Location, Location, Location
Nadiya’s Simple Spices
There is something terribly un-British about haggling. Even on holiday, in countries where it’s the custom and often expected, bargaining over the price seems almost like begging.
The most excruciating part of any episode of The Apprentice comes when the business wannabes dash into a shop and make half-price offers for goods.
Yet we haggle over houses. That’s the one time it’s acceptable. Perhaps it’s because property prices are so high, it’s hard to comprehend how much we’re spending.
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer have been trying to teach us how to strike a property bargain for nearly 25 years. One good rule of thumb, apparently, is to offer 5 per cent below the asking price (NB, a disclaimer — never take financial advice from a television column).
But as Location, Location, Location (Ch4) returned for its 40th series, their clients had very different ideas about haggling.
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer have been trying to teach us how to strike a property bargain for nearly 25 years
Glen and Natalie, together with their ten-year-old son, Barnaby, had been house-hunting around Torquay in Devon for 18 months. They had seen three dozen houses and none met their needs, which didn’t seem extravagant: two bedrooms or more, a kitchen-diner, off-street parking, close to the sea. But the family’s budget wouldn’t stretch beyond £280,000.
To Kirstie’s disbelief, they fell in love with the first place she showed them. The moment they saw the paved driveway, they were besotted. Natalie was almost scared to go inside: ‘The house is so good, I just don’t want anything to jinx it.’
By the time they’d toured the rooms, they were decided. Kirstie made them look again, but the couple were chafing to offer the full asking price of £280,000. This was accepted immediately.
If every property viewing went like that, Phil and Kirstie wouldn’t have a show.
Single mum-of-two Amy, on the other hand, was ready to spend £900,000 for four bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen and dining room, sunny garden and great views — and might be persuaded to fork out a full million.
She couldn’t feign enthusiasm for any of the houses Phil showed her, even when La Allsopp (whose own success had left her temporarily unemployed) muscled in.
The way he does what he’s told — ‘Be quiet, Phil. Go away, Phil’ — must make him the envy of millions of women who’d love an obedient husband like that.
While the presenters flirted, Amy went back to a house she’d seen months earlier. The vendors were resolute: they wanted £950,000 or nothing. Amy, however, was determined to haggle.
One good rule of thumb, apparently, is to offer 5 per cent below the asking price (NB, a disclaimer — never take financial advice from a television column)
Location, Location, Location (Ch4) returned for its 40th series, their clients had very different ideas about haggling
Nadiya Hussain shows us recipes from her childhood on Simple Spices (BBC2)
Her first offer of £850,000 had been rejected. Now she offered £910,000, and £930,000, and finally settled on £940,000 with furniture thrown in. By this point, even Del Boy selling dodgy dinner services on his market stall might think the back-and-forth was getting to be an embarrassment.
Nadiya Hussain wouldn’t put up with any arguing, over prices or anything else. You can just tell from the way she wags her finger and scolds the camera on Nadiya’s Simple Spices (BBC2). Cooking rice, she orders us, ‘Do not let the steam out,’ with a threatening glare. She’s at her best when she’s bossy.
This has been a mouthwatering cookery series, especially good when the former Bake Off champ is showing us recipes from her childhood, such as a basic biryani or a quick trick to make pakoras from leftover veggies. There’s no need for the segments from other cooks — Nadiya’s got more than enough tips to fill the half hour.
Her suggestion of using spinach leaves instead of lettuce in a burger is definitely worth trying. But I had no idea pakoras are meant to be eaten with a mug of tea. Surely, you can’t dunk them?