Confessions, books and owning up to my December vice

‘What does an “It” girl do if she loses all her money?’

We had a guest stay at our Muizenberg beach flat for a few months towards the end of 2016. She wasn’t particularly difficult and did not cause any concern until a month before she was supposed to move out. Rent was half paid, phone messages left unanswered and by the time she “moved out” we realised she had been subletting, have left the flat in a state and lost our keys and remote. I have been a bit grumpy ever since. I really struggle not to take rentals personally and if guests/tenants mess things up, they really mess with me. I am working on it.

We have fixed up the flat and got the lock replaced. As I was going through the rooms, adding to the list of missing items, I also found library books that were never returned. The library is just down the road on the way to the beach, so I thought I would get some fresh air and do a good deed. I am not sure what I expected, but it was obvious that the library staff were not keen on making eye contact and my chances of getting a gold star was very slim. I left them as instructed by a pointed finger from the lady behind the counter and made my way back to the flat to scrub the bath.

One of the books I found were out of place and neither belonged to the library nor on our bookshelf.

It had a turquoise cover, decorative font, with glitter to round it off. It stood out like a girl with stick on eye lashes and hairspray on a 5-day canoe trip down the Orange River. It wasn’t something I would ever buy or be interested in. I am more of a Douglas Adams, travel guide, adventure travel and biography type. Still, I was intrigued and started reading…

‘….Scraping a living as an assistant to a ‘glamour’ photographer; living in a hovel on the Old Kent Road with four smelly boys; eating baked beans from the can – this is one spectacular fall from grace. Sophie is desperate to get her life back – but does a girl really need diamonds to be happy?’

I finished the book in a day or two between work breaks and missioned to our local bookstore. I went back 3 days later to see if they had more, then another 2 days later to buy what was left. I finished them all before you could say “icing on a cupcake”. It was light and fun reading to ease me into my holiday and I took stock with me on our roadtrip. Accompanied by a couple of coffees, I found myself escaping to lives and adventures of the characters and turning the pages way past bedtime.  I have been recommending  Jenny Colgan to all my girlfriends. Her books are engaging, her writing style easy but still intelligent and the characters are rich and entertaining. It also turns out that Jenny has a little Doctor Who on her CV, which suits me fine.

I would still like to have a good word with our ex-tenant if I ever bump into her. About unattended library books, mostly. But maybe my fury has been defused a little by the indirect introduction to the fun and entertaining magic of chic literature (#NotForBoys). Who would have known?
“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets.” Jenny Colgan


PS. I also added Karen Joy Fowler to my holiday reads and working through Clarissa Pinkola Estes (which is very different all together).

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