Friday, 9 November 2012

How to waste a £20 note

I don't think I've had a moment to myself since early 2011 so I thought it was worth finding someone who could keep an eye on the McBaby for an hour or so, giving me the opportunity to get some work done, do some painting and finally give the house a proper clean, not just a quick swish and wipe.

So, I put an ad on gumtree where I was pleased to get a number of replies - notably mostly from women from eastern Europe. The first asked for the most per hour - £10, but she had good experience, so I thought I'd invite her over to see how she got on.

She said she'd be here at 2pm, and as the minutes counted down, I was ridiculously excited and ready to get on with my increasing list of chores. At 1.45pm, the McBaby began a nap. At 2.05pm, I got a phone call from M, who, despite being 18, has a surprisingly stern voice, saying she was lost.

I wasn't 100% sure where she was, but she then remembered she had satnav, so I gave her, again, our address and postcode.

Two minutes later she called back. I'm outside 81.

Great. But we're 82 and number 81 is nowhere near here. She calls back a few more times.

Another two minutes and she's outside the train station, but I'm not sure which way she's facing.

Another two minutes and she's "going down a hill"?

Another two minutes and she's parking.

Another two minutes and she tells me she's been knocking and that I should open the door. I didn't hear knocking and there's no one there.

She's outside 28. I patiently remind her that we're number 82.

So, she finally arrives and her constant phoning has woken the McBaby.

I make her a cup of tea and show her around. She plays with the McBaby upstairs and I write 10 words. I then make a quick phone call and then remember her tea is ready, so take it upstairs. The McBaby decides to grab my dress and never, never, never let go.

And then he begins to scream for and HOUR and a half!

I give him some food. This reminds me I haven't eaten all day either and in fact, "have lunch" is under "write press release", "clean kitchen floor" and "get rid of moss on conservatory roof", so I make myself and also M a sandwich. She eats the sandwich and I feed the McBaby some avocado. I then grab an apple for him which she offers to cut up. "It's fine," I say, "he can hold the apple and eat it."

She tells me that's dangerous and then also tells me that the step in the kitchen is dangerous. Sensing that I might like to be told about other things I'm doing wrong, she then tells me that the milk I gave the McBaby 10 minutes ago should have been heated up.

Then the McBaby starts choking on the apple. I reach in and grab the piece of apple out while she reminds me that she'd just told me it was dangerous. Red-faced, I say that he's never had a problem before.

It's now five to 4pm. "I should go," she says, pausing to say that if I hadn't come back into the room to bring her the tea, he would have been fine.

I pay her £20 and she goes. I feel that I don't need to tell her that it hasn't gone very well and I won't be asking her to come back. I don't ask if it had occurred to her to take him out.

So, it's with some surprise to see my phone has three missed calls from her the following day. I don't know what to say so don't call her back. But then, when I'm driving, she calls again and I wonder if she left something here, pull over and answer.

"I'm renting a new place. Will you be my reference?"

I pause.

"Can I think about it?"

"Forget it"



  1. What the hell!! That is a very bizarre and random experience! Be her reference? You only had there for a few hours! Strange girl and who does she think she is coming in to your house and lecturing you.

    I wouldn't let it put you off though as there must be some great helpers out there who could have done a better job.

  2. Thanks Dannie -I've been left feeling very strange by the encounter! There are a couple more people coming -fingers crossed!

  3. I think you should absolutely give her a reference.

    Cost £20.00

    Content - "I have indeed met this person and can confirm she is female and has hair. Should you need any further information please hesitate before contacting me.