Wednesday 26 September 2012

The house we've been waiting for

Well we've been to see it at last. And really it's as we were expecting. Which is a good thing :-)
This (on the right, not the bit with the fence on the top) is the roadside view. You come in at upstairs level. Nobody uses the big door with the steps, just the little one with little panes. Underneath the grey crepi (plaster) is beautiful yellow stone and probably more openings just filled in.
Then, through the paned door you descend down newish stone and wrought iron stairs (bit disappointing, hoping for old oak) into a hall. The doors to the left are the sitting room and straight on is the kitchen. (Here's where we find out that the camera has run out of battery!)

If you don't go downstairs, to your left is a series of little rooms like this off a corridor. All rooms have polystyrene ceilings and some have added cork tiles. Oh joy.

Oh and pine panelling is rife too. But each of the little rooms have this view. Surprisingly none of the rooms have the view down the valley we were expecting but have a view of some of the rest of the town (a part called Au Bout du Monde!)
And the garden is spectacular. (I promise to have pictures when we go back Sue.) In the house is an aerial shot of the garden in its prime. Palm trees, ornate balustrades down three terraces, immaculate potager, superb. 
And the piece de resistance is the immaculate stoneclad fireplace. Why, you may well ask, in a house of such beautiful local stone do they need to clad a fireplace in slate??

On this level there is an enormous plastic conservatory that extends all along the house about 3 metres wide. It can just be seen on this photo. Halfway down the left hand side about an inch in with row of brown windows (ground level on the other side) and conservatory below. Full of an ancient prickly pear whose trunk is too wide to get my hands round, whose roots must be somewhere?? What it covers up is the fact that all the rooms on this level have lovely double arched doors.
What a lot of work. Everything to rip out. But not too scarey. Yay let's give it a go.  Just have to agree a price......................

Friday 21 September 2012

The roller coaster continues

Well what a heap of termite ridden rubbish that was. Ho hum.

Whole hamlet of impossible combinations of barns/piggeries/land.


We have an appointment to view the original house in Belves on Wednesday. Yay!


The family want 70,000 more euros than their father did.


We have a letter from our solicitor to say that the stair case has been settled in our favour and they will pay us over 3,000 euros!!!!

Roll up roll up all the fun of the fair........................................

Thursday 20 September 2012

Fingers crossed people

After a night of 'well is it sold or not?' Definitely now returned to other websites but not on the agent's website.

This picture doesn't look very good does it. Tiny and clear or bigger and blurry

Appointment to view inside tomorrow afternoon with agent. Decided that the seller has a whole hamlet of various plots to sell and he is not going to do it without an agent. Too complicated.
Already has going for it that it is a lived in til fairly recently house (the two bits with white paint) with attached barn. This face of the house faces south west and has steps up to first floor level balcony/terrace. View this way is down a huge field to a very quiet road. Church with bells in the distance. Only 5 minutes from the town we want. Although the plastic windows are not to our taste, it does have new windows. New central heating boiler and immersion. And the fireplaces you can peer at through the windows are lovely. Eeek how much can they have ripped out when they put in the new windows. Oh and redid the roof.
The tree at the front is a peach and at the back is a walled garden! The cave that you can see is full of boxes of jamjars so some grandmere had a very productive thing going on here. Yay.
Moi excited??

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Keep up, keep up

On with the emotional roller coaster.

We saw a house today that we both liked! A whole hamlet is recently on the market. We went to the local maire and found where it was, happened upon the owner there. Took the friend we were lunching with. All good. She's going to contact owner to see if we can avoid the agent.

Just sat down to put a picture on here and the bloody house has gone from every website. All the rest of the hamlet is there but the house is gone.

Oh for heaven's sake. If it's sold that is less than a week.

Have also seen:

looks like nothing much but is medieval wondrousness with higgledy piggledy garden. Done up with style. Very much an inward looking house, this side has its back to the world.

And this:

which is a nothing house. Seventies, dull, but the view is spectacular.

Onward and upward

There's always this one:

Tuesday 18 September 2012

I think we know too much

We have been looking at houses for a year now. Seen dozens, driven by dozens more.

Whenever we watch one of the endless reruns of Location, location, location or similar, the presenters are always saying you must make compromises, you must decide what you want.

I agree. We have a long list of things that make an ideal house and quite accept that it will be a selection of these that we end up with and if that one falls through there is always another house that has a different selection. So why is it so hard.

My good friend said last night that we know too much. When we first came we had no idea really of the area, had no friends to be near, no favourite places. Had a much firmer idea of what we wanted and a much more definite budget.

Now, we are looking at a huge range of possibles:

This house has lovely land, lots of mature fruit trees, free wood for ever, agricultural water but it's a very germanic/teutonic house of huge beams and stone with no views much, no neighbours and as far as we've looked away from our friends.


We didn't want a village house without a garden but last night we saw that this garden was for sale just behind this village house, so there's another plan.
This is a tiny modern house but with a lovely mature garden down by the river. Huge plot and SOIL rather than chalk that you have to drill a hole in to plant a tree. Owned by friends of friends so avoid 8% fees, could extend.....................

While we were wandering around the countryside we found this

which is a group of buildings with views and land all round on the edge of a hamlet. On the market with bitch Bridget who is the agent who says we are not proper buyers so we'll have to approach it another way to see it. But then around the corner is this. Work all done. Nothing to write home about but has the most a....may.....zing view of a chateau. Nowhere is that written or shown on the particulars but hey this is France.

Oh and the notaire of the original house says that it is for sale and she will contact the family.

OK you decide.

Thursday 13 September 2012

For you vicarious househunters

We've put in an offer of half the asking price, to include all the land, for the concrete house. Can't get away from the fact that it is a superb set of 16th century stone buildings. And they are so proud that they have built concrete shells inside the original stone walls so presumably (!) they are all still behind the concrete. But apparently it has been on the market for at least 8 years! At that price I'm not surprised. No great hopes there.

Still haven't seen the other ancient one. Dutch agent is taking her father back to Holland.

Tomorrow we are going to see the inside of
which is good from the outside but a bit far from everyone and everything we know.

And where we found the hamlet it's in which is very pretty but there is a potential of major road noise if it's the wrong side of the hill. Couldn't match any of the houses to the pictures.

And this one that the agent talked us into because it has a lovely view - but not from the house, just the garden. She says it's way over priced and she also mentioned that the last house she had sold was sold at about 75% of the asking price.

BUT the current plan that is keeping Him Outdoors sane is to buy this: which we can buy privately because it belongs to a friend of a friend. We have already seen it but couldn't buy it because it's lovely view is owned by the house below. But we have since discovered that the house below is now for sale

If you're still with this you have more patience than I have!

So Him Outdoors is pounding up and down the garden behind the lawn mower trying to decide the negotiating plans of trying to buy just the field not the whole house. What would be the disadvantages of having two houses if we had to buy two. Whether we could rent out the house below........................ As if buying one house wasn't bad enough and all the taxes involved in having two!

Oh and meanwhile we have got the agent we are going out with tomorrow badgering the notaire that was selling the house in Belves that started this whole saga off to see if now that the poor old man that owned it has died they might want to sell that.

I can see that a whole lot of houses are all going to come together at once.

Tuesday 11 September 2012


Oh the house hunting. (I hope these copies of links work)

First of all we had a pastry beside the Dordogne with this one:

Glorious peaceful September morning. So beautiful.

At lunchtime I rang this one:

and we went at 3pm. Oh this is the one as we drove out of the town in the right direction, oh he's indicating in the right way, OMG it's stunning. Such a sweet group of buildings. Him Outdoors had already walked there and loved it. OMG OMG. Lovely man full of how this was a 16th century house lived in by local monks and they had instructed the farmers in how to farm, showed us his pigsties where he had kept all the ancient pieces of wood to use the ancient holes in the stone OMG OMG. And then we enter the house........................................

They are so proud of the fact that the national group of country houses had told them that they had kept everything original perfect. And that is because they have built  layers of concrete and insulation between the walls and the rooms. Everywhere. Oh and by the way there's no bathroom, no heating, no land because they're keeping for their daughter. Oh and the land opposite is constructable and they want 325,00 euros.

OK onward and upward. THE one that Him Outdoors has set his heart on:

Arguments by email about how we couldn't see it for a fortnight. Eventually got the address and went over at 6pm. OMG OMG OMG Him Outdoors is in love again (he's a complete property tart). Absolutely gobsmacking views. Really beauiful. Tiny but lovely house and glorious barn. Him Outdoors completely over the moon............................. Somehow hadn't noticed that behind the garden was a heap of silage that fed the enormous herd of cows that were milked twice a day every day with a really noisy machine. 8 - 11 am and 6 til 9 pm. And somehow this didn't matter !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lovely people. Lovely place. Oh and the cow farmer had also poisoned their well that made the water not only undrinkable but also totally unsuitable for watering plants................................

On the way to the 3pm house we had popped into the local agent because she had a house that we wanted to see. That was sold but she has given us another that on the way home we also went to see the outside of that looks possible

So nothing much happening here really.

Monday 10 September 2012

French style

A friend of mine has a shop in the UK that specialises in french country style. Lots of pale washed wood, silvery grey and blue. Lots of distressed/aged fabric and wood. Lovely looking stuff with stencilled french words.

I think there must be another country called France where this stuff exists. We live in rural france and are househunting. In my head, french country style is mostly dark brown and shiny with orange flowery accents. Older french style here has golden exposed stone, dark brown beams, old oak staircases. Then in what must have been the seventies, dark brown comes in. Shiny brown tiles, cover up the old stone with plaster and wallpaper it in bright swirly paper. Fortunately not a lot of carpet but what there is will be swirly too - and probably orange. Any bathrooms will be coloured.

We saw this house on the internet today (sorry picture's a bit small) right place, old house with garden in the town, original state so lots of brown but still with original features - stone sinks, beams, original windows. We wandered around the town this afternoon and found it. Yay, it's in a good position, big garden..............................................oh what the hell have 'they' done to it.
The pictures shown are no longer what it is. 'They' have got their hands on it. Great lumps of new plastic windows and doors. Huge slabs of plastic patio doors across the back. New shutters all painted a lovely shade of shiny brown. Inside I just know that they will have plastered over every square inch of old stone, boxed in the beams, covered up the old fireplaces, put in corner shower units and then added lots of curly wrought iron light fittings to encourage the buyers.
I haven't the heart to rip out all their work it is too much of a waste but I do wish we'd got our hands on it first.

Friday 7 September 2012

What's occurring?

What's occurring (as per Gavin and Stacey which has become a phrase between us).

We have just arrived back in France.  Very long day with an alarm at 3 am in England, tunnel crossing at 6.00 and then 80 mph on motorways for 8 hours.

Back to our little rented house in Dordogneshire. It is completely still and quiet. Our landlord is watering his trees which he fears are dying of drought. The campsite opposite is completely quiet apart from M Fardet who is polishing his pool. The season must be over, we missed it. The village was full of tourists as we came through but up here it is silent. Cicadas, swallows. So lovely after such a hectic day.