Thoughts on June
And just like that… June was gone! June was a mixed bag really… I talked on here about the thoughts I’ve been having, namely whether or not coming to France was a mistake. I still have those thoughts now and again. Deep down, I know that I wanted to come to France. To live a new adventure with my family. For the kids to learn French. And Barry. To live a simpler life in a beautiful setting.
Right now though, everything seems really overwhelming.
Thoughts on the House
Since my last post, Barry and I returned to Charente. We were meant to go there mostly to check on the furniture that the vendor wanted to leave behind. We saw it as a great opportunity to view the house again and get excited about future plans. We had finally (!!) completed the previous Friday, and so we were hopeful that we would look at the house again and be ready to sign the Compromis de Vente and move in in the Summer, ready for school in September.
Except, of course, it didn’t quite happen like that.
We saw the house on Tuesday, but upon leaving the house, we felt uneasy. Our thoughts were confused, all meddled up. I can’t quite place my finger on it, even now. But something made us doubt whether the house was in fact habitable, and we worried about the actual cost of the work needed on the house. An expert for the fosse septique came out and gave us a quote, which was as expected. However on site, we become worried about the electrics and the plumbing. It started to dawn us after that visit that we were not in position to sign the contract just yet. We needed more info.
On the positive side, it was really reassuring to see that Barry and I saw eye to eye, and we both felt the same way. It would have been really difficult if one of us didn’t see the problems and why we couldn’t sign. We also realised that if the work was estimated at more than what we were initially told, it would be outside our budget and we weren’t willing to take the risk. We had yet to find work/set up business, and the whole point of moving to France was to live with less bills, not add loans etc to our daily budget.
We had a good chat about it all, and relayed our thoughts to the estate agent. Mainly stating that we were in no position to sign until we had a quote from an electrician. The following morning we met with the notaire, who talked us through the legal documents and answered our queries. This helped, but Barry made it clear we wouldn’t be signing until we had further information.
The notaire also told us about an additional fee we would have to pay, as the farmers in the area had a preemptive right to buy the property. This was the first we heard of it, so another “surprise”.
We also spoke to the person who did the Dossier Technique , and who told us that he didn’t think the electrics were that bad, it was just a case of finishing the job that had been started but interrupted in the house due to the sudden death of the previous owner. He said the electrician was really good and would be able to confirm everything.
We then went back to the house and met with the electrician. He was French, and if anyone here has seen A Good Year, he was pretty much like the Oenologue in the film! He walked round the house saying how much work there was, and how everything needed redoing. Sadly though, I don’t think anyone paid him to say this in our case! He came up with a rough estimate of between 10k and 15k just to make the house safe, and said there was no way we could live in the house or be around the electrics as they were with young children. And that was before he had even seen upstairs… we had been told it would cost around 5000 euros, so it was slightly (!) more…
I remember looking at Barry and between us thinking “that’s that then”.
And so the decision was made. We went out for lunch and had a good chat about it all with Barry. But we already knew we would be pulling out of the sale. We had discussed at length what would happen if the electrician quoted us more than we had budgeted for. It also made us “lose confidence” in the house, worrying that it would be one thing after another, which we couldn’t afford.
It felt like the right decision, and still does.
But man it sucks being back to househunting all over again.
We had gone to sign up the kids in the local school, which looked really nice and overlooked the Chateau in Verteuil! It felt as though we were finally moving forward with everything, only to have the rug pulled out from under our feet again.
Thoughts on Househunting
The thought of starting our search again from scratch is exhausting. We are staying with my parents, which we are incredibly lucky to have as a back up plan. But it is the other side of the country from Charente, making it rather difficult to househunt.
The hardest thing, has also been trying to figure out what on earth is going on in my head! I find myself asking all these questions:
- is Charente the right place for us to move?
- Should we move closer to a town?
- that would mean getting less for our money,
- should we put on hold our business plans for the time being in light of this?
- maybe we should live somewhere close to a town so the kids have more opportunities school wise and I can find a job somewhere to bring in a regular income,
- should I stop working on the blog?
- should we look at other areas of France? It’s such a big country where do we start!
- I’d quite fancy living somewhere further South of France but will Barry cope with the heat?
- Have we messed up?
- Should we have stayed in Bristol?
And it goes on and on and on. None of this is productive. If anything, it’s holding me back. I know it is.
On top of that, I have my period and since coming off the pill/coil (for health reasons, not because we are trying for a baby) my mood noticeabably drops just before. It’s quite impressive the impact it has on me. But I’m learning to recognise the pattern of it, and adjust in light of this. However it does mean that when things aren’t quite going to plan, I find it more difficult to deal with at certain times of the month.
All in all, it sucks.
I find myself stuck in a circle of sorts. I find myself wondering what job I should apply for. Perhaps it’s time I stopped living with my head in the clouds and got a proper job. But where do I look for work when I’m not 100% sure where we should buy a house? Perhaps I was over-optimistic and for once, it didn’t pay off and I need to look at other options.
Yep. We’re on full-on sorry-for-myself mode. I know it will pass. I know that deep down, things aren’t bad. It is mostly a case of lots of little things adding up. When I break them down, they’re not that bad really, and can all be easily be resolved. Even if some will take longer than others.
In fact, lots of amazing things have happened in June:
- We are incredibly lucky to be staying with my parents in their home, and getting to see them lots.
- The kids now speak French. Hugo still speaks a little franglais shouting “bonne-jor” to everyone he meets! But Siena has sudddenly become French with all the expressions and mannerisms, it’s incredible!
- Hugo asked me one to take off his stabilisers, and as soon as I handed the bike back to him, he cycled off just like that as though he’d always known how to cycle!
- We’ve seen my brother and sister in law a few times ♥
- Barry and I are also glad we trusted our gut instinct, and were proved to right. As much as it meant losing the house and the dreams we had attached to it, we’re glad we listened to those little alarm bells and investigated them more.
- We’ve seen a pediatrician for the kids health issues and have been given a plan of action.
- And as much as we are homeless and jobless, we have already started to live the lifestyle we were after and have started feeling better for it. We’re all looking healthier, leaner and tanned, enjoying family time, time spent outdoors and good food. In that respect, France does suit us all!
So what’s next?
So next, our search for a house continues. After we left Charente, we travelled to South Charente and the Dordogne. We saw a couple of houses there and did a little sightseeing. There was a big difference between the North and the South, and the South of Charente seemed more dynamic.
We’ve also discussed looking for a house closer to bigger cities, like Angouleme and Bordeaux, which would open opportunities for work as well as school options for the kids, especially when they start attending College and Lycee. If we can also live closer to the coast that would be amazing, as I have always dreamt of living by the ocean.
Right in this moment, when feeling so overwhelmed, I have struggled with househunting. But I did make a list from what Barry and I had discussed for our wishlist, and have emailed a few agents nearer the towns we’re now looking at. Barry has also done some research into the towns that are being invested in at the moment, which should therefore lead to growth and exciting things happening in those areas.
I’m not 100% sure I want to let go of the gite and workshop business plan. So will keep them nearby *should* a property come up allowing for these.
For now, I am going to keep on journaling and writing everything done, as it helps me clear my head a little.
Barry is flying back to Bristol this week. The kids are now on summer holiday and we’re going camping with my parents for a long weekend in the South of France, which we’re all looking forward to. We’ll soon get to catch up with my sister and brother-in-law from Australia which is SO exciting! ♥♥
In the meantime, I’m going to rewrite my CV, and list everything I can do. Although the dream is to be self employed in the long run, there are a great number of advantages to having a secured job. So I’ll have a look at what’s on the market and see what I can apply for.
And I will keep an eye out on houses. You never know when the right one might just pop up!
How was your month of June?
Have you made big life changing decisions in recent years? Did you ever overwhelmed, as I am now? If so, how did you cope? How are things now? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.1