An obvious solution to this somewhat odd state of affairs would be to buy a place en Angleterre, live together in parfait harmony and treat this French gaff wot me and the mutts exist in as a holiday home (out of the question due to infestation of moths in wallet). Or, sell it, buy a cheap UK gaff and still keep a foothold in France by virtue of 'the barn' down Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne wot I keep forgetting we own (hard to believe but true).
So, just for fun, I've recently been surfing the internet to see what, say, 175k buys nowadays. The answer is, not a lot. However, somewhat surprisingly, there are a few places that sort of fit the bill. Though what exactly that bill might be is open to conjecture. For example, it has to be somewhere in Britain where Sprocket can be let off his lead for a good run without me being arrested. Which, essentially, narrows the search down to the Outer Hebrides. Which rather defeats the purpose of the exercise. So, compromise is plainly necessary. Beggars can't be choosers etc.
Anyway, I spotted a couple of gems over the week-end (er, gems may not be the right word but it'll do).
The first is a cute little two bedroom country cottage in Lincolnshire, just outside Saltfleetby All Saints, about seven miles east of Louth (where sis and bro-in-law have recently moved to), two miles from the sea and five miles from Mablethorpe. It's agreeably remote, has a third of an acre of mature garden and woodland, an old stone barn, stable and store, still retains olde worlde charm and is up for grabs at 169,995. Sizewise, it would just about house all Georgie's books but we could always kip in the shed.
The second is a 2 bed terraced Arwright house in Cromford, near Matlock, at the southern end of the Derbyshire Peak District. Probably a wreck internally (no problem - we're used to that) but I like the price: just 110k. However, I also like the fact it has a garden area (as opposed to a small back yard) and a parking space on which (I presume) there's a chance of building a garage. And I'm sure if I looked hard enough, there'd be somewhere out on the fells where Sprocket could be let off his lead, albeit it momentarily, if there aren't any sheep or dogs around (most unlikely). And it's good trials (motorbikes!) country round there.
Have to admit I'd never heard of Arkwright before. Did a bit of research and discovered he almost single-handedly kicked off the Industrial Revolution by building Britain's first (wool?) mill. Then built a load of houses for his workers to live in. Hence 'Arkwright house'. Fascinating stuff, huh? Learn sumink new every day.
Gosh, crikey. While mucking around in cyberspace, I suddenly came across a photo of moi aboard my old 250 Greeves in the 2003 Talmag trial. Amazingly, it must have been snapped on one of those rare moments when I was apparently in complete control (but don't be fooled). I think this must have been one of the last trials I rode in before moving to France. Ho hum.
Er..., also spotted a couple of interesting bikes for sale. An immaculate 1971 250 MZ ISDT (currently 2500 pounds on eBay) and a virtually new, exceedingly 'ansum, 1977 Honda TL250 trials bike (currently 3250 on eBay). Ooh, luverly. Update: Honda just sold for 5250 - I bought a new one in '77 for 800! (That's the sort of thing my dad used to say. Must be getting old.)
And if you think they're a bit pricey, how about this - a Vincent Black Shadow with Steib sidecar (all very Wallace and Gromit)... yours for just 80,000 squids. Er..., pardonnez-moi?