Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Washed-Out Suits ... and the Butler Who Did No Work for 40 Years

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Washed-Out Suits ... and the Butler Who Did No Work for 40 Years

Article excerpt

MONDAY Parts of the nation, including ours, are finally drying out, but thanks to "the floods" at home I have 29 Strutt & Parker umbrellas, three pairs of work shoes soaked to the sole and four suits smelling distinctly of wet dog. With weeks of frayed nerves and plans of emigration a hot topic in the office, the brief heatwave could not have come soon enough. However, the horrific rain has not dampened buyers' spirits, and there's a final flurry of activity before the summer lull. There's good reason to celebrate as we sell a flat at One Hyde Park for a record price -- proving to sceptics that these prestige properties do sell, and very well at that!

TUESDAY I am delighted to be instructed to sell an elegant (on the outside) but totally knackered [pounds sterling]15 million townhouse in Knightsbridge. It turns out that the house was "lost" by the owner back in the Seventies when he was reorganising his family trust. So now it has been "found". Found! Like I would find 50p down the back of the sofa. We have some initial problems with "Jeeves", the resident butler who has been happy as Larry occupying the basement staff suite (probably about 1,000sq ft), undisturbed and totally unworked, yet fully remunerated, for 40 years...

WEDNESDAY The office is delighted as we exchange contracts on a big flat in the neighbourhood.

The buyer tells us he originally called our competitors to arrange a viewing but no one answered the phone, so we got the job. Sometimes it is that easy. Today we also see the biggest lateral apartment in central London -- picture a 10,000sq ft mansion in Eaton Square, all on one floor. The flat is vast and a circuit of it takes at least five minutes, but it needs interior designing which, says an expert, could cost between [pounds sterling]5 million and [pounds sterling]10million, depending on the buyer's specification. …

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