Thursday, February 4, 2016


Tuesday 2 February 2016

Rain and sunny periods and then lots of rain

12 degrees

The floor of the rental unit is covered in tiny spots of paint and I am down on my knees, scrubbing.  I have commandeered OH's padded knee protectors and they are wonderful.  My knees are crunchy and have started complaining when I go up steep stairs.  I ruminate on the urges of my great grandmother.  She belonged to a great household, a cherished daughter.  She ran off with the coachman because of her urges.  Unlike Downton Abbey, where the coachman becomes part of the family, my great grandmother was exponged from family history, lived in a minuscule cottage with her husband and ten children, one of whom was my maternal grandmother.  I scrub and think, I could have been in Burke's Peerage still, but because of my sodding great grandmother, I am on my hands and knees in a small flat in the arse end of France.  The sun comes out and lights up the beauty of the floor and my phone rings and it is the office confirming that the afternoon visits are on.

The client is a man of very few words; the sort who doesnt get through more than one adjective an hour.  I wait for him in the car park of the Great Hotel in town.  Two pm arrives and there are only local cars coming and going.  My phone pings and it is Mr Wearing.  I am in the Hotel car park, he says.  In a Fiat of dubious quality.  There is a silence.  It is green, he adds, eventually.  I look around.  There is a custard yellow fiat in the distance.  Perhaps he is colour blind.  I cant see you anywhere.  Ah, says Mr Wearing, the GPS took me directly to my hotel.  I suppose I could come and find you.  No, no.  I say, I will come to you.

When I make an appointment; I go to the appointed place at the appointed time.  Why is it so hard for others to do the same?  I find the hotel and the car park where he has decided to stop and there is a man resembling Jeremy Corbyn standing next to a strangely coloured small car.  I get out and he says nothing so I shake his hand and say shall we go and see some properties.

I have had clients from all over the world; the nervous and the garrulous, the reticent and the mean, the sarcastic and pompous and occasionally, absolutely charming but I have never, in twelve years, had a client who said absolutely nothing.  We would arrive in a property and he would stand in the centre of the house and turn to stone.  Minutes would pass.  Was I in an alternative universe? Was this my version of hell?  I always think everyone has a Hell tailored specially for themselves.  But no.  Eventually he would move and take one photo a room and we would get out and I would say, in as bright a tone as I could manage, 'well, what do you think of that one?  Once, he did actually say that he liked the house.  That was it.

We got back to the hotel at 4.30 and my face ached and I felt very thirsty.  The door was locked but a light was on in the back room.  I hammered on the door. I needed my sofa and a nice cup of tea.  I hammered again.  I rang.  The phone shrilled in the back room and a woman appeared and closed the door.  Mr Wearing said he would go for a drive around so we arranged to meet tomorrow at 10.  Got home and OH said the dog needed walking and I said he could have a walk around the garden if he wanted some fresh air.  Dog didnt like the look of the persistent rain and went and briefly watered some shrubs.

Watched the Great British Interior Design Challenge which was somewhat bonkers with a woman called Holly wanting to put dog wallpaper with a deep blue background onto some people's living room wall.  They resisted strongly. They did not want the sort of alternative universe where spaniels abound on one's walls.  The charming guy from Taiwan, Frankie, did a beautiful room.  My money is on him to win.  OH stayed in the kitchen and did Spanish on Duolingo. The voice was saying one thing and OH was repeating it slightly differently.

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