Thursday, October 29, 2015

decisions, decisions

Ongoing, I am not so sure.  My straw bale build project in France seems less appealing for a variety of reasons.  Though have still NOT ruled it out.

a raft of new rules and regulations for new build properties will push the cost up dramatically from my original estimations.

I already feel that the location is somewhat isolated and for the prospect of one, meeting a significant other and two, for attracting paying guests at a later stage, it is not the most obvious place to be located.

should I build, I would have to keep the property for ten years before being able to sell it as a house.  Rules stipulate that any new build property has to be guaranteed for this period and, as a self builder, I would be unable to offer such guarantee.  A sale before such time would only be as building but a not a house.

it is significantly more difficult to start and run a small business in France than in many other european countries.  The rules and regulations are daunting even with a fairly decent understanding of the language.  The french think so too.

if I choose to change location, my improved budget gives me much more scope to get ahead with other plans, rather than spending two years building, before I can even start.

the longer term plan is still to create the example of a productive garden and invite/allow people to come and learn how to grow fruit and vegetables hands on. 

Building a straw bale house still remains an excellent idea.  It was a means to an end to enable me to afford a home within the budget I had.  Where as now it can become a more leisurely project in the back garden should I move on.

a move now would give me ample opportunity to do something else before I get too old.  Not a valid reason at all, it’s never too late!!

I can now afford to invest more in a better located, more attractive piece of land/property than I could have done until recently.  

after a couple of trips away, the lure of sunshine and beaches is pulling and is now also achievable and within the new budgetary constraints.

All of that said, I still love my piece of paradise, where the occasional tractor, car or aeroplane are about the only things that disturb the peace, where the birds sing and the weather does it’s thing (mainly sunnily) throughout the year, I enjoy my time there, almost without exception, although, for a more rounded life experience, there is a whole lot missing.  Oh how much easier it would be if I disliked being there or the idea of building an ecologically sound house, I could be gone in a shot.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

50 and beyond

Onwards, to 50 and beyond.  Wendy, my sister, gave me a great Birthday card that read:

“Just remember,  Growing old is inevitable.  Growing up is Optional.  Happy Birthday”

Which just about sums up my outlook on life.  Inside, I don’t feel any older than I did twenty or even thirty years ago, perhaps a bit wiser than when I was twenty, but there is no way I feel that I should be slowing down or taking it easy.  If anything I feel the need to push harder and get myself into better shape than I have been for a while.  I guess that comes from hesitating on my journey and considering options for a while.  Pressure off and things tend to go downhill slowly without even realising. 

A good friend laughed at me the other week when I explained that I was planning on working in a ski resort again for the winter and if my accommodation ended up being mattress on the floor for the winter I would be quite content, so long as it was warm and comfortable.  She protested and said that at my age she would have expected that my demands for luxury and comfort be a bit higher than that.  

I can assure you now, Ginny, that it is I who has rented the apartment, so if anyone sleeps on the floor, it won’t be me this winter.  Not that it would have bothered me if I had.  I now have to find two or three other seasonal workers who need a roof over their heads and are willing to share with an aging english man in the mountains.  Another exciting winter ahead no doubt.  Can’t wait.

Four months in the mountains, well occupied every day, will give my subconscious time to process the events of this last year, (along with those of the last fifty) and hopefully come to some conclusions of what to do for the next few years of my life.  I’m looking forward to being part of a french speaking team in a ski refuge (accommodation for 30 in dorms with half or full board) and also a lunchtime restaurant on the pistes.  The only access in the winter is by ski and ski lift, so when the weather gets bad, there is no way in or out.  Last season, an overnight team ended up working for five days without a break due to storm that closed the resort. They didn’t get lunchtime visitors but fed and provided for the guests that were also cut off from the outside world.  Sounds exciting, and having visited the location already, know that it is equipped for almost any eventuality, well located and looks to be a great place to spend the winter.