Rhodri Marsden: Forever in chains - my moving story of middle-class ansgt

Life on Marsden
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The Independent Online

I've been trying to buy somewhere to live and it's all going wrong at the last minute. Clearly I'm allowed to be upset about this, but expressing my distress is tricky. I've rewritten this four times, deleting phrases like "the precarious ascent of the property ladder" that make me sound like I'm complaining about a malfunctioning Porsche or having lost my sceptre in the ballroom. I'm merely a passive player in a process where ludicrous sums of money are shunted between banks, but when I mentioned how stressful it was on Twitter someone replied, "Oh, my heart bleeds."

Anyway. This little community of solicitors, estate agents, buyers and vendors have become quite close. We don't necessarily like each other; no chance of a reunion drink in 10 years' time. But we've got to know each other's hang-ups, anxieties and inventive ways of negotiating the dungheap that is the English property system. Delaying tactics, ultimatums, bluff and counter-bluff, it's like a massive game of Property Chicken, with the ultimate prize of an expensive lump of bricks and mortar that's in need of damp-proofing work. Our barefaced attempts to conceal the truth remind me of a drummer I once knew who felt compelled to play with things he shouldn't. He'd inevitably break them. Then he'd hide them. That's what it's like, continually, for months on end. Anthropologically fascinating; On every other level, a colossal pain in the arse.

This current situation could be resolved by a man in Essex making a phone call to his solicitor. I've just heard that he's got the hump because he's received several phone calls in the last hour from desperate people pleading with him to call his solicitor. No, he says. He'll make the call when he wants to, not when we want him to. The deadline elapses in one hour. It's unspeakably tense. If someone can help me develop this into a screenplay, my contact details are below.