Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Results Are In!

Earlier this week thousands of students all over the country received their exam results.  In the run up to that long awaited moment each and every student would have experienced a plethora of emotions…from nervousness, anxiety and a rush of panic to simply shrugging and remaining indifferent.  But one thing is for sure.  When the results were read, their futures were revealed.  Many will be fulfilling dreams and pursuing studies with their chosen universities, colleges and schools.  Others will opt for alternative placements.  And there will be those who have to evaluate whether to do a gap year, take a filler course, or even go to work.  Whatever it is, I applaud each and every one of you for your efforts and wish every success with whatever comes next.
            My own daughter is off to drama school this September and naturally we are thrilled she’s following her dream.  There are no Halls of Residence where Eleanor is going, so finding digs was the next point of focus.  Intense scanning of letting agents’ pages, internet trawls, and scrolling through room-to-let websites resulted in two viewing appointments.  The first was…an experience.
            ‘Hello!’ I trilled to the po-faced Landlord.  ‘We’ve come to view the upstairs flat.’
            ‘Just your daughter?  Nobody else?  It’s two bedrooms.  I want two tenants.’
            ‘It’s just me and my daughter to view, but we’re also looking on behalf of another student,’ I assured.  This was absolutely true. Eleanor had been on the drama school’s Facebook page looking for fellow students interested in sharing, and a young lady from Scotland had affirmed she was eager to buddy up.
            ‘I see,’ said the Landlord addressing my chest and frowning in disapproval.  ‘Well I suppose you’d better come in.’ Eleanor and I glanced uneasily at each other and crossed the threshold.  ‘Shoes off,’ snapped the Landlord.  ‘I keep a clean place here and I want it to stay that way.’
            ‘That’s fine,’ I quavered.  ‘We don’t wear shoes in our home either.’
            ‘I like my carpet to stay pristine.’
            The carpet was indeed pristine – unlike the upstairs apartment which sported a dirty kitchen, grotty bathroom, and two musty bedrooms.
            ‘You’re familiar with the rent?’ the Landlord asked, once again addressing my chest.  Annoyed, I slid my handbag off my shoulder and hugged it to my chest like a pillow.  There!  Look at that!  And yes, it is genuine Calvin Klein and not from the lookie-lookie man like the other four thousand handbags in my wardrobe.  The Landlord switched his gaze to my daughter’s bare legs and tiny shorts.  ‘What are you studying?’ he asked curtly.
            ‘Drama,’ my daughter beamed.  ‘I want to be an actress.’  Eleanor might as well have said, ‘I want to be a prostitute.’
            The Landlord nearly swallowed his dentures.  ‘Young lady,’ he said addressing my daughter’s thighs.  I removed Calvin’s handbag from my chest and shoved it at my daughter indicating she cover her pins.  ‘You need to understand there are very strict rules here.  No partying.  No music.  No smoking.  No drinking.  And no YOUNG MEN.’
            I wonder if Calvin Klein has ever had any of his handbags cited as a weapon of mass destruction?  Let’s just say we didn’t pursue that particular apartment.
            The second viewing couldn’t have been more different.  A lovely husband-and-wife team greeted us and showed Eleanor and me a spotless freshly-painted double bedroom with brand new furniture and a mattress still in its plastic wrapper.  The room overlooked an immaculately tended garden.  The kitchen and bathrooms (yes, there were two!) were clean and tidy and the landlord and landlady went out of their way to answer our questions and reassure us.
            ‘I love it,’ Eleanor grinned.
            ‘We’ll take it!’ I said, shaking them both by the hand.
            And, even better, two students from Eleanor’s drama school have reserved another two rooms in the same house, so there will hopefully be lots of bonding as they forge new friendships.
            Heaving a sigh of relief, we have spent this weekend shopping for bedding and pretty throws, pastel towels and lamps, and also a bit of twee stuff including a seriously girlie bit of dangly décor that proclaims Home Sweet Home.  Eleanor is over the moon, and I am ecstatic for her…even though the thought of her snuggling down to sleep under her new duvet in her new room brings a lump to my throat.  Next month my last chick will leave the nest.  It’s time to let her fly.
            Which reminds me.  A father gave his little boy a scolding, so the little boy decided to run away.  He grabbed some clothes, a teddy bear and his piggy bank and announced, ‘I’m running away from home.’  The father decided to handle the matter calmly.
            ‘What if you get hungry?’ he asked.
            ‘Then I’ll pop back home to eat.’
            ‘What if you run out of money?’
            ‘I’ll come home and get some.’
            ‘And what if your clothes get dirty?’
            ‘Then I’ll come home and let Mummy wash them,’ was the reply.
            The father shook his head.  ‘Are you sure you’re running away from home and not going to university…?’

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