Posted by: Team McSlade | April 7, 2010

The Search continues…

We kicked off today as every day in the Southwest of France, rising at the crack of 11am; Zach getting his fix of You Tube courtesy of the high speed Wi-Fi and lack of limit on the megabytes used and Jess debating over what to wear, which has resulted in the option of cruising around in her PJ’s (of course we don’t let this occur, we are not in Canada now).
As we got out into the fresh air of 2pm, we headed for the Museé de Pruneaux, who would have thought that a museum about a dietary regulator could be so interesting. This area is ‘famous’ for prunes (d’Agen), they have been grown in the region since monks found them an enchanting wintry treat from the 12th century. A tour was taken, a Frenchie video was watched (with English subtitles for the plebs) and a tasting of the prune-tacular delights was had. Ryan even tried a prune soaked in l’eau de la prune (prune booze) which almost blew his head apart! We got out the door with a comic book featuring Prunella hitting the highways of France in search of Pruneville, a kilo of the good gear and some lollipops. They tasted like prunes, surprisingly.

Back in the car with our bounty of prunities, we thought that our time of visite de la ferme was done, but no….here comes La maison de la noisette (the House of the hazelnut).
This was the poor second cousin in terms of street appeal compared to the fois gras and pruneaux joints; however homemade nutella, hazelnut flour, hazelnut chocolates and hazelnut soap all turned out to be winners. We did give the museé the flick, something about it being in French had us beat (also the giant crocheted chipmunk cast a demonic shadow – poetic license has just been used).

Now the title comes into play.
Your Team McSlade has not been one to sit on the side lines and watch the world mooch past. Three instances come to mind:

  1. moving indefinitely to Canada,
  2. buying a boat when we have never sailed before
  3. and moving to Spain with minimal Spanish in the dialect.

Thus here comes the ‘no-surprise-to-many-of-you’ section/kicker (we are giggling like imbeciles as we write this…he, he). Mum (Rowena), just breathe and read…

We decided to amble our way through the country side, with hours of sunlight to burn and no plans until tea at an evening hour. I (Jo) have been somewhat taken with the châteaux of this region and have been on the lookout for a ‘do-er-upper-er’.
Two words…Jack (&) Pot (please say this loudly and with a faux French accent).
Heading into ‘la ville de caractère’  of Prayssas, there she was.
Nothing a few mini-skips, windows, a new deck, running water, electricity, an entire rear wing and Uncle Gaz and Nathan couldn’t fix (we’ll pay for the flights and materials, you’ll just need to stay in the cow shed. Really, it has a cow shed). The view is a pearler, the neighbours are non-existent and the village is just up the road; and as charming as expected, complete with a central walled hamlet with church, knuckled trees and character up the asssssssssk your mother for six pence…

The ‘A vendre’ sign led us to Prayssas and the convenient main-drag location of the real estate agency saw us glued to the front, scouring for the price on the ads in the window. Bingo! For this ‘Money-pit’ of a mansion/châteaux, you get 3 hectares, 18 months of work, a feature (pending) on Grand Designs and a triple bypass for the cool exchange of 349  000€.
I did the quick sums in my head, if we sold our Broady digs and allowed for the exchange rate we could live in it indefinately – as is. Ryan has the garden planned out; we have seen a few bunnies and a deer that could supply the meat needs but aside from this my vision of a full glass extension (we’re looking at 40 metres of glass here) to dazzle the diners of our restaurant –Le paysan urbain (The urban peasant) – and the two turrets on either end converted into luxury suites for our high flying guests was dashed, smashed and crushed.

Châteaux Team McSlade

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(if the photos of ‘our Châteaux’ don’t work via email, visit the Team McSlade website for the full effect, sorry it’s our first try at a slideshow.) 

So we are not moving to France – yet. But toying with the notion of a summer in Australia and then one in France on an on-going basis would be a good way to go.

(We did find a good place listed for 220 000€ with 6 hectares – we can afford that…our search for it without the required specific directions was fruitless, but as Ripcurl says ‘The Search continues…’)

P.S. This was the sunset tonight from our cabin.



  1. Oh Nick and I ran a cafe by the beach for near on 2 years if a short order cook is needed

    • Sold; and Carly loves Provencial France, maybe she and Jahara can be the waitresses?
      We’re just waiting on finance from Westpac, but start packing your bags…

  2. Oh my god…. Ryan and i do the exact same thing every time we go away! I spend most of our holiday glued to the real estate windows looking for that elusive retreat at a bargain price! last time it was a boat access only waterfront property in NZ!

    Love the idea… and i think i could sign Ryan up to helping out with your renos…. only question is whats the area like for sailing!?!?!

    • Well, there are canals for cruising on, and I dare say you could put a sail up, although precariously. Otherwise it’s midway between the Mediterraean and the Atlantic.
      Your boat on one side, and ours in the other? Sound like a plan?

  3. One word: Time share (okay, 2 words)

  4. Dam it should have studied a trade I’m useless to you 😦 unless you need security

    • Well, as luck has it your web knowledge and internerd skills could go a long way to getting Jo’s idea of fine dining and exclusive high end spa/retreat/resort off the French ground…

  5. Nathan’s in – and as I’m his official translator, clearly he can’t travel without me.

    Je pense que c’est une idée très fantastique!

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