Friday 13 February 2015
Mild 4 degrees rising to 15
Sunny with tiny mackerel cloud banks
Rise early with sunlight filtering through the shutters. A frisky wind is chasing the leaves around the courtyard and the crows are cawing in the high poplars. Put on full war paint and smart clothing ahead of Austrian client visits. Austrian rings to say he is still 80 kms away and thinks he can do it in half an hour. I suggest 45 minutes is more appropriate and take the delighted dog for a quick walk.
An hour later, I am in the town hotel foyer with the Austrian, who reminds me of a rugged, older version of Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. He has round steel rimmed glasses which change hue with the sunlight and likes 'a little smoke'. He has done many continents on the back of a Harley Davidson and worked all over the world.
thanks Rolling Stone magazine
He now wants to find a house which is 'it'. He currently lives on a remote island at the top end of Europe. His wife wants something livelier. My colleague had told me that they didn't want a house in the town, they didn't want neighbours, they wanted lots of land. Ah no! said the client 'I have changed my mind on all that, we want to be able to walk to the shops'. I say silent thanks to perspicacity that lead me to bring a whole bag full of keys for all types of housing.
First house is south about 15 minutes. The owner lurks in the garden and his gorgeous dogs follow us around, sitting in the doorways whilst we look at the rooms, and wagging their tales encouragingly. The kids have left home and there is a lot less clobber in their rooms. Discover it has made it all into the loft, but there is plenty of room up there. The client sniffs and has a little smoke and says the house is too classic, too square. I think he may be concerned by the bamboo also. The owner had pointed to a fresh springy 9 metre outcrop and said it was last seasons growth. Must remind him not to say that to future buyers. He has fortunately stopped telling people about Japanese bamboo torture techniques. You can know too much about bamboo imo.
We go to the next house and he says the village is 'not interesting'. Actually it isn't at all. We go to the nearest village and have another coffee and another little smoke. He tells me that he is very impressed with my area and it is much more interesting than to the north. The locals peer at him through the steamy windows (we are the only ones on the terrace and the frisky wind is doing nothing for my coiffure) like he is an exotic specimen, which he is.
Back to my town and I discover I havent brought the right keys for the house we are standing outside of. He doesnt like it anyway. To last house and he is very impressed and takes many, many photos. I drop him back off at the hotel and catch up with OH at the rental units. He is sanding and the air is full of particles. Back home and have lunch and walk dog and do masses of dishes (again!) and battle with fire. Feel very tired. Have remains of last night's chili.
Talk on Skype to WF who is progressing well and making sales. He says two people have been fired - one for leaving messages in an Indian accent (hilarious!!) and the other for refusing to do outbound calls. OH talks to him about doing professional exams. He has had today and yesterday off and is working the weekend. He is also earning more than RJ from whom we have not heard in a few weeks.