I picked up my friends Jo and Lilian today to take them to our lunch club in Norwich. I was roped into this by my mother, thirty years ago – not picking up J & L, but the club; I was the youngest member then and I’m the youngest member now. Jo is 94, with another birthday this summer, and Lilian is her younger sister at 90, also with a summer birthday to come.
They are about to move house. They live in a townhouse on three floors, the living accommodation on the first floor, bedrooms on the second, and a utility room and guest bedroom on the ground floor. Jo has used crutches for many years, since a hospital-administered antibiotic destroyed her balance. They’ve decided that they need to live in a house with the sitting room etc on the ground floor, but were very anxious to stay near all their friends, and found something suitable down the road, near the river. It has a small garden, something they’ve hugely missed since moving from their big house eight years ago.
They are due to get the keys tomorrow and will move over the summer, once they’ve had some decorating done and a new kitchen put in. But the point of me telling you all this is to come.
The asking price was £300,000, they offered £260,000 and finally settled at £275,000. Recently, their solicitor visited them to bring the contract for them to sign. Lilian observed that the price was £257,000 and pointed out the mistake. The solicitor assured them that this was the price quoted in all the documentation. They signed. Presumably, the other party signed too. No one else has noticed, it seems.
I suppose that, if that’s the figure on the document, that’s all they owe. But it’s quite a mistake to have been made. When the vendors, who presumably didn’t read the contract before signing it, realise, they are not going to be very happy at all. I wonder where the mistake was made? If it was from the estate agent, then it isn’t the vendors’ solicitor’s fault. If it was the solicitor, it wasn’t the estate agent’s. Jo and Lilian’s solicitor didn’t draw up the contract, so it wasn’t his fault, nor was it theirs. I feel that the ultimate responsibility is the vendors’, as they should have read the paperwork, but the person who drew it up or gave wrong info is at fault, arguably, too. I’ll find out what has happened in due course and am quite intrigued. Jo and Lilian are totally honest and I suspect they’ll do the decent thing, possibly with a bit of haggling for a discount, because they dearly love a bargain too. But it’s remarkable that the only person who noticed is a 90-year-old.
Not a lot else to report, darlings. Chicks’ wing feathers are growing rapidly, Rose’s chooks are roosting with mine for the weekend while she’s away, Wince hoed the gravel, from which I’d pulled a barrowload of weeds yesterday. My eldest grandson has won a prestigious award for computer programming – that’s a throwaway remark of course, we’re pretending to be modest but, actually, it’s a huge achievement and we’re extremely proud. He’s pretty pleased himself, it’s been 8 months work and he did it all and then gave a presentation to hundreds of experts. He’s a clever and focussed young man.