Places I Have Lived – part Seven

Sunday 28th November

Number 19 – Rue du Veau, Eymet, France.  In a strange way I always knew I would end up living in France.  Even though I failed my French ‘O’ level I fell in love with the language, and used to buy Paris Match sometimes and match my poor French to the photo-journalism there.  I have visited France for years, taking all my children at different times to Paris and have always loved the place. The only relatives I can be at all sure of are the Allards, and they are supposed to have come from France, so maybe it has been a spiritual homecoming.  But if it hadn’t been for my wife I may never have made that leap from aspiration to reality.  We had camped for a few years two or three times a year in France and had talked often about living here when we retired, but she did the research on the internet and decided on the Dordogne, and Eymet in particular.  We rented a gite at Fonroque, 6 kilometres out of Eymet, four years ago and started looking at houses.  We both fell in love with this house; unlike so many others it seemed full of light.  It started as a holiday home, and we were down here every school holiday and half-term; me stretching my meagre holiday allocation by doing extra work before and after.  And we loved the place – during the summer I would fly in and out two or three times; Bergerac airport is only just a few miles away and the fares are generally cheap.  In December last year my wife retired and wild horses would not have kept her in England.  I stopped working in April and couldn’t wait to join her.  We have had a brilliant Summer, and even now the Autumn is pretty good too.  But we have found the house just a bit too small now we are here full-time and have decided to buy something larger…

Number 20 – Avenue de la Bastide.  Well, it is almost bought but not yet lived in.  It is much larger and a sous-sol house.  Ground floor is a huge garage leading to two sets of French windows and the garden, a utility room, a cave and two guest bedrooms.  Upstairs has a large sitting room,  a big but very old-fashioned kitchen, and three more bedrooms.  It was built in 1968 and hasn’t really been modernized since then; the electrics are booked to be completely redone, and we will need a shower downstairs and a bath installed at some time.  We are excited, but a bit daunted by the size of the place, and for me the decoration needed.  But I am sure I will keep you informed of our continuing adventures, and as always when buying a house you feel certain that this will indeed be your last purchase – but who knows ?