The auction for the cottage is scheduled for 12 p.m. today at a pub about five miles from the cottage. I’ve set an alarm for 5 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) Standard Time so I will be thoroughly awake for the auction, which will be at 7 a.m. my time.
I have spoken with G., and prepped him on what I’m willing to pay. I know it will be more than the L150-200,000 that was listed in the brochure, but I can’t go much higher. With the other 43 individuals and property developers who viewed the Open House, my bidding on the cottage will be an exercise in futility. But as the lottery slogan goes, You gotta be in it to win it!
I have many relatives who live nearby and would be capable of bidding on my behalf, but I have asked G. to do the honors. I’ve seen him in action at the Bakewell cattle market, bidding on bullocks, and I like his understated bidding technique not to mention his expertise at auctions.
This is G.’s hand when he isn’t bidding:
This is G’s hand when he is bidding:
There’s a difference of probably three inches in height between a bid and a not-a-bid. If you blink, you’d miss it. Which is what G. wants. You don’t want your competition to know exactly who’s bidding.
Five minutes before the start of the auction for the cottage, I phone S. She hands the phone to G., we talk briefly, then he hands the phone back to her so he can concentrate on the bidding. I am breathing shallowly with excitement, and with the sad knowledge that I will soon be outbid.
The bidding starts at L150,000, and then I hear some muffled words indicating that more bids are being made. At this rate, they will quickly go beyond what I can afford. I hear more words, but nothing I can understand.
“There are about five other bidders,” S. says to me.
I wait, my heart in my throat. I really want this cottage!
More time passes, and then G. get on the phone.
He says, “It’s gone.”
Shit, I think. Shit shit shit shit shit! Of course it’s gone. It’s one of the last great properties in the village, an old farmhouse from the 1700s with lots of land and a barn.
It will have been sold to a property developer, and he will raze this historic cottage and put up executive boxes. I feel extremely sad, and furious that I was unable to cobble together the necessary money in order to own this cottage and save it from destruction.
I so wish it were different, but as G. has just told me, It’s gone.
Several seconds of silence, and then he says, “To you!”