Saturday 3 December 2016

Working it out: I don't love you and you aren't useful

John Masterson

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

One of the group started talking about Airbnb
One of the group started talking about Airbnb

It began with one of those 'how could we all make some more money' conversations. It was over wine, outdoors, on the first warm day of summer. It could be pointed out that if we drank less, none of us would need more money. However the general tenor of the conversation was that after years of austerity, our pensions decimated, our shirts really looking like they were past Oxfam and should go straight to the dump, we needed to do some spending and money would be useful.

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One of the group started talking about Airbnb. Apparently, three quarters of the planet are renting out a bit of their space and most are keeping it quiet from the taxman. One of the more sober of the group pointed out that I have an extra house. That is putting it very grandly indeed. I have an extra converted stable that people do actually sleep in and which is crammed full with a lifetime of junk.

Before I had time to stop things, I had accepted an offer from a friend with time on her hands to manage this bijou residence and split the money, after tax, with me. I just had to clear it out. I was offered a simple guideline which was, apparently, the distilled wisdom of William Morris. Some know him for his textiles and wallpaper, some for his socialism, but I knew him for his utopian novel, News from Nowhere. He apparently said that you should "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." I have driven a coach and four through that over the years.

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