The weather is terrible here in the UK, floods are as bad as they have ever been, and I shouldn't really moan as at least we are not watching water approaching our threshold like the poor souls who are having to abandon their homes in the South West.
At times like this, I like to fantasise about a house in the sun. I've always been a bit of a coward when it comes to property, I like to be in the best location that I can, for the smallest outlay possible. I've never been drawn to big impressive houses, I love them to belong to other people (especially my friends who throw great house parties).
But for me, I like to be nimble and unobtrusive. The idea of a house abroad has always filled me with terror. I watch those 'Holiday Homes from Hell' programs, where the local authorities in Spain or Portugal demolish houses with the poor home-owners standing by helpless. Or in France where they live in a beautiful multi-million pound villa, only to find out that it never had planning permission and they are going to have to pay hundreds of thousands of Euros to keep it in place.
The unifying thing, seems to be it rarely happens to the locals, it is always the poor foreigner who have invested their life savings that get burnt. So I have looked endlessly, marvelling at the mansion in Europe that I could buy for the price of a one bed in central London, but without the protection of UK law, it has always remained 'window shopping'.
Until today, a friend who has a bolthole just outside St Tropez is selling up, she can't be bothered to rent it any more and she would like to help her kids to get on the property ladder in the UK.
I have watched the rental cost of our holiday home in Ramatuelle treble in the last 10 years, and I had been wondering for how long our two week August pilgrimage would be viable with the way that prices have been going up. My memories of the location are the fondest of any, I watched my kids grow up with the background of that turquoise sea, and some of our best friends are those that we met over endless lunches at Club 55.
It all seems to be coming together at the right time, this place is so tiny, it does not even have a proper bedroom, I wouldn't need to borrow much money, so there would be no necessity to rent it out.
The only risk is nutty Hollande and his mad campaign to destroy the French economy, he has successfully turned Paris into a ghost town and housing sales dropped 40% the first year that he was in power. His next target could be foreign owners in France, and with some kind of insane property tax, in order to complete his destruction of the housing market at both the upper and lower end.
So that is the 'real' concern holding me back from buying, is the instability of the political system more than anything else.
It is safe to say I have a split personality, the practical one above that looks at political and financial risk and the dreamy Sunday afternoon one who seeks out beautiful images of one of my favourite parts of the world, and wonders which elements could be introduced into the shoebox that is for sale.
My favourite hotel room in the world at Villa Marie on Route des Plages...
Many years ago, I was going to set up a furniture company with a friend. We visited a place in Lancashire called 'Coachhouse', it is where pretty much all the decorative furniture that you see online and in boutiques comes from. It is easy to register as an interior designer, as long as you place an order of about £1k minimum. The prices are only visible once your have registered, but as a rough guide, they are about half those that you see on Ebay etc.
Here are my picks for making over the tiny house (in the lilac/pink and silver of Villa Marie)...
Where do you dream of on quiet afternoons? And would you ever take the plunge and commit to buying there or do you prefer the flexibility of freedom?