@gotham-ruaidh asked: May we please see a small story where a modern Jamie and Claire are out to dinner and realize a truly terrible date is going on at the table next to them? 😘😘
An ask from the Queen herself! I’m honored to write something for you!! I hope you like it!
Jamie helped Claire from the car and they headed into the restaurant.
“I’m looking forward to a night out,” she said. “And having you to myself for an hour or two.”
“Och,” he said, giving her a flat look. “Ye have me to yourself every night, Sassenach.”
“But most of that is unconscious, so it doesn’t count. You’ve been busy with the estate.”
“Aye, we have. The fire at one of the tenant’s houses set us back a wee bit, but we’ll be alright. Dinna fash.”
She smiled and followed the hostess to their table.
They were on a nice date, nothing too fancy, just some time for them to be alone together. She was right, of course. They hadn’t been together as much as they used to be in the last few weeks. One of the tenant’s houses had caught fire and burnt down, so he and Ian had been working nonstop to get everything fixed. So Jamie had promised Claire a night out to thank her for being understanding.
After ordering a nice wine, they talked quietly about any problems at the estate. Claire told him about her friends at the hospital and about some of her favorite patients. It was quite a lovely evening.
Until the pair at the table beside them began to argue.
“No,” the blonde woman said a little too loud. “I will not shh!”
“Anne, please darling.”
“No, don’t you ‘please darling’ me, Grant.”
“Please,” Grant whispered.
Claire glanced over at them and back at Jamie, her brows raised. Jamie did his best to ignore the couple.
“So Jenny invited us to the big house for dinner next week,” he said after taking a sip of his wine.
“Has she? I think our vegetable garden is going well enough that we can bring something over.”
Claire bit down on her lips as her eyes went wide.
“Please, Anne! Hush!”
“You’re expecting me to pay for all this?! I paid last time!”
“I’ll pay you when we get home!”
“Fine. But we’re going to have a talk about this, Grant.”
“I know we are.”
Claire snorted and he shot her a ‘do not laugh out loud’ look. Grant at the other table stood, but was clumsy. He kicked his own chair backwards and it clattered to the floor, making every eye turn to him. In his effort to keep the chair upright, he knocked over the last of his red wine, which broke the glass and splashed the liquid everywhere.
Including down the front of Anne’s pink satin dress.
The woman was furious while her partner turned a deep red, eyes hunting for the exit. They left in a huff, Anne beginning to yell at Grant before they even got outside.
“Well at least we’ve never done that,” Claire said when the drama was gone.
“Aye, we havena had a date go that poorly before.”
“Oh I believe you’re forgetting something,” she laughed, finishing her own wine.
He looked up at her in surprise. He could never remember any of their dates going poorly.
“And what is it that I’m forgetting?”
“The day you took me out for a nature walk. Only your little car got a flat tire. But we were almost there, so we walked. It was nice, until it started raining. Both of our mobile’s died, so we couldn’t get a ride.”
“I remember that day verra differently, Sassenach.”
He sat back in his chair and took a deep breath, remembering.
“Aye, my car got a flat. And it wasne on purpose either. But it meant I got to walk wi’ ye and hold your hand. We talked a lot that day. Real talk, the deep things ye dinna share wi’ just anyone.”
“You make getting a flat tire sound awfully romantic.”
He frowned at her.
“Hush, yer interrupting the story. Anyway. When it began to rain, ye told me the things that scairt ye. How your Englishman broke your heart, how much ye wished that ye had yer mam around, how afraid ye were for how strongly ye felt for me.”
“It still frightens me, how strongly I feel.”
Reaching across the table, he took her hand in his own and traced her silver ring.
“And we’re engaged to be marriet.”
“I’m still scared.”
“I ken ye are, and yet ye trust me anyway.”
“Because I love you.”
“That day was the first time ye said that to me.”
She smiled and squeezed his hand.
“It was. But I’d known it for a long time by then.”
“But ye were brave enough to tell me that, standing in the pouring rain. Yer hair plastered to yer head. That shirt ye wore soaked through.”
“And you thought I didn’t see you staring.”
“I just wondered why ye’d gone out on a date wi’out any underthings on.”
“You couldn’t see through my trousers!”
“Weel, I assumed if ye werena wearing a bra, ye’d have no knickers either.”
Much to his pleasure, her cheeks turned a lovely shade of pink.
“Well I’d thought maybe our date would go a bit further than a chaste kiss. I hadn’t realized you were so old fashioned.”
“Aye, I ken it isna your first choice. But I thank ye for understanding it.”
“I’ve waited this long, I can wait a few more weeks.”
“I think that was the first time I regretted choosing to wait,” he said absently, looking at the dress she’d worn for the night.
Her smile got wider.
“You’ve regretted it more than once?”
“Anytime I see your lovely round arse pressed tight against whatever you’re wearing.”
She took a deep breath, still smiling at him.
“So what of our walk home? How will you make that into a romantic tale?”
“Weel that wasna romantic at the time, ken. But ye wore my coat, to preserve your modesty of course.”
“But when ye gave me the coat back, it smelt of you.”
“You never told me that.”
“I wore that coat everywhere, just to keep ye wi’ me.”
The server came and asked if they’d like dessert. When they both declined, he left to get their check.
“After hearing all of that you have me regretting your choice to be old fashioned too,” she said quietly.
“Weel, I have to agree wi’ ye there, mo nighean donn. Recalling ye in that wet shirt… Christ it’s a wonder I didna take ye to the ground then and there.”
After he’d paid for their dinner, he took her hand and they walked back out to the car.
“Perhaps, after we’re married, we can recreate that a bit?”
“Oh aye, I think we could make that happen.”
He stopped with the passenger door open.
“I love you.”
Just as with each time she said those words to him, heat rushed through his veins like fire. His blood boiled and rushed out of his head and down, but he forced those feelings away.
“And I love you, mo chridhe. Always.”
“It won’t be long now,” she said, sliding into the seat. “Until you’re mine.”
PRESS RELEASE: No Pride in Prisons Joins Resistance to State Housing Evictions
Members of prison abolitionist organisation No Pride in Prisons will be joining the Tāmaki Housing Group today to resist the eviction state housing tenant of Ioela “Niki” Rauti.
Its spokesperson Emilie Rākete says, “No Pride in Prisons is proud to join our friends and whānau in protecting Niki’s right to a home. We will be joining dozens of others in occupying Niki’s land and refusing to move until she is guaranteed the right to stay in her home.”
Rauti was served with a 90-day eviction notice, which expired on the 18th of January. The police has warned that she will be physically moved on today from 9:30am. “We intend to put our bodies on the line to stop this eviction,” says Rākete.
No Pride in Prisons believes the eviction is unjust. “One of the most frustrating things about this whole process is that it never used to be like this. State housing tenants, including Niki, were told for decades that their houses were for life.”
“The government introduced reviewable tenancies just so it could kick out state housing tenants and make some money from their eviction.”
Rauti’s house is owned by the Tāmaki Regeneration Company (TRC), which was transferred ownership from Housing New Zealand as a part of the Tāmaki redevelopment. TRC wants to develop the land that her house sits on.
“While the government and the council say these evictions are necessary to keep house prices down, we’ve seen a huge increase in house prices in the area since the redevelopments began.”
“The government is effectively kicking out old and poor people and making room for the rich. Niki’s eviction is just one part of a broader plan to undermine state housing and transfer land to the wealthy,” says Rākete.
The organisation is worried about how the move might impact Niki’s health and well-being. “Niki is an elderly woman who has a heart condition. One of the saddest parts of the Tāmaki redevelopment has been the effect on the elderly. Often, following eviction from life-long homes, elderly tenants have passed away shortly after being relocated.”
No Pride in Prisons is also concerned about the police involvement in evicting Niki. According to Rākete, “The police will do everything it can to make sure that this blatantly unjust process continues. Niki is a respected kuia, but the police intend to remove her from her home by force.”
“We oppose both Niki’s eviction and the violence we expect to see from police in order to make it happen.”
“We believe that Niki and all other tenants deserve healthy, warm and affordable homes, and the stability of knowing they won’t be evicted every time the government wants to make a buck.”
“We support the Tāmaki Housing Group and all those resisting the sell-off of state houses and the eviction of state housing tenants. This injustice is part of a broader program by this and previous governments to undermine support for poor and working class people.”
“No Pride in Prisons stands in solidarity with those fighting for safe and secure housing for all.”
At Higher Farm, opposite the church, is a “Screaming Skull” which according to a tradition current in the 18th century belonged to Theophilus Broome, who died in 1670 and “…requested that his head might be taken off before his burial, and be preserved at the farm-house near the church ….The tenants of the house have often endeavored to commit [the skull] to the bowels of the earth, but have been as often deterred by horrid noises, portentive of sad displeasure.”
It’s said that Broome was a Royalist during the English Civil War, but defected to the Parliamentarians after witnessing horrors perpetrated on civilians in the name of the king. In particular, he despised the Royalist habit of severing the heads of victims and spiking them on rails as trophies. On his deathbed, Broome made a plea to his sister that his head should be separated from his body and secreted away in the farmhouse, so that even if his body were exhumed, no head could be taken or presumably violated as a trophy.
A manuscript account from the Farm dating from 1829 contains statements from various parishioners confirming the tradition. It is “…remembered when the Scull was brought down stairs, and put in the Cupboard.” A farm tenant “…bought a new Spade, and went to his Relation … who said ‘Now Uncle Doctor, let us go and bury the Scull, when we have had a crust of bread and cheese,’ he said no he would not; but after some time he went, but with an ill will, to bury it in the Churchyard. The Spade broke off at the first spit, and so they took it back again, he thought it presumptuous to attempt it, as the Man had begged that some part might be buried there and the rest in some other places.” This tenant, an Ann Dunman, had also heard that “Brome was a great Warrior, and begged that his body might be laid in three Counties” - a theme also found in the lives of saints, and undoubtedly arising from the fact that their corpses were frequently dismembered for relics.
For six months now, I have been the current tenant of the murder house. Well not just me, my parents, younger brother and our dog too. And for four and a half months now, I have been the girlfriend of Violet Harmon. I still don’t know what I’d have done without her, especially as I began to uncover the secrets of this house.
Some of the ghosts here are friendly; Nora Montgomery, for example, is like a second mother to me. And Moira o'Hara as well. Violet’s told me the types of things Moira can do, though, and I’ve made her promise me not to try anything with my dad. Violet’s family are also wonderful; her mother and mine clicked right away which is definitely a relief.
However, some of the ghosts in this house are truly bone-chillingly disturbing. The infantata, for example, is a terrifying creature - Nora and Charles’ deceased baby who was dismembered and reassembled by Charles himself. I don’t often see Charles, but from what I’ve heard, he’s someone I don’t want to cross.
Then there’s Tate. He doesn’t really fit a category, though if I had to find him one, I’d place him under ‘Jealous Creepy Ex-Boyfriend who Often Tries to Hit on Me’. It’s strange, because after all this time, he’s still so infatuated with Violet - a little awkward on the current relationship front - and follows us everywhere, lurking behind doors to watch us.
He’s like anathema to me, and if ever I encounter him when Violet isn’t with me, I retreat to my room immediately, and he doesn’t follow. Today, however, is different. There’s a strange air around the house today; even Violet seems very uptight and anxious about something, though she won’t tell me what. So, we’re lying on my bed, listening to a playlist full of songs we both love, matching breaths and holding hands.
There’s a crack in my ceiling which I hadn’t noticed until now, despite lying under it every night. I open my mouth, about to ask once again what’s wrong with her, when - as if some jolt of electricity bolts through her - she sits up suddenly.
“Alright, I’ll tell you.” I push myself up next to her, concerned eyes meeting hers. “Today’s the anniversary of my death.” The silence that falls between us is more intense than the one before. The soft buzz of Morrissey playing through my headphones is the only noise heard for at least a minute.
“I-I’m sorry.” I say finally, realising how stupid that probably sounded to her. She shrugs.
“I’m gonna go to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” She gets off the bed and walks out the room, tucking her brown hair behind her ear as she leaves.
As soon as she closes the door, I sigh. God she’s probably really upset and I’ve done nothing but bug her all day. I sit back, leaning against the headboard, and close my eyes, chewing anxiously on my lower lip.
“I can’t believe she never told you about that. Some girlfriend,” a voice scoffs.
“Get out, Tate.” I reply, without even opening my eyes. I hear some shuffling, and open them. Tate’s leaning against my wardrobe, arms folded over his chest, smirking at me.
“You know, she’s probably gonna be mopey like this all day.” He pauses to walk closer to my bed. “Come down to the basement and I’ll show you a good time.” I roll my eyes at how forced and generic that sounds, but he doesn’t care. There’s a shit-eating grin slapped onto his face, and a mocking amusement in his eyes.
“Come on, Y/N, surely you must be sick of the same thing by now.” I stand up, my frame reaching a height just a little shorter than Tate.
“If I go with you will you leave her alone?” I think of all the times he’s bugged her, or cornered her with his attempts at an apology. Sometimes he just stands, watching her. Violet’s told me she can feel it when he does it, but she never points it out.
Tate’s smile widens, and he nods before pulling me down the stairs - me almost falling over - and finally, down into the basement. I never liked it down here. It’s dark and dank and there’s a constant chill down my spine like someone’s watching me.
“Alright, Tate. What do you want.” In the darkness, I can see the outline of his figure move around, walking closer to me until I can vaguely make out the features on his face. He lunges forward, and rams me against the wall. I can feel the pain shoot up my shoulder blades, and my face contorts in an effort not to cry out.
What I love about living with my aunt and uncle is that they don’t treat me as their child. I don’t have any rules to follow or anything. They let me be. And I respect them in exchange for the freedom I have. I don’t do anything against them because I know they trust me to be myself and to know the right thing to do. In my house with my mom and dad they had rules even though I was an adult. I had to follow them and I didn’t like it not because I was a bad daughter but because they didn’t see me as an adult. With my aunt and uncle I have to cook for myself, do my own laundry, buy my own groceries, pay my own bills. I’m practically just a tenant in their house (of course I don’t have to house bills) that they expect to be courteous. I love it.
I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good … I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe—look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse … I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.
These days you can find William Kitt in a small, bright solarium on the corner of 150th Street and Edgecombe Avenue in Manhattan, where he lives. Most hours on any day he sits here, sketching over a desk cluttered with colored pencils and pastels. What you could not know from looking at Kitt, a slender, laughing man who wears a beret and surrounds himself with drawings, is that he spent decades living on the streets.
Kitt says he spent 34 years of his life being homeless and maddened by drug-induced hallucinations. Now he lives in an apartment owned by a housing nonprofit called Broadway Housing Communities, which was founded in 1983 and owns seven buildings housing over 600 tenants.
Like most supportive housing projects, Broadway Housing Communities provides apartments and medical, psychiatric or other services to people who, like William Kitt, have physical or mental health problems or are low income. Kitt, now 65, has leased a room from this Broadway Housing property on Edgecombe Avenue for the past 13 years.
He’s alive today in part because of this Harlem building. “He was so not well when he first arrived that had he not been in Broadway Housing, he would not have had long to live,” says Russell Baptist, a social work manager who has worked with Kitt. “Maybe just of his own neglect.”
“I’m in the process of selling my house [to the current tenants]. That house was literally almost three years of blood, sweat, and tears, and every penny I had in order to renovate it. It was my first house out of a dozen houses I’ve bought in New Orleans. It set off so much for me in life. I met my wife through buying that house, I’ve grown that into a really nice little real estate thing, and I learned a million lessons there.”
“So, why are you selling it?”
“Just saying goodbye to the house and putting it on the market and selling it to some stranger for the highest price you can get was not what I wanted to see for this house. But the people in that house are such good people - they’re perennial renters - if I [put that house on the market], those people aren’t going to be in the neighborhood anymore. The truth is, a lot of tenants have what we say is ‘no visible means of support.’ They don’t have a fucking job, you know? But they pay the rent every month and they’re awesome people. I live in an amazing, funky, fun, artistic, creative [neighborhood and] city, and I’m not really very interesting or artistic or creative myself. But the way I feel that I can contribute is making sure that those people have a place to live, you know, that they’re not pushed out of the neighborhood. That’s my contribution.“
Today, more than 11 million families spend over half of their incomes on rent, and for the poor, it can be as much as 80 percent. That means millions of Americans face the threat of eviction, or they live in substandard housing because it’s all they can afford. NPR’s Pam Fessler has been spending time at the rent court in Washington, D.C., where the struggle between low-income renters and landlords over affordable housing often comes to a head.
Only the Daily Mail could hail the resurrection of a thirty five year old policy which has been the very cause of the shortage of affordable housing in this country as a “revolution.”
This is what Wikipedia has to say about Right To Buy:
The Right to Buy scheme is a policy in the United Kingdom which gives secure tenants of councils and some housing associations the legal right to buy, at a large discount, the home they are living in. There is also a Right to Acquire for assured tenants of housing association homes built with public subsidy after 1997, at a smaller discount. About 1.5 million homes in the UK have been sold in this manner since 1980. Critics claim that this compounded a housing shortage for those of low income, initiated a national house price bubble, and what is commonly recognised as the displacement and social cleansing of traditional communities. [source]
To be clear, this is nothing new, this is the extension of an existing scheme and this is about the transfer of public assets into the private sector so that private landlords can monetize existing affordable housing schemes.