After an initial burst of enthusiasm following our dear Editrix’s kind invitation that I should pen the occasional light-hearted, only slightly property-related article, I’m afraid supply has not met (assumed) demand of late.
There are a number of reasons for this diminution.
For the first time in my long life I have not always felt quite as chipper as in the past, but hospital and copious drugs seem to have got on top of this. It is also getting harder to think of topics to regale you all with, especially in a way that might bring the occasional smirk or, hopefully, full-blown smile to your countenances!
However, as Eye bought me a splendid lunch a short while ago and, whilst I was still not allowed to drink (much), the delicious fare was such that I felt fingers (two) must be put to keyboard again soon, as a thank you.
In a previous jotting I mentioned I would one day tell of the experience I had had with His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, during my NAEA presidency days.
In the nineties there were set up a number of charitable ‘aids’. No, not that one, although just as worthy; I’m thinking of Band Aid, Water Aid, Sports Aid and many others I’ve now forgotten.
The various interests in the property business jumped on the bandwagon and launched Land-Aid.
Many activities and fund-raising months later, representatives of Land-Aid’s supporting organisations were invited to a reception at the Travellers Club in Pall Mall to be thanked for their hard work by Phil, who had lent his name to the enterprise.
We were divided into threes around the room and a flunky told us not to speak unless spoken to when the Duke of Edinburgh sidled up to each group.
I was with the then chairman of the Nationwide BS and the late lamented Donald Storrie founder Chief Exec of their estate agency division.
The Prince duly came to us and we three were presented. On being told I was president of the National Association of Estate Agents, he promptly ignored the two better men than I, and enquired somewhat snidely “Oh, you’re some sort of trade association are you”, to which I replied, as politely as I could manage, with the slight exaggeration “No Sir, we like to think of ourselves as a professional body”, to which I got a quick-fire reply I shall never forget “Oh, but you’re certainly no ‘Learned Society’ are you?”.
Irritated, I was just about to retort with “And what the f do you know about house buying Sir?” – but he, no doubt expecting a brave response, turned on his heels and vanished before I could give him both barrels.
The corollary to this experience followed a month or so later when the lady wife and I were sitting on the aisle in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after a carol service when he and his own lady wife processed out, and I’m sure caught sight of me being only a foot or so away from him and somewhat recognisable (Big T-wise).
Now I may have misinterpreted, but could the unmistakable expression of disdain that suddenly clouded his face have been translated into “Dear God, who let an ESTATE AGENT in here?”!
PP may have found his happy by putting down the estate agency profession all those years ago, but I’m sure a Mr Jason Bushby is even happier, judging by his letter to me recently, expressing delight that his employers Mightmove had had record numbers of buyers, sellers and over a million instructions on line in the first few months of the year.
Not so happy a time for a Mr Andrew Bushell who wrote to me suggesting that, as his employers Bunters are UK’s fastest growing independent franchised estate agency business – growing at the rate of five new offices a month – my firm should join, but I had said ‘no thanks’.
He has, he said ‘a substantial package’ (any of you seen the UPS man in Legally Blond?) on offer that can include a free franchise, free rebranding AND a day 1 cash injection’ (I don’t want to see another needle for a few years now, thank you!).
Was it a veiled threat, however, that he concludes ‘Bunters plan to open in your area and, whilst the territory is currently available, I would welcome the chance to discuss the opportunity with you’? I quake in my boots!
Next time I’m moved to scribble, I have lined up illustrations that include a blood donor van parked in the House of Commons (many members recently lost more than an armful I’m delighted to note!), an Edwardian postcard from my collection depicting an agent the perfect cross between yours truly and Billy Bunter, and an instructive sign from an airport showing how a gentleman should pee decorously!
However, the picture here shows something a bit different: which of these esteemed agents would hold their client’s hand to completion the best? Or in a TCPA (Control of Advertisements) prosecution which board came first? There’s a conundrum!
Answers on a post, please.
Have a healthy weekend, my friends.