We’ve all had dodgy boilers and ever dodgier landlords – Zella Compton

Zella Compton has lived in some pigsties over the years - they are not the preserve of millennials
Zella Compton has lived in some pigsties over the years - they are not the preserve of millennials

I read an interesting article in The Guardian at the weekend, about what it’s like to be a millennial renting in today’s cities. And here’s the thing, while it might cost proportionately more, the shocking stories of the accommodation they need to put up with were no less shocking than anything me, or my friends, lived with.

Who hasn’t endured a string of revolting properties during their late teens and early twenties, and sometimes beyond?

We’ve all been there with a dodgy landlord, dodgy plumbing, dodgy something or other.

One of my first rentals as a student was marked by the landlord going apoplectic that we’d called the gas board as we were overwhelmed with the stench in the flat.

Seriously, it was that moment you realise whoever had the plan to add odour to gas was a genius.

The official who came condemned the boiler – and most of the workings in the flat – as dangerous beyond repair.

‘Not so’ shrieked our landlord three days later when he turned up, in a fury that he would have to spend money to keep us alive.

Another property saw the owner popping in every other day to get something or other from the cellar.

I’m not convinced that’s what he was doing, as he always seemed to go in empty handed, and come out the same way. What he was putting his hands around in the meantime was anyone’s guess – and we guessed quite a few.

He was fascinated by our sleeping arrangements, wanting a phone call anytime of night to let him know – ‘for insurance purposes’ – if we had a ‘special friend’ staying over. Rightio.

There have been places with mould, with multiple break-ins, with a cupboard which fell off the wall full of plates and the remonstration that ‘plates should never be kept in an overhead cupboard’ and all sorts of chicanery with deposits and rent and bills and the list is endless.

While I do feel for millennials and the specific predicament they face with zero-hour contracts and housing being ridiculously expensive to buy, bad housing is not a millennial issue, it’s a rite of passage.

Beware those terrifying vending machines, lurking in the shadows

Another shark film is set to hit the big screen this week and I can’t wait.

It’s the first Jason Statham movie which I actively want to see, rather than catching half an hour or a re-run before falling asleep as so often is the case.

But pity the poor shark population which will, once again, become the object of fear for a new generation.

I remember the terror of entering the sea after watching Jaws, and how it still haunts me to this day.

A wholly unfair situation given that both cows, and vending machines, kill far more people on annual basis than sharks do.

But as they don’t lurk in the depths or move at speed, I guess it’s so much harder to make them movie-worthy.

Sometimes, for escapism, we just crave a bit of normality

I finally got around to reading Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman last weekend.

It’s been recommended by about everyone I know who reads. It’s a great story about a young woman who goes to work everyday, and drinks vodka on the weekend.

It doesn’t sound that exciting, does it? But if you’re looking for a summer read that will make you laugh out loud, and cry a little bit, and make you feel that actually mostly the world is an all right place when we look at the vast swathes of normal people in it (rather than politicians or terrorists), you’ll very much enjoy it.

What’s so lovely is that, for once, this isn’t book about a woman apologising or trying to be a man. Hooray.