Monday February 20, 2006
“Just touching bases, Sally,” I said when I phoned our solicitor’s office down in Somerset. “Any problems with the sale?”
“Hang on, John,” she replied. “I’ll bring up the file. No. Everything’s ready and I’m just waiting for your buyers’ solicitor to name dates and times.”
“Great, thanks. Nothing you need me to do?”
“No. Sit back and take it easy.”
That’s the kind of exchange that make for a happy seller. As happy as it’s possible to be in the circumstances. I don’t bite my nails, thank goodness, but if I did I suspect my fingers would be bloody stumps by now.
Sally’s calm, professional response was in direct contrast to the way I was handled by the estate agent, who I called next.
Now, I think it perfectly reasonable as we enter into the last full week before the end of the month by which we’re supposed to exchange contracts to seek assurance that everything is on track and moving along towards the desired conclusion. I was given no impression by the agent’s ‘sales progressor’ that he thought the same.
“You’re only one of a hundred cases I’m tracking,” he said.
I paused for a moment. Just long enough to count to ten, you understand.
“I’m happy to hear that you’re busy,” I said. “But I have only one case in mind. How are we doing?”
The reluctance with which he dug out and checked the file was… what’s the word?… oh, yes… palpable. Yes, palpable is the word.
I got the information I was seeking, said a cheerful goodbye and put the phone down. Gently.
Then I swore, loud and long, cursing all estate agents roundly and ours especially. I don’t really mean it, of course, but for that moment I’d have been happy to see them all fall into the bottomless pits where such unprofessional approaches to good business practice rightly belong.
Hey ho. The outcome of my enquiries was satisfactory, apart from leaving me in need of a little soul restoration. We’re on course to exchange contracts on schedule and there is no trace of bad news. We’re getting there.
I tackled the soul restoration by setting out on a good long walk, enjoying the sunshine. I wrapped up very carefully, though. It’s cold out there, with a penetrating wind waiting to trap the unwary.
Back home, I sat down for a warming mug of coffee, and then departed for Spilsby on a bread-and-milk shopping errand.
It was market day, and I took ten minutes or so to wander round the stalls, looking for interesting stuff. There were several items that attracted my attention. Curios and bibelots always attract my attention. I was good, though, and kept my coin purse firmly in my pocket. I’m not about to add to the clutter at this stage of the game.
Back home Graham and Dolly were still enjoying and making the most of the opportunity to spend another day of rest in the warm.
“You look cosy,” I said.
“Yup. It’ll get all busy soon enough.”
“Touch wood when you say things like that,” I said.
He reached up and tapped me on the head. “Will that do?” he asked, all innocent and wide-eyed.
“You cheeky monkey!”
A minor exercise in domestic havoc ensued. It’s good to know our sense of fun is still intact.