Sunday, 21 December 2008

Exchange rates and other things

The value of the pound seems to be sinking ever lower. We thought, when we last visited the USA just over two years ago, we had done well by getting something like 1.75 dollars to the pound. It later went to two dollars, but has now sunk to about 1.5. That is better than the euro. Some years ago a pound would have bought about 1.75 euros, and even when we bought our French retreat we got 1.53 euros to the pound. Now the pound and the euro are just about on a par. The official rate might be 1.06 or so, but tourists don't get as much as that, and by the time exchange commission is charged by the bank, the poor tourist gets less than one euro for his pound. I do marginally better as I send a reasonably significant sum from my English bank account to my French, for which the English bank charges just £9. It rather annoys me that the French bank also charges me sometimes. It might be three euros, or it might be 13 – it varies. Anyway, if the rates had been back in 2002/3 what they are now, our house would have cost £10,000 more and there would have been no way we could have afforded it. Of course, if we were selling the house now, we would be looking to make a killing on the move in exchange rates. But we aren't, and even if we were I doubt we would find a buyer. The property market in France is about as dead as that in England.

Chris asked me last night if there are any jobs in France that he can help me with. He understands that there is now no way I can go over with him for a week, leaving Sheila at home on her own, but there is a chance that Chris and Mrs Chris could come over with both of us in March. The problem with that would be getting all the tools in the car as well as clothes, bedding etc. But I'm sure we will manage it when the time comes. And there are a couple of jobs I have in mind - but more about those later.

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