I think my landlady is descended from cats. This may sound like a wild, unfounded allegation, but, like all theories, it must not be dismissed until proved unreliable. Let’s look at the evidence.
Men in general have a dislike of cats because, as Red puts it, “they’re sleekit, sneaky, underhanded, and you just couldn’t trust them”. Some, like my friend Jay, have even attempted to extend the hand of friendship to a particular cat (who shall remain nameless), having been lured in by its look of sweet innocence, affectionate glances etc, only to be deeply wounded when said cat lashed out in sudden, unprovoked, vicious and unforeseen attack. Man retreats, hurt and angry; cat resumes innocent purring as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth.
My Landlady called round last night.
“I meant to get in to see you before Christmas,” she said apologetically as I hastily ceased my happy, doorbell-inspired dance and opened the door for her, “so this is a belated ‘Little Something’ for you.” She handed me a box of Milk Tray and a bottle of Chardonnay. How lovely! I have the best landlady ever, who brings wine and chocolates and calls in for a cup of coffee and a natter instead of a full-on house inspection.
We chatted for ages over our coffee, and she was a pleasure to talk to. I received so many compliments about my clothes, weight, figure, smile, hair, perfection as a tenant and general ability to breathe that my head was spinning by the time she stood up to leave. What a lovely, sweet lady.
“Oh, by the way,” she said, reaching me a sheet of paper as an afterthought, “would you mind awfully if we asked you to change the way you pay your rent?” I glanced at the page and saw some new bank details. “It’s just we’re tidying up our finances and trying to get one account sorted out for rent money, so if you could maybe cancel your standing order and just set up a direct debit into this account instead…?”
I nodded agreeably, anxious to please this pleasant, likeable woman. “No problem. The rent goes out on the 10th of the month, doesn’t it? So I’ve got time to get it sorted for February’s payment. I’ll get that organised ASAP.”
“Err… yes, yes, great. Good. Well, I’ll be off,” she said, sounding a little flustered. She took off into the wind and the rain, and I cheerfully waved goodbye. “Good to see you!” I called after her.
I have now looked more carefully at the page. She’s only gone and written a new list of dates that the direct debits should be made, so that the rent now falls due every four weeks instead of every calendar month. Which, to put it simply, means I now make thirteen payments per year instead of twelve. Having sat angrily punching numbers into a calculator, I have found that this means I’m now paying nearly £40 extra per month.
Do I look like I have £40 spare in the month? Do I?! (Clue: I shop in Lidl’s and my socks all have holes in the toes.)
I am forming a strongly worded phone call in my head, yet I will be incapable of making it because she brought me gifts and showered me with compliments. It would be like kicking the cat for leaving pawprints on the floor, when she’s nuzzling me with her furry wee head and purring sweetly.
Landladies, cats…. no difference, they both walk all over me and I apparently just sit here and let them.