I felt like a crack SAS commando storming the Dorchester Hotel ambushing him and his entourage
I like to live life in a state of cautious optimism. I think it’s a good place to be: hopeful that things will work out without the automatic assumption they will.
Last week I wrote of the patience that I was being forced to endure – awaiting the decision of our biggest client to say ‘yae’ or ‘nae’ to the £40m cash offer, at asking price, on his house. Having hovered the carrot of possibility in front of us for over four months I went to have a face to face with him – or rather forced an encounter.
I felt like a crack SAS commando storming the Dorchester Hotel ambushing him and his entourage (on a rare visit from Jeddah). This high-risk operation involved sitting in the lobby hiding behind an appropriately placed Spear's magazine and waiting to pounce.
I knew his schedule – for he’s a man of habit – and sticks to a routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same venues. He’s the type who likes to be known and his liberal offering of red 50s from doorman to waiter to chef and sous-chef alike ensures that he is.
I caught him as he was heading to lunch, leaping up from behind my magazine and adopting my best GCSE drama-award winning surprised face. I gave him our customary greeting and commented on what a co-incidence it was that I happened to be there. He swept on after a cursory nod and as I was passed by the swirl of the entourage, I thought to myself – I am not waiting another four months for a decision.
I pursued him to the line of awaiting Rolls Royce Phantoms and knocked on the blacked out window feeling more desperado than distinguished in this new guise.
The window rolled down.
‘It occurred to me, while you’re here, you should let me know if you want to accept the offer we’ve had on the house. It’s rather a good one.’
‘What offer?’ he asked.
‘Oh, the £40m one that came in a few months ago. I did mention it.’ I tried to sound casual. ‘The thing is they’re rather keen to get your answer.’
‘Tell them no.’
‘Just no, would an increase over the asking work? I do think it’s a great price.’
‘No.’ It appeared our conversation was over as the window starting gliding upwards.
I did my best to look dignified as the fleet of cars swept out of the Dorchester and consoled myself that we had an answer at last. Not the one we wanted, but an answer.
I cycled back through the park and saw the daffodils in full bloom, people in shorts for the first time this year; the unthinkable had occurred – spring has finally sprung. And there were smiles on all the people around me. So what if a deal I’d been working on for four years and would represent my biggest to date had fallen through; life is good and there will be other deals to come – cautious optimism remains. What else is there?