This Christmas will be the twentieth that Carole and I have spent in France and we have decided to make it our official anniversary of moving to France. Just over 20 years ago we left the UK to make fresh start in a warmer climate, I came a few weeks earlier to find a place to live and we shipped our few possessions and our two little girls across in an ancient (1969 VW) camper-van. So this Christmas holiday seems a good date to celebrate our move with our family, grown bigger as our son Jack was born here 17 years ago and both our Mothers have joined us to live in the South of France.
I also have two other wonderful children (plus two very special Grand-Daughters and a Great-Grandson) still living in the UK who I miss very much, but, as we live in a sunny village near the Mediterranean they do come to see us.
For us it was not so much a decision to live in France, but to get away from the life we had in England, the climate, the politics and the evident declining standards of services (especially health and education) in the UK. At the time, (1990) with two very young children, education for their future was our main concern.
France seemed the obvious first choice, so I got a rail pass (it cost then under 100 pounds for unlimited travel, a fantastic deal) and spent a month exploring many corners of the hexagon (does a hexagon have corners?) – we had very little money and no work, we lived for the first year like a crazy “Bargain Hunt” television series, buying junk in France and driving it to car boot sales in England in the old camper-van, sometimes doing one a week. At the time I could buy a classic wood burning stove in France for five pounds and sell it in Ascot for 300 pounds.
Twenty years on and we are still here, we do not regret our decision for one second, for us it was the right decision.