Friday June 27, 2008
I was in the shower when the phone rang. Didn’t hear it so I was taken off my guard when Graham came along to tell me about it.
“Seems we’ve sold the house,” he said, looking a little shaky.
“Oh, really?” I said. “How much for, to whom, and by which of the two agents?”
The answers were not too clear at this stage. Graham and the [fired] agent had some more negotiation to do before getting down to finalities.
When, after about half an hour, he was satisfied that the deal was worth serious consideration, Graham handed the phone over to me. The price he’d pencilled in was at the very bottom end of acceptable, but a cool £25k over that put forward by the agent a week ago. The first thing the agent said was that he’d got a little more than that, and plomped another £2k in my lap. Clever that, making up to a guy you’ve offended enough for him to sack you is best done with cash.
“Will that be acceptable, John?” the agent asked.
“Probably,” I said. “Talk me through the chain, mortgage and timings again, one more time, and from the top.”
He took a deep breath and gave me the details in an organised fashion.
“Ok,” I said. “Well done. We have a deal.”
“Great. Thanks. I’ll get the details out to all parties promptly, and we can jump to the starting line.”
I put the phone down quietly and carefully.
That was when we did our “WE DUN IT” jig.
“Right,” I said. “There’s no way I’m going to be up to fixing lunch today. And I want to get out of the house, too. What say you we go visit Burnham-on-Sea and find a seaside eatery?”
I was astonished at the response. Not a word of argument. He just put his coat on and stood tapping his feet while I struggled into my socks and shoes. Two years I’ve been struggling to get a visit to Burnham-on-Sea out of him and what does it take? A house sale, that’s what.
Anyway, keeping in mind that no house sale or purchase is a done deal until contracts have been signed and exchanged, and deposits paid, the likely sequence of event is this:
- Two days before completion we shall move ourselves, Dolly, and the patio plants down to the caravan at West Quantoxhead. I’m looking forward to seeing Dolly’s reaction to finding herself in the caravan once more–she’s always loved living in them.
- On completion day our furniture and stuff will be moved into storage. Life on the cliff-tops at West Quantoxhead will resume.
- Somewhere along the way we shall have started the search for our new house, in the Swansea cachement area of South Wales. There is no great rush; we are reliably informed that prices are decreasing at about 1% per month, and likely to keep on doing so until the credit crunch is done. We have a short-list of about ten suitable properties, mostly bungalows, and all either empty or on the market with the promise of ‘no forward chain’. That way, when we press the button, it’ll take a maximum of eight weeks before we move in.
- The moving in steps will of course depend on the condition of the new property. We may need to clean and decorate and, possibly, do a bit of fixing before we can take up residence and there’s no way of planning that until we get further along the path.
So, that’s the plan.
Lunch turned out to be a large platter of roast Welsh lamb with all the trimmings for me, and a Cornish pasty meal for Graham–he doesn’t do roast meals generally and certainly not mutton or lamb.
I sat back, patting my tummy and feeling virtuous. Just as I’ve been saying all these years, a good, balanced meal of traditional ingredients is healthy and not overly-fattening. There are rather a lot of red-faced doctors and dieticians about the place just now, having had their ‘healthy life-style’ theories thrown back at them. When they started persuading us back in the seventies that we were eating all the wrong things, there were very, very few fat people around. Now look at us.
Anyway. That is a more or less accurate account of how we came to take our lunch at the Bay View Cafe, looking out over the bay towards the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, and followed it with a pleasant stroll along the Promenade with ice cream treats half-way through. Not a bad day’s work, really.