French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

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All For Socks a new novel from Adam Vickerstaff our Son!

A quick review of our son’s book which you can buy on Amazon, its great, I read it twice!

Click here for the Amazon page

It is also in the Kindle edition.

The book deals with the problems of a young boy, his parents break up, moving home and of course the disappearing socks from his bedroom, deep under his bed. This mix of reality and fantasy, intertwined with the excellent characterisation make for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Check out the illustrations, Adam got his inspiration for the buildings from the many Perigord hamlets in the Perigord Noir. I particularly like the creatures in the book.

Here is one of them


And here is a picture of our copy!


And here is the blurb

Since the invention of the sock mankind has wondered where they all disappear. That is until Thomas discovers the disappearing sock epidemic. Following his last sock with his sidekick Teddy, they are flung on an adventure through a secret hidden trap door deep under the bed. In a place few children have seen and torn between his own courage and humility, he must pit his wits against the single mindedness of the Sock Herders. But then… “if it don’t know you’re scared of it, it will be scared of you…” Or so they say.

All for Socks

All for Socks

Paul’s opinion. Adam has been writing this book for a few years but has not let me read any pre-publication work so that I would get my first impression just as any reader would. When the book arrived the struggle for who would read it first was won by Chris and not until a few days later was it was my turn. From the very first page the excitement and emotion is vivid. The characters are mysterious, meaningful and often humorous, the artwork is very good throughout and the story is a believable fantasy.

Adam has woven a story based on his childhood ideas of an under bed realm which has expanded to depths far below any child’s bed. A good read for any age but for younger children, be advised, there are some dark elements.

It took some time

RelaxingWe had rented a tall tower, all that remained of a castle dating from the 10 century, close to Le Mans and within a few days we were hooked and looking at properties to suite our particular needs of a home with income, sad to say all of the properties were too expensive.

Since then we have rented in Charente, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Midi-Pyrénées and the Dordogne constantly on the lookout for the perfect location and property. In 2009 we stayed on the outskirts of a charming village in the Perigord Noir. This is it, this was the perfect area that I wanted to live in.

Our priorities have changed over the years, we were looking for a smaller property with retirement in mind. The properties we saw in the Perigord Noir were either run down and in need of extensive repair or much too expensive.

However we could not forget that perfect village, we found a beautiful picture of the village square on the internet and downloaded it as our computer desktop wallpaper, a wonderful reminder of the warmth and honey glow of the local stone every time I logged in.

Then in September 2010 we spotted a property for sale in that same village. We recognised the house and arranged to view the property. From the very first visit we knew that it was the right house for us and by early December we had bought the property.

The property is in need of decorating and a new kitchen and bathroom. However, there is no renovation needed.

What is the property worth? We would say it is worth everything, it is a home, it is the excellent climate, it is the smell of the markets, the freshness of cheeses, fresh herbs and breads etc, it is the people, so friendly and helpful, who live in a picturesque village of unspoiled beauty and last but not least, it’s a dream come true.

Oh yes, remember the desktop picture we downloaded, the one we have been using as our computer desktop wallpaper for a year, it was taken from the front door of our new house.

I hope that you like our first blog, talk to you soon. Chris and Paul

Extracts from my letter in French Property News Magazine (March 2011)