So OK I am on holiday again! But believe me I’ve earned it. Last year some bright spark suggested I rent out my dearly beloved little cottage during Henley Regatta. Seemed like a great idea and so I tentatively pursued it. The first potential rentee was a paediatric surgeon from Boston. I had visions of George Clooney (ER era) turning up on my doorstep – in scrubs naturally. However his wife (yah boo sucks) decided they would only do Regatta one day and that they would stay and travel down from his club in London. Potential rentee number 2 was an ex-Olympic rower from South Africa complete with wife, two grown up daughters who live in the UK, plus their partners. Many many email ensued and it all seemed the most fabulous idea, so everything was booked. Originally the plan was that I would stay with BFF and we would still go to Regatta, however, after another night fuelled by much wine we decided to use the rental income to have a holiday while my home was occupied. Sounds great right?
I decided to get all the things I had planned to do to the house at some time in the future done in the two weeks running up to going away. I must be totally bonkers (BFF says I am) so I got my bathroom upgraded with new taps and tiles etc and underfloor heating; installed new flooring downstairs and new French doors – I must be insane. The flooring arrived but some of the boxes were wrong and they couldn’t collect them for another 3 days or redeliver for another five. I went into meltdown! I had a carpenter at my house ready to go but luckily he went out and sourced alternative flooring for me. The bathroom floor tiles wouldn’t set properly and then I was told he hadn’t budgeted accurately and wanted to charge me a small fortune for extra tiles. (Oh – and he took twice as long as he was supposed to!) Cue heated email exchanges where I ranted and raved about every sodding tradesman who has come to my cottage ripping me off, over charging and taking too long etc etc – sometimes it sucks to be a single woman!
Anyway, during all of this, I am carting bags full of clothes over to BFF as I need to clear wardrobe space. Now having moved three times in 2013 I thought I had been fairly ruthless at clearing out stuff but, believe me, I have so much “stuff ” – probably three car loads. Poor son had to come back from London and help me clear his wardrobe space but actually this was quite a good idea – he has stuff with me, stuff with his Dad, and stuff in London – how he ever knows where anything is is a miracle!
Anyway I’ve been telling you how well relations are with EH and that we are getting on well and communicating blah blah blah. He dropped a bombshell the other day by telling me the house is on the market. I am stumped – so much for good communication! Mind you, it is a good thing that the house is on the market – for one thing, delivering and collecting the boys whilst seeing HER car on my house’s drive will no longer cause me pain! However, saying that, less than a week later someone I barely know says “I see your house has sold”. Again I query why I haven’t been told about the sale of the house I called home for 14 years – longer than I have lived anywhere in my life? Apparently it’s not my business! But it IS my business when EH hires a skip and announces I need to take any remaining things I want or they get dumped. So, quite literally the day before he hands over the keys to the new owners, I hire a van (it’s enormous) and drive over to pick up furniture that belonged to my parents only to be greeted by the news that he has cleared the attic too and I have boxes of school books and other memorabilia from clearing my parents house (which to be fair he did not dispose of). So I now have all that to sort out as well – luckily in a dear friend’s garage.
I have cleaned my house till it shines. I scrubbed my kitchen floor on my hands and knees and discovered the colour my tiles should really be. God what a slovenly slut I must be! I paint my kitchen, my sitting room and my stairs as they look “tired”. I empty every kitchen cupboard and scrub every pan and dish, clean every bowl and plate, and polish every glass and item of cutlery. I am physically exhausted. I make up all the beds in professionally laundered bedding. God is this really worth it? I am sooooo tired!
But getting away with BFF to a beautiful villa in Turkey has been such a joy. So, yes, renting my house out was worth it. (But I have all those bags to unpack on my return!!) We have had the most amazing lazy time chilling and drifting in our pool. I have never been so relaxed on a holiday – ever ! We laugh, we cry and after 15 years as friends still share stories we didn’t know about each other. We are so totally at ease with one another and laugh so readily. And boy have we laughed. And shopped. It has not been a spiritual escape as such but I feel so calm and revitalised. BFF knows me as no other and it has been perfect – vodka cocktails each night at sunset on our roof terrace; BFF retiring with her book each day as I cocoon myself in the hammock in the shade. Perfect bliss.
As I write this it’s our last night on holiday. I sit on the roof top with my drink and tap away on my laptop. I feel rejuvenated. Ready to face my return. An operation awaits me soon – who knows, maybe that’s when a George Clooney lookalike in scrubs may make my heart skip a beat!