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Posts Tagged ‘house hunting’

Friday saw Mr Piglet and I embark on yet another day of house hunting. We still have the farmhouse in mind as a practical choice, but we are keen to find a property that sweeps our heart away.

So we set off in the cold on the motorway from Lyon towards Grenoble and quickly encountered huge snowflakes and fields of the white fluffy stuff. If you’ve ever tried taking photographs whilst traveling on the motorway you will know it’s near impossible so I didn’t get to take any souvenir photos of the journey there unfortunately.

I have always found snow rather magical, and whilst Mr Piglet wasn’t very impressed that we were house hunting in the snow without snow tyres (irresponsible), I was enchanted, very excitable and was looking at everything through fairy tale glasses.

The first house we visited was set in a small valley amongst the hills and consisted of a farmhouse (we have a thing for 200 year old farmhouses) and stone cottage with a cute garden, flanked by Christmas tree covered hills.

If you’re a sucker for fairy book settings then you could not fail but to be charmed by the location of this house, especially on a snowy day, just one month before Christmas.

A Fairy Tale Location

The house was livable and offered plenty of space, even though the decoration was a mish mash of partition walls, old fireplaces and orange wall paper. We could easily have converted two of the upstairs rooms into a master bedroom with ensuite and dressing room, had an office and a lovely nursery with room to spare.

To continue with the fairytale theme, one of the views from the house was looking out towards a Chateau. I had to zoom to take this photo, but not all that much, you could easily see it with the bare eye.

View of the castle

The stone house just opposite the property needed finishing and drainage as well, as it was a bit damp and with a bit more imagination it could make a beautiful, cosy guesthouse and office. It was spacious and homely at the same time.

The downside of visiting property in the snow is you can’t tell where the sun is and the fact that the property was surrounded by hills (or mountains as I kept calling them) probably meant that it didn’t get much sun which was a huge negative for us. This property definitely needs a second viewing to work out the suns logistics.

We soon had to leave as we had to make our way to a second property and had a battle with a snow storm on our hands.

Picture postcard driving conditions... NOT!

On leaving the little village we came across a goat that took a liking to me. Every time I cooed at it would turn its head towards me and look at me. If I stopped cooing then it would stop looking at me! It either liked me or thought I was a strange English nutter!

My first new friend in the country

We then went on to view another house which was also fantastic but is another story (think more skeletons in the chimney!). Part two to follow soon.

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After the house that came with a llama we discovered two more interesting selling points on Saturday. We saw two of the saddest properties that I have seen so far. I won’t post pictures in case I’m identified, you will see why especially for the first property!

The first property was in the middle of no-where. Literally. There was a house opposite and that was it. There was an eery dark feeling about the house even though it was early afternoon. The air around was very still and there were no trees. It was a lifeless, soulless place.

Mr Piglet and I had strange vibes whilst visiting and the fact that the owner looked rather like a witch and was following us around with frequently giving us the evil eye whilst puffing furiously on her cigarette didn’t help.

Parts of the house were really smelly and stunk of dog pooh and petrol and rotten food. With my morning sickness persisting, I had to discreetly cover my nose with my hand so to avoid gagging. After all, I didn’t want to suffer the wrath of the witch by vomiting everywhere.

The bad feelings continued as we ventured to the upstairs of the property. I followed the agent into the bathroom and immediately had to divert my eyes as I was confronted with an array of gothic erotic underwear laid out on display. Not knowing where to look and having my suspicions confirmed (surely she must be part of a witch sex sect?) I could barely contain myself and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.

My face must have been a picture as back on the landing the estate agent launched into the final part of his sales pitch, obviously hoping to clinch a deal.

The information he revealed would be something that I would be desperate to bury in the garden and keep a secret forever and ever, certainly not something that I would take glee in revealing!

The house was in fact the only neighbour to a prominent murderer’s house! Seeing my shocked reaction (I nearly passed out), the agent was quick to home in on the celebrity factor: the murderer was a well known international rugby player. Great! I can just see me telling everyone that, as if it makes it all better!

Needless to say we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there!

The second property we visited wasn’t anywhere near as creepy it was just sad. A typical result of France’s inheritance system: the ownership of the property had been passed down to the children upon the first spouse passing away and had then been owned by the children and the husband. The husband remarried, had children and then when he passed away, ownership again got passed down to the children.

After a while I gave up trying to understand how many people currently owned it. The long and the short of it was that the property had been abandoned by the owners for a long while, whilst they fought about who should live in it and what to do with it.

During this time the property was neglected and started falling to bits. I felt rather sorry for the property but angry at the greedy owners who were now looking to try and make a mint and yet had failed to look after the property in question over the years.

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I have loved this November so far and have had lots of positive energy, something I have been somewhat lacking previously. What I like even more, is the two bank holidays we enjoy here in France, one for the day of the dead (All Saints) and one for Armistice. I especially liked Armistice Day this year as it was on a Thursday which meant I got to have a long weekend as I closed down on the Friday too!

On Thursday, after over 12 hours of labour, my sister in law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Alyssa. We went to visit them at the maternity ward in Beaune (such a beautiful town in the Burgundy area) and I was astounded by how something so big could possibly have been in my SiL’s tummy just twelve hours earlier! I left the hospital feeling slightly nervous about things to come for me, slightly older now that I’m an Aunt but overjoyed for my SiL and her boyf.

Bienvenue Alyssa! Born 14.11.10 at 0130, weighing 3.4 kilos

On Friday, we took advantage of the long weekend and visited a property in a town called Groslee. If you don’t get the pronunciation of the town 100% spot on then you end up saying (or hearing) Gros which means fat and Laid which means ugly. So imagine me with my lovely English accent telling someone where I live? Fat Ugly!!! Not good!

I should have known from the start that a property in such a badly named town would not be appropriate; it had to have something wrong with it and the name should have been a warning sign. Needless to say the property was no good and I could have strangled the agent as we had once again wasted our time despite best efforts to eliminate inappropriate properties before visiting.

We had asked our list of questions before arranging the visit, one of the questions being: is the property on a busy road?

We were informed “que non” it was on a quiet village road with little passage. LIAR! The agent is a big fat liar! In the 10 minutes that it took to tour the outside of the property, no less than 5 lorries went hurtling by. I was fuming! It turns out that the road was the main road to a nearby town and it was the only road the lorries could take once they left the motorway. So, a wasted trip!

A shame really as the property corresponded perfectly in terms of size and style – built from stone, lots of outbuildings, spacious inside and beautiful white shutters.

Beautiful house in Fat Ugly

Whilst looking for properties we have also come across some really strange adverts. I think the strangest so far as been for a private sale where the owner is selling their llama with the property.

Yes, you read correctly. The property is being sold with a llama. The llama comes part and parcel with the property! In the property details you get a full description of the property, the land and the llama as well as a couple of photos! I can just imagine the owners considering their llama as being a major selling point and surely there must be something wrong with Mr Piglet and me for not having this as part of our criteria?

Is a llama really a selling point?

Have you ever seen anything really strange whilst hunting for property?

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