The farm was 40% over the absolute maximum budget pencilled in for a perfect property requiring zero work but, as Manolo said, what was the harm in meeting the owners again, so negotiations were scheduled. 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. The sound of trailing exhaust pipes and chassis being dragged over rocks indicated more people were arriving to join in the discussion – or various discussions. Everyone brought dogs. 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.
The conversation had finally shifted from asparagus to business. I felt at a disadvantage having a very small amount of money and no relatives on my team. Not wanting to lose, I felt certain I really wanted the farm. Yes . . . a ramshackle, ancient place with no kitchen, mains electricity or water . . . Oh 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 wise and a deal whereby the builder brothers of the selling team would repair the collapsing road bridge and turn a lean-to currently full of partridges into a bathroom straightaway? 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.