Monday 27 January 2015
I promised myself to write something every day and to be positive. Today was so unutterably crap that I am writing nothing about it. End of story.
Will entertain you with events from back in 2011
Monday evening I am on duty in the office and a couple from Paris roll in. They have noticed a bungalow advertised in the window at 129500 €. I explain it is sold 'off plan'. They look confused. I explain it is not yet constructed. They ask how are they supposed to live in a house which isn't yet built... I sit them down and show them the plans. Actually, they say, we would like something old. Preferably a bungalow. No busy roads. No near neighbours. And they have 130 000 €. I haven't had a property like that in the past ten years. Bungalows tend to be well over 200 000 € and on estates. I fish through our partner agent files in the hope of finding something and, bingo, find a single level building with workshop and, bonus, a lake and 6500 m2 of land. Just 135 500 €. Secretly wondering what is wrong with it, I make an appointment to see it with them the following day at 9.00. When the couple have gone, I ring back the other agent. They laugh and say 'you will see'.
9 am dawns and the clients are on time. We roll 15 minutes north through the early morning sunshine and following the sat nav - a Godsend for a woman with no sense of direction. The property is at the end of a long lane. There is indeed a lake, and a canal, and a ruined building and the bungalow. The couple are amazed and I release them into the garden to have a wander around whilst I open up the house. Most of the land is the other side of the canal. ‘Attention’ shouts the husband as his rather substantial wife approaches the delicately rusting metal bridge. Too late, she drops onto it, with a terrifying ‘clunk’. It holds. I go into the house and have to climb over many boxes to switch on the electricity.
There is a very large workshop. The lady thinks this will keep her husband busy. I agree this is always a good thing where husbands are concerned. We go into the house and I switch on the lights. There is a lot of wood on the walls and the ceilings and the furniture. It is very gloomy. It looks like the paper has been taken off the walls by someone in a high state of excitement. The couple love it. They think it would be a good idea to enlarge the windows to let in more light. Interestingly, all the windows at the rear have opaque, public loo-like, glass cubes instead of glass. I go around the side to investigate and discover the neighbour’s land abuts exactly the rear of the house. The windows are opaque to guarantee the privacy of the neighbour and so can neither carry clear glass or be enlarged. The couple are hugely disappointed and I have nothing else to show them so we trot back into town and promise to keep in touch.
Wednesday morning and it is getting towards lunchtime. Again I am on duty and a couple from Suffolk come in. What a surprise! We Easterners are very thin on the ground in this part of the world. They have a similar budget to my Parisians but are happy to have neighbours and want to do some renovation work. This makes life a lot easier and we select two properties to see. They pop out to get a sandwich and we arrange to meet in half an hour. ‘Well?’ asks our secretary. ‘They are really funny’ I reply. ‘I don't give a monkey’s arse if they are funny, are they going to buy something?’ Well if I knew that, I could have saved myself a lot of time and diesel over the years...
I join the couple for a coffee and we then set off for a property which is in, a neighbouring Department. The village has a bar and grocery and a very attractive church. The owners are just leaving as we get there but say to go and visit and then just close the door when we leave. ‘Not like Ipswich’ note my couple. The property consists of part of a former Inn which has been beautifully renovated by the current owners. On the ground floor is a large living room with stairs off. Further back is the kitchen, shower room and loo. Next to the living room is the door into the barn. My couple are interested in the barn as well so we draw back the curtain, open the new door, open the old door and have a good look at the barn as well. It has been re-roofed recently and there is a walled garden. The lady thinks this will keep her husband busy....
We then come back to our town and visit a semi-detached property in a residential area. The lady prefers this house. There are many large dogs. A heavily pregnant girl is holding back a particularly large one who would love to jump all over us. ‘He is young and friendly’ she assures us. We run in house quickly..
The owner is very proud of his plywood cupboards in the bedrooms. My clients ask me if I remember Barry Bucknall. The owners of the house have a lot of stuff and not much of it is in the cupboards. We leave and the couple promise to recontact me late tomorrow after their visits.
Well, they vanished into the ether..