SOPHIA MONEY- COUTTS MOD­ERN MAN­NERS Flat­mate will help me kick my bad habits

It may seem a bit tragic, like I’ve re­gressed a decade, but shar­ing my space again will en­cour­age me to make a few res­o­lu­tions…

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

You know what they say: new year, new flat­mate. I’ve just found one on a mem­bers-only web­site called Ra­dio H-P, which some of you may know about be­cause you’re clearly well-con­nected, dis­cern­ing sorts who read The Sun­day Tele­graph.

The site was set up a few years ago by a for­mer Blues and Roy­als chap called Nigel Had­den-pa­ton who’s also im­pec­ca­bly con­nected and op­er­ates as a Mr Fix-it for the aris­toc­racy. I’ve pre­vi­ously re­ferred to his site as a “posh Gumtree”. Mem­bers write ad­verts for a lit­ter of labrador pup­pies for sale or a day’s shoot­ing in Nor­folk, and Nigel sends these ad­verts to about 7,000 mem­bers. The daily emails of­ten make me howl – re­cently we’ve had a mem­ber look­ing for a but­ler in Glouces­ter­shire to help with “chang­ing light bulbs and clean­ing chan­de­liers”, an­other look­ing for a “hus­band” for her seven-year-old don­key and dozens of chalets for rent in places such as Ver­bier and Meri­bel.

Any­way, my new flat­mate is a charm­ing 25 year-old who’s been liv­ing in Scot­land un­til now, help­ing with the sale of his fam­ily cas­tle. He ar­rived to in­spect my spare room af­ter “a spot of suit-shop­ping in Sloane Square” and moved in shortly af­ter­wards. But it was only then, with this posh stranger in my flat, that I re­mem­bered I was a ter­ri­ble slat­tern to live with.

My habit of leav­ing used tea bags in the sink, for ex­am­ple, must stop. Why can I not sim­ply trans­fer the bag from the cup straight to the bin, rather than giv­ing it a lit­tle hol­i­day in the sink for a few hours? Beats me. But I’m try­ing to get bet­ter. I also kick my shoes off the sec­ond I walk in, which means my hall re­sem­bles a shoe grave­yard, po­ten­tially lethal if you get back late and stum­ble over a boot while grop­ing for the light switch.

Af­ter a pile of damp laun­dry lan­guished in the wash­ing ma­chine for a day or so, my flat­mate texted ask­ing if he could hang it up for me. (Nice man­ners, see?) But I quickly typed back that he mustn’t, fear­ing he might im­me­di­ately flee back to Scot­land if he had to han­dle my enor­mous M&S knick­ers.

He also hap­pens to be a cook, so he’s cleared out my stink­ing fridge. “There’s a rather sad-look­ing cab­bage in here,” he shouted from the kitchen the other night. I bought it seven or eight weeks ago and made a dis­gust­ing soup that I forced my­self to eat for sev­eral days on the ba­sis it was

Not­ting Hill

eco­nom­i­cal and good for me. Out went the soggy cab­bage re­mains; in its place have come sev­eral pats of ex­pen­sive French but­ter and good bacon. I can sense a Richard Cur­tis-es­que film script in the off­ing.

I was wor­ried, aged 33 and sin­gle again, that hav­ing a new flat­mate move into my place was tragic. My girl­friends, largely, live with hus­bands and ba­bies, so it made me feel like I was re­gress­ing in life. Liv­ing with some­one I found on the in­ter­net was what I was do­ing a decade ago. How was I back here again? (Pos­si­bly be­cause of the PG Tips habit, see above.)

But a cou­ple of weeks in, I’m thrilled and I can see it’s go­ing to be very good for me. A spot of self­im­prove­ment as I go into 2019. Out with the fes­ter­ing tea bags; in with an or­derly fridge and neat lines of shoes in my bed­room cup­board. Small res­o­lu­tions, per­haps, but im­por­tant ones. A very happy new year, all.


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