It’s nearly the end of June, and still nobody has bought my house. What’s the matter with everyone?
Daily, the news brings word from the financial community that house prices have resumed their inexorable climb. Two percent in the past year alone. The average house price is now £18,000 more than I am asking for my little cottage on the outskirts of a busy seaside town in Wales (if my cottage was in London, in the street where my mother still lives, I would be beating buyers off at £2.5 million!).
But from here you are only minutes away from a wildly romantic, mile-long curve of shoreline, often almost deserted; and ravishing countryside. You need only to use a little imagination.. And close-by are schools, galleries, villagey pubs, the university campuses…
It makes no sense that no-one has bought my house. Plenty of people have seen it. I have kept it clean and tidy for them, and in a good state of decorative repair. Some have been picky about the living-room wallpaper; some were really looking for a house on a Bovis estate, where they could watch their new car from the window; others have made offers, only to pull out for reasons beyond my control.
And that’s the point. I’m not in control. No-one is.
Given that I am ‘asset-rich, cash-poor’, as they say, only without the cash part, I have formulated two strategies for survival into imminent old age. One involves selling-up and going to live on my pension in Portugal. I’ve never been to Portugal, it’s a country that exists only in my mind.
The other involves finding a familiar role as a gardener and house-sitter somewhere, and living on the income from letting my house until I can sell it and retire.
And Plan B has indeed eventualised – a Bushism meaning it might actually happen – given, of course, the old dictum that you should be careful what you wish for. I’ve been invited to look after a large and mouldering house in France.
The only question is, when? We have been in discussion for five months. Last week I was taken over to see the place. I was due to start work in the next few days. I had begun packing, briefed an agent to let my house, rehomed Cat…. An attempted break-in had invested my immediate installation with a new degree of urgency.
Now there has been another fiddle-faddling delay over something, I don’t know what, miles away, and I am without a job and scrabbling for money to buy food. And today I shall have to admit defeat over the matter of stumping-up £500 for my annual holiday at jazz camp, and forfeit my deposit. I don’t feel like making music anyway.
Asset-rich, cash-free, I am completely stuck and seemingly powerless to influence anything. The usually helpful discarnate entities who run things appear to have gone on holiday themselves. Nothing useful or beautiful is eventuating. My life seems to be crumbling into the sand like a rusting lobster-pot.
A friend calls to warn me she has been diagnosed with cancer. She finally gave miracle birth to a baby boy two months ago, age 40, and now this.
I’m going to stop moaning, for a while at least.