2 April 2016
Cloudy with sunny periods
The phone had rung before we went away on our Madrid jaunt and the lady on the other end of the line told me about her chateau and how she needed someone who would appreciate its qualities - a very special place and I needed to come and have a look so I booked her in for today. She agreed to wait because she needed a very special estate agent. OH said this was flannel and I should be extremely wary. He decided to drive me in order for me not to be taken in and end up with a mandate I was too embarrassed to refuse. I was torn. I enjoy being driven and if a place is huge, it is much quicker à deux. However, OH does not hold back on the comments and just assumes the owners wont understand English.
It was a pleasant day and we managed to find the right windy road, even though the GPS didn't acknowledge its existence. We got to the end and ended up in a farmyard, without having seen anything remotely resembling a chateau. We drove back and I peered at a crumbling wall which bore the words chat.... in peeling plaster. OH squeezed the car through the battered gates and we drove up and into the property. The gravel road led between a number of ruined buildings and eventually up to the only habitable building in the ensemble.
It was long and single level and had strangely painted large sliding wooden shutters on runners. Its a cow shed! exclaimed OH. Its a real bag of shite. Just tell them we are not interested.
However, it was too late and a dynamo of a woman had exploded through the doors in the centre and dragged us in. The interior was not an improvement. Look at the walls, they are single skin! said OH loudly. There were two bedrooms, one at each end, and a kitchen in the middle. Tell her we have seen enough said OH. The woman had me firmly by the elbow and guided me over to the 'pearl', the 'chateau'. It was a rambling old farmhouse with bald bare eyes of windows, a shattered roof and creaking shutters. It had no charm whatsoever. We paused in the kitchen and I said the problem she had was that people who wanted a chateau wanted a more classic chateau and people who wanted a habitable house with a lot of land, didn't want the responsibility of a large number of ruined buildings in close proximity to the main house. No one would want to live in that crap conversion anyway and this place has no value - they should just chuck it in, said OH loudly.
I asked the woman what price she had in mind, vaguely thinking of around 250 000 euros myself. You may be surprised at the amount I want, said the lady, but it is in reference to the habitable space, 950 000 euros.....
I wish I wasn't so polite. I wish I could have told her that she would not see that price in her great grand children's lifetime, or that she had totally wasted my time, or that what effectively she was selling was a two bed roomed cow shed conversion with a shed load of knackered buildings to boot, but I didn't. I said it was not the sort of property I would be able to bring people along to, not normally being in contact with insane and extremely rich people with an urge to make a terrible investment, and we left. OK I didnt tell her the last bit. We left as soon as I had prised her off me and ran away back to normality.
I was hacked off, it was Saturday and I would much rather be gardening. We stopped for a coffee in the nearby village and, surprisingly, the bar owner gave me the mandate for a large apartment in a thermal town on the other side of our big town.
Back home and took out fury at the cowshed woman on the bay tree and chopped it back into its topiary shape and dug up all the weeds in the herb garden.