Tuesday May 2, 2006
I’d advise anyone who needs to trawl the estate agents in West Somerset to begin with the bunch in Williton and Watchet. Get the worst over first because although you’re liable to find dreary, no-go estate agents anywhere, the ones in Williton and Watchet seem to have formed an unholy pact aimed at depressing the buyer into buying any old heap they may have on their books.
“I’ll give you the details of everything we have in your price range,” said the dreariest of them.
“I’d rather you didn’t,” I replied. “As I said, I’m on my first pass, searching for a little old house in a rural location.”
“We don’t have anything like that. Shall I take your contact details and requirements?”
“That’d be a good idea.”
And that, in varying degree, was typical of all of them. If you were to encounter these sad twits after several failed excursions you might well be tempted to simply give in and take just about any house out of sheer desperation and a desire to get as far away from estate agents as possible.
Grrr! I hope there’s a special heaven reserved for this type of estate agent, where thay can sit around on grey clouds, play out-of-tune harps, munch on mouldy ambrosia, and have no-one to depress but themselves. A rickety notice, faded but plainly visible would be fastened over the flaky painted gates, stating: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Come to think of it, a similar notice should be required by law to be fastened over the doors of estate agents here on earth as warning to the unwary.
Hey ho. I didn’t expect anything of the agents in Williton and Watchet and I got precisely what I’d anticipated. You do have to try them, though, just in case.
Tomorrow I shall do Minehead. I have greater hopes of the agents in Minehead but I shall still enter their doors holding firmly on to my optimism.
I grabbed provisions for lunch and supper from the dingy little early-till-late store in Watchet, along with one small hot sausage roll which I consumed sitting in the sunshine, scattering the crumbs for the birds, mostly sparrows, who were suitably grateful. Then I set off back to St Audries, taking the narrow, windy coast road so I could enjoy the wide open views of the sea before plunging into the leafy green haven where the main road dips and twists through the village by the Windmill pub, with the heavily forested Quantock hills looming up on the right.
Back at the holiday camp I called in at the bar to scrounge a coffee and report my progress to Graham.
“Just as we expected, then,” he observed.
“Yup. Had to give them a go, though.”
“Of course. Minehead tomorrow?”
“Oh, yes. Minehead tomorrow.”
I wandered back to the caravan, unpacked my goodies, and sat with Dolly for a good cuddle before preparing lunch. Graham finished his morning shift and turned up at about two-thirty, to find me sleeping soundly.
“Sorry,” I said. “I seem always to be asleep when you come home.”
“Hard not to in the sea air. What’s for lunch?”
We all took a good long siesta after our meal, Graham out of need, Dolly and me out of habit. I woke to hear my phone ringing. It was the solicitor, informing me that Completion [you can always hear the capitalization when solicitors say words like Completion] had taken place, and that the cash proceeds were sitting safely in my bank account. I’m looking forward to spending them quickly, either on the dream house or on a perfectly nice little semi-suburban dwelling within which we shall make our own dreams, far, far away from estate agents.
And that was my first day of house-hunting done and dusted. You have to start somewhere, to get in the swing of it, and I reckon it’s best to begin at the bottom, because from there the only way is up. Minehead tomorrow.