Friday 26 February 2016
Sunny and cool 14 degrees
After the torrential downpours of the week, and the persistent odour of damp dog, the day dawned cool and clear and for the first time this week, I was awoken by birdsong. The sweet notes of a blackbird and chirruping sparrows accompanied the thin ray of sunshine piercing the darkness of my room. In Summer, I never close the shutters but Winter always.
OH went down to the new rental unit to carry on with the endless small finishing off jobs and I looked at the kitchen. It was the most terrible mess. We had had words this morning. OH refuses to have a cleaner but does not cleaning and is very, very messy. He had agreed to hoover this afternoon. I spent three hours cleaning and putting stuff away and then made a lemon and marscapone tart.
OH arrived back and said most of the lights we had were not suitable for the walls and he would need to go to Ikea. He then started on the 'have you done'ing. Had I rung the clients on the list, had I rung the plumber, had I made the doctor's appointments. He did not notice the gleaming kitchen, or the cake baking in the oven, and he dumped loads of stuff on top of the newly cleaned Godin (French version of an Aga). We had more words. He said why didn't I ring them now and I said I was getting some lunch, a shower, preparing paperwork for this afternoon and then I was going out to WORK. I also said that if he wasn't so bloody useless at French, despite being over here 12 years, he would be able to ring them himself. He said he couldnt manage over the phone, but in reality he cant manage face to face either.
We have an appointment at the podologue this week. OH went on his own last time because the woman said she spoke English. When I rang to make the appointment for this week, the doctor insisted I also attended the appointment. She said that OH had understood strictement rien and had spoken to her in some kind of English which she hadn't understood. OH had been speaking to her in his version of French which is strictement verb free and with a strong Lancashire accent. He is currently learning Spanish and so throws in some Spanish words for good measure. He doesn't pronounce those correctly either. He is verb free in Spanish also. Interestingly, when we are in Spain, he throws in French words...
I headed out into the bright afternoon and the mountains were glorious and capped with the most perfect Royal icing. The village in which I was meeting the clients is small and is a medieval walled city. From the battlements, there is a plunging drop to the river and a horizon filled with glittering mountain tops. I was early and stopped to admire the view. There were two English couples chatting animatedly and I went over to discover if they were my clients.
The jolly couple had, unfortunately, already bought. I liked the look of them. Unfortunately, I had drawn the other couple who were almost too posh to speak. The woman had sheaves of paper and the man looked bored. I drove them up to the first house and they didnt like it so we were there about five minutes. We then went to a house in a village, one which I show regularly. They didnt like that one either. Poor Russell, I do wish someone would buy his house. I must have shown in about 40 times over the years I have had it. No one likes the village and the house is strangely organised with bedrooms and bathroom directly off the kitchen and a loo in the living room. I have only had one offer in seven years and it was 40% below the newly dropped asking price.
Finally, we went to a house which I had suggested and they warmed up rather as we went around the garden. The owner was in the dining room, her clothing bristling with pins, and in the middle of a knotty upholstery problem. Her springs were misbehaving and the horsehair made her itch. The woman client asked about the drainage system and did it conform to modern standards. It is mains drainage, said the vendor. Yes, said the woman client, but does it conform? The vendor's eyes narrowed. She is from the Dont Take Fool's Lightly school. It is MAINS DRAINAGE she repeated, eyes narrowed and eyebrows raised. Hmmph said the woman client. They traipsed around and then disappeared to torture another local agent. They are looking at houses all over France and will, no doubt, be annoying people over a wide area of the country.
I said goodbye to them and went back to thank the owners for letting me show the house today. The vendor looked dispirited, even when I said that the clients had not objected to the fact that there were adjoined houses and no shops in the village. I know we will never sell this house. They will carry me out of here in a box ... she said glumly. Basically, it is not a problem with the house. It is delightful and has a beautiful garden. The problem is the village. It is no where in particular and is on the route for a lot of lorries.
I left and went to see my lovely friend Rose who bought a couple of years ago and is in a neighbouring village. We sat outside and enjoyed tea and chat and then the sky darkened so we went inside and looked at her button collection and then it was time for home and OH had cooked.
Rain hammered on the roof all night and I could hear the river rushing along our boundary.