Moving country to be self sufficient

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clanpowell
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Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 214963Post clanpowell »

Hi
It was suggested that we should start a thread to talk about how our planned move to France to lead a self-sufficient lifestyle goes. (Cheers to Muddywitch for putting up with my dim question!)
Story so far.
Having exhausted our garden for its growing potential and livestock possibilities, we realised we wanted more. Looking here we soon realised that we have nowhere near the capital needed to buy somewhere in this country, other than the islands of Scotland. I like Islay malt whiskey but not enough to put up with their weather! We also realised that life in general in Britain at the moment is fairly soul destroying for anyone who wants to live self sufficiently, free of x ice dancing jungle factor, binge drinking, obsession with celebrity and a laughable government green policy. (Rant over....for now)
So, where next? My wife is a bit of a Francophile so started talk about a move over the Channel. I was sceptical about France (Normal English male stereotyping) but have been convinced by a combination of a number of factors.
o Property and land prices- For what would cost you £500,000 here (Few hectares, a 3 bed farmhouse, outbuildings, we’ve even seen gites thrown in on top of this) you can get for £150,000.
o Lifestyle and attitude of the French-We laugh at them here but they’ve got it right. They live longer than we do despite the fact that they smoke, drink and eat more than us. Family comes first; everything else is there to make family life better. The villages aren’t losing all their services and shops either.
o Weather-Much more consistent than here which means you can plan better for veggies growing. Far less second guessing frosts, snow etc.
It’s all just fallen into place really. Last holiday in the Languedoc region we met up with some friends of a friend who have already done it. We also chatted with the owners of our gite complex. Both said “Stop talking about it and just do it.” So, we are.
The ideal-A smallholding and some form of accommodation. Make them as self sufficient as possible and use the income from the accommodation to pay for health insurance, school and maybe a bit of pocket money (I have a weakness for Belgian beer, I know I can brew my own which I do, but I just can’t match those monks) Grow fruit and veggies. Keep chickens, ducks and geese for meat and eggs. Goats and pigs for milk and meat. Use green technology where possible. Generally work physically harder but be happier and more content with life.
House goes on the market in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been scouring the French property websites. My Amazon wish list looks like a smallholder’s library. We are ready to go.
As I said in our hello on the other forum all offers of advice, help and guidance will be gratefully received. Have you done or are doing the same thing? We’d love to hear from you.

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 214979Post MuddyWitch »

I'm deeply envious!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Although our destination is the Republic of Ireland, pretty much everthing else you say chimes with our dreams. We wish you all the luck in the world and will follow your adventures avidly.

(By-the-way, there are no 'dim' questions. We are all ignorant untill we learn, if we don't learn then we're dim.)

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 214987Post Mylovelyhorse »

I think you're definitely on the right track.

Mind you, I have to say that, as we're doing much the same thing!

There are certain things we want from life, and we've realised that we simply can't afford to do them in England (they involve me working part time, and OH working as a potter). We *can*, however, afford to do them in France. Add to that the fact that we both love being in France, have learned the language, enjoy the culture (especially approve of what you said about the family-centric view of life which the French have), etc, and a move to France for us seemed inevitable.

It's taken us a few years to get things straight: to sort out our finances; to save up enough money for the French mortgage; to learn the language to a standard where we think we'll be OK (at least to start with); and not least of all, to explore the country a little and find out where we want to be.

But. We are now 9 days away from leaving the UK and moving to France. We've bought our house (in the area we wanted, and with 1.5 acres of organic land), and have sold up in this country. We've both finished work over here, and are looking forward to setting up as auto-entrepreneurs in France. The removal van is booked, the cats have their passports, and we're ready to move.

It's been a fairly long road to get here. And I'm sure we've got much more to learn! But we've read and researched as much as possible, and we're now doing it at last.

So. If you have any questions, please ask. We'll tell you what we've learned, or at least refer you to some of the sources we've learned from!

And have faith. It can be done. You just have to want it enough, and have a bit of luck in it all working out your way...

(Just one word of caution - the gite industry is very over-subscribed, so you may not necessarily want to rely on this too much. Unless you have a niche market, such as 'ISH-gites' or 'organic faming gites' etc, in which case you may still be OK. I've heard a lot of miserable stories about people setting up gites only to find that they have no customers...)

Sending lots of positive thoughts (et peut-être les pensées positifs??)

MLH x

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 214996Post The Riff-Raff Element »

We've been here since spring 2003.

Our income comes from gites and I would agree one needs to be careful about relying on these as the market in some regions (South, South West, Limousin) are heavily oversupplied.

The only specific advice I could offer you at this stage is that you must learn the language, and learn it well. There is a whole new and deeply fun beaureaucracy waiting here for you and they like to do things on their terms!

Good luck, and do ask any me questions you think I might be able to help answer.

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 214999Post 123sologne »

Mylovelyhorse wrote:
But. We are now 9 days away from leaving the UK and moving to France. We've bought our house (in the area we wanted, and with 1.5 acres of organic land), and have sold up in this country. We've both finished work over here, and are looking forward to setting up as auto-entrepreneurs in France. The removal van is booked, the cats have their passports, and we're ready to move.

MLH x
Hi Mylovelyhorse,
I have one little practical question for you, before I think of the very big questions... How are you taking your cats there? I mean, they will have to be locked up for long hours to do the trip, so how do you do for drink and toilette? I suppose they will cope with no food for all that time even if not happy about it, if there is no choice, but they have to drink and go to the loo?
We will be heading to France in 2012, hopefully, back home for me, so no problem with language, but I am not looking forward to the French Bureaucratie as I remember my previous brushing with them before I came here and that was no fun whatsoever.... :(

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215020Post Mylovelyhorse »

Ah yes, the cats...

We've tried to arrange the move so it will be as stress-free as possible for them (though of course *totally* stress-free just isn't feasible). It's taken some working out and, obviously, will be MUCH more stressful for us!

The day before the removal men arrive, we'll take the cats to their usual cattery about 20 mins from where we live. They'll stay there for a week, being safe, warm and looked after. In the meantime, we'll come back to the UK house, see all our worldly goods put onto a lorry and driven away. We'll then drive to the airport, park the car there and fly out to meet the lorry in France. We'll spend a couple of days unpacking and getting the new house as homely as possible. Then we fly back to England, pick the cats up from the cattery and spend one last night in our old home (luckily we're in a rented place). We get up ludicrously early, drive to Folkestone (only an hour or so's drive from us - thank goodness) and get the Eurotunnel over to Calais. We should arrive at about 9am local time, and then we drive the whole day to get down to the south Corrèze (about 9 hours' drive).

We've just bought a left-hand drive car, and it's got a lot of space in the back. We're buying the cats new travelling cages - the sort that are more usually used for large dogs. They'll have a cage each, and each cage is big enough to take a litter tray, a decent size cat bed/cushion, and a water bowl. We'll make sure the cages are on a waterproof liner, so that any spilled water won't make too much of a mess. And we'll be taking a 5 litre water bottle with us (as well as cat litter and litter scoop!). The cats won't be happy, but they'll be as comfortable as we can make them.

And once we arrive, we'll collapse in a big heap. And possibly have a glass of wine. :iconbiggrin:

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215034Post Green Aura »

When we transported our cats up here (10 hour drive from our old house) we bought some anti-anxiety drops and some valerian drops from the holistic pet shop. We gave them the first for a couple of days before and started the valerian the night before. On the morning we gave them each a dose of valerian and they slept for the first few hours. We then gave them just a tiny drink and a few biscuits and another dose and they slept the rest of the way.

They were a bit stoned, which everyone except me found amusing :roll: but they settled in really quickly and seemed totally unfazed by the journey. Our cats are not used to traveling. They used to scream all the way to the vets which was less than a mile from our house!
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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215043Post clanpowell »

Mylovelyhorse wrote:So. If you have any questions, please ask. We'll tell you what we've learned, or at least refer you to some of the sources we've learned from!

(Just one word of caution - the gite industry is very over-subscribed, so you may not necessarily want to rely on this too much. Unless you have a niche market, such as 'ISH-gites' or 'organic faming gites' etc, in which case you may still be OK. I've heard a lot of miserable stories about people setting up gites only to find that they have no customers...)

MLH x
Good luck. We'll definately ask you for some advice. Where did you find your house in France? Was it difficult organising viewing properties out there?
We are definately going to go for the ISH-gite/organic farming gite idea. I was also thinking of offering people the opportunity to do things like come round and feed the animals/spend the day on the farm etc etc to draw people in. I have a plan in my head for a swimming pond if space/time allows.

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215057Post oldjerry »

God you lot are well organized we'll do the same as the last time we emigrated (9years ago),stick the dogs in the back of the car,with the kids,cat in large cage with litter tray,and loads of other stuff.I'll be behind with a 3 and a half ton van loaded up with stuff but with a space behind the seats the length of the sliding door all strawed out with 3 goats hidden away in it.We're probably breaking all the eec rules (great isn't it?) even though the dogs have passports.Any how latest departure date now feb 12,route nationales through France to keep a low profile,soon as we're over the border it doesn't matter.

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215058Post Green Aura »

Well that's Border Control on the alert then! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215065Post 123sologne »

Whoa! I am not sure I can say more at this point. :lol:
Other than: Thank you for the great tips on how to take cats on a big trip!
This is bound to be very interesting when it is our turn to hit the road. :shock:
At least we do not have to take any goats... But I would have loved to see you, oldjerry, hit the road and get there with this extended family :wink: What an epic adventure! :lol:

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215074Post oldjerry »

Green Aura wrote:Well that's Border Control on the alert then! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I know more ways in and out of Italy than Burlesconi's had hot teenagers !!

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215099Post boboff »

When we moved from Bath to Cornwall, we had the two cats loose in the back, they fell asleep on the parcel shelf!
It was only a couple of hours though, it did make me smile the look of people on the Motorway. It was just that they hated being in cages. Bob & Bruce were lovely long haired black cats, bruce was a little thick and licked sunbathing on the tarmac, he didn't last all that long, Bruce was a very effeminate male cat who had to go when he started sleeping in my daughters face at 2 months old!

Bruce was funny, in Bath we had a new back door fitted which was 100% glass, and for weeks he kept running up the stairs and smashing straight into the glass, I never did tire of that, although thankfully he did.
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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215102Post pelmetman »

Quite sure your cats will be fine.

We used to take our cats all over the place, I can remember travelling with friends from Hampshire to Cornwall, there was four adults and 8 cats in the car going on holiday. We used to have a Burmese who would sit on my lap in the front of the car, he used to take everything in his stride. Never even bothered putting him in a basket when we visited the vets, I think he thought he was a little dog.

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Re: Moving country to be self sufficient

Post: # 215860Post Cligereen »

I suppose this reply is directed at Muddywitch but may be relevant to others.

I moved from London to Essex, then the Republic of Ireland (I married an Irish girl). I've been in RoI for 23 years.

Anybody moving here needs to be very aware of the situation right now.

Positives:

Land prices have crashed in the last 2 years and they haven't hit rock bottom yet.
Rural areas are stunningly beautiful and many rural houses come with a large plot of land (0.5 acre plus).
Social Welfare payments are higher than UK.

Negatives:

Land prices will continue to fall so if you want to move back to UK at some stage, you'll have far less money.
Weather isn't the best for growing crops.
Rural areas can be difficult to break into socially.
Unless you are in dire straits (on the dole) you have to pay for medical care upfront. €60 per GP visit, €100 per A&E visit...don't even mention a hospital stay!
You have to pay for fire brigade services.
Cost of living is far higher than UK.
Government has very 'Questionable morals' and that is putting it very mildly! (and I mean a whole different league from the UK government).
Bin charges are about €30 per month.
Dole is being cut.
Wages are being cut.
Banks are not safe.
Unemployment very high.

I could go on and on...and on.

My older son has moved to UK, younger son (16 yrs) is planning on going to UK when he is 18. My wife and I have 10 years until retirement, then we are bailing out of this place back to UK (that's if we make it that far, with the job situation).

Maybe Julie Sherris has some input, I know she has moved from Uk to Ireland and perhaps she has a different experience. Just weigh up the pros and cons very carefully before taking the plunge.

Best of luck with wherever you choose. If you have any specific questions feel free to send me a pm.

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