Tuesday 19 August 2008


If you would really like to know how I have been filling the gap between this post and the last, I have been back to my apparently unsaleable little sea-side studio to see whether I can move things on by letting it or by changing agents. I don' t think letting will work. When all the expenses have been taken off the rent, including agent's fees, tax and things like service charges - plus VAT as the potential letting agent kept telling me - my financial gain would be minimal and my gain in hassle enormous. To start with, I can't even add the 17 and a half% VAT on to the figures she was quoting so how do I aspire to full-blown landlordship? The bath got through with an "unusual" but the bed which doubles as a settee, (so I can sleep with the sound of the sea in my ears, of course, although part of the overall space has been partitioned off as a bedroom) would have to go and be replaced with a real settee. Oh Dear! more hasselous by the second. Anyway, I don't think either of us was deceived by my "I'll think about it" response.Thinking about it would only underline the lack of fuel in my coping tank and she seemed to sense that, or else she had identified the source of my deathly pallor. Either way, we shook hands in a final kind of way.

Whatever happens to it, I am having to face up to relinquishing my toe-hold in my home parish.I had never seen myself as attached to it before now and the sophisticated part of me is slightly cynical about the wrench I am beginning to feel. People I have known all my life were there with their children and grandchildren, providing a continuity which keeps them forever in touch with our roots wherever they live for the rest of the time. I rather envy that. My own young are too busy and too far-ranging to spend time there and there are, as you will remember, no grand-young, anyway as yet. I don't think I feel 40 inside about this; this is a uniform feeling of both my ages....and a touch sentimental, too, so let us gloss over it and talk about other things.

Though, to be perfectly frank, there has not been as much contact with the inner 40 year-old in the few days I have been talking about. I felt every moment of 75 arriving after six hours in the car on a journey which should have taken three and a half. I felt I had no choice but to travel on a Saturday and August Saturdays, I'm told, are change-over days; people holiday from one Saturday to another, so Everyman, his wife, his little ones, his bicycle, his tent and his dog was on the road. The gantries were flashing 50 mph warnings. No problem: we were only doing 20 anyway,and that on a good stretch. ( I feel better having told you that. If I did'nt realise about Saturday change-over how could I hope to be a letting person?) New ways of coping have to be devised, not only because of age but also because of travelling alone. Four trips to the car with not very much rather than the one trip with lots that I would have managed in the past. (Confession: I did try to carry more but the time spent on picking up the things dribbled on to the path with what my Mother would have called 'a lazy man's load' was a shame-making waste and I am surprised I've told you. Leave a comment so I know you are not put-off.) Where are the strong young rugby players with nice bottoms I have relied on in the journeys of yesteryear? Oh yes: at the airport, of course. See you soon -ish.

PS The query over the title is because I am trying not to believe I am suffering from it.

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