Okay, so this post links to an article in the Telegraph, but work with me here. Celebrity newsreader and reality TV ballroom dancer Natasha Kaplinsky has had some difficulty selling her house. This fact opens a piece about other nice middle-class people [British definition] trying to flog their own or their parents’ respective gaffs in a falling property market. This quote from one of the latter category of “sufferers” was drawn to my attention by the Motley Fool and tells non-Brits a lot about the way the English relate to the country’s number one obsession:

“In May, I reduced the price again, this time to £325,000. I have had four or five people come to view the house since then, but I am not sure how serious they were. One American couple just stood there and said ‘how quaint’. The market just seems dead at the moment. There has been a lot of property in the village lurking around on the market for several months, several for over a year. From the point of view of selling her house, my mother died at just the wrong time.

Why do I use the phrase “Daily Mail World”? Well the Mail is (like its readers, I suspect) fixated on house prices. For example, Paul Nixon found this cutting from the Mail in Private Eye:

“And they point out that global warming could have positive effects which [sic] are generally ignored. In Britain, these include rises in house prices which ‘tend to be higher in regions with preferred climates'”

On a related note, contributors to the Fool respond to a link to this story

Newly-built flats go up in flames

Some flats at a new housing development in Somerset may have to be demolished after a major fire on Monday morning.

with the following joke:

Three old men were sipping cocktails by the beach in Florida one sunny Floridian afternoon, when one turns to the other and asks, “So how did you make enough money to retire down here?”, in an effort to make small-talk. The other turned towards him with a very sombre face and says “Oh, it was very tragic; I used to have a textiles factory, but one day it caught fire and burnt to the ground-there was literally nothing left. Luckily I was insured, so seeing as my wife and I are getting on in years, we thought we’d retire somewhere warm and sunny on the coast, and here we are; how ’bout you?”

The other replied “Well that’s an amazing coincidence, I too had a garment factory, but one day it burnt down leaving me with nothing, but luckily the Lord was smiling down on me that day and my insurance paid out, and here I am sipping cocktails with you.”

At this point they both turned to the third old man and asked him how he came to be there. He replied, “Well, I used to work as a self-employed fabric salesman, selling cloth out of a warehouse in Mississippi, but one day there was an almighty flood, and all of my stock was ruined, and that was almost the end of me, but by a great stroke of good fortune I had taken out flood insurance the year before and I was able to retire to Florida on the proceeds.” The two old men who had asked him the question in the first place now began to look very puzzled, and after a few minutes has passed in silence, the first man could not contain his curiosity any longer, and blurted out,

“But how do you start a flood?”