Apologies if it looks as if neglecting this blog a little so far in 2014. One of the reasons is that I'm knee deep in estate agents: we're both trying to sell our old house and look for a new one.
When it comes to selling houses, The Doctor and I are property virgins. Our old house was our first home, and we've lived in rentals the last five years. And we're really not sure what to expect. It doesn't help that the London housing market is in a bit of a frenzy at the moment, and prices seem to be rising by ridiculous amounts every week. It should be a seller's market, but instead I feel a bit like shark bait, with wily agents angling for our business.
The smooth-talking, dead-eyed, sharp-suited estate agent we decided to go with has of course told us that there will be loads of interest, that the house will sell within weeks if not days, that it doesn't matter that our tenants (four twentysomething male housemates) are living there and that it currently looks like the set of Men Behaving Badly.
Having perhaps rashly handed over the keys, I then felt embarrassed that people were going to see my former home as a rundown bedsit. (Or possibly even worse, a project). I insisted on overseeing the house photography, and rushed round there with some cushions and a bunch of flowers in a vase in a lame effort to make it look presentable. Even though we're not living there, there's something very personal about seeing your own home on the market. Particularly when you're looking yourself. I know it's stupid, but a dirty bathroom or even a funny smell can put me off a whole house.
On my viewings so far, I've encountered several different species of agent. There's the wide boy, who keeps phoning up and telling you that he's taking on another agent's house; the Sloaney girl, who keeps trying to flog me houses in the wrong area despite being told that we need the right transport links; the spotty youth who knows nothing about the house, company or what else is on the market. None of them are at all convincing.
Perhaps most telling was the other night, when The Doctor and I caught the tail end of Kirstie and Phil on Location, Location, Location. We've always found these property programmes hilarious before. But this time we were both watching avidly. And when he said to me at the end: "Perhaps we should sign up with these two?" the scary thing was, I knew he was only half joking...because I had been thinking exactly the same thing.