Wednesday May 17 2006
“I don’t know how to tell you this, Mr Bailey, but it seems we’ve lost touch with the vendor. I’ve been chasing around all morning to put your offer to them but there’s no answer on their contact phone number and, best we can tell, they’ve gone off on holiday or something.”
The nice lady estate agent sounded somewhat distraught. It’s not fair when nice lady estate agents do the distraught thing but I decided to bear it in mind and press on with the business as gently as I could.
“Are they in residence when they’re not on holiday?” I asked.
“No. Their mail is being picked up, but they’re living somewhere else.”
“Do you have any address details for them there?”
[Fumbles with papers] “No, it seems not.”
“Well, thanks for trying. Let’s get back in contact tomorrow morning to review the situation. Meantime, nothing to be done, I suppose.”
When I put the phone down and turned round to consult with Graham it was to find that my little local whirlwind had picked up a notch or two in strength. “What gives?” he demanded.
I explained best I could.
“How do you read it?
“Seems rather strange to put your house on the market and then disappear without trace. You can’t call it a glitch because we haven’t started yet but if they’re impossible to contact now, it doesn’t augur well for the rest of the business.”
“No, it doesn’t. Time for plan ‘B’?”
“I think that’d be wise except I didn’t realise we had a plan ‘B’ at this stage.”
“What about that town house?”
“Persuade me. Though I should tell you that I’m not going to give up on that lavender hedge without a struggle. Or the wisteria.”
“I’ll buy and plant you a lavender hedge, and a proper mature wisteria.”
And so, beginning with my declaration that I shall hold him to the promise of lavender and wisteria, the persuasion is in progress. We’ll decide tomorrow. The outcome doesn’t swing on a lavender hedge, of course, but a chap does have to have a bargaining point in these things. Doesn’t he?