Monday 31 August 2014
32 degrees and incredibly humid then torrential rain and storm and down to 21 degrees (shivering ensued)
Out to meet new clients today. Have set a new location to meet in the local supermarket car park and, hurrah, found the people immediately. Was not holding out much hope - the man I had spoken to on the phone and he came over as tight as a clam. He was standing next to a Dacia Duster, arms on his head, and his wife was fussing around an immense 14 year old. OH went over first. He is funny; when the clients are short, he stands quite close but when they are very tall - and this family were all well over six feet - he stands right back. We had a chat whilst the lady went to get bread (this isn't a problem at the big hotel rv meeting place....) and the man breeds police dogs. They don't want anything fancy. Lady came back, with just bread. I noted this, with interest. I don't know about you, but when I go into a supermarket for bread, I never come out with just bread. OH might have been a bread only man at one point, but after eleven years over here where he has been doing the bulk of the shopping, he always comes out with other assorted items. Just bread means this lady does not part lightly with her cash. The alternative reason that she did not want to keep anyone waiting didn't hold because she was in the shop for an age.
We got back into our respective cars and headed off to the first house. At the top of a long hill, it is actually two houses which have been renovated. Most of the land is on the other side of a very small road but, for some reason, this really puts people off. The road is so narrow, these clients could have probably cleared it in one leap. But no - they didn't like the Moroccan interior and were very confused by the decision to put in a ramp instead of the stairs. At a 30 degree angle and with two bends, it would challenge the most adventurous of wheelchair users. We left as the skies went black, and headed to the house with the two big black dogs. So far, the man had virtually not said a word, but just frowned and pursed his lips. The lady had just said 'oooh'. This is a very useful phrase and I employ it often. People make of it what they will. It comes in handy when you are faced with terrible renovations, eyeball popping wallpaper, bizarre room structures and barns full of bats. It is far more socially acceptable than WTF?
We get to the second house and the dogs are enclosed in the garage because the post lady is due. She arrives and quickly leaves the post, not knowing that the massive black dogs are actually lovely once they accept you. They are Beaucerons and OH asks for them to be let out of the garage and the man client instantly warms up and relaxes. He communicates with dogs better than people, it appears. We go around the house and it is much lower price than the last one and we then direct them over to the village where we will meet after lunch and go home for bite to eat.
OH decides he doesn't want to come out this afternoon so I go alone and pick them up and go and see a house which looks much larger on the outside than the inside and the couple say it is very pretty but far too small. They admire the Bouviers de Flandres who are safely ensconced in their dog cages and they ask if they can be let out and the owner says they will rip them to bits and I say how about if they let out the Teckels. Teckels are adorable little terriers with huge heads and daschund type bodies. They erupt out of the van and the people are entranced and I have to haul them out of the gate and get them to the next house. The video surveillance camera turns and watches us as we leave. I know that if OH was here, he would be giving it the finger and I am so glad he isn't because the camera records what it sees and it would be highly embarrassing.
The next house belongs to some friends of mine and has existing dog kennels and I think I am on a winning straight until the man says that the boy will not be boarding in the school in our nearest city and this house is just too far away for the lady to drive him. Oh bugger! We leave and pick up their car and go to the last house which is in our town and not too far from the train station. It is a large house with barn and a hectare of land and again, Moroccan style. They really seem to like it, despite the fact that it is architecturally stripped of all interesting features. It does have a gite. We get back into town and I suggest we go for an ice cream and I can see alarm bells ringing in the lady's eyes at the thought of having to spend money. Oh no, she says, we have water. FFS. Arrange to meet them again on Wednesday and go for ice cream myself - one ball of passion fruit and another of ginger and it is wonderful. Skies turn mustard yellow and I get home just before the most massive storm and rain.