One week before Christmas 2016 I spotted an advert on Facebook. House-sitter Wanted: Midi Pyrenees, France, 1-2 Year Contract. That might just be the answer. John was keen for me to email straight away to make contact and let them know we were interested. After exchanging just a couple of emails we discovered that Colin needed someone to look after his house, the small gite, and his two cats whilst he was working in Africa. Could we get started in 2 weeks? Errrh, well, yes we could if we worked fast to put things in order here.
I’ve never actually seen a headless chicken but I’m sure my impression of one was pretty darn close. No idea what to take, or what has to be arranged so I find I’m tidying drawers, and cupboards for most of the first week. The days whiz past. “Come on Caroline,” I tell myself, “Prioritize!”
How is it that we can drop everything and move to France? We had been thinking about living in France since we bought a property in the Ariege in 2004. When the renovations were finished we had made two houses out of the one but decided to remain living and working in England letting out one house and using the other as a holiday-home. After a few years we had to let out both sides to make ends meet.
I’ve had an idyllic career to date as a self-employed dressmaker. Working from home allowed me to keep-house, raise our two daughters, and work. Juggling is what Mums do! 18 months ago we moved to Coventry to be close to John’s new job as a factory manager but that affected my business. Advertising and networking here has only produced a trickle of work so I’ve survived by once a week visits to clients back south.
The bombshell hit at the end of May 2016: John was made redundant! He’s been diligently looking for work everyday since then but although up-beat at first he became more and more disillusioned.
“Christmas will be crunch-time” he said. “No job by then and well have to go out to France to do what’s necessary to sell the houses”. However, we discovered that we could not evict tenants before the end of their contract: next December for one, April 2018 for the other.
Plan B jumped out of my laptop the next morning and we thought living rent-free only 40 minutes from our French houses might be just what’s meant to happen. Telling friends and family has not been hard as they have all responded very positively. Do you think they’re glad to be rid of us? For me, however, it’s going to be a huge wrench leaving so many pieces of my heart in England.
If you want to follow our Ariege Adventure look out for the next instalment.
This blog is based on truth but for privacy and security many of the names have been changed and some of the story may be embellished at times for dramatic effect.