Actual genuine TR - April 2021

Old Apr 16th, 2021, 11:30 AM
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Actual genuine TR - April 2021

Itís been a long time since Iíve posted on here but itís been a long time since I travelled.

Last Summer, foreign travel from the U.K. was allowed but quite frankly we were surrounded by people who did so and returned bringing back new and interesting strains of Covid. This included one fool who visited Dubai (because he had had a hard year)(as if we all havenít had a hard year) , went to a 2020 NYE party attended by 600 people and managed to bring back a virulent strain which infected at least 20 people. We skipped last year and spent our time in The Highlands where unbelievably it reached 23oC with few midges.

April 2021 - this is a cautionary tale for any Brits considering immediate travel ...in short donít.

We have been sat on cash for two years , not sure in which direction to go. In terms of business, we have weathered the pandemic quite well but itís been very tiring physically and emotionally. Dealing with the public IS NOT EASY.

We have tried to book a house rental just South of Saint Emilion (Gironde) twice. Last year, it was booked all summer, in November last year we tried to book for the this summer coming but the agency had closed their book due to the constant cycle of taking deposits only to refund.

In March 2021, I sat poking round the usual GreenAcres property porn on a Sunday morning saw the same house ...strange , GreenAcres only deal with sales. The house was for sale.

To cut a very long story short, it had been placed on the market late on Friday afternoon, by 3pm on Monday I had an offer accepted. We knew the area really well and the French system works beautifully for buyers. Vendors accept an offer and are bound immediately but buyers can pull out up to 10 days after signing a Compris de Vende, at which stage you have to pay a deposit.

OK , I bought a house off GreenAcres without seeing it.

The only other person Iíve ever known do this , was a friend from school who made zillions in the city and bought a house in The Bahamas unseen. He turned up to The Abacos, went to the local bar, got smashed then asked the barman for his house keys, only to find the house was on a speck of land and he hated water....all good fun.

For us , the offer was the easy part. Europe has been a pendulum of cases over the last 12 months, We get it, Spain get rid of it, France gets it, then Germany, we each in turn lockdown and then reopen, so the cycle goes.

When I made the offer, leaving the U.K. was not possible and entering France wasnít either. Then over 4 weeks the legal work progressed and we were pushed into a corner. Were we actually going to pay a deposit without seeing the house?

Post Christmas, the U.K. had huge numbers of ďthe Kent strainĒ which has ended up in France and the US. By the end of March, and following a very long lockdown, our numbers had fallen to low levels. France then allowed entry and the U.K. accepted buying a house as essential travel. The window had opened, I spent the next two days organising the trip and believe me, unless you are making a life/death trip or one involving a large amount of money, then itís not worth it. I took a PRC Covid test at a private airport full of dusty, private jets - the owners arenít using them as they canít be bothered with the logistics of travel.

I am extremely cautious around the subject of Covid - Iíve lost three business contacts through it and seen a number of people seriously ill. It is not to be taken lightly.

To minimise my risk, I planned to drive from Manchester to Bordeaux in a day via The Channel Tunnel and return the day after. Thatís what I did!

I spent £575 on private Covid tests , the U.K. government doesnít accept NHS tests.

The timing of the tests is dire, itís like a military operation and if at any stage you are let down then the pack of cards falls and the trip fails or worse - you are left in a pickle. Thankfully, I used MedicSpot who were very professional and all four tests were issued, returned and the results emailed without fail.

Another heads up to Brits, Brexit has complicated matters , you need an insurance ďgreen cardĒ to take your car to Europe. As a third country, Brits now need to prove their car has adequate insurance. The documents can take weeks to obtain.

The Channel Tunnel is great, very efficient. For those who havenít used it, it is a train tunnel , in as much as you drive your car into a train which transports you through the tunnel. Perfect in a pandemic environment, as the is no contact with other travellers.

The drive down (900 miles) was a breeze. The French toll roads are now so expensive, only crazy Brits buying houses use them. I paid around e100 in 2 days for the return trip. Scary amount.

i arrived at Saint Emilion around 3pm after a very long day which started at 5am. I was so glad we didnít buy near the town, itís picture postcard but a very false environment. A huge tourist trap with a social feudal system of a few billionaires owning vineyards costing £1m a hectare and the rest of the population being the downtrodden farm workers. It just feels like an over exploited corner of the planet.

We are 15 minutes South and across the Dordogne in Entre Deux Mers, much calmer , larger vineyards and normal people!

The house was just like the pictures, 150m2 of lovely French country style , a pool , lovely gardens and 400m2 of undeveloped barns. Tweeting birds and much peace, I didnít feel like going back home.

I spent the night at a lovely local hotel which a e100 a night was very good value : La Girard, Caplong

Awoke in the morning, got in the the car and drove the 900 miles back home.

A thrilling Trip Report it isnít , no museums, opera, wine, restaurants or beaches. Just road, lots of roads.

But in a pandemic ... it was a trip.

Did I feel guilty for going ? No , as in two days I met 3 people, and for that pleasure had four Covid tests.

Would I travel again before the U.K. changes itís policies - No, itís far too stressful.

We have now paid the deposit and so thatís it stage one complete of relacating to France, now just need to pack my son off the University in two years and then we are off , bye bye Brexit Britain ...I voted with my feet and Iíll never forgive you for what you did.

Hereís to hoping for better times. Good luck all.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Apr 16th, 2021 at 12:00 PM.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 11:59 AM
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Many congratulations on the purchase, and for arranging a safe trip. Thanks for the TR!

I have been considering a move back to the UK if things go south in the US election in 2022. Sounds like you wouldn't advise that? (I'm not sure I have the energy anymore to arrange a move elsewhere now my UK passport is of no help in Europe.)

Last edited by thursdaysd; Apr 16th, 2021 at 12:03 PM.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 12:23 PM
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Cumbrian farmers are great philosophers.

They say ďif you put too many cows in a fieldĒ.

Well, there are too many cows in this field and they are trying to live lives like the US. It workday when you have open prairies and 000s of miles of wilderness. It doesnít when you have an island for for 30m currently occupied by twice that.

I want to live in a place where you are judged on the wine you drink for under e10 not the German car you drive over £50,000.

where are you in The States and how is it panning out. We had our first trip to SF blown out of the water in April 2020, Yosemite and all. Took 3 months to unravel the trip. Couldnít be bothered after that. To be honest, we may have seen enough now, may just settle for red wine and decent cheese. Canít be bothered anymore with 5 connections and a 36 hour trips to swim with sharks that try to eat you.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 12:33 PM
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I have to say this may be my favorite trip report ever.

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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 12:53 PM
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MmmePerdu

All I hear are birds not Porsches!



I have dreamt of this since I was 5 years old , I only ever wanted a house in the vineyards of France.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; Apr 16th, 2021 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Add happiness
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 01:09 PM
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Cíest «a.

GIRONDE GENSAC Houses for sale
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BritishCaicos View Post
. . . I have dreamt of this since I was 5 years old , I only ever wanted a house in the vineyards of France.
When I was 5 I didn't know there was a France, or vineyards or vin for that matter. But I do remember the moment when I became aware that there were real-life exotic places I could run away to. I was about 10. It's a wonderful thing to have the dream come true.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 01:41 PM
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Congratulations Mr. Caicos. Hats off to you and best of luck.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 01:41 PM
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Great report, very insightful. Enjoy the new house, the new country, the new life.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:03 PM
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British... Well done
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:26 PM
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Nice house you got there. Of course, since you posted it, now we all know where you'll be. Get ready for a zillion Fodorite visitors!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:31 PM
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All are welcome!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:35 PM
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Beautiful!!
Friends of ours bought an apartment in Paris sight unseen a few years ago. Itís probably easier now with virtual tours and the like, but a risk to be sure. Glad it all worked out & congratulations!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 02:39 PM
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where are you in The States and how is it panning out.
North Carolina. Been here a long time. I'm more worried about the national situation than the state, Our Democratic governor was just re-elected and has done a good job with the pandemic.

Last edited by Moderator1; Apr 17th, 2021 at 02:08 PM. Reason: removed political comment
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 04:37 PM
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wow BC -- that's a beautiful property. Congratulations. Can you really give up Mull and all ?? Though France would be tempting.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 04:47 PM
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Great trip report! Beautiful property-congratulations!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 04:50 PM
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Love your house! It is fantastic!! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations.
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 06:48 PM
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Congratulations, BC! Your new home is beautiful!
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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 07:05 PM
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Even though you didn't do much - drove there, drove back - I found it fascinating. Maybe because most of us are going nowhere

I'm being a sticky nose, but can I ask some questions? Do you speak French? Just wondered about all the legal papers etc. And did you need a visa to go and live in France? Also are you covered for the public health system in France? Just tell me to naff off if you find this too personal. I'm just interested in the detail. Lots of people on Fodors talk about moving to another country but I think few actually go ahead with it. And in the middle of a pandemic! Wow.

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Old Apr 16th, 2021, 08:06 PM
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Looks like an excellent purchase. Congratulations. I suspect that you drove 900 km rather than 900 miles.
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