Sunday 3 April 2016
Cool but warming to 18 degrees
There is nothing more disagreeable than an alarm clock inserting itself into a Sunday morning but, alas, at 8 o'clock it was time to don the motley and head over to the scary chateau with the big cracks and dry rot and returning for the third time buyers.
When an agent first takes on a property, the owners always keep something in the tank with which to surprise her at a later date. This later date is when the agent manages to find someone who is interested in buying, at which point the sellers feel it is now time to divulge such information as the house is about to be seized by the bank, one of the sellers has messed up a number of previous sales by refusing to sign any offers, the neighbour is deranged, there are disputes over the boundaries or servitudes or, in the case of the chateau, there is dry rot.
For this third revisit, I had insisted that the non French resident brother also come over. He sounded 50 years old and substantial on the phone so I was surprised to find a slight bespectacled man in his late 30's. He had actually spend the night at the chateau on his own, and looked glad of some company. 1000m2 of 14th century chateau is a lot of space to rattle around with on one's own. It was as cold as the grave so we sat on the terrace and waited for the French resident brother to turn up. He had actually messed up a number of sales in the past. And he thought it would be a good idea not to mention the dry rot. I insisted that this was mentioned and we did some wrangling and then went to look at the offending mushroom growth. It was spilling out of either end of an immense bookcase. This would have to come down and the whole rot treated. The younger brother hacked off the browning mess and put it in a carrier bag.
A car came up the driveway and the couple emerged, followed by a pale waif of a girl and a highly excitable two year old boy who promptly started falling over things. Last out was the lady's mother whose job, presumably, was to stop the two year old injuring himself and to be horrified at the state of the property. Relatives are inevitably aghast at the work which is about to be taken on. They spent two hours going over the property in detail.
I was amazed to find that they intend building cabins in the woods and converting all of the immense barn space into high quality gites. The two year old was exhausted and covered in mud and had to be fed by the time we all sat down in the cavernous dining room, doors wide open to warm its damp and chilled air. We filled in the buyer and seller details. The buyers said they would take on the thirty years worth of collection sitting in the barn (the mother had been an avid brocanteuse), and the sellers looked much relieved. Fortunately no one asked the grandma what she thought and she perched at the end of a table, coffee in hand and asked for some sugar. It all seemed to be going swimmingly until the buyer mentioned that he was seeing the bank for the loan on Tuesday and he would be asking for 700 000 euros. The sellers and I became very depressed at that point. The buyer will need to be an absolute miracle worker to get that amount out of a French bank. Especially for a commercial loan on a business which is not yet set up by a non French resident purchaser. His own country of residence will not loan him on a property in a foreign country. We could all have been completely wasting our time.
They drove off and the brothers and I stood on the terrace and the birds sang and the brothers lit cigarettes and one said 'that is a shit loan of money' and it is. I said it is not over until the fat lady sings and left them to think about it whilst I drove home with a headache and OH made me egg and bacon and lots of tea and then we had a siesta. Cantona, eat your heart out.
Then it was time for the revisit of Mr Wearing. Of which more in the next post....