Friday, March 16, 2012

What a difference a year makes…………………..

As I fast approach another Birthday its fun to think back to last year, when on a Friday afternoon I would hastily finish odds and ends in order to exit the office at London bridge by 4pm so I could get back home to Bournemouth before 7pm.

Dashing out the door to commence the assault course I would cling on to the frantic hope that I would make the 4.35pm train from Waterloo.  Walking at a London pace, dodging the hoards queuing outside the London dungeon I would stop briefly outside the Tube station, not to admire the glass monstrosity “The Shard” reaching the sky as its nears its half way construction stage but to check my Blackberry to make sure the boss hasn’t emailed wanting another inane report on how many vegetable peelings went in the bin and their cost in percentage against sales.  Sad but true my job was getting less about service, food and people and more about justifying why our percentage of peelings was up on the previous year. “note to self, make some Vodka for the team Christmas party”.

Rushing into the station and trying to descend the escalator down to the uncomfortable humidity of the platforms I navigate the aimless tourists standing on the left and not the right “ahhhh ill miss my train”. Hot and very bothered I almost sprint to the right end of the platform so my exit will be faster at the other end; the train arrives after a normal Jubilee Line delay of 10 minutes, its now 4.20pm!!

I board the crowded and even hotter tube, not making eye contact or speaking to anyone in fear of being accused of being a mad man or worse! The train leaves the station with the usual “mind the gap”  stopping as always just short of Waterloo for the inevitable ‘regulating the service’ delay.

I arrive at Waterloo with minutes to spare.  I board my train mopping my brow grabbing a can of what we now know is nothing like cider from the buffet car and check the blackberry one more time. In a couple of hours I will be home but too tired to take Alfie our Springer out, only time to eat dinner and fall asleep  in front of the TV.

This year is significantly different.  It’s now 5.30pm and it’s Alfie that’s asleep under our desk.  He’s had a busy day. 

What has now become our tradition on a Friday afternoon is a very long walk on the beach while Alfie swims tirelessly after the ball we throw.  The only rushing is done by Alfie in his urgency to get to the beach, the only delay caused by us as we stop to say hello to shake hands with and kiss the neighbours that we meet  and the only heat is from the afternoon sun which today has been the warmest so far this year. We get to the beach in less time than it took me to get down to the underground platform.

As we ambled back from our beach walk in the late afternoon sun, we stopped in the place de la marche de la legumes for a cheeky Cidre and a bowl of water for Alfie –of course the only reason for this was to let Alfie dry off a bit - honestly. 

 After a relaxing and refreshing break we walked the long way home (at least 3 minutes longer) past the locals playing Boules opposite the pier that stretches out towards Dinard. We pause again to watch the game. 

On returning home I pop to the ‘cave” to replenish the Cidre so its chilled ready for dinner which tonight Is whole fresh crab with mixed salad, homemade mayonnaise and of course fresh bread. We will enjoy this this evening after a few aperos sitting with the balcony doors open, to the sound of seagulls as the sun lowers in the sky.

Would I turn back time?.........never!

What a difference a year makes ……….
Bonne soiree!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Narrowing your property search in France

The Notaires de France website is a mine of information and if you are seriously interested in buying property in France then it's a "must see" part of your research.

A few weeks ago they posted a map showing average prices across various regions, you can download the pdf  here

It doesn't really tell you what your money will buy but it does give a decent comparison of relative values between say St Malo & Poitiers.

Once you have decided which region suits your requirements and budget then you can narrow your search by looking here
.The Immoprix site gives a more detailed breakdown by department and areas within a department.

Found your ideal area - then why not take a look at some listings on FrenchEntree
 or Se Loger so that you get a rough idea of what your money will actually buy.

Once you have done this and have your financing in place then it's the ideal time to appoint a buying agent to help source the specific property and buy it at the lowest possible price for you.

Here’s us Brittany Gems
 and fourteen others we’d recommend....there's bound to be one near you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Glorious sunshine, 18°C and our first wild oysters on the beach!

We had a great day yesterday! 

We were out with clients from the UK showing them some of the sights of Brittany and some of the towns, villages and hamlets that might provide their perfect location for a move to France.  After a bit of a misty start as we were driving down to Rennes to meet them off the train from Paris we had the most glorious weather.  12th of March, bright Spring sunshine and 18°C; our little bit of France was definately looking at its best.

Whilst we had arranged a very ‘whistlestop’ itinerary (apologies Tony & Maria if you were left in a daze but its testament to my habit for minute by minute planning) we managed to spare half an hour to drive into Cancale via the coast road, stop off and visit the oyster market that sits right on the beach.

Freshly opened wild oysters (huitres sauvage), the size of size 4 shoes, a squeeze of lemon, the simple taste of the sea and heaven!

With oyster shells suitable cast asunder on the beach (thats the tradition in Cancale) the tour continued but note to selves – go back for more as soon as you can ........

We really can’ t think of a better demonstration of why we are here!