It's time to zeenk or zwim

Forgive me if this missive is a little confused, but it comes to you from the heart of the Normandy property market and carries with it the impediments associated with that region.

Most of these impediments come in either bottles or glasses and are proffered by my friendly French estate agent, Monsieur Grand Ville. He has his office in that most unique of locations where the sun has permanently slipped just below the yard arm. Every morning we indulge in a ritual involving a bundle of particulars, a bottle of Calvados, an old map of the area and the constitution of an ox. I dare not question M Grand Ville's commitment to the produce of the region lest he is offended and relegates me to the rubbled ruin tour.

The rubbled ruin tour involves visiting collections of bricks and stones which masquerade as properties of character. It is offered only to those who are not prepared to savour the delights of a large Calvados at 9.30 in the morning.

Here I have perhaps been a little too enthusiastic in my appreciation of the fruits of the land. It has almost reached the point where M Grand Ville believes I have no interest in property and merely want to sit around getting sloshed on cheap brandy.

"Today we zeenk," he proudly announced one day last week, decanting a half-litre of the wretched stuff into a coffee mug. I did not particularly want to sink. I wanted to find a deux up, deux down cottage.

"No, we don' zeenk ze dreenk, we zeenk about where you really wanna leef," he explained. Relieved, I grabbed another gallon of four-star and pretended to find inspiration in the brown liquid.

"I would like to live near a beach," I said. M Grand Ville tapped his nose and grinned conspiratorially. "I always zay eet eez butter to leef near one than wiz one. Eh?"

"May we?" I asked a little embarrassed and pointing to the door.

"Ah so, yew agree wiz me," he replied.

"I don't think so."

"But you zey mais oui," M Grand Ville protested.

"Not mais oui, may we."

This was too much for the diminutive Frenchman, who reached in desperation for another tincture.

"Perhaps we should go, " I suggested.

"One mer fer ze rerd," he slurred.

"One more and we will not be able to see the road," I admonished.

"You Eengleesh you are ow you zay so... so..."

"English," I helped.

"Exactement."

Now that we had an accord we positively bounded outside and leapt into the 2CV.

"Let me pray," M Grand Ville said.

I know it is a Catholic country, but I had not realised that my guide was either quite so sozzled or quite so trusting in the power of the Almighty.

I decided it would be polite to join him in this moment of sanctity.

"What eez eet you er doing?" M Grand Ville asked.

"You said you were going to pray."

"I am. I wernt to pray into yer feenances. Ow murch you haf de spernd on zee owse," he explained.

"Oh, you mean pry," I said.

"Zat is wert I zed," came the rather tetchy response.

"What is about you people? Is there some international estate agency college you all go to learn the seven key questions to annoy a prospective buyer? `How much have you got to spend?' in 47 different languages? You sound just like the estate agents back home," I wailed.

"Zey zound like me?" M Grand Ville asked somewhat impressed. "I cerm to leef wiz you, eh?" There was only one thing for it. I reached for the bottle of Calvados.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game