Tuesday, April 21, 2015

South to Castile and the land of La Mancha

Monday 20 April 2015

Vast high level plain with snow capped peaks in distance

I thought this was rather Simpsons like

Cifuentes - strangely trimmed London Planes

Trillo nuclear power station

El mar de Castile - very low on water

Rich burnished red in colour sandy landscape

We were in the car many, many hours and it was with some relief that we arrived in Cuenca, and settled into the hotel.  All Spanish cities are built on hills but we have never seen a city which has over 1000 feet between the highest and lowest levels.  Birds circled below us and the angle of the streets was so acute, my knees started to creak immediately.  We did the rounds of the bars on the Plaza Mayor and had some fine riojas and lots of tapas.  The night fell and the bats were zooming around our heads as we headed for a 'night cap' just up the hill from the hotel.

There was only one table occupied by three Spanish people and we got to talking immediately.  Two of them were nurses and the other guy was a government official.  He was smiling and sat closely to OH.  He told him (via the Portuguese waiter) that he was a very handsome man, with lovely skin and clear eyes.  OH, full of fine riojas, missed the not too subtle subtext here, and said he had no vices other than drinking.  The man then said he would like his email address.  Fortunately OH wasn't listening.  The man then said he was gay.  He recognised that OH was oblivious to his hints.  OH then started looking rather nervous.  The Portuguese guy suggested that the gay guy could show us around town tomorrow and asked the gay guy what he would like to show us, at which point he started laughing in what I felt was a rather sinister manner.  I hauled OH out of there and we staggered back on the uneven cobbles and passed out.  Well, that was a first.....

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nothing pleases..... or why didnt I just stay at home and garden

Sunday 19 April 2015

Wet to start with sun later
16 degrees

Spent the day with two Scottish couples who had spent many years in Sydney and have now sold and are looking to move full time to France.  OH came with me and we met them at the big hotel and as usual, when we meet clients there, they were very late. We went for a coffee in town and OH did the run through on the area and I could tell the clients were really not taking to him but he seemed oblivious.  One of them commented 'Are you Sagittarius?  They are blunt'.  They didn't offer to pay for the coffee either - not a good sign. I have never had a client who didn't offer to pay for the coffee, who actually went ahead and bought with me.

We started off with some investment properties in our town.  They didn't think much of these and swarmed over them quickly before rejecting them.  We then went to a town house. More shrugs.  Then to a large 1980's property on the hill above town.  One couple liked the garden.  Then back into town to see the Finnish people's house with the sauna. This was better received but the garden was too small.  We finished off the morning at a large stone built house with gite.  One couple didn't like the proximity of the neighbours and the other hated everything apart from the main room.  We left them for lunch and I felt very tired.  Sardines on toast.  I am eating far too much bread and I am never going to be able to wear my new jeans on holiday.

After lunch we picked up again and went to a town house with pool and flat and, I had told them it was next to a busy road, and they didn't like the busy road.  Onwards to a village house tucked behind the church.  They all absolutely hated this one.  Up the hill to a farmhouse with the large dogs where they loved the dogs and the view but nothing else.  On getting back into the car, I really had had it with them and cancelled all but the very last viewing.  The last house they loved until they walked in through the door then it was too small inside.  We drove home in bad tempered silence.  We wont see them again said OH.

Shoved lots of clothes into suitcases and did a bit of ironing.  Laptop developed start up problem so had to run start up repair and it took forever.  Too tired to watch Poldark so went to bed early.  Off to Spain tomorrow on our hols!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Will they, wont they? It continues....

Saturday 18 April 2015

Torrential rain
15 degrees

Thunderstorms periodically during the day.

Compromis for the English couple who decided very quickly on a town house.  I pick them up at 9.15 and the lady is looking slightly shell shocked as she normally doesn't do 'early' mornings.  We arrive at the notary's office at the same time as the young couple who are owners. It all goes swimmingly until we get to the part where they have to write something in longhand.  It quickly transpires that the lady purchaser is only semi literate.  It takes her half an hour to write our six lines of text, with her husband having to spell out each word.  The notary chats to the sellers and I go out into the foyer, as I can feel them getting very het up with me watching them.  Finally, it is all done and we go for a drink whilst the owners go home and shove things in cupboards because they hadn't read my email saying we were coming back afterwards to measure up.  We get there and all is in order and we measure all the rooms for furniture and everyone is very happy and the couple leave to head back to the UK.

I get home and heave out loads of clothes from the cupboard and give them a quick wash. The sun has come out so they dry in no time and I then get them ironed.  I send OH down town to buy seed potatoes.  He rings me up from the shop, understands nothing, says no one will help him and then hangs up and comes back half an hour later with a delicious cherry gateau basque but no potatoes.  I sigh heavily, get changed and go and have a look myself.

A very helpful assistant (OH they are young girls, they will know nothing) who did know a lot about potatoes, helped me choose some main crop and also I bought some La Ratte which are a wonderful salad potato.

Back home and make chicken curry and walk the dog.  I then have to send over all of the details of the Villa sale to the notaire, talk to the buyers and reassure them that all is OK and then get onto the matter of the would be buyers of the house in town.

The other agent has put the frighteners on the sellers and has told them that his clients would definitely take them to Tribunal and the house would be tied up for a year.  I ring the owners to try and present the other side of the case in that, by using a referee, it is possible to have the result very quickly and also point out that the buyers have agreed to indemnify them against any awarded damages.  The owner says she is ill with the worry.  This has just been a cock up from start to finish.  Que sera sera.

The spectre recedes and a new deal is struck

Friday 17 April 2015

Warm with blue skies and cumulus - big storm later

Have uneasy night's sleep, worrying about having to get the NZ ladies to sign a compromis and then withdraw in order to be able to buy the other house.  To my relief, when I open my emails, the angry seller has demanded a written withdrawal from the ladies and says they will be getting a letter from his advocate if they don't supply it.  That would be a challenge for the advocate, bearing in mind he does not have their address but this is simple to remedy and I ask the agency for a form of words to pass to the ladies.

Do catch up on various emails, wonder why WF never has his phone on and chat to RJ on FB and he says he is still waiting to see his new contract.  He sends me some photos of the most beautifully presented dishes - one a salmon sushi dish and the other a foie gras one. The sushi is a harmony of beautiful colours and patterns and the foie gras is garnished with the most delicately ethereal mushrooms and rocket.  I had no idea he was working so high end.


In the afternoon I go and show a farm house to a French couple from Toulouse.  They are very late and I doze off in the car, lulled by the rain hammering on the roof.  They bill and coo as they go around the house and the huge black retrievers are tearing around the terrace, chasing a large stone with their noses and oblivious to the rain.  We try and see the garden from upstairs. The wonderful views of the Pyrenees are completely obscured. The non double glazed windows run with condensation.  We repair to the end of the hill and, to my surprise, the lady says she thinks it is too isolated.  They both really like the house and they say they will think about it.  I suggest another property and they say they really liked that one but not the fact that it is stuck to the village church.   So, they want to be not isolated but not have neighbours too close, even ones that are dead.  It is interesting that people say they feel uncomfortable in such close proximity to the church.  I feel that the house is protected by the immense walls of the church, which fortunately doesn't have a bell that rings the hours.

I once sold a house to a French couple and they were aware that the adjacent church did ring the hours (and the quarter and half hours) and they said it didn't bother them.  After a couple of days, they started their campaign for the bells to stop during the night.  After six months they moved out and the lady was on tranquilisers at that point.

I then pick up two partner agents and we go and see a lovely farmhouse which I have just brought onto market and which they will be showing for me during my holidays, rapidly upcoming and not as yet prepared for.  The man talks a lot and I feel tired.  I dont know how his partner puts up with him rambling on about stuff all the time.  It must be a French thing.  At least English blokes give you periods of amicable silence.  If a French bloke is awake, he is talking.  It would drive me nuts.

Home for quick cup of tea then down town to meet the owners of the Villa.  Because the mother is now dead, the daughter has been bunged out of the apartment and is putting up at a local auberge.  When I enter the foyer, they are ranged around a table and looking at old pictures of the house.  In sepia, it looks rather sinister.  Edwardian ladies are posing next to a car in the driveway.  It is all rather Downton Abbey on a week away at a spa town.  The nephew is present, and despite being born in only 1973, looks like he is in his mid sixties. The daughter's son is also present and we sign the offer form and complete the seller details form and drink to the future of the house.  The daughter says her mother and grandmother would be so shocked to hear that the new owners were married ladies - married to one another that is.  The atmosphere is jovial and the kir - a mix of blackcurrant cordial and white Jurancon wine - goes straight to my head.  Arrive home, eat supper, and pass out on the sofa.