Turns out Spring hadn’t arrived! In the past couple of weeks we have seen more rain than the region has experienced for a generation. Flooding records suggest that the level of the river Lot has only been higher twice before on record – since 1900

Photo credit – Lot & Garonne Police. The River Lot sitting 10 meters higher than normal! February 2021

I have been reliably informed that if ‘the French’ are talking about how bad it is then it MUST be bad! The below photo is from the Police at Marmande – the flood alert is now at Red and many roads are impassable. Its currently flowing 10 meters higher than normal!

We have been quite lucky so far with our property sitting on higher ground but the water table is so high and the ground so waterlogged that our gardens and drive are very swampy. More rain is forecast so we shall see what happens next!

Still, on the upside is means there is plenty of time for inside work (of which there is LOTS still to do!) and Dan’s business is really getting going now which is ace!

We knew from the very start that our life in France would only be possible if we both earned an income in addition to the potential earnings from the Gite. During our research we had heard terrible stories of folks moving out here planning for the income from one gite to enable them to survive for it all to go very wrong!

Lucky for me – I married a wonderfully gifted engineer!

Dan’s experience and education does not allow him to work in France as an ‘Engineer’ (yet another peculiarity of the French system) but he is permitted to operate as a fixer of all domestic appliances. This could be anything from fridges and washing machines to lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, power tools and bikes.

We suspected that this may be a gap in the market over here especially now that people are more aware of their environmental impact and preferring to repair than buy new.

Turns out Dan has found his ‘calling’! He has always been intrigued with how things work and has been known to buy broken stuff just to try and fix it. The challenge! The constant learning is something he thrives from. Since December we have been advertising once a week in local Facebook groups and through that and word of mouth (with some amazing supporters locally) he is receiving a steady stream of enquiries and jobs. L’Atelier de Coulx was born! The workshop of Coulx.

Its quite lovely to hear the customers positivity about my wonderful Dan! He is a bit of a star really but I am biased! 😊

The Gite renovations continue and I am almost done with decorating the whole of the upstairs! A bit of a mammoth task with double height ceilings and beams everywhere! We have always tried to be hands on with any property development we have done and it’s serving us well now! There is always something new though and this week I used the power of Youtube to teach myself how to lay a new floor in the family bathroom of the Gite! The only slight issue we have is getting the new bathroom suite up the stairs. I thought I was being clever by getting a thick reinforced shower screen for the sexy new walk in shower. FAIL! It weighs 80kg!

We are both very much looking forward to getting back outside when the rain goes as there are so many jobs that have started and stalled which are tantalisingly close to completion.

The good news (according to local folk law) is that Spring won’t be much longer to arrive as the Crane’s are migrating north again. We are on the migration route as they go South to winter in Northern Africa and apparently when they head north again it’s a sign that the season is about to change. I have to say that their migration is magnificent. If you don’t expect it though it can be quite a shock! Flocks 100’s of birds strong flying very low and making a real racket! Like honking horns! Not nearly as noisy as the sonic boom last week but still impressive!

As we are not far from the coast and the military training grounds, we quite often see fast jets fly past. We think they may be using the windmill as a locator which is pretty cool!

Our importing activities for the Hymer continue…the admin is endless it seems! We didn’t pass our test last week with flying colours but the issues that need to be fixed are totally manageable which is ace! We have one last hurdle to pass.

Enquiries are coming in for the Gite which is hugely gratifying to know that folks are genuinely interested in renting our product. Until now it has been a huge gamble really. There is only so much research you can do for something like this before you just have to wait and see. We have so many plans for this place that it should only get better!

This coming week its going to be more of the same, admin…painting…fixing…marketing…finishing…researching…ironing, planting and we could not be happier!

We met a financial advisor last week to just make sure that we had everything in order and are as tax efficient as we can be. She asked – what’s your retirement plans? It’s an important question to ask and actually this is our retirement of sorts. We will probably never be able to afford to stop working completely but that’s ok for us (all physical constraints of older age to one side which need some future proofing to protect for). Our mental and physical health is better than it has been for years. If we need to continue to do this until we die that’s ok for us because its infinitely better then the path’s we were on 5 years ago. Its early days for sure and I am absolutely sure we will have to adapt on this journey as we grow and learn. Here’s to making every day count! Happy Wednesday folks!