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Single father is overcome with emotion after home is transformed on Filthy House SOS

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A single father whose rare lymphatic illness left him with a severe hoarding problem was overcome with emotion after a ‘life-changing’ home transformation. 

Bob, from Newport, was a lorry driver before he developed serious medical conditions as a result of lymphoedema in his legs, and 10 years ago he became housebound due to breathing difficulties and significant disabilities. 

He lives with 29-year-old son Tom and admitted that he developed a compulsive shopping habit to cope with his underlying depression, filling entire rooms of their home with years full of junk.  

On the latest episode of 5Star’s Filthy House SOS, which aired at 9pm last night, master cleaners Brennan and Richard were called in to meet with Bob and Tom to overhaul their house.  

Master cleaners Brennan and Richard travelled to Newport to meet with Bob on 5Star's Filthy House SOS, which aired at 9pm last night. Pictured: Bob's bedroom before the clean

Master cleaners Brennan and Richard travelled to Newport to meet with Bob on 5Star’s Filthy House SOS, which aired at 9pm last night. Pictured: Bob’s bedroom before the clean

Bob lives with 29-year-old son Tom and admitted that he developed a compulsive shopping habit. Pictured, Bob's kitchen before the clean

Bob lives with 29-year-old son Tom and admitted that he developed a compulsive shopping habit. Pictured, Bob’s kitchen before the clean

Introducing himself at the beginning of the show, Bob said: ‘I live with my son Thomas, he has some additional needs and I care for him and he cares for me and we get on great. We bond together and get on together.

‘I’ve been housebound now for 10 years because I have lymphedema in both legs. It’s very difficult for me to do any exercise, so I’ve put on weight which has brought on diabetes, which has brought on sleep apnoea. 

‘My legs used to weep and even though I’d have two or three towels under my legs they would still soak through and the carpet is black and brown and horrible and stained and absolutely ruined.’ 

Bob’s home spiralled out of control when he and his ex-wife split up, and he has been unable to clean due to his medical conditions. As well as the lack of cleaning, Bob has spent years accumulating clutter. 

Bob, from Newport, (pictured) was a lorry driver before he developed serious medical conditions as a result of lymphedema in his legs

Bob, from Newport, (pictured) was a lorry driver before he developed serious medical conditions as a result of lymphedema in his legs

Tom said: ‘I’ve spoken to my dad quite a lot of times saying, “You need to stop buying stuff now, you’re buying too much”. I’d like my house to be like a home again.’

Bob added: ‘I’ve outgrown my house with the amount of stuff I’ve been purchasing and collecting, and that’s why I’m asking for help and I appreciate any help I can get now.’ 

The father had been sleeping in his living room for over a decade, with experts Richard and Brennan fearing dog Ace could be the source of the fleas within the home. 

The bedroom which was once so packed full of clutter Richard and Brennan could barely see the bed is pictured looking clean and tidy following the transformation

The bedroom which was once so packed full of clutter Richard and Brennan could barely see the bed is pictured looking clean and tidy following the transformation

In the kitchen junk including electric scooters, car parts and garden equipment littered every inch of the room while heaps of flammable material sat on the cooker. Pictured, the kitchen after the transformation

In the kitchen junk including electric scooters, car parts and garden equipment littered every inch of the room while heaps of flammable material sat on the cooker. Pictured, the kitchen after the transformation 

In the kitchen, junk including electric scooters, car parts and garden equipment littered every inch of the room while heaps of flammable material sat on the cooker. 

The cleaners discovered curry sauce that was nine years out of date and unopened spices purchased 20 years ago.  

What is lymphoedema? 

Primary lymphoedema is caused by alterations (mutations) in genes responsible for the development of the lymphatic system.

The faulty genes cause the parts of the lymphatic system responsible for draining fluid to not develop properly or not work as they should.

Primary lymphoedema often runs in families, although not every child born to someone with the condition will develop it themselves.

It’s a rare condition affecting an estimated one in 6,000 people. 

Secondary lymphoedema, which is more common, develops in people who previously had a normal lymphatic system that then becomes damaged.

‘This has got hoarder written all over this kitchen, every conceivable surface is full of a mismatch of all sorts of stuff,’ Richard observed. 

In the upstairs bathroom, walls and the ceiling were thick with dirt and mould, with a swab test measuring bacteria levels of 20,000; any reading over 60 is considered unhealthy. 

The bedroom was also packed full of clutter, so much so that Richard and Brennan could barely see the bed. The room also had to be fumigated when the cleaners discovered fleas.    

Revealing the source of his buying and hoarding, Bob told: ‘I comfort buy and that’s how things have kept me sane.

‘I put it down to sort of fighting a bit of depression, not going out, being stuck in all the time, I’m bit sad.’ 

Tearing up, he went on: ‘As a way of beating my depression, rather than saving my money, I’d rather spend it on things that, for me, I thought were practical at the time and it’s just got out of control. It’s time for change.’  

Bob was left traumatised after an incident which left him afraid to leave his home – when he was mocked while waiting at his local doctor’s surgery because of his weeping legs. 

Asked by Richard how often he leaves his home, Bob replied: ‘Very rarely, once you’re scarred psychologically and I have been, it’s hard to un-see that moment. 

‘About eight years ago my legs were really weeping even through I was having the dressings changed every day. 

‘I had to go to my doctors surgery to have them dressed and there were people nudging each other saying, “Look at the state of him, he looks like he’s wet himself with that puddle on the floor”.

‘So I got up and cried and went home and thought, I’m never going to go outside again, because of that one moment.’ 

Bob's home spiralled out of control when he and his ex-wife split up, and he has been unable to clean up his home due to his medical conditions. Pictured, clutter removed from Bob's home

Bob’s home spiralled out of control when he and his ex-wife split up, and he has been unable to clean up his home due to his medical conditions. Pictured, clutter removed from Bob’s home 

In the upstairs bathroom, walls and the ceiling were thick with dirt and mould, with a swab test measuring bacteria levels showing a result of 20,000

In the upstairs bathroom, walls and the ceiling were thick with dirt and mould, with a swab test measuring bacteria levels showing a result of 20,000

Bob's legs used to weep through his dressings, leaving a black and brown stain on the carpet near his bed

Bob’s legs used to weep through his dressings, leaving a black and brown stain on the carpet near his bed 

But the kindness and positivity of the cleaning team inspired Bob to change his life for good: ‘In the last few days I’ve been surrounded by so many positive people with positive thoughts,’ he said.

‘It’s given me the motivation to change my whole life, to start a new life and start a new me.’

At the end of the three-day deep clean, Bob was keen to see what his new home looked like, and was overcome with emotion at the ‘life-changing’ transformation. 

‘It looks amazing, this is a room I’ve been longing for for so long. I’m not embarrassed anymore,’ he said. ‘It’s everything and more than I could ever possibly have asked for.  

‘I’m floating at the moment, so much weight has been lifted off my shoulders, it really is amazing. I feel so much safer here, my whole house was a health hazard. 

‘I thought for a long time that was my life and I was going to die in a pile of boxes, this is life changing stuff.’ 

Filthy House SOS continues on Wednesdays at 9pm on 5Star.

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Sirius Real Estate sells London business park for €18.8m (GB)

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Sirius Real Estate has agreed to the sale of an asset in Camberwell, London, for €18.8m (£16m), representing a NIY of circa 2%. The property formed part of the portfolio Sirius acquired in November 2021 with its purchase of BizSpace, the leading provider of regional light industrial, workshop, studio and out of town office units across the UK. The sale price represents a 94% premium to the valuation at the time of Sirius’ acquisition of BizSpace.

 

The multi-tenanted business park, which comprises approximately 34,700ft² of industrial and office space is 91% occupied following a series of asset management measures delivered through the BizSpace platform. The sale is expected to complete in July 2022.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Real Estate, said: “This disposal is further proof of the latent value in the BizSpace portfolio we acquired late last year, the price being significantly ahead of last September’s valuation on which our purchase was based, and the attractive sale follows our recent announcement that we had since improved like-for-like rental income across the portfolio by 7.5%. The sale will allow us to invest in new opportunities for BizSpace in the UK as we continue to build our acquisition pipeline. Bringing together the Sirius and BizSpace platforms, with a strengthened management team at BizSpace, is already delivering strong results and operational synergies that will enhance our UK portfolio.”

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Southwold beach hut which is 10ft wide with no running water or electricity up for sale for £250,000

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A beach hut in an upmarket seaside town which is famed for its celebrity visitors has gone on the market for a record £250,000.

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in – and is double the cost of a three bedroom terraced house just 10 miles away.

The hut, numbered 149 and called ‘Here’s Hoping’, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town of Southwold, Suffolk.

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis.

Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000.

But the huts in Southwold, which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight.

A beach hut called 'Here's Hoping', pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

A beach hut called ‘Here’s Hoping’, pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called 'Here's Hoping' and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called ‘Here’s Hoping’ and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The buyer will still have to pay annual ground rent of £998 and will only have 18 years left of a 30 year lease, although there will be an option to renew.

They will be able to enjoy spectacular views from a veranda overlooking the beach and the North Sea, while being just a short walk from pubs, restaurants and shops.

But just 10 miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk, there are several homes up for sale, priced between £120,000 and £140,000.

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station.

Another property on the market is a £90,000, three-bed semi-detached bungalow at Broadlands Park and Marina in Lowestoft which has a garden, one bathroom and one living room.

The listing for the beach hut boasts that it has ‘glazed double folding doors’ and ‘a number of storage cupboards’.

The previous highest price asked for one of Southwold’s 300 beach huts was £150,000 in September 2018.

Prices have soared since then as property prices have continued to increase and the demand for staycation breaks following the Covid epidemic has boomed.

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations.

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Many are rented out for around £600 a week to visitors who flock to the town.

The latest asking price is more than double the price of a three bedroom terrace house on the market for £110,000 around ten miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

More than half the properties in Southwold are second homes and the full-time population is now below 1,000, putting extra strain on local services.

Earlier this year, councillors unveiled plans to try and stem the number of second homes in the town and make more affordable housing possible for local people.

A spokesperson for estate agent Flick & Son, which is selling the hut, said: ‘I am sure it will go very quickly.

‘There is a high demand for huts and we expect there will be a bidding war in the end.’

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EU will retaliate to any unilateral action on NI protocol, Coveney warns

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British prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned of the consequences of unilateral action on the Northern Ireland protocol, including the prospect of “retaliatory” action from Europe.

On the eve of Mr Johnson’s visit to Belfast, the Government and Sinn Féin said moves to disapply parts of the protocol risked damaging east-west relations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke of a “landing zone” for negotiations and indicated that the European Union was willing to make adjustments through “partnership and dialogue” due to what he said were “legitimate concerns” within unionism about the operation of the protocol.

However, he also said that if London moved unilaterally it would make matters “significantly worse” and that “then the EU will be forced to respond to that with some form of retaliatory action”.

Mr Coveney said it was not “helpful” to expand on what form that might take, but that a response “would be very negative”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “there is a real and urgent obligation now” for Britain to engage with the European Commission “in a real and professional way to resolve issues that have been raised”.

Powersharing

Ahead of talks between Mr Johnson and Northern Irish political leaders aimed at restoring powersharing at Stormont, Sinn Féin’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said unilateral action would “represent an appalling attack on the international rule of law”.

“Only through joint agreement with the EU can solutions to problems or concerns be resolved,” she said.

“I will be telling Boris Johnson that unilateral action deepens political instability and economic uncertainty and must not happen.”

Ms O’Neill is to meet Mr Martin in at Government Buildings Dublin on Monday morning ahead of her meeting with Mr Johnson.

Mr Coveney travels today to Brussels for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and will later speak with EU negotiator Maros Sefcovic and British foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is expected to announce legislation on Tuesday that will unilaterally override central elements of the protocol.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Coveney said Mr Sefcovic is open to making “significant progress” on the protocol.

“I believe there are solutions we could pursue and we can agree relatively quickly if there was an attitude to do so on both sides,” he said. “But we need a partner in London to do that, not a partner that is making threats of unilateral action.”

Envoy

The Minister also said he believes it is “likely” that US president Joe Biden will appoint an envoy to the North, saying the US administration is “extremely interested” in marking 25 years since the Belfast Agreement next year with “its institutions intact and functioning as they need to be”.

Mr Johnson is expected to affirm his commitment to the agreement and assert that he is not seeking to scrap the protocol. But Downing Street said ahead of his meetings with the North’s party leaders that he will not drop his government’s threat to unilaterally disapply parts of the protocol, which Mr Johnson agreed with the EU in 2019.

Downing Street said in a statement that Mr Johnson will tell party leaders that the door will always be open to “genuine dialogue” but that “there will be a necessity to act” and protect the Belfast Agreement if the EU does not change its position.

Writing in Monday’s Belfast Telegraph, Mr Johnson outlined that the protocol “has not been adapted to reflect the realities of the [Trade and Co-operation Agreement]”. He will signal that there is “without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected”. However, he said that if the EU’s position does not change, “there will be a necessity to act”.


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