Regular readers will know that I recently quit my much-loved job to pursue writing full time. It wasn't an easy decision but as start my second official week, with actual things to write, and actual things written, I'm extremely happy with my decision.
One of the reasons I am able to take a year to do this is because I am renting out my beloved flat. That wasn't an easy decision either as I love my little flat. It's the most expensive thing I've ever owned… and even paying back what feels like mega-huge monthly instalments, it's still not going to be properly mine for ages and ages.
Renting a flat out is stressful. It's made more stressful if you cannot make phone calls, because some things just need to be done over the phone. While the agency and other people were happy with email communication, when it came to sorting out HomeCare for my boiler so that my tenants could call British Gas day or night if there was a problem, I had no other option but to lift the phone.
I did this and got a bloke at the other end of the phone who sounded like he was down a long corridor shouting at me through a cardboard tube. It was not great. We chatted a bit, going around in circles somewhat as I struggled to guess what he was asking me before he announced that he had to put me through to the specific team for Landlord HomeCare. Before doing this, he briefed the guy I was going to be speaking to that he had to speak slowly and not shout as this would only make things worse.
This new British Gas Man was great, once I'd made him take off his headset and chat to me holding the phone handset so that he was louder and we set off down the path of taking out HomeCare. But then it all went wrong, After four pardons, I still couldn't make out what he was saying. And then I felt the hot tears of frustration pinging out of my eyes, which is never a good thing, because I know when this happens it means I am just seconds from hanging up the phone and having a good sob.
And this was the very next thing I did.
Two seconds later my phone rang again. I picked up and it was British Gas Man. 'I. Am. Going. To. Email. You,' he said and put down the phone. And less than 5 minutes later, there it was, an email detailing all the plans I could choose from, what personal information he needed from me and instructions on what to do next. Amazing huh?
We continued like this until London Cousin 1 got in from school and British Gas Man spoke to her to get the final confirmation on stuff, which she relayed to me. My 13-year-old cousin had become my ears. She deserved a medal. Or at least an extra special tea - lasagne - which I was making at that exact moment. And so it was sorted. And he reassured me that I could email him in future with any questions and he would then enter the query onto the official system. Briilliant, no?
He then let me know that a British Gas plumber would be over the next day to give me a Gas Safety Certificate and that would be that.
But it wasn't. The British Gas plumber also turned out to go above and beyond the call of duty (people with filthy minds, please get out of the gutter now). He texted me instead of ringing to let me know his ETA. He took the time to explain things clearly, turning to face me when he did so and he also let me know what if there was any problems, I could text him and he would put the call into British Gas. I couldn't believe it. I was so touched by my own personal British Gas crack team. So touched that they were so happy to help me.
Three cheers for British Gas. And you see, because they made the whole thing so much easier, it gave me the confidence to sort the next thing, and the next thing and gradually my flat is almost tenant ready. I'm very poor, my phone bill is probably massive, but I've managed it.
The dream is happening peeps.