Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Window dressing

 Welcome to 2014. 

Wherever you are in Europe or New York the weather has been wet cold and very windy and here in Brittany the dogs have moved inside as their dog barn is having a new roof fitted and the bad weather has stopped work. It is going to be the most expensive  kennel/log barn in France by the time its done but it was either that or let it fall down and since it has managed to stay up for at least 300 years so far it seems  mean spirited to let it tumble now. Its a great big barn with an almost finished splendid new roof and beams which will hopefully stand for another few hundred years.

 I am not sure if the dogs will ever want to move back into again as they have made themselves so comfortable indoors. I am also not sure if my Salle  will ever recover from the dog hairs and muddy paw prints it has had inflicted upon it. I look at the state of the room and wonder what visitors must think, possibly that I have lost the plot, or as if  some sort of domestic disaster has struck, normally it is relatively tidy and sort of clean although I would never recommend eating off the floor here, what sort of a weirdo does that anyway  ? Especially when I have amassed such an assortment of wonderful plates over the years, some people have shoe fetishes, me ?  I am beguiled by good sturdy colourful plates, proof of which is that the weight of my everyday plates recently  caused the plate rack in the kitchen to try and make a break for freedom  so all my plates are piled up on the kitchen table  and we have had to clear space to eat at meal times. It looks like some massive closing down sale in a ceramics factory. Or as someone less charitable might see it possibly, the left overs from jumble sale.

Anyway I digress .Normally what people think of my house is of no concern to me but I have been passed the task of online house hunting for a friend who wants to move to France and is vaguely computer illiterate and so my days have been filled with interior shots of some interesting places of late which made me ponder upon how others see their homes and we ours. It has afforded me a great opportunity not to deal with the state of mine as well of course.

I am an expert in the field of international house hunting having had a mother in law who was for ever travelling the world and getting me to search out places for her to settle. It filled many a happy hour for me, even if she never actually bought anything in the end. She was a property voyeur and we formed a great bond oohing and gasping over houses that no matter how divine or perfect she thought they were she would always turn against at the last minute. She once almost bought an olive mill in Greece for us for Christmas but that idea lasted all of two days. So if anyone is looking for a retreat in France, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Egypt Portugal or Italy I am your woman!

One thing I can not help but notice is that there are  massive  differences in the way different estate agents  present their houses for sale , the Spanish ones usually look as if the person has popped out to get something and are very much lived in. Bags of shopping on the table, a meal laid, washing up in the sink and not very decorative underwear and assorted washing hanging like bunting in the bathrooms. The French houses look on the whole tidy but abandoned, apart from some very rural ones which just look on the verge of collapse . A  few years ago a Paris  apartment was  unlocked after 70 years of abandonment , goodness knows  how it survived the war untouched but it did and when you look at the images and read the article here  you will be amazed,  it isn’t unique though, some of the houses I have spied online this week may look less grand but there certainly have the same time warp quality about them. I saw one in France yesterday which had been unlived in for several years but still had a large multi pack of incontinence pads on the bed of the master bedroom not something to inspire when one considers it was sold fully furnished.  The English rural properties seem to look like sets from Country Living magazine and likewise  the English owned property  for sale in France is often easy to spot with its artfully placed cushions and fresh flowers, you can almost smell the fresh coffee brewing. Perhaps its to do with the price range in which I am searching but whatever the reason I think incontinent pads or not I prefer the natural state of the some of the agents photos which for me capture  the take me as I am feel about the European mainland to the window dressing of the English ones.

Oh dear I wonder if that is a reflection of  my state of mind! Well who cares, I certainly don't I am who I am dog hairs and all so happy new year to you and may it be a picture perfect one for everyone!


  1. Mmmh have to disagree. Desperately house hunting and am being driven quietly insane by the lack of detail and decent photo shots by french agencies. A pizza no less in one but no shot of the frontage! Back on blogger or blog spot or whatever this now is and good to be able to comment again. Have popped in from time to time in the past and tried to no avail.

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog and please lurch more often, i have always enjoyed your posts. Xx

  3. Hello Sarah,

    You are so right about the different mentalities amongst estate agents across Europe and we can certainly identify with everything you say here. Living as we do in Budapest and having, as we did, searched for many long months for an apartment here, we can truthfully say that the Hungarian experience is in a class of its own.

    Pictures, if they are given at all, rarely show anything that one might be the least bit interested in. Never mind the images looking like the owner has just stepped out......one would not be in the least bit surprised to see the owner sleeping in the bed, chaos ruling all around, and the scene immortalised for ever in the agent's details! And, no matter what the state of the global economy....once a Hungarian has fixed upon a price for his/her property nothing, absolutely nothing, will persuade him/her to reconsider. So, properties for sale generally look like they have been mothballed for 50 years since that is precisely what has happened!

    We have just found your blog and shall be popping by again.