Friday 23 January 2014
Cold and misty 0 degrees
Alarm sounded at dreadfully early o'clock. I didn't move here to get up when it is dark and cold. My body was creaking more than the floorboards. Piled bedding, towels, laptop, mop, bucket and kettle into the car and was down at the rental unit for 7.45 am. Birds were still in bed and had to put on the car lights on dip so see through the drifting walls of mist.
Pleased to find that the flat was neat and tidy. Less pleased to find that I had read the wrong part of the meter and that the right part of the meter was spinning round crazily, meaning that they had probably used up the rental price in electricity. Don't ever let in Winter normally. Oh bugger, bugger. Charged them a nominal amount and they went. Lady still highly made up and wearing strange earrings which looked like pupae.
Spent hour and a half cleaning and tidying up and getting ready for midday's people. Lovely and cosy and warm in the flat, even though I had turned off the radiators the minute the last clients had gone down the stairs!
Down to the car park and the next clients were running late so went for a coffee in the nearby hotel and bumped into a resident Brit enjoying his 10 am carafe of rosé. He told me about various goings on in town including the good news that the local council has decided to knock down the jerry built eyesore which was started six years ago and never finished. Ours is a beautiful traditional town and the huge breeze block monstrosity blighted its street. Hopefully some more parking, since the local council also decided to restrict it to half an hour maximum in the town centre.
Eventually the clients arrived and the lady was upset because her daughter had just run to say their dog had died. They followed me to the first appointment which is a house I have just brought onto market. It is beautiful and has great flow and a fabby swimming pool. I don't know whether it is the dog loss or their normal nature, but I don't get much feed back from them physically or verbally.
We head off next to our house. OH has lit the Aga for the occasion and also the wood burner and turned on all the radiators. There is a strange, unfamiliar wave of heat as I open the back door. The clients seem to warm up physically and emotionally and we have a cup of tea. They go back to the rental unit and I feel rather tired and eat bananas. OH turns up with dog and we have quick resumé.
Pick them up again at 1.45 and show them a farmhouse with former light aircraft hangar. The owner has two large, enthusiastic, black dogs. One of them is scooting a very large stone around the courtyard with his nose. We have to keep leaping out of the way. The sun comes out and the Pyrenees pop up from the cloud base. We then go down to a house where they don't even want to go through the door. The key holder is not pleased as he has come out of work specially. He closes up grumpily.
We then head down to a very special manor house with 4 acres of parkland and huge outbuildings. When you arrive in front of the large solid infilled gates, you have no concept of what lies behind. The 4 acre park holds centenary American redwoods of huge girth and height (9 metres and 38 metres according to the owner) and used to belong to local aristocrats. We go around the house which is rather eccentrically decorated, especially in the bedrooms. The lady of the house is obviously wilder than her demure appearance would suggest. 'its not me who decorates - its the boss!' says the husband. The clients appear somewhat stunned. The lady owner serves tea and biscuits in the conservatory and her husband regales us of tales of his time in the Army when he was a pilot and later when he became a Colonel. He came to the realisation that he had worked all of his life and had nothing to show for it, so he bought this house and many bee hives and spent the next 15 years producing ten tonnes a year of honey and pollen.
He has a pink plug in what is obviously a hole in his head following brain tumour surgery. I can see the lady client's eyes keep sliding over to it. She says later that she wondered what would happen if the plug came out. Very unlikely that he would deflate, he is quite some character and one of the joys of this job is meeting fascinating people from all walks of life and also seeing beautiful furniture and pictures.
Take them back into our town and they jump in the car to go and have a drive around the area.
Back home. Feel rather fatigued but have to catch up on calls and emails. OH cooks the most delicious thresher shark which absolutely melts in our mouths. We have white French Jurancon wine to accompany. He found them on a French special in the local big supermarket and is feeling optimistic that I might actually manage to shift some property this month. This is the sort of wild optimism to which I am normally prone.