I found your cookbook online. Bellissimo. Now I know you like Italian food, I’ll send you a little gift.”
This was the message I received in a divine little basket delivered to the half door. I can’t tell you how touched I was. What a thoughtful gesture. Let me tell you what was in Matteo’s gift basket: all sorts of delicious treats from a fancy shop called Al Peck in Milan, all packed in black and gold boxes — Radiatori pasta from Naples; squid in squid ink and tomato sauce; white truffle oil; soft torrone nougat from Sicily.
My boy in Milan really pulls out all the stops. As they say in the country, he knows about onions. There’s only one problem. I’ve just joined an amazing gym in Glasthule and the nice guys there won’t be happy that they really stuff all those gourmet goodies.
Well, just to tell you something, I haven’t met the boulder Matteo yet. A great friend who lives in Milan suggested that she and her husband and he and I have a double dinner when I arrive. I never thought I would go on a blind date. Sure, why not? Who knows? From now on, life could be molto eccitante, as they say in Italy. Sure it’ll be some fun. I won’t tell you about him until I get there. I don’t want to impose a kibosh on the whole matter. Am I not the smart woman?
On Tuesday, Maisie asked me to look at an apartment in Dublin that her daughter Anna was looking to rent. “That’s how it looks,” says Anna, showing me a glossy brochure with photos of so-called “well-proportioned studio apartments.” It looked pretty classy, I’ll admit that.
“It was agony to find it,” says Anna. “I’ve sent 52 emails looking for a one-bedroom apartment and only three have responded.”
What are they asking of you? I say. “Three months of bank statements and references. By the way, you have to be ‘invited’ by the owner for a viewing.”
Have you ever heard that shit Well, we typed towards the address and finally found a parking lot miles away. Then we weaved through a dense, lingering mass of desperate people queuing to see it. Some were there for three hours and didn’t know that you had to be “invited”.
Anna, Maisie’s rosy-cheeked 24-year-old in her pretty floral dress, trotted up the stairs in front of us. She was very excited. Not for long.
Her face visibly stiffened with disappointment when she saw the place. It was tiny. I mean tiny. There was only one bed, tiny kitchen, washing machine and bathroom all in the same room.
Oh, and a small window and no TV. I was already feeling claustrophobic. A soft groan emanated from Maisie as she saw the bed facing the washing machine and a loud, incredulous laugh from me as I realized there was no sofa or chair to lounge and relax on.
Jesus, that’s bad, I say.
“Please look excited, Biddy,” Maisie says, nudging my arm.
That was difficult. I mean where are you supposed to relax? Then it dawned on me. They couldn’t accommodate the extra furniture.
The agent, a French girl wearing an elegant black skirt, white shirt and pearls, just pointed to the bed and refrigerator. I mean all she could do was point to it because there was no place to move and we found ourselves in endless spirals of babble like ‘bijou life experience’, ‘prestigious address’, live an incomparable Life’, ‘Luxury, Success and Style’, ‘A jewel in the crown of city life.’
I stood there, stunned by what seemed oddly contradictory standards. It was anything but luxurious. There were two words in my head: Pure codswallop.
I asked the french girl why there was no sofa or a place to relax or a tv. She shrugged in that bored Gallic way and let out a puff of air. “Alors, it is not our policy to make them available. We like streamlined proportions,” she says with a hoarse purr.
Obviously they want you to stay outside as much as possible. Wait until you hear the price: €2,200 per month, excluding bills. I actually had no words – very unusual for me.
“I just did the math,” says Maisie, who has a knack for aul’ arithmetic. They would know that she was the daughter of a cattle dealer. “If every tenant spends EUR 2,200 a month excluding electricity costs, the owners get EUR 60,000.
“Take off taxes and they still collect 30,000 euros a month.”
Irish landowners have lost their marbles. Poor Anna lingered for a moment in the open door like an actress leaving a stage. Sure, what young girl could afford that? My heart tightens with pity for young people trying to find housing.
On Thursday I rocked out to the Barnhill Stores in Dalkey. They have a wine club upstairs and you have been invited to take part in a Camino del Vino tasting. Sure, I loved the sound of it. No walking required, just dinner. The whole jubilant expanse of the night was turned into a delightful rush and chat by the lovely Lorna Rouse of Cassidy Wines and my pal, the delightfully funny John Hoard.
My favorite drink was of course Marqués de Caceres Cava Brut – which we’re told, by the way, is fantastic paired with a bucket of KFC no less. It seems that the natural acidity of champagne and cava works well with chicken fat. bubbles and birds. who knew
In the middle of it, my cell phone pinged. God, wasn’t it Matteo who FaceTimed me from Milan?
There’s nothing worse than seeing someone on a screen for the first time without any notice. I almost died.
And? Surprise surprise. He’s pretty tasty and has a full head of hair and a great smile. As for the Italian accent, I was in heaven listening to it. OMG. What am I getting myself into? whoops
https://www.independent.ie/life/irish-landlords-have-lost-their-marbles-what-young-girl-could-afford-to-pay-2200-a-month-in-rent-41995169.html Irish landowners have lost their marbles. What young girl could afford to pay €2,200 a month in rent?