Monday 22 February 2016
Sunny 12 degrees
Yesterday was a warm and sunny day and we had gone out to start to tackle the great green beast which wraps around our 1852 stone farm house. The grass was bristling with new growth, buds are appearing on the trees and there are some totally confused Midwife toads which have started their evening chorus three months earlier than normal.
The brambles are a knotted mass in the slimy remains of last year's canna lilies and there are grass and dandelion everywhere in the long main borders. I used to love my garden but now it just makes my heart sink when I think of how much work it will take just to get it in shape for the season. Fortunately the weather was good in December so I am well ahead of where I am normally at this time of year. OH played pick up sticks on the lawn and I hacked at the roses and pulled out dead stuff. He then came over and manhandled the brambles out of their knots. Made good progress.
Today it was Monday again. I was not in the mood for it. 9.01 the phone rang which could only be my Austrian seller of the scary chateau with the massive renovations. He asked if I was well and I had to lie. He said he had something to tell me which was not altogether good news.
The chateau, built originally in the 15th century, has belonged to the King, the church, assorted wealthy individuals and then, as is often the case, was bought by a foreign buyer who loved and renovated it and lived in it for many years. It sits at the end of a now badly rutted driveway. Massive stone columns guard the now gateless entrance and then the chateau reveals itself; massive and statuesque. There are three owners - the mother - the doyenne - who is now unhappily ensconced in a flat in Austria, the younger brother who lives in Austria and the elder brother who lives locally.
It transpires 'the not altogether good news' is that the elder brother has already put the kibosh on a couple of sales, by refusing to sign any of the paperwork or give his agreement to any previous offer. Now they tell me. He then follows up by saying that if the EB decides to be awkward again, he and his mother will go down the legal route. As 66% shareholders, they can force the sale. But this may very well put off the buyers as they may be reluctant to be involved in a long and protracted purchase. Oh bugger.
Every year, I have an epic battle on at least one of my dossiers. Here is this year's one, presenting itself nice and early so it can torture me over a lovely long extended period. The difficult brother has asked for yet another week to make up his mind about whether or not to accept the latest offer. My buyers cant come over until the beginning of April, so that is good as it gives the EB time to think that he is not being pushed. We have yet to sign any written offer. OH thinks I should get the buyers to sign what they offered originally and then at least we would have a starting point.
On the good side, I always have one sale which is plain sailing. The rest involve average amounts of wrangling.
Miss Tea's purchase is proceeding smoothly. Mr Wearing is planning on coming back over within the next month. Mr Chips and Mrs Chips to be are back in the US and want to come back and see the chateau when the awful locataires have moved themselves and their junk out and into their new house.
Went out in afternoon to see a house which didnt look too inspiring from the outside - plain facade and rather Soviet looking grey tiles everywhere. It was at the end of a very very long country lane. The GPS had no idea where it was so I was running on plain faith. Miraculously, the house appeared at the end of a woodland dell and what a joy it was. The couple, from Monaco, had taken an uninspiring 1950's house and made her beautiful. We drank coffee from delicate Limoges china and were warmed by the sun flowing freely through the large patio windows. The garden was extensive and full of beautiful old trees and massive stands of bamboo. On the top of the bank a plateau of land and there the swimming pool with wide views of the surrounding woodland.
Drove home feeling good.