2015 kicked off with R turning 18 years old in January. Managing to get him a PlayStation 4 during a time when stock was empty all over, was pricey, but worth it. He was happy.
In February, we received notification that R had been provisionally accepted onto his next engineering course at Hull college, starting in September.
We'd had no further incidents of vandalism since October 2014, and I was relieved. It was just teething troubles after all.
On March 3rd 2015, we had a routine tenancy inspection by Lime Properties. After an extremely thorough visual inspection of every room, and even the loft space (which I hadn't needed to use, having so much living space in the house), Lime Properties confirmed they were happy with the condition of the property. One of the boys asked why the person had climbed a ladder and entered a hatch in the ceiling, and I jokingly said "it's to check we've not got any drugs in there".
The person then disclosed that they had received a few recent 'reports', but that it was nothing to worry about. From the inspection, it appeared that the complaints were malicious, and they were happy with how I was conducting the tenancy. Once again I was reassured not to worry, that they had no concerns with the tenancy, and thanked me for my time.
I wondered what the reports were about...
We tried to enjoy life at the seaside, making the most of March before the tourist season in Withernsea picked up. R even placed a mother's day greeting in the local paper, it meant so much. So what if someone in the neighbourhood didn't like me, it was still a beautiful day, my kids were happy, we were bossing this whole new life! I oozed with overconfidence, bordering on arrogance, to hide the fear I felt deep down. We'd escaped the set up in Nottingham, I didn't want to have to keep running. This was our village as well now, for nearly 2 years. Lime Properties were happy with us, we were staying.
Then out of nowhere, my car started to squeal while I was driving. A loud, screeching, high pitched squeal, it was impossible to ignore. Concerned, I booked another appointment at Evans Halshaw. This was totally unexplainable, my car was brand new, a 2012 Vauxhall Astra, it hadn't even had its first MOT yet! Due to the excessive mileage I was doing taking R to college, and also visiting home and friends, the car had needed more regular servicing as well as replacement parts such as new tyres, brakes, even a coil pack, it was costing me a fortune! On top of the finance payments, I was beginning to struggle.
Evans Halshaw performed a thorough check of the brakes and tyres but found no fault. The short test drives they took the car on, didn't produce the squealing noise, so they instead advised me to get two new tyres, cost to me: £131.36.
But the squealing didn't stop. Whenever I drove at speeds over 30mph, my car screamed an ear piercing screech. Living in such a rural, remote location, the majority of roads I travelled down were 60mph or motorways/duel carriageways. I couldn't carry on like this, so I booked another appointment at Evans Halshaw. But again, another inspection found no faults, and they had no idea what was causing the noise. The front brake pads had been replaced the previous September, so they suggested stripping and cleaning the front brakes, cost to me: £40.95
However, the noise appeared again within weeks, and yet another trip to Evans Halshaw in April found no obvious faults. The brakes were once again stripped and cleaned, at a cost of £45.50. It was suggested that deliberate sabotage could be the cause, with something being poured onto my tyres, or onto the brakes through the gaps in the alloys. I was assured the car was safe to drive, although the squealing was never fully explained, and never happened again.
We celebrated Ks 11th birthday in April, and started looking forward to summer.
In May, an incident occurred in front of the house. K was playing with a much younger child and had got a bit too rough. The younger child's mum had intervened. K reluctantly explained what had happened, he seemed deflated and embarrassed. After assessing the situation and those involved, I was satisfied that it had been handled and I didn't need to get involved. The younger child's mum was really petite, barely 5 foot tall herself, so she was probably eye to eye with K, who at 11 was a tall, well-built boy. K didn't appear hurt or even upset by what had happened, he was more embarrassed and ashamed. I felt this was a good conclusion to the whole situation, and that K had learned a number of important lessons. We were both happy to move on from this, until there was a knock on the door.
There stood a social worker, and a police officer, both female. There had been an anonymous report that K had been assaulted by another adult in the street. They wanted to speak to K. I refused. This had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. If I had decided the situation warranted escalation, I would have dealt with it myself.
I was incensed by the intrusion. My old anger returned and I exploded. Who the hell did these people think they were? And as for 'anonymous' reports, oh I'd had more than my fair share of 'anonymous' reports. In my experience, an anonymous report was an allegation made up by whoever was engineering the set-up, and then 'reported' by that person pretending to be 'anonymous'. They still use this tactic to this day. That's why you can have the same neighbours for years, but only experience anonymous allegations, supposedly from these neighbours, while social services are involved or trying to get involved.
I tore into the social worker, calling her every lying, child trafficking, useless name I could muster up, to the point the police officer felt compelled to explain she was only there due to an allegation of assault, and had nothing to do with anything else, and definitely wasn't a social worker.
I denied them any contact with K. I was more than capable of judging a situation for myself, and more than capable of knocking on doors if I felt it was necessary. The authorities had done enough damage to our family, I didn't want any further interference.
There wasn't anyone out in the street when this supposed assault even happened, so how would anyone have seen anything to report it? Hmm, I started to look at the other, unsociable neighbours...