Sunday 11 March 2007


I have been at our “bolt hole” in Switzerland all week. We always loved the order and cleanliness of the country and used to regularly pile the grandkids into the back of the car for a cheap holiday when money was scarce.

In the summer rented mountain ski apartments were half price and we would walk the mountains, live on local produce and play pig in the evenings (pig is a story for another day). Everyone thought we were really rich, but we actually spent less than the average package holiday maker and probably had much, much more fun.

One memorable summer we spent the whole journey across France with the kids singing “I’m too sexy for my shirt”, followed by the “in” chant of time “Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut, McDonalds, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut, McDonalds ….. over and over until we were more demented than they were.

Anyway, during one trip to Verbier with 10 kids (not all bundled into the car, by the way. This trip was by plane) I went window-shopping for an apartment and decided we could just about afford a modest studio.

Trawling the net I came across a specialist site, got in touch and arranged to view some apartments. Our requirements were modest but top of the wish list was it had to have good views. We looked at several that I thought were fine, but Davy kept insisting the view wasn’t good enough.

Finally, in desperation, the agent said “If you want a view, I’ll show you an apartment with the best view in Switzerland but it’s much bigger than you want”. When we saw it we knew that this was the one. It has glorious views across the Rhone valley to the Monte Blanc Massif but, like he said, it was much bigger and far more expensive that we intended.

So, what to do? What we always do, go out on a limb. We went to see the bank manager who told us that the Swiss way was to buy the property on a 50 year interest only mortgage! We immediately made the decision that if we passed the credit checks (which we were convinced we would not) we would go for it. After all it wouldn’t be our problem, merely a problem for the kids after we’re gone! Amazingly we passed the checks, it was all done and dusted within 4 days and the rest, as they say, is history.

The downside of this tale is that property prices in Switzerland have remained stable for years. So guess what? As soon as we bought the apartment there was a property boom and prices doubled so that’s even more inheritance money that I have to squander before our heirs get their mitts on it. Problems, problems, problems. Life’s a bitch!

No comments: