Archive for July, 2006

Summer

One of the very significant benefits of not having “proper jobs” is that we can, if we feel like it, take summer off.

Last year we half-heartedly worked a bit, but this year the weather is beautiful and we have decided that we need a break, so we are not working this month or next.

I’m sitting in the garden under the shade of a tree writing this, and it is very relaxing indeed.

Next week sometime we are going to Montenegro for two or three weeks.  It’s a new country and we haven’t visited it yet.  We had some mixed reports about how much fun we’re going to have on the beach there, but the main things I care about is that it will be the beach and that they do have seafood.

In August we are going to the UK for a week too.

The rest of the time we’ll spend sitting in the garden, going for walks and working on the mill.  Next project after we finish the old kitchen is a new fireplace and ceiling in what we are currently using as a bedroom, but which will eventually revert to its original incarnation as the lounge.

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Some not so new photos of the Mill

Not MarketaWe’re making a lot of progress with the mill. We are well on the way to finishing converting what was once the kitchen into a guest bedroom. We have stripped the plaster from the walls and the wonderful old vaulted stone ceiling, and have just finished re-plastering the walls (except for some of the really nice stonework around the windows and the ceiling which we have left exposed). We’ve re-wired the room, put in new wooden windows and restored the old door, and this week we’ll put in a new wooden floor. It’s really looking good. All it needs now is some paint, a bit of finishing, some new switches and we’re done.

I’ll post some photos once we are finished. In the meantime I have posted a few “before” pictures – from the archives. Just click here

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We’re buying a house – or at least trying to

We have decided to buy a house.  We have (nearly) enough money to buy what we want, we know exactly what we are looking for and more or less exactly where.

So the rest should be easy – you’d think . . .

We are buying in Slany which is a relatively small town (pop about 15,000).  Even so there must be around 500 houses that meet our basic criteria, maybe more.

In New Zealand we would have gone to a few open homes and then chosen something we liked.

Actually it is not that easy at all, and I’m really noticing the differences between the Czech real estate market and what I’m used to.

The first big difference is that people simply do not tend to sell houses here.  I remember the statistic that in New Zealand people turn over houses every 5 years or thereabouts.  I have no idea what the figure is here, but I’d guess it’s closer to 100 years.  People live in the same house all their lives, and then pass it on to their children.  The idea of selling and moving every few years is simply unimaginable.

There are no open homes here, and no “For Sale” signs anywhere.  Where property does change hands a lot of it happens privately.  Houses are sold to friends, neighbours and relations.

So we have already looked at the only two houses for sale in our price range (neither of which meet our criteria), mainly to get a feel for value for money.

And now we have to wait.

What we’re waiting for, I’m not sure.  Maybe someone has to die childless having left all their money to the cats home.  Perhaps we’re waiting for word of mouth information that someone’s cousins neighbour is thinking about selling.

I’ve got a feeling it could be a long wait.

Interestingly this lack of supply is not driving up prices.  There seems to be a corresponding lack of demand.

We’ll keep you posted.

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