The Adventure of the Tenancy Agreement

Please leave your shoes at the door and your email address in the box on the right before coming in.

Yesterday the man arrived with the agreement all drawn out. Luckily I showed it to Mr Sutro, my lawyer, who lives in Harrow. He said to me, “This is a very strange document.”

Tenancy agreement: also available on Kindle

That’s what happened in the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Three Gables. And that’s very nearly what happened when I dropped in on the university’s Housing Adviser to have a draft tenancy agreement given a once-over.

“This is a mad, insane document,” she opined.

There are a number of strange rules affecting our little house. No storage of coal. No water-beds. No reptiles. No “other living creatures.”

We may not “change the general character of the garden.” Since the garden’s general character could be summed up with the word ‘concrete’, that’s a bit of a pity really.

“In the event of any infectious or contagious disease happening during the tenancy,” we must pay for “any requirements for disinfecting the rooms which may be directed by the Medical Officer of Health.” So next time I have a touch of ebola, my first thought will be for clause 3.10.

Train your staff!

My journey home on Friday netted Southern Rail a whole string of exciting prizes and citations, starting with the Well That Explains a Lot Award for the clock at Brighton station:

There’s also the Scariest Sign to See at a Railway Terminus Award, which is given on the basis of this display-screen at Brighton station:

What is this non-stopping train planning to do then? Crash through the buffers, roll down Queen’s Road and off the end of the pier?

Gabrielquotes: Game-warden to the News Rhino

If you want to Tokyo Zoo rehearsing for the escape of a rhino, complete with costumed zookeepers, then this is your lucky day.

The Controversial Verdict of the Week Award goes to Mr Justice Wilkie, whose sentence of Mohammed Shahjahan and friends was reported by the BBC:

Surprising really. I expected them to get away with community service or just to be let go.

And finally, the Best Way to Deal with Students’ Union Elections Award goes to whoever produced this brilliant poster on their flat door:

In the courts this week…

In the public inquiry into ’phone-hacking conducted by Lord Leveson, and more generally into “the culture, practice and ethics of the press,” a familiar face was summoned to give evidence about their blog…

Here is a small excerpt from the proceedings:

Lord Leveson: You are Gabriel Webber, editor-in-chief of the Gabrielquotes blog?
Gabriel: I know I am.
LL: I notice that your blog postings tend to disparage a lot of public figures, including staff at your university.
Gabriel: Yes, m’lud.
LL: Have you ever been threatened with legal action over this?
Gabriel: Well I wouldn’t really know, because I depend on the Porter for my incoming post and he’s never at work.
LL: I also see that you describe these proceedings as “an inquiry into hacking conducted by Lord Leveson.” Your grammar seems to be a little ambiguous there?
Gabriel: Yeah, strange that.

More on this next week.

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions

“If you read The Short 20th Century by Eric, you’ll find…” [So glad to know that we’re on first-name terms with Eric Hobsbawm.]

“Roosevelt had a relationship with Stalin that was an open secret.”

IR lecturer: “There’s that… thing… in town… What do you call that big thing in town?” / Student: “The Pavilion?” / Lecturer: “Yes, that’s it.”

“If Britain had lost WW2, what would have been the impact on decolonisation? That’s a very interesting counterfactual.” [But perhaps not the most interesting ‘What if Germany won the war?’ question…!]

Over the weekend, I was Rosh (senior youth leader) on LJY-Netzer event for 14-15-year-olds. One activity involved them roaming all over Kingston town centre trying to complete various challenges, one of which was to persuade a random member of the public to play them a CD audio-clue. Anyway, for one week only, we present Yamimballs!

Me: “Remind me to pack my pyjamas.” / Mum: “What, for you to wear at night?”

“If I get in trouble, Gabriel, it’s your fault. OK?”

[during a game of Bingo] “Please can you call ’23’ next?”

Girl: [walks into café in Kingston] “Hello, we’re from LJY-Netzer, and we’ve got this CD we need to play…” / Turkish waiter: “From where?”  / Girl: [exasperated at this crass ignorance of Zionist youth movements] “From LJY-Netzer!”

Boy: “You’re bullying me, you tell me to be quiet more than anyone else!” / Me: “Why do you think that might be?”

“Edinburgh’s in Scotland?!”

Me: “You know ’phones aren’t allowed. Can I have that please?” / Girl 1: “It’s not my ’phone, it’s hers!” / Me: “Fine. She can have it back at the end of the event.” / Girl 2: “Please give it back to me! I won’t use it!” / Me: “I know you won’t” [pockets ’phone and does a triumphant mental dance]

“Women teachers are all so sexist!”

And just for fun…

…comes Sir George Campbell MP and his views on keeping the Empire free from over-regulation by the British. He’s discussing how, when we took India “under our protection,” we were so good-spirited as to let the local tribes continue their lovely time-honoured customs and traditions. And some not so lovely customs, too.


During the week, someone brought to my attention an Arthur episode entitled ‘Muffy and the Big Bad Blog’, in which Arthur’s friend Muffy (who is, for some reason, a monkey) starts a blog entitled The Muffington Post and broadcasts scurrilous details about incidents in her daily life. If you can enlighten me as to why someone thought this was in any way relevant to me, please get in touch.

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