Luxuries

10th August 2007 at 01:00
Got champagne taste and shandy money? You can still enjoy the finer things in life, if you know where to look. Alison Brace reports

Go on. Spoil yourself. You've worked hard all year and now you have got a little bit of time on your hands to dream. Wouldn't it be nice if some of life's little luxuries weren't just reserved for one or two weeks of the year? We're not talking fine chocolates or champagne here although they wouldn't go amiss but those other treats, like one's own private swimming pool, for instance.

Allow yourself to think big for a minute: why should having your own pool be confined to a fortnight's jaunt in the summer (if you're lucky)? And why should a wine cellar for your finest tipple be reserved for the fabulously rich? Or a yacht be reserved for the celebrity A-listers?

Let the Wealthy Teacher talk you through the options. Firstly, that pool. Gone are the days when a pool would set you back by pound;50,000 and the workmen would be with you for three months. Now a pool in your back garden can be installed and up and running within a week. And all for a starting price of pound;5,500.

"Putting in a swimming pool is not rocket science," says Estelle Michaels, managing director of the Easy Pools group. "It's basically a hole in the ground, with some water in it and a pump.

"It is now something that everyone can have it doesn't have to be on holiday once a year any more. People are realising that if they can afford a conservatory or a second car, then they can afford a swimming pool."

Estelle says there has been a huge trend towards DIY pool installation. And space is not an issue. "We now have pools going into semi-detached houses as well as million dollar homes." See www.swimpools.co.uk.

If you have no garden but a basement or cellar, then there's always the option of an infinity or endless pool. These pools are small but you swim against a current, making them great for exercise. Prices start from about pound;11,500 for the basic kit. See www.nonstoppools.com and www.keyindustries.co.uk.

So, your pool is taken care of, now it's time for your wine. If you think you have no room for a perfectly acclimatised fine wine cellar, then think again. Spiral cellars can be dug into the floor of your kitchen or even a Wendy house or potting shed. The watertight, pre-cast cylindrical system is sunk into the ground you lift a lid in the floor and descend a spiral staircase. The walls surrounding the stairs are lined with your favourite tipple. Prices start at pound;7,500. See www.spiralcellars.com.

And as for that yacht, forget shelling out pound;100,000-plus on your own stylish number, and think shared ownership. For as little as pound;1,000 you could be setting sail in your own luxury yacht, for at least a week each year.

Ranworth Marine, based in Norfolk, runs a share-a-boat scheme. This means you can set sail on your yacht once a year or twice if your funds extend to that knowing that you're not breaking the bank.

Even better, after passing it off as your own, you hand your yacht back at the end of the week for someone else to deal with maintenance headaches and cleaning. See www.share-a-boat.com.

These luxuries might seem pricey but having at least one could prove to be a priceless addition to your life. Go on, you deserve it

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