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Archive for July, 2013

Mr Piglet is often witness to money issues tearing families apart and has recently been a unwilling spectator in a very spectacular family bust up where a family is literally being torn to shreds for a few thousand Euros.

Having been through times where we’ve had no money, plenty of money and then no money again, I think I can say that I know what money is but I also know the value of it and its place in my life. It’s nice to have money, it certainly makes life easier, but it is not a priority when it comes to family. I personally would much rather have my family than money.

So going back to Mr Piglet story: He recently sold, or at least thought he had, a house to a young couple looking to buy their first home. The house was the result of a typical French inheritance. Father passes away, half the house goes to the children whilst the Mother remains living in it. These days’ children are spread out all over the place and the mother wished to remain living in her home even though she couldn’t maintain it. One of the children in a village nearby and took on the role as carer giver, caretaker and everything else that goes with looking after an elderly parent.

When the Mother passed away, the nearby daughter wished to purchase her siblings share of the property, but they couldn’t agree a price and therefore agreed that they would sell it and split the proceeds. So they put the property on the market a year ago with pretty much every local agent.

During this time, nobody really looked after the property. The winter was cold; the spring came with plenty of sun and rain, ideal conditions for making an overgrown garden. The property started to tire like it’s previous owners and started to look (and feel) neglected. Little efforts were made such as trying to mow the law and pulling up some weeds, but the property deteriorated and in a market where prices are falling, nobody was willing to pay the owners asking price.

So along came Mr Piglet with two keen buyers. They were young, keen DIYers which is quite rare for young couples in France, and were willing to take on the project. They knew they were somewhat limited by budget but they could see through the cobwebs and the weeds and spotted the potential which lay behind.

Mr Piglet negotiated the price with the lady representing the owners; he had checked that she had power of attorney to act on behalf of the other brother and sisters which she did. He negotiated his commission right now to a mere two thousand Euros which was not even 1.5%. He was happy though, as the house was a good deal and the young couple would settle nicely there but only had a very limited budget and the owners wouldn’t negotiate any further.

Then out of the blue, he received a call from one of sisters living abroad. The air became tense in the office and she refused to accept the offer. Apparently her sister, the care giver, was asking for a larger split than the other siblings and the other siblings didn’t want to accept.

In the following days, emails between the siblings ensued, a family row had really broken out and Mr Piglet was copied in absolutely every email. It was like a whole seasons worth of Dallas unfolding in his inbox – he was only missing the actors and it could have been a multi-million dollar television serial. I happened to read one of the latter emails and couldn’t believe how for the sake of the extra 2 000 Euros the care giver wanted, this family were willing to rip each other to shreds in front of a spectator with little care of regard for the fact that this was their parents home.

All they cared about was money, money and more money.

Is this really what our world has come to? It would appear to be yes, but please reassure me that there are people out there that place more value on family than money?

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Mr Piglet and I found THE perfect offices / storefront for Mr Piglet’s estate agency today. I pass frequently in front of the building in question and remarked recently that the florist that used to have the shop was gone and that the shop was now sitting empty.

It is in the local village, on a main road, so has excellent visibility and free parking nearby (yes, free parking still exists in many parts of France).

It was just all too perfect and I was already imagining myself working from there and walking across to the school to pick up my daughter (once she starts!) and then taking her home for lunch. I was already imagining being part of the village centre, the community and which artists paintings we could expose on the walls (aside from properties of course!).

It would have been perfect

It would have been perfect

The plans were drawn up and I had costed the fit and display as well as the construction of my office.

I had already planned the grand opening with the catering and which guests we would invite and had drafted the press release in my mind.

But I was obviously getting far too ahead of myself as when Mr Piglet went back today to measure up and agree a price, he discovered that there was no mobile phone signal! Can you imagine, no mobile phone signal?

Both of our businesses mean that our mobile phones are crucial to our work, we have to be available to customers all the time and can’t afford to not be available because of a lack of network.

What a shame! I feel like crying and feel like dragging all the patrons of the local bar to see what network they have and to see if it works. We only have the choice of two networks as only two get a signal at home. Never would I have imagined when I was a little girl and didn’t even know what mobile phones were, that a mobile phone signal would play so much of an important part in my life…

How about you? Does modern technology ever get in the way of your life and dreams? How do you feel about this?

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So the results are… IT WORKS!

Just two days after starting my natural weed killer experiment, the weeds had started to die after being attacked by my white vinegar spray. The solution which was 100% vinegar worked better than the 50% diluted solution, but that did also work a little bit but would be better reserved for small and young weeds.

First area - 50% vinegar / 50% water

First area – 50% vinegar / 50% water

Area 2 - 50% water / 50% vinegar

Area 2 – 50% water / 50% vinegar

area 3

It’s going to be a task to keep on top of this though as it rained on the third day and then it was sunny again but I was busy with other things and didn’t keep on top of weeding so they all came back!

We’ve now invested in a better weed sprayer and Mr Piglet is talking about buying something to burn them once they are dead so we can achieve the clean, patio look I am looking for.

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We recently ran a competition with our friends at Subscription Save and the publishers of France, Living France and French Property News and after a little hold up due to too a few health problems, I can now announce the winners!

As a reminder, the prizes up for grabs are: First prize is a copy of Jane Cumberbacth’s Pure Outside Style, a Burgon & Ball kneelo and a Master Lock key safe. The two runners up will have their choice of one of those items.

So the winners are…

First Prize: Sarah Jane Butfield (looks like that glass half full approach works!)

Runners up: Rachel Bourner & Michelle Marshall

Congratulations!

Ladies: please get in touch with me (I have sent you an email) re your address for the prizes to be sent to and also for the runners up which prize you would like to receive.

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