Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Call me Cynthia


By sharing our rented, rambling and rather drafty old farmhouse with lodgers we are able to generate the essential extra income necessary for us to live here. I can't say I mind too much. It's a little like being back at boarding school. This time around however, I have the role of matron, I make the rules and I decide the consequences if they are flouted.

I usually find employed gentlemen of over thirty five make the most suitable tenants. My criteria is narrow because  I have found it not only reduces the likelihood of damage and non payment of rent but it also seems to reduce the time they need to spend with me. I am not seeking additional friends or family members; it's all about maximising the return for minimal risk to my family life and my furnishings.  During the two years in which we have been renting this house, we have happily rubbed shoulders with a number of very pleasant transient gentlemen who seem to have enjoyed sharing with us. They have treated our home, and our privacy, with respect.....but, now there is Darryl.

Darryl moved into our home six weeks ago after his relationship failed with an older woman who I later discovered (in his own words) "found him very annoying". Deciding a change of location and a new job was the best way for him to make a fresh start, I had no reason to think he would be anything other than the perfect  replacement lodger for a long standing tenant who had moved on. Darryl was polite, well spoken and regularly overwhelmed by the slightest thing. He struggled with recycling his rubbish, washing his dishes and using plates for his food. He seemed unable to decant anything without spilling it while leaving the loo presentable after use appeared to be completely beyond him. Both I and my other gentlemen guests endeavoured to encourage him to smarten up his act but to little effect. This weekend's slovenliness was the last straw in an increasingly irritating catalogue of events.

Despite my suggesting I organise the changing of Darryl's bedding, he insisted he was happy to take care of it himself. Relieved to have one less thing to do, I gave him freshly laundered covers and pillow cases only to discover on Monday morning he had not only chosen to sleep all weekend in his bed without using  any bed linen but he had also dripped fish oil all over the carpets and left numerous empty tins of fish in his room to fester and smell. Incensed by his lack of respect for my home while angered and frustrated from two and a half years of consistently getting nowhere with HBOS, it was my intention to make sure Darryl was fully aware of my displeasure on his returned from work.

All I can say is, "Call me Cynthia Payne," because, although I gave Darryl a verbal pasting which would have had most people quaking in their boots, I got the distinct impression he rather enjoyed the venomous reprimand which came his way.  I am now left wondering if titillation in the face of the mother of all dressing downs makes it more or less likely Darryl will, in future, use his bed linen!

Unfortunately this remains an outcome I simply cannot second guess.

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