This morning Tim was about to go out. He opened the front door, and saw a Cypriot man wandering around in our front garden, looking at the house. Tim said hello, and the man looked surprised to see him. Then he told Tim that he was thinking of buying the house.
So Tim called me, and the man said much the same. He said he'd spoken to the owner (our landlady), and that he wanted to look around.
Seemed odd to me, since our landlady is usually very careful about checking even if she wants to come over for any reason. She won't even come and pick a few lemons without asking us first. So it was hard to believe she'd told someone we'd never met before to come and look around.
Then a lady appeared, I presume the man's wife. She was fully bilingual, a British Cypriot who spoke English like a Brit. I explained that we didn't think the house was for sale - but that if it was, we would be interested ourselves. I said we had understood that it was to be knocked down within the next year or so, and flats built in its place.
She tried to pull her husband back. She sounded much less certain, and said of course they wouldn't come in - after all, we didn't know who they were. Then she told her husband she was far too hot, asked if we had air conditioning, and then said they'd come back another time with a proper appointment.
It left me feeling a bit unnerved. Last time we spoke to our landlady, she said she certainly wouldn't be doing anything with the house until 2006 because her daughter's getting married just after Christmas, and as she doesn't want to live here they don't want to have to worry about the house before then. Most rental homes here are dowry houses - property belongs to women in Cyprus, mostly - and as our landlady has three daughters, it will eventually belong to them. However many families knock down old houses and build blocks of flats - usually six or eight - and then rent them out to bring in money, or even sell some of them if their daughters don't want to live there.
We have a huge garden here, and it's quite possible that the far end could have flats built, in which case the house might remain. Alternatively, and this is what was first proposed, the house might simply be knocked down and the flats built where it stands. I think that would be a pity, as it's a lovely shape, colonial style. It's not actually very old - only about fifty years or a little more since it was built. On the other hand, the outside is in poor condition and needs a lot of work to make it look good. It needs a new roof, replacement windows and shutters, and ideally one more bathroom - or at least a second room with a toilet since there's only one - so it won't be cheap to renovate if it is sold.
But if it IS for sale, then we'd definitely be interested ourselves. If the price is reasonable. We're hoping to sell our UK house when we're back in the Autumn, and as we paid the mortage on that a few years it would give us a good sum to buy a house here. We've been vaguely looking around, but don't want to find anything ideal until we've actually sold our UK house. We thought we might begin looking seriously in about November, once we return from our visit. It may be that the house we're living in would be too expensive - we really have no idea what kind of price it might go for. With the entire plot it would have been way beyond our price-range, but if the far end is going to be turned into flats, so it's a smaller garden with the house to remain, it might be within our range.
Richard tried to phone our landlady when he was back for lunch, but she was out. So maybe he'll speak to her later and find out what's going on. None of us really WANT to move - it's such a hassle! - and certainly not before the end of this year. But if she's definitely going to sell, then we want to know that too.
What a year of milestones this is turning out to be....