The thing is, someone else recently told me about one of their former flatmates, the pinnacle of whose appalling behaviour was his attempt to drive out P. from his council-provided splendour with twin offensives in the form of poor personal hygiene and flamboyantly noisy live-in lovers squatting on the sofa. This was followed up by a pathetic attempt to steal P.'s identity and thereby claim his benefits.
The plot was foiled by the aforementioned vociferous and as it turned out, spurned and vengeful lover Revealing All, and I mean All in the menswear department of Dickens and Jones. But it was the seventies, it might have worked.
I am now a little embarrassed at my previous description of my erstwhile flatmate's behaviour as "appalling". A trifle annoying perhaps. A mild social solecism. And of course, now that my own level of righteous anger has faded to mildly pissed off, I feel guilt and ashamedly petty about my own actions.
To sum up, I returned home after a week away to find a message that read, "I have decided I hate it here. I have left work and moved back home. I need to know what to do with the keys. Don't worry about paying me back for the rest of this month's rent."
This would be the person who had agreed that because of her lack of deposit and general uncertainty about life, the universe and tram times she would give me a definite 4 weeks notice of her plans to vacate or pay the difference. The one who had organised her entire life here (including a fall-back career and alternative Friday job) in advance from the other side of the world before arriving. The one who had never lifted a finger to do any cleaning and kept her own store of toilet paper in her room, since it seems that short lets do not dust or have a communal attitude to personal hygiene products (although other people's DVDs are another matter). The one who left only three days before next month's rent was due, which would make it a three days rent-but-no-tenant-bonus. Ice creams are on me.
A few weeks later, no sign of the keys in the post, but a further message, "My friends are coming to stay in Hotel XYZ for the weekend. Please take the things I left behind around to their hotel for me so they can bring them back for me. Don't bother about the food or anything, just the clothes, shoes and bags."
These would be the clothes that had been left in dirty piles on the floor (now laundered) or mildewing gently in the washing machine on my return. With shoes and everything, the enormous canvas holdall allocated to the task weighed about 20 kilos (44 lbs.) and would have required a taxi to deliver.
Gentle readers, I said no.
Today falls on the last day of the weekend of the visitation and I have not taken the items around. The weather is bad, the taxi drivers are angry, the hotel has steps. Twenty navy-blue, canvas kilos of guilt are weighing on my conscience with fraying straps.