Buying a House and Land
I finally made a commitment to buy a house that I had seen at least four times over a period of five months. Although I had always been drawn to the place, I had initially felt overwhelmed at the amount of work that needed doing. On the positive side, it was near my sister and her family, it was tucked away in the countryside and hence quiet and it had a fair amount of land. Some of the negatives included half an asbestos roof, 50 concrete rabbit hutches and a plethora of overgrown laurel and pine trees that created rather a spooky atmosphere.
I eventually plucked up the courage and made an offer which was accepted after a short scuffle of negotiations. I was then obliged to wait a few months for all the necessary administrative procedures. I spent my time productively participating in straw bale and ecological house volunteering projects, teaching gardening in a school and volunteering for various ecological projects through WWOOF or word of mouth.
The First Few Months
I moved in to the house in July 2012. My friend Jean Francois spent the first evening there with me. We cooked over a fire that we made outside and chatted as the rain fell lightly.
The next challenge was what to do with the 50 odd concrete rabbit hutches scattered around the land (the previous owner had bred rabbits for a living). I discovered that there is a demand for these in Normandy as raising rabbits for eating is a popular past-time. An advert in a website called 'Le bon coin' resulted in a flurry of requests, visits and offers to buy these horrific structures. By October they had all gone. I found a company nearby that bought the huge amounts of corrugated iron that had served as roofing for them.