On the Market: How not to show off your shed

Rachel Love

Rachel Love - Credit: Archant

No word on the mysterious footballer yet, though I have had some breakthroughs of my own, namely that I didn’t put my foot in it!

I didn’t make a single inappropriate remark when the estate agent called the place ‘big’… several times; I didn’t make any jokes about my mum’s curly bush in the garden; I refrained from stating, “This is where the magic happens” in my room; I avoided asking about match fixing, doping scandals and prostitutes, and I didn’t curtsey, criticise, confuse or annoy.

In part, my tame behaviour was due to my mum’s threats of “If you do anything ridiculous I will be really disappointed in you”, but also because I didn’t have time… someone else had done it for me.

Mum had called our gardener over to help neaten up the patio before the viewing. He’s been our gardener for years and has formed a bizarre relationship with our bike shed, sitting in it for hours at a time, talking to himself and eating sandwiches. We’re accustomed to his habits now and when people ask why we have a small, bald man sitting in our shed it takes us a while to realise how unusual the situation is.

Recently he’s been getting back into the online dating scene after a series of unsuccessful encounters. Over the course of a few weeks he has found a girlfriend. Only problem is that she lives in Thailand.

“She flew to England a couple of days ago,” he told us. “She’s coming over here today.”

Mum is, for a moment, entertained by the idea and then completely serious: “Not here, here… Here, my house here?”

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“Yeah, I wanted her to meet you both.”

So there we are: Mum, me, our gardener and his Thai girlfriend, who can’t speak a word of English. We introduced ourselves, gave them some sandwiches to eat and left them in the garden while we tidied up the living room. After a couple of hours of frantic cleaning, tidying and organising, the doorbell rang and the estate agent and footballer came in.

“So far, so good”, Mum whispered to me while they surveyed the kitchen.

I gave a thumbs up in return.

“We’ll just take a look around the garden if that’s alright?” We followed them out, grinning and nodding along with the agent’s spiel about ‘spacious, manicured greens’ and ‘entertaining space’.

“There’s also a bike shed just here,” he said, gesturing towards the wooden door and pushing on its handle. We crowded around, peering over his shoulder, me and mum hoping the gardener had left it tidy.

We all jumped when we saw the gardener and his Thai girlfriend sitting on a couple of wooden boxes, eating sandwiches in the half-light of the musty shed.

Mum gasped, “I thought you had finished and left hours ago!”

The confusion on the faces of the footballer and the estate agent said it all.

“Sorry, who are you?” asked the agent.

“I’m the gardener, I’m always in here!” he chuckled to himself, his girlfriend looking on in terror at our bewildered faces.

We explained the story, mum insistent that she doesn’t lock gardeners and Thai women in sheds, and everything seemed fine but there was a definite speed in their pace as they left and the slightest hint of finality in their “goodbye, take care”.

The saga continues…