Tuesday, 10 April 2007

the potato clause

Michal and I are buying a plot of land some 16 kilometers south of Krakow. Once a farming field, it is now a tops bit of dirt for a home with views of the mountains based at the foot of a forest. To complete the cliché, when we visited it once, a deer ran across it. But what makes me very excited is the existing land owner. She is 74, never married and childless. Her arms are the size of tree trunks. Even at her age. She is the strongest woman I have ever seen. When our car got bogged, she came out to assist by pushing the damn vehicle out of the mud. And didn’t even slip. She spent the last week chopping down the trees and shrubbery to make a clearing for the road that the council is promising to build. They paid her 1000 zloty for the chopping (some AUD $450). Yet she is softly spoken and trusts you completely as long as she is confident you’re not out to screw her over. And we’re not. There is a small problem in closing the deal though. We’re taking out a mortgage for the land and the bank will only pay out the sum via account transfer. Normal, yes? Well not if you have never owned a bank account. As in ever. She was first hoping that we would arrive at the solicitor’s office with a suitcase full of cash (mind you, we did just that when we were putting down the 10% deposit), and was a tad disappointed when we asked her this evening to open a bank account to complete the contract of sale. I too was a bit shattered. I was really hoping to don some black shades, whack a cigar in my mouth, and slam a briefcase filled with 90 000 zloty and smirk ‘ya gonna count that?’ But she consented to the bank idea. Michal and I in the next week or so will drive her to Krakow and help her open an account. Fancy that! The vendor trusting the buyer with the vendor’s money! Only in Poland. In exchange we have agreed for her to plant some potatoes on what will soon be our plot. Nice bit of contracting that, methinks.

9 comments:

edd said...

so where's the nice lady going now that you've bought her land???

Justyna said...

she will still be our next door neighbour! she's only selling her agricultural strip, but retaining the land where her own house is on! so not to worry dear edd...

Anonymous said...

if your dad is looking for the son that he never had, apart from that
deadbeat Michal, then i'd happily put my hand up for the position.
after reading today's blog i spent my lunch break reading up on how to build a smokehouse. i would dearly love to be shown how to smoke polish pork
products.

so maybe give him some warning that a crazed australian pig smokin wannabe, with a penchant for making inappropriate remarks about hubbies, may turn up
on his door step, with a bag of sawdust, demanding to be taught the ways of our forefathers.

plus libby and i are very jealous of your property purchase. we too are looking for something 16kms south of campbelltown. noice area. noice.

Hugh

Michael said...

How many fucking houses do you need?

I never thought I'd roll with property magnates ...

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justyna said...

Thousands. So that I can prove to everyone that I have made it.

Michael said...

Unlike the last comment, this comment is not going to be impudent.

I had a brilliant idea: why don't you get a grant from the E.U. to build the house — if it's zoned agricultural, there'll probably be a bottomless pit of money from Brussels.

Example: at the farm I'm staying on, the E.U. paid for the family to build a B&B. THEY PAID FOR EVERYTHING. And now the owners are making SHITLOADS.

Just an idea your for your legalistic genius to chew over.

Joanna said...

A land and a house? I am really impressed! Warning! You are going to be grownup Justyna!

Karen said...

so exciting! please post a picture. And don't let 'em bring you down for having your shit together - they're just jealous ;-)