Monday, 8 June 2009


From: tim broughton
Sent: 31 May 2009 11:13
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Dear Sir

My wife and I have decided that we need to put our family home up for sale from the beginning of July. The house is situated at SW3 6LH - as I'm sure you'll agree, an extremely desirable London location.

My wife, Zho-ee, won tabletennis Olympic gold in Barcelona and we are now required to return to China to help in preparations for next year's World Championships and of course the London Olympics in 2012.

We will be in the Maldives for the next 3-4 weeks or so, but I will be checking my Blackberry intermittently. Please do email me with the next steps, presumably a valuation. I have heard a little of Foxtons but perhaps you could let me know why you'd be the best agent for my property? Zho-ee thinks we should go through a Chinese agent, which I don't think is a good idea at all.

Many thanks
Tim Broughton

From: Alia Jamal
Sent: 4 June 2009 13:55
To: tim broughton
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Dear Mr Broughton,

Thank you for your recent email.

Yes you are quite right that we will need to value the property, as the first step.

Is there access to the property in your absence so Ian Brownridge, the sales manager can go and visit the property. Alternatively we can organize a time for when you return to London.

Please advise Zho-ee that a Chinese agent if there is such a specific agency may only attract Chinese Clients but Foxtons is London’s largest estate agents who are able to attract buyers from all over the world which in turn enables you to achieve the best possible price.

Ian is very keen to meet you both but as you are away over the next few weeks it would be great if we can get the valuation done to get the ball rolling for you so you are prepared to market from the beginning of July.

I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Kind Regards

Miss Alia Jamal
Department Head

From: tim broughton
Sent: 5 June 2009 22:00
To: Alia Jamal
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Dear Alia

Many thanks for your swift response. It all sounds very positive, but I still think Zho-ee would be rather annoyed if we didn't use a Chinese agent. She's a rather strong character, you see, with strong Chinese roots and a fierce passion for her homeland (and tabletennis). Ian Brownridge sounds like a fine fellow, but he doesn't sound Chinese.

Would you by any chance have any Chinese chaps who could do the valuation?

If this doesn't prove fruitful, I do have a plan B. Do you think Ian would mind meeting me outside where I could give him a T-Shirt to wear which has Barcelona '92 emblazoned across the front. And perhaps he could hold a tabletennis paddle around the house whilst doing the valuation? I'm sure Zho-ee's initial reservations about Ian would soften if he appears to be a tabletennis enthusiast. I could even send through some tabletennis facts for him to learn - ones that only a fan would know.

Please let me what you think.

Best wishes


PS It's early days but so far the Maldives are poor.

Sent from a Blackberry

From: Ian Brownridge
Sent: 6 June 2009 09:25
To: tim broughton
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Hi Tim

Thanks for your message which my colleague Alia Jamal has forwarded on to me.

This all sounds rather peculiar, but please give me a call to discuss this in more detail as we don’t even have the property address at this stage and we cannot do anything without the address and your contact telephone numbers.

One thing which is puzzling me, is that there were two Chinese female table tennis gold medal winners from the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and they were called Yaping Deng and Hong Qiao.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards
Ian Brownridge
Sales Manager

From: tim broughton
Sent: 8 June 2009 07:45
To: Ian Brownridge
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Dear Ian

Goodness me, this has all been a bit of a shock to the system.

I have now had the opportunity to research the winners of the tabletennis Olympic medals in Barcelona and you're absolutely right - Yaping Deng and Hong Qiao were the only victors that year. I even looked into the doubles events and, sure enough, there isn't a Zho-ee to be seen. This would explain the lack of any winner's medal. She told me all trophies and awards were held by the state as a symbol of national achievement and not individual glory. Unbelievable.

Naturally I'm shaking with rage about this. I mean, who would make up such a peculiar story? I am biding my time to select the correct moment to confront Zho-ee about this. Did I mention she's a very strong character?

I think I'd better put the house sale on hold until all this is sorted. The last thing I need is to be sharing the revenue of a multi-million pound home with a deceptive, faux tabletennis champion.

Many thanks in any case for your investigative, inquisitive input. I'd never have thought to check such things, and I married her.

I will be in touch as/when this issue is resolved.

Best wishes

Tim Broughton

PS Nightmare holiday. Last night I stood on my sunglasses. Today is the first day for a week that it's been sunny.

Sent from a Blackberry

From: Ian Brownridge
Sent: 8 June 2009 14:32
To: Tim Broughton
Subject: Chelsea home for sale

Dear Tim Broughton/Chortle

Thanks for the very amusing messages!! I was quite looking forward to wearing the Barcelona ’92 T-shirt – what a shame.

If you need a good divorce lawyer to deal with Zho-ee I have a great recommendation for you, she’s called Sue Grabbitandrun.

Best regards