Andy is in the police and despite the government constantly moving the goal posts, is hoping to retire while he is still fit and healthy enough to be able to enjoy retirement and to be able to work for himself. We had been discussing what we wanted to do when he actually got to that point for some time and considering our options. I will need to keep working but potentially could cut down my hours or work offsite.
We both love the countryside and our favourite pastime is long country walks whenever we have the opportunity to indulge in them (which is not all that often when you work shifts...). We also love nature and many of our holidays have involved wildlife watching.
Ideally, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall is where we would like to end up. Anyone who has looked at the price of properties in these counties in the last few years will know that they have become somewhat prohibitive. Nor did we didn't wish to tie up all of our assets in bricks and mortar.
We had some time booked off in June and were planning to go to Northumberland in the hope of seeing some puffins. What about a trip to France instead where we could combine sightseeing with some viewings? Properties are cheaper, the weather better, the wine plentiful, the roads quieter (well in the countryside anyway...). Couldn't hurt to take a look now could it? After all we'd been on holiday there before and loved it. Okay, so our French is basic but we always found if we gave it a go we got a postive response, if not what we thought we had actually asked for, and this was something we could work on. Decison made - roll on France - but where to base ourselves?
A few years ago we had spent some time in the Lot and Dordogne - beautiful areas with lots to see. We had also visited the Loire valley - who could fail to be impressed by the plethora of magnificent chateaux that line this majestic river? Though I am bound to say a chateau was a little beyond our means...
After much research on the internet (what did we ever do without it?) we found a lovely B&B bordering the river Lot in the department of Lot-et-Garonne and another one in the rolling hills of northern Dordogne. Good bases to dip our toes in the water and if nothing came of it we would have a lovely time anyway.
Next task - how to plan a property hunt in France - as complete novices we had a rather large learning curve to ascend...