Top positive review
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A good read for anyone interested in rennovating a holiday home
on 6 September 2007
First off I should point out that the book is actually co-authored by David Johnson and Clive Kristen and tells the three year long tale of how David (and his wife Doris) decided to move to France, found their dream property in the Charente region, then lovingly renovated and turned it from an inhabitable shell into their family home.
The book has quite an easy style to read, each chapter (and there are lots) tells one aspect of their journey both with the house and with integrating into a rural French community - whether it's arriving to look at a property but the agent doesn't appear, knocking down walls in their house (and then needing to have an RSJ installed as the floor above started sagging), being given giant pumpkins by the neighbours or emptying their fosse for the first time, there's a good mixture of entertainment and facts mixed together.
There are many little anecdotes of David and Doris's adventures that I enjoyed throughout the book like trying to kill moles using a traditional french mole explosive device (to no effect of course).
About three-quarters of the book tells of the renovation journey itself, the remainder contains practical facts and advice about buying and living in France (water and electricity prices, how to insure a car, income tax rules, etc), with a final section being a useful vocabulary of English to French building terms (and vice versa).
I quite like the book and am happy to recommend it to others who are thinking about buying in France, or just would like a bit of bedtime entertainment about someone else's trials and tribulations abroad.
If I had one niggly little point it's that most of the chapters are (in my view) a teeny bit short. I'd have liked a bit more about in each section such as how David got the fosse emptied and tested, how much it cost, etc (sad person that I am). I guess though that putting too much details in would have risked loosing the story flow and the book may have suffered as a result.