Back in control

Wednesday March 22, 2006

So, this was the day when I took control back. It all feels a lot better.

We started out, understandably, not feeling too good about our situation. Best thing we could think of in the way of a general cheer-up was to go out, take another look at the stuff on sale in the Great Expectations antiques emporium in Horncastle and see if we could price up the cost of a new dining table chair for me, allowing Graham to take my existing one over, replacing the old one he seems somehow to have reduced to a pile of useless timber pieces.

Confused? Stick with me… it all comes out in the end.

Driving to Horncastle, I glanced over at an unusually silent Graham. He was looking glum. We were both looking glum.

“What’s the problem, chicken?” I asked.


“Yeah. I know. It’s all getting to be a bit much, isn’t it?”

“You said it.”

“Well, let’s try and enjoy the trip, and then sort out the rest when we get back home.”

“It’s a deal.”

Horncastle is situated in an enclosed fold of the hills, with at least one river flowing through it, dragging the cold down from the surrounding Wolds. We didn’t go there for the warmth today, that’s for certain.

We took a pass through Great Expectations. No chairs worth looking at, but always worth a visit, being stuffed from floor to ceiling with goodies. Then we walked across the road to the Trinity Centre where they have another antiques centre, situated in a redundant but renovated church, of no greater age than the so-called antiques they have on display for sale. While I’d happily recommend the first place to any antique hunter, the second is a con, being filled with the same stuff, cleaned up and uplifted in price by a factor of about ten. It was an experience, though, and we wandered around happily enough, sniggering at the prices and chuckling at the antics of the attendant who clearly didn’t trust her customers and kept darting about to keep an eye on all of us in case we slipped some small item into our pockets. Not welcoming at all.


Interior, the Trinity Antiques Centre


So, back across the road, we piled ourselves into the car and drove home via Spilsby where we picked up soup and rolls for our lunch.

Back home, Graham called Sally our solicitor to check on progress while I was preparing lunch. We’d discussed our tactics beforehand and, when I heard him relaying my decision to her, I knew we’d failed to achieve an exchange of contracts once more. It seems the guy at the beginning of the chain has been economic with the actuality and, far from signing his copy of the contract, had yet to do so, far less to return them to his solicitor.

Like a good trooper, Graham shifted our plan ‘B’ into action, informed Sally, and put the phone down.

I picked it up straight away and called our estate agent, and our buyer, telling them that the game was over, and putting finite dates by which we expect an exchange.

If we have an exchange by the end of this week we shall agree a completion date of April 10. If we have further delay, we will accept an exchange by the end of next week but, in that case, we’ll need to shift the completion date to the last week in April. If we don’t get an exchange by the end of next week we shall call the whole deal off.

I put the phone down, satisfied. “I feel better now than I have done for ages,” I said. “I have taken control.”

“Had to be done,” Graham returned. “Is it lunch time now?”

Then I took myself off for my afternoon nap.

Late breaking news brought the information that our buyer’s estate agent had been to visit the guy at the start of the chain, informed him of the situation, and been rewarded by a sudden whitening of the gills. He stood over the guy while he and his wife signed the contract, witnessed it, and has undertaken to have it in the post first thing tomorrow morning, to be sent to the much-maligned first solicitor in the chain so that exchange can be effected on Friday.

Sometimes you just have to put your foot down with a very firm hand.

Later in the day, much later, Graham was playing with a cardboard packing tube, pretending it was a telescope.

“Cor!” he said. “You don’t half look funny through this.”

“Take a snap, why don’t you?”

So, he did. And then we collapsed, giggling happily. It’s good to giggle. Especially when you’re back in control of your destiny.


And then… we giggled



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