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
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