Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Flying off, Final Thoughts.
So I’m airborne now, flying back to work. Brindisi to Rome to Paris, to Sao Paulo for the week. It’s been quite a dramatic 11 days since we turned the lock on our London door, and waved goodbye to the smokey city. Do we have any regrets? Not one. The kids haven’t once been upset or talked about things that they are missing from London. We quickly got passed the excitement stage here, and settled into a routine, and one which everyone seems happy with. At the end of every day, without a bribe Lily always says “Thank you Mummy and Daddy for a lovely day”. Hooper on cue then repeats it, probably scared he’ll miss out on something. Can’t remember when they naturally said this back old home.
Just a few loose ends tied up or to be tied up in the next 7 days+, and these are some of them:
Schools- last week they were all on half term so we couldn’t initiate the kids or meet the teachers. Izzy is going to do that tomorrow or Thursday. Lily and Hooper won’t be in the same school for a year or so, but they’re school is likely to be right next-door to each other. I reckon they’ll be about 100 kids in total at the school.
Renting home – the deal is done, and when we fly back in 31 December, we’ll go straight to where we’ve been this week. At the bargain price. We can leave everything in this place till then which is handy. And when we get back we’ll swap over beds, mattresses, sofas and other homely touches to make the Jan to April stint more homely.
Olives- they’re picked. Not all of them. Literally only 2 trees (out of 15 we have). Izzy’s done a brilliant backbreaking job of it. We got about one of these buckets per tree, and each bucket should make about 10 liters of our very own oil. How the hell she’s going to get that through the airport and into Montreal, and then Xmas stockings I don’t know, but I know she’ll find a way. All the rest of the olives on the trees will simply fall to the ground, or our neighbour Franco is welcome to them.
Legal status – we have our Fiscal code (a but like a national insurance number) and a local bank account. I need to sort out my employment status and contract. My accountant has advised that I become UK non-resident, and thus not taxed in the UK. Especially since I’ll be commuting to Paris (Havas Global Team HQ) and to our local offices each month from Puglia now. I’m getting some legal advice from Blevins Franks, based in London next month. They seem to offer everything including: tax residence, income tax planning, pensions and annuities overseas, domicile determination, capital gains tax, tax on second homes, rental income, double tax treaties. If they’re any good I’ll let you know. If they’re crap I’ll let everyone and their dog know via Jezmond on Twitter and a #FAIL hashtag.
Access road – our neighbour has been a bit of twat, saying that we only own 1.5metres of the access road (about 20 meters in total) and he owns the other 1.5. He got a bit animated over it the other day with Izzy bearing the brunt of it. This we need to sort, or rather Leo and the architect do. They’re going to go and see what was on the original plans years back, and solve this one for us. This is exactly what we are paying Leo for. Franco (the neighbor) shouldn’t be having a go at Izzy. “Talk to the hand” or rather Leo in this instance.
Water – there isn’t any on the land. We obviously need a reliable source. It’s common here that you drill your own bore hole. So that’s what is in the budget. It’s quite costly. It could cost between 6k and 10k to go down up to 150 meters. Just one of those things but then we don’t pay any further water costs, and it’s all ours, pure from a spring.
Electricity – we have a great big bloody pylon right across our land. And a huge pylon right where the house if going to be built. Here it is. It was one of the conditions of our purchase that they HAD to move the pylons to along the back of our plot / land. And ideally put them underground. The quote was 6k, it’s actually costing 12k, but it’s a cost that Leo has to swallow, thank god. Unfortunately they’re high tensions pylons, and you cant bury them, so this week, they’ll finally be moved to the back of the land. We’ll disguise them somehow. Perhaps into a totem pole or something.
Second car – we brought our Golf down here. Wasn’t worth selling it in the UK and we’ll drive it into the ground here instead. Quite nice to be able to drive a car not worrying about getting a scrape or 2. We stuck the ladder on the roof of it, held down with bungee cables (best auto accessory so far- you can never have too many of them). We’re going to need another car though otherwise I’ll either have to get a cab to the airport each week (120 euros each way), or get Izzy to drop me off (which makes it a 2hr 30 trip, twice a week , so pointless). Leo is on the look out for a reliable old banger, a Bravo perhaps, for about 1200 euros. They all drive these bee’s / ape’s they’re called, but then they’re only going from their home to the land, and since we’re living on our land, kind of useless. Instead we’ll get a 4 wheel old quad bike for the land. Parking the Bravo at the airport will be easy, Saw this cool thing in the parking lot. I can then leave each week till I fly back (free airport parking a nice thing).
Trampoline – a must. It’s the first thing on our Xmas list so that the kids can bounce away on the land whilst we get stuck in with the builders and the manual work. We’re looking at a 16ft trampoline for about £200. Then delivery costs. No point getting anything smaller otherwise you’ll supersault a little one into the stratosphere. I spent a good few hours researching them and this company seems to do the best deal.
We’ve already chosen where the builders need to dig the hole so that we can sink it into the ground (thus no need for a net), and makes it easy for children to get onto. Just like this one, that Nick and Nessie have.
Tree House – if the house isn’t ready, maybe we can bunk up on one of these?We found an outdoor furniture place down here and had a wander around. Impressive stock list, and even more impressive prices (for them!). Sorry kids, we’ll need to DIY it. We’ll borrow ideas from the furniture company and have a carpenter (who we’re selecting through friends) piece things together. Came across loads of good stuff online though, so it’s just a question of measure chop, screw, place. (Famous last words I think – ask me in a year how the tree houses and zip wires are doing, lol!)
I quite fancy this book for Xmas if anyone normally shops at Amazon… Just click on the images above to go through to the store....
Swimming pool – ok, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, I promise, but we do need to apply for planning permission soonish, even if we don’t build it for 3 years. Ignorant me thought we could get away with having one of these done for 10-15k euros. Not so. More like 25-30k.
So it’s on the wish list, and till then it’s likely to be one of these chaps from Amazon or Argos, and an 8-minute pop down the road to the beach. What hardships.
Flight is boarding. I’m off to Sao Paulo. Really looking forward to a rendez vous with a Mr Ricardo....