“I’ve done it all,” you explain to your friend Alan. “I’ll never have to work again!” “So what next?” enquires Alan. “Next?” you posit. “Next?? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Just me, the remote and oodles of free time.” “Whatever,” says Alan. “You’ll be bored out of your skull.” “Nah,” say you. “Lying around in my underpants watching telly – it’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
You roll downstairs at 11 every morning. “I must say I do enjoy these property shows,” you say to no in particular. “For me Property Ladder is the stand-out programme and that Sarah Beanie’s alright.” You stare at your cereal. “Alan was right though, I need a project.” And then, as if by magic, the penny drops.
Two weeks later you’ve bought up a dilapidated three storey terrace in Stratford. “This will be worth a fortune come 2012!” you muse. “I’m a genius! And I can’t wait to do the wallpapering – I’m a whiz at that!” You get three quotes from local builders: your father was Irish, his father was Irish, you favourite coffee is Irish, so you go with the O’Donnells of Dalston. On the first day you wait for them outside the property. Due at 9, you call them at 9.30 to see where they are. “We’ll be there in twenty minutes so we will.” They arrive at 4.15. This happens for the next two days, then on the third they don’t show. “Traffic is terrible, we’re having to turn back so we are – but we’ll be back tomorrow so we will.” They eventually turn up two weeks later, knock down three walls and disappear off the face of the earth. Exasperated, you enlist the help of your second choice, a group of Polish builders. They start the job but after a month they leave to go back to Poland. “Life is better there now. We must go. Thank you please.”
In a state of panic a friend gets you the number for Sarah Beeny. “Hi Sarah, I’m in a right mess,” you explain. “I take it you did the proper research in the first place?” she enquires. “Due diligence, feasibility analysis, architectural planning?” You go quiet, breath deeply, then say, “Listen, I don’t want to talk out of turn or anything, but do you fancy going out for a drink sometime?” The line goes dead.