Well, as I hinted in my last post, the UK system of house buying is fraught with difficulties and you can never be certain that you’ll be moving into your new house until you have the keys in your hand - and a lot can go wrong before that happens.
With the paperwork process in place and the chain as short as we could have hoped we returned to France to wait for that process to take its course.
We had a smooth journey to Dover with Daisy in the car. Towards the bottom end of the M1 we heard a traffic announcement on the radio that due to a crash the part of the M25 that we usually use was at a standstill and there was a two hour delay to get through the “bouchon”.
We had booked a late crossing and a room in a budget hotel in Calais. As we didn’t relish getting to our room at 3am instead of the midnight we expected we took a quick decision to go round the M25 the wrong way.
It worked! The traffic was flowing sensibly and the route took only fifteen minutes longer than going the right way round – much better than being stuck in a traffic jam for two hours – and in fact we arrived at the tunnel in time to get on a train a whole hour before the one we had booked. So far, so good.
Unfortunately Daisy was not impressed with the room. Previously we have stayed in more luxurious accommodation and she has been fine, settling down to sleep on top of one or other of us – although in changing places she would always make sure she jumped on one before landing on the other so that both of us would be awake.
At our chosen hotel this time she spent the whole night meowing and scratching at the door or window, trying to get out. It was one of those rooms that are about a foot bigger than the bed all round with a shower cubicle and toilet.
After an almost completely sleepless night we set off for the Loire in the morning. Daisy slept in the car to make up for her nocturnal activity and we took turns to drive or nod off as the temperature gradually rose. It was 25˚C as we left Calais and 39˚C as we drove through Tours. By the time we arrived home, exhausted, it had cooled to a mere 37˚.
Two hours after we arrived chez nous the agent phoned to say that our sale had fallen through. Our buyers had lost their buyers when a survey revealed some building problems and their buyers backed out of the deal.
After a second sleepless night, due to the heat and our tossing and turning as we mulled over our options, it was decided that one of us would return to the UK asap to get the ball rolling again.
So, while Nick is in France keeping the cat company, I am back in the UK to make the house presentable for viewings and show potential buyers around. I showed the house to six couples yesterday, one of which came back for a second look this morning and seems very keen, and I have two more viewings booked for tomorrow. Come what may, I am handing the keys and the responsibility for viewings over to the agents on Wednesday and returning to France on Thursday while we still have some summer left.
Doors and windows, they have always fascinated me. It suddenly occurs to me that the pictures I have chosen from the dozens that I took seem mainly to be of rather dilapidated ones.