Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Depressing weather

We’ve been having really great weather over the last week or more so it’s all the more depressing that we’re back to what we’d expect to be normal February weather here ie dull and wet.

Funnily enough we’re almost at the end of February and it’s only now that we’re getting the kind of weather that we should have been getting since late December.

It’s confusing the plants as well as us as we’ve several trees with green shoots on them already!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Almost the summer?

The weather has taken a distinct lurch for the better over the last week or so and we’re having to go back to just the t-shirts as it’s just too hot outside at the moment for anything else.

Somehow I just can’t see that heat wave holding up but we’re trying to make the most of it while it lasts (well, will be once we all get over the flu that’s felled most of us over the last week).

It is pretty peculiar to be needing the airconditioning in February though!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Keeping your dreams alive

Many people move to France to live their dream and why not? If your dream is to live in some idyllic spot in France, who’s to say that you can’t?

Unfortunately, for every one that succeeds in living out their dream of a life in France, there’s another who falls by the wayside and ends up returning to the UK.

For some, it’s the case that the dream was never backed up by practical activities. Most common amongst those is the lack of preparation in terms of knuckling down and learning to speak French. I don’t blame those who arrive here not speaking any French or at best just a little because you can do something about it when you get here and besides sometimes the opportunity to move comes when you’re least prepared for it and you just have to jump or lose your dream.

Some come unstuck in not getting down to the practical business of living in France. Many fall in this camp I suspect. If you’re not at retirement age then you’re likely to need a job and, no, running a gite business usually doesn’t count as the income just isn’t enough on it’s own. B&B can be made to work but generally even that needs a supplementary income.

Finally, there are those who do nearly everything right and it just doesn’t work or doesn’t work well enough. For them it is truly sad I think. They genuinely want to live in France, have what seems a viable form of work and integrate with the local society yet it just doesn’t work out and they end up having to leave as the dream slips out of their fingers. At least for the others they can point to something specific that they didn’t do and could potentially fix it and live out their dream.

If you do fall into one of those first couple of categories, why not try to fix the problem and live out your dream?

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Making plans for a summer get-together in France

The little club that is the B&B owners section of the Living France forum generally tries to organise a little get together for the various owners participating on the forum timed to be a little before we’re all swamped with guests.

This year they’re aiming for a BBQ on June 15th at one of the properties in the Poitou-Charentes area. The biggest problem is, of course, that France is a vast country so even though we’re relatively close to the spot, it’s nearly five hours drive to get there for us and many people are a good deal further away than that.

Still, ’tis nice to at least get a few of the owners together to swap stories and to finally see what the people really look like!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Unexpectedly high responses in your direct mail

Although you can usually assume that you’ll get around a 1% return on any marketing that you send out, now and again you can get a much better response if you happen to hit on exactly the right message and target it at exactly the right group of people at exactly the right time.

The message that you use is the one variable that you have a great deal of control over and it’s worthwhile running a test of each marketing e-mail that you plan to use in your campaigns before you send the mail to everyone on your mailing list. By testing on a small group you have the chance to modify the text and get a better feel on the level of response that you might expect which in turn let’s you stage the mailing appropriately.

Unusually for us, we decided to short-circuit that process and just send out a brand new e-mail to our latest mailing list without any prior testing which has resulted in a certain amount of chaos in the last 24 hours.

For a start, the e-mail was unexpectedly attractive to the target audience which resulted in the webserver slowing to a crawl almost immediately after the e-mail went out. The volume of people looking at the site was so great that within a few hours we used up as much bandwidth as we normally do in two days. This in turn reduced the take-up as it was so slow at times that the signup form was timing out for some people. Finally, the responses coming through were so many that it looks like it will take us an entire day to process them all.

And all this for an e-mail that was sent out in what would ordinarily be a time of week that would produce quite a low immediate response rate for us!

I think in future we’ll make more of a point in testing any new messages that we issue.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.