I like sunsets

Friday September 30, 2005

One of the tasks I have on my things to do before Graham comes home list is, as anyone who knows me would expect, ‘Give house a thorough clean’.

I’d planned to do it somewhere around the middle of next week but a phone call from the agent, making an appointment for a potential buyer to view on Sunday afternoon, shifts it to tomorrow and adds a little more purpose to it. I shall just have to be careful to dust and wipe during next week so the effect isn’t diminished for the moment Graham walks back through the door.

Am I excited about the possibility of securing a sale? Well, yes, but it’s an excitement to be treated with a good degree of caution.

So far as I know, the person viewing is the daughter of the woman who is the actual buyer, making a preliminary visit in preparation for a possible visit for her mother. So that’s one degree of separation. Then, while the mother has her house in Wales on the market, she hasn’t secured a sale yet. So that’s another degree of separation; if I knew the actual position and likelihood of a timely sale I might add several degrees of separation on that score. Then, in this instance, two people have to conclude that our house is the one to buy, and that’s another couple of degrees.

So, telling myself firmly that it’s not a good idea to clutch at straws, I’m very pleased to have snared a viewing. That’s a good thing. Even if it goes through to an acceptable offer, though, it’ll mean nothing until a buyer is found down in Wales and I’m informed that the property market there is, if anything, even slower than it is here.

All that caution aside, it’s certainly true that a sale has to be preceded by a viewing, so possibility of selling is considerably higher than it was. I shall do the best I can to prepare for, present and handle the inspection in the best possible way. More than that, I cannot do.

Poor Graham is having no luck down in Taunton in his quest to open a banking account. His first choice of bank was unable to interview him on initial inquiry and their first available appointment was in the week following his return home. The second one turned him down because, so they said, he hadn’t ‘sufficient evidence of identity’. Heavens above! He presented a photo driving licence, an NHS medical card, a credit card statement, three payslips, and two monthly pay cheques ready to be paid in. He’s on the electoral roll, and has a triple-A rating on the national credit rating databases. What do they expect—a personal letter of recommendation from the Ker-Ween?

Graham was dispirited. I was furious. The bank—NatWest—that turned him away because he needed more identification is the one where I’ve been a customer since March 1963. Not for much longer.

“Don’t let it get you down,” I said. “We’ll sort it all out when you get home.”

“Suppose we don’t, though?”

“There has to be a way. I’ll check it out on the Internet, and you can do the same when you’re back at your computer.”

“Well, if you say so.”

“I do. I know so.”

Since we spoke, I’ve checked it out, identified the problem, and determined the best way to resolve it. We have all the required documentation. Took me less than fifteen minutes and I’m certain that it would have taken the NatWest ‘manager’ far less time than that. My suspicion is that the bloke Graham saw in Taunton was an incompetent, ‘jobs-worth’ manager, who works to the principle that nothing is too little trouble for him to deny an application. My time as a customer with NatWest will very shortly be terminated.

On a more positive note, Graham picked up a new mobile phone for me today, and will be bringing it home with him. I’d already determined that I would be best suited by the Motorola V550 phone, complete with camera, and attached via my present SIM card to the Vodaphone service. I winced at the price, though, and searched for a cheaper way. Turns out you can buy a refurbished model direct from a high street Vodaphone shop for £50, which is a lot better than the £99.95 or £149.95 for a new one from other sources. So, lacking a Vodaphone shop within easy reach, I asked Graham to get one for me next time he was in Taunton. He’s opened the pack, charged the phone up and tested it out and is royally PO-d to find that it’s good as new, without a mark on it, and that it would have been a better deal for him than he obtained last week. Better to the extent of being 50 quid cheaper.

“How do you do it?” he asked. “You’re always finding stuff at massive savings.”

“I’m a pensioner,” I replied, doing my very best to avoid sounding smug. “I have the time to dig around, dig the dirt and find the bargains.”

“True. I’ve seen your digital piano on sale recently, at three times what you paid.”

“There you are, then.”

“As you say.”

It’s true, though. You may get aches and pains along with your pension book and your advancing years but you also gain the benefit of having time to dig out the best from your world. This evening, for instance, I wandered off along the lane for my evening walk, camera in hand, and secured a sunset photograph that pleases me greatly. I like sunsets. Finishes off a day nicely, does a good sunset.


Last sunset of September


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