Paddy, Pants & Sympathy – Week 4 : 2017

January 27, 2017

This week I attended a York Carers Centre hub in my capacity as a trustee and met some of the staff and some of the people they provide help for. In York there are over 18,000 carers and I am always humbled by how they cope and their devotion to the person they care for. It is a growing responsibility for everyone out there. I’m glad to be trying to contribute.

The grey matter was also engaged this week as I attended York University night school classes. This term it’s ‘England & The Irish Question (1823 -1923)’. A fabulous couple of hours delving into the history of Ireland and its tribulations to get to its independence.

The news continues to be difficult. No I am not referring to world affairs but the latest cancer risk revealed this week – over cooking roast potatoes. I genuinely do accept that they might have this potential but with hospitals full of people who have spent their life eating fried food, smoking and drinking like drains then I think this may not be a priority concern.

As a landlord we have a flat in York that we let. Experience has enabled us to avoid problem tenants but there can be challenges. The current set are young with one working and one being a PhD student. Infrequent visits to the property reveal that they aren’t house-proud and I am inclined to line them up like errant teenagers and tell them to buck up and dust and wash up or note that the drawers are there for putting things into. (I have a gift for communication).

Apart from being easy going and tolerant then also you have to stay on top of the condition and performance of the property. We have hit a cycle of refurbishment and we are spending a lot of money changing the internal heating solutions. I agreed a  price with a contractor and a date was set. On the day I turned up to let the contractor into the house.

I discovered a scene that looked like parts of the flat had been burgled with the added bonus of dirty pots etc. So I apologised to the contractor; showed him the work and left. Anna visited on the lunchtime the next day to see how they were getting on and to establish a finish time for me to inspect the final work. She was not impressed to find one tenant in bed and a pile of dishes in the sink that seemed architecturally impossible to stack. She sent them a text expressing displeasure! Now usually she is calm and conciliatory and I am unreasonable and confrontational (another gift).

I came to inspect the final installation and let the contractor go. Up and about was the tenant and so maybe a few words might be exchanged when I’d finished with the electricians.

However, the tenant wanted to speak to me (!) She led off with an apology for the state of the flat and advised that she’d been sent home from work as she was so upset. She and her partner were splitting up. Hence the state of the property. So I went from being Mr Angry to an Agony Aunt – clearly a ‘work in progress career change for me! We sat down and had a chat about the future tenancy and the like. Poor girl.

I can’t believe my wife sent that text.

An expedition was also made to Huddersfield (of mashed potato fame) where a visit was made to the temple aka Vinyl Tap and this gem procured for my favourite eldest daughter’s LP collection.

Lastly, I was out on Thursday night with a pal having a curry. Got back to be asked “do you know how many pairs of underpants you have?” by  the present Mrs Ives. Before venturing a very inaccurate estimate I enquired as to why she knew the answer? She had been tidying/organising my drawers. So if anyone has some suggestions as to how she might spend her time more usefully or the exact number of kegs I have them then please feel empowered to let me know in the ‘Comment’ box below.

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