Friday, 25 January 2008

Zebedee and Dylan

The next lot of tenants were a lovely couple in their mid twenties who had met at Falmouth art college. She was a talented artist and, like Zebedee, full of ideas, get up and go. He was more Dylan – laid back to the point of falling over – and yes he played the guitar as well.

They were together for several years, but had to hide the fact when her parents came to visit. He was a vicar and very strict on sexual matters.

‘Do you realise,’ said Himself one day. ‘We have underage sex upstairs (the very young lovers), overage sex downstairs (that’s us – he’d just had his 65th birthday) and sex with a vicar’s daughter in the middle flat.’

And there’s no answer to that.

They were both on benefits for a while but she decided she had to do something else (other than painting) to earn money and I saw an ad for a gardener wanted several days a week. She was delighted, went to learn the business with an older fellow and was soon working full time. Not sure the vicar saw that as a suitable occupation for his daughter, either, but perhaps that was why she did it.

All went well – she worked her butt off while he did – well, not very much apart from playing endless scales on the guitar and occasionally giving the odd lesson, but as his standard wasn’t up to much, I can only hope he was a better teacher than player.

Then at about eight o’clock one morning, she arrived on the doorstep in tears. It was all over, she said. She couldn’t live with him any more and had to move out. I’m not sure what caused this sudden departure, but having dispensed tea, sympathy and hugs, she left, in more tears.

He stayed on for a while but couldn’t afford the rent by himself and decided he was going to move out as well. Of course it was almost beyond him to pick up a paper and find somewhere, so I had to physically put the paper in front of him and make him look, then ring up places. Finally he found somewhere, gave me a moving date – and then realised that he and she had to redecorate the place: when they moved in they asked if they could paint the place and we said yes, as long as they painted it back again when they moved out.

Panic. They finished painting the day the before the new tenants were due to arrive, so the paint was still wet. And all her stuff was still in the garage. I had to phone her I don’t know how many times to ask her to collect her stuff before the next lot arrived. As it happened, she finally arrived to collect it literally as the next lot moved in. Her excuse? She had a hangover.

In this instance, we bent over backwards to help both of them and felt decidedly let down by the end of it all. Another lesson – don’t get too involved with tenants. This is a business.

23 comments:

Lane said...

Never mix business with pleasure ... although they were hardly a pleasure were they!

Fiona said...

But what great material for a book or a collection of short stories?

laurie said...

i'm with fiona--you need some kind of compensation. use their stories! you could write a string of Alice Munro-type stories about the people who lived in your flats.

(have you read Rohinton Mistry? he has a wonderful collection of short stories called "Tales from Firozsha Baag" about immigrants who live in an apartment house in canada. great stuff.)

Flowerpot said...

lane - they were a pleasure at first...!

Flowerpot said...

Fiona - heavily edited, yes it could be. As they all live in Falmouth, I'd have to adapt teh material quite heavily though!

Laurie - I'll put it in my Ideas file certainly. But to be quite hnest, once you've lived with them you don't really want to write about them - well, not after this. But I have used some in the book I'm trying to sell.

Flowerpot said...

laurie - ps yes I have read some Rohinton Mistry but I can't remember which - will have to look them out.

Akelamalu said...

You're too soft Mrs, you have to harden up! I bet your tenants love you though. x

Mid-lifer said...

Well, one consolation is that life is never boring or lonely with a place full of tenants eh? Even if they are a handful!

My mum likens people to fictional characters too - apparently my husband is eeyore (he is too) and my sister's husband is tigger (or Mr Toad).

Sweet Irene said...

You should write a book about your tenants and the stories would be highly amusing. I am sure they are an endless source of comedy and tragedy.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Yes, business/pleasure mixing not good plan. I rented out a flat for a few years once, and I learned that lesson the hard way too.

Ellee Seymour said...

Jane is right, never mix business with pleasure, my mother likes to get involved in her rentals, she thinks men make much better tenants than women, and won't have couples.

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

It sounds an utter pain in the backside - have you ever considered selling up?!

I, of course, am a model tenant...

Flowerpot said...

Ak - I'm not any more! This was some years ago...

Flowerpot said...

Mid Lifer - no life is certainly never boring. And I love teh idea of Tigger and Eeyore!

Sweet Irene - they might be to others but not necessarily when you're living in the middle of it!

Flowerpot said...

zinnia - glad to meet someone else who understands the process. Though sometimes, when people ask you for help, it's difficult not to get involved.

Flowerpot said...

ellee - that;s interesting about men versus women. We currently have one couple and one single man. The latter is the tidiest but then it's a tiny flat so he has to be really especially as his son stays quite a lot.

Graham - I'm sure you are a model tenant! As for selling up - well, it's (most of) our income and pension so we can't afford to do that!

Rebecca Taunton said...

So much drama, definately something that can be used in one of your books ;@) It's a shame that some people are so unreliable though.

I loved Mr FP's comments from that time.

Ellee Seymour said...

Looking forward to hearing about your next tenants.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I couldn't be a landlady for all the tea in China. The tenant in your previous post sounds a right case!

Crystal xx

Philipa said...

I'm formulating a totalitarian political policy, or if you're a regular kinda guy like Tony Bliar, a necessarry forward step to progress:

as sterilisation is a less invasive operation for a man, and there's a limit on how many times a woman cen get pregnant in a year but no limit on how many women a fackless man can get pregnant in a year then.... what about making the award of benefits to a man conditional upon sterilisation, on the State obviously. Quick snip, no more benefit dynastys.

Mind you, emasculation appeals with some notable candidates.

Flowerpot said...

RT - you know me, nothing's wasted!

ellee - the well has nearly run dry on the tenant saga...!

Crystal - ti requires patience which is somethign I don;t have much of, tact and diplomacy. Ditto. A steep learning curve!

Philipa - are you considering running for Prime Minister then?!

Philipa said...

I'm not pretty enough fp, I may have the policies but I haven't got the winning smile :-D

Flowerpot said...

oh come on P - you have the personality. Not all politicians are pretty!!! Look at Mrs T - she wasn't pretty and her smile was terrible...!