Stewart stepped from his convertible Volvo smartly dressed in khaki pants, brown loafers and a blue Lloyd’s sweater, portfolio in one hand and digital voice recorder in the other. He was hired by the house owner to give our soon to be rental a thorough going over. Once inside he explained the process.
“I will need one of you with me at all times as I describe the condition of the house and will periodically ask you if you agree with my assessment,” he stated most officially. “The owner would like a detailed accounting of the house upon move in that will be compared to when you move out. Any questions?”
There were none so the two of us moved to the front entry and he began.
“Door handle. Brass. Tarnished. Slightly worn.”
“Door. White. New. Window. Slightly dusty outside; slightly dusty inside.”
“Carpet. Entry hall. Slightly dirty. Needs vacuuming.”
And so it went. For the next hour Stewart proceeded to dictate into his digital recorder EVERY detail of our house.
“Refrigerator. Working. Showing slight wear. Ding, lower right outside of door, slightly painted to hide ding.”
“Counter top. Gray. Faux marble. Slightly scratched near sink. Minor burn mark near cook top.”
Stewart was all business, working his way down the hall to the reception room, out the double doors and into the garden (which we North Americans call yards) and to the little shed at far side. He even made note of the weeds in the flower bed (I wasn’t clear as to whether we are supposed to restore those if/when we move out). He worked his way back indoors, up the stairs, through the three small rooms to the only full bathroom in the house. It was there that Stewart’s steady, monotonous pace was interrupted.
“Slightly pink ceiling. Slightly pink wall paint. White wall tiles with [pushing pause on the recorder….again pressing record] …a type of flower pattern.”
He had even found words to describe the light shades throughout the upstairs that look like the little umbrellas that come in mixed drinks, but the tile left him searching for words.
“I have to admit it has been a while since I’ve seen a pattern like that,” he said, offering his first chuckle since making an off-color remark about the English weather while stepping from his convertible.
Eventually he finished, told me three copies of the transcript will be made – one for the owner, one for the leasing agent and one for us – and that I would need to look them over and sign. With that he handed me the keys to the house.
“Cheers, and best of luck to ya,” he said as he turned to leave.
I laughed as he drove away and in my developing British accent said to a friend who was with me, “That was a slightly odd, but most enjoyable experience.” His reply: “Glad you liked it because that was very normal….and very British.”
And to think, we still have the gas, electric, phone, water, television and Internet to connect. Getting settled in this house could take slightly more time than I anticipated!