Sunday, 6 December 2009
So near and yet so far...(when opening your mouth without engaging your brain can lose you what you really want)
I love Roger – I think I did from the very beginning. When I picked up Charlie that evening, that golden summer evening you know the type; heavy and hazy and just full. Everything golden from grass to leaves to crops in the fields – OK so it was June but the fields were golden - full of OSR and my husband full of hay fever!
Welcome to the country! I picked him up from the train station and just drove him to the house; I couldn’t contain my excitement and we cruised past backwards and forwards.
We couldn’t wait to get a better look. P brought the details and there she was - pink. Very, very pink. With a red roof. Lots and lots of Georgian windows and large pottery Gloucester pig placed jauntily in front of an elegant wrought iron garden bench. All this framed by verdant foliage and an emerald green lawn – freshly cut.
But that’s where it stopped – where were the best bits? Where were the internal shots of the beautiful drawing rooms and large farmhouse kitchen; the dining room? In fact any room?
Just a bald statement:
The productive Residential and Arable Farm known as … with substantial 16th Century Farmhouse (Listed Grade II); Modern and Traditional Farm Buildings and 248 acres of Fertile Arable Land being of the Hanslope (411d), Ashley (572q) and Ragdale 1 (712g) Associations (MAFF Grades 2 AND 3).
For sale by private treaty as a whole or in 4 lots
Lot 1 was the farmhouse and 3.93 acres … “in need of some updating and modernisation”.
Dear Charlie wished me luck the next morning as he left to catch the train to London – I had a viewing and would tell him all about it when he got home that evening and say whether I thought it was worth him coming along the next time.
I don’t remember much about that viewing except meeting Roger. Before we knew it the agent and I were taken down the garden going through a seriously overgrown rose arch with more brambles than rose and down to the moat through the tallest nettles on the planet.
I trotted doggedly after Roger as he strode forth in shorts and open toed sandals, totally oblivious of the chin high nettles and brambles that made up the back paddock, through the encroaching trees to the moat where he bade us turn round to look at the house. All the time he chattered, smiling thorough his grisly grey beard, his bushy eyebrows dancing with ill concealed delight every time I flinched, jumped, and stumbled after being stung, scratched or being tripped up. The agent fared no better – I swear that Roger did it deliberately and, knowing him as I do now, I’m sure he did. He took us through the dirtiest, smelliest and most tangled way round that garden that he possibly could. I was in three quarter lengths and backless sandals, while the poor agent was in his very best suit and brand new loafers. Needless to say we were wrecked and we hadn’t even set foot indoors.
The next memory I have is of being in the spare room upstairs looking out over the moat and into the wood on the opposite side. The sun shining on the water and casting dimples of light all around the room I was in and I go and open my big mouth and do exactly what P had begged me not to – I asked how much and the agent replied and I so naively said that’s great we can go to X - a good £30,000 more than was being suggested. As soon as I did this I knew I was in trouble. I tried to backtrack but I could see the gleam in the agent’s eye – he knew it and I knew it; I was hooked and I was the very first person he had taken round – how many others would do the same?
I can’t explain how wonderful it felt to know this was the one and how terrible to know that we could lose it just because I couldn’t keep my trap shut. I couldn’t keep my enthusiasm under control. I couldn’t be cool.
It would not be long before Dear Charlie and I were told that the property would be sold via sealed bids…