I am contacted (deluged with emails) by a firm with an overly self-conscious website and a name involving the letter e that makes it sound like a crack-den run by internet entrepreneurs. They want to come round and assist in the great pretence that we live in a grand residence with modern fittings and a back yard that is in fact an urban garden. “All our photos are retouched” they proudly boast. Their powers of deception even extend to the elements. “We can 'improve' the weather considerably” they gush. “WE. ARE. ALL-POWERFUL!” I expect Beelzebub to turn up on our doorstep but instead it is a young Spanish woman, who engagingly makes fun of our run-down surroundings. I like people like her. She cares enough to do a good job but is relaxed enough not to take it seriously. Is that an appropriate comment for the internet crack-heads’ ‘client satisfaction survey’ I wonder.
Apart from the photographer it is otherwise a return to corporate life. Agents call me, I call back. I end up listening to a recorded agent telling me how successful and professional the firm is; skills which obviously don’t extend to anyone answering their own telephone. “Hello. Sorryshe’sonthephone. CanItakeamessage?” I imagine a room full of manic youngsters in suits, waving their arms around, telephones clamped to both ears. That’s probably what they want me to think. They’re probably standing round the water-cooler talking about their weekends.
While the photographer is fish-eyeing and digitally-enhancing, the first viewing arrives. They trip over the photographer’s bag and look askance at the enormous pile of crap placed out of view of her camera. Making their excuses they sprint out as soon as is possible. It’s like running a small business, selling a house nowadays. I haven’t got round to filling in my money-laundering form yet. Later another agent comes round to “familarise” herself with something. Me? The house? The crap? I hadn’t been able to hear on the phone against the baying in the background. She asks me if I’m renting the house. “No, I’m just hairy” I reply. I tell her my daughter is having a nap upstairs and she backs away, visibly shocked. I can see in her eyes that she is already considering this job a challenge too far.