It’s getting there

Monday August 1, 2005

To Boston early so I could be on the doorstep of the agents when they opened at 09:00. The trip was worthwhile:

Me to assistant: “I take it that you will reduce your fee pro-rata to the reduction in asking price?”

Assistant: “Oh, no. We work on a fixed fee basis for most of our accounts.”

Me: “I’m not happy with that.”

Assistant: “I’ll check with M.”

M, appearing after a protracted wait: “Here’s an amended contract with the new fee.”

I tell ya, you really have to watch these estate agent chappies.

Anyway, it transpires that the new people interested in the house got back to their home from their house-hunting trip at a little past eleven last night and were exhausted today. We are among a shortlist of three, and they promise to let us know their decision tomorrow. Here’s hoping.

Along to the post office to send one of yesterday’s letters off Special Delivery, and thence across the square to Costa Coffee where I broke my fast with a majorly large cappuchino and a croissant, which I ate French style, tearing off pieces, dunking them in the coffee, and savouring them juicily. I was sitting outside and attracted the attention of a pair of passing middle-aged ladies—you know the type, hair set in concrete once a week—who watched me with a morbid fascination and an air of growing disgust. I waved a dripping morsel in their direction. They exchanged sniffs one to the other, and continued on their way. Astonishing how much can be conveyed by a middle-aged lady in a single sniff.

Then, because I broke my spectacles the other day, to the main square to locate an optician who can give me an urgent examination and a new pair. I found only two places. The first couldn’t see me until a week on Friday. The other lot were able to fit me in on Thursday next, at a time that’ll give me enough slack to enjoy another coffee-and-croisant breakfast. I’m going to need varifocals this time so, to avoid a shock on the day, I asked the price. Just as well I did. Ouch!. Hey ho. It’s cheaper than three separate pairs of specs.

Home, lunch with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (jolly good, much better than the last one), a nap, and then the cutting of the grass.

As reward for that I spent a happy half-hour working up the most successful of the photographs of the day and loading them up to Flickr. One, shown at the bottom of this page, pleases me greatly. I was walking past an empty store, all dusty, fly-stickered windows, and caught a glimpse of the interior, empty, scruffy, and waiting for some new commercial venture. It used to be an old-established drapers, one in which we’d shopped a couple of times, and which closed a few weeks back on the retirement of the owner.

Then, armed with a couple of useful crits from my writing group, I set to the task of a major revision of yesterday’s poem. It’s getting there:


If it were Clerkenwell …
… and I had been savouring
a bacon sandwich, washed down with bright London tea,
the illusion would have been compelling, lustful perhaps.
In the coffee shop today I saw, two tables away,
a young man, pert, curved, touch-worthy lips,
a twin, my memory says, of David, forty years ago.
I smiled, sighed, swallowed the last of my salad,
sniffed deeply at my black Assam, freshly brewed,
and wondered, briefly, at the passage of time.
John Bailey
July 2005, Lincolnshire


Boston, August 1,'05
Pencam photo


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