6 April 2011

A Prize Idiot

I knew it was April 1st. Despite most of my days being pretty much the same I had known it was April Fool’s Day when I was up during the night (hay fever) and had read a newspaper article which stated that Sir Alex Ferguson was to become the Life President of the Football Referees Association. But then I went back to bed and when I awoke a few hours later, I had forgotten all about it. It was as I was walking out of the kitchen with a cup of coffee that J said, ‘Oh – did you see that e-mail from Tan (my neighbour)?’

Now I didn't know what it was but I immediately thought that the e-mail was going to say that he was leaving – i.e. moving away.

Tan and Angie have now been next door for four and a half years which is not bad considering they only came up to Tourrettes to see what the house was like. I think they liked it and stayed. They have become great mates and we all get on enormously well – just like one big family, which is just as well as there is only about 30 metres between our two houses!

I opened the e-mail and sure enough, my instinct was correct – Tan and Angie were moving. Here is the e-mail Tan sent:

Hi Tom, Julie,
I have been trying to meet up and have a chat these past few weeks but with me being away it’s been difficult.  The time has arrived for us to depart these shores I’m afraid, I have a job offer I simply cannot refuse.  This has all come about the last couple of weeks, Amadeus Spain, has asked me to join them as the Global Deployment Manager on a permanent basis, I got the official paperwork yesterday.

I will be based in Madrid but we are looking at living outside of the city in a medieval village called Avila, so it will feel like Tourrettes hopefully. This has been a very difficult decision for us but I think its the right move in terms of prospects (now that I am over 40) and career path.  We also really love Spain and hopefully, if we have half the fun out there as we have in your house, it will be worth it.

 Am sure the kids will be ok, well for Violet it will be tough I guess for her to understand what’s happened but they forget quickly, right?

Anyway, just wanted to say you two, (and guy and kitty) have been absolutely wonderful to us, as friends, neighbours and landlords.  We couldn't have imagined it any better to be honest when we first visited the house, and we will always be friends.

I think we need between 4-8 weeks to move, so I hope this notice period is acceptable and gives you enough time to find replacements.

I guess we can talk Saturday once I am back face to face, sorry its over email but wanted to get the ball rolling.
 speak soon

 Tan and Angie
 PS. Angie can also practice her Spanish!

 As my mind had already predicted what the e-mail was going to be about, I immediately sent a reply,
wishing him and Angie all the best in their new life. My response is below – aaah nice eh ?

Hey Tan - you'll do anything to get to the Bernabau won't you ????
We'll be sorry to see you guys go too. It's been great and I don't think we'll ever get another set of neighbours like you. Maybe we could come too ? But, the job sounds great and Spain was always somewhere I wanted to live - we're supposed to get 300 days of sunshine down here (blatant lie) but in Spain, I think it's the real deal.
I'm sure we'll see you over the weekend sometime and we can discuss things.


Once the reply was sent, I immediately switched into T Cupples Commercial and Oraganisation mode. If they left in the next six weeks I could put the house on the holiday rental market and make a bomb – should I make it £2,000 or £2,500 a week? And once October came along and I was rolling in dosh I could put it up for long term rental. Yes – this would all work out splendidly. Now how would I market it? Put it on our friend’s holiday homes website or simply put a notice on Angloinfo? 

I decided to think about that later. Then I thought about all of the furniture which Tan and Angie have bought and which I would have to replace to put the house back on the rental market. I worked my way through each of their rooms in turn, mentally preparing a list of what I would need to buy. I was frustrated in that J had only just been to Ikea down in Toulon – we’d need another trip now.

What else would I need to do? Maybe tidy the garden up a bit and I would certainly have to re-grout the kitchen tiles but that job was scheduled for the end of April anyway.

It was all falling into place. Another cup of coffee was required. As I wandered into the kitchen, J said, ‘Did you see Tan’s e-mail?’ ‘Yeah – bit of a bummer eh. Still, things move on’, I replied.

‘You idiot’, said J. ‘Don’t you know what date it is today.? It’s April Fools Day.’

Well, I could have thrown myself in the pool off of the terrace, hit my head off of the wall, thrown myself under a truck on the main road. None of these actions would have made me feel worse than I felt when J uttered those words.

I just went and sat down and castigated myself for being a total idiot.

After a few minutes, I thought that maybe if Tan and Angie hadn’t realized by my initial reply that I had sussed what was going on, I could carry this little joke on a bit further, so I penned another e-mail below:

Tan - I hope you don't think I have been doing this with undue haste but there's a couple coming to see your house tonight. They've been on at me for months to be alerted when you were leaving and are desperate to get out of their house in Vence.

Could you please make sure the house is clean and tidy for their visit, remove all the kids’ toys from the lounge and move the trampoline so they can see the full extent of the terrace.

They are 99.9% sure of taking the house (they lived in it for a weekend last year when you were away - roadtesting I think it's called) and have asked me to fit a double oven and air-con. The oven will be fitted this weekend but I'd appreciate it if you would refrain from using it - maybe Angie could use the deep-fat fryer?? Sorry about this.

Finally, they have asked for a moving-in date of 27th April which is about 3 weeks away and which is slightly less than you were suggesting but as it'll take you a couple of weeks to get to Madrid you'll probably find it works out ok.

Once again, we'll be sorry to see the back of you - sorry - see you leave. Please make sure you feed the fish so they are in good condition for the new owners.


But it didn’t work. Tan’s Reply was unprintable and Angie’s was ‘Speechless’!!

We all got together the following night on Tan’s terrace, sorry MY TERRACE, next door and had a good laugh about it.


Anonymous said...

Tell Tan I was just about to get my cheque book out too :-)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I new it was an April fool as Amadeus in spain already have someone who can change a light bulb ! Tan does not fit into that criteria :)

Allison said...

Hysterical! Your posts absolutely crack me up, Tom. Your writing style is amazing :)
Also, thanks so much for the kind words about my Poppy - we definitely gave him a beautiful send off (and over 1,000 people came!).
Hope you're doing well!