14 September 2014
Wasn't it Bros who sang When will I, will I be famous? Thought my time had finally come when I received an email from the Producer of BBC's Escape to the Continent programme: '.. I have read your blog, which seems to be a brilliant source of information for those who wish to move to France and I was hoping to talk to you to see if you would be able to chat to our house-hunter on camera about life living in France.' However, rejection was just around the corner in the form of 'scheduling constraints'. Story of my life! So, I watched a few programmes and was struck by the mistakes being made - not in the glossy production but in the whole tenor, so here's what I told her: '..not sure you are correctly focused on who your intended audience is....comes across as a holiday destination or somewhere to buy that second home in the sun. If it's intended purely for people planning a permanent move to another country - which I believe it is - then: 1. Include important websites on health care, English-speaking notaires in the area, tax info. etc.; 2. In France it is essential to have completed the sale of your English property BEFORE making an offer on the French one. So, ascertain this has happened BEFORE making the programme; 3. Include the living costs per month. Too much emphasis on capital, not enough on required income. Is intended gite income realistic? France is saturated with gite properties. 4. New property must have broadband - essential to transfer funds, communicate etc. Don't close that British bank account - opening a new one in the UK is impossible without a UK address! 5. Absorb the continental view: summer heat requires you to keep the place dark and cool - not with 'lots of light'. 6. Integrate and learn to speak the language, but still look for some English friends nearby (to keep you sane).S'pose I should record my own song 'Never will I, will I be famous, but still I can pack a literary punch!'