Saturday April 30, 2005
The first of the selling agents was due to visit today at two p.m. so I took myself off good and early to Boston for weekend provisioning, leaving Graham to clean the house from top to bottom and get it ready for viewing. I was tasked to pick up some cut flowers, some hand towels of the correct colour for the bathroom, a small vase, and a good supply of colourful fruit. All part of the final stages of house doctoring.
The roads were heaving. This is the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and, for many, the true start of the holiday season. Even so, I slipped across the country roads to Tesco, and got all the stuff I wanted in good time and good order. Then I made my way back into Boston for the main post office, and that was my mistake. First, the traffic was still heavy, second, it’s the last day of the month and there was a massive queue at the post office, comprised of those people who will insist on waiting for the last possible day to renew their car road licence. I looked at the time and decided that, providing nothing too much went wrong, I’d be able to post my airmail packet and get home with time to spare for unpacking and for the disposition of the house doctor’s dressings, so I settled down to wait my turn at the counter.
I made it, too, with time to spare so I went to sit in the garden to catch some air and wait for the agent. The advantage of being busy is that there’s no time for thinking. Sitting in the garden is where I do my best thinking, though, so I was just settling into a good one when the guy arrived to rescue me. Presentable, polite, and dynamic without being too pushy. I got the impression he would be rather more assertive with potential buyers, though, and was impressed by the thoroughness with which he measured and appraised the property.
Then, sitting down to go over the details and terms, I was even more happily impressed. He valued the house at a cool ten thousand pounds more than I’d expected. And, furthermore, produced evidence of recent completed sales to back his valuation. I gave a private yippee, matching the stifled yes! that floated through from where Graham was hiding away from the business negotiations.
So, being fair, I congratulated the guy, told him I was really impressed and that I’d be in touch so soon as the other two agents had visited. Off he trotted, happy at a job well jobbed. As so he should be, because he’d done very well.
I waved him off as he motored down the lane. Then Graham came along and we did a proper yippee, raising the roof just a little. Not too much, you understand. We do have a house to sell and that’s not the best time to risk structural damage.
“You do realize,” Graham said, “that we’ve made a 33% increase in our house equity in just twelve months?”
“Um. Yes. Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
“Darn right it does. Like, a complete re-think.”
“I thought we were already doing a complete re-think.”
“Well, it just shows we haven’t finished yet.”
“In more way than one, chooky-boots. Haven’t we done well?”
“I do believe we have.”
So we rescued Dolly’s litter tray from its hiding-place and gave her a munchy crunchy treat as reward for being well-behaved. I slapped a late lunch together and then we all toddled off for a nice afternoon nap.
I woke just in time to revive myself with coffee so we could sit down to watch Doctor Who, which gets better and better. Then I connected to the Internet to do some more property research, exploring several new avenues. When I’d done we had another family conference, weighing up our options.
Graham was giving Dolly a thorough upside-down cuddle while we chatted. And we were sipping at cans of cheap Dutch beer—the only alcoholic beverage I seem able to digest these days—so the conversation got quite silly.
“We could always buy a nice house in Bulgaria for fifteen thousand quid, and live happily ever after on the rest of the fund,” I said.
“Can you speak Bulgarian?”
“Nope, but I’m sure I could learn.”
“Do they have IKEA in Bulgaria?”
“Ah. No. Silly idea, then?”
“Just about as daft as I’d expect from you on your second can of beer.”
So I crossed that one off the list, which is back to being much the same as it was before we started our re-think yesterday, with one significant addition. It’s awfully tempting to take on another short-term project and see if we can’t double our house equity fund by dint of hard work and imaginative interior decoration together with a decent bit of garden rescue over a two or three year period.
“What kind of house could we buy if we pulled that one off?” asked Graham.
“We’d be within sight of that little rose-covered cottage in the Cotswolds,” I said. “Or something truly delicious in Northumberland, the Lakes, or Scotland.”
Dolly got down from her cuddle with Graham’s assistance, gave herself a shake, and toddled off to investigate her food bowls to see if she fancied a good hearty supper.
Our beer-buzz faded softly away as the sound of alternate tuna munching and dry-food crunching came through from the kitchen. Then, as so often happens, Graham and I simultaneously exchanged the same identical sentence:
“We haven’t finished yet.”