Saturday 11 July 2015
Delightfully cool and overcast 24 degrees
The finest of mist was hanging over the garden this morning and tiny water droplets were forming on the leaves and petals. The air smelled heavy with moisture. Ran around, getting an order batched up for Australia, woke up OH early so he could go down town and measure up for the new rental unit finishings and then out into the morning for the revisit on the chateau.
Stopping at an intervening town, I found the Post Office was shut on Saturdays but open on Mondays, unlike the one in my town. The thing with France is that not everything is open at the same time and often it is not open at all. Back in the UK, you can be confident that, between 9 and 5 on five days of the week, plus Saturday morning plus 10 - 4 on a Sunday, shops will be open. Here, a place can be open anytime between 8 and 7 but it will definitely be closed 12-2 and if it is open on a Saturday, it will be closed on a Monday. The Intermarché supermarkets, boulangers, florists and paper shops are open for a couple of hours on Sunday morning and they are heaving. I have to say, the Intermarché Sunday openings have only been around for about three years and were the subject of much controversy. Bread shops are open from around 6 but then close 12.30 - 3.30 presumably to give the boulangère a bit of shut eye and to let some more bread prove, rise and bake.
Stuffing the envelope back in my bag, I drove onto the chateau and the owner's son was patrolling the terrace. The client was 20 minutes late and arrived with a friend. They are both exceptionally tall. The son and I felt Lilliputian. I left them and the son to it and joined the owner on the patio. She offered me schwarz tee which turned out to be fragrant black tea from Bavaria and she told me about her hip and cataract operations, carried out in Germany, and her many travels around Asia and Australia. After about an hour and a half, we were running out of conversation, and the men had finally finished looking around so I went to the town bar with them and they tentatively made an offer of 250000 euros which I said was too low and they needed to be around 300000 euros. They asked me to get a quote for the dry rot and said they would do some calculations and come back with a firm offer during the week.
Drove back to my town and went to find a house I had been told about and it turned out that I knew it already. Back home and nibbled on a brioche surprise, the surprise being that it spreads itself all over your face and hands. Full of lovely apricot jam and fruit. Picked up OH and we went to find a house which interests the young couple I was with earlier in the week. It transpired, after much knocking on doors, to belong to an absentee English couple. It is in a tiny street with no car access but lovely views. I hope the young couple don't decide to go and see it with the other agency who, surely, do have the keys. Told the couple that the owners are absent and I wont be able to get access until they return. Gave my card to the neighbour and asked him to pass it over when he sees them. His house is part of the town walls and, when he finally got down all the stairs and cranked open the massive wooden door full of ancient and huge nails, the thickness of the stone became apparent. It is known as the 'fortified house'. He didn't take umbrage at my request and I remarked that his house was an amazing structure and he said indeed it was. Walked the dog along the river and saw some amazing iridescent turquoise beetles. Back home where OH insisted on catching up with the correspondence.
Young couple sent me message to say they need to come back and see Noras and other properties
Felt very tired but still had to ring up and organise all of Monday and Tuesday's visits. Must do feedback. Had panic attack at how far behind I am on everything - including putting all photos on for four properties, updating rooms on a house where I have lost the details, giving feedback on all of the visits. Felt short of breath. OH gave me tea and a cake which calmed me down. He then made char grilled squid, chorizo and prawn stir fry and we watched Serena Williams against Garbine Mugaraza in the Ladies Final at Wimbledon. Not a bad match. Serena was triumphant. What a player she is. She is Amazonian. I am not surprised that people have trouble beating her.