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Friday, April 18, 2014

Me and My Unicorn

A castle kennel refers to this...

30 years ago, the cost of living in France was about 3 times that of Singapore. Today, we have reached parity. Indeed, far out in the little French villages, the cost of living can be a fraction of Singapore. Of course, you are not gonna get easy access to internet, deep in the rural regions of France. Distances will be larger so your nearest neighbour might be 5km away. A 1 hour drive into town through country roads without street lights, will also be considered short. The ambulance might take a while to arrive too.

But ohhhh... imagine living in a real French castle. Of course, no one in their right mind wants to stay in a castle anymore, which is why they now cost very little indeed. For SGD$1 million, you could buy yourself a castle with a Rapunzel tower. The catch is that you'll have about 8000 sq feet of built-in space to clean, within the castle itself. Add to that a 2000 sq feet caretaker's house, a row of stables and a large kennel. Errr... that is a lot to upkeep because what the French call a large kennel is like the one above. With labour costs so high in France, good luck to finding domestic help to upkeep the place! Then too... most folks don't really speak French so even if you could hire domestic help, you can't communicate with them.

French castle with a Rapunzel tower. 
This part of the castle dates from the early 19th century. See HERE.

Here is the back of the castle. The architecture of the back dates from the medieval times (which could be anything from the 5th to 15th century) so it looks quite different from the front of the castle.

Hmmmmm... the interior of the castle has seen better days.

For some reason, inside... it doesn't look very castle-like at all.

Strange how Princesses don't have to deal with issues of castle upkeep.

As an impecunious student in France, I often walked longingly along this or that castle's corridors and parks, visualising in my mind's eye me and my pet unicorn. Of course, everyone knows that to be a real princess, one must be blonde (with errr... all due respect to Kate Middleton and practically everyone in the British royal family for... They. Are. Not. Blonde.). Anyway, back in those days, in my imagination, I gave myself long blonde hair and a long white gown cinched at the hips.

This is NOT a real princess because she isn't blonde, but you get the idea about 
the gown cinched at the hips? Picture taken from HERE.

Look! Petunia's pet unicorn! Picture from HERE.

SGD$1 million is quite affordable for any Singaporean living in a condominium. Some of us in HDB can also think of upgrading to a castle, no? So... who is up for dressing up as princesses to ride unicorns through forests? The local French populace would probably freak out though when they see us living out our childhood dreams. If your budget is smaller than SGD$1 million, you can buy cheaper castles like this...

Picture from HERE.

Seriously though, it pains my heart to have the figments of my childhood imagination smashed into smithereens. Sometimes, a little dream that cannot come true is key to happiness. By dint of being Singaporean in this day and age, I now discover I can afford to buy a French castle. In the same moment of knowing that a dream is achievable, I now know that it ain't great to be staying in one.

Gee... I hate growing up. Don't you?

Anyway, here's a tip when buying castles. Buy the Spanish ones. They're even cheaper and Spain gives away citizenship to those who buy enough stuff inside Spain. The weather in Spain is also better.

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