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  1. Wealth
May 22, 2013

Is the weather to blame for our bad behaviour?

By Spear's

Our usual good sense and intuition are thrown as things are not what they should be

I have a friend who won’t countenance the use of the words ‘nice’ or ‘fine’. They’re decreed too lacklustre and bland. ‘I’d rather you thought me ghastly than nice,’ she stated once.

Compliments, when given, are to be accepted rather than self-deprecatingly deflected. And the conversational gambits of transportation (how/why/how long it took) and the weather are banned.

We’re close, so a certain amount of these mores have rubbed off on me. But I’m going to break one of them now… What is it with this weather? It’s positively schizophrenic. One moment the promise of a balmy summer is provocatively waved in front of us with blue skies, temperatures hitting the 70s, wisteria in full bloom, and the next we’re turning the heating on and wrapping up against blustery winds and whiplash rain.

The rather half-baked theorem that I developed in the bath this evening is that it’s having an effect on us all. We’re behaving irrationally as a result of meteorological confusion. Our usual good sense and intuition are thrown as things are not what they should be.

A house that ticks boxes

We’ve been selling a house in Kensington. It’s one that ticks boxes – south-facing garden, off-street parking and low built. The first person through the door was one of us (a buying agent) and declared it was perfect for her Parisian client.

She booked to come in a couple of days – hopping on the Eurostar is less of a commute than many take to get into the City of London each day. The following day the second people through the door offered the asking price. Not because we’d undervalued it but rather because they were prepared to pay a premium to get it off the market.

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The problem was Paris still wanted to come. At that point it was over to the client, and quite understandably, the lure of money prevailed. I was weary – there’s nothing more motivational than telling a buyer they’re going to lose out.


She arrived and duly promised to pay more and told us she was returning directly to Paris. I had a whiff of intangible suspicion that was wafted away by her charm.

Later that afternoon I learnt that rather than the promised Eurostar home, she’d been seeing properties with other agents (failing to inform her appointed buying agent). This was explained away with the feeble excuse that she didn’t understand how things worked in England.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘she’s a sophisticated, wily Parisian, with savoir-faire. She knows exactly what she’s doing.’ It was an unusually strong reaction for me but I knew it to be true particularly when I heard she’d said, ‘You English, why do you all have to know what the other is doing?’

‘This isn’t an illicit affair we’re trying to conduct,’ I said, ‘this is a house sale.’

So, I can only blame the weather for the furtive Frenchies behavior, her trusting agent’s naiveté and ignoring my own intuition. Thankfully, all’s well that ends well and we’re agreed terms with the second party – until the weather starts playing up again.

Read more from Sebastian Gibson on property

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