Thursday, 31 May 2007

Happy Birthday to Una!

Many happy returns for today to my sister Una. I did warn you that we 'litter' May with family celebrations!

Last year, Una and her husband Mike drove down to see us on their motorbike - their first long 'tour' on two wheels for some time. When they arrived, they were so stiff and unable to stand up straight (think jockey riding a horse - but missing the important animal!) that they decided a rethink was in order when they got home.

They have since traded up to a '2 armchairs on 2 wheels' machine - more comfortable, but receiving a lot of stick from friends and family! We are looking forward to their next visit in July and will keep you posted on how they survive the journey.

Last night our friends Riet and Albert came round for a celebratory drink and nibbles. Sitting out on the terrace (remember our gorgeous view?), enjoying ourselves in the sunshine - then what happened? The heavens opened and we were hit by a sudden rainstorm - and I mean rain! Not until you have experienced it here in the South can you imagine such a change in weather in seconds. There is even a strange thing called the 'La Sesquiere Phenomenon' - bright blue sky, not a cloud in sight and rain drops falling on your head ...... I kid you not! The experts tell us it is because of the shape of our valley and the unusual wind patterns that we experience. The rest of us just say its odd.

Today we are off to talk 'prices and offers' with the Immobilier for the apartment in Lamalou. It is a slightly unusual situation. The whole house contains 10 apartments and is owned and run as an incredibly successful business by an elderly couple who have decided to retire (so successful that there was only one morning in May and one in July when it is not occupied by tenants during the whole season!). A Geometre is therefore involved legally splitting the property into different entities and deciding boundaries, access rights, etc. This means that although we are seriously interested, there is not the usual rush to beat other offers because nothing can be finalised until you know the exact number of square metres you are getting both inside and outside. Apartments in Lamalou go like hot cakes, and ones with their own entrance and outside space (both front and back) are as rare as hens' teeth. The plus point for us is that the 'professional investors' prefer established co-proprietes so are not jumping in as cash buyers. If only we had more money - we would buy the whole building!

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