Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'Perhaps I should give my flat one more chance'

In The Red
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The Independent Online

I mentioned last week that I was planning on entertaining for the first time in my possibly-soon-to-be-ex flat. Well, it all went smoothly. Astoundingly, I ruined none of the food, bar a single bit of French bread which somehow managed to catch fire while toasting under my somewhat lopsided grill. Oddly, the dozen or so slices alongside remained pleasingly resistant and achieved little more than a gentle golden-brown. And yes, I went ever so slightly over budget – though not drastically. At any rate, I have enough in leftovers to keep me well fed until next week.

All of which has made me think two things. First, that I might be rather better around the house than I imagined. Or perhaps not quite as bad. Yes, I may be hopelessly untidy. And yes, I may occasionally flood the bathroom or lock myself out. But at least I can cook a decent fish supper for four. A far better skill that financial vigilance, I'm sure you'll agree.

Second – and, perhaps, rather more significantly – it has made me want to stay in my flat. Possibly. Tell me this: is it standard procedure to complement your host on their flat within minutes of arriving? Even if you don't mean it at all. If it is, then I've spend the past two and a half decades being very, very rude to everyone who has ever entertained me. Unhelpfully, I'm in the middle of reading a book on the science of lying, which has rather led me to distrust everyone. Are they avoiding eye contact, I wonder? Yes? They must be lying! No? Well, they're statistically still very likely to be lying. Just to spare my feelings. The little white liars!

If, however, lying to your host's face isn't standard procedure, then perhaps I don't know what I'm on to. And perhaps I should give my flat a second chance. After all, it was quite good for entertaining. I don't have a dinner table, true. And my kitchen is somewhat on the – how to put it? – bijou side. And I only have four wine glasses. But at least it was nice and sunny and there were plenty of comfy chairs to lounge on. Who need a dinner table when you've got a lime green armchair, eh? And what's drinking from a tumbler when you've got an unlimited supply of rosé. (Admittedly this would travel with me wherever I went but, y'know, you've got to count your blessings.) So, for the moment, I've stalled. Or, rather, stalled on the selling but not – happily – on the fish suppers.

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