In 1999 I bought an old ruin in a village called Nežichov, near Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic and started to convert it into a B&B. In the UK, I had had too many plates spinning at the same time (working with two accountancy-IFA practices, setting and marking Chartered Insurance Institute exam papers and I was also general secretary of Formby Cricket, Hockey and Squash Club). I wanted and needed a change……
The change was somewhat bigger than I expected!
Always a stickler for tax planning, I left the UK on the 5 of April 2003 (the end of the tax year in the UK). I had left the IFA practices that I worked for on good terms, just in case my Czech adventure turned into a nightmare.
On my last day at the Liverpool office I handed over the key to the front door and left for the long drive to the Czech Republic. I arrived at Nežichov and tried to open the door with the key and realised that I had handed over the B&B key to the accountants and I still had the office key.
I moved in with Radka (my future wife).The first problem I faced was the lack of water as mains water was not going to be available for a few months. This was to be solved by building a well and so we applied for planning permission. This normally takes 2 months. However, Radka’s father knew someone at the local council and we got the permission within a week!
Out of courtesy we went to visit the old lady next door to the hotel to tell her about the well as there would be a lot of work in the construction. She looked about 70 years old and was not much taller than 4 foot, bent double from old age. She was fine and said it was no problem. She then talked about her cow and the fact that she was so good at milking her cow that I would like to kiss her backside just to taste the milk. I think that was the time I started drinking black coffee.
The well digging machine arrived and it looked like a small oil rig. The men start to dig and we hit water, the good news so we thought. The bad news was that it was followed by a massive gush of wet sand that sprayed all over the garden. At 30 metres depth there was too much sand there and so the well would not work at this location. This was a total nightmare as we needed access to a well. The garden looked like a beach and we had to find a lot of top soil to cover it.
So, we had to find a Plan B. Mr V. (Names hidden to protect the guilty) next door had a well and his well was fully functional. So we sent Radka’s father, armed with some Fernet (local liquor), to see if we could access his water supply for the B&B. Radka and I were invited to join them and we all left in an alcoholic haze with the permission to access his well if we paid for a new pump.
To be continued...
Chris is a UK expat from Formby near Liverpool, based permanently in the Czech Republic and married with two children. He is an independent financial adviser network Opes Fidelio- dealing predominately in pension transfer ( fee based ) advice and trusts for UK expats.
He lives' near Karlovy Vary out in the country - a town famous for its film festival and the filming of Casino Royale.
For more please visit his blog at http://christopherlean.weebly.com/