I guess our story starts in England when we found out that the house we were renting in Cornwall, England was going to be sold. We were living in a huge old Georgian house on a dairy farm with a lovely big allotment where we kept chickens and hung out with the kids in a playhouse built entirely out of old pallets. My husband Jude built me a greenhouse out of salvaged window frames and I had plans to grow flowers in every part of that piece of land that wasn’t filled with vegetable plots. We love being outside and such bliss to have only a herd of Friesians as neighbours.
So when our landlord informed us that we had to leave, we knew we couldn’t just do the sensible thing and find a nice little council house to move into, which is what everyone on a low income is expected to do, so we came up with a plan to emigrate and follow our dream of living in sunshine. My mother in law has kept a holiday house in Normandy for several years which Jude had been renovating single-handedly before we met and almost immediately started a family, so it seemed logical for us to start by moving there, which we did in 2014, three months after the birth of our fourth daughter. His mother offered us a piece of her land for us to build on, so we spent the first year buying and renovating three old trailers which we converted into a single storey house of sorts with a separate kitchen, living in her house whilst we got ourselves organised (to a extent!)
We have been living in those old trailers for two years now and whilst it has been hard work living without proper amenities and with all of our belongings piled up in an increasingly decrepit secondhand marquee (which I found on Freecycle whilst still in Cornwall) we know that we are doing the right thing and that life will one day get easier (we hope!)
Adapting to life in France has been at times confusing and frustrating but the girls have settled into their new lives well and have only vague recollections of England. Progress on the house construction has been hindered by financial constraints and the fact that Jude and I are both quite paperwork-phobic: not ideal in a country ruled by too-often nonsensical bureaucracy. Jude and I are fortunate in that we are both creative and hard-working. We have successfully registered separate businesses here which are thriving: he has his hard landscaping and groundworks business which is in high demand and I run my little Etsy shop around caring for our youngest who will be joining her sisters at school in September 2016.
The story continues…..