My husband and I are selling a beautiful little cottage that was our very first home together. Due to the sale being our first priority, we decided against renting it out long-term through agents. However, a few months ago, rather idiotically I decided to help out a couple I vaguely knew and let it out to them under the condition they would move once an offer had been accepted. After drafting my own contract - most likely not worth the paper it was written on, I then spent the few months they were there constantly worrying about whether they would move when I asked them to.
The truth is I didn't know the people well enough to quite fully trust they would do what they had agreed to. Despite assuring me that everything would be okay, their actions led me to worry further. I found myself chasing them for rent and yet at the same time I felt I had to walk on egg-shells. Consistently defensive if I ever so much as dared to text them more than once enquiring about late rent, I found myself trying against all my instincts to relax and trust that I am in fact a good judge of character - even if the time spent judging is short. Basically though, I should have gone through an agent - simply cut out the stress.
As it turns out they did move once we accepted an offer and I am breathing a sigh of relief. Trusting someone (that isn't family or a good friend) with something so potentially life altering is absolute stupidity. These tenants were only acquaintances of mine, why had I felt the urge to lend our home to them under such casual conditions? Acquaintance: "A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to." Ambrose Bierce.
This last week also saw me hand over the keys of my work studio in the heart of Hatton Garden. This little hole big enough only for a workbench and kettle represented my independent days. Working for myself and living alone - at the time I loved it. Having initially come from a large recruitment company I was used to a busy office environment, so in place of this I made sure my days were filled with friendly faces dotted around town.
Going to London last week to pack up the studio provided me with a great opportunity to stop by and see some of these old Hatton Garden friends. The girl from the shop up the road, an ex colleague and old boss, the stone setter, the engraver, the caster, the chap I used to get my chicken soup lunch from. I walked past each of their doors wondering about stopping in, but instead chose to hurry by. I realised our roles in each other's lives had evaporated. I was now the acquaintance and coming face to face with the truth that this part of my life was now wrapped up. Parceled away and like the gold dust from jewellery filings, now impossible to find. So, here's a fond farewell to my life in Hatton Garden - my business now being a wonderful hobby that I hope to enjoy from home. Goodbye (fingers crossed) to our little cottage with the apple tree planted with love, goodbye to our tenants and definitely goodbye to any potential future decisions of treating acquaintances the same as good friends.