Third time lucky

Time flies by, so much so that somehow we’re already one month in to our third year living in France. I was going to write some sort of ‘highlights of the second year’ type thing, but the third year has already brought with it plenty of incident and change (of minds), so as you can probably already tell… I’m just going to waffle on as usual. In fact, I can quite succinctly edit what was going to be a drawn out second year essay into a couple of sentences, to save my time and yours. Sentence one: We have felt far more settled in 2022; more comfortable, relaxed and at home here, and certainly compared to the covid-restricted 2021, French life with all of its customs, quirks and two-hour lunch breaks has revealed itself to us. Sentence two: Business is generally doing quite well, thank you. Obviously I’m now going to go into lots more detail about business, trying with as much skill as I can muster to make it a faintly interesting read.  

In my last offering in October we made an ‘almost certain‘ decision regarding one of our businesses, that being we were no longer renting our gite through airbnb, instead choosing the long-term rental option. As an explanation behind this move, I wrote ‘the workload versus financial reward ratio isn’t sufficient to keep it going as is’.  So yeah… we’ve changed our minds. The long-term rental option has its benefits, once you’ve got your head around the minefield of administration, tax, furnished or unfurnished and tenant’s rights. Yes, the workload vs financial reward thing makes more sense renting long-term, but only just as the post-tax earnings would look a little sorry for themselves.  Sorry… is this reaching anywhere near a faintly interesting read?

The workload vs reward statement remains, so for 2023 we’re cutting back our opening hours, now opening in the French Easter holidays at the beginning of April, and ending at the start of October when visitor numbers to the area drop off dramatically. Our prices will stay the same but our minimum stay will go from three nights to four during the summer. I apologise, these are just facts so difficult to embellish into anything poetic, but… one important reason why we’ve decided to carry on renting to visitors and tourists is because there’s many aspects of it we love. Ah… and adjective at last, and such a beauty! La Terrasse du Citron is a beautiful place to stay, and we love welcoming guests to it. Knowing we’ve brought visitors to the joys of Rochechouart and its environs, and that they’ve enjoyed their stay with us brings us immense satisfaction. So, La Terrasse du Citron is very much open and available for 2023! Come, you’ll love it!

It is literally impossible for me to write a blog without mentioning our Etsy shop, French Curios Cave, and I think I’ve actually done quite well to wait until the fourth paragraph before mentioning it. Go me. With our gite rental being limited to six months of the year it allows us more time for the rest of the year to focus on Etsy. Good job too as business continues to grow rather nicely, with trips to the post office becoming so frequent that the lovely lady behind the counter recently likened me to Père Noël, loaded with gifts. At least I think, and hope that’s what she said as I replied with a “ho ho ho”.

There’s very little quite as satisfying as the ‘ch-ching’ Etsy sale notification sound, even after our 500th sale achieved last week. Anyone who is a regular here will know about our personal Etsy joys and what it is we love about running our wee French vintage/antique/curios magasin de charme. The joy of the hunt for treasure is one and we have a number of options available to us. Last week those options increased by one as we found perhaps the best ‘permenant vide’ available to us… the rather fantastic Les Puces de Charente a few kilometres this side of Angouleme. The 120km round-trip is a bit on the lengthy side, but such is the vast array of oddities, rarities and pre-loved who-knows-whats that monthly trips are most definitely on the cards. They’ve got a beautiful resident doggo too, which is always a Brucie bonus.

Far more exciting, and almost certainly more interesting than all of that is our imminent 10-day return to Edinburgh to spend Christmas with our beautiful family. First planned for 2020, this is now just two days away from being third time lucky with the first two trips being wrecked by covid. All this talk of business is all well and good, as it is after all what takes up most of our time here (that, and our daily promenades with Pepper), but what really warms our hearts is being in the company of our favourite people. The Christmas lights in Rochechouart are lovely and the market in Limoges was quite a spectacle, but nothing can compare to the house full of love, hugs and festive joy that is waiting for us in Edinburgh. Recent events, both here and back in the UK have served as stark reminders that life can throw unexpected grief and sadness at you at any time. Such reminders change perspectives and mindsets, certainly initially, but often not permanently. They should. Holidays have been booked and more trips to see family are planned as there is nothing is more important than time spent with loved ones.

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