One of the ( many ) attractions of the tiny property that we moved to in central France was the fact that it contains a bread oven. In fact, the bread oven was the main function of the building when constructed some time in the 16th or 17th century, to provide bread for the neighbouring farm, a common arrangement back then. The original building consists of the oven, a small room to access it and to prepare the dough, plus a room directly above. Compact and functional might be an appropriate way to describe the space.
“Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity” she said. I quashed the inner smirk and we moved on.
However, clichés become clichés because they encapsulate a truth, they have a resonance. It wasn’t until a little while later that this particular nugget’s ripples started worming their way into my thoughts.
We were being shown around a pub whose lease we were considering taking on. We were looking at pubs with rooms, because, after eight years of running a successful B&B in Cornwall, we had come to the conclusion that we needed to be putting away more money at the end of the year than we were able to.
The B&B business itself was very sound, and profitable, but we had borrowed excessively to buy the property, at a time when it was still possible to do so, and the mortgage repayments were consuming virtually every penny of the profits we were generating.
So, how to go about generating more money to squirrel away for later years ?
It’s been an interesting few months, and I blame it all on Facebook.
During the summer of 2012, when we were running a B&B in Cornwall, we attended a musical event at Buckland Abbey, Devon, an event that we had heard about through the venue’s Facebook page. During the interval we bumped into a friend we hadn’t seen for ten years or so. Friend mentioned that an inn on the edge of Dartmoor that we knew well was on the market, for what seemed like not a great deal of money.
The idea of taking on a pub had been building in our minds for a few years, but we hadn’t acted upon the idea for a number of reasons, the principle one being the price of freeholds was prohibitive, and we didn’t really want to run just a pub.
This particular inn that Friend mentioned was different. It is a leasehold property ( low capital outlay ), is owned by the Church ( safe landlord ), it has letting rooms ( profitable ), and has a name for good food. It’s in a great location, is an attractive, Olde Worlde building. It was a Big Opportunity.
In the winter of 2013 we ( my wife and I ) moved from Cornwall, UK, to the second least populated area of central France, for a variety of reasons.
These pages document some moments and thoughts that we wish to share with friends and family, and to remember for ourselves.