Borrowed Wellies

A strong wind was getting up in preparation for later rainfall when I took a walk along Hordle Lane and the footpath alongside Apple Court Garden where I met the owner who thought I might have been interested in looking at the house which is for sale. The plan now is to sell the house and garden separate from the Nursery business. The house and garden are on the market for £850,000, and the business £100,000.

Ponies racing to be fedPonies feedingReflections in pool

As I passed Yeatton House Cottage paddock, a young woman entered the field carrying food containers. This was a signal for the usually stationary animals to tear across the soggy terrain and vie with each other to bury their noses in the buckets of fodder. I had a long and pleasant talk with Merisa, who had worked for Spencers estate agents in Burley. She knew Pippa and the others at the Lymington office who had done so much to restore our flagging faith in such agents. She is the owner of the two forest ponies who, she said, prefer to drink from the pools than the trough.

Derrick c 1976

Here is number 57 in Elizabeth’s through the ages series. Like the photograph featured in ‘No Mod Cons’, It would have been taken by Jessica around 1976. I think she framed it rather well. In the previous post I have explained why my visits to the stone cottage in Snowdonia were most infrequent. This damp holiday home contained a row of Wellington boots of all possible sizes, left behind by former guests, for the use of whoever may come next. Regular readers will know that I spent thirty-odd years resisting Jessica’s efforts to persuade me to buy my own. This was because I never intended to wallow around in mud enough to make a purchase worthwhile. I would have used a pair of those so kindly donated. I have, of course, bought my own quite recently, on account of the amount of time I do now spend tramping around  terrain not unlike that in the third picture above. But naturally, I only wear them when I really cannot avoid it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, boiled potatoes, and crisp brussels sprouts and cauliflower, followed by Dutch Apple Cake and custard. I drank more of the Costieres de Nimes.

‘We’ll Finish What We Started’

31st March 2014
Posts over the next few days will be late, brief, and sparsely illustrated. Please bear with an exhausted elderly gent. The main reason for this will be stated next time.
Today, however, no way did I have either time or energy to apply to writing. Jackie and I began, with Ian’s help, by making the last three trips to Shelly and Ron’s with the rest of the portable garden. That is, we spent the morning trudging from the house to the car, loading it up, driving fifteen miles each way, and unloading.
In such intervals as there were, I was exchanging phone calls with agents and solicitors, seeking confirmation of the final transfer of moneys and consequent release of keys. Before this freedom of entry to our new home was announced, I received the promised call from the removal men to say they were 40 minutes from Downton with the furniture from London.
This sent Jackie scuttling off to the new home to meet the stalwarts from Globe Removals and update them on the situation. Ian and I continued with the last of the packing. I then received the go ahead for key collection. Jackie was now near Lymington, where Spencers, the excellent estate agents are based, so she dashed off there, collected the keys, and arrived just before Aegis and another Tomas, who were to be our companions for the day, arrived. I don’t actually know how the first mentioned man spells his name, and have therefore written it onomatopoeically. He is so powerful, it should be spelled as I have done.
These two men, having begun loading the London furniture at 8 a.m. and leaving it in Downton, drove to Castle Malwood Lodge, packed the van again, returned to Downton, and came back to Minstead, where they fitted all they could into their vehicle by the light of the headlamps of Ian’s Fiat beamed onto the garage. By this time they were grateful for Ian’s help with the boxes of books.
Then it was back to Downton for the final unloading, which was completed at 11.30 p.m. I don’t remember what it was I suggested to Aegis that they could leave to us, but I will always remember the answer of this cheerful young man who must have been exhausted. He replied: ‘We’ll finish what we started’.
As, having bid farewell to Globe Removals, the three of us dined on toast, Hoegaarden, and Piddle, we reflected on the superb service once again provided by its representatives.

Why Do Estate Agents Have Such A Bad Press?

As I reported yesterday, the promised telephone call from Penyards did not come. Hopefully giving him time to sort out his desk, early this morning, I phoned the manager. I asked him if he was familiar with the situation concerning our flat. He said he was and read out his briefing. ‘That’s her version’, I said. ‘Would you like to hear mine?’. Well, how could he refuse such a generous offer?
I told him the same story that I wrote in yesterday’s post. He listened, said it shouldn’t be as I described, and that he was sorry for our stress. Very diplomatic, he neither accepted nor rejected anything I said, but undertook to go through the recordings of the telephone conversations and get back to me. He didn’t. But then, tomorrow is another day.
After this I repeated yesterday’s walk, en route delivering a couple of prints to Mike, the gentleman I had met yesterday.
For once, deep in reflection about the situation in which we find ourselves, I didn’t really look around me much. It has all been rather sleep-depriving and depressing. This led me to think about the perhaps comparatively few estate agents with whom I have had the sometimes doubtful pleasure of dealing.
Derrick and Vivien 1960Photograph number 47 in the ‘through the ages’ series was taken in Vivien’s parents’ garden at Sidcup, probably by her brother Bernard. This was in the naive, trusting days of 1960, before I had ever bought a house or taken a tenancy. Brown suede shoes and trousers with turn-ups were all the rage. I remember a member of the Magic Circle who lived in Amity Grove and let us into one or two simple secrets, such as the disappearing penny that would, assisted by a hand in the pocket, slide down taut pressed trousers to vanish into the waiting turn-ups. The penny at that time, was a decent size and you could do a lot more with it.
The recording of my residential history was begun on 3rd January, and continued on 5th.
I do not remember the names of the agents who handled either my purchase or sale of 79 Ashcombe Road. Buying this very first owned home was a smooth and straightforward operation, possibly because there was no chain. When I came to sell the house I experienced my first, shall we say, sleight of tongue. The agent telephoned me to ask if the buyer could have access to the property between exchange and completion purely for the purposes of decorating. When, during this period, I arrived at my own front door, I was somewhat surprised to find six milk bottles on the doorstep. In those days milk was still delivered to households in returnable glass bottles. I used my key to enter and was confronted by a tribe of small wide-eyed children. There was no sign of any decorating or decorators’ materials. I left without making an issue of it.
There were again no difficulties over 76 Amity Grove, the first home I shared with Jackie. Maybe that is why I don’t remember who the agents were.
It wasn’t until Gracedale Road that I bought a house again, or indeed, used an agent to rent accommodation, this time jointly with Jessica. Our experience was the same as the previous one, as was the purchase of Lindum House in Newark.
The fun really began with the sale of the latter home. One reason it took more than two years to sell this was because of several months inactivity from Savills, the sole agents. They even placed their board behind a tree, repeatedly ignoring my requests for it to be moved because it could not be seen from the road.  When we received a speculative offer out of the blue from a developer, and discovered that Savills were also agents for that company, I became suspicious and passed on my thoughts to the manager. Eventually he came to the house and, denying any underhand dealings, after much gentle persuasion on my part, abandoned the hopeless defence of his staff-member and settled for telling me that the file had been set aside and forgotten for six months. A little more persistence led to one half % reduction in the agent’s fee when the house was finally sold.
AAARGH! is the title of the post in which I describe three weeks as a tenant in Hyde Park Square, courtesy of Chestertons. What I did not mention in that article is a matter of interest. It was the first time an agent had denied a statement made to me. It was also my first commercial tenancy so I did not realise that for the young woman to say that I would receive interest on my deposit at the end of the tenancy was unusual. When I finally asked for it I was alerted to a clause in the contract saying that it was not payable. I had to quote the provision in the laws of contract stating that representatives’ verbal statements override the written word. The young woman declared that she had not told me I would receive interest. It would have been my word against hers in court. I received a minuscule amount of interest.
The agents involved in tenancies in Ridgway and Links Avenue, respectively Letz Move and People in Property were exemplary, as were Spencers of The New Forest over our current purchase.
This afternoon Jackie drove me to Ringwood where I posted Malachi’s belated birthday present and transferred money to pay for the London move and storage. Such is my faith in Globe Removals that I was happy to do that in absentia for the work to be done tomorrow. It’s good to be able to rely on someone.
Later, desultorily, we half-filled the other three made-up boxes.Birch branches.
Branch in gardenWandering round the garden in the early evening, I focussed on branches. There was the shattered branch of a large tree on the verge in Running Hill extending above our fence and resting in the garden, and there was the fine filigree of the as yet naked birch we see from our living room window. Sky streaks above rooftop
A striated sky streamed above the silhouetted rooftops.
The hot chilli con carne for me and the more medium chicken curry for Jackie provided our evening sustenance. We both enjoyed pilau rice and salad and drank Hoegaarden.

Sold By Spencers Of The New Forest

On a glorious spring morning Jackie drove us to Ferndene Farm Shop in Bashley Cross Road. The ground is drying up and many pools on the roads and heathland receding.
I have before photographed the shelves inside this shop which has the best produce of its kind I have sampled. The produce outside would grace any good garden centre. Like everything else they sell, all the merchandise is in tip-top condition.
A good range of garden plants and wonderfully colourful cut flowers glowed in the sunshine.
Primulasprimulas close-up
Brightly hued primulas were much in evidence.
Daffodils & hyacinthsHyacinths & violets
Daffodils, violets, and hyacinths were arrayed in trays.HeathersShrubs & heathers
Grasses etc
Less flamboyant shrubs, heathers, and grasses displayed pastel hues.
Cut flowersCut flowers 2
The most vibrant palettes had provided pigments for the roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums in the various bouquets. There were also bunches of tulips and narcissi.
Even the compost bags are attractively packaged.

From the farm shop we drove to Milford on Sea and wandered around there for a bit, then checked out Everton Nurseries. You see, Spencers’ sign in the garden of the house on which we have recently exchanged contracts to purchase, confirms that Ferndene Farm Shop, Milford on Sea, and Everton Nurseries will soon be our local resources.

 It announces:Sold sign

The farm shop’s superb smoked ham provided the meat for our salad lunch.
This afternoon I watched two Six Nations rugby matches on television. Ireland beat Italy by a lot and France beat Scotland by a little. Neither game was very inspiring, although Brian O’Driscoll enlivened the Irish performance by profitable flashes of brilliance, and Yoann Huget scored a ninety metre interception try for the French.
This evening we dined on battered cod and chips, gherkins, pickled onions and mushy peas, with which I drank a glass of Bergerac Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012.