Advertisements

Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Portsmouth

Gypsies, Tramps, Thieves And Estate Agents

with 2 comments

The property market is, once again, difficult for everyone.  In recent weeks we have even been asked to have some sympathy for that most despised group of parasites, estate agents – but I have none.  Truth is that their “profession” is a necessary evil and in good times as in bad it is only those with some standards and, maybe, a little integrity that are worth dealing with.

In the past twelve months I have had comprehensive experience of the estate agents in and around Emsworth, Portsmouth and Chichester.  There have been one or two who have been a pleasure to deal with, who have been professional, efficient and helpful.  Others have been uninterested and disinterested, unethical, inefficient and some are little short of crooked.

First, the positive.  There is one firm that shines out as example to all others – Henry Adams.  I have not bought, sold, rented or let a single property from them but I have viewed many and I can truthfully say that every transaction has been smooth, easy and as it should be.  If only I could say the same for the rest.

Borland & Bound of Emsworth, Charlotte and Alison in their lettings department are liars.  If you stalk the internet property sites, as I know how to do, you can catch the new properties immediately they come to market.  If you’re quick on the draw the truth becomes evident.  Agents which pick and choose who they sell or let to and at what price.  Whether it is their sister’s best friend’s cousin’s daughter or their next door neighbour’s husband who they share a bottle of cheap white wine with every Wednesday afternoon, there are  dishonest people out there that you cannot rely on to deal with you properly.  Borland & Bound told me for a week that they just couldn’t get hold of the landlord to arrange a viewing.  Then I met another prospective tenant outside another property who told me that they’d viewed the Borland & Bound property the day before.  Borland & Bound then told me they’d had a “bad” reference on me.  I ask, from who, on what authority, when did I give you the information or source from which to take a reference?  Is that the best bullshit you can come up with?  I wonder what the truth is?

Then there was “Zone” of Chichester.  What dreadful 1980s-type “brand” is that and can anyone take a firm with such a name seriously?  I had to try to because some unsuspecting property owner who had exactly what I wanted in Bosham had made the mistake of hiring this firm and apparently causing it all sorts of problems.  After all, business would be so much easier, wouldn’t it, if it wasn’t for those dreadful people we call customers?

It was so much trouble to arrange a viewing.  Five or six telephone calls were never returned and eventually produced the reaction that “we might be able to arrange a viewing in a week or so”.  “Please don’t pester us.  You’re probably not the sort of tenant we want because you’d be on the phone all the time”.

Eventually a viewing was arranged but when I called to ask for directions I was told “I’m far too busy.  Ask someone in the street”.  Then surprise, surprise, “the landlord has a prior offer”, “the property is now off the market”.

It must be unpleasant to have to demean yourself, to lie, to cheat, to deceive but perhaps some of these estate agents enjoy their work.  I can think of no other explanation.

Advertisements

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 20, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Walking The Dog 1

leave a comment »

When I first saw it, my heart went into my mouth and then dropped in to my stomach as I realised I was looking at a pterodactyl. Loping away from a low branch, it’s massive wings somehow rolling up and then unrolling in an unbelievably slow movement, it rose gracefully, magnificently away from me.

Regaining my composure, with my trusty Kodak Digital at my side, I still managed to miss the chance of a great picture and Capone, my faithful, four-legged companion, just looked at me in disgust before doing his own loping away towards the sea.

Ever since then I’ve been hunting the heron and its mate, for there are two of them cruising the farmland, woods and foreshore between Emsworth, Warblington and Langstone. I’ve seen it perhaps half a dozen times in as many months, once just three feet above my head as I walked down one of Havant’s more exclusive residential avenues. Every time I fumble for my camera, it uncurls those great wings, folds its neck up in dinosaur style and leaves me in disarray.

Every day produces something remarkable in this little haven on the south coast. Across Chichester and Langstone harbours the Portsmouth Spinnaker tower glints bright white in the sun. Crowds of brent geese grow bigger and individually fatter by the day and the oyster catchers screech low along the water’s edge, swinging in formation to display the dazzling zigzags along their backs.

When the brent geese first came in from their summer home in the arctic, they would gather in one huge flock of perhaps five hundred in a field just above the sea. Capone would put them up in a force five south-westerly and they would head seaward in a cacophony of honking, flapping wings getting them nowhere, directly into the gale. I would walk on with them above and all around me, hanging motionless, creating a world of noise and feathers and wind and dog and insignificant me.

Warblington cemetery contains a piteous children’s section where the gravestones are decorated with teddies, windmills, rubber ducks, Rupert and Peter Rabbit. Every day that two minute walk touches me but never more so than on Christmas morning. Then, the really remarkable thing was the intense, beaming smiles that both the bereaved mothers gave me as they tended their child’s grave. Walking into the south-westerly that morning made my eyes water as never before.

The March storms brought both drama and damage, the fields along the coast displaying lines of seaweed 40 yards further back than usual. Other dog walkers who live right on the foreshore told me their roof tiles were tinkling like a xylophone. Parts of Emsworth were flooded. The sea overflowing the mill pond wall filled the empty eight and a half acre pond in half an hour and brought down great lengths of the inner retaining wall. I found myself up to my knees in overflowing sea as it swept in round the sailing clubhouse and caused chaos in the dinghy park.

This morning I left the warmth of Nore Barn Wood and struck out across the most heavily pigeoned stubble field I know. Then to my right a white object caught my eye in the middle of the boggy area that runs down to the stream where the pterodactyl had first frightened me. Capone and I diverted and plugged our way towards it but it was still, inert, probably one of those plastic bags that Emsworth has virtually done away with. We trudged on, me avoiding the cow pats, Capone stepping in every one and relaxed into the warm morning sunshine, another storm promised for the weekend.

It rose again, elegant and yet ponderous at the same time, lofted up and away and gone.

Peter Reynolds 20-03-08

Welcome to my world!

leave a comment »

Peter Reynolds is a writer, communications advisor and proud Welshman. He lives in a small town called Emsworth, between Portsmouth and Chichester on the south coast of England. After “dropping out” from life as a hippy musician, Peter experimented with direct sales and the motor trade before training as a copywriter and eventually making it to the top of his profession as a creative director with Saatchi & Saatchi. Along the way he developed special expertise in technology and healthcare working with clients such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, GSK and the Department of Health. He also worked as a freelance journalist writing for just about every PC magazine then on the market and had a weekly column in The Independent based on the simple idea of riding a bike but ranging across subjects such as politics, sport, technology and the media. Since the 1990s he has worked as a consultant to organisations such as Nokia, the British Army and Pinewood Studios. In 2004 he established Leading Edge Personal Technology as “the magazine for technology enthusiasts”. He continues to write on a wide range of subjects.