The monstrous Landlady strode out of the kitchen, looked down at the ground and pretended to look tearful. She exclaimed to the ceiling with her arms out wide.
Was this the clip the BAFTA’s would use for her best supporting actress nomination? I wondered.
I had broken the ultimate cardinal rule and she had no choice but to eject me from her house.
“Rupert… you need to find somewhere else to live.”
My heart palpitated, I was shocked, stunned even.
You wouldn’t believe what I had done to cause this….
One Month Earlier
My current contract was up in the student digs. Readers of my previous blog will know that I had a mere few days to find somewhere. It was on, like Donkey Kong.
I found a place online, a few minutes away, which seemed ideal. Advertised by a ‘flatmate‘, it turned out she was actually the Landlady.
Her abode turned out to be a small hotel, which permanently had a no vacancy sign on the door. Such signage would confuse tourists – who would knock on the door asking for a room nonetheless. It was a pretty odd arrangement, and she’d advertise for permanent people to pay rent. I should have referred them to the Bates Motel.
Visiting with my two friends, we were greeted by the Landlady, who wore a blue T-Shirt and baggy joggers. Little did I know, she wore the same outfit every day. She spoke with an upper class accent. She looked the type who would enjoy deflating the neighbours lost-over-the-fence footballs, and whose love life probably involved reading exotic Mills and Boons novels. She bizarrely asked if my 2 friends were my bodyguards.
Landlady showed me the room, where there was a double bed in the middle, which took up the the whole area. I had to side roll across the duvet if I wanted to use the toilet. We then settled in the living room which was impeccably tidy. An England flag adorned the windows and peculiar Egyptian dolls with extremely high gold necks resided in the corner. Landlady summoned down a current guest, and she watched with a smile as he bizarrely verified to us she was OK to live with. She had her own separate lair connected to the house.
There was a slightly odd vibe about the place – yet I ended up moving in. It was advertised as £120 per week which didn’t sound so bad, which actually equated to a steep £520, which sounded a lot worse!
Despite a pleasant start of the Landlady getting me a bottle of Prosecco for my birthday, the atmosphere, like a lemon, soon turned sour.
It started when I dared to move the fire extinguisher inside my bedroom, having used it to prop open the door to get my belongings in. She was not impressed.
Talking of fire, there was a whiteboard next to the door. This had an individual colored counter of which you had to move across to distinguish if you were ‘in’ or ‘out’ . The teddy in the living room, Mr Twinkleberry, had his own counter at the bottom of the board.
She said this board existed in case there was a fire and she would know who was in. It became an arduous task swiping it, and I was scorned several times for not following this. This was usually when I’d just woken up, stumbled down the stairs and teetered out the front door in a snoozy haze. Any guests had to add extra coloured counters to announce their presence.
However. Friends were not allowed in my room.
Neither was food.
And my room had to be kept clean.
In case of visiting Firemen or Hotel Inspectors.
Or some bullshit.
My friends were almost terrified of visiting anyway. When one rang the doorbell, Landlady begrudgingly opened the door to them and explained to them that I needed to be taught how to answer the door if it was for me.
Sadly, my X-Ray vision from my second floor bedroom wasn’t operational.
I once let my Dad in to visit, and as I was talking to him in the hallway, she then exclaimed – “who is this stranger turning up in my house!”
There were many rules she encroached on the house guests, although I felt I was victimized with the more petty regulations of her OCD manifesto.
Such things included that I needed to text message her to say if I was away for a night, otherwise she would worry. It was also
decreed suggested that I should greet her by name once I came home so she could hear from her private lair.
Good Evening, Nurse Ratchet! I should have bellowed.
Another time she berated me for daring to move the net curtains in my second floor room. It transpire she had spotted such villainy whilst lurking outside looking up at my window. I’d only moved them a few inches so I could see the sky. Or to view a potential escape route…
I would be often overly cautious upon my return, my feet sore after being on so many eggshells. She would always pull me over if I had a friend over to have a quick word.
I hated these quick words.
Or sometimes she’d pull me over to talk about ‘just two things’ or ‘how we do things in this house.‘ I would dread to know what I’d done this time. It felt like I’d been dragged back to Year 3, and told that I had to behave as I was part of the Juniors now.
It got to the point where I was no longer hushed over when in the company of a friend, instead she would just bark at me in front of them. It was particularly horrendous when I used a sponge incorrectly. She mentioned to my friend that I just needed to be trained properly.
Landlady said the place still was technically a hotel. I had left some meat in the fridge that had started to go off – she exclaimed what would happen if the health department came over for an inspection? I could get this place closed down. I shuddered at the thought of her being a hotel manager. She’s make Basil Fawlty seem like an angel.
The worst thing that I ever really did was go out one night. My ex-best friend (is that an x-bff? She may get a blog sometime, she had a terrific lunacy about her) got lost on a night out and ended up crawling back up to the hotel. I then got an aggravated call from Landlady around 2 in the morning saying that my friend had turned up, demanded my presence, then passed out on the sofa.
I then apologized profusely in the morning, as the Landlady was stirring her
cauldron saucepan. She was more annoyed that my friend burst in drunk asking after me than being awoken at 2am. All I got was a passive aggressive look and a retort of ‘maybe I should find somewhere else to live if this is your lifestyle’.
I had woken my friend and let her stay on the bed, to prevent her from flopping off the sofa. The Landlady remarked that she didn’t think it was appropriate to have a girl stay over as I had a girlfriend at the time.
To be honest, I tried to be polite at all times despite these comments. I was basically Little Lord Fauntleroy minus the fringe. Despite seething with inner frustration at her post-menopausal, condescending personality, I was very well behaved and bit my tongue. A lot. So much it could have bled.
I eventually dared answer back to her snipey bites as you will find later. Let’s talk about something harmless and fun. Like cake. Nothing can go wrong with cake, right?
She had put a birthday cake in the fridge, then said that we could help ourselves. I couldn’t resist the chance to have a cheeky bit of cake. I wolfed it down, decorating my chops with cream and cake sponge.
I was violently ill in the early hours of the morning.
She only let me know the following morning that said cake had been in and out of the sun most of the day prior.
I may as well have eaten a high street kebab, marinated in the student house’s box of black ooze. Failing that I could have made out with a raw chicken. The results would have been similar.
You’re thinking things couldn’t get any worse? Well, Landlady ushered me over a month after I’d moved in – apparently she had a meeting with all new house-guests. I joked if it was it like an appraisal, which she said Yes.
She then said that I was a work-in-progress, and that our chat would be postponed due to it being me.
The rest of her housemates were nice, the girls were however secretly terrified of her, and were far too timid to operate the tumble drier in case it incurred her wrath.
One girl, Tammy, who she seemed particularly fond of, left to move in with her friends after staying at the hotel for several months. I commented to the Landlady doesn’t it feel like saying goodbye to a child leaving home?
‘No,’ she replied .
She later made a bitchy comment about Tammy. Charming.
I made friends with the new girl next door to me, I think I horrified her with stories of the Landlady, who she deemed to like and had been invited to go on country walks with. I was probably not invited in case I accidentally pushed her down a pleasant country ravine.
Sadly, their new friendship did not begin to blossom when:
(a) Landlady proposed a £10 contribution charge per night for letting her boyfriend stay over.
(b) Landlady advertised her room without telling her she was to move to a downstairs bedroom. This led to a humorous situation when she stumbled out the shower, whilst wearing a towel turban to find a possible new tenant viewing her room.
The other housemates past and present tended to be young men, mostly passive to her passive-aggressiveness and adoring of her motherly ways. I even heard rumours of a liaison between her and a young housemate, but I couldn’t bear to think about it. I thought that stuff only happened in Walkabout Nightclub as the sun rose.
One time I saw her between two of them on the sofa watching the football, looking like the cat had got the cream. I could hear her purring as they shared potato snacks whilst she spoke about her wild youth.
All good things must come to and end. Remember the beginning of the blog?
I had came home after a stressful day at work, and still had my shoulder bag on when I entered the kitchen. I started to make myself a smoothie. Green, smashed up fruit slush – always helps unwind.
The Landlady walked in, and complained that she told me before about wearing my bag in the kitchen.
Correction: She’d told me not to wear my coat in the kitchen. (That was rule 20b)
And with that, she told me that she had had enough and that I needed to find a new place to live.
I was shocked, I wasn’t sure what to say. I stood there, frozen to the spot.
Bizarrely, I began to defend the ludicrousness of having my bag on. I explained I was tired after a long day at work. Apparently she had also had a long day at work. Instead of sympathy I got apathy.
She said this wasn’t a student house I was used to. This was an adult house.
I went into my bedroom, contemplating my next move and started to look for somewhere new.
I felt quite dejected about being ejected. I felt like I had been rejected.
I hadn’t been kicked out before. My mum always threatened to but she only got as far as putting my Playstation and socks in a black bin bag and telling me to go live with my father.
Maybe I could return to the remains of the student house and live on the ant sofa.
Almost silent-treatmenting me, few words were spoken over the following few days, and she laid off with the constant telling off. Perhaps she felt guilty.
I thought she may have changed her mind, but when I asked when I have to go, she told me that I obviously have to look for somewhere.
Luckily, after a week of almost fruitless searching, I found something more inviting – a picture of a new apartment that had a Wii in the corner of the living room. I was overjoyed to be leaving. As I told her, I could see a twinkle of giddy pleasure in her eye.
Now I didn’t have to face her any longer, I knew I didn’t have to hold back. My inner frustration was about to peak. A storm was brewing.
After I had packed all my things away into a car, it was time to say goodbye.
I decided to give her a parting gift- a list of the rules she had told me over the past 7 weeks, adorned with some of her patronizing sayings such as the classic – ‘you just need to be molded.’
I’d written it in such a list, that the further you read, the more ridiculous her rules become. I was tempted to laminate it. From the understanding, to the petty, to the downright ludicrous, here is the rules that house guests must follow:
I declared that I had given her a present, put it in her hand and promptly let loose a side to me that I didn’t know existed before. Pent up rage fuel.
I told her how I felt about the way she treated me. I had a right go at her. I said how I didn’t like her patronizing attitude, and how I felt like a stranger in an unwelcome home.
However, as I am genuinely quite humble and non-aggressive, it was less of a shouty rant, more of a civilized and well spoken diatribe. I even apologized midway through verbally destroying her. A not so gentle gentleman?
I guess it was the equivalent of having a fracas with a bad tempered butler or an uppity college professor.
I suddenly got an adrenaline rush. My heart was racing and I couldn’t quite focus. Yet my gosh – it felt good. She was shocked as I told her I was glad she kicked me out, that I never felt welcome and that I was actually sorry for this outburst.
She said she hadn’t told me to leave (another housemate was in the room at the time,) and this was not the time nor the place for this and that I couldn’t do… anything. She then apologized that I was unhappy here.
As I stormed out of there, I felt a great sense of relief and pride that I got to say my piece. I was free from her reign of terror, although I still felt bad that I had given her a special tirade with a raised voice.
I haven’t see her since, but I could add her to my growing list of enemies such as Heroes Karaoke Bar, an ill-tempered Berkshire-based horse, a deluded ex with a Ski slope nose (who had the scare factor of outdated cottage cheese) several driving instructors and HM Revenue & Customs.
I wanted to make a phallus using the counters on her whiteboard as a parting image.
I wish I had now.
What experiences with landlords or landladies have you had? Comment below.
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