I look at houses while dreaming of Nancy Spain

I am struggling to blog at the moment, not because, as with last week, I am having a hidjus, hidjus week.

I am not.

I am however, insanely busy looking at houses every night and being in school most days, and when I am not in school or looking at houses I am doing homework with the children, or attempting not to cremate dinner, or booking house viewings and talking to estate agents.

And talking to estate agents, and smiling at houses and their hopeful owners is extremely weary making, and I imagine it feels a bit how the queen must feel on lots of days when she has to go and smile at the Tonganese Prime Minister and appreciate tribal dances and slithery food, when all she wants is a fag, a cuppa and the omnibus edition of Eastenders while Phil gives her a foot rub.

We have, as you know, looked at at least a bajillion houses on RightMove in the last two weeks.

We have only actually been to see six so far, but because I have seen photos of so many, it feels like I have seen squillions of em.

I haz wallpaper before the eyes.

I quite like looking at houses generally. I am naturally nosey, and I am wildly curious about the living habits of other people. I have no interest whatsoever in going to the Congo to see the mating habits of rare birds, but I would walk over hot coals to paw over the contents of someone’s book shelves, or see what kitchen work surfaces they have chosen.

It’s all good, this nosiness, until you have to be serious about it, and think about things like what Council Tax Band a house is in, and whether that slopey bit over there is subsidence, and you might be casually sitting at the breakfast bar one morning peeling an egg, only to find that you are plunging to your death down a mine shaft mere seconds later.

And it is nice if you can look around without an owner being there, because when the owner is there I have to coach the children into nodding and smiling and not saying anything for fear they will say things like: ‘My word, that is an extremely horrible china dog you have on your mantelpiece’, or ‘This house smells a bit like wee’, or some other such terrific faux pas.

Which they have been known to do in the past.

It is also difficult for me not to shout: ‘Ye Gods!’ when faced with some particularly challenging home decor, and there are times when Jason and I spend a lot of time shuffling from room to room with our eyes downcast, trying not to look at each other for fear of giggling or worse, bursting into tears.

I prefer seeing houses with agents, because I really don’t care whether they think I am a complete snob because I can’t stand horse brasses, or that I burst out laughing when faced with eight foot high papier mache giraffes in the hallway.  They are paid to put up with my eccentricities, whereas the poor owners are usually doing their very best to be tasteful and charming and not blurt out that the sewage farm is only down the road and every time the wind blows to the west the smell of pig shit is enough to make you long to have your nose cauterised.

I really want to tell you all about Nancy Spain, because I have just finished reading her life story, and as you know, I am deeply, deeply and utterly in love with Nancy Spain, and everything she does, and her life story was just as entertaining as her cookery book, but with less pictures of eggs in aspic.  So that was good.

But I know that once I start talking about Nancy Spain, I will not stop for ages, because she is just so delicious that she deserves a television series just dedicated to adoring her wonder, and I haven’t got time to do that right now.

So, I promise you that there will be more of Nancy anon, and if you cannot wait, you can always go back and read about her in my previous posts.

And you can also be consoled that when my mum has found the box she has stashed The Nancy Spain Full Colour Cookbook in, that she has promised I can have it forever, and I am going to have a Nancy Spain dinner party with my friend Nicky.  This will mostly involve dressing in Finnish national dress, smoking sprats and covering lots of inappropriate food stuffs in gelatine and poking it with sticks.

It will be a laugh riot.



4 responses to “I look at houses while dreaming of Nancy Spain

  1. Lawd…..this looking at houses lark, which we haven’t done for many many years now that we are old fogies and settled in to our abode, reminds me that when we looked at a very small house once, the owners were there and must have been caravan fanatics as they were very proudly showing us that the main feature of the house was the way ‘everything folds up in to the wall’…this included couch, table, ironing board, bookcase etc.,
    Just like you, we had to avoid eye contact with each other, for fear of laughing, and as we were leaving we could hear the noise of children but couldn’t see them………………….

    • Libby
      That is fantastic. I love the idea of having everything that folds away! When we were looking for rental property before we found this, I saw a house where the kitchen looked exactly like a replica of a caravan, and the table was like that!

  2. I am so thankful that we have almost always looked at houses with an agent and without the owners in attendance. In the US, they frown on the owners being on the property when it’s being shown, and I’m sure it’s for precisely the reasons you describe. Of course, on the other side of the coin, as the seller (we keep moving to different parts of the country, which means we keep selling our houses) you’re always having to sprint around picking up dirty socks, locking the dog in his kennel, and hustling out of the house whenever the agent calls to say there’s going to be a showing. Once that happens, you have to figure out what to do with yourself until the buyers are finished looking – very annoying since they always seemed to want to come look right after dinner or when I had a small child in the bath. When we were selling our house in Arizona, our next door neighbors were – in a touch of the most beautiful serendipity – our closest friends, so we would all just scuttle next door; the kids would play, the husbands would drink beer, and Dana and I would take turns peeking out their living room window to see what the prospective buyers looked like and whether we thought they would be suitable replacements. Probably the most pleasant house-selling experience I have had..

  3. MsCaroline
    It is hard to sell houses, and in this country lots of people do show you round themselves. It is a completely different system to the US and Canada, and I wish that we were more like you regarding house buying and selling, as it all seems a lot less stressful the way you do it.

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