Someone will love this rambling old house: just not Mr and Mrs Smythe-Thompson. They obviously want something a bit more… well, a bit more twentieth-century, at least. Unusually for me, I stay in this gloom awaiting my next potential buyers. It’s not worth returning to the office. I have a wander. My policy is never to take clients to the attic. It’s a tip. The family that lived here haven’t been here in forever and it smells musty and dusty. I make up excuses not to go in but I daresay they have seen the plans setting out a walk-in suite of three small rooms. Somebody will turn that into an apartment, I’m sure.
There seems to be an odd noise coming from upstairs. I go to investigate. It’s not as though there’s any electricity on. It was all switched off months ago. I narrow it down to the eaves. I open a small door to the eaves storage and the buzzing gets louder. Great: a wasps’ nest. That’s all I want. I hurriedly shut the door. I go back downstairs and riffle through a kitchen drawer. Despite no electricity, the house is packed full of stuff, with cupboards and drawers overflowing. I find a box of matches and some paper. If I can rig up some burning paper on a saucer, I might be able to smoke out the wasps. I don’t think they like that.
I look at my watch. Mr James and Ms Fenton will be here in just under ten minutes. I race back upstairs and carefully open the door under the eaves and light the match. I wasn’t counting on the gust of wind that came straight through and blew out the match almost immediately. I try again and manage to set fire to the paper on a dirty-chipped pink saucer I found. The wasps seem angry. I’m a bit worried that the fire seems to have taken quite a hold and the paper has split into several pieces, now too big for the saucer to take. I should have thought this through better. I go on to the landing where I left my bag and grab my drinking water bottle and throw the contents on the saucer. The wasps are still pretty angry, and I now have a mouse running loose in the room. This couldn’t get much worse.
And now a knock at the door. I decide to shut the little eaves door now that the fire is out. The water has left a mess, but I’ll have to clear it up after I’ve finished showing this couple around.
They are not what I expected. She is bedecked in long flowing earthy colours and he in a suit: chalk and cheese.
“Oh, how darling,” she says, “our own country mouse!” I turn round in horror to see the little mite darting back and forth across the passageway.
“That’s clinched it,” she says. “Got to have it!”