Sunday 20 August 2017

Council of Despair - An exclusive interview

This week our business news editor Llinos Rhacs-Jibidêrs takes a penetrating, in-depth look at the property market in an exclusive interview with Sir Ephraim Jams.


After weeks of delicate negotiation, the appointed hour had finally arrived and I was ushered into the inner sanctum by veteran PR officer, Ms Rosa Klebb.

"You've got ten minutes, and don't push your luck, missy", she barked, clicking her heels ominously as the door closed behind me.

As I made my way across the deep lambswool shagpile to the sonorous ticking of an ornate ormulu Napoleon III carriage clock, I noted with awe the impressive array of portraits and autographed photographs hanging from the walnut panelling. 

There was Dame Muriel peering out from a huge flower-bedecked hat, with her ample frame swathed in a tasteful lilac Dalmatian jacket. HRH the Duchess of Cornwall gazed in soft focus from another frame, while alongside her portrait was another of Charles dressed casually as Commander in Chief of the Beefeaters greeting a bemedalled Sir Ephraim at the entrance to Llwynywermod.

Another signed photograph of HRH Camilla was placed strategically on the vast Louis Quinze mahogany desk, behind which sat Sir Ephraim in pensive mood.

"Good morning, Your Excellency", I began.

"Come, come, no need to be so formal. You may call me Sir Ephraim, or Sir for short, Miss, um...", the great man replied, flicking through some papers.

"Llinos Rhacs-Jibidêrs, Sir. But you may call me Llinos for short."

"Very well, Lino. I understand you wish to gain some insight into the workings of the property market?"

"Indeed, Sir. If I may begin by asking you for your views on the local housing market."

Sir Ephraim cracked his fingers. "A very good question. Well, after a period of exceptional growth fuelled by demand in the retirement sector, it has to be said that the last eight or nine years have been very disappointing locally. To combat that, I personally oversaw the emergence of the Local Development Masterplan based on what I was assured by my economic advisers would be an unprecedented upsurge in population growth. Unfortunately, the wrinklies have been dying off as fast as we can replace them, and so growth has been static."

"But it would be unwise to place all one's eggs in the geriatric basket, and so to that end the Masterplan provides for a swathe of more upmarket executive developments in what we call our Growth Zones, such as Fossils Race Course, the exciting new town springing up in the swamps to the south of Jobsworth Road or the wonderful new Kansas Fingerlickin' Fried Chicken Roundabout estate at Leekes Cross West."

"It has to be said that despite determined efforts to keep out undesirable elements by minimising the provision of cheap housing stock for local riff-raff, Twinkle Wimple and Woodrot Homes are still finding it tough going, even though these wonderful new developments represent an excellent opportunity for offshore investors and those looking for a tax efficient way of writing off losses."

"Overall, then, the local market is a specialised affair, and investors with only a couple of million to spare would be advised to look east to the much more exciting market in Cardiff", Sir Ephraim continued.

"Unlike this backwater, Cardiff is a vibrant, young city, and a very popular destination for hen and stag parties, AirBNB minibreakers and hipsters. The abolition of bridge tolls will do even more to open up the market to those looking for value for money, and returns are set to soar."

"To that end I and my fellow directors have begun developing a portfolio of residential properties in the Bay, and we have identified some exciting new opportunities in taking control of what are known as 'Right to Manage' entities away from the hopelessly inefficient and poisonous old busybodies who think they have a right to manage their blocks simply because they live there."

"This is all perfectly legal, although I am not at liberty to disclose the sensitive legal advice I have given myself, and it is frankly sickening that there have been complaints from cancerous old malcontents and professional complainers about the way in which these perfectly legitimate transactions have been carried out."

"But I wish to leave your readers in no doubt about my motives. I have worked tirelessly without payment in a non-executive capacity simply because I wished to help these poor, long-suffering home owners, and so successful have we been that my fellow directors and I have now set up a new company to offer advice to all those who find themselves in a similar position, whether they be in Hull, Harrogate or Harlech."

"It is therefore compassion and my duty as a Christian that drive me on to help those in need, and suggestions that I am motivated by unbridled greed are vile slurs."

Sir Ephraim snapped a pencil at this point, and I saw an opportunity to interrupt his monologue with a second question.

"I would like to ask, if I may, Sir, about recent press and blog coverage of your investment schemes."

Sir Ephraim looked very cross.

"You mean Shitton of the Mail, his bosom pal Jac in the Gogs and various other toxic and scurrilous vermin on the web, I take it, Miss Rhibidirês? Fortunately nobody outside my press office reads them, and Miss Klebb and my legal team are compiling another file on their vitriolic outpourings for the local constabulary."

"Thank you for clarifying that, Sir. May I ask you to clear up the controversy surrounding the appointment of a former tenant to manage your ventures?"

Sir Ephraim looked very stern. "Let me make it perfectly clear that Miss Ludmilla Legova was introduced to the board by a director who had declared a personal interest in the matter, as the law and transparency require, and that it was unanimously agreed that this talented young woman was exceptionally well qualified for the role. Not only does she possess a PhD in Baroque Fiddlers, but she gained extensive administrative experience during the months she spent working alongside some of our greatest singers, including Dame Kiwi T. Canalot."

"But as usual, the guttersnipes have sought to belittle her multiple achievements with smut and innuendo."

"You mean, Sir, Ms Legova's modelling career and the balcony incident?"

"Indeed. I have little more to say about this other than that it was typical of what passes for journalism in these parts that there should have been vile speculation about that unfortunate freak accident when she fell from a balcony while playing a pink oboe, just as the poster in which she appeared modelling swimwear while holding a peeled banana under the caption 'I am getting my five a day' was part of a healthy eating awareness campaign. To suggest otherwise is a disgrace."

Before I could probe any further, the door opened and in strode Miss Klebb, announcing curtly that it was time for me to leave.


Elderly Neil. said...

Absolutely brilliant. I love it.

m1books said...

Agree - totally brilliant, but dear me how can Sir Ephraim not have any conflicts of interest let alone conscience?!!!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, your choice of address may be a little too close for comfort.

'Sir' might be a title we hear about in the not too distant for said character.

Just saying....

Anonymous said...

Oh no, Anon @ 00.03, please, no! Please say you're winding us up. My blood pressure level has just gone ballistic at the thought of a Sir Ephraim.

Who The Fox Knows said...

Pink oboe! A vile calumny! I have it on good authority she was playing Bach's Air on the G String on the rusty trombone with the finesse of the late Glenn Miller.

Anonymous said...

Where's everyone gone? Is everybody on Holiday? I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. The suspense is killing me ha!

Carmarthen Bay Developments said...

You honestly could not make it up!!! Nobody would believe you!!!