07 January, 2006

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So yesterday (earlier today, what to call the day, have massive insomnia right now), saw 22 apartments. Can't say flats in the usual
way because let's see, some were houses, some were flats, some were duplexes, some were maisonettes (supposed to be French for "small house" but there are esoteric requirements for the use of the word here whose intricacies I can't fathom right now). No semi-detached houses, sadly, since that has long been my mother's and my favorite real estate designation. But two diametrically opposed places stand out at 4 a.m.: one a neglected but completely gorgeous and charming flat a block from Avery's school, horrible kitchen and bathrooms, grotty carpet throughout, but POCKET doors between the two (!) parlors and bow windows... all the original plaster mouldings. John immediately asked if it were for sale; we could both envision bringing it back to life. Well, no, in fact the owner owns the whole building
(a listed thing of decaying beauty in Marylebone). He needs to be shot or else take care of it.

The second possibility is on an excruciatingly tidy and perfect block of Mayfair (kept expecting to see Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter around the corner), with rights to a communal garden so tiny and exquisite it's like it's all under glass. A gray, dwindling glass since it's London in January, but still. A very sort of (as Londoners would say, one of my favorite expressions) modern but cozy house, with a surfeit of bathrooms and too much overhead lighting, but... double-glazed CURVED windows looking out onto the garden.

So then our marvellous estate agent Jane (army colonel's daughter, raised in India, great Oxbridge sort of voice and a wonderful mimic at
anything else) threaded her way through the crowded London streets and we collected a wet but triumphant Avery from school having just had swimming. Clio is showing feet of clay: ""Sarah says she is always super nice to new girls [must pronounce this as if it were birds perched on a roof in Maine, "gulls"], and then..." I advise caution
and judging both girls on their merits. Another gull, Jana, plays the guitar which is an obvious draw, as well as attempting an American accent which Avery says sounds like Texas. How would she know?

A very funny thing before I forget. John went to the wine store with a request from me to find some exotic drink I couldn't get in America, perhaps some fancy vodka steeped in something. All this a throwback to old Moscow days where we marinated anything and everything (ginger, garlic, watermelon) in the stuff and made people drink it. He came back with a bottle of plain vodka and said, "Sorry, nothing exotic. But I could fix you a cocktail with just vodka and say, a slice of apple in it?" Avery pipes up and says, "That sounds so delicious. Just hold the cocktail, please."

Oh dear!

More soon...

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