Love changed our plans
Back in 2016 I took the decision to completely change my career path and my lifestyle and move to France. I was single, working freelance in a job I didn’t really enjoy and I had some money in my account from selling my flat. La belle vie called out to me and I answered. France meant a higher quality of life and a thorough shaking of the tree. I was going to go on an adventure.
My plan was simple: to find a property that was grand, that I could develop over time into an income-generating concern, and that had better weather than the sodden UK. After a long and exhaustive search I hit upon my current place: The Old Distillery in the Southern Charente.
Why here? For me it ticked all the boxes. It was a sizeable property in good condition. The roofs had been redone recently. The location was right. It had nice views and a completely private enclosed courtyard. I could go on, but that’s not the point of the story. I was happy with it, and still am.
And yet I’m selling it, and Cupid’s arrow is to blame! In a modern spin on romance, I met my fiancée through an online game. To be more accurate, I had told my gaming buddies, including her, that Iwas going to take a break from the game because I was moving to France and that I’d see how things looked once I’d arrived and the dust had settled. That was her cue to admit that she was interested and we started swapping messages.
I didn’t really pay these messages much attention at first because I was busy. I had plans to convert the huge summer kitchen into the first gîte. That was my Year One goal and I did it. It was exa
ctly what I was hoping it would be. I learnt a lot, made some mistakes along the way but ended up with a really nice gîte that I poured my heart and soul into. The project was up and running!
But then May came to visit and I knew I was in trouble. She was funny, intelligent, beautiful and we were a really good mix of personalities. This was only a week that she was with me but it was enough to know that – at the very least – there would be another trip in the future.
Meanwhile I was integrating nicely into the cheery commune I found myself in. My French was getting better as I had completed all the administrative stuff needed to get a carte vitale, top-up insurance and tax registration. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as all that. I got stuck in, took things slowly, and was able to keep my head above water.
The property was coming along also. We had repainted and completed phase one of the outside work (that meant saving an old plow we found half-buried in the large woodland that came with the house, repairing the door in the main archway entrance and organising all the outhouses in preparation for future gite conversions). Things were looking up.
By the time May came back the place was looking renewed. She noticed the change and I was glad to have her back. We’d already spoken about the possibilities and agreed that if the visit went well it would lead to her moving in permanently. This was made more difficult as a friend was staying with me at the time, helping me to get the project going. Actually he was great about it and didn’t want to stand in the way of our blossoming relationship.
That was back in September of last year. After Christmas I knew this was forever and we are getting married on August 3 rd . We’re probably married by the time you’re reading this. Honestly, I’m a lucky guy. She’s great news.
You might be wondering why getting hitched means selling up. Remember the online gaming part? May is German and speaks outstanding – basically fluent – English. But a third language has proven tricky for her and we have decided that we’d be better off in the UK as a result.
This is a little frustrating for me as it means I am selling up having done a lot of the preparation and without reaping any of the reward, but marriage is all about give and take and I’m happy to give this adventure up for her so that we can take up a new one together, somewhere where she cancontribute as much as she’d like to.