I’m usually in Venice for the Carnival, but this year sees me at home in Newcastle fretting, because out of the goodness of my heart I took pity on a fraught friend of a friend and offered her the flat for half term. Bad idea. I really wanted her and her friend to have a good time, so I sent lots of informaton and offered to arrange for a hire car to be delivered on a day of her choosing.
The day came when they were due to arrive, and as I’d heard nothing, I sent a text hoping all was well and reminding them about the car to be delivered the next morning. No reply. On Monday morning I went shopping, and when I got back there was an email from the nice man at Europcar saying he’d tried to deliver the car but nobody was in. I was quite worried. What if they were stranded somewhere? I tried ringing her mobile. No answer. I rang her husband at home. Answerphone.
Meanwhile, I emailed the car hire man with apologies, but there was nothing I could do. I hoped this wouldn’t affect his willingness to deliver a car to the door for my friends on future occasions.
Late that evening I had a text message from another mobile number, presumably her friend’s, asking me how to use the DVD player. No other information like ‘nice flat’, ‘got here safely’, or least of all ‘sorry about the car’. I replied, asking what had happened, then gave details about using the DVD. Since then, I’ve heard nothing. A neighbour tried to call, but there was no answer, and the balcony light was left on all day.
Writing several days later, I can now say with relief that they have contacted me, and apparently had a good time despite unseasonably bad weather. Because they praised my precious flat I feel much more generous towards them now.
But the moral remains…only trusted friends stay there in future.