While many of us dream of starting over in another country, some people have already taken the plunge. Seeing how they get on makes for good television – which explains the success of the second series of Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun.
This series features an array of Brits who have given up office jobs to launch their own businesses in warmer climes. I am about six episodes into the series and so far, the participants have all headed for France or Spain.
Among the Brits in France, we’ve met Jodie and Dan Bartholomew-Oates, a couple from Southampton, who bought a property with two fishing lakes in the Charente département. They have overcome various challenges including an algae problem that threatened to kill all the fish in their lakes.
A visit from former radio and TV presenter Chris Tarrant, a keen angler, topped off their start in France.
Meanwhile, Sam and Andrew Ledwith moved from Leicester to Puy l’Évêque, in the Lot valley, to turn an old farmhouse into a home with a gîte. Touchingly, it transpired that the couple were living the dream that Sam’s father had nurtured before his death.
They have extended their booking season by making the house a base for running holidays.
“The stars of the show are Rob and Steve, who sold their estate agency in the Midlands and bought a vineyard in Gironde”
In the last episode I caught up with this week, four hipsters – two sisters and their husbands – had swapped Coventry for rural Tarn-et-Garonne. The foursome was setting up gîtes that would allow them to offer cycling holidays.
You can’t help but find yourself rooting for people like them who have made the move.
But the stars of the show, for me, are Rob Brimfield and Steve McMahon (pictured), who sold their estate agency in the Midlands and bought a vineyard in Gironde. Clos Vieux Rochers is situated near Puisseguin, close to Saint-Émilion. It’s an area Damon and I know well.
The couple produce a decent Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, by all accounts. We’ll have to pop in and try some next time we’re down that way.
It’s good to see a couple making it happen.
The rest of us Brits with a dream had better not wait around too long. Theresa May made it clear this week that a hard Brexit is coming. Our current right to live, work and travel in 27 other European countries is to be sacrificed in an effort to cut immigration into the UK – something she failed to do as Home Secretary.
Just as well, then, that Damon picked up his mum’s passport this week. Now he can apply for Irish citizenship, as both of his mum’s parents were Irish.
Hopefully, that means our own new life in the sun can’t be too far away.