What’s it like to sell up, move to France and renovate a barn without any building skills?
Terrifying? Liberating? Exciting? Stupid?
Moving to France
All of the above: There have been mornings when I haven’t wanted to crawl out from under the duvet because of the mountain of confusing French bureaucracy that was waiting for me. There have been winter days, hanging off indoor scaffold, pre-heating, that I’ve had to wear my entire wardrobe in order to keep warm. Six months cooking for a family on a camp stove with no work surface. The back ‘garden’ looking like Glastonbury festival in the mud when we’d just had the foss put in. Constant colds and damp whilst the concrete floor dried. And building. Day after day after day. Never clean, never tidy.
But then there are the mornings when you see deer and red squirrels on your cycle to the boulangerie in the morning. There are the evenings when your clever 7 year old, who spoke not a word of French when you moved, tumbles off the school bus chattering fluently with his copains and can suddenly read in two languages. An evening ‘table d’hotes and a large party of French locals who have paid to spend time in YOUR house, eating YOUR Yorkshire puddings and there are long walks and rides when the beauty of French countryside simply takes your breath away, no matter what the season.