With A Few Repairs

The Ragtag daily prompt this morning was VACANT
And the Word of the Day challenge was OCEAN

Here’s my response:

With A Few Repairs

“Now this second property, as I said, is more in the price range you’re looking at. At least, I’m pretty sure if you make the owner an offer, he’ll seriously consider it. I assure you it’s structurally sound, but it has been vacant for a few years and needs a little work to bring it up to par.”

house-3039127_640

The salesman waited for the young couple to recover from their initial impression before launching into his sales pitch. “I’m sure you’re thinking it looks a little run down, but the repairs needed are simply cosmetic, replacing windows, flooring, wallpaper, and so forth. The beams are in good shape, floors are level, doors and windows all hang straight.”

He pointed up. “The roof has no major leaks and shouldn’t need replacing for a few years yet. As you can see, the outdoors needs serious work done, but I can see you’re an ambitious young couple; you’ll soon have things under control. Considering the size of this property, in time you could have a lovely flower garden surrounding the house: roses, hedges, fruit trees, flower beds. Can’t you just picture it? For, say, $300 grand?”

He glanced at the young couple to see if they were buying the dream. Their mouths had dropped open and their eyes were glazed. He’d better try another angle. “There’s one more really great feature of this property: you’ll get an amazing view of the ocean within walking distance. See the trail that goes over that hill.” He pointed toward it. “Just a kilometer farther along it ends beside a little bay. I can assure you that the view is spectacular, especially at sunset.”

“Is there a dock,” the wife asked. “Could we keep a boat there for our use?”

“Err… well… I imagine you could, though you might have to be careful launching it. There are a few rocks in the bay.”

Sunset.bay

The young couple wandered over to the house and he gave them a few minutes to consider it. “So what do you think? Does this look like a project you’d enjoy?” He tried to keep his tone neutral. “As I said, it is in your price range. Or shall we look at the third property that’s a possibility?”

The couple exchanged a silent look and the husband finally spoke. “Perhaps we should check into how much money we’ll can afford to spend on repairs before make an offer. We, uh, weren’t expecting real estate to, uh, involve quite so much work. Our jobs, you know. How much time can we spare?”

“Well, everything costs money these days. The more you can do yourselves, the more you save, but you can have a contractor take a look and give you an idea.”

“Yes.” The wife sounded relieved. “Excellent idea! We’ll definitely think about all this.”

The realtor sighed as the couple walked back to his car. He could read them like a billboard: no way were they buying this place. Like everybody else, they wanted a fully-finished property for the price of a fixer. Just as well they didn’t see the bay.

He glanced back at the house one last time. Would he ever find anyone who’d take this derelict off his great-uncle Norman’s hands?

When Night Comes Down

The Word of the Day challenge for today is TWILIGHT.
I’m going to respond with this thought provoking verse by Edgar Guest:

NIGHT

When night comes down
to the busy town
and the toilers stir no more,
then who knows which
is the poor or rich
of the day which went before?

When dreams sweep in
through the traffic’s din
for the weary minds of men,
though we all can say
who is rich by day,
who can name us the rich man then?

It is only awake
the proud may take
much joy from the stuff they own,
for the night may keep
her gifts of sleep
for the humblest mortal known.

By day held fast
to creed and caste,
men are sinner and saint and clown.
But who can tell
where the glad hearts dwell
when the dreams come drifting down?

.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

The Travels of Two Fleas

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is PONDER
Word of the Day challenge is ZERO
Daily Addictions prompt word: TROPICAL

And here’s my response, a just-for-fun tale…

THE TRAVELS OF TWO FLEAS

Two fleas went hopping on a mat,
having disembarked the cat
to have a moment out-of-fur
and once escape that thunderous purr.

Their tropical resort gets hot,
with itchy dandruff and whatnot;
sometimes they hunger for fresh air,
to see the world outside that hair,
so they opt for a walkabout.
The mat gives them a good workout.

Some minutes pass; their wandering zeal
is quenched by urge to have a meal
and so they seek their host again —
but puss has moved along by then
which leaves them with an unfilled yen.

And worse! The housekeeper now sees,
has zero tolerance for fleas,
so scoops the mat up from the floor
and shakes it harshly out the door.
They tumble off into the grass
and land together in a mass.

They sort themselves and find some shade
behind the thickest grassy blade
to soothe their bruised elbows and knees
and ponder life’s uncertainties.
So now two fleas hide in the grass
in hopes that some new host will pass.

Fresh White World

“White, White, My World is White…”

Fandango’s one-word challenge: BECAUSE

Our world looks so different this morning because we’ve had a night of pure, fluffy snow.

Ragtag Daily Prompt : WINTER

After a week of spring-like weather, with temperatures descending for the last couple of days, Winter has returned to our land in all its glory. If it were sunny today, we could almost go snow-blind; instead, the sky is almost as white as the blanket of snow.

Your Daily Word prompt: OPTIMUM

Snowfalls like this afford our son-in-law some optimum earning opportunities. He has some contracts for clearing snow, so I imagine he’ll have risen early this morning and gotten his snow-removal equipment on the road.

Word of the Day prompt: RADICAL

When I got up this morning, instead of having my first cup of coffee and keeping warm inside, I responded radically: I threw on my housecoat and went out to sweep off the decks and stairs. You see, we have two cats that are eager to go outside and look around first thing every morning and they need a snow-free place to sit. Guess you could call me a super-indulgent pet owner.

Speaking of radical, have you noticed the drastic change in my blog header and background? The world was white before I signed off last night, plus US Thanksgiving is officially over, so I changed — seasonalized, if that’s a word — the appearance of my blog. What do you think of my new look?

And when I saw the various prompt words this morning, I decided that they’d all fit in a prompt about our weather, except…

Your Daily Word Prompt: WREN

There are NO wrens anywhere in this land. Every wren with a brain in his tiny little skull will be passing the next five months in some sunny clime, along with almost every other small nesting bird that spends summer here. We’re stuck with the dull English sparrows and the magpies, whose bold black & white doesn’t do much to cheer up our landscape. Maybe several blue jays will come back again this winter?

Blue Jay.cropped.jpg
Pixabay

Now I shall take optimum advantage of this winter morning by addressing some Christmas cards because that season is almost upon us. This will be a radical departure from my usual Dec 20th mailing. 🙂

I hope you’re all enjoying your day, whatever your weather.

The Irascible Agatha Raisin

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
Agatha Raisin Mystery series #3

By M C Beaton

I read the first book in the Agatha Raisin Mystery series, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, and one other short story tacked onto that one. Now I’ve finished the third book in the series and have had my fill. Actually, though I hate to quit before the end of any book, I was ready to toss this one several times before I discovered whodunit.

The setting in interesting; the plotting, pacing and writing are excellent, but the main character is so disagreeable. Back in London she was a hard-nosed — and pretty much friendless — business owner and she carries this personality into her retirement years. She may want to make friends in her new home town and does mean well — at times. Overall, though, she’s self-centered and defensive. I was hoping to see Agatha mellow in this peaceful Cotswold village as the series progresses. She doesn’t.

Pugnacious and mulish are the adjectives the author often uses to describe Mrs Raisin. Belligerent and snarky would also fit. She lies constantly, swears, staggers home tipsy from the village pub, insults almost everyone, and has a real temper. In one story she invites the neighbours for a Christmas dinner, but bashes one lustful old guest over the head with a Christmas pudding.

Always competitive, she cheats in village contests. In The Quiche of Death she’s newly arrived and wants the acceptance of the villagers. She sees her chance when she discovers there’s to be a village baking contest. Culinarily-challenged herself, she buys a quiche from a great little bakery in London and submits it as her own creation. Unfortunately someone adds a bit of poison and serves it to the judge. So the truth must be confessed.

In this third book she wants to impress certain gardeners and win the local flower show, but she’s hopeless at growing things. Supposedly she’s learned her lesson with the quiche, but weakens and buys a nursery-grown rose to enter as her own. Forgetting to take off the tag. Again her deception is exposed, but village folks are amazingly tolerant.

One big plus for Agatha is that she’s made friends with Mrs Bloxby, the curate’s wife, who is a saint for sure. Sanguine, welcoming, accepting, charitable, always thinking the best, she saves and soothes Agatha’s pride several times in this story. Agatha is also friends with her bachelor neighbour James, a retired army colonel — on whom she has a serious crush as this story starts. (I gather they work together in several stories to figure out whodunit.) However, Agatha insults him, too, petulantly calling him a male chauvinist pig when he scolds her for throwing a lit cigarette into the tinder-dry grass.

Like all amateur sleuths in all cozy mystery stories, she’s nosy. When the local CID inspector Bill Wong, who has taken a liking to Agatha, tells her to stay out of the investigation, she slips on her halo and nods a meek “Yes.” As soon as he’s out of sight, she and James are off hunting for evidence and interviewing suspects. In this book she’s trying to find out why a lovely divorcee, Mary Fortune, a newcomer and enthusiastic gardener, has met a sad end in her conservatory.

Because this is fiction, the writer is able to say that in spite of Agatha’s abrasive character she’s well liked by the villagers. Some characters testify that “Mrs Raisin has many good qualities.” In real life this would be highly unlikely. I know a woman much like this: not as insolent or combative as Agatha but just as self-centered and flexible with the truth. Her friendships and relationships are all short-lived.

I have some sympathy for Agatha Raisin because she is so lacking in interpersonal skills, but find her lack of conscience hard to take. Since the villagers of Carsely are stuck with her it’s a good thing they like her. And since it’s such a popular series — as I gather from the reviews — a lot of readers are willing to tolerate her faults, too.

Ragtag Daily Prompt word: Evidence
Word of the Day Challenge: Sanguine