The coming year promises to be an exciting one. If all goes to plan, 2019 will be the year we buy a property in south-west France and prepare to launch a business.
We want to combine two of our great loves in one: a cheese-and-wine bar.
We’ve come a long way since 2015, when we sketched out a 7-year plan to swap our office jobs in London for new lives in France. Forget whining, start wine-ing, we thought.
Since then, we’ve been working towards our goal by upskilling in both wine and cheese. I have gained two sets of wine qualifications, including the title of French Wine Scholar, which is recognised by the French government.
And we’ve eaten a lot of cheese.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, the Brexit vote happened. The only good thing I can find to say about the outcome is that it trimmed a few years from our timetable.
Hence we moved to France in 2017.
“We’ve come a long way since 2015, when we sketched out a 7-year plan to swap our office jobs in London for new lives in France”
Although we’re in Lille right now, we see our future in the south west. We’ve sold our house in the UK to be able to start over down there.
We thought we’d found the ideal place last Easter – a bar/restaurant with guest rooms and separate owners’ accommodation, in the picturesque Dordogne village of Issigeac. But it wasn’t to be.
We have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and lined up several places to view later this month. More about them in due course.
We are also committed to improving our French this year. I speak it quite well – I have a degree in French, after all – but I want to be properly fluent.
Damon, too, is looking to increase his proficiency. He’s made great strides in the 18 months we’ve been here, but the fact that his employer’s working language is English has limited his progress.
He’s also going to learn to drive this year, thanks to an intensive driving course.
All in all, it looks to be a positive year. We just need sterling to rise to give us the very best start to our new lives.
A vote to reverse the Brexit referendum would also be very welcome – not just for us but for our friends and family. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
Whatever 2019 holds, I wish you and yours all the best for the new year.