Thursday 20 August 2015
Hot and sunny but not too sticky 32 degrees
Got up early and watered. Rain is forecast for the weekend but the weekend is not here yet and the pots are completely dessicated. The morning glory is looking tired and hasn't even got to producing its wonderful huge blue blossoms. The oleander in the pots by the front door has recovered, thanks to a large injection of new soil. A particular joy are the snapdragons, grown in expandable coir plugs, from seed. Snapdragons have seed as tiny as dust, so I just wet the plugs, watched them swell and then sprinkled the tiniest amount of seed on each and covered with a dusting of compost. I then just planted the whole plugs with their tiny crest of snapdragon seedlings into the pots and they have turned into bushy plants. They remind me of my childhood, lining the paths of my aunt and uncle's cottage in rural Wales, their candy colours bright next to the stone edging, full of bees and insects.
You have to love these don't you? I am looking forward to drying the morning glory and making the most ravishing pendants out of them and catching their ephemeral beauty to look at it in the depths of Winter when all is pale and washed and to feel the vibrancy of Summer.
We go down town in convoy, me to the market and then for revisit and OH to carry on with rental unit. We have a former holiday tenant coming back in October and he has made buying noises for either the new or the old rental unit. I have had to make very pointed comments that progress is not being made and that he (OH) has in fact been doing this unit since March of 2014. It is barely 40m2. He seems to be having a push this week so tant mieux.
I go to the boulangerie on the corner of the market and the Spanish lady is serving. I say Ola que tal? and she says muy bien and then says I should say como ba? which is more correct. I have not grasped the niceties of Spanish, as I have with French and I still get it wrong in French periodically. There are a lot of layers of niceties in French and the higher you go up in society, the more the layers multiply. Interestingly, some of my neighbours still describe themselves as paysans which is where the English word 'peasants' comes from. Its actual meaning is countryside people - le paysage - being the countryside. One of them still grows all his own veg and keeps chickens. He also has a pig, which is slaughtered towards the end of the year, and this provides meat for the winter. This is not an uncommon as you would imagine. People can work in factories and offices but they will still have the pig and the chickens and they will get together with the neighbours and friends and spend a weekend slaughtering, bleeding, cutting and preparing the pig. It also seems to involve epic amounts of drinking - of Ricard (a paysan's Pernod), Suze (base of yellow gentians and originating in Switzerland - sugary and stomach churning - also owned by Ricard) and red wine, brought in containers the size of petrol cans.
The market is heaving but I don't have time to go around because I have to go and kick butt at the bank. I am a firm believer in not paying bank charges. They have my money all year and invest it along with all the rest of their deposits and they pay me nothing. If, occasionally, I do go overdrawn, I expect them to notify me and not charge me 16 euros for going 28 euros overdrawn. The teller puts me onto a young, nervous looking chap. He explains that once you go overdrawn, each further withdrawal is charged at 8 euros a shot. I say I want a free overdraft and my charges refunded. He looks at the account and I notice that the notification by text of overdrawn status has been unticked. I point this out and he has to admit that it is indeed unticked. I always used to be notified and then corrected the imbalance immediately. I say it is someone in the bank who has unticked it and I insist on having my 16 euros back. He gives in and I leave with a free 300 euros overdraft facility and my 16 euros re credited. Result! It is never worth threatening to go elsewhere, a threat which is taken very seriously in the UK, because over here quite frankly they don't give a toss.
Time to go and meet my colleague's colleague and do the revisit on the boxy 1950's house which is very large and in a wonderful location and great land but is actually ugly and badly organised inside. There are two young English couples and they spend an hour and a half looking round and I sit with the other agent downstairs in the sitting room and I listen to him ramble on for almost the whole of this time about this sale and that sale and this client and that client. On and on he goes, on and on and on and I wonder how on earth he sells anything because listening is certainly a skill which he doesn't practice. He does let slip quite a bit of information which will be useful. He also says that if I have a client for a huge chateau in our big city, I should go via him because he gets on very well with the lady and can negotiate a very good deal. I hold the mandate as well so that is not going to happen any time soon. The couple finish the visit and are obviously keen and enthusiastic and I suggest going for a coffee so we can move in for the offer and the other agent says he has to go for lunch and then has another appointment so the couples leave. I am utterly flabbergasted. You never, ever leave people go after a revisit without sitting them down, talking things through and getting an offer. The guy walks back to his car saying, in his ten year's experience, people who make offers immediately then just change their mind. In my eleven year's experience, people who leave without making an offer, talk themselves out of it, keep on looking, and find another agent who will sit them down and get an offer out of them. Bloody hell. Back home and write to anglo french law company and say what is going on. They don't even open the email by the end of the day. Wonderful.
Something which disturbs me deeply happens later on. I have a lady who helps me run the various Secret Santa and Easter Bunny campaigns on my craft group. She is a great organiser and very enthusiastic and obviously enjoys it. She messages me to say that her use of FB is causing problems at home and she is going to have to cut down a lot on her groups - fortunately not ours - to prove to her OH that she is not on FB all day and is getting things done at home. She is to the north of me and we have never met but she is absolutely my right hand woman and I am perturbed. She reveals that her OH accesses his phone when he is out at work (English builder) to check if she is online on FB and if she is, when he comes home he sulks and wont speak to her for days. This is abuse, pure and simple. She runs a business making children's clothes, keeps house, looks after the kids and helps out locally and runs markets, meetings, kids events. I am not one for keeping out of things and tell her my feelings and suggest that she demands counselling with him. Marriage is a partnership not someone imposing their will on someone else. She has made another profile and we are retaining contact on that.