Thursday 7 May 2015
Hot and sunny 26 degrees
Get up early and by 9.30 am in town and waiting for the SFR shop to open. Obtain a 3g key to see me through until if and when we get internet back. Ring SFR and complain that no one from France Telecom has rung to fix an appointment and get a man who is the French equivalent of the sales assistant played by Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually. ‘Tis just the work of an instant’ He insists on going through the whole checking rigmarole before actually admitting that I have a phone line problem but, to give him credit, does actually fix up an appointment for this coming Saturday. Yet another week with no internet and no landline and a mobile which doesn’t work at home. I don’t know how anyone is supposed to run a business in this country.
My colleague rings me to say that she has received the offer letter signed by MD and she emails it through to me but I can’t print it because I have no internet at home and she can’t print it because she has no colour ink and is working all day and tomorrow is a public holiday. I email it through to the clients and say I will see them Saturday and they say they will print it.
She also says that the clients which we share, and with whom OH and I spent eight hours on the day before we went on holiday, say they do not want to work with me anymore because I did not tell them that I had colleagues in the area. What bollocks! I even showed them my colleague’s houses!!! They have made a request to see one of my properties which I know they won’t like and my colleague knows it too but rather than talk them out of it, she is going to drive 75 kilometres there and 75 kilometres back and waste a day. OH says that is no way to run a business and I am inclined to agree.
I get a text from the people who came to see our big rental unit and they want to see it at 11 am. Feel wildly excited and totally unable to concentrate. Wander around the market and chew my finger nails. The couple arrives and they still love it and say they have two other properties to revisit. One of them is in a village with a huge quarry so I manage to knock that one out of the running easily. The other one is more expensive than ours and has management charges which make running costs annually more expensive than ours. They leave and say they will make an offer next week. I can’t ring OH and tell him because the sodding internet and phone is still off.
Meet the electrician at the beautiful villa which has been offered on by the NZ ladies and he is stunned by the volumes. ‘Oh la vache’ he keeps exclaiming. I tell him the estimate must not terrify the new owners and to keep it basic. He says he will do his best and leaves, looking back and shaking his head at the idea of anyone taking on such a property. It is fortunate for the heritage of France that there are foreigners who are prepared to take on older properties and lovingly restore them.
Quick lunch and then off to see a chateau. Built of pale golden Angouleme stone, it has twin towers and an impressive façade. A fleur de lys flag waves lazily in the breeze. The owner is a bit of a character, to put it mildly. OH waits until he has gone to print something and asks if he is somewhat grumpy and I say he has not met enough French people. There are more odd people over here than you can shake a stick at. The rooms are spacious with beautiful, ornately decorated plaster mouldings and ceiling roses, marble fireplaces and tall windows, whose glass – hand blown – distorts slightly the view. It is very good order apart from the electricity which is absolutely terrifying and fizzes every time the man twists a button to turn on a light. He then shows us a house belonging to his brother, which is just next door. It is also vast and I start feeling really tired.
En route back home and the phone rings and it is the people who saw the flat this morning and they want to revisit. Have a quick cup of tea and then back down town and to chew my remaining finger nails.
The couple arrive and the man makes an offer which is on the low side but just about acceptable and then says he wants to pay ten percent ‘en liquide’ (cash). I am very unhappy about this and all my fizz departs. I say the only way we could accept this is if he pays us before we sign the compromis. He makes a moue and then says OK and I say I will talk to OH. He leaves and OH arrives and we agree and then I ring back the clients and agree terms. He says he can come down the third week of June. Just wish we could have done it on normal terms but a sale is a sale and it has been five long years. The French just don’t ‘do’ stairs. Only 42 of them but you would have thought it was the Eiger.