Last week, we celebrated the anniversary of buying our house here in the Langhe. Actually, celebrated probably isn’t quite the right word… we noticed it had been one year since we bought our house and cursed ourselves for still not managing to start work on it. Still, as a good friend of mine says: “C’est la vie la vie, whatever will be will be.”
While we continue wrangling with our geometra and trying to force him to do his job, I thought I’d take this opportunity to go back to the start and fill you in on how we ended up living in this ridiculously beautiful part of Italy.
Picture, if you will, a cold, rainy night in Bristol. A night like, well, pretty much every other night in Bristol. I’d just got home from work, exhausted after my two and a half hour drive on the M4 and stressed after a day filled with ‘creative calls’, people ‘looping me in’ and having to take a “root and branch approach” to everything . Allegra meanwhile was feeling unfulfilled; she’d spent the day photocopying, making tea and buying biscuits. I still don’t get what isn’t fulfilling about that, but there you go…
We sat down and both said: “This can’t go on.” Actually, I’ve probably taken a bit of creative licence there. It’s more likely that I said “I hate that *!*%$£%&* road. I need a beer” and Allegra said: “Don’t swear in front of the puppy!” But you get the picture. We both knew we couldn’t continue like this. We were tired and stressed. We loved living in Bristol but had stopped loving our jobs. We were spending all our time doing these jobs that we didn’t enjoy simply to pay for us to continue getting to these jobs that we didn’t enjoy.
In the months that followed that fateful night, we thought a lot and talked even more. Were there other jobs we could we do? Maybe a business we could set up? We came up with some good ideas and some that were, frankly, dreadful. But there was one that we kept coming back to… quitting our jobs, buying a house somewhere hot and sunny, restoring it and setting up a holiday business.
As ideas go, it was never the most sensible. But it certainly sounded a lot more fun than anything else we could think of. So, we started doing our research. Regions, house prices, building costs, tourism potential, how long we could survive without proper jobs… we filled countless notepads with ill-thought out sums and eventually decided that we could make it work. Just.
From that moment we both felt we had to do it. We didn’t want to be sat in our house on another cold, rainy Bristol night in five years’ time saying “What if…”. It was like a huge weight had suddenly been lifted from our shoulders. It was all we could talk about. We were doing this. We were going to jack it all in, up sticks and move to Italy.
To be continued…