Wednesday 8 July 2015
Opened the door to the sweetest smell of damp earth and gentle pattering rain. I could hear the earth sucking up the moisture. Blissful.
Prepared the paperwork for the visits today and had a shower and painted out the irregularities on my face and calmed my hair. OH crawled out of bed saying What time is it and was surprised to learn it was 10.10 and then I went out and down to the big hotel car park to wait for my clients. I was early so rang my colleague to find out if he had dropped off the key for the first visit and to my annoyance, he said he was with his clients at a town 40 minutes south! He just does not listen. I could not work with him. I specifically told him that I needed the key for 11 am. OH says I need to email him and his boss in future. He is right...
My clients arrive, surprisingly on time, and we go into the cavernous depths of the railway hotel and the foyer is heaving with people so we have to drag the few chairs over to a poorly illuminated corner and I show them the proposed properties on my Tablet and the Internet connection is not good, so it takes up all the time that we should have been at the first property. They are in their early 30's and living in Asia and teaching and they have had enough and want a property which is easy to reach from anywhere in the world. With our four international airports within 2.5 hours drive, that is us! Five if you count the one in Spain.
We set off and get to the first house and there is no sign of the owner so they investigate the garden and I get through to the brother who gets through to the sister. She arrives 15 minutes late and says she has been at a funeral and that is why the foyer of the hotel was heaving because of the obseques of a young man who had died from leukemia aged 32. How terrible that his mourners are so much older than him. The couple poke around the house and love the painted 19th century tiled floors and think that the downstairs rooms are too small. We leave and go to see the outside of the house I should have shown them first and we are just in the garden and they are circling the large circumference of the property, in a wary fashion, when my colleague turns up. He is very casually dressed in an oversized pink tee shirt, beach trousers and sandals. He is with some French people. My clients look at him and look at me and then say they dont think the property is for them and we leave. Heaven only knows what the French think of his appearance.
We head South and the Pyrenees pop out of the clouds and I show them a farmhouse with a vast and stunningly beautiful bar in galets from the local river bed. (galet - river stone). They love the barn but don't love the house which is rambling and full of difficult to move supporting walls. The sister corners me in the cow byre and says to ring her direct if my people are interested as there has been a falling out with the brother - the house has been for sale for too long and there are frictions between the five siblings. I leave the couple in the house and look at the drive way and approach to the property - it is a large cracked tarmac triangle and the house sits awkwardly on the plot. The garden is a very strange shape. On a different plot, the house would be much more sellable. The couple emerge and it is not for them and we head off to the house they actually asked to see.
I arrive and am thinking that they will never like this house because it is so long and narrow and, in fact, they absolutely love it. They see past the clutter and Indian crap and books and pots and pans and Eastern throws and motley assortment of furniture and see the spirit of the house. I believe there is a spirit of every house but it only speaks to those it wishes to welcome as sister spirits and that is why, when you enter a house which you will buy, you know immediately it is for you. It says, I am for you and you are for me and your heart knows it. I have bought many houses and sold many more and I have felt this rapport myself and seen it in the eyes of the buyers. The French call it un coup de coeur - literally a blow to the heart.
By this point our stomachs were all rumbling so we went down to the river and sat on the lawn of a Belgian lady who is enterprising enough to do teas and sandwiches and it was just blissful and the river flowed and fish rose and the dogs sneezed under the trees and an old man in a deckchair slumbered with his hat over his eyes.
Suitably refreshed, I took them to see one further house. People don't usually like it because,although charming from the outside, it is decidedly uncharming on the inside with all of the character stripped out. The front room has some 70's linoleum on the floor and the fireplace squashed into the corner. The dining room is featureless and, where there should be a kitchen, is a room where the previous renters decided to install a bathroom and then changed their minds so it is now a kitchen comprising a sink, a heated towel rail and bathroom style tiles. My clients didn't like it. They especially didn't like the dead bats in the entrance courtyard. Sigh. I do wish I could sell this house. The owners are lovely and they are not getting any younger.
I drove them back to my town and they left, saying they would talk it though. I felt really optimistic and went home to see OH and recount the days events. Suddenly came over all tired. No orders today. Poured some more resin and made buttons with Queen Anne's Lace. When the punters see these, in the words of Del Trotter, it will knock them bandy.