14st 10lb, 4.5 units. It is late July in England, so naturally the staff restaurant at the firm that has kindly lent me an office where I can take refuge from The Baby was offering roast turkey and all the trimmings (cranberry sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon, stuffing balls, roast potatoes etc etc) on the menu for lunch. True, there was a choice of two other hot dishes and umpteen salads, but equally naturally we all ate it because it is supposed to be the best meal of the year. And I enjoyed it, too, though it seemed a bit strange not to be wearing a party hat and pulling crackers at the same time. Surprisingly there was no plum pudding on offer, but the youngest and slimmest member of our party did make a manful effort to follow it up by consuming a portion of homemade rhubarb crumble.
I had recovered enough to be at least partially mobile by 4, when I had to leave to pick up Mrs H for the first of a couple of appointments she had made to view potential properties to rent. This is her positive response to the fact that we are both going stir crazy trapped in a two bedroomed terraced house in Scratterville, which was just about tolerable when there were just the two of us and one of us was out at work all day, but is definitively unbearable for three and the third’s massive quantities of life support equipment. I, of course, prefer the less positive approach of continually looking about for something solid enough to take my weight when I decide to hang myself.
The first place we looked at was a reasonably modern house (anything from late 1950s to early 1970s, I guess) standing on its own up a lane at the edge of a south Cheshire village, with fine views to the Welsh hills from its large conservatory, though curiously only a fine view of a row of dustbins from the living room. The décor was tired, to say the least, but it offered the two things we are both hankering for most strongly: masses of space, and peace and quiet. Plus, for Mrs H’s benefit, a village centre with a doctor’s surgery and several (probably crap) shops within walking distance.
We were shown around by a splendidly off-hand, upmarket estate agent, who then led us to another house he had suggested might be worth looking at – though when we got there, in the pissing rain, his opening gambit was that it “might not be for us” as the tenants were not moving out until 19 September. As we were there we looked around anyway, if only for comparative purposes, and quickly decided that we much preferred the first place.
We had been planning a leisurely tour of properties in the area, continuing into the weekend, but as we were leaving the agent cunningly dropped into the conversation the fact that he suddenly seemed to have quite a few clients looking for four bedroomed properties thereabouts, and was taking another couple on the same tour tomorrow. So we decided to speed things up by taking a look at the exterior of a nearby house we had arranged to see on Saturday, in case it looked like the home of our dreams. We were not helped by a road closure, but could not find it even with the aid of sat nav, which made it seem like a very poor choice indeed for the directionally challenged Mrs H. Added to which, the maze of winding single track lanes around it, with visibility reduced close to zero by tall hedges on both sides, struck me as a potential death trap. So by the time we got back to Scratterville we were agreed that the way forward was to rent the very first property we had seen. This uncharacteristic decisiveness seemed a very satisfactory conclusion to the day.
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