I suppose I should tell the story of how we got to buying a house in France.
Me (Clicky Needles) and my hubby (Sarge) have been friends with B (The Boss) and S (Smiley) for over ten years now. Sarge, The Boss and Smiley all worked for the same company. One day Sarge came home and told me we were going camping in Dorset with them and some other people he worked with. I didn't know any of these people and he wanted me to spend a weekend with them. What if I hated them all? Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. The other families had children roughly the age of our two so maybe we'd be alright. As it turned out the weekend was a hoot, we played cricket and rounders (how competitive do those dads get?) walked along the cliffs and played silly word games around the barbeques into the night. It was fun.
The camps turned into an annual event. Not always the same campsite but always in Dorset. A few more work colleagues joined us. It wasn't all fun and games though. We had terrible storms one year and our fairly new tent was ruined. The Clicky Needles clan and The Boss, Smiley and their daughter spent the night in cars. The camps continued on through the years. One year Me and Sarge and The Boss and Smiley got talking, why not go farther afield? We all got on well, why not have a 'proper' holiday together. Someone suggested France, we could get a big gite. When it got down to the nitty gritty, however, only me, Sarge and The Boss and Smiley were willing. No probs we'd find somewhere. Our daughters were good friends by now and DS was happy doing most things.
We found a Coach house near Le Mans in the grounds of a Chateau.
The coach house was lovely but to be honest we all hankered after the chateau. It was owned by and English lady who lived in London.It had grounds with a small river running through. Our boys disappeared mid morning with a bottle of 'fishing wine' to 'have a fish'. The wine had a rule attached ~ never more than €2. Unsurprisingly they came back with no fish, but very giggly. The girls lounged around the pool. We played loud music and danced around to embarrass the kids in the evening (I do have photos but they are just too embarrassing for everyone.) After a few days talk got around to "I like this, but if we had a house we'd...." It carried on through the week and by the end it became "In our house we'll have a bigger freezer." The seed was sewn.
We stayed up late, played games, had a glass or two of wine and relaxed. The first person up in the morning lit the fire and made the tea. Lovely.
By the end of the week the snow had melted so we walked up Mount Cyr and surveyed the area.
Behind us the next mountain is Mont Blanc.
On the way back to J's we passed a little house. "That's for sale," someone shouted.
The Sarge and me thought it looked a bit small. We didn't think much more of it.
A few months later we got a breathless phone call from The Boss. She and Smiley had been to stay with J and guess what? they had looked at the little house. It was perfect for us. They took lots of photos and we planned a camping weekend to talk about it. After some deliberation and possibly some wine we decided to go for it. Sarge and me had not seen inside but we were confident in The Boss' and Smiley's judgement.
The next problem was getting all four of us in France at the same time to sign the papers. It was decided that just The Boss and me would be the signatories to make things easier so we travelled down in August 2010 to start the purchase. I got to see inside for the first time. I had hoped I would fall in love it, but I definitely didn't, as I looked around I could see potential but lots and lots of work. The view from the front bedroom however was fabulous and I loved the shutters and wrought iron juliet balconies.
The purchase process had begun. We started to get excited. The Boss and me had fantasy shopping trips to Ikea. Time dragged on. And on. And on. Excitement had evaporated. Life carried on as normal and we all found it best not to think about it. In June 2012 The Boss received an e-mail, asking us to go over and complete the purchase. At last, 2 years after the process had started we were to be the owners.