Saturday, 18 October 2014

Dealings with the Mafia Landlady

A quick note before I deal with the main topic of this particular blog post, a post which I somehow already feel might be a rather lengthy one so go and make a cup of tea before you sit down to reading this one. (If you don’t drink tea you need to sit down and have a stern word with yourself). My reasons for not having blogged recently are as follows:
1.       I haven’t done anything of particular note. Unless you want to hear about the passé simple which by all means I can talk about but somehow I think that isn’t a favourite subject for most people, not even French students.
2.       I’ve been mostly trying to do some work. Strange I know. Most university students are trying to drink their body weight in alcohol. (Some of this I have done – Freshers week was a true triumph but I must confess that some of my most entertaining behaviour has been from very sober nights out)
Right. Now that we’ve dealt with that let’s get down to business.
So I’m in a new flat! No longer am I in my small garret at the top of seven flights of stairs. I have finally reached a point of relative luxury in my renting life as I’m now on the GROUND FLOOR! It’s amazing no longer do I have to lug my bottles of wine up those painful, winding stairs. Now I have no limit to how much I can buy!! Such joyous news!
But the new flat has a rather unfortunate nickname – The Ice Palace. It has yet to show us its true colours but maybe as the winter draws nearer I may yet find that I am shivering as I type. I now happen to live in what some people delightfully have named “the corridor” as you have to walk through my room from my darling flatmate’s to get to the kitchen and the bathroom. This has mostly highlighted to her my interesting inability to get up in the morning and my love to sitting cross legged curled up in my duvet for several minutes just to make sure that I’m not still asleep and dreaming.
Alas, it is not us in this flat of ours! We have another flatmate. How exciting? Living with someone we don’t know. Is this what Halls were like for people who go to normal universities? We have been rather fortunate that he isn’t a freaky weirdo and is in fact British (not a crazy Frenchman, thank goodness) but I do think he has rather judged me for watching Jeremy Kyle when cooking my lunch.
We have all definitely bonded over the peculiarities of our landlady. She is, how can I put this, er, interesting. Firstly, for you dear readers to get a handle on what this woman is like I should probably mention that she decorates all of the apartments she owns with her own “works of art”, a term I am using loosely in this context, they all mostly depict snowy, mountainous scenes and are rather large as well as being on the whole not the best. She never answers an email with an email. She loves calling you up at the most annoying times possible. It’s like she has a sixth sense for when I’m really busy or when I’m holding too many things to be able to pick up the phone. But it isn’t just the wonderful Madame B that we have to deal with. It’s her son as well. He has some of the bluest eyes I have ever seen and hair so blonde and coiffured that it just doesn’t seem real. He is about 17 and seems to be his mother’s little protégé when it comes to her empire of apartments.
Moving on to the “mafia” nature of her conduct, she likes to be paid in cash. Or cheque. But never bank transfer. I always feel rather dodgy when handing over big wedges of cash (as Parisian rents are notoriously high) and to heighten this feeling I think in future I might start putting the money in brown envelopes and placing them in a designated spot for her to pick up at a later date, but that might just be my fantasy to be in a John Le Carre or Ian Fleming novel playing out in my head.
Even so she does seem to like us and we have only had two complaints about noise which I consider rather poor on our front. Seems like we haven't been having enough rowdy parties. Maybe that will all change in the coming weeks. Who knows? Anything is possible.

INCIDENTAL INFORMATION: Since beginning this post some weeks ago I have since bought myself an oscillating heater from Darty for the princely sum of 15€. It has changed my life considerably. I now do not have to worry about getting frostbite in the coming months and can sit at my desk without being covered in as many blankets as I can fit on my person.