I really rather think that I have

Tuesday January 31, 2006

Dolly the Mega-cat was greatly alarmed this morning. Both of her tame monkeys were up and about, and busy, well before first light. I think she concluded we were all of about to jump into the car and go on a trip down to the caravan in Somerset. I took time out to comfort her and it worked to some degree but even so, as the vacuums started, progressing from one end of the house to the other, she moved from hiding place to hiding place, convinced like as not that we’d finally flipped our tiles.

We hadn’t, though. We were engaged on a major clean, tidy and polish in readiness for the buyer’s surveyor to visit for the purposes of carrying out a valuation inspection.

Dolly had an early breakfast as reward for the disturbance and then, at eight fourty-five, I got my marching orders.

“Right,” Graham said. “Get yourself off out of the way. I’ll phone you when it’s done.”

The country roads across to the Boston Tesco’s were quiet, enjoying a lull after the morning rush, so I was able to take it nice and easy, listening to Mozart on the player. Even when I joined the main Grantham to Boston road for the last leg it was all but empty so I didn’t have to pick up my pace once. Don’t think I drove above forty-five MPH at any part of the journey, and all without holding anyone up—something which, as a pensioner, I try hard not to do.

The only difficulty came when I pulled into the car park to find a multiplicity of empty spaces, far more than I’m used to. I have a problem with empty or nearly empty car parks, you see. Faced with all that choice, I’m almost always at a bit of a loss to select the best place to leave the car. Fortunately, my favourite space was empty so I drove diagonally across three empty ranks and slid into it without hesitation.

The inside of the store was almost as empty of people as the car park had been of cars but I still had an hour and three quarters to spare so I strolled round without hurrying myself. There was even a vacant checkout and a smiling clerk to greet me when I’d done.

I looked at the time. Still too early to start back home. I parked my trolley in one of the secure cupboards, wandered into the deserted coffee shop and helped myself to a modest cooked breakfast. Paid for it, and went off to sit at a table right by the window.

The breakfast was quite reasonable, though not as hot as it ought to have been, and I took my time over that, too.

Well satisfied, I made my way back to the car, glanced at the time once more, and judged it safe to head home. I reasoned that, if the surveyor were still there, I could wait happily at the end of the lane until he’d departed.

I’m just not used to having the leisure of so much time. Like the outward journey, the return was so quiet as to be surrealistically calm, almost. Smooth, nice and easy. About half way along the lane to the house I saw a strange car pulling out of our driveway so I slipped into a passing place and waited for him to drive out. Just as well I had absented myself. I caught only a glimpse of him as we exchanged the drivers’ salute, and loathed him on sight.

I really don’t do surveyors any more.

So, anyway, the visit had gone very well, the guy was impressed with the house, said it met the mortgage company’s equity requirements with plenty to spare and that he’d have his report in the post this evening.

“I think we’ve passed over the last hurdle,” Graham said.

“You’ve done awfully well,” I said. “You get an extra-large tufty badge for that, along with my gratitude that I didn’t have to do it.”

“Good. How about lunch as a reward?”

“It’s only eleven o’clock in the morning. Too early for lunch. I got some nice sausage rolls for a snack, though.”

“Mmmm. Sausage rolls!”

The feeling of off-to-the-side surrealism lasted right through the rest of the day.

Providing the sale goes through, and we’re informed today that everything is looking good, this was the last time we’ll have to get the house ready for inspection. From now on, we can relax. I can leave my book on the dining table, and revert to a weekly house clean rather than the daily drag it’s been since last May. In fact, this house has been cleaned so often since then that it could probably last right through April with no more than a lick and a promise.

We celebrated this evening with a chicken dinner, washed down with two bottles of wine.

“Yah know what?” I said, clutching the edge of the table for support. “I feel just a little bit tiddly.”

“You’ve earned it.”

And you know what? I really rather think that I have.



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