It was the late, great Benjamin Franklin who noted that houseguests and carp begin to ferment after three days if not refrigerated. I'm starting to think he may have been right and for the past four months, I've lost count of the number of visitors who have walked through my apartment's revolving door.
Experience has taught me that November to May is peak season, but the droves of friends and family using my spare key has now reached unprecedented levels. Don't get me wrong, I love to entertain and heartily encourage all and sundry to decamp to Dubai when they are planning a break abroad, not least in these times of cautious spending. However, it has become increasingly apparent which kind of house guests I can live with and those who I - how shall I put it - struggle with.
For the overwhelming most part, my houseguests are an absolute delight. Independent, sociable, flexible and only too aware that wet towels, sandy flip-flops and white sofas do not mix. They use my pad as base camp and go off on day-trips, weekend jaunts and nights out. Plus, with the habitual refolding of the futon, I hardly notice they are there. Marvellous!
Then there are those who demand a tad more of my attention and for whom I wear a tour-guide badge and entertainer's top hat 24/7. Which isn't ordinarily a problem, except when I am working 9-5 and have to add fridge-restocking, meal rustling and bottle washing to my daily duties. Then there's the bathroom-blues, and I now beseech my houseguests to rise a little later than the crack of dawn so that I might never again be forced to use the cold water facilities in my building's gym to have access to a shower before work.
Narks and niggles aside, I relish the thought of a house brimming with happy holidaymakers and I always urge guests to make themselves entirely at home. Mi casa es su casa. One such visitor took this somewhat to extremes recently and, deciding that an inflatable bed (a swanky one, I might add) was not quite to their liking, was leaping into mine the moment I left for work each morning. Only to be rumbled one day when I popped back unexpectedly to collect my Dictaphone. Tsk, tsk!
Hand on heart, I'm a generous soul but some things are out of bounds for my temporary apartment dwellers, and the sharing of beds, toothbrushes and towels would probably top the list. And don't even think about borrowing the car; it takes an experienced and courageous driver to navigate these roads and the only thing I want my guests crashing is the floor.