31 December 2015
Grey and warm 11 degrees
Well, this is it. The end of 2015 and I am very confused. RJ takes down the bins to the end of the lane two nights ago because I am convinced it is Thursday evening (it isn't), today is Thursday evening but of course tomorrow is not a normal Friday so he has to go and get them again.
How I feel about Christmas
1-24 December Feeling Festive
24-31 December Feeling confused
1 January Feeling fat
I look like I have given a festive home to a sizable sloth and it is sitting on my lovely warm and erstwhile flat stomach. OK, perhaps I was harbouring the equivalent of a small kitten before.... nothing fits. I put on a tunic purchased on a whim from a FB ad. Sammy Dress took two months to arrive and looked much better on the girl on the ad, but at least it covers up sloth stomach. On it goes,together with my roomiest tweed trousers. Top it off with jacket with sparkly buttons. My neck seems to have grown and my chins too. How can all of this have happened in just two months? Must give up bread again. Evil, evil crusty wholemeal and cereal festooned with nuts. Have Homer Simpson drool but alas, it is time to don the motley and go down town.
The market is swollen with people visiting over the holidays and my clients are no where to be seen. Lurking outside the mosaic walled bar, the owner runs over to tell me who has died recently. My mother in law used to love to hear who had died and I must admit, I am getting more interested. Must stop being a ghoul. One lady died on her birthday. I use the term loosely as she could be a really vitriolic old cow who spent many years smoking three packs a day and then was very upset to get lung cancer but you cant speak badly of the dead (apparently). I quite like the symmetry of dying on one's birthday. The other lady had had breast cancer and had been better then worse then very bad and now she was gone. The bar owner, despite her love of passing on deathly news, is a lovely lovely lady and has, herself, survived breast cancer.
My clients appear and we have a coffee and numerous people I haven't seen for at least ten days come up and kiss me and I am sure that this sort of interruption just doesn't happen in Northern Europe. The bar owner's husband winks at me in a louche fashion. He is not a man to encounter in a dark alley...
I show them our two flats. As usual, the small finished flat is loved, apart from the fact it has no view. I wonder how long it will take us to regret not accepting the 25% below asking price offer made by the woman with the bolt tattoo on her neck... The other apartment is the one that OH has been working on for two years. At 35m2 that is approximately 20.8 days per m2. OH loves maths but it seems he is really not into being given some stats. The lady shrieks 'oh it has POTENTIAL' and I know that this is the kiss of death. In twelve years, where the word 'potential' has been uttered, the house has not been sold to that particular client. She leaps over the buckets and brooms and heaped up and pristine clean plastic protection film. She skirts the plasterboard and planks and boxes of miraculously intact lighting items. She says it is wonderful but it doesn't have a view. Oh bugger. I say I will dig out some other houses and get back to her and when is she going back to the US and she says Saturday and I think oh more bugger, am probably going to end up working New Years Day again.
Back home and refuelled by a double sausage sandwich and brown sauce, I hit the phones and come up with three more properties. The first is the smallest flat I have ever been inside. The 80 year old owner, the client and myself have trouble fitting in. I sit on the bed. The owner yanks down the sliding ladder staircase (is that what my colleague meant when she wrote 'ingeniously conceived') to reveal the mezzanine. Only dwarves could conceive in that space. One wall is taken up by a glass case containing ducks. The client is charmed but I steer her out of there and we manage to breathe again before heading off to another house in town. My colleague had described this one as authentic. Code for brown and pokey. Must avoid use of word authentic in my ads. It had a sad holiday home feel about it, with junk shop furniture and framed prints on the walls.
I have saved the best til last. A second floor flat with balcony and light and spacious. The owner is there and he lets us in and the client is thrilled and loves it. She says she is a very spontaneous buyer and must come back tomorrow with her friends. I arrange the revisit with the owner and walk down the street on a high. I am on the sales sleigh and whizzing across a snowy landscape, the reindeer horns bright before me, and loaded down with presents. Oh joy and I will be the first on the sales grid, which means a bottle of champagne.
On passing the mosaic adorned bar, am grabbed by the bar owner. He clasps me to his surprisingly firm stomach and asks me what I am up to tonight. I am enveloped in clouds of alcohol from his breath. He makes it clear that if I want to be up to something, he is more than happy to oblige. I prise myself off him and run home. RJ has not yet started dinner and I eat a mince pie. This is allowed as it does not contain dairy or bread.
RJ makes only just cooked duck and rice with soy sauce and ratatouille. OH and I are underwhelmed. 'Do you think he can cook?' whispers OH. After four years working in restaurants, I sodding hope so. Perhaps it was because he was cooking on electric. There were certainly shed loads of dishes to wash.
The phone rings and it is the owner of the flat and he says that he had forgotten to tell me that he has signed a compromis de vente, ie the property is sold. He says the people might pull out, in which case my client can buy. Whooooah. The raindeer have hit a very big snow wall and their bells have all dropped off. Which agency did the deal, I gasp, aghast. Oh, crap with festive sprinkles, it is only my former employer. A french agency run by a woman who is more difficult to part from her money than a neutron from a proton.
It is now too late to cancel the visit for tomorrow so, I will be showing a property which is sold to someone who doesnt want to spend all her cash but isnt working so she cant get a loan. Fan bloody tastic.
Absolutely nothing on the telly. OH goes to bed at 11 and RJ and I watch Narcos on Netflix. Rather good. Tried to talk him into watching the version of Sense and Sensibility where everyone had to do their own hair at 5 am wiithout the benefit of a mirror, but he wanted gore and guts so Pablo Escobar it was.
Happy New Year 2016! zzzzzz