A PLACE IN THE SUN
I’m addicted to this TV programme as much to see the beautiful style and dresses worn by the glamour queens of property hunting, Jasmine Harman, Laura Hamilton, Sara Damergi and Scarlette Douglas and Danni Menzies. Danni has grown into the role of presenter with great aplomb and where would we be without Jonny Irwin and Ben Hillman’s cheeky banter. Their ability to walk on cobble stones and rough terrain in high heeled shoes, or super high platform sandals is worthy of a Place in the World Records, although Jonny has had a few wobbly moments.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
So now we get to the crux of the matter or the village of Crux in Espana or France or whatever the couple hunting for their dream property desire. They are shown three or four properties and at the end of the show either make an offer on one or decide that none of them quite hit the mark.
Seems simple enough. A good format for a show and I get to see cities and town and wee hamlets without the hassle of airports. My couch is a lot more comfortable than Air Cramp Spasms Where Do I Put My Legs. Okay, I don’t get to feel the sun on my face. I don’t get to smell the beautiful flowers. I don’t get to sample local tasty cuisine – I mean the food! I don’t get sunburnt. I don’t get mosquito bites. What I do get is plenty of jaw drop moments listening to the property seekers comments.
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Standing on a beautiful beach somewhere in the sun, make-up and hair immaculate, the show’s presenters ask that crucial question. (By the way Ben, you need a haircut and Jonny a bit more gel wouldn’t go amiss.) So, what is the first question or questions? What kind of property are you looking for?
What location? How many bedrooms? Old or new? Do you need a roof? Do you need an indoor toilet? Well, along those lines generally. This is the moment when I lean forward, my ears flapping, eager to hear their answer. The average couple want one bedroom, but two would be nice. Must be near local facilities. Must have a sea view. A pool would be great.
Must be big enough to fit the whole family (ten plus people, not including ten sprogs, a few friends and neighbours). And two bathrooms would be a bonus. The crucial question is next, and my ears are flapping like an elephant’s in a tropical storm. ‘How much do you have to spend?’ or ‘What’s your budget?’ Proudly they announce: 60,000 sterling. This is where the presenter’s verbosity comes into play.
Words like compromise, big ask, any wiggle room? What they really want to say is: ‘You’re joking! Are you nuts? Who the hell sent me these people? I’ve had enough. Some other plonker can find them a shack in the sun, but it won’t be me and my feet are killing me and it’s too bloody hot and my PMT is raging. Ben you can get help for your raging PMT.
Much to my amazement the property hunters are escorted to lovely locations minutes from a quaint town and beaches that stretch for miles. Will they be tempted by the open plan modern and stylish apartment on offer right on their budget? Will they be tempted by the view and the sparkling communal swimming pool? No! Oh, dear! It’s too small. Only has 1.5 bedrooms.
Can only see a sliver of sea if you poke your head out far enough provided you haven’t got vertigo. Don’t like the layout, the colour, the kitchen units. It’s ‘not for us.’ On to property two. Now this is even bigger, brighter and more modern. ‘No, not feeling it. Balcony too small. It’s five minutes walk to the beach, too far! Don’t like split-level.’ By now I’m crouched on the floor in front of the TV thinking how amazing that you can get such a lovely apartment for 60,000 sterling. Am I missing something here?
ARE YOU PREPARED TO COMPROMISE?
The presenters ask the still hopeful couple if they are prepared to move to Mongolia? I mean, a bit further out of town or not near a beach. They agree. Another jaw drop moment for me as they are shown around a three bedroomed, yes three, gorgeous property. A town house no less with enough space for four families.
Okay, a bit of an exaggeration. And it has two bathrooms and a swimming pool and room for a pony or two. My heart is thumping with excitement. This is it! That special moment on A Place in the Sun when the property searchers find their dream home. Every single request on their wish list is met, plus a few more they didn’t ask for. And, wait for it! It’s below budget plus room for negotiation. By now I’m shouting at the TV ‘Buy it! Buy it!’
‘Not quite what we had in mind. The garden is far too big. The pool is too small. We don’t like the view from the solarium. Can’t see the sea.’ (Not surprising. You’re inland). ‘Not familiar with this area. No, it’s not for us. We’re not feeling it.’
Final chance for our intrepid presenters. Which of them will pull the rabbit out of the hat, or the magical dream home in the sun out of the deep blue sea? Our delightful property hunters are brought back to the town they know and love so well, from years of holidays in the sun. Familiarity breeds contempt, say I, so let’s see. Amazingly, the final property is everything they want and more. They cry and weep and laugh with joy. ‘Our dream has come true,’ they say with a tremble in their voice. I am so happy for them. With a sigh of relief, I sit back on the couch and relax.
This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I shed a few tears myself as I see how happy the property hunters are. It’s so lovely to see people realizing their dream of owning a home in the sun. Even better, the lucky sods are cash buyers. Stage centre: presenter and couple sitting outside in glorious sunshine, eager and excited. Have they made a decision? Yes. Do they want to put in an offer?
Yes. Presenter claps hands in delight: ‘That’s so amazing!’ The property is on at 60,000 and it’s dirt cheap. How the show’s researchers managed to find such a gem at that price is unbelievable. ‘So, what’s your offer?’ the presenter asks.’ They reply: ‘41,000 because we do need to spend some money on it, to give it our personal touch.’.
Now it’s not only my jaw dropping, it’s the presenters and I’m sure I heard a loud guffaw from the cameraman. ‘You want to offer 41,000 even though it’s actually perfect and has everything on your wish list? Pretty unlikely your offer will be accepted.’ She or he cringes as they ring the agent grateful it’s not the vendor who would no doubt scream abuse. The offer isn’t accepted. The agent has suggested that an offer of 58,000 would be acceptable. How lucky is that? But no! They increase their offer to 42,000 stating it’s their final and only offer. Not accepted. They shrug and walk away. I need jaw surgery. My mouth won’t close.
HASTA LA VISTA BABY
Who in their right minds would walk away from their dream property in the sun? I’m screaming at the TV. ‘No! Don’t do that! You’re crazy! Live your dream! Give me the bloody money and I’ll buy it. Noooooooooooooo!’ Can I put myself through this trauma Well, I did say I was addicted so next time it will be the renovation, four walls and no roof, the cave house and the quaint and quirky and quiet hamlets with a population of four, but your bread does get delivered. Hasta la vista, baby.