Ever Decreasing Funds (OS002)

After loosing my dream IT job, and starting at the biscuit factory, I took a sharp drop in income. I did the maths and realised that I could not afford the mortgage, car loan, utilities and eat. I came up with a few options.

  • Sell the car and buy a bike.
  • Try to get a second job.
  • Rent out my spare rooms.

I didn’t like the sound of the first two and decided to see if I could get a couple of housemates. I’ve only been on the receiving end of interviews and the process of finding suitable flatmates needed some thought.

Not being a huge fan of ‘people’, my first thought would be to confine them to their own room. Practically speaking, I realised that they may want to eat and wash etc. which meant some minor liberation of this rule. Rotas for the occupation of shared spaces seemed a possibility but then realised that some activities can’t be that tightly scheduled. I bit the bullet and accepted that some social interaction was inevitable.

I racked my brain for questions to see if potential housemates are compatible but could only come up with ‘Can you afford the rent?’.

Rules were easier to come up with though, being largely based on my personal failings:


Clean up after yourself in the shared kitchen and bathroom. Use the washing up liquid, disinfectant, brush and stick provided.


  • No loud music
  • No music at all, unless by Taneyev (but not op.30)


  • No parking on the grass.
  • No BBQ’s on the grass.
  • No littering on the grass.
  • No loitering on the grass
  • No grass in the house (or other psychoactive compounds).


  • Stick to your own food, clothes and toothbrush.
  • Use of the washing machine and washing line is by permission only.
  • The TV in the lounge is by invitation only (which is highly unlikely).

The first housemate, Pamela Icky is an inventor but in reality was living off money left to her by her father. He was a successful inventor, whose invention came crashing down (literally). Long story, which I will blog in the future but for now, it was a glue which had a million and one uses. Unfortuantly, it lost it’s glueyness (if that’s a word) after a few months. Everything which was glued became progressively unglued, causing very expensive repercussions,

Pam invented quite a number of things herself whilst she was lodging with me and I seem to have become a sounding board for these. I try to be diplomatic but there’s little positive about a pedestrian safety scoop for electric cars, in case they don’t spot the silent car. I suggested, why not make a sound generator for the cars which to her credit she took on board. She bought some devices designed for ice cream vans. However, adapting your car to play a selection of Disney tunes seemed unsurprisingly low. She did sell one but unfortunately, it was returned after disappointed kids kept throwing items at the customer’s Smart Car.

Unfortunatly, her next ventures were equally doomed. She must have felt guilty about the disappointed kids, so she turned her attention to inventing toys. However, being an anxious person, Health and Safety had a strong influence on her designs. Inventions include a Boomerang which does not return (avoiding injuries); an artificial, indestructible conker attached to a boxing glove (avoiding rapped knuckles) and a shape sorter for young children where all the shapes fit all the holes (avoiding any anxiety). Nothing much sold in great numbers so Pam’s room is stacked with ice cream chime machines and left hand indestructible conkers.

Pam is a bit of a worrier, generating concerns and potential catastrophes from the relatively mundane. This does cause some issues but that aside, she is a good tenant.

The next applicant came with his mother who worked painstakingly through a written list of questions. The mother asked all the questions and interviewed me thoroughly. Following the process, she asked if I have any questions. Nothing sprung to mind. Needless to say, I failed the interview and later got a letter thanking me for attending and wishing me all the best with my future.

Later the same day, the door bell rang and I opened the door to see someone climbing out of the bush by the front door. Obviously inebriated, he mumbled something about wanting to buy a room, clearly had second thoughts, turned abruptly and walked out of the gate. I’m guessing that he was an applicant but who knows.

The forth left when they realised there was no en-suite.

The fifth, read the one condition and then headed for the door.

By this time, I was getting desperate and I was about to lose faith that I would ever get a second tenant when along came ‘Malcom Evolent’. He was quiet when I met him, which I took to be shyness. I didn’t have a problem with this and he agreed to the rules and assured me he could afford the rent. I agreed to him renting the room and to be fair, so far, so good. He’s quiet though. I hardly see him around the house and when I do, there is no unnecessary conversation. Once, we saw each other in the supermarket. He grunted and carried on with his shopping. You may say, an ideal housemate.

I think he has a temper though, once threatening to assault me with a loo brush when I inadvertently wandered into the unlocked bathroom when he was showering. Other than this, I’ve never had any problems with ‘Mal’ as he insists on being called. Pam on the other hand is very concerned by Mal. She finds him strange, mysterious and imagines him to be dodgy, without any real reason. He’s a constant source of anxiety for her and she frequently vents her concerns to me.

… Oliver Sudden

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Early Days (OS003)