Progress report

A lot has happened since my last post and things got very busy in the run up to Christmas, so here’s a quick progress report.

First and foremost there were the dreadful attacks in Paris which put everything into perspective and made us realise just how lucky we are to live in relative safety most of the time. Our thoughts and positive vibes go out to all those affected. In fact, they go out to anyone, anywhere, affected by any aggression, injustice or persecution.

Personally, we continued to plan for our move to the French Alps by tying up loose ends with our business and the kids’ school as well as trying to research more about living in France and in the Morzine area in particular. We also discovered that renting was going to be easier said than done, oh and we had Christmas to prepare for!

We were planning on going to France for a couple of years. On our return, we would like to move back near the Lake District and closer to family. We decided that it would be a good idea to buy something that we could rent out while we were away to offset the rent we’d be paying. We searched and found a property we liked and had our offer accepted. We had surveys done and our solicitor had completed the searches.

Carpets, sofas and white goods were piled up outside for disposal.

Then the floods came… Storm Desmond devastated many areas in and around the Lakes but the agent reassured us that the property was fine. A few weeks later another storm, ‘Eva’ decided to have a go and the already waterlogged land was flooded again. Hundreds of unfortunate people had their homes and businesses decimated for a second time. The agent once again reassured us that the property was fine but it was really playing on our minds.

We were up that way over Christmas and decided to go and have a drive past on boxing day. The house did indeed look fine but the neighbouring property, only about 30cm lower, had obviously been hit. Carpets, sofas and white goods were piled up outside for disposal. That made our minds up. It was just too much of a risk for us. We felt awful pulling out but we had to.

Our own sale was making slow progress and our aim to complete before Christmas quickly became unrealistic despite us speeding everything through on our part. We were told that we would exchange contracts before Christmas, then before New Year (I’m not sure how that was going to happen when their offices were closed but that’s what they said), then Monday, then yesterday and well… We’re still waiting.

We’ve been sorting, selling, charity shopping, giving away and boxing up our possessions.

We’ve been trying to nail down some long term rental accommodation in France but the seasonal nature of the area and our timing is really causing problems. Landlords can get more than a month’s rent for a week’s holiday let in the winter. In addition, European half terms are spread over a peak 4 week period in February, meaning that we’re struggling to find anything affordable. All the long term seasonal lets were snapped up long before the season started and won’t become available ’til it ends. It’s also proving difficult to sort it out from a distance with our (pants) French, so we think we might be better off rolling the dice and just getting there and sorting it out when we’re ‘on the ground’. Luckily, we do have a fall back as our good friends have an empty place in Switzerland which they’ve offered us the use of if we need it. It’s a bit of a distance from where we aim to live but it’s a very welcome fall back option. Thanks Guys! x

We’re close now though. We’ve just photographed our car and listed it on Autotrader and have a set of winter tyres in the post to put on the van. We’ve been sorting, selling, charity shopping, giving away and boxing up our possessions. We’ve got a storage unit booked in principle and redirections on the mail ready to start.

The neighbours and some friends are coming round on Saturday for one of our farewell gatherings. The kids overheard us inviting people and came back from school saying they had invited everybody! Yikes! We’ve set a date next week for a goodbye ‘get together’ after school at a play gym for anyone from school who wants to come along. That should take the pressure off a little.

So, it’s getting close and the pressure is building but we are still feeling a little twitchy as the contracts haven’t been exchanged. The kids are feeling anxious but we’re pushing the whole ‘we’re going on an adventure’ and how exciting it all is… Which it totally is! Our anxiety is building, too, and we are not looking forward to saying bye to family – some of whom aren’t in the best of shape at the moment. We keep saying that in a few weeks we’ll look back and it’ll all be worth it. Plus, we’re not that far away.

Fingers crossed we exchange tomorrow!

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