Moving to France…

The long-suffering nightmare that has been Brexit (often renamed Brex-shit by many) really pushed Claire and I to reconsider our future options, and the decision was, if UK wouldn’t stay in Europe, then we would physically move there instead.

We’ve always loved France. We started visiting for holidays in the late 1990s, and, especially once we became balloonists, kept wanting to go back, and often wondered what it would be like to live there. We’ve made many friends there, and simply love the countryside, the food, the wine, the lifestyle. If we were going to get out of the rat race and the “grind-the-worker-down” environment that is so typical of the United Kingdom, then it would have to be soon. Brexit just made us decide to go sooner.

We started looking at houses in 2019, rather tentatively at first, with the help of our friends Pete and Alison, who live in France. But in March 2020 we found a lovely house that suited our requirements.

Then, everything went into lockdown.

This made the house buying process a whole lot slower. Firstly, we couldn’t view the house. Once the isolation restrictions were lifted in France, though the borders were still closed, Pete and Alison could go and view the house, and kindly videoed it for us. We loved what we saw, and we bought it subject to being able to view in person as soon as the borders were open again. We eventually went out in August to finalise the deal.

Though we sold our UK house within a week, moving house during a pandemic also posed its problems. We had a few months wait from August until the legals processed, and we completed on the house via video in early December. We had already briefed a removals company and had a date in mind, again amidst rumours of another lockdown imminent. Luckily we were able to move finally on the 18th December. I drove across with Sophie, our dog, and arrived on the 19th to let the removal guys in. Claire came on later with our balloon in tow on the 20th. We’d made it! 

Now all the hard work begins. Music-wise, I have a studio to build. While I originally thought our cellar and garage space would be best for creating a new studio, now I’ve been there a while it’s not the best spot sonically for recordings, as there’s too much pipework and a large boiler in the next room. 

Instead, I’ve chosen a mezzanine space on the first floor, which again needs work, but could be great for recording and even has a space suitable for performance and video-making.