Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BREAKING UP ISN'T SO HARD TO DO; Victoria Whitlock Puts Paid to a Romantic Evening When She Turns Up with Her Carpenter; THE ACCIDENTAL LANDLORD

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BREAKING UP ISN'T SO HARD TO DO; Victoria Whitlock Puts Paid to a Romantic Evening When She Turns Up with Her Carpenter; THE ACCIDENTAL LANDLORD

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

CAN there be anything more embarrassing than gate-crashing a couple's romantic night in? Yes, there can. Accidentally barging in on your tenant's Valentine's Day celebration and almost causing the happy couple to split up in the process, that's what.

I know this because that's what I did when I arranged to meet a carpenter at my rental flat at 7pm on February 14 to get a quote to replace a cupboard which had been knocked to pieces when I'd replaced the boiler weeks ago.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I didn't spot anything significant about the date when I made the appointment. I say not surprisingly because I've been with my partner for many years, we have two children and three mortgages - you get the picture. Of course I texted and emailed the tenant to let him know I was popping over that night and heard nothing so I assumed it was okay to go round. It was only when he opened the door and seemed, well, a little twitchy, that the penny started to drop.

The carpenter was late, damn him, and while the tenant and I made uncomfortable small talk in the kitchen I was aware that someone was lurking behind the bedroom door. A woman, sighing, quite loudly.

After the longest five minutes she appeared and fixed me with an icy stare. I apologised for spoiling her evening. "Not a problem," she snarled, before telling me she had been planning "to do something special for him for Valentine's Day". Oh.

I glanced around the kitchen and there was no sign of a meal being prepared. She had just come out of the bedroom, so I guessed she'd had more than a romantic dinner in mind.

"Threesome?" I was tempted to joke, but instead I offered to wait outside, like that would have helped.

"It's fine," she snarled, again, and the pair of them canoodled while I stood cringing, but as time ticked on, and still the joiner didn't come, they began to bicker. …

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