So much can change in just one week, and it certainly has for us. Last Friday, in the notaire’s office, when the keys to our new home were handed over to us, I felt the knot in my stomach disappear. The weight on my shoulders lifted as I stepped outside and took a deep breath of country air. We’ve done it, no more talking about it, we’ve actually gone and bought us a house in the Aveyron countryside…and the real adventure starts here.
We arrived in Aveyron five days earlier on the Monday, and on that same day, we were told by the notaire that they had still not received news of our mortgage! Until the funds arrived in their account, they could not set a date for the signature, which was most unsettling for us, having travelled over 7 hours with the sole intention of signing for our new house. After numerous phone calls to the bank and the notaire, we got the call on Thursday afternoon that we would be signing at 2pm the next day, and that is all that matters really. All the stress and anxiety is pretty much forgotten now. We are officially property-owners of ‘Chez TêteBlanche’, a beautiful country house, which, in its current state, is like a blank canvas, where we will create a new way of life for our family.
While we were there, we discovered so much more about the region, the people and their traditions. There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that this place is the ideal environment for us to live a sustainable life. The locals are proud people, who are very much attached to their heritage and traditions. In Aveyron, everywhere you look, you are surrounded by agriculture. Rolling hills and cornfields, cows and chickens, tractors and farms, manure and hay…you cannot escape it. But then why would you want to? Wikipedia states Agriculture to be “the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinals and other products used to sustain and enhance human life”. We are making this move because we strongly believe we can sustain and enhance our lives.
While the rest of the modern world has moved with the times and embraced the age of technology, to the demise of hereditary knowledge and skills, which have been lost in the process, you get the feeling that the Aveyronnais have never lost these skills and are still working the land in the same way their great-great-grandfathers did. It’s a bit like stepping back in time, to a simple but rewarding life without complication. It is this essence of life that we want for our children.
So, what’s the next step? We have decided to move out there as soon as possible, otherwise we will just keep putting it off and still be here next spring. We intend to move in just before Christmas and work on the inside of the house during the colder months, until March, when Pete can get going on the land. It is true that we will have no money to begin with and we may struggle for a few months taking what work we can, but we want to show everyone just how you can go from having nothing, to everything.
I began this blog back in January 2014 to record all our highs and lows as we set out on our journey to a sustainable life and I hope to continue it for years to come, so that even though I may cease to exist on social networks in the future, you can still follow us and our progress both inside the house, but more importantly, in the garden Chez TêteBlanche.