Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Thursday 11 February 2016

A little sun and blue sky!  11 degrees

Mr Chips says he doesn't believe the sun actually shines in our part of the world. He is however, thrilled with his little town house and they have been busy shopping in the local brocantes* and trocs**.

We roll south and the Pyrenees come out on parade, crisp with a new blanket of white snow and we find the chateau at once, largely because I stop OH driving up the wrong roads.  He did show this property when I was in the UK last year. He couldn't get in because the owners were out, so he left the client at the property to go and get the keys from the agent in town (a woman who shares my husband's ability to speak another language in an almost unrecognisable form) and then he couldn't find the property again.  I was in a quilt making class with my cousin and he rang me up and I had to tell him to calm down, put the address into the gps on his phone, go back and get the client and ask the father who has Alzheimer's to let them in.  And good luck.  Sometimes the father is living in this world and sometimes in his own.  And then I switched my phone off.  I was having enough trouble sewing in a straight line...

I had made an appointment and emailed both renters and copied in the owner and spoken on the phone to the woman renter, so I was fairly confident we would get in.  The skies were dark when we arrived, and rain was hissing down on the gravel.  I noticed some broken glass in the basement windows and no doubt the clients did too.

The man renter let us in and then went back to his computer.  OH had spent many hours here with the other client, so I let him lead the visit.  He went rather speedily so I took over.  The problem with showing a large and complicated property is that you often cant remember what is behind every door.  You have to say 'and this is', have a quick peek before throwing open the door 'the xxxxx room'!  The grand hallway was piled up with boxes and one of the doors was locked so we had to get around to the other half of the building by going back around by the kitchen.

Upstairs has various wings and because I was in charge, we visited them methodically and counted up bathrooms and bedrooms as we went.  Frankly, it was a mess.  There was a lot of water damage on the ceilings and I don't know how the renters had achieved it, but quite a few of the chandeliers were parted from the ceiling and hanging down on wires.  Perhaps a little light swinging on them during the long winter nights?  Curtain rails had come out of their moorings too.  The curtains and rugs were dirty.  Stuff was piled up everywhere. The family renting is only four persons.  Why are they in an eight bedroom place?

Things deteriorated further in the cellar, where there was a frog swimming in the new pond in one of the chambers.

Ms Chips-to-be was not impressed.  She looked aghast whilst still smiling. (This is a feeling I recognise.  It is how I feel when I get an eye wateringly low offer). Mr Chips still loved it.  We went back to our town and arranged to meet up on the morrow.  I would be out with some Brits from the Far East.  The game was still very much in play, with no clear winner.  I think it will have to be slogged out between Mr and Ms-to-be Chips.

*brocante - bric-a-brac shop 
**troc - shop selling items belonging to individuals, where the shop adds its commission to the estimated value of the item and sells it on their behalf

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