It’s hard to believe we’ve lived in France for over one year. It’s hard to believe that three days ago we celebrated one year of Frenchfully (the blog). But what’s even harder to believe is how much we’ve packed in one year!
We arrived in Biarritz in November 2017, with no idea what the future had in store for us. We were excited about starting a new chapter; a new adventure in a new country. We were fed up with life in the big smoke and yearned for the comfort and peace promised by the countryside.
A few days later we moved into our new forever home, Maison de la riviere. A life with chickens, goats, large stone houses, unknown heating systems and thousands of small problems to solve lay ahead. But we were ready!
After the initial shock, we began to ease ourselves into the French country style living. We have been welcomed by the community as if we were old friends (in fact, knowing thy neighbours is without a doubt the biggest advantage of life in the country over life in the city). Taking care of the chickens and the goats in the morning became as normal as the daily commute we were so used to in London. As he launched himself on taming the land, Alistair began to dream of a bigger and better chainsaw. With the arrival of the warm weather and the invasion of grass and nettles, we wished we had thought of repairing the lawn mower that’s been left behind by the previous owner a few months before (the mower stayed so long in the repair shop that by the time we got it back, autumn was underway). I occasionally experienced envy when seeing other people’s perfectly manicured lawns (then again, I don’t know many people with 10 acre lawns) and I increasingly found myself checking out prices for grass cutters, when, really, it should have been shoes! And talking of shoes, I’ve been wearing Converse and Wellies for a year, while high heeled beauties gathered mould in the cupboard. I never thought I’d see the day!
Our London ‘aristocat’ Heathcliff proclaimed himself the master of the house, but his reign didn’t last long. Heathcliff withdrew to his quarters (our bedroom) when the Filou Phenomenon joined our family in April 2018. We didn’t quite know what breed he was when we bought him a car bot sale and we still don’t. But he’s a handsome, loving and happy boy who has filled our house with hair and our hearts with laughter.
After nine months of painstaking renovations, in August 2018, we launched Maison de la riviere holiday cottage. And if renovating a 3-bedroom house in nine months wasn’t enough, in September 2018, we hosted our friends’, Irina and Leigh, wedding. And what a beautiful wedding that was!
I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a tough year. And even thought we managed to sneak in a 4-day holiday to Cassis and Marseille (to see The Rolling Stones) at the end of June, we’ve never been more challenged financially, our heating system crashed a few times, we’ve had to replace the hot water boiler, Alistair suffers from repetitive strain injury and we are both constantly tired. But we welcomed our first paying guests at Christmas and we are optimistic about the future. And when you live a stone’s throw away from the beaches on Biarritz how can you not be?