Monday, February 26, 2007

PEOPLE LIKE ME (PART 2)
Story contd.

We decided to avoid our neighbours after my disastrous evening with them and started looking at maps and deciding where to house hunt. Neither of us wanted to live permanently in so urban a place as New Maldon. We wanted a house with a garden, a decent sized living room, a kitchen big enough to eat in and three bedrooms. Oh and a garage! We didn’t have a car but we expected in the fullness of time, to have all of that

The first house agent we tried asked all sort of questions about our financial state and took us to see a house which was in an unattractive area – it only had two bedrooms and no garage. When I pointed this out to him he said:
‘Mrs Maitland, forget the garage! With your finances there’s no way you can afford a
car so you don’t need a house with a garage!’

I was incensed! How dare he? Who was he to put limits on my life style and deprive my children of somewhere to house their father’s car? The fact that we had neither car nor children did nothing to diminish my outrage. We tried another agent and another area. Gradually we were moving further and further out in the suburbs until we reached Epsom. It was a lovely town in the fifties, with the Downs and the famous race course an added bonus.

We were having a drink and a sandwich in a pub in the centre of the town and were entranced when mine host answered the phone,

‘Marquis o’ Granby!’ he growled in a deep gravelly voice, with the thickest of Surrey accents.

After lunch we visited the only house agent that was open on Sunday afternoon. They were a slightly fishy firm – widely advertised with the emphasis on the wide; in other words a bit dubious. The agent was also suitably endowed with a handlebar moustache, and flat, Brylcream-ed hair - the spitting image of Sam Costa (see below) who used to be in the radio programme ‘Round the Horn’. We told him what we wanted and he said he had just the place. Well he would wouldn’t he. The snag was it was in a little hamlet, a bus ride from town which would mean commuting by train and bus.
It was a bungalow and fitted all our requirements except for the garage, but there was space for one. From one of the bedrooms you could see the race horses being exercised on the Downs. The d├ęcor wasn’t to our taste but Sam told us we could have every room re-decorated at their expense. I couldn’t believe it.

He drove us back to Epsom and suggested he took us for a cup of tea. After a cream cake I was putty in his hands and wanted to make an offer there and then but William insisted we should talk it over and phone the agent that night. All the way back on the train I was prattling on about how I would arrange the furniture, what colours we would have , the carpets the curtains –which bedroom would be the baby’s - I was in love with a bungalow and William did his best to rein me in but I could tell he was excited too.

This was the trigger I needed to get in touch with Marta. I needed to earn if I were going to make the house beautiful. The next day William made an offer to the agent and I phoned Marta. Miraculously she answered the phone and seemed to be delighted to hear from me.

‘Now Pat darling you don’t know London so let’s make it easy for you. There is a big store in Piccadilly – Swan and Edgar’s, you can’t miss it. I’ll meet you there at 12. 30 and take you to meet my agent. Must fly darling I’m running late. Ciao!

I dressed with great care – my hair was clean and shining, I wore a dark grey suit, fresh white blouse, little white gloves and high heels. I caught an early train to give me plenty of time and found myself in Piccadilly an hour early. It was very pleasant drifting round the store and I discovered the Ladies Room had an actual Rest Room where you could recline on a sofa and rest your aching feet. At 12.25 I was bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting to greet Marta. At 1.25 I was waiting to greet Marta. At 2pm I realised something had gone wrong – Marta could have had an accident and how would she let me know. I felt a bit tearful – my feet were hurting so much. How I wished I had brought some little pumps with me.

Wearily I limped home. William was home already. He was very sympathetic, made me some tea and suggested we phoned Marta after dinner.

‘Marta are you alright?’

‘Pat darling! Yes why shouldn’t I be?’

‘I was supposed to meet you and…’

‘Oh my God! I’ve been so busy and I totally forgot. Pat darling I hope you didn’t wait long.’

‘Well actually I…’

‘You see darling most people would know that if I wasn’t there I’d be at the Ritz or the Dorchester or lunching at the Ivy. I have to remember when I’m dealing with people like you.’

Those words echoed in my head long after the conversation was over. People like me.

26 comments:

amy said...

people like you -- what a horrible thing to say to anybody!

AndrewM said...

Cheeky cow.

Keep up the good work.

PI said...

amy: I realised the sort of world she lived in and wasn't thrilled at the prospect of joining it.

Tippler said...

Ouch.

Double bloody ouch.

People like you are so much nicer though, Pat.

PI said...

andrewm: she was young and foolish and really thought the world was about to be at her feet.

Hi! Tippler and welcome! That's sweet of you to say so. I was lucky enough to have a mum who taught me some manners.

R. Sherman said...

Well, it's better to know up front what someone thinks of you, than to believe s/he is nice to find out later s/he talks about you behind your back.

Cheers.

Drama Queen said...

"I have to remember when I’m dealing with people like you."

You mean people with manners. *Yikes* how inviting her world sounds!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Patronising old snob (Marta, not you, Pat!). I'm worried about the bungalow, too...

SpanishGoth said...

A pox upon these dreadfully rude people. No wonder I rarely step outside Goth World with tossers like this about.

Good luck with finding the house of dreams my dear...

PI said...

Randall: I think it was just a general categorising of people who mattter and people who don't. As far as her career was concerned, that is. She did put herself out for me, as you will see.

Drama Queen: precisely!

Zinnia: there was something quite comicalabout her- half Italian, half Irish - Roman Catholic and still a teenager. I coudn't take it too seriously once my feet stopped hurting. You are a little monkey! You have me worried about
why you are worried about the bungalow. All I will say is I am not going to jump the gun but...
You nearly got me then!

PI said...

Spanish Goth: it's good to know that there are still people who are courteous and care for other people's sensibilities.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

"my hair was clean and shining, I wore a dark grey suit, fresh white blouse, little white gloves and high heels."

It's like a film to me, Pat. Thanks for putting in these little details. I love to imagine you back then, and this brings it all alive.

Marta sounds giddy and precious and entitled. Deep down, she can't have regarded herself all that highly, otherwise why would she feel the need to puff herself up so much? Her insecurities were certainly not your problem though, and it was inexcusable to make you feel small so she could feel like a big-shot.

PI said...

Sam: at this stage I was thinking - 'why the hell did we have to come south?' and then you would meet somene friendly and nice,and you'd be certain they hailed from the north- and if they didn't they must have lived up there or had friends who were northerners - so strong was my prejudice.

kenju said...

I DO hope you had a suitable rejoinder!

zoe said...

good lord, pat, you have the patience of a saint. i'd have thumped her one - but times do change, don't they ? and as for manners ... don't ask.

FOUR DINNERS said...

I'm far too polite when commenting on your blog to tell you what I'd have said to the old bat

PI said...

Judy: I was just mortified. Not least because her aunt and uncle who were our friends would have been horrified.

Zoe: if I had been angry I would have really let fly. I was more upset and gave her another chance, which worked out well.

4d: I know you wouldn't have stood me up:)

Pat

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Will there be a point in the story where you get your own back on her? Ooooh! I hope so!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

People like you? Gack, go look in....um...Wales...Scotland...USA?

Leesa said...

Just a quick note to let you know that Battle of the Blogs has started. Round One will last until Sunday evening.

Leesa (http://dsmoya31410.blogspot.com)

PI said...

Thanks Leesa! I'll mention it on my blog.

PI said...

Sam: she does get an ironic come uppance but not of my doing. She does try to make up for her thoughtlessness and does help me and I'm not giving anything else away:)

Hoss: all your gadding! I've missed you:(

apprentice said...

Yes thank goodness times have change, it reminds me of that famous sketch with John Cleese, and the two Ronnies, I look down on him etc...

PI said...

apprentice: yes I remember that - it was a classic!

guyana-gyal said...

Like Zin, I get this uneasy feeling about the new home...

Ouch, ouch, Marta, that was really thoughtless. I've met people in the ad world like Marta, young, beautiful, self absorbed. Did you eventually learn to take them with a pinch of salt, Pat?

PI said...

GG: what is it about the bungalow? Did I miss something?
All I'll say about the people in the ad world is - it is the only section of my life where I didn't make life long friends.