Monday, 30 November 2015

Renovation project - Animal rescue in Spain

Renovation project - Animal rescue in Spain

The car is still off the road, John has decided to fix it himself with the help of our friend and a garage that we can use.

Things have gone wrong as we have had the wrong parts delivered, not realised a specialist tool was required and waiting for Spanish deliveries.

But during this time John has helped to build a horse shelter (I know nothing to do with the car!) but the garage owners (Dolores and Alan) work in cat rescue, which has led them to get to know the dog rescue people who have somehow ended up with a rescue horse!

The poor animal was out in the sun as it would not go into the stable, so between them they built a shelter which is not enclosed.

Every body is really happy with the result especially the poor horse, we do not know what happened to it in its last stable, but it wasn't good.


He now has a field with shelter from the sun, hopefully karma will repay us and let the car get mended!

Sorry for the quality of the photos, but I have had to copy them (I wasn't there)




Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Renovation Project - I have published a book

Renovation Project - I have published a book

Moving to Brittany, France

I have such exciting news today, I have spent a few months lounging in the sun in spain, but I have not stopped completely, I have been writing my first book.

It is not going to be the next Harry Potter, but a small e-book about moving to Brittany, France.

It will give those thinking of moving the benefit of our hindsight, everything we wished we had known in the beginning, or at least within the first year.

It is finished, the cover has been designed and Amazon has it published.

I have even sold copies and not just to Friends and family! That was one of my life's greatest moments to see that copies had been sold in different countries, people are buying my book, I am an author.

This was a dream I had developed when I was writing the blog, though to be honest even I thought it was a pipe dream, but it is not, it is reality, I have a book published!

I am 45 years old and over the last 3 years have achieved dreams I never thought were possible things that I would never have considered even attempting.

Now I need your help, please share the link with anybody you know who may be interested or is thinking of moving to Brittany, France. There is an advert on the side bar or click on the link below


My biggest tip is



  • If you have a dream, go for it, it may not work out, but it might, you will never know unless you try. There will be people who will laugh or call you crazy (they did to me!) but if you achieve it, the feeling is amazing

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Renovation project - Has the trusty Volvo finally died?

Renovation project - Has the trusty Volvo finally died?

Well we have arrived back and the sun is still shining, everything is still as we let it and that evening we sit and watch one of the many amazing sunsets.

This really is where our hearts will always be, it is just such a shame we cannot find the right property.

But life is too short to worry about what maybe, we realise that France is the option for us, it is now a case of looking at the logistics, but until then we have lots more friends coming to visit.

We have our next visitor in 2 days, so we head off to get some shopping in and as we are driving back we decide to have a spot of lunch in one of our local restaurants, as we pull into the car park, something goes wrong with the car, the clutch will not press!

We are lucky enough to be able to roll into a space and a guy comes over to look at iit with John, they fiddle about with it, and it seems too work again.

As we go to leave, it stops working, this time there is nothing that can be done!

We call our friend, who arrives with a low loader and the car is taken away, This is not good, but luckily Monster Movers is here to rescue us.

We manage to hire a car (which is a very difficult thing to do in August in Spain!) but we find one from a local garage. This is not what we had planned at all and we are so glad that this happened the day after we drove back from France.

We hope John, Andy and the mechanic can fix it, but we think the trusty Volvo may have finally died!!!!!!!

Monster moovers

Volvo dies


Volvo dies Monster moovers

Volvo dies Monster moovers





Sunday, 15 November 2015

Renovation project - Back in Spain

Renovation project - Back in Spain

We have a long drive and the last time we drove this way there were major traffic jams heading into Spain so we set off early.

The drive is easy, but the storm clouds are gathering as we approach the mountains.

I see the first big flash of lightning and it is stunning, it cuts through the sky straight down to the top of one of the mountains.

The sky is getting darker and darker then the first splats of rain come down within no time at all you cannot see the road the rain is so heavy the sky so dark other than the flashes of lightning.

There really is nothing like a real storm in the mountains, but they are much better through a hotel window rather than in a car!

The traffic slows and the road is covered in water, the sky is so dark now, we keep going and see the light in front of us, the storm is easing as we pass through it, the rain lightens up and stops as quickly as it started, in the rear view mirror the sky looks black and ominous, but we are through and on our way to Spain.

I see the sign that lets us know we are about to enter Spain, I don't have time to take a photo this time and we do not pass any border control, just a sign saying welcome to Spain.


It makes me think about what is happening in Europe at the moment, with the Calais crisis and the big walls being built to stop people getting into the UK, every border we pass there are either no border control or controls that are no problem to pass though, yet the UK is turning into a fortress I sit back and think about how lucky we are that we are able to move around Europe, but also wonder if we would ever be able to get back into the UK should we choose. But then reality hits, we would never want to go back to live in the UK.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Renovation project - Narbonne, France

Renovation project - Narbonne, France

We are on our way home to Spain, this time we are going to stop off in Narbonne, this is not a place we have been to before, but would highly recommend it if you are in the area.

The town itself seems quite small, yet it is one of the largest communes in Aude.

We also find that this is one of the areas that produces the Corbières wine. We have to visit 'Les Vins du Palais' this is a fantastic wine shop, we select a number of bottles (some for our friends in Spain who still miss their French wine). We are surprised by the prices as some of the wine is very reasonable, we had always expected the caves to be very expensive.

We also pop into the Lidl store nearby and buy a lot of cheap French wine and the items of food we miss most in Spain.

We head into the town centre and find that parking is no problem. We stroll along the Canal de la Robine before heading in to the town square.

Narbonne, FranceNarbonne, France

Narbonne, France

Narbonne, France

Narbonne, FranceNarbonne, France

Narbonne, France

We find an amazing restaurant and know what we want to eat until we see the dishes being brought out, the food is fantastic and the prices very reasonable.

Narbonne, France

We only have one night here so decide to have a walk around and visit the cathedral.

Narbonne, FranceNarbonne, France

We know there is a beach nearby, so we set the sat nav and go in search. I would recommend doing this drive in the day, the roads are not big roads and they meander through and round what appears to be mountains (maybe I am exaggerating a bit) but it is a bit of a nerve wracking drive in the dark when you don't know the area.

Once there we get the biggest shock, it is the only place in France that we have ever visited that reminds us of Blackpool in the UK!

It is lined with lots of cafés/restaurants and souvenir shops.

There is also a concert on the beach, we stop and listen for a while before heading back to the hotel


Narbonne, France

Narbonne, France

Narbonne, France


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Renovation project - There is no shame in walking away

Renovation project - There is no shame in walking away

We arrive in Bourbonne les Bannes the day before we are due to visit the property, the area is amazing, the villages we pass through are beautiful, small and sleepy, very few have shops or a bar and we wonder if this is the place to have a property, will people want to buy with no conveniences
but the stunning scenery and the location make up for the lack of facilitates, we can imagine sitting out for dinner over looking the rolling hills, knowing that we are within easy travel distance of Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the Alsace route.

Yes we would be happy with a house here.

We arrive at the village and see the house immediately it is not quite as it appeared in the photographs, or as the agent described, he had neglected to mention that the front of the building was twisted and pulling itself to pieces, you could see where work had been done too cover some of this.

There was no wall at the back, it was not a case of just putting in windows and doors, this would not have been a problem, the problem was the front of the house, it would have to be taken down and rebuilt.

But the stones which gave it the original attraction could not be taken down by us, we would need a team of builders or a crane these are not lightweight stone, and the façade was not strong enough to hold them.

We have just spent a fortune and what will end up as 6 days on this trip and all the agent had to do was tell us the problem with the front.

At this point I want to go and visit him and tell him what I think of him.

But we have another to view so we go to look at that village it is not as nice and we are so deflated, but we do know that this is not an impossible task to drive to France to renovate and keep a place in Spain.

It has made it a little clearer for me, our hearts are in Spain, but our heads must remain firmly in France.

We are renovating for the love of the property but we also have to make sure that we can make a profit when we come to sell, otherwise we will be left with nothing.

This is the biggest tip that I can give you.


  • Do your sums make sure the renovation will not cost more than the property will be worth, especially if you are on a limited budget.
  • If you want to resell the property you must not spend more than it will be worth, you hear this horror story over and over again.
  • We loved everything about this property and village, but we had no choice but to walk away, it would not work there is no shame in being realistic.




Saturday, 7 November 2015

Renovation project - Dinner in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Renovation project - Dinner in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

We have just realised that we are only about 10 km from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, now most of you will probably recognise the name of this famous wine, but the wine actually comes from this commune (and part of the four surrounding communes).

We drive to the village and it is so pretty and old, it really does not take long to walk around.

One of the nicest views is when you are at the top of the village and look out over vineyards for as far as the eye can see. (approximately 3,200 ha)


All this wonderful wine within such easy reach.

This is one of the nicest things about France (if you are a wine drinker) you can choose your favourite wine and visit the area where it is made!

Unfortunately it is evening when we arrive so only the restaurants are open. We choose one and find out that the owner is a vintner (grower and maker of wine).

But we do get to try some with our fabulous dinner at La Part des Anges. Which for some reason does not have a good review on Tripadvisor, so all I can say is, if this is the worst restaurant, we definitely want to go back, because we thought the food, location and service was wonderful


We think we may actually start a wine tour of France, the areas are so beautifull and diverse

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Friday, 6 November 2015

Renovation project - Orange, France

Renovation project - Orange, France

We have our next stop off planned in Orange, I have no idea what is there, I choose the place because I liked the name. A quick look on Google shows some great photos.

The place is beautiful, full of Roman architecture, but small enough to walk around and have a look at everything.

Orange, France

Orange, FranceOrange, France

Orange, France

Orange, FranceOrange, France

Orange, France

Orange, FranceOrange, France

Orange, France

Orange, France

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Renovation project - Barcelona (our first stop)

Renovation project - Barcelona (our first stop)

We get up and pack our bags, the hotels are booked (on the way there, nothing planned for on the way home as we don't know what will be happening yet).

We set off at lunchtime, the first stop is just outside of Barcelona.

The drive is an easy one but it does take 6 hours, as we reach Barcelona we see the mountains of Montserrat, this is always an amazing sight, we stopped there a couple of years ago but we are on a mission today and don't have time.

(click here for photos from our last trip)




We find the hotel and John collapses on the bed for a snooze (he has gotten so used to his siestas and hasn't had one today)

We head out after an hour to find somewhere to eat, this is not a place we would recommend to visit (but maybe we missed the nice bit?) we park the car and end up walking down roads trying to keep our bearings for finding the car again. We don't find any where nice to eat and settle for a kebab shop this was amazing, not quite what we had planned but one of the best kebabs we'd had for a long time.


We head back for an early night ready for the next part of the journey. And I realise I am getting excited about going back to France, it is at this point I realise, I think of France as home, I always love going back to the UK because the family are there, but France is such a nicer country.

At least I hope it it is we had lived in Brittany, will the rest of France be as nice?