The old chap on the doorstep is called Roger and he’s holding an estate agents’ brochure of our house. We don’t recognise the name of the company but the photo of the front is definitely our street.
“I see you’ve sold,” he says, nodding at the board in the garden. “I’ve come all the way from Dorset hoping to see inside.”
After a bit of a chat, we invite him in and give him the tour. “It says in the brochure that the hall has oak panelled walls,” remarks Roger.
“It did. But we found them a bit gloomy and painted the hall white. We’ve still got the platter-rack though.”
“But no platters?”
“Afraid not. We did for some time have our overspill of paperback books on them but whenever GrannieBorders bashed into the skirting boards, they fell on her head. After she was nearly concussed by a Dorothy L Sayers, we just bought another bookcase.”
“I see,” says Roger.
We head to the back room.
“Ah, the Drawing Room,” says Roger. “It says in the brochure that it is ‘comfortable and cosy, yet very roomy’.” He looks around. “It also claims to have a wireless point.”
“We’ve got the wireless router by the front door, if that’s what it means.” I say. Rogers frowns a little.
There’s quite a lot of information in the brochure about the kitchen and its many appliances to lighten the load of the housewife. ActorLaddie, being the housewife in question, agrees that there are many appliances though we have trouble laying our hands on the mottled gas copper.
The Coal House also eludes us but we all agree that the first bedroom does still have a most useful cupboard. We had briefly considered having a useless cupboard instead but in the end utility prevailed.
The excitement of the luxury bathroom proving a bit much, we head for a cuppa in the kitchenette. Roger seems impressed by the electric kettle. “That’ll be one of your four power points,” he comments.
“Do you mind me asking what you sold it for?” Roger asks. We look at each other.
“Well it was on the market for four hundred and fifty,” I say. “You can look that up for yourself on RightMove. I think our final arrangements are private.”
We’re not surprised Roger looks shocked. It is, we would agree, a ridiculous price. That’s London for you. DearHeart could buy two bungalows for that money in Yorkshire and still have the price of a packet of chips.
“Why so cheap?” he gasps. “The price on the brochure is £895 – double that.”
“Four hundred and fifty thousand pounds, that it,” clarifies ActorLaddie.
“That’s hardly putting ownership within the reach of every proud English family man!” says Roger, as he heads for the solid oak front door. “It doesn’t even have a Coal House.”
Actually, I made that last bit up. What Roger actually said was that his parents were the first purchasers in 1936 and he grew up in the house. Having found the old brochure among his parents’ things, he came down to London last Saturday to relive old memories. His next stop was to try and track down his old tennis club.
We’ve now got the brochure safely put away for our purchasers for when they take over this Charming Dwelling of Distinction. Perhaps by then we’ll have found the Coal House.