In 1991 my nan died and realisation dawned that we didn't have forever to achieve our dreams so ... persuaded husband to sell flat in London and buy old farmhouse in Normandy ...... financial suicide and the start of the adventure ...
Only a year later, then aged 32, I had discovered that living on no money ... having not been successful finding work/commerce in rural Normandy (way before the internet ... we didn't even have satellite TV) and being too frightened to open the latest bill was not resulting in happiness.
So back to London renting a small flat, but keeping the Normandy house as no-one was mad enough to want to buy a partially restored house that needed just too much work doing to it ....
In chronological order, life then became .....freelance bookkeeping, birth of daughter, setting up production company with husband, interspersed with summer and Christmas breaks spent in Normandy.
Finances improved, my parents moved into part of the house (although very sadly they died several years ago) and we have slowly restored it over the last 25 years, spending term times in London and school holidays in France. It sometimes felt like we were running holiday camps with our daughter and numerous cousins & friends there - the attic was the dormitory and the garden their playground - now in their twenties they all have fond memories of this magic time.
So now, approaching sixty, I'm trying realise my original dream ..... in partnership with my brother, sister-in-law (recently retired) & husband; with major help from our sister who lives in Shanghai and technological advice from our daughter .... hence this blog.
The plan is to have a brocante operating out of our lovely 19th century barn - the date on the front says 1874, together with opening the garden and selling plants. I don't think I mentioned that I am a passionate gardener .... but that will become apparent as I go along.
To achieve this we have had to work on all those areas that have lain neglected for years ..... the "oh I'll get around to moving that stone/cutting down the dead trees" sort of things that just never get done. Plus of course making the barn into a shop when it has been used for storing everything I haven't wanted to throw away for the last 25 years ......which for me is pretty much everything.
I'm ably helped in the garden by Sue Sargeant who graduated from Edinburgh Botantic Gardens and has own business designing & working on gardens as well as a nursery selling at plant fairs and the local market in Falaise every Saturday.
The land stretches to four hectares, with the majority of that being a field at the back of the house ... see plan in the garden section of this website and for more details on the garden.
So with a launch date of beginning of April 2017 we are getting set for lift off.
APRIL 1ST - AND WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS !!!
After hectic week getting all ready and putting signs up on the main Falaise-Putanges road, we are opening today - choose April Fools Day as that felt auspicious......
We are having a "vin d'honneur" this afternoon - have invited lots of friends and neighbours, including the mayor - went to see him this week to invite him and he said that he wouldn't be able to inbibe as April 1st was a fasting day in France ..... I looked a little startled and he burst out laughing ...... it's great to know that our mayor has a good sense of humour !
Likewise went to the insurance company to get the cover we need and asked if we needed to display our public liability contract ..... the insurance man said seriously "Oh yes ... it needs to say Insurance by Allianz Falaise and Monsieur Onfray" !!
Long time francophile (32 years) living between our lovely house in Normandy and work in London. Now I finally have the time to devote more energy to Le Moulinet.