Well, hello there. We haven't been properly introduced, unless you're family or already a friend of mine, in which case you can skip this bit because you already know it.
My name is Rob Martin. There. Up until now I've kept my online identity hidden due to recommendations regarding identity theft and so on. Well, now you know my name. Big deal; do an Internet search for it and see how many of us there are. (I think the surname "Martin" must be amongst the most common on the planet).
I live in a nineteenth-century farmhouse in the middle of France with my wife Caroline and cat Pixie. I suppose you could say we both went through a mid-life crisis; however instead of buying the customary sports car, we sold our house in the UK and came to live on this derelict property which belonged to my late father-in-law (if you follow the Blog he was referred to as "The Aged FIL"). The property was shaped like the letter "W", with a house at either end, a kilometer apart. The Aged FIL lived in one house, and we live in the other. Of course when The Aged FIL passed away in 2018, his house and the surrounding land had to be sold to pay the French inheritance tax, so the property is no longer "W" shaped. It now surprisingly resembles a map of Texas.
To people who ask us "Why France?", the answer is simple. "Because that's where this property is!"
I obtained a BSc degree in Forestry & Nature Conservation from the University of Stellenbosch in 1987. Following two years of National Service which ended with me as a lieutenant in the Infantry Corps, I started work for the Forestry Department. It soon became evident that the majority of my labour was going to be desk-work. Not only that, but the salary structure meant that I was living on my credit card each month. As soon as my salary was paid into my bank account, that paid off the credit card. Rinse and repeat.
So within a year I resigned, and joined my brother in a small business selling, hiring, and repairing power tools, and supplying the building trade with necessities. Unfortunately they say you should never work with family, and this proved to be the case, so I left South Africa behind and ventured off to the sunny shores of the United Kingdom where I worked in IT for several years, and also met my wife.
When the recession hit in 2007 I was made redundant; and unfortunately as a contractor this meant that I did not qualify for a redundancy package, so I moved my attention to designing and building websites.
And in case you were wondering, they include:
And of course this current site, which will detail all the renovations and improvements we need to make in order to have a habitable house!
I've also written an e-book which is available on the Kindle: How To Survive A Recession
Or if you prefer to read it in French, it's been translated too: Comment Survivre Une Récession.
Books in paperback about our adventures here are now available in bookshops. Published by Linear Road Press, you can also buy them directly:
You can find me on LinkedIn
Or on Amazon.
P.S. Several people have asked me what techniques I used to get the photo shown at the top of each page in the logo. Well, for the record, no photo manipulation was employed other than scanning the original paper photograph into digital format using an Epson scanner. The photograph was taken with a Nikon F3 camera, with a 50mm lens, using Kodak ISO100 film. No special filters were used, and no colour adjustments were done. What you see is what I saw! I think I took the photo in the Winter of the year 2000. Obviously the trees have grown quite a bit since then!