Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Appraisal ...

Evaluate what you want, because what gets measured, gets produced.

James A. Belasco



Time for a bit of introspective assessment. Time for inventory, to itemise, to take stock! We needed to calmly assess the 'Pros' and 'Cons' before rushing a decision.



tick  The look (will be retained, 'as-is')
tick  Location (self-contained and by the river)
tick  Buying whole street
tick  Five houses (one or two will be combined)
tick  Half an acre of 'Garden' (this is not a plus!)
tick  Water & electric already hooked up
tick  Price (preliminary talks indicate 'affordability')


cross  Condition of property (pretty run-down)
cross  Cost of restoration (roofs and toilets essential)
cross  Sewage & drainage need to be connected
cross  Cesspits need to be filled in
cross  Occupied by sitting-tenants (for how long?)
cross  Isolated (the flip side to being 'self-contained')


This was a quick assessment. Not a long list. We knew more would be added as time marched on, but would they be 'tics', 'tacs' or 'toes'?

Some sensitive sleuthing established that only two of the three 'occupied' residences actually were. One old fella had been forcibly removed by his family to live with his son in the local village, and it didn't appear that he would be returning. He had reached the stage where he was incapable of looking after himself. That left the two houses in the middle. The one that adjoined the larger end house (the one I initially thought was the one we would be buying) was occupied by a 90-year-old lady in obscenely good health. The other, the one that was a roofed-over converted passageway between two houses, was occupied by another old couple.

It transpired that the couple had a son who also lived in the local village. He immediately became a PITA when the whispers reached him that we were interested in the property. He took an aggresive stance, proclaiming that he would be enquiring with the local council as to whether his parents would be evicted from their HOME; that it would be grossly unfair; that if anybody had a right to the house it should be he! Of course I took all this as a lot of 'hot air', but it was nevertheless unwelcome as we had absolutely no intention of evicting anyone. Much to our surprise the geezer slang:
The English Dialect Dictionary defines geezer as, "a queer character, a strangely-acting person"

It probably equates loosely to today's 'dude'

followed through on his 'threat' and approached the local council to ask about the best way he should go about acquiring the property "... for his parents."

Much to his (and OUR) surprise the council informed him that they didn't actually have a record of the property he was enquiring about, which meant they couldn't proceed with his request! On further reflection we concluded that the council was probably right, even though all the other service providers recognised the 'address'. It was, after all, a passageway that had had a roof stuck over it and a doorway built into the front facade to turn it into a 'house'.

Fortunately, that was the end of his limited attempt at tilting at windmills (and he isn't even Spanish!), but the ball had now bounced firmly back into Maria's court. She would have to do some detailed digging in company records to establish exactly what was real, and what was an apparition.

Discarded Shakespeare and took up Agatha Christie and the Belgian waxed moustache. This mystery was more up his street, "N'est-ce pas?"

Curiouser and curiouser ...

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