Jeremy Clarke

Poor reception

A social leper tells you of his miserable existence

Text settings

In summer we let half the house out to paying visitors, who generally stay for a week, from Saturday to Saturday. Before the guests arrive we always worry about whether they’ll like the place; whether they’ll feel that their hard-earned money has been well spent. The ones that come every year must like it, of course. But if people are coming for the first time, there is always the nagging anxiety that they might not think the place is all it’s cracked up to be in the brochure and feel cheated.

This week’s guests, a couple, were first- timers. On Saturday morning I mowed the grass and strimmed the edges in their separate walled garden as usual. Another contribution I make to the enjoyment of our guests is to select books every week for the small bookshelf in the living-room. I like to give them a theme. Last week it was true crime. The week before, comedy. This week’s theme was race and racism from an African perspective, for which I chose novels by Mariama B