The glossy representations from the local real estate agents sit beside my bed in a pile - alongside my collection of unread books of poetry, two novels for getting me to sleep, thus never to be finished, an assortment of well thumbed magazines, the weekend papers and a purple ceramic aroma therapy gizmo. I fill this with fragrent oil occasionally as my attempt to set a romantic scene for seduction.
My wife rarely approaches this side of the room for fear of catching some newsprint born disease and when I do, secretly, light up the tea candle to vaporise the oil of seduction, rather than swoon and begin my hoped for scenario of a slow striptease she instead asks in an indignant tone: 'what's that smell?'
and goes on reading her book, and the moment is lost. My offering burnt off by her allergy to unidentified airborne aromas.
To console myself I sit up in bed with a pen and scrap paper and make a list of recent sales which are in the same street or which seem like a close match to the Moolabar Street cottage. I do some dodgy maths, guessing at inflation rates, property sales trends and a bit of wishful thinking, given that some of these sales happened over eight months previously. My mumbling, fidgeting with my calculator and scribbling do nothing for romance only adding another opportunity for my beloved to turn her back on me and demand:
'Do you have to do that now? For god's sake turn the light off and go to sleep.'
If this is my reverse psychology romance strategy it fails miserably.
In my twisted mind I had been hoping for
'Darling, if you turn off the light and put away your calculator we could ...................................'
But no. Scribbling in bed is no substitute for candles, a bottle of wine and those other ingredients which have always remained a mystery to me. Something about timing and creating the mood.
I have, however, succeeded in developing a pretty good picture of what I think the cottage is worth, give or take thirty to forty thousand. I will sleep peacefully knowing I can call my brother the next day to reveal my brilliant work.