Have spent the last 24 hours in a state of anxiety about Daughter being able to move into her new house. They are going to be renting what looks like a very nice two-bedroomed house, but the problem which arose was about rental references etc. I just couldn't understand why the agents wanted guarantors of a particular kind - it seems that simply being a householder, or owning your own property, is no longer enough. Or that's what these new-fangled "Referencing Agents" seem to think. No - you also have to have a minimum income of £35,000 (!) to be a Guarantor - or at least in this case. Now, Daughter is not renting Buck House, it's a very nice but ordinary end of terrace with a small garden. No gold fittings. No chandeliers. And it's only a six month rental. So the Agents already have a six week deposit (that only leaves 4 and a half month's rent to pay), and they have paid over £100 for a Credit check (free on the Internet) and another £100 to have the Inventory checked. It seems to me that this is a nice little earner for these greedy bastards (pardon my ire), but an absolute scandal if you are a normal young couple without a fortune to spend. And anyway, they have the wrong end of the stick! My Accountant used to say to me that it wasn't income which was important, it was outgoings! And she was right. You could earn £50,000 a year and have outgoings of £55,000. Net result - as Dickens so aptly said, "misery", or at the very least debt. Anyway, this absurd attitude caused all of us endless worry, a sleepless night, phone calls back and forth to try and work out the best way forward, and in the end was easily solved by a bit of common sense. I will say, though, that I won't deal with those Agents ever again, and will let them and everyone else know why.
While we were dealing with this aggravation today, we were also driving back and forth to Ikea, on what was probably the worst day of the year, weatherwise. It was lashing with rain, double wipers all the way there and back, and there were gale-force winds. Why did we choose to drive up the Motorway in such weather? Well, we had planned this last week because Daughter wanted to get a few things for the new house, so we just got on with it. It was one of the scariest driving experiences I can remember, particularly on the way back, when it was getting dark, and I had to grip the steering wheel and peer into the rain-lashed gloom, in practically nil-visibility. Luckily Grandson slept all the way back in his car seat, tucked up in Daughter's pashmina. I wish I could have. It was quite amazing that, even in those appalling conditions, there were still cars (driven by maniacs) speeding past me in the outside lane. Madness..