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

Stephanie Shel­drake

Living France - - Destination -

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

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