Linda Malindine fell in love with Normandy 25 years ago and now runs a B&B in Manche. She tells about her love of this part of France, her renovation projects and her close connection to the Second World War
Linda Malindine’s love affair with France started by chance when she and her late husband Ted came to Normandy to spend a weekend with friends. “Over lunch their builder told us he was going to look at some houses for development. We all went together and the first one we visited was quite simply love at first sight,” recalls Linda.
Situated on the outskirts of Bricquebec, just 20 minutes from Cherbourg, La Lande was an old farmhouse which had stood empty for seven years. “The grass was high and full of wild flowers and butterflies, an old cart stood in the corner and little wrens danced through the high grass, and the sky was a brilliant blue with big fluffy clouds... it was perfect,” remembers Linda.
The couple were so struck with the property that they went to see the notaire on Monday morning to get the key and later that day put in an offer, which was accepted. “We had absolutely no intention of buying a house when we came to Normandy for the weekend – those two days changed the course of our lives.”
Linda was instantly charmed by the unspoilt beauty of Normandy, and thought that it would be the ideal place to run a gîte/B&B business. “The surrounding countryside has a peace and timelessness which is hard to find in the modern world,” says Linda. “The endless sandy beaches and the rich history of the region make a perfect setting for a short break or a holiday.”
Buying La Lande was the start of the couple’s love affair with Normandy, as well as the start of a major renovation project. The neglected farmhouse had no water, electricity, bathrooms or bedrooms.
La Lande’s close proximity to the port of Cherbourg meant that Linda could easily commute back to the UK, often on a weekly basis, allowing her to continue her work as a consultant in health and social care – a job that she loved, while Ted oversaw the renovation of the farmhouse. “My husband undertook the whole renovation, but that didn’t stop me from becoming an expert in the removal of old concrete and