Events have rather overtaken me since DD and her husband took the grandsons home last Sunday, and the thinking time I was hoping to have, to reflect properly on our pilgrimage to
, has disappeared without trace. I haven’t forgotten my promise, but it will have to wait a few more days, I’m afraid. This is partly because DH and I are gearing up for our annual visit to Assisi France, to southern Manche in Normandy to be precise, close to the border with . Brittany
One fateful Sunday afternoon, at the end of the last millennium, I happened to read an article in that day’s newspaper which turned out to have seriously far-reaching consequences for DH and me. It was about the growing number of British people who were snapping up houses in rural
at bargain prices, such bargain prices that it looked like this might even be a possibility for us too. I started to daydream about holidays in France in our own little cottage, though I must admit that DH’s eyebrows were very sceptically raised at that point. France
As I have described elsewhere, he tried very hard to dissuade me and even bought a tiny campervan as a substitute. That worked for a few months, but, as it turned out, the second long trip we had in it was the following year, during a cold, wet and windy week in February. DH had surrendered and we were on a house-hunting expedition to southern
. Not only was the ferry crossing cheaper at that time of year, but we reasoned that if we liked a place under those conditions, we would love it in summer. Normandy
During that week we looked at an interesting collection of houses, some habitable, but extremely small (our budget being equally miniscule) and some not much more than four walls and a roof. Then we struck gold.
In a small market town we went into the local estate agent’s office, to say that we had changed our minds about the house he was due to show us and did he have any others within our budget. He had two, one impossible and one which we knew, as soon as we saw it, could be the one for us.
|The house when we bought it (estate agent's photo)|
After a long evening’s discussion in the campervan, we went back first thing next morning to see the estate agent and by the end of that day we had signed the compromis de vente, the promise to buy which is the first part of the French system of house purchase.
That was eight years ago and the house still isn’t finished. But it is now habitable, and since my retirement 4 years ago we have spent every summer there, among the gentle, rolling, green hills of this beautiful and deeply rural corner of
|Summer 2010 7 years on - a work still in progress|