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Stu & Syb

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  1. Hi, we're planning to use a Kia Carnival for the same sort of thing. 7 seats, great boot space, fitted luggage rack, frugal-ish 2.9 diesel engine, and a great level of comfort, drivability etc. We have the Sedona here in the UK, and had thought of re-registering it in France. Decided to sell the r/h/d and go for the Carnival instead as a leftie. Hope this helps.    
  2. [quote]Teamedup, I am not moving to France because i think the grass is greener or for better child benefit or tax breaks. I start work at 6.30 am before my wife and children are awake and return home to a...[/quote] Hellfire, Tim! I read this and thought I'd posted under a different name for a minute! Been there & done that with the swimming gala's - nationals, regionals, you name it....wife is a swimming coach & lifeguard too! I work all over the UK & Ireland and have done for the past 20-odd years. Too much travelling and being away from home for long periods of time mean I don't get to enjoy life with the family that much. So, we looked at the options, and decided to 'downsize' (buzz-phrase, sorry!) and move to France, where we've spent many happy holidays. Good on ya mate, I think your reasons are valid ones, good luck to you & the family!
  3. [quote]This thread has now degenerated to the point where some of the postings are just downright nasty, and have nothing to do with France, or the original topic, or civilized discussion. Whatever happen...[/quote] I couldn't agree more Barry. As a relative newcomer to posting on this site, it's taken me a few visits to get a grip on the various characters, as it were. I thought this forum's main purpose was for the giving & receiving of advice? Possibly the strength of the forum is that of all the ones I've seen, it's probably the most used. What I've seen, the way 'people' have responded on various threads has just left me unsure as to whether I'd like to continue posting. I've had some nice responses via. e-mail, which leaves me wondering whether those respondees feel more willing to give their advice privately, rather than share it on the forum, for fear of being ridiculed, insulted, denegrated and basically shot down in flames. That's a very sad state of affairs. I also realise that this is the 'postbag', a general discussion area, but it still doesn't look good for newbies like me. Grow up people, life's way too short to be bickering like kids in the playground. This isn't 'real-life' in here. It's out there.....  
  4. Hi all. Thanks for your interest. Sorted the good old-fashioned way. Ta muchly.
  5. At the moment, Yorkshire. Soon to be 49, Maine et Loire.
  6. [quote]S&S, Make sure your campsite figures are properly authenticated. I remember a couple who hired a running B&B on the basis of the figures provided by the owners. They showed near 100% occupanc...[/quote] Hi Ian, I've seen the figures for the campsite, and while they're not going to trouble the likes of Eurocamp, they represent a business that can (and will) do lots better. Because the site's only open from May to September, it doesn't earn a 'living' in itself. The fact that there are 2 up & running gites attached, and an easy 3rd to convert makes the whole thing a little more attractive. There's also 3 massive lofts to convert, 1 of which will eventually make the 4th gite/studio flat. The other 2 lofts are going to be additional bedrooms for the family. We'd like to think we've done a reasonable amount of homework, the thing that's lacking is a fluent French speaker among us. But, we're determined that will come, albeit slowly. Bryan, The site's already listed in the European CC Guidebook. I can't tell you the name of the place as yet, as we're not legally the owners. As soon as we are, I'll let you know. I believe there's a market for all-year round sites in the region too. I know we've struggled to find some that are open, as have quite a few of our friends. Hopefully we'll make it. If we don't....c'est la vie. I must say that I'm generally impressed with the level of knowledge you guys have, and the frindly attitude you display. It's really refreshing. Thanks one & all for your contributions so far. Please feel free to add more if there's 'owt (the Yorkshireman in me, sorry) you think we should know? Salut.
  7. Hi, the site's primarily geared up for caravanners rather than tents, but yes, we'd accept tents. There's 2 sites really, one by the house about an acre, which has the shower block, (small but perfectly formed) and emplacements for 8 caravans (although 6 is the 'limit'), then there's a seperate field where the current owner has in the past sited tents that turn up on spec. It's basically a lovely meadow that has the river bordering 2 sides, with fishing rights! We realise that it's not going to make us rich, but it's actually got a good returns thing going on. People do know the site, and have come back in successive years. I know the agent wants to sell houses, but she's convinced it's a go-er, and the owner before the current one really made it crack, but retired. It's worth developing, as we know we can due to the level of interest we've had already. caravan Club members seem to like it, as it's quiet (very quiet), and pretty rural. There's lots of nice walks and cycle paths through the forest etc. so we'd be looking to hire bikes etc. As I said, this part of it all stems from our own love of 'vanning. The main income will be from the 3 gites, with potentially a 4th on-stream asap. Cheers for all your interest and replies so far. Especially SB. Thanks hun.  
  8. Gawd, I hope this isn't gonna turn into an attack on us Anglais that also love caravanning?  
  9. Hi Outcast, the campsite we're buying isn't near a river per se, but the field we'd use for tents is. The site doesn't flood, it's had extra drainage installed which takes care of that aspect. Because it's only 6 pitches there's no need for it to be registered. It's a manageable size for us, and coupled with the 3 gites may give us enough to 'tick along' quite nicely, I'll still commute to work in the UK for a few months, just to see how we do. Miki, Fair point about the reasons why lots of sites don't open year round. BUT, my research has shown that there's actually a growing demand for it, it may help that we're going to be on route for the south too. Right, must dash, have to try some more French lessons! Bon Soir!
  10. Hi Miki, many thanks for the words of encouragement. Yes, we are bringing all of our 3 kids with us. Aged 13, 16 & 18! We all fully realise the implications that arise from this, and we've thought long & hard about it. The eldest will work alongside me for the moment. There's some possibility of him joining the forces, which will effectively get him off my hands! LOL! The two youngest will start school over there, (in 49, Maine et Loire). The youngest will probably be kept down a year to try and get to grips with the language. My middle teen has already been exploring the possibilities of re-taking her final year when we do move to France, she wants to get her GCSE's in the UK (this May/June) then try and go to College in France. We're still working on all of this. Indeed it's all-consuming at the 'mo. I realise also that there's a potential minefield around every corner. To mitigate against this, we're already seeking help & advice on literally EVERYTHING from a network of friends already over there, and some who've had to come back unfortunately. Yes, we're taking on a mortgage or a loan if you prefer. At the 'mo, the site's only operational for 5 months per year with 2 gites. there's room initially for 3 gites with a quick conversion of an en-suite bedroom. We also intend to open all year too. We're close to some fairly major attractions in La Loire, le Mans, Cholet, Saumur, to name a few. We've researched fairly thoroughly, and visited the area many times. The season's fairly long, and there's a good base for winter lets too, which hasn't been explored fully by the current owner. Indeed, the current owner is the first to admit that he's only really done it for 'fun', as he's comfortable enough as it is. It is a possibility that I can continue in my present occupation for the forseeable anyway, commuting between the UK and France if needs be. We've thought about the proximity of Ports/Airports etc. we're ok there. The Atlantic's around an hour and a half away too. Yep, we realise that it'll be hard work. Both the wife & I are well accustomed to that, and the knowledge we have of the caravanning fraternity, and of the B&B industry means that we're well up to speed on people's likes/dislikes. We've already begun advertising among colleagues/friends and the biggest on-line camping/caravanning forum in the UK, where we've been fairly active for the past few years. Things are looking reasonable. I re-read this and I can see how utterly naive it all sounds. Apologies. Still, if we are THAT naive, and it all goes fruit shaped, then surely the old adage will kick in? Fortune favours the impeccably stupid?
  11. My wife & I have been reading this thread with continued interest. We're about to send off the deposit on our new place in France. Yes, it's a Gites complex with attached small campsite. Yes, we're 'chasing a dream', yes, we're excited. YES we're also scared sh*tless! What we want to do is (like hundreds of thousands of others) live a fairly simple life, in a beautiful part of the world. One which we've enjoyed for years on holidays, short breaks etc. We KNOW it's going to be hard work. We KNOW there's a chance we've overestimated our expectations. BUT, we're hoping to follow in the footsteps of those of you that HAVE 'walked on the Moon'! Just taking the space analogy a bit further; how far behind would mankind be right now without the bravery of the early space missions? There will always be failures, all you can do is try to arm yourself with the best advice, and give it your best shot. There always has to be someone to take the risks in order that others may follow. YOU all have taken the risks. Those of US that follow are grateful for any help & advice we can glean from you. Honestly. We're fairly new to posting on here, but have been avid readers of ALL of the magazines, got the books, seen the TV programmes etc. We're not stupid, we're prepared to work bloody hard to make this work. My kids are crapping themselves, wishing they'd tried harder in French lessons, but ultimately prepared for this big 'adventure'. We've driven them and my mum-in-law crazy. we're asking at every turn....'You DO know what this is going to mean don't you?' The answer now is 'YES! And we STILL want to go, Dad'. Both the wife & myself are trying to get to grips with the language. It isn't easy, not alot these days is. BUT, we are determined that our kid's future, and that of our family will be a far, far better one in France, than in the UK that we know now. Thanks for listening.
  12. Hi Dilbert, and the rest of you wise people. We're in a very similar position, but the place we're buying has 2 operational gites at the 'mo, and 3 B&B rooms, which will be converted into a 2-bedroom gite as soon as we get possession of the property. We also have a very small campsite for caravans attached. Not to mantion an acre field to the rear of the property, with a river bordering 2 sides. Having looked at every angle, and produced a business plan (in French & English) for our potential mortgage lender, we believe we have a sound case for operating a fairly good business. I am however racked with doubts from the moment I wake, 'till the moment I close my eyes and drift off to sleep (and dream of France, usually!). Is this normal? Anyway, we aim to succeed (doesn't everybody?), and we truly believe we can. I think as long as you're willing to work hard (we are), integrate (we do/we will), and research your markets (we have), the rest is up to fate! Bon courage Dilbert.  
  13. Soon to be close to Mouliherne (49). Can't wait! Wife, 3 kids (18, 16, 13 & mum in law!)
  14. Sorry, the 'courtiers' are simply mortgage brokers. We had a meeting with Soc. Gen, who quoted us a good rate, but then met with the 'brokers' at our agent's office who quoted us a far better set of rates, terms & conditions. Our bank to be is Banque Entenial in Angers. Anyone know of it? We're really excited at the 'mo. Our kids are 18, 16 & 13. They're all really up for it too. The eldest has just returned from a 5-week 'holiday' job on a site in France, and he can't wait to go back.
  15. Hi all, after much searching over the internet and at exhibitions etc. we've finally found the place for us. A small campsite with gites in the Loire, near to Saumur. We went over to view, and fell in love. Made an offer and had it accepted! We've been back this weekend to chat with the banks and courtiers and are now well on the way to owning our own corner of paradise. Thanks to magazines like Living France, we've learned lots....and thanks to all who contribute to the forum, we've also picked up loads of info. as well as the essential do's & don'ts! Looking forward to moving out there soon, well....July/August anyway. Thanks all. Stu & Syb....(soon to be 49'ers)
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