Trouble In Paradise

Discussion in 'The Village Square' started by Sjoerd, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    .....It all began about a year ago, although it seems more like ten. The management of our Allotment Association rented a garden to a woman. It didn't take long before the woman's behaviour was noticed to be extremely abnormal. Our gardening club is well organised and had rules for everyone to follow and there are consequences if they are broken.

    The lady broke so many of the rules, but the administrators of the club just kept giving her one more chance. There was talk of stealing, and of her taking the club's carts and ranging far and wide throughout the city to collect things from trash piles and building sites and bringing it back to her garden.

    Finally she was caught red-handed stealing planks from another gardener and the management had then had enough and withdrew her membership and told her that she must leave and that she was not to come back. She had three months to clear out her stuff and get the garden in order for the next renter. That never happened and she kept returning even to the point that the police had to remove her. She received a restraining order and was no longer allowed to set foot on the complex. After violating the order and being removed by the police for a third time, the people running the club decided that she would keep coming back as long as her shed was there. They began breaking her shed down and cleaning up. After the first day, a mail was sent to all the members to come and help with the clean-up of this garden.

    Fine then--this person was not normal and had several mental issues, but what we discovered during the clean-up was simply astounding. She was a compulsive collector. Sort of like a pack rat...she just brought so much stuff to the garden and then stowed it away in and around her shed.

    When going through all the things that she had abandoned we noticed a framed picture amongst the pile of stuff and several of the people there recognized it from the wall of the the clubhouse. I think that the woman could not help herself from simply taking things.

    So then, the first day we broke the shed down with great difficulty and then we had to cart all the stuff up to the clubhouse parking lot and deposit it all in the skip. The distance was about 200 yards on the narrow paths. It was no easy job pulling the carts and pushing the wheel barrows full of junk. Two big skips where not enough but they put a dent in the finances of our allotment organisation.

    The crew began disassembling the shed:
    zzz3.jpg

    The shed is mostly down:
    zzz4.jpg

    At the end of the first day, the skip was full but there was much, much more to be removed.
    zzz5.jpg

    The stuff just kept coming and a second skip was rented.
    Eventually that was full as well.
    zzz7.jpg

    Full....but there was still more.
    zzz6.jpg

    On a positive note -- since the clean-up a week ago, the lady has not been spotted on the complex any-more.

    I can tell you guys that I cannot recall the last time that I was so sore from work. I had sore everything after the couple of days' work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  3. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Looks like you needed a bigger skip.
    Those photos remind me of the TV program Hoarders on one of our cable stations. It is sad since it looks like she has a problem Hoarding Disorder.
     
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  4. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    No matter how careful the vetting process, any group eventually gets a bad apple or two. I'm so sorry this happened to your allotment group, who seem to be a lot of very nice people and excellent gardeners.
    Your soreness will go away, as has the problem woman. You will recover, she won't.
     
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  5. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Oh horrors, Sjoerd. Glad you all pitched in and got it cleaned up. I have seen a few episodes of a hoarder show and it actually makes me anxious. I can't watch them. I feel for everyone involved. this is a mental issue. We had a family member who was a hoarder. you cannot imagine what it is like to live around one. we were not EVER invited to the house. never. it was an ugly mess. this person passed away and now the spouse has done nothing but clean it for months on end and the secrets.. oh my the secrets that were kept from the spouse. like almost 100,000.00 of debt in the form of school loans for the children. you can't imagine the mental mess of a hoarder.
     
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  6. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Pretty incredible that she was able to amass so much stuff on her lottie in only a year. That's all she must have been doing 24/7.

    Sorry you've all had to go through this, the work of clean up and the expense.
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hi TONI--We don't get the Hoarder program over here...but that is one of the psychological problems that woman has. It is a difficult situation---one can have great pity for the person and at the same time be furious at the anti-social behaviour. It is not a comfortable feeling to have for another person.

    JANE--you have hit the nail on the head (again).

    CAROLYN--You are right about not grasping the unbelievable character of hoarding individuals. Of course I know it exists, but when I saw what that woman had amassed in her tiny garden shed...well, it defied comprehension.

    CAYUGA--You are so right about her hoarding and transporting 24/7. That is exactly what she was doing...day and night. Everyone saw her bringing the stuff, but the woman never removed it from her shed to use it. It was never seen again until the clean-up. She used the wheelbarrows and carts from the complex to haul the stuff and go on searches around the city. She also stole grocery carts and used those. I returned them to the stores though.
    I really appreciate your kind words.
     
  8. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    It is hard to imagine the intensity of drive that would cause someone to do this non stop. I find it unimaginable.

    I am so glad you and the Bride are in a supportive community of gardeners & everyone came together to address the situation.
     
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  9. Nnamdi

    Nnamdi New Seed

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    Oh dear so sorry, hope my condolence isn't coming late.
     
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  10. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Thanks for your kind words, Nn.
     
  11. Sherry8

    Sherry8 I Love Birds!

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    oh my gosh! yes, toni...it reminds me of the shows Hoarders...was she living in there? It sounds like she had a few other problems besides hoarding with stealing things...sad and I hope you are rid of her. I hate to even think of where she will be doing damage next... :eek:

    Sjoerd.....if you have a computer put in hoarders to see if you can see what our shows are about...it is hard to believe the filth that some live in. People can look neat as a pin and the inside and a lot of times outsides of their homes are a mess. The smell has to be horrific ... I am glad they finally got her to move on..
     
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  12. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    For anyone wanting to see a great "hoarders" youtube series... of a hoarders house turned into an absolute gem... go to "the Potters House" series on Youtube by a man named Alex from Curiosity Inc. A GREAT series.
     
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  13. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    SHERRY--She was sleeping in the house once a week...which is forbidden in the rules of the club. She was sleeping at the Sal. Army the rest of the time. This poor lady is so ill that actually she needs to be living in a protected situation. Sadly back in the 70's the institutions were closed and the folks put out onto the street. It has been a problem since --for the "normal" public and the ill folks as well. The laws were changed making it extremely difficult to commit anyone against their will. I found it all so irresponsible and unfair to the ill folks.

    Great tip, CAROLYN.
     
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  14. Islandlife

    Islandlife Young Pine

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    Wow! Just wow.......the amount of energy the woman must've put into sighting, figuring out how to take something in secret and hoard it away and then keep it hidden must've been high. Hopefully this is now the end. We have a very similar history here in West Coast Canada in that the main "mental health" institution was closed years ago going on the theory that people shouldn't be institutionalized and should be able to live free. No recognition that some people are just not able or capable.
     
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  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    It all sounds so familiar.
    It just isn't fair to anyone.
     
  16. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    I agree. Very sad.
     
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