Thursday, 23 April 2009

Time check

Just over a year ago S and I were on holiday in Albi for a couple of weeks. The point of the trip was to have a look at the property available that might be within my budget and which might generate a small amount of income.
I had been logging on most days and scouring various French Property web sites which I had discovered in the pages of my monthly issue of “French Property News”. I must have spent weeks worth of time in search of the ideal French location and / property.
I read tales of people who had sold up in the UK and who on a very small budget. (Their idea of a small budget being about 4 times my available budget) and had bought a chamber d’hote, or a cheap chateau, a vineyard, fishing lakes, hotel, bar etc etc. Many of the people were retirees or frazzled executives quitting the 24 hour rat race, cashing in on the high value of their Southern England properties and rates of exchange which would can only be dreamed of today.
I watched television programmes about seemingly clueless people who took on impossible tasks, converting a chateau into a high class b &b in France, or in Slovenia. Almond farming in France, or even snail farming. Some people barely out of their 20’s had enough money to sell up and buy a property at home and one abroad. Oh how I agonised with them over their dreadful dilemma (not!). Some were obviously complete wastes of space with no intentions of buying anything.
Anyway back to the plot. In the middle of the holiday I had arranged to spend 3 nights in a town south of Toulouse to have a look at a property which might be suitable for my purposes. The estate agency set up about 5 other viewings for us and over the three days we travelled to different areas of the Department.
Back in Albi once more, I bought the building in which I now live, by text message.
So what? Well it was just over a year ago i.e. on the 18th March 2008.
I was still doing my job in the UK, but my house had been on the market for about 8 months and it was likely that the sale would be finalised.
In fact, when I came back from the holiday, I had 3 days to pack up, put my belongings into storage and move out prior to exchange of contracts.
The sale was completed and a few weeks later the estate agency had collapsed as plummeting house prices bit into their business. Phew!
I worked on for a short while, thought “f**k it” and handed in my resignation.
This is where I went wrong. I should have got my self sacked, and then I would perhaps have qualified for unemployment benefit or some sort of job seekers allowance in France. Also if I had worked long enough to literally earn a couple of hundred pounds more, I would have qualified for a further 6 months reciprocal medical cover from the UK. I finally arrived to live in France mid August last year.
So here I am coming up to my first year of unemployment, on the 1st May, living in France. Ces choses arrivent!
I wonder what will happen in the next 12 months…….. It is amazing what can happen in a short space of time if you stop watching the TV and do something less boring instead.


  1. Wow, what a year! In most ways your timing was perfect.

    Is the trade off, a year unemployed in the lovely countryside of France, for life in mid-recession Britain, worth it? I'll bet there aren't too many regrets.

  2. congrats on your milestone ... the undiscovered can be a little unsettling, but you'll figure it out.

  3. Michelle I regret that I do not (yet) have only finite funds
    JNRR I will do my best. (I was a cub scout) but I no longer have the uniform or my woggle.

  4. a bit scared and yet fascinated by what a woggle might be.

  5. What a sheltered life you have led. My woggle was red, because I was in the red pack (of wolf cub scouts). Imagine a small plastic version of a napkin ring. You have a large square of yellow cotton which you fold in half to make a triangular shape. you place this round your neck with the V going down your back and the two ends hanging down your front. You take your woggle and joining the two ends of cloth together you insert them into your woggle.You then slide your woggle up towards your neck, thus keeping your neckerchief neatly in place, ready for the unnatural games which you and your fellow cub scouts engage in for the next hour or so.


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