The farm was 40% over the absolute maximum budget pencilled in for the perfect property requiring zero work but, as Manolo said, what was the harm in meeting the owners again, so we rolled up to negotiate. I told everyone I loved the place, thought the price was very reasonable, agreed there was a lot of land, commiserated with the three brothers for having to sell, took a picture of some yellow flowers, and then went off to look for the puppy.
More people were milling about than I’d imagined, most of them owners of a sort, and the animals were distracting. The darker donkey got my notes which I’d left on the car seat between its teeth. I like notes. I’m actually a REALLY GOOD negotiator with notes – negotiating access to panda breeding labs in China and the FARC in Colombia, and being a stickler in big media acquisitions – but everyone has to SIT DOWN and TAKE TURNS. There was the sound of trailing exhaust pipes and chassis being dragged over rocks as more cars summited the track, and more people arrived to join in the discussion – or various discussions. With more dogs – mainly dobermans. As it got dark we moved inside and nine people talked at once over the barking, and birds (I think they were birds) crossed back and forth.
Dave, whose Spanish is rudimentary, was gazing dreamily out of the window, (bikes, probably) and oblivious to the fact the conversation had finally shifted from asparagus to business, making it difficult to confer. The vaguest chance that we could make a deal was floating off on a wispy cloud of yada yada, and it was pretty much all my fault, coming at it a) with very small amounts of money, and b) like a dippy loser in a rom-com. And I really wanted the farm. Yes . . . a ramshackle, ancient place with no kitchen and dubious electrics . . . I’d die without it. I shot my hand up. What about staggered payments spread over a year, a vastly reduced price but still higher than we’re comfortable with in return for the brothers fixing the collapsing road bridge and turning the room that’s currently full of partridges into a bathroom? It was a yes. We agreed a moving in date (May 2nd), and all kissed each other as I wondered exactly what I’d done there.
‘How did that go?’ said Dave as we got back in the car.