You can’t polish a turd.

About a two and a half years ago, we moved house. Having just stumbled out of university the house that we found ticked all the necessary boxes: it had a roof, it was cheap (furnished for the price of unfurnished, oooooh), and it had a tiny pokey overgrown garden. “That’ll do” we said, and moved in.

It was July, so it was vaguely warm in there and the mould had not yet begun to grow. We overlooked the fact that everything in every room was the same pale grey/yellow colour. We happily scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom back to being livable, sorting piles and piles of the previous tenants paperwork and junk into a collection of binbags. (Hey Mrs Shirley? Those reminder notices are trying to hint that they want you to PAY for things, ya know?).

We realised the house was a bit of a shit hole, so we took photographs of the major offenses and shipped them off to the letting agent, along with a big list. We told them we’re not overly bothered about getting them fixed as we liked the rustic look of the dog chew marks in the back door (though reattaching the fireplace and the shower rail would be rather nice). They chuckled to themselves and filed it away in a big orange folder.

Years pass…

Some art I found on the internet, clicky for the link

We realise that, though we can continue to put up with it’s general grubby grottiness, the house is way too big for us, freezing cold all year and far from anywhere fun, including work.

We decide to move.

We find a beautiful little house with a giant black kitchen, a park out the front and the weirdest purple wallpaper up the stairs. It’s wonderful. The only thing wrong with it is that it’s not in York.

We move, spending day after day cleaning the house we just moved out of. We get it clean. It’s not sparkling, but it’s more than fair, if you use the general definition of fair as ‘as good as you found it’ because we left it considerably better. The kitchen is all shiny with bleach and cleaning fumes, the mould in the bathroom has been scrubbed back into the grain of the surfaces rather than perching on the top. (A hint to anyone designing a bathroom: If you don’t want mould, don’t make the bits round the shower out of WOOD). We hired a rug doctor to get the beige carpets to go back to being a slightly lighter shade of beige. We scrubbed the doors and the windowsills until the paint started peeling (didn’t take that long, actually).

The letting agent rang this morning. They’re not happy. Neither were we, my dear. That’s why we moved out.

As Steve put it “You try polishing that turd like we did for several days and see how happy you are then”.

Sadly he didn’t say it to Homesearch.

We go in there with my massive list and ask them exactly how they’d like us to fix the damp in the walls, or if they can suggest a better type of bleach to re-coat the bathroom in. I describe in vivid detail the unpleasantries of having to shower somewhere that has big weird stains in the bottom of it that just won’t leave, that have been there longer than we have.  I politely suggest how convenient it is that they take £150 from the deposit to pay for cleaners, which they clearly didn’t use the last time someone moved out, so there should be £150 just lying around from then that they can spend THIS time. I list the things we fixed, the things we had to clean and throw away those first few days.

I take offence to being told to polish a table that was covered in unpaid bills and newspapers when we found it. I’d go so far as to say that I’d quite like to leave a little nugget of poo in the fluorescent light that they ‘need’ us to clean. This light will be ripped out soon, seeing as though it won’t turn on. Instead I’ll whinge here, once, and then get over it.

I don’t really have an end to this story other than ‘and so we went back and cleaned some more, as bitter and resentful as two people can be’.

But that’s sad, so instead I tell you all, little blog readers: complain as loudly and as soon as you can, so that no-one will ever dare blame you for other people’s mould.




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