Remodeler Moves from UK to France – La Vie Est Belle??

french manor Remodeler Moves from UK to France   La Vie Est Belle??
I’m constantly surprised by just how hard it is to have an easier life. When we moved to France just over 6 years ago, it was with dreams of part-time work, spending time with the family, maybe keeping a few chickens and growing some fruit and vegetables!
So, Where are we now?
We’ve moved from a managably small property that would have needed extending to comfortably fit us all in to a Old Manor that is really to big for a family of four and the occasional visitors (4 times a year in truth) all sat on around 2 hectares of land.
We do keep a few chickens (normally around about 20 in fact) some for eggs and some for the table), around 40 Doves and Pigeons Geese, 2 Pheasants, Turkeys around Christmas time and the most recent acquisitions – 5 ewes, 1 Ram (more about him later), 4 Boars and 3 sows. Hopefully this year we’ll add to these with some ducks for the table and who knows what else? All of this is in addition to the 3 dogs and 4 cats!
Most of the internal renovations are finished, to the point that we are now going back over some of the same jobs for a second time, there are just two bathrooms to install inside, the outside walls of the kitchen to render and a patio to lay, then several hundred metres of fencing, animal shelters by the dozen and the barn to renovate, a ruin to rebuild, block built walls to face in stone and so the list goes on and on and…all of the and I still have to work to earn a crust modernising other peoples houses.


So has the dream become a reality? No, but the View is prettier than the one we shared with several thousand others on a housing estate in Cambridgeshire. Would we go back? Some days the answer would be in a heartbeat, other days the answer would be far more considered. There are many reasons to stay and just as many reasons to return to the Uk – Who knows what the future holds? As you can see I’ve got more than enough on my plate to keep me busy for a while yet.
As for right now, with all the recent rain the river has flooded the garden, a reasonably frequent occurrence it has to be said, we watch the weather forecasts, the lunar phases and the tide predictions! In previous years it has flooded the patio and once it even reached the back door, Legend has it that in the great floods of 2001 there was 1.5metres of water in the house! I’ve seen the evidence for myself – tidemarks on the walls when we moved in and photo’s taken by a neighbour – worried me? Too bloody right mate!

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Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
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