Gosh, I have so much to tell you! I will have to break it up into a novel, script and television series! Lol! No seriously though, I will break it all up into several blogs to save you and me days of confusion. First up is a blog about the decision to travel in post COVID times.
Sometimes, no, often, a change is absolutely as good as a rest isn't it? After all the usual stress of an international move, then LOCKDOWN, just a few days away from our normal routine was well over due, just what the doctor ordered! After all it's already a quarter into Summer! I've always loved a mini break, long weekend. Rather than eek out a small budget to get a few mediocre weeks away, I'd rather have four nights, five days of luxury thank you very much and post pandemic its so important to support small business in France, don't you think? So we kept our break to France of course. Lets face it there's a lot to see and do in France, a lifetime of mini breaks ahead of us and anyway, you know how I feel about flying, in a tin can of germs across the skies to somewhere I could visit virtually! Just send me a postcard occasionally lovelies, I've seen way too much of the world already! Keep those skies free and clear for our future Great Grand Kids. Okay sermon over.
As you all know, we arrived in France at the beginning of February, quite unsure of how this year would pan out? Relieved to be out of Toronto but nervous about taking a step backwards. Would France really become our forever home second time around? Then came the bombshell that is COVID 19 and that really slowed things right down for us, especially any house hunt of any kind. C'est La Vie.
'Everything' became impossible for everyone a while but as LOCKDOWN gently lifted, we started to think about getting out and about again. At first we kept it close to home in Normandy and didn't even think of a break away in a hotel, until that was, we found Normandy an impossible housing market. Same old. Either the owners were deluded about the value of their homes or they were in a terrible state. None of which appeared to stop them being snapped up! By the way, Cheese Manor came back on the market just a couple of days ago! I know! It's not the first house we put an offer in for that has had a sale fall through very quickly. Makes me wonder! The great thing is that when these homes suddenly appear for sale again, we just laugh. What the hell were we thinking?
We also definitely never anticipated, that we would be in competition with Parisians buying up every country home they could find! I can't blame them though, it must have been dreadful stuck in a city apartment with kids and dogs in total confinement?
My last couple of blogs have been about offers on houses in Normandy, all turned down and I have to admit to really starting to wonder if France was meant to be for us? Him in doors had always steadfastly kept the search to Normandy because of the ferries and proximity to Paris. It's taken several years for him to think outside of the box. We both adore Normandy, always will but I think our future home lies in a different department now. I will miss the Normandy coastline but not so much the British weather!
The thought of driving the whole of France to pin down our dream suddenly became quite appealing, So we got the map out and started to circle areas we fancied and then trawled the internet for homes we liked the look of. The process wasn't really straight forward. Agents were tough to pin down. Houses disappeared off the market quite quickly and we continued to feel quite despondent. We were sure we didn't want another Wreck yet or a chateau. We wanted a home not a house. It had to be instantly liveable but we know us and we know we don't want other peoples kitchens, bathrooms and decor. There would always be room for cosmetic upgrades in our lives. It all felt quite like an uphill climb. We couldn't quite work out if there was indeed a rush to buy pre Brexit/post COVID, or was it a delayed reaction? I'm going to hazard a guess at a delayed reaction and mainly EUROPEANS looking for a second home or change of lifestyle. I believe there have been very few Brits, Canadians, Australians over to buy so far. Who knows? We just either had to give up or get the heck on with it and ignore the noise.
The four of us have been cooped up in a tiny but sweet rental cottage with two dogs and to be honest we were going a bit crazy. All a bit tetchy and fed up of tripping over each other. As soon as the Teen finished school for summer last Friday the die was caste! Time to get outta dodge and have some R&R mixed with a house hunt. The issue of course was was how to do a break away safely, as we are still living beside this horrid pandemic, sadly. Of course we don't want to either end up with COVID or unwittingly spread it. Still we all felt a little nervous about trusting any hotel or Gite stay.
In the end we chose a four night Chateau break in Charente. Careful to ask about how the chateau would cope with social distancing and my celiac diet. Of course we went for luxury and as there were two Teens in tow, it wasn't cheap!
So we excitedly packed up with the new age accessories of a Gluten Free pack up, masks and sanitiser and drove 6 hours from our base in Normandy to Angouleme in the Charente!