I’ve travelled on a lot of planes in my life, but I’ll never loose that inner “Wheeeeee!” feeling on takeoff. When you’re on a plane with a load of tired commuters who do this every day, it’s hard to resist asking them what died inside so that they’re no longer even mildly enthralled by the concept of hurtling through the troposphere at 800 kph. I counted twelve colloquial rugby references in the cringeworthy safety video, which may be a contributing factor.

This is a fairly well-deserved break from my ludicrous flatting situation. Three hours earlier I signed the lease on a warm and dry flat in Mt. Vic* with one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. Two hours before that, my landlady had casually informed us that we have to be off the premises in eighteen days.

This didn’t emerge as a direct statement. She had made one of her unannounced visits to attack the garden with a weedeater, and when I went outside to investigate the unholy racket, I took the opportunity to introduce her to my English flatmate who wishes to stay in the flat rent-free during construction for the month before he leaves the country. We were told earlier this month that this was an option, because the house sale had fallen through and there was no longer any reason to move out by September 12th, but it would help if someone was still living there so the power was connected for the builders.

“Of course you can stay!” she trilled. “For a reduced rent.”

We exchanged glances.

“Reduced? We were told it would be free.”

“Well, I’m not expecting you to pay for the empty rooms.”

“So… we’d be paying the same individual rent that we are now?”


“Except we’d have a full building crew working inside the house from nine to five every day for at least two months?”

“Yes… it wouldn’t go up.”

I had to leave the room at this point, and when I returned I could tell by the creases in my flatmate’s handsome face that things weren’t going well. Some internal switch had flipped inside our landlady’s brain, and she suddenly remembered that she’d had a chat with the head builder, who had assured her that the work would go a lot faster if the flat was completely empty.

So that was it, then. Eighteen days notice (3 weeks is the legal minimum), and nothing we can easily do about it because we received written notice a few months ago – and when we were told we didn’t have to leave after all, it wasn’t in writing.

Which shows that just because someone has the emotional empathy of a packing-crate doesn’t mean they’re not super cunning.

* I live in a Grove now. Groves are cool.

One Response to “Wheeeeee!”

  1. Rhinocrates Says:

    “and when we were told we didn’t have to leave after all, it wasn’t in writing.”


    Actually, cases like this have come up often before and the legal judgement is that if you take notes of a conversation and date it, they will stand up as proof of an agreement. Facebook/blog would count. Anyway, you’re lucky to be out of it all now/soon.

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