Monday, April 12, 2010


For reasons that are far too complicated and numerous to explain, I currently live out here and t'other half lives with her sis back there in Blighty. But don't get me wrong, we get on fine. Absence makes the fart blow Honda. Or sumink.

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?


  1. Hope you find a place you all like. At the moment I am up in the air of were I want to stay and were I want to go. And as you said there are moths in the wallet at the moment.

  2. If you buy the first one I am coming to camp in the shed, no arguments I'm coming up there.
    I am a joiner and a painter so I have some usable skills that I can be employed to use for a free bed.
    It's so lovely, what a pretty little place.
    Mind you Matlock is grand as well. I lived in Sheffield and Doncaster and also moved to Bakewell, we use to go to Matlock to stay with friends and I loved it there, but I think you'll find that, that house is on a major road through Matlock and if it's the one we think it is, it's busy very busy. If you look you can see the crash barrier. There will be plenty of places for Sprocket to run around out at Matlock.

    80k, 80k for a bike, wow some people really do have too much money lol, you could get a decent shed for that price and move in that!!!!

    much love

  3. So on the move then, in more ways than one! Liked the last bike, really quirky. Good luck with juggling the thoughts about the future. Do what is in your heart, though, and others will come round to your way of thinking eventually even if perhaps they are reticent about showing this at the moment. I wish you well. I love your blogs, and I hope you find the right home for yourself.

  4. Cromford is a lovely little place and I should know, I was born and bred 2 miles from there. It's where I changed buses every day to go to school in Wirksworth. It's a proper village, too and very motorcycle-friendly. Hundreds of bikes pass through every weekend on the way to Matlock Bath which is just down the road. There is a lovely river for fishing and great walking for dogs and people. Also great for cyclists and horsey types. There are lots of real ale pubs around and loads of great eateries including the chip shop in Cromford which is one of the best on the planet. In fact it's close to being paradise.
    (I now live about 10 miles away so you could come round for a cuppa every so often. Now that must be a good reason for spending your hard-earnt on a house.)

    Looking at the photo, it seems to be one of the many 3-storey terraced houses on Cromford Hill, which is legendary for the number of runaway lorries and buses that have ended up in peoples' front rooms. They have built a very handy crash barrier since the last one.

    If you would like to know more, I could go on for the next 3 weeks. Did you know a gruesome murder occurred at Cromford station recently and that trains go from there to Matlock and Derby ?

  5. Thanks very much for all your comments. Much appreciated. However, I was merely fantasising about returning to the UK. Don't actually intend to move back there. At least, not for the time being. But who knows what the future will hold? Que sera, sera.

    Lia - Glad you liked the cottage. If we go for it, you're welcome to stay. Your DIY skills will come in useful. Regarding the Cromford house, it's actually off the busy main road about halfway up the slightly less busy Cromford Hill.

    Vera - Good advice. Time will tell. Extremely chuffed that you appreciate my blogging. Makes it all worthwhile.

    Jean - Wonderful to hear from someone who knows Cromford well. Thanks for your very informative comments. Spent quite a bit of time researching its history and geography. Sounds a fascinating and delighful place. Yes, I did indeed discover a snippet about that recent murder. And, yes, the house is on Cromford Hill. Noticed there's a huge limestone quarry at the top of the hill and immediately thought that lorries could be a problem. Bit worrying to know that a few have crashed into houses - that would explain the crash barrier in front of the house! However, that negative point is balanced by the positive one of having a top notch local chippy. Does sound a wonderful area. You're very fortunate to live there. Thanks again.

  6. We just sold Neils' trailbike tonight - a honda xlr, some bloke from the Lot came and bought it and stuffed it in the back of a Belingo.
    He went off with a spare set of wheels and 21 eggs that I found today laid in my stack of straw (not sure how long they were there and he said he had 30 hunt dogs I thought might like them).
    Don't go back to the UK, its rubbish there!!

  7. Roz - Honda XLRs are darned good bits of kit. I'm guessing it was a 250 'cos I don't think a 500 wouldn't fit in a Berlingo (but maybe it would). Sincerely hope Neil's replacing it with another bike. Being bikeless, life ain't worth living for proper chaps. Thirty hunting dogs! Crumbs! Must be a real enthusiast. Neighbour Christian has just three - says that's enough of a handful. And yes, hunting dogs eat anything. Alain's even noshes chicken bones. Unheard of in the UK. Talking of which, yup, rubbish there. I get claustrophopia every time I visit. Which ain't often.