• Our journey

    First night in our new home

      I never thought my French was any good, to be honest. I had learnt it in school  many years before and not practised it for over fourteen years. But I was perfectly capable to talk to the notaire and understand the contract, as well as his jokes. An hour later, we received the keys and drove off to our new home for the first times as owners. Our property comprises of a renovated barn that has been done-up to a very high spec and a farm house that the previous owners rented out as a gite. As charming as the farmhouse was, it was also in desperate need of…

  • Navarrenx,  Our area,  Our journey

    The best or the worst decision of our life?

      Leaving Biarritz meant the end of our mini-holiday. From now on, real life awaited. We picked-up an automatic rental car at the airport and drove to our new home, where we would meet the current (about to become previous) owners and the estate agents, for a visit before signing the papers. Torrential rain started just as we left the airport and it hadn’t eased out at all along the way. But we made it and the property was as great as we remembered it when we saw it in February, even as we caked our shoes with mud walking around it. Bernadette, the owner, took me on a goat…

  • Our journey

    Biarritz, here we come!

    We left London on 5th November with only a couple of suitcases with destination Biarritz. Our cat, Heathcliff, left behind in a cattery in West London until travelling arrangements for him could be made. We stayed at the same hotel (Best Western Kemaris) where we stayed at a little over a year before, when we came to prospect and fell in love with the area. It was raining and cold when we arrived in Biarritz, but that didn’t stop us from going out. We remembered a few places and made our way to Bar Jean, a magnificent Basque restaurant by the central market, where we ordered an excellent Rioja, sardines and…

  • Biarritz,  Our journey

    A new life begins

    I am sat at the table Alistair made from a wood plank that he had varnished himself and to which he had attached copper steel legs: the same one that dominated the kitchen in our flat in Streatham. Now it looks like a miniature in comparison with the vast space of the open plan first floor of the barn that it is now our home in the South West of France. Outside in front of me, there is nothing but nature. A river (Le Saison) is flowing through our land and the only other house we can barely see through the branches of the trees that line up the river…