to France and then , who knows where.
A backpack catches my eye as it topples off a bench followed by an expletive as pencils roll and a sheaf of papers takes flight.
'My drawings, my drawings...' she shrieks as water colours float like jousting kites and snag up on a tree.
' Want me to climb up and get them ?'
' Yes, yes , yes please... no, no, no...its OK, the bus has arrived, thanks, they were only quick scribbles... I have more of them...and ...'
Next to her I resemble a slug that's been dredged up from the depths of the Mariana Trench.
My milky skin with a hint of beige at odds with her tanned honed physique.
'Hi, where to please ?' the driver asks.
'St Ives thanks' she replies.
' For the Tate exhibition ?' he smiles lifting her bag of paints and brushes on to the rack.
' Yes , starting a new job there, but...only if I have any drawings left...' she laughs pointing to the tree and winks at me.
The warmth from her smile turns my pasteurised skin to blushing pink.
' We leave in five minutes... anymore passengers for this bus ...?' he calls down the shuffling line.
The decision was an easy one , I could easily pick up a job in St Ives in one of the trendy cafes or in an arcade, maybe a laundrette.
' St Ives please ' as I step up and sit beside a smiling work of living art.