Saturday, July 4, 2015

Garden battles and the flat is sold.......

Friday 3 July 2015

Stinking hot and very humid 33 degrees

Wake at 4.30 am and am covered in mosquito bites and they itch like mad so have to get an anti histamine tablet and apply creme and anti itch spray.  Three hours later, I crawl out of bed and do the watering that I didn't do yesterday evening.  I am beginning to lose the battle with blight on the potato leaves.  We really need a good soaking of rain.  Last night it was overcast and I hoped for rain but there were only a few spits and spots.  The tomatoes are happy and starting to form small green fruits.  Must tie them onto the supports.  They are currently languishing like tired pole dancers.  There are vast numbers of baby caterpillars on the cabbage so have to blast them all off with the spray.  The peppers and pimentos are forming and the haricot bean plants have started to give crops although the plants look very small and weedy, I keep finding beans on them.  The phone keeps ringing. It is very annoying.  Finally go in and see who it is and it is my colleague and she has a visit on a large country property for next week and can I do the previsit with her and her colleague.  It is the one where the man has been trepanned in the past and has a pink plug in his head.  I tell you, it is a real distraction.  Sometimes I warn the client and sometimes I don't.  Selon le gré de mon humeur.  

Finish up and do some tidying up and then down town to meet a guy who works with my colleague.  He is sitting in the bar, squinting at his iPad and he orders me and himself a coffee and starts rattling on.  I don't know how he ever sells houses; he doesn't listen to anything.  It is quite illuminating as it transpires that my agency is sending him lots of leads and they are doing lots of visits.  About 50% my agency and 50% theirs.  Much more than I am getting.  They are bringing on big properties with lots of land and all over the place. They are not, however, selling anything.  He says that, at the end of the day, people will buy what they will buy.  My view on the matter is that you keep them with you until they find something they are desperate to buy.  We have another coffee and he talks about previous sales and he knows the father of my furious seller and says he is happy that they are having a miserable time because the father is a complete git and I finally manage to extract him from the bar and to the house I am showing him on a previsit.

The house is in a wonderful location with wide open views, huge plot of land and over 250m2.  It is ugly and the wallpaper is something else.  Huge orange flowers on brown background and alternating with huge pink flowers on pinky brown background.  And that is just in the living room.  He is rather perplexed by the whole thing.  Unfortunately, so are most clients.  Shame my colleague isn't doing the visit.  She has a much better handle on what to do with it, to make it work as a house.  I drop him off and get some bread and back home where the kitchen is in chaos.  Quick lunch and then down town to meet the buyers for our big rental unit.

They are half an hour late and in the words of Bruce Springsteen, the sun is beating down on the black top, and there is a shimmering heat haze over the Place.  At least the tarmac isn't melting, which is a real pain, as it fills up the tread on the car wheels and they have no grip.  It does drop out when the road cools but your tires are ruined.  They arrive and still love the flat and they leave for the town where we will sign and I go and get OH and we arrive in the notaries.  It is deliciously cool and the air con is thundering like a train and we are received by the notary's clerk.  She is a nervous girl with auburn hair, a careless speckling of freckles over her creamy shoulders and a cold sore.  She has the compromis on screen and it takes a while to go through and sign but, two hours later, we are done and our buyers leave and I ask her a number of questions about the US lady and the furious seller.

1.  If the US lady doesn't sign the release document, is everything blocked - yes

2.  Is the furious seller obliged to give her 15 days to pay up or shut up - yes.  He cannot withdraw.

3.  Does the future ex husband have to agree to the investor being substituted.  In her opinion, yes.  

Now, the future ex husband I believe is completely unaware that there is the existence of this investor and he thinks things are now at an end.  The simplest thing would be for the release document to be signed, the monies paid out and then the US lady can buy whatever she likes with whatever other person she likes.  She will not be buying the property she currently wants because, once released, the furious seller will never want to hear her name again...  She says her visa only runs with this one property but I now don't trust her and don't know if this is the truth.  I later discover that her notary has gone on holiday until July 15th. I am going to have to pick up the baton again.

We leave the notaries and the blast of wet air is like a just boiled flannel in the face.  The car is roasting.  I insist on having a McFlurry with daim chocolate and nappage caramel and it is utterly divine.  Back home and OH goes to 'do some Spanish' (he does this in a darkened room and lying down so progress is slow) and I watch the most thrilling match between Serena Williams and Heather Watson and Heather almost wins before Serena gets her act together and starts sending back stinging returns. Best match of the week so far.

The evening is incredibly close and we sit and drip on the sofa and I have yet another shower.  Mercifully, a stiff breeze blows up and sifts through the shutters and cools the room and keeps the mozzies at bay and I sleep.

Tea on the terrasse

Thursday 2 July 2015
Cloud cover - a delightful 28 degrees

Up early and rang and rang and rang until the owner of the ground floor shop answered her phone.  Her voice was high pitched. Everything is wet and I have no idea where the water has come from!  I try to cut in. I rang Mme M and she said it couldn't possibly be from her flat! Everything is wet! Everything!  My duvets and blankets and coats!  My machines are flooded out.  I manage to get an word in edge ways and ask if the ceiling is still OK and she realises I am ringing to tell her about the water and stops squeaking at me down the phone and she says yes, it is OK but I need to come down immediately.  

I throw on some appropriately thin motley and head down town.  It is market day and absolutely heaving.  Walking from the car to the shop, I organise a visit on the chateau by the roofer of the man I took to see it last week.  Please kindly heavens, the quote is not orgiastically enormous and the guy actually makes an offer.  Offers have been very thin on the ground lately...

I get to the shop and duvets are piled up everywhere.  Fortunately the delicate clothes are stored at the front end of the shop and are, in any event, covered in plastic but the poor woman does have everything to redo.  I apologise many, many times and speak to the owner of the intermediate apartment who has suffered the worst damage as her apartment was first in line for the 34m3 of water (340 litres) which flooded out of mine.  I ring the plumber who did the installation and tell him I need his ten year guarantee document and he says he is retired and says he knows he didn't finish the work and also says I didn't pay him.  I tell him I most certainly did pay him and say which things he had not finished off, which I had just discovered and had had to pay another plumber to put right.  He says what what what and I get annoyed and he hangs up.  Absolute bastard.

I am now running late and so fortunately is my new acquaintance but we finally get together and go into our big town to do a little craft shopping.  She is someone who has lived nearby for the past four years but we have only just met via FB.  A tremendously tall lady - just over 6' tall - and with a burr just like Pam Ayres.  She rattles on happily whilst I drive and it is a wonderful distraction from the pain of things going periodically, and very badly, wrong.  We get to the craft shop, carefully masquerading as an office supplies store, and she is thrilled and buys some stuff and then we go to a lady's house which I happen to have for sale, and who is also a member of the crafting group.  The sun is giving us a respite and it is only high 20's and it is delightful to sit in the shade of the striped awning with small birds running around the branches of the walnut trees and drink tea and eat biscuits and talk about all manner of things.  We have a group photo, I admire the barn for which I do not have a key and don't normally get to see (it is vast and with the most beautiful strut and peg construction) and fully boarded out.  Run my new mate back to our town where she gets back into her car, buy bread and head home.  OH is looking very hot after hauling dog around the lake.  Siesta

Get up and write to furious seller and also am amazed to read a very frosty email from the US woman who is supposed to be buying his house and she says if we are no longer dealing with the sale, because she presumes that we have now been paid, then she will deal with the owner direct.  I tell her that she presumes wrong.  We have not been paid because she has not signed the release document and everything is completely blocked.  She says her future ex husband shouldn't have paid our fees because we were mandated by the seller.  Bitch!!  Am really pissed off and write conciliatory email to seller, telling him the points on which I will be gaining clarification on Monday when our notary returns, and assuring him I am working to achieve a rapid resolution on this sorry affaire.  I think she has been playing us all along and has her own game plan and I wonder what there is that I do not know that I do not know.  Every time I think this dossier is put to bed, it pops up like a bad penny.

Watch Wimbledon - have yet to see a good match and the BBC have put on the most inane review programme which is being savaged by the critics.  Instead of being in a studio, with a presenter who knows what they are talking about, they are in the 'Gatsby Club' with a small crowd of stooges, standing around smiling for the camera and Claire Balding, who drivels on about irrelevant stuff and not enough tennis.  I don't want to see text messages or tweets or FB posts about tennis.  I don't want to see mini videos of people's babies playing tennis.  I want to see tennis players playing tennis.  And so does everyone else.  OH, although not being particularly keen on tennis, is sufficiently moved to spend most of the programme, writing to the BBC to complain.  He seems to be sending it in my name so I insist he removes his comments about Claire Balding is a lesbian and that is why she got the job.  He writes all comments in my name, on all matter of things.  I am accumulating trouble for the future.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It never leaks but it pours...

Tuesday 1 July 2015

30 degrees cloudy at first then sun later.  Very high humidity

Up and showered for 9 am and ready for the water meter people to ring and summon me. Spend a couple of hours filing papers and tidying up the chaos in the kitchen.  Try and put horrible emails from absolutely infuriated seller out of my mind.  Being called unprofessional and in cahoots with with the US woman is so unfair.  She obviously never intended signing the release letter.  After reflection, and much tidying up, send the copy emails over to the head of the agency and ask for back up.  She has gone to Paris to see The Who and the phone connection is terrible.  She says she will think up a plan of action and get back to me by tomorrow morning.

The phone rings and it is the water people so I go down town and the man is late and I sit on a concrete bench and wait.  A man approaches, slowly, with the aid of two walking sticks. A number of cars pass by, people go into the laundrette, someone tries to park.  The man gets closer.  People are on the balcony of the Mairie, watering the flower boxes and baskets and showering the unwary below.  The man gets level with me and pauses.  Do you know all the varieties of apples?  He enquires.  I say that I do not.  Do I know the apple called Reinette?  Yes I do.  How do you call it?  I say I call it a Reinette.  He says no, you peel it with a knife.  It is a pun on words appeller versus eppeller.  Appeller to call and Eppeller to peel.  He loves word games like this.  Another one of his favourites is to present you with a piece of folded paper and ask you which tree it resembles - the answer is poplar - peuplier.  The paper is slightly folded - un peu plié.  I say the weather is very hot at the moment, n'est pas.  He looks at me as if I am an idiot and says '97 years old' and staggers off to perplex the boulangère.  

My renters appear, bearing cake and we have a chat and they say they would be interested in having a look at the rental unit which we are doing up.  The water man also arrives so I leave him to attach the meter and show the people the new flat.  They enquire about price and then go and so does the meter man and I go back home and pick up my phone, which I had forgotten, and then out to see a 1980's house with gite and pool.

The sun has come out and it is great for the pictures.  The house is classic style for its village and has a small outbuilding which has been translated into a gite however the bedroom is a mezzanine and up a ladder and not much head room.  Fortunately the building is well insulated or the heat would make you pass out.  The main house is chock a block with all of her stuff and a massive, balefully glaring wooden seagull is suspended from the already low ceiling.  Its eyes follow me around the room.  The lady has stuck on decorative laminate wooden panels to the sides of the cheminée.  They clash stylistically with the rough rendering on the actual fire breast.  She offers me some Perrier which I gratefully accept and then talks non stop to such an extent I have trouble getting out of there and back home. I am starving and then exhausted and climb into bed at 2.30 and to my shock, it is 6.30 when I wake up.  Humid heat just saps your strength and energy.  Am covered in mosquito bites and they itch like mad.  Apply Sudocrème.  Marvellous stuff.

Have bacon, beans and tomatoes for supper and have a shower and sit down and watch two ladies battling it out on the delightfully green turf of Wimbledon.  OH fidgets and says he is worried there will be a leak at the flat and why didn't I turn off the meter and I say for heavens sake stop worrying.  He goes out and decides to check to see if all is OK.  Peace and thwacking of many tennis balls.  The phone rings and it is OH and there is a huge leak and 30m3 of litres of water have been used up and I need to ring the plumber.  I ring him and the darling says he will come out so I grab the neighbours key and get down town to find that the plumber has managed to turn off the water and we then mop out the neighbours flat and bring back her soaking wet stuff.  She is in Limoges and hasn't been at the flat in a while but it is for sale.  Her ceiling is dripping wet.  I wonder how much has gone into the ground floor dry cleaners shop?  It could well have soaked all her clients clothing.  It may also have tripped out her electric - our neighbours electric isn't working any more.  OH says we shouldn't tell the neighbour until after we have signed on our flat on Friday and I say if it has gone into the dry cleaners, then the owner is going to assume that it has come from the neighbours flat and in any case, we need to declare the leak tomorrow.  OH goes on and on about it and I go to bed to get some peace and quiet and he stays up until the early hours and watches the England lady's football team knock themselves out of the competition by putting an own goal past their goalie in injury time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WTF is going on? Stinking hot day followed by shock news...

Tuesday 30 June 2015

40 degrees - like being in Dubai

I was dreading today so got up early at 6.30 when it was deliciously fresh and a slightly chilly 19 degrees and went forth into the garden to dead head, battle with the 12 foot long brambles and do a bit of weeding.  The garden is getting completely out of control and away from me so I am going to have to do some early morning sessions and I will be having siestas in any event so that will be OK.  Managed to do 7 - 10 and then it got to 32 degrees so I came in.

The phone rang and it was my colleague and she was still wound up about the fact I hadn't been able to show a house on Saturday because of the sitting tenant.  The tenant is a friend of hers and also works for a rival agency.  She had blocked my visit, saying that there were three visits in one morning.  My colleague smelled a rat; a large rat.  I have been doing a few visits lately and it has been getting progressively more difficult to get into that house.  I told my colleague that I would definitely inform the owner and then I would let the tenant know that I had informed the owner.  If she is game playing, then she will think twice about doing it again as she will have to give feedback on non existent visits and if the visits were true, then my colleague has behaved correctly towards the seller and the tenant will have to get over it.  Our first duty is to the client.  She said she would think about it.

OH goes down the flat and I hoover and mop and am absolutely dripping by the time he gets back.  Have some lunch and OH puts on a recording of a Russian subtitled film about two shipwrecked sailors who find an island on the Caspian sea and both fall in love with the same girl but she is in love with someone else.  There is a lot of impromptu bursting into song and the editing is surprising.  Passed out in the middle and when I woke up, they were sailing off into the sunset and the girl was waving from the beach.  OH went upstairs and sprayed the parquet which has suddenly become infested with wood fleas.  They are minuscule but the bite they give you is sharp, poison infested and lasts for about five days. They have become resistant to most classic household cures so we have to blast them with stuff meant for cattle sheds, which is evil and we have to sleep in other rooms until the odour and fumes go away.

The phone rang and it was my notaire and, hurrah, the US man has paid over the penalty monies and it only remains for the US lady to sign the paperwork and then everyone can be paid out and I can find her another house.

I walk dog and it is very, very hot.  I think longingly of cooler climes and sea breezes and being able to see the kids regularly.  

Back home and Skype bursts into song and it is the US lady.  She IS going to buy the house and had always intended to buy the house.  She had never said she was going to sign the paperwork to release the penalty monies and the worst the seller could do would be to force her to buy, which she wants to do anyway.  She couldnt tell me before because she was waiting for her future ex husband to pay in the penalty monies.   

I am totally shocked.  The sellers are going to be LIVID.  WTF is this woman playing at? She says her notaire knew all along that she would be buying.  It is fortunate for her notaire that she is on holiday this week as I would have rung her up and given her an earful.    It is gone six pm so I have to email the notaire to say ring me urgently.  She gets back within five minutes.  We agree that we have never known anything like it and she looks at the contract and says there is a substitution clause but it is likely that the US lady's husband will have to sign to agree to substitute another person.  He is completely unaware that his future ex wife intends pursuing the sale and has just borrowed 20k from his mother to pay off the penalties.  She says she will have to assign the buyer and contrain them to pay the whole purchase price within 15 days but this will involve having to find a bailiff in the States and paying their fees.  With some trepidation, I email the seller in far away Arab Emirates.  He basically (very basically) replies that she can sod off.  She has defaulted on the agreement, he and the husband have agreed terms and he will not sell the house to her.  I also get outraged emails, full of CAPITAL letters, from his now deranged mother.

Agree with OH that US lady and her future ex husband are both as bad as one another.  I just want to get paid - this has been going on for nearly a year now.

Rendez vous in the sunshine (but I need to hold my nose)

Monday 29 June 2015

33 degrees - very hot

OH has a thing that he can get out of bed and get ready in 15 minutes so I wake him at 8.00 for an 8.30 leaving and he takes ten minutes to get out of bed and then tears around like a mad thing and forgets stuff and has to keep going back into the house and dog keeps coming out of the door like a Jack in the Box.  Or out of the box....  We finally leave at 8.40 and are still on time although parking is problematic as the whole of the main place is covered by marquees and beer tents.  We walk to the appointed meeting place and the stench of urine is eye watering.  Last night was the last night of the casetas, an annual music festival featuring local music and epic drinking.

The clients are on time and are brought into town by LJ, the first person to buy with us and who runs a gite north of town.  I havent seen her in ages and notice that she has lost quite a few of her teeth.  What is it with people and teeth?  I know dentists are scary but you only have to see them occasionally and you have to see yourself in the mirror every day.

I send people to stay with LJ because she is out of town so the clients cant wander into rival agencies and also she is refreshingly low priced.  The downside is that there is a pig in the living room, with its own chaise longue....  The first pig was called Rasher but apparently he is no more and the current one is called Raquel.  I think you would have to reflect long and hard to find better names for pigs.

We go for a coffee and I feel tired so let OH do the introduction and letting the people tell us about themselves and their project.  They live in the border region between England and Scotland and have gentle accents full of heather and moorland and fresh air.  They also have a lot of expectations for their budget, which is modest, and have been looking over on the Med side which is where they are staying and they got the train over to see this area for a day.

We kick off at a narrow house with orange tiled peak roof and modern interior.  Accessed by a long narrow garden with high stone walls.  It is the kind of property that you need to visit on a hot day when the garden shimmers and the thick stone walls offer respite and cool. The ladies and OH are impressed.  The only thing that really needs doing is the door in one of the upstairs bedrooms needs changing into a window because at the moment you have the option of throwing yourself down into the newly created atrium.  Always attractive for a small child, the throwing option.  

We then drive to our town, which is looking (and smelling) wonderful with its gay bunting and flowery balconies.  I show them the Tin Tin house, followed by the estate house followed by a town house with balcony and garage.  The sun comes out and I notice the ladies are starting to look pink so we pop back into the car, put on the aircon and head back into the big town where we just have time to show them the nearest railway station and the big lake and then they head into the foyer and are gone.

We are starving and go to Leclerc where OH has a big mess of offal in gravy and chips and I have assorted duck bits and chips and wonderful crème brulée.  Feel stuffed and go home and have a sleep.

Turn out new resin batch - the Queen Anne's lace buttons look fab!  Take lots of pictures. Must get them all on Etsy.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Early to rise, blight takes flight...

Sunday 28 June 2015

33 degrees and 91% humidity ... lovely (not)

Got up early to deal with potatoes - mixed a strong potion of copper fungicide and sprayed the leaves and the soil until everything was a fetching shade of blue.  Just managed to finish by 10.30 when the sun emerged from the clouds.  Wisdom has it that you do not spray when the sun is out as it scorches the leaves.

Hacked back the rampant growth on the bay topiary.  The leaves emit a most delicious spicy scent.  Finished off by weeding and trimming the box around the poly tunnel and then the mercury hit 30 and I went indoors and ironed for ages.  Watched a brilliant cowboy film called Ramrod with Joel McRae 1947.  Stunning costumes and landscape.  Well paced and good character development.  The baddies got their come uppance at the end and the good guy got the girl.  Excellent stuff.

Later on, made some more resin buttons and attempted some pendants.  The ferns and papery seed cases kept on popping out of the resin.  Most annoying.  It doesn't set properly if everything isn't well covered.  Interestingly, the thinner the layer, the longer it takes to dry.  

Sent some buttons to a friend who uses them in her craft work and she thought they were gorgeous and original and suggested I sell them on Etsy.  That would involve taking good photos.  Tricky with the buttons as they need the right background to show up the delicate seeds.  Might try Marna Lunt who uses buttons on her lampshades.  They would look stunning.

OH said what was I going to do next and I said I was going to go and stuff my clanger and he said is that sex talk and I said not in the normal sense.  Laughed a lot!

Organised tomorrow's visits.  OH zoomed around lawn on sit and ride tractor and I walked dog in the woods.  Shady and dappled.  Butterflies dancing in the sun ripples.  Humming bird hawk moths sipping nectar.

IC Macroglossum stellatarum1 NR.jpg
"IC Macroglossum stellatarum1 NR" by IronChris - Wikipedia. See other versions. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

These temperatures are too hot for the gardener...

Saturday 27 June 2015

32 degrees - spent most of day hiding indoors

Up earlyish and down to the rental unit to dress the bed, obtain tourist information for the week upcoming and leave wine and treats.  Tourist information only had information up to tomorrow and apparently it is not usual to ask for information for the following week.... that would be available from Monday, 'normally'.

Treated myself to a blueberry tart.  I cannot tell you how delicious it was.  Fine butter pastry, creme patissière and sharp tangy fruit.  I went down like one o'clock.

Never heard of this expression? - look at the highly entertaining Manly Slang - apparently this expression used to be associated with the 'lower orders'...

The Art of Manliness

Back home and some refreshing noodles with spinach in a spicy sauce and then back down town to meet the renters.  They were hovering in the supermarket car park, their soft top Honda with its personalised reg sparkling in the sunshine.  Locals were viewing it askance. I hope it survives the week unscathed.  Locals do not treat their cars with respect, bumpers are for bumping things and my poor car is covered with bashes and bruises from unsympathetic parkers.

I settled them into the flat and went to buy fish food for the pirhanas in the pond.  Ten goldfish have evolved into about a hundred and the spreading of a few flakes makes the surface of the water froth.  They will have a nibble at your fingers if you dangle them just under the surface.  I never realised until latterly that the young are black for about a year before starting to develop the typical deep orange colouring.  The fly spray was 14 euros a can and I was standing there, being traumatised by the price labels, when my phone rang. 

It was the US lady's solicitor, telling me that she has received notification from the bank that the lady's husband has transferred the penalty monies.  She also said that the US lady is refusing to sign the release document until the funds arrive (she said her future ex husband is a liar and will never transfer them) and is also talking about still buying the original property.  I said lets wait and get the cash in and then I will sort things out.  For heaven's sake.....!!

My phone rang again and it was an annoyed seller who had been waiting half an hour for me to pick up some keys.  Had completely forgotten.  Raced around and picked them up and then found fly spray for 1.40 euros in a cheapo shop.  

Back home.  Horribly hot.  Had a rest and watered the flagging veg.  This heat is ridiculous. No rain forecast for at least a week and before then we have to survive two days of 40 degrees.  Pulled many blighted leaves off my poor beleaguered potatoes.  This weather is far too hot for the garden.  And it is definitely too hot for the gardener.