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…
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
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.