We came to live in France some fourteen years after we'd first decided that this was what we wanted to do. Took a bit of time, I know! This is how it happened:
We'd spent three weeks of most of those summers exploring France in our old MGB Roadster - following our noses, thoroughly enjoying ourselves and marking appealing areas on the map for when the time came to make the big move. I will add that during the summers in between our forays into France we'd also meandered through Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain, Portugal ..... in our old MGB but France captured our hearts.
Financial circumstances in 2003 dictated the right time after Terry had an operation on his back and had to come off shift work. Anyone who's done shift work knows that means a huge drop in salary. Also, I was a "survivor" of bowel cancer and this had really brought it home to us that you can't leave the grasping of your dreams too late as there just may never be a "later. We'd realised too that our endowment policy would be some considerable amount short of expectations - which was scary. As we'd both been married before and still had a mortgage we realised the fairly pressing need to sell up whilst we were likely to get a good enough price to have sufficient left over for our home in France.
We spent a long time thinking and talking about all the pros and cons and what it would mean leaving the family behind. We discussed it with them and said that although we'd all miss each other, we'd all visit back and forth as often as possible. However, there were tears shed as we talked about it. My daughters are very close to us and we knew we'd miss a lot of the grandchildren's growing-up time. We just didn't know what else to do to save ourselves.
Once the decision was made, excitement kicked in and there was no turning back. We did lots of research about living in France, looked at our preferred areas then at house prices and realised that Limousin was not only one of our favoured spots but had the cheapest housing.
We felt that this was truly a sign that the gods were smiling on our plans.
To be continued ....