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La Motte Street to Lurcy Levis

in the Auvergne

by Teresa Richardson

 

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Teresa and Steve

 

Who would have thought, twenty years ago, when I was working as the secretary (affectionately known as Top Tart!) to the senior partner of an international firm of chartered accountants that I would one day swap my Jersey office environment for a small village in the Auvergne region of deepest rural France?   A place where I would learn to grow all my own vegetables, make jam, jellies and liqueurs from my own fruit and make my own biscuits instead of buying them from Marks & Spencer!  Not me that’s for sure.  My Friday nights have changed from a boozy evening in the United Banks Rugby Club, followed by the obligatory Chinese meal for 15, to a gentle barbeque chez nous surrounded by 6 acres of peace, quiet and tranquillity! 

After 7 years of living in Jersey in my early twenties, and after much heart and soul searching, I finally left to return to England to buy a house with my brother.  Although I would have eventually qualified to buy a house in Jersey in my own right, I felt that waiting for another 13 years to gain the necessary residential qualifications, was just too long to wait and so returned to the south east of England.    

So how did I get from the south east of England in 1985 to the middle of France in 1999?  Simple enough – I met a man and fell in love!  Steve had already bought the house here in France before we met and I came on my first holiday here in 1997.  It was Easter and it was cold, cold, cold and there were cobwebs and spiders everywhere - no running hot water! Not tThe Gite at Lurcy Levishe greatest of first impressions.  However, after a few more holidays and another couple of years into our relationship we decided, in 1999, to chuck in our respective jobs in the UK – Steve had his own building company and I was a Personnel Administrator in a Hospice. We came to live here full time to renovate our large farmhouse and turn some outbuildings into a Gite.  Five years, and plenty of blood, sweat and tears, on and we’ve completely finished our house, the Gite is up and running and proving to be a great success and life here is good.  We are virtually self sufficient - growing our own vegetables - lead a very simple but healthy life and enjoy it immensely. 

 It hasn’t all been easy and I found it particularly hard socially and emotionally for the first couple of years, particularly the winters. We knew practically no-one, had no friends here and I spoke almost no French. I remember with embarrassment during the first few months thanking our neighbours for a "very pretty", instead of "nice" evening. As I write we have just spent 3 days with some French friends and have spoken nothing but French the whole time – quite a change from those early days. 

 There are times, as anywhere, when we have our stresses and problems like anyone but on the whole it’s a good life and we have no regrets about coming to live here.  We live in a beautiful area of France, very rural and very French,  and despite many happy memories of both Jersey and the UK I wouldn’t change it for the world.   #

Thank you to Teresa for this article.  Teresa and Steve's Gite in the Auvergne can be seen by clicking here