Writer’s help

It was in the paper on Saturday. Again. The best job ad I’ve ever seen for a part time job. Luckily I don’t live in London, so have never been tempted to apply. If I did, would I live for much longer? I’m curious as to what writers in Notting Hill do to their home helps.

Has anyone else noticed the ad, and does anyone know what’s going on?

‘Home helps needed by female writer in Notting Hill Gate. Employer is slightly disabled. Several mornings during weekdays. £9 per hour. Housework, shopping and whatever comes up. Over-qualified people welcomed. A sense of humour helps and you’ll need to be reliable, practical, keenly helpful and able to commit to a minimum of 6 months. References required.’

I first saw this (presumably quite expensive ad, as it’s the Guardian) a few years ago, and liked the look of it. Who wouldn’t? Noticed it again a week later, which is normal, unless you consider the cost. To see the same ad repeated every few weeks over several years is worrying. Or just intriguing?

Either it’s not genuine, or this writer eats her amusing and well educated home helps. Or worse.

I was going to put a vampire picture here, but just looking at them made me feel wobbly. Use your imagination. I did.

57 responses to “Writer’s help

  1. Get your cross and garlic and answer it, why don’t you? I would, but the commute would be too long.

  2. It’s the ‘whatever comes up’ that hides the grisly truth.

  3. Gosh, I feel a novel coming on…

  4. I think I’d rather send a Guardian journalist to investigate…

    ‘Whatever comes up’ is so scary. It sort of covers this writer against any complaints. ‘Well, it came up, and we had agreed…’

    Nicola, no novel coming on here. But I bet you can think up something suitably grisly. Body parts. Things.

  5. Surely it would be worth taking a chance on whatever-comes-up for £9.00 an hour. I’d apply like a shot if only I had any references.

  6. I’m guessing that the over-qualified people apply, expecting it to be lots of literary chat and getting to meet famous writers, find out that it’s actually mostly housework, shopping and wrestling anacondas, and move on.

    But she could be sucking the life out of them and releasing them as wraiths, back into the world, of course.

  7. To wrestle anacondas I need more than £9.

  8. I love the idea of my to do list at work being:

    1. Pick up laundry
    2. Do Shopping
    3. Walk dog
    4. Wrestle anaconda
    5. Mop the kitchen floor

    Genius! Thanks for the post, really made me chuckle 🙂

  9. You’re right. I just looked at my list, and it is SO boring. From now on I will have anaconda wrestling on as an almost daily chore. Luckily I have no dog to walk, so that very same dog will never risk being gulped down by the anaconda. Or would that be why one wrestles it? To retrieve unfortunate dog?

  10. Body parts … ? Perhaps that’s it … maybe she’s not just slightly disabled, but severely … maybe just a brain in a jar, how would you cope with that? Particularly if our female writer doesn’t acknowledge her limitations. Gruesome … interesting 🙂

  11. A serial killer who writes about her crimes for a living. She prefers intellectually challenging victims. Who wouldn´t?

  12. Well, I won’t go near your house, then. ‘Just’ a crime writer. Really?

  13. I first saw this ad 11 years ago!!!! I find it so intriguing, the regularity with which it appears – I wish someone would investigate

  14. Well, we either get the Guardian to have a look, or we all get together, armed with… oh I don’t know, something, and sneak up in the dark. As long as there is no anaconda.

  15. is it suspicious? I think I will approach the writer!

  16. The most recent one must have die … , left her post. The ad was in on Saturday again.

  17. I actually replied but had to commit to 6 months which I was reluctant to.

  18. Well, someone hasn’t lasted six months. That’s all I can say.

  19. I’m so glad someone else has noticed this. It’s been worrying me for years. The ad is repeated on various job sites too. However many does she get through?

  20. Well she is known in shops in the area as being slightly odd. I think it could be a way of generating ideas for stories etc etc!

  21. So she actually exists? She’s not a cover for the white slave trade? Or any other colour slave trade.
    I still want to know how much money goes on the ads.

  22. It’s the self-centred tone that grates. The presumption that overqualified people will want to do her housework and odd jobs (for £9 per hour) because she’s a WRITER and lives in NOTTING HILL.

  23. Somebody needs to sign up and do the time so we can all be enlightened.

    And really, forging references isn’t as hard as all THAT. Certainly nowhere near as hard as counterfeiting money.

  24. Seana, how would you feel about a longish ‘holiday’ in London? You test the water and we’ll wait to hear what it’s all about. And if it’s not good, then let me just say it’s been lovely meeting you here.

  25. It is up again today. This forum seems to be the only place in the whole wide google nets discussing this now frankly terrifying add. Employer has recognised rampaging inflation and bumped wage to £10 an hour.

  26. And last weekend as well, unless it was the week before. Didn’t notice the higher wages offered, but feel I lack in the sense of humour the situation requires. Either she never hires anyone, or they leave prematurely. And I’d rather not dwell on the cause.

  27. Wowza and double wowza. The first post makes me want to start applying for jobs–EVERYWHERE–and the second makes me think, still no luck, then, writer lady? Oh, I am sorely tempted to apply and see what happens.

  28. Yeah, you could have a few months over here working and meeting people and get paid for it. Unless she does to you what might have happened to the others.

  29. It’s in AGAIN today. I’ve been wondering about this clearly sinister advert for months and am so glad to find I’m not alone.
    Did anyone ever apply to see what it’s all about?

  30. That’s at least three weekends in a row, then. Clecky, see comments above, has applied, but not ‘gone all the way’.

  31. Don’t be tempted to apply. I suspect the woman who places these ads is an attention-seeker and has been doing this for 11 years because she’s lonely and dysfunctional. It’s her hobby. Even if there is legitimate Home Help work to be done I imagine she will mess you about for ages and nothing will come it.

  32. Expensive hobby, though. I couldn’t even aspire to a tiny ad in the Guardian.

  33. Oh, come on, people. Surely someone is willing to be messed about for a few days and then report back here. I mean, I’d do it, but it’s a long trip from California.

    I mean, the worse it is, the better the story will be, right? Sure, you might come to a foul end, but you could use your phone camera right up to that point. Just make sure to have one of our numbers on speed dial. The downside is that you’ll be dead, but the upside is that we’ll avenge you.

  34. Hmm . . . Seana, is it you placing the ads?

  35. Would that it were so, Sceptic, but that would be too simple. Clecky seemed to know who it actually is, but I don’t think she or he has checked back in here recently.

    Suspicious, isn’t it?

  36. I was pleased to find this debate. For some time I have mulled over the strange recurrence of this ad, yet only recently felt compelled to do some digging. After much anticipation following your comments it was a shame to see no ad this week. Alas the mystery continues….

  37. Why doesn’t someone apply for it and see what happens?

  38. Yes, why don’t you? Or would you be happy to send your daughters? Just for an experiment.

  39. I too have been mesmerised by the regularity of these adverts. I’m going to apply for further details next time I see it – and last time was a week ago – so I reckon there’ll be another in a week or two. I suspect somewhat irrascible.

  40. I noticed it at the weekend, and thought ‘here we go again…’

  41. Has anyone heard from clecky lately? Because I don’t want to scare anyone, but she or he was the only one we know who ever replied to the ad…

  42. No. But we know what’s likely to have happened to her. Don’t we?

  43. Indeed. Nicky, if you go forward with the project, watch your back.

  44. I’ve responded to the email address, honestly, citing my curiosity about the frequency of her adverts, and offering service as a ‘reader’. Keep you posted. Doubt she’ll reply.

  45. Cool. Although I’m sure she’ll swear you to secrecy before she does anything else, so keeping us posted may not be an option…

  46. Ad is up again…. Any news on this mystery…?

  47. Nicky? No. Were you fond of her?

    I didn’t see the ad. I looked, and didn’t see it. Had come to the conclusion times are so bad the employer had run out of ad money.

  48. Pingback: Bookwitch bites #96 | Bookwitch

  49. Is that a coded cry for help, do you think?

  50. I don’t think so. I went out for a few hours and came back to a pile of spam.

  51. The woman who posts these ads is mentally ill, a control freak and a time waster. She blows hot and cold in a very manipulative manner and you will never be able to please or satisfy her. These ads have been running for 11 years and she is now on Timewise jobs too – and I can’t believe they have taken her on. Avoid her – it is exhausting emotionally and a waste of time.

    • Some people do manage this job for a while but it is important to remember that dealing with ill people requires proper training and although she does not ask for properly trained people in her job description, personally I don’t think anybody should take on a home care role without having been trained and without understanding more about the medical background and mental health of their employer. If you go into it without the right level of experience then you will cause upset to yourself and to her.

  52. I’m sure you’re right. She could be related to the fb friend I belatedly realised had been doing something very similar.

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