Flat Hunting

I’ve decided to downsize. No, I don’t mean going on yet another diet. I’m upping sticks and moving. I’ve done executive starter home, I’ve done quaint weaver’s cottage restoration project and I’ve done grand Georgian. Now I’m seeking an economic, easy-clean modern city pad in which to live out my dotage.

Viewing is fun and it’s interesting to see how the vendors have followed the advice in the agent’s leaflet about how to present one’s home. First rule they say is get rid of clutter, but you just know that lurking in that sleek minimalist apartment is a drawer full of un-ironed shirts and dirty socks.

They also advise you not to be present at the viewing. The prospective purchaser wants to imagine themselves living there, not you. And besides, they want to make snidey comments about your ghastly taste in décor.

And the lilies are a giveaway. You know their sweet perfume hides the more pungent odour of rising damp in that desirable basement flat. And anyway, I famously get the lilies in when the Arts Council come to visit the Naturals, so I’m not fooled by that!

I’ve heard you can buy sachets of coffee aroma and aerosols that fill the room with the smell of freshly baking bread. Something the owner of a flat I viewed some years back would have been well-advised to utilise. The apartment was in one of Bath’s most desirable locations but the vendor had obviously forgotten our appointment. He came very unwillingly to the door, bleary eyed in a dressing gown. The flat was gorgeous, but there had obviously been a party the night before, as revealed by the proliferation of bottles, cans and half eaten pizzas on display.

The smell of stale fags replaced any remaining traces of delicious baking aromas, and on being asked if the central heating was gas or electric, the guy answered through a mouthful of cotton wool ‘Er…yeah, something like that.’

Meanwhile my companion was inspecting what the agents had accurately described as the ‘stunning patio’. Correction, she was staring aghast at something on the step that I can’t mention in a family newspaper but which indicated that the party had obviously gone with a swing!

We made our excuses and left. I’ve often wondered if that apartment ever sold.

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