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Landlady: The walls have fears


While I was still in Cuba, I received a text from my French lodger asking if it would be OK for several of her friends to stay in my house for the weekend. Being as I was in Cuba at the time, I couldn't have cared less if the entire population of France was residing on the sofa in my absence. In fact, they'd probably make the place look more glamourous.

I replied that it would be fine, to which I received a rapid thanks, with the unwanted adjunct that the kitchen sink was blocked. Fortunately, The Big Daughter and her boyfriend moved back into Landlady Towers while I was in Cuba, so I was able to call her from my Cuban mobile and ask her to use the plunger to unblock the sink. I was in the middle of describing what the plunger looks like – i.e., for the uninformed, a stick with a black rubber bowl on the end of it – when The Big Daughter interrupted me with “durrrr, you mean it looks like a plunger mum?”.

I cannot believe that The Big Daughter knows her way around a sink plunger, because barely two years ago, she would have surely been trying to apply mascara with it, so little did she admit to knowing about the machinations of the real world beyond Landlady Towers. She and her boyfriend have probably learned a lot in their last two years in the cut throat private rental market. It's not nice out there. In spite of their leaving their rental flat spotless, the agent is charging them £20 per wall for those that 'need repainting'. I'm assuming that, for that price, the walls will be painted in gold leaf, because trust me, their flat was tiny.

As a landlady of more than 20 years, I accept that my tenants are actually going to live in the flat and therefore am not going to charge them for a bit of wear and tear. Trust me, in the past I've had electricity phobics yanking out all the sockets and handwriting complex religious passages over the skirting boards, so a bit of wear and tear is nothing. But I guess we all have to make money somehow.