Diaryof a move

Leav­ing Cheshire be­hind for a new life in France, Fiona Flint and her hus­band An­drew share their jour­ney to home own­er­ship in Haute-Garonne

Living France - - What's New -

If I was asked when I was younger where I saw my­self set­tling down, I’m not sure that I would have said a tiny ham­let in Haute-Garonne, and yet here I am. My hus­band, An­drew, and I met at Glas­gow Univer­sity over 10 years ago, and are both in our early 30s. We could never be ac­cused of do­ing things the easy way, and spent much of those 10 years liv­ing in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions across the UK and be­yond, while we pro­gressed our re­spec­tive careers. For­tu­nately, our itchy feet and in­abil­ity to stay in one place for long are shared traits!

And so our plan for a life in France started a few years ago. Ac­tu­ally, if I’m hon­est, it wasn’t even nec­es­sar­ily France in the first in­stance. If it was warm, had good food and wine, and was com­mutable to Lon­don, it was on the list. We were liv­ing in Cheshire and the con­stant rain, and poor work/life bal­ance, had fi­nally taken their toll. As two proud Scots, we did con­sider mov­ing back to the home­land, but it didn’t im­prove the prospects for good weather, or the outdoor lifestyle we had been craving.

So, out came a map of Europe and we be­gan to plot our es­cape. Slowly but surely, we whit­tled down the list of coun­tries un­til we were left with France and Italy. Although we had pre­vi­ously en­joyed a fan­tas­tic hol­i­day in Italy, we de­cided that the Ital­ian lifestyle was per­haps a lit­tle too laid-back, even for my hor­i­zon­tal hus­band. So, France it was!

The need for moun­tains and ski­ing helped us to re­fine our search area, and af­ter study­ing thou­sands of prop­erty web­sites, we quickly de­cided that prop­er­ties near the Pyrénées would work for us.

Ad­mit­tedly, this is quite a large area, and in ret­ro­spect, per­haps we should have re­fined it a lit­tle fur­ther be­fore ar­riv­ing at Toulouse air­port last Novem­ber, pick­ing up our camper van, and start­ing our search for the per­fect prop­erty...

Nev­er­the­less, we have made it, hav­ing just com­pleted the pur­chase of our house. A house that, in­ci­den­tally, is lo­cated in a ham­let, does not have acres of land or a swim­ming pool, is al­ready re­fur­bished and has few lo­cal ameni­ties. I guess you don’t al­ways know what you want, right?!

It hasn’t all been plain sail­ing, and I’m sure there are many ups and downs to come which I am look­ing for­ward to shar­ing with you over the com­ing months, along with any help­ful tips and hints I pick up along the way. And did I men­tion that I’m also six months preg­nant?!

Fiona and hus­band An­drew

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